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Saturday, May 23, 2015

I Have a Home; I Have a Job

Cindy and I had enjoyed one of those long, catch-up chats over tall, drizzling glasses of iced tea, but her question replayed in my mind as I drove away. “Are you ever going to adopt a kid or two?”

Years earlier, the moment we’d learned of children no one wanted, Cindy and I stepped up to offer a home. Our first interview exposed a major problem.

“Girls, do you actually have a home to offer a child?” The lady said with a smile and gentle voice.

“Uh, not right today. We’re both living in the dorms on campus, but we’d be willing to find a place we could rent together. Would we need a separate room for each child, or could they bunk together like we do in the dorms?” I said with all the innocence of a university student.

We've been looking at the classified ads already,” Cindy said.

My friend added that to help the lady understand we’d been anticipating her question. Cindy and I had been rehearsing the interview for a few days.

“Girls, your genuine compassion for the children is commendable, it really is. You can fill out the application form if you’d like,” she said, holding up the packet, “but I have to tell you, honestly, you are not in a position to offer the children a stable home. Even if you found a house today, you are students. You don’t have a steady income you can use to care for the children, do you?”

As one might expect, the interview didn’t last much longer. The kindness of the social worker saved us the humiliation we could have experienced with another, more aggressive person. Cindy and I felt only sadness for the children as we walked away from the building that day. How could it be that some kids out there had no home or someone to love and care for them?

Leaving my reminiscing, I focused on the present. “Well,” I said to the radio personality trying to deliver the weather report to listeners, “I have a steady job now. I have a home with a spare room I can turn into a kids’ room. Why not try again?”

During the hours of driving back to my rural residence, the idea of adopting children that needed a home re-played over and over in my mind. I came at the question from every angle, answering my own questions as if I had been the social worker interviewing me.

Hefting my suitcase out of the trunk of my car, I announced my decision to the chilly, evening air. “I’m going to do it. I have all a kid could need in a home; I’ll love her with my whole heart.”

The following day, Martha* walked into my office at the hospital. “What a surprise,” I said leaving my chair to meet the dear lady at the door. “I planned to call you later this morning. Would you like a cup of coffee?”

“No, thanks. I just had a few cups over at the courthouse,” Martha said, walking over to my desk.

I indicated she should have a seat with the wave of my hand, and closed the door behind me. Returning to my chair, I said, “Are you here in an official capacity as the county’s social worker? Would you like me to call for Maxine?”

Martha’s business didn’t require the presence of our Director of Nursing, so I settled myself into the chair. Struggling to keep my questions from derailing Martha’s purpose for this unscheduled audience, I focused on her every word. At last she’d finished.

“That’s what my opinion of the situation is now, and my suggested action. I need your recommendation to complete my report. Martha said, sitting back and waiting for my response.

After Martha and I had hammered out something to add to her report, I addressed my issue. “I’m delighted to see you today, Martha. I have something that’s been plaguing my mind for a couple of days now and wanted your input. I’d planned to call the courthouse to ask when you’d be in town or how to get ahold of you.“

Martha laughed and said, “They’d have told you I’d not be in this week. Today’s unscheduled meeting came as a surprise to all of us. So, what can I do for you?”

“Do we have children in this area who have nowhere to call ‘home’? You know, kids that nobody wants?”

Martha’s smile faded; her brow furrowed, as she let out a deep sigh. “Yes, many more than we have homes to receive them. It’s one of the saddest parts of my job. Why do you ask?”

I recounted for Martha my university days’ first attempt, reiterating my desire to help any child that needed a home. I smiled in response to Martha’s widening grin, wondering if she was holding back a guffaw at the naivety of my experience.

“That’s great; I’m glad to learn of your interest. I know of two little boys in the next county who desperately need a home. We’re struggling with the whole court-thing now and have been for a few months.”

“I’d be glad to take the boys. What do I have to do?”

“First, you need to fill out the application. We have group meetings with folks who want to be foster parents, as well as those who would like to adopt. The groups meet on separate nights, but the next one is--” Martha pulled out her day-Planner, flipping a few pages, before continuing. “Yes, here it is. The next meeting is for prospective foster parents. It’s in just two days. If you come a little early, I could get your application started the evening of that meeting. The group for the adoptive parents has already been held this month, but you could benefit from sitting in on this group, too. They’re in the beginning phase, so the two groups are pretty much getting the same information and are discussing the same questions.”

My thoughts and heart raced, anticipating the day when I’d welcome two little boys into my home. Of course, I’d come to that meeting and any other meeting I could. I wanted to learn everything possible to be the best adoptive mother for those dear kids. I began making lists of what I needed to do or purchase before Martha’s car left the parking lot.

Truly, I had no idea what I had signed up for, but God had it all in His capable hands.

*I cannot recall the name of this kind lady; maybe it is Martha.