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Sunday, March 11, 2012

An Afternoon Extravaganza

Sit me down with coffee and, please, get a water for my wife. Oh, and my daughter would like some juice. You know, the kind in the pouch, the kind that she doesn't get at home because there is too much sugar in it. Make us comfortable on your broken-in sofa, your davenport. Our asses could use a bit more squish after our hour and forty-minute drive to visit. Thank you for your hospitality. Will you please badger me?

Sara, Sara's pregnant belly (a.k.a. Kazmer), Graisyn, and I arrived in Madison at The Law Center for Children & Families and Adoptions of Wisconsin (A.O.W). I had just finished a near full day of work and Sara had racked her brains with everything medical. It was 4:34 p.m. The weather was shit, but much better than it could have been. It was a balmy thirty-two degrees so the wet that fell from the sky was slushy. We considered these ideal driving conditions and arrived to our destination safely. It was February 29th and our first face-to-face introduction with our case worker.

On our arrival, a young man let us into the unsuspecting office building shared by The Law Center for Children & Families and Adoptions of Wisconsin. The building was not immediately accessible. Maybe this was for security. Probably it was because it was after hours. Immediately we were greeted by a short woman. She was young. Sara's age, I think. Her hair was wavy and plain brown, but she wore a warm smile and a presented a soft handshake. She introduced herself as our caseworker...the A.O.W. side of things. I think I was relieved.

We were early. Our appointment wasn't until 5:00 p.m. It was 4:34 p.m. We would wait. Our newfound caseworker had a few things to finish up, some paperwork and some calls to make. It was okay though. We were early and I had a three-year old and a wife doing the pee-pee dance. We could wait.

After we all relieved ourselves, we greeted back in the hallway by our lawyer. She was just as pleasing as she was when we went through Graisyn's adoption. Tall and slender and also young. She was smart and always reassuring, plus a real stickler for the rules. Her familiar face was relaxing as she settled us into the little suite with the sofas and our beverages.

We took the opportunity to catch up while we waited for our caseworker to complete her tasks. It was nice. We had lots to talk about. She was curious about life since Grai's adoption and our dogs as she too was a boxer lover with a bouncy boy herself. We wrapped up the conversations with blurb on adoption related next steps and good-byes. It was 4:54 p.m.

Shortly thereafter, our caseworker joined us in the room. She sat down facing Sara and me. Grai played quietly in the corner behind her. She was armed with pen and paper. We were armed with credit card and documents supporting our relationship and our family. Between the three of us, we could have burned the building to the ground.

"We're here to talk about the children today," she stated, "When I do the home study, we will talk more about you."

She segued into small talk about herself and her family and I was quickly realizing that this interview wasn't going to be anything like the one that we had when I was pregnant with Graisyn. She was conversational. We didn't feel degraded or interrogated or scrutinized. She welcomed our answers and related them to her own life. It was unusually comfortable, like talking to a friend.

We chatted about many things that evening. What are our discipline philosophies, like Love and Logic, for example? What things does Graisyn like to do? How does Graisyn feel about a sibling? A brother? Do we do things as a family? If so, what? Does Grai have child care during the day? Does she like it? Will Kazmer go to the same home to be cared for? Do we have pets? If yes, how do they interact with Graisyn? How do we think they will respond to a baby? How do our families feel about the children? Are they supportive? Do we have a surrounding of friends that are involved in the children's lives? ARE WE NORMAL?

Yes we're normal and, no, she did not ask us that. Admitting that many of the questions seemed a bit odd since Kazmer is being born directly into our family, she made certain to document all of our responses. These responses, coupled with the findings of our home study on March 21st, would create our adoption story. These and our money and our application for adoption and our trial would make our son ours.

It was 5:49 p.m. Our interview was done. Even though our case worker and our lawyer did all things possible to ensure our comfort and ease our anxiety, we were all exhausted. Swiping our credit card and bidding our farewells, Sara, Grai, and I headed back out into the sleety weather and piled in the car. The grumblings of our tummies played in tune to the radio. I'll take a foot-long veggie on wheat. Toasted, please. Sara will take the same and quarter that for Grai with a side of parfait and a cookie. So long, Law Center for Children and Families. Until next time, A.O.W. Subway, here we come!

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