Not why T. the child, but why use only the first letter of his name for this blog?
We adopted a foster child who DHHS had removed from his home. His biological mother lives in the same city as us. The T. is for his and our anonymity. His name is unusually enough that if paired with Down syndrome, even a rudimentary online search of those two keywords would bring up our blog. When you adopt from your own community you are always aware those people are out there.
International adoption must bring it’s own challenges but one of them isn’t running into some family friend of your kid on the street or in a store. We have experienced both situations because they are inevitable.
This is actually one of the reasons I was adamant that I would never adopt through DHHS. I actually said on numerous occasions “I will never adopt through DHHS.” Word to the wise – if you ever say I will never (fill in the blank) you are probably destined to do that exact thing. I don’t know if that’s a me thing or a universal law thing, but here I sit with my hair dyed blond married to a younger man and a special needs kid from DHHS. And, if that means I will have Botox at some point in my future, so be it.
From 2005 to 2007 I focused on making a pile of money to adopt internationally – a $20,000 to $30,000 proposition. For a while there Ethiopian kids were going for $16,000 and there was actually a volume discount. I needed a lot of money fairly quick – aside from the money I made at my job. A couple of attempts included writing a book with my sister that got some traction but not enough. This plan was coupled with an attempt at winning $10,000 by submitting video of our German Shepard playing tetherball to America’s Funniest Home Videos. While I did get a contract, he never made the final cut for appearing on the show. This is not as lame as it sounds – at that time he was like the Tony Hawk of dogs, he got serious air. By any standard he would have beat out any toddler hitting his dad in the nuts with a bat. If he had won that would have put us three quarters of the way to an Ethiopian kid.
I really thought I could make this dream happen somehow because the universe would want me to have the money. It was a worthy cause. It’s the kind of thing he would get behind. The thing about universe is that you don’t get to dictate what the universe is going to get behind. One day in April of 2007 I woke up and told my husband we should adopt through DHHS. No revelation. No real epiphany. We had to do it that way because we didn’t have the money for international adoption and we wanted a kid. His response was “sounds good.” He’s sort of like the Gary Cooper of husbands which can be maddening when you want to talk about something but awesome when you just want to get on with it. The next month we went to an informational meeting on DHHS adoption.
We got on with it.