But the ambivolence was palpable. And when we left the visit I couldn't help but feel concerned. We were getting mixed signals from his foster mother. She seemed so eager for us to succeed yet at every turn tried very hard to dissuede us from going on. And that made us worry. Did she know something we don't know? Is she trying to warn us? Why does she have so little confidence that he will be able to make this transition? We kept expressing interest and with every turn there seemed to be a road block and the process kept getting pushed back longer and longer.
We hadn't been home but a few minutes when she called and I was happy she did because we had a down right heart-to-heart. I asked her why she was saying and doing these things. Why was she trying to get us to back out? And her response was surprising. She had been so afraid that WE would back out that she was guarding herself (and him). In a twisted sort of way, we were both striving for the same thing: to bring Raul into our family. And while our goal was the same, we were actually being counterproductive with both our actions and communication and in effect creating the opposite of what we both so desperately want.
Here's the thing, this adoption stuff is highly personal. It's intimate and it's hard to be intimate with someone you don't know. Add that to the fiercely terrifying nature of a mother about to add a new son to her family and a mother about to lose a son she's known for 2 years and it becomes downright impossible.
But we worked it out. At one point I said to her that once the boy walks through our front door with his bags he is never leaving and that was apparently what she had been waiting to hear all along. That we were committed to him. That he would not have to start over. Our only real concern was how he would react to Bubba, and vice versa. And while we had originally scheduled for him to meet Bear first, we thought we might as well get it over with so we could all breathe a sigh of relief.
We took Bubs to meet him this last friday and while I thought in my head that I was okay, I was literally nauseous all the way there. I blamed it on the turkey sandwich and then on a rampant case of car sickness. I even tried to convince myself that I could be pregnant. Because apparently my being pregnant even though Howie's vas deferens have long been separated, divorced and moved to different states, was more of a plausable conclusion than facing the fact that I was just plain nervous. Because what if it didn't work out? What if we'd been through all of this and they hated each other?
My fears were; however, unfounded. I've rarely seen Bubba so positively lit up. They were engaged from the very beginning and while they played separately, they were very close in proximity, taking their time. At one point Bubba was playing with a helicopter and was looking for the pilot and when I asked Raul to find it he did. Then he knelt next to Bubba and they worked together to make the piece fit. They talked, a shushed conversation- a connection. And the overwhelming reality of it all made me clutch my chest while I worked really hard not to cry. Because I'm not one of those people who can inconspicuously cry. I automatically go into the ugly cry. You know what I'm talking about...the blubbery, snotty, lose your breath kind of crying that makes people look at you and wonder how it was possible that the doctor's released you from the institution without supervision.
They played and ran and jumped and giggled. We went up to Raul's room and we laid on the cold floor and squeezed the boys between us. They wrestled and tickled each other and sat on Howie's lap for a picture. It was easy, fluid, comfortable.
As we left, we asked Bubba what he thought of Raul and he said, "when can I bring him home." That was it for me. I started crying and didn't stop until we got home. It was a huge step to see him for the first time and this was another huge step, to see him in context. It was overwhelming to see those boys, those brothers make a connection for the first time. What a beautiful sight to see. In all of my days I will never forget it, witnessing that powerful force that bonds us as family.