“Hello? Hello? Is anybody there?”
So why the heck am I doing this? Why am I suddenly writing about this extremely intimate and deeply personal experience and putting it out there for the world to see?
I could easily say that it’s in hopes of encouraging others who are considering foster-adopt to take the next step – there are, after all, 400,000 kids in the foster care system in the United States. Or I could write that I’m throwing words of encouragement and support to anyone currently navigating the process in hopes of letting them know that they’re not alone.
Or perhaps I could tell you that it’s simply to reflect on what we’ve just gone through. Adopting through the foster system was something Eric and I both wanted to do, but the experience turned out to be something we quickly learned we actually knew very little about – which was both fascinating and frightening, captivating and scary-as-hell. It’s also my belief that the certification process shouldn’t have to be such an unknown and if I can pull back the curtain even just a little, it might help ease someone’s reservations about signing up and taking the plunge.
But truthfully it’s all for our little guy. I want to document all that’s happened in case one day he ever decides he wants to know how in the world this man from Manila and this guy from Connecticut ever came together and crossed paths with this beautiful, amazing, bright little boy, and rather than try to remember it all for him when I’m old and grey, I want to write it down now while it’s still fresh and share how magical and wonderful and trying and complicated it was for us to get to the point in our lives where we even had the opportunity to become a family.
Destiny sure as hell didn’t happen overnight, but instead took years rising to the surface, all culminating in that one phone call when we finally said, “yes.” And so if one day our boy decides he wants to understand our story, here it is – and now it can become a part of his.
So where did this all start? When did that first glimmer of my future being called “Dad” miraculously begin? Well, like all of my good stories, my destiny decided to make itself known at the finest of establishments, and by finest, I mean a Ruby Tuesday’s somewhere in the ‘burbs.
At the time, my mom had terminal lung cancer, and Eric and I visited her back East as much as possible. At lunch one afternoon with my extended family, my niece and nephew were running up and down the aisles (it was a Ruby Tuesday’s after all), and I noticed that rather than being enamored with me and my California stories, my family was glued to how Eric was playing with the children, and happily so, while we managed to have an adult conversation – a conversation entirely about how wonderful Eric was with children. It was at that moment that I realized I was (doomed? F’d, dunzo?) destined to become a dad – because clearly being a father was in Eric’s cards and he was in mine. And so there, at good ol’ Ruby Tuesday’s, with chicken fingers and house salads doused in Thousand Island passing by, the clouds opened up, the sun shined down, and my future as a father was born.