We saw his therapist just last evening, and now the older of our RADishes has another appointment this morning with his psychiatrist, so I’ll make this short. (I go to a lot of appointments. You have no idea.)
I loathe the term “bios” (or “biological children”)– it’s cold and sciencey, as if we cooked them up over a bunsen burner; a pinch of this chemical, a dram of that one. But I’m not sure how to distinguish them when I write, so I’ll just stick with the term we use in our foster/adoptive parenting support groups.
Our two bio sons, today 17 and 15 years of age, never asked for their worlds to be turned upside down. They were happy-go-lucky little towheads, curious, full of mischief, quick to giggle, eager to greet daddy when his car pulled into the driveway every afternoon around 4:30. We lived simply but our home life was filled with art and music, good and healthful meals (I used to love to cook), and tumble and play and make believe and trips to the zoo and cuddling on laps with books. The vibe: carefree.
When the two “new guys” (as our bios called them) arrived liked meteorites, the simple life we had crafted was hit hard. The baby, 19 months old, tiny and painfully thin, had a misshapen head (much like when you squeezed Barbie at the ears when you were a kid) and was sick and feverish and miserable. I gently picked him up and cradled him in my arms. He immediately balled up that baby fist and cold-cocked me, hard, on the chin. Like a veteran boxer I shook it off, but I was flabbergasted. Both my kids had thrown their wee temper tantrums as toddlers, but I never in my life saw a baby throw a decent punch! Meanwhile, we noticed that the older one, 3 years, was drenched from his chin to his round preschooler belly, but only down the front of his tee shirt. We soon realized he frantically gnawed on his shirts, constantly, probably in an effort to soothe himself. We changed his shirts many times during the day.
Though we took the classes required by our county’s fost-adopt program, none of them had prepared us to help our children heal from their early trauma. (Therapeutic parenting wasn’t even mentioned.) It was love at first sight with these guys, yet we did wonder just what we had gotten ourselves into. Our bios were too young to notice their brothers’ strange behaviors at first. Though they were a bit jealous of all the attention the new guys were getting, for the most part they tried to welcome them, share their toys, and get the daily playing going.
The four of them together was truly a precious sight to behold; they made you want to break out in show tunes. Though we chose to not check many of the preference boxes on the reams of county paperwork, they ended up sending us two lads who looked remarkably like our bios. With four adorable ducklings in tow, and their antics, we drew a lot of attention when we were out and about. Many times strangers remarked on our “beautiful family”– we even had meals paid for! It was crazy, but the boys were just so darned cute, I guess they brought out the kindness in folks. “Oh my, but you are just the sweetest little huggy bunnies and I just want to squeeze your rosy cheeks and buy you pancakes!”