Thankfully, we loved our social worker, who also just happened to be one of our instructors from the certification classes – she was bright, caring and kind. In fact, if she hadn’t been our social worker, I could have easily seen her being one of our friends.
“So what are your arguments like?” she asked, setting off the questioning with a bang.
Our fights, I thought? Is this a trick question? She has to know we’re only human, right?
“Well, Eric goes silent and internalizes his anger and that drives me crazy because I like to talk and talk and talk and talk and talk about it until I finally drive him over the edge and then one of us apologizes and that’s that.”
“So who gets mad more often?” she replied, typing away on her laptop without any acknowledgement of my previous answer.
“But what about when we argue?” I asked, seeking some sense of where she was going. “That’s okay, right?”
“Of course it’s okay,” she replied. “So, who gets mad more often?” she went on, clearly not interested in discussing our arguments any further.
There we were again, smacked over the head in the first five minutes of our home study with the reminder that none of this was about “us.” Even our home study, a study of “our home,” an analysis and report about us as individuals, our relationship, our life, our good days and our bad, was really more of an examination designed to profile us for when it came time to match us with a child. I mean, even the questions regarding the way we argued really had nothing to do with Eric and me – they had to do with the discovering what kinds of triggers might exist in our home and how they might effect a child’s ability to cope and heal.
“I have to remind you,” the social worker interjected, clearly sensing my confusion. “We don’t find children for families – we find families for children.”
Yes! We know! We’ve heard it over and over and yet it was still a struggle to comprehend how we were giving up so much of ourselves and our life only to be continually reminded that none of it was really about us. In fact, at this point in the process, it wasn’t even about our desire to have children – it was about making sure the next step for whichever child walked through our door was hopefully the last stop on their journey to finding a forever home.
Over the next three hours, we discussed our story – how we met, what our life was like, what happened during our regular days, nights, weekends and holidays, who we were as a couple and what kinds of adversity we had faced in life. We each took turns describing our hopes, dreams and fears and through many tears and tissues, we both realized what an extraordinary transformation was happening in our lives.