Another honest, real life, older child adoption guest blog from John. He is a retired commercial airline pilot who has adopted five boys, over three decades, from domestic foster care as a single parent. John and his family live in southern California.
Tyler had done what he had always been so good at, forcing a move, sixteen placements in five years of foster care. Now, after almost a year of adoption, attachment was happening, he had just forced another move. This time he was in a different state, many miles from home, about to start living in a therapeutic group home. The adoption was final, but Tyler was victorious, the move had happened, Dad was gone, or maybe Tyler was.
I have a Cessna 180 and flew up to his area the day after he arrived, It was beautiful flying weather. The director of the school met me at the airport and drove me to the school with all of Tyler’s belongings from the airplane. Not a large facility, a total of 20 boys, but very much out in the sticks. .
The boys all wore t shirts, different colors meant different levels of achievement. All wore flip flops as shoes. Tyler came out. Oh, wow. He had on his newbie red t shirt and it was tucked in. For the first time I saw him with his hair cut to ½ inch. Good Lord, he has a forehead! He looked very unhappy and angry. He tried to vent on me. The director jumped in and let him know that he would not be doing that. Respectful or consequences, seems he had already experienced that, essays, long essays, 500, 1200 or 3000 words long. Tyler was going to get very experienced at writing. He was with the same other 19 boys 24 hours a day, Interesting for a kid that wants separation and privacy. He had just a moment and told me that he wasn’t ready to see me yet, ‘Yet’ is different from ‘ever’. Turns out the flip flops are an anti-run device. Hard to sneak out and walk many miles to the next bit of civilization in those.
Tyler has an unusual medical problem; I am the one who does the therapy for him, per the doctor. We tried to find someone local to do it, no luck, it is a Urological problem. I did the procedure that night and again the next morning, time to go back home. Tyler gave me a hug, it was longer than it needed to be and he said “I love you.” Time to leave, the director took me to the airport. I would be flying up every week to spend two nights with him, expensive and time consuming. The school was $3500 per month, and the travel was about $4000 per month. On the way home, I circled the school, a really crappy feeling; I was going to be living without my son.
To be Continued inPart 2. Available on 04/29/10