There is much to understand about the events surrounding the day Jeremy moved in with us. It was not a call where they needed someone right away to take in this 13-year-old. It was a move where Dan and I talked about it, prayed about it, and asked our social worker a lot of questions. A lot of them.
Funny how quickly life was changing back then. Right after Christmas, I was pregnant, Isaiah (10 months old) was getting ready to transition back home, Trinity (our 2-year-old foster daughter), wasn’t going anywhere fast. We went on a cruise leaving our two little ones in Respite Care. (We had booked the cruise before they moved in with us.) Life was good.
Then we came back. We got word that Trinity was moving back with her grandma (we were happy but sad) and that Isaiah was not going to be going back at all. We would have to start considering adoption for him. It was at this ISP meeting that their counselor begged one us to consider taking in Jeremy who was living at Harrison home (a group home for teens) at the time. He just wanted to be with one sibling. I remember sitting there think-now way, I am not doing a teenager yet, I deal with them at church, I didn’t want them in my home. (warning-never think like that-God always has different plans)
So we agreed we could pick him up at the Harrison home on Sundays so he could spend it with Isaiah. I am not sure what he was thinking when we did, but we soon found that we looked forward to this time, and started talking about bringing him into the family. Taking note of Jeremy’s background (let’s just say that he has seen and done more that any 13 year should have and more than what I have seen on TV.) wasn’t the greatest. We knew this. We knew there were charges pressed against him again (he hit a hole in the wall where he lived when he found out his mom didn’t do what she was to to get them back). We attend that session where he was read his rights. I am sure he wondered why we were there.
Soon after we decided to bring Jeremy into our family, we suffered a miscarriage. It was devastating. I was crushed. I cried. It was a sad dark time in my life. We knew I needed to heal, so we took a month for Jeremy to get to know us better and for us to get to know him better. We would pick him up on the weekend. We took him shopping with my mom. We just did things. Then one morning about 4 weeks after we lost our baby, I woke up and said it is time to being him home. Rumor was he wasn’t doing well at Harrison home and they feared he would end up at Blue Springs-a higher security level place for teens. Not someplace you want one of these kids at. My mind was made up.
So I called up our social worker and said Friday (which was the next day) would be a good day to move him in.
Friday morning they arrived about 7:30 a.m in the morning. He had a hamper, plastic box and a garbage bag of stuff with him. We sat down and went over some basic rules of the house. Jeremy there, no smile, slouched in the chair, pants drooping, shirt too big, with a chip on the shoulder. I remember Dan’s words to him-“remember it is ok to smile here.” I was wonder in my head “what have we done?” Soon our social worker, Jeremy and I were off to his school. Because the home he came from was in our school district we didn’t have to change schools, just had to withdraw him and enroll him under our name. We then met with the guidance counselor (who was wonderful!) to help us get Jeremy in the right track for schooling.
That afternoon he rode the bus home. After a snack we wondered around the house. He kept saying to me “you know all the stuff I have done.” “yes I do” over and over he said this. (what a great impact that made on me in terms of what Jeremy taught me about God. Another post) We settled into the evening, ate dinner as a family and started a new life together.
That was over 4 years ago. 4 years of ups and downs. 4 years of learning about raising a teenager. 4 years of discovering love. 4 years of growth and laughter. 4 years of watching this boy growing into a man. Next year we getting ready to send him out into the world. Part of me feels like I haven’t had him long enough. And part of me says he will do fine! (and yes like any mom getting ready to push their bird out of the nest -I have plans for his room:))
The day Jeremy moved in I had no idea how much it would change my life. I have a better understanding of God, of being a parent of a teenager (not easy!) and a better understand of life. Jeremy has taught me so much! Our life together has been filled with joy, happiness, laughter, tears, yelling, a little nagging, telling each other off, growth, goofing off (yea we do a lot of this), learning moments (many of them) and so much more. I can not even imagine our lives with out Jeremy in it. Even though it has been just over 4 years, some days it seems longer and other days not long enough!
Many people ask me what it is like adopting a teenager. 1. Being parents of a teenager is hard. Period. Jumping in the middle of the game having no idea what you are doing, harder. 2. Teenagers have enough problems just being teenagers-add in the mix of the issues from his past and 10 other siblings (yes you heard that right) there are a lot of problems. But to really answer the questions-it is rewarding. Jeremy is our only child we chose. The others came to us through birth or foster care placement. And we would do it again.
My son has started blogging today. Just out of the blue. Check out his blog. (I started this post awhile ago, but decide to finish today) http://jgehring13.blogspot.com/2012/04/to-me-personally-i-think-adultsteens.html