I exhale as I shut the front door behind Margie, our social worker. I appreciate the effort the Department of Children and Families puts into making sure someone is fit to foster, but, geez, I am getting tired of these home visits.
Walking back into the living room, I see Joey going over some of the papers from Margie. They’re old, explaining some of the details for the process. He must have read that thing a million times, so I don’t quite know why he’s still looking at it. He must have it memorized by now.
“Joey,” I whisper as I walk into the room, not wanting to startle him.
At first he doesn’t react, but then he looks up at me with wide eyes.
“What,” I ask.
I walk over and sit next to him on the couch. Holding my arm out, I silently encourage Joey to cuddle up, which he does. He feels a little cold, so I grab the blanket off the back of the couch and wrap it around him.
“We’re done,” he whispers again.
“Yeah. Yeah, we are.”
It has taken us almost a year, but all of the steps were finally done for us to become foster parents. In the end, Joey and I decided we would go to DCFS and file to become foster parents rather than going to an adoption agency. Not only is it much cheaper, we felt that since our state allows LGBT families to adopt we would have better luck than going with some of the adoption agencies around us. Like the Catholic one. The other plus was we didn’t have to try and interview with prospective moms. I knew Joey wouldn’t like that. And it was more in line with the help Joey wanted to provide. We’d made it clear to Margie that we wanted a child we could then adopt and she understood.
I can’t say I regret the decision, but it also took us a little longer to do because of the government red tape. I knew the last few months were hard on Joey, who wanted a baby yesterday. But now it’s done. Margie just took the last of the paperwork with her. Once it was processed, we could foster any child in the system.
“When do you think we’re going to get our baby?”
“I don’t know. But we’ve waited this long, right?”
Joey slowly nods, curling into my little bit more. At first, I just think he wants a little comfort, but a little hitch of his breath tells me something is wrong.
“Joey, baby? What’s wrong?”
Joey sniffles, trying to hold back the tears that threaten to fall. “I just…I want a baby so bad. And it’s taken so long to get here. And now we have to wait some more.”
“I know, baby. This hasn’t been easy, but don’t you think it will all be worth it when we get him or her in our arms.”
“I don’t even know anymore.”
“Oh, yes, you do. Joey, this baby has been all you’ve thought about for the last year. You’ve obsessed over every detail on every form Margie sent us. And that department makes the medical profession look lax when it comes to paperwork. Every other day you’re showing me pictures of kids who need to be adopted. I don’t know what child we’re going to get, but he already has your heart.”
“I guess. It’s just been a really long year.”
I sigh. He’s right there. “I know, babe. But we’re done now. And soon we’re going to be parents.”
“Do you think we’ll be good parents?”
I chuckle. “Yeah, I think we’ll be okay.”
“I’m scared we won’t be.”
I gently kiss the top of his head. “That’s normal for all parents. Believe me, I see enough of them in my practice. But we will be fine.”
“How can you be so calm about this? Aren’t you scared?”
I shrug. “Maybe a little. But anyone who has worked as hard as you have to get a baby, will be a great parent, believe me.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“Trust me, Joey. We’ll be fine. And soon enough, we’ll have a child of our own.”
Joey just holds me a little tighter.
But as great as it feels to have Joey in my arms, I can’t help but think about how amazing it will be when there’s a third person in our embrace. Soon…
And that was Part 17! When will Steve and Joey get their baby? Find out next week in Part 18. See you all then!