"McClure, party of seven, your table is now available."
I want to go out to eat at a normal, busy restaurant just to hear a hostess call it out on a crackly speaker! (Of course, that isn't really an option right now!)
But in case you hadn't heard, we adopted this month! Meet Vivian Marie McClure, our fifth child (and second daughter) and the firecracker in the house these days. We could not be more thankful that the process was finalized after so many delays.
But all those delays were a blessing, too.
We don't post much about our foster care journey. Mostly, because we aren't allowed to, but also, because the stories are complex.
When we were very first licensed to both foster and adopt in Iowa, I remember the worker causally stating that if you were just looking to adopt, "This is the worst way to do it."
What? We had decided to open our home and love our neighbors in some really difficult circumstances. We were not expecting anyone to say adopting from foster care was the worst!
But this is what she meant: for a child in foster care (whose goal is reunification with biological family) to become available for adoption (where we would become adoptive parents) the case has to be awful.
It means that visits did not go well. Or happen at all. Or court hearings did not go well. Or went badly. Or goals weren't met. Or consequences just happened.
It means you just watched a train-wreck that you couldn't stop.
Oh. That is what she meant.
So the blessing of the delays was that we had time to grieve. Time to process what was lost. Time to continue to work on our relationship with the biological family. Time to slowly adjust to what would be our new normal.
We had time for the joy to creep in. To come when we rocked her to sleep, when she ran across the grass to our open arms, when she learned to call us mommy and daddy.
The joy had time to build up steam. And now I get a catch in my throat every time she smiles and I realize that I am her mommy. Today. Tomorrow. For all days.
And the grief is still there. And will be as we navigate her relationships with her biological family. Today. Tomorrow. For all the days.