A Happy Halloween to you all! I’m wishing everyone outstanding costumes, short candy lines and magic sugar that doesn’t stick to your hips or make your kids crazy.
In the meantime, we’re celebrating our 12th week with Jacob. And there is much to be celebrated.
In my last update just 2 weeks ago, I reported that we had hit some sort of turning point. I am happy to report back and say that it wasn’t just a fluke. The last few weeks have been so good.
We’ve all but abandoned the behavior chart. Not because we’re slacking, but because he’s actually listening. Sure, we’ve had a few hard days, but overall, he’s doing so well. There were several days in a row on his chart where we didn’t even have to fill out the date because we didn’t need to use it.
I’m sure it’s a combination of things.
We’re getting to know each other. We’ve figured out what makes him tick and what button we need to press to make things happen. For instance, we realized at school we needed to take away his soccer privilege at recess to make him do his morning work. We are beginning to understand why he’s doing what and learning when to just let things go. And I think he’s learning us and what he can get away with and what he can’t.
We’re getting close to finalization. We’ve been able to have several talks about how this is final, about how we don’t need a court date to know he’s our son, about how there’s nothing he can do to change our minds. We had our last home visit yesterday from DSS. He yelled “YES!” and jumped up when I told him. I can’t imagine all the visits and red tape he’s had in the last years. I’m sure it’s starting to sink in that this really is his forever home and that stability is translating across the board.
And here’s a big one. We’ve been doing some physical therapy to help for his ADHD I haven’t told you about. I want to tell you in great detail about the program we started at the beginning of October (maybe next week?), but suffice it to say, I think it’s showing huge dividends.
Yesterday I emailed his teachers to ask if they were seeing improvement at school or if it really was just a settling in at home. Both his teachers emailed me seperately to say they were meaning to email me to tell me what a great week he’s had. One said, “I have seen such a huge change in Jacob this week. He is much more focused and being a lot more responsible about getting his work done.”
He got his first report card and got all A’s and B’s. His resource teacher said he’s ahead on all his goals and we’ll probably need to meet early so we can set some new ones. There’s already talk of integrating him back into the classroom.
I talked to the representative through the company we’re using for his therapy and she said it’s absolutely possible that within just a few weeks he could be seeing these benefits. They never promise anything. In fact, they told me it could be a year of therapy before we saw a difference, but it’s sounding like Jacob is responding very well and with all the stability he’s getting, he’s excelling.
This is huge. The physical therapy is targeted to help with his focus and attention, among many other things, and if it’s really working, then these changes are for life. I couldn’t be more excited for him.
We’ve started to get to the heart of the matter. Now that we’ve gotten through the weeds, we’ve been able to connect some to his past. I’ve had some beautiful conversations with him at night. I’ve been able to talk to him about his mom and some favorite memories with her. We’re planning to do some of those things with him.
Last night, we took him to Golden Corral, his favorite place his foster parents took him. I cannot tell you how happy he was last night. He truly hopped and skipped to get dessert and had the biggest, most earnest smile I’ve seen on him yet. Healing is taking place and it’s beautiful to watch.
All of these are combining to create so much hope and beauty in the process.
Last night was truly the first night I wanted to go back and relive. Most days until now I’ve felt like we were simply surviving, but last night I could do again.
At our last visit with the case worker, she told me that we’d be getting a new birth certificate after we go to court and we’d be listed as the parents. For some reason this fact had escaped me until then. It hit me like a ton of bricks that we really are going to be a forever family. There’s still so much messiness with his birth family and a piece of paper doesn’t make it all better, but it is significant. It feels weird, actually, to be listed as someone’s legal parent when you didn’t give birth to him. In some ways, it feels like we’re dishonoring his first 7 years of life, but in other ways, it feels like a fresh start. Perhaps like a slate we’re wiping clean. New life.
It’s good, y’all, It really is.
We go next Friday the 7th to sign the final adoption papers and then we’ll rush over to give that to our attorney so he can set a court date. We’re told that usually takes about a month and fingers crossed, he’ll be getting a new name for Christmas.