07:24:58 am on
Wednesday 01 Dec 2021

Threads Weaving Together
AJ Robinson

This past weekend Jo Ann and I made a major change in our lives. We became parents, again. This time to a fourteen-year-old, as we adopted our foster son Damian.

Not everybody adopts fosters.

Now, some people come into the foster system with the explicit plan of seeking out children to adopt. We have friends who did that. Adopted the first child they ever fostered.

That was not our plan. We sought to help children in need, as we were empty nesters. Our daughter Alexa moved out, moved to Massachusetts, in fact, and was well on the journey of her own life. Yet, we were not ready to simply be a middle-aged couple with a dog.

Besides, we kind of get on each other’s nerves when it’s just the two of us. So, we took the training, got our first couple fosters and then, lo and behold, Damian entered our lives. He was eleven.

It was the week before Thanksgiving of 2018. He was a cute little fellow, offered me his hand to shake the first time we met. He’d had a rough time of it in his home life.

As with our other fosters we were sure that at some point some family member would step up to the plate, as the old saying goes, and take him. That was not to be the case. I won’t go into all the lame excuses his so-called family gave for being unable to care for him, but it eventually came down to the simple fact that none of them wanted him.

I found that so very sad, as my mother had always taught me that family is the centre of all life; you never turn your back on family. My brothers and I used to joke, “Yeah, that’s because if you do, they’re likely to knife you.” Mom found it less than amusing.

Mom made a good point. Family is not defined by blood. It’s defined by love. Over the course of months that turned into years we found ourselves falling in love with the little guy.

I was the first to voice the idea of adoption, which greatly surprised Jo Ann. My autism makes me resistant to change. I like things to follow certain routines and patterns and Damian most definitely did not conform to anything in my favoured patterns.

Such is the power of love.

So, when his mother signed away her parental rights, when no one else in his family showed interest in him and when his biological father was found and determined to not be an appropriate caregiver, Damian was made available for adoption. We made the decision to apply, but we first asked him about the situation.

We’re not exactly spring chickens. I was born when my dad was fifty, but this was different. Damian was now free to choose his future family.

He made his wants and desires clear. He wanted to stay with us. So, we began the lengthy and tedious process of adoption.

Talk about paperwork. I think the first batch, the first, was roughly eighty pages. There were interviews, reviews, and so forth. This was where our being foster parents paid off; we’d already gone through background checks and reviews to insure we were good people.

Then, finally, a date was set for 17 November 2021. Ironically, two days after his third year with us. The court was still performing hearings via ZOOM, so we went to the lawyer’s office, which is across the street from the courthouse, sat in front of the camera and had our hearing. Poor Jo Ann, she got so flustered she almost forgot our address when the lawyer was questioning her.

We got through it. The judge signed the order, held the form up to the camera for us to see and it was done. Damian Melvin Robinson had officially been born and was our son. His middle name is the name of his uncle that he was very close to and who died a while back while serving in the Navy.

Then, last Sunday, we held the party to celebrate his addition to our family. As our anniversary is next week, we decided to make it a combo: adoption and thirtieth wedding anniversary. There was a good turnout, many friends and family attended, some travelling quite far to be there and quite a few were people we hadn’t seen in years.

My one regret was my mother not being present. Although she wouldn’t have been able to drive up for the party, we could have set up a ZOOM session or something like that. In the last few months, as she knew we were working toward adopting Damian, she always made a point of asking how the process was going.

Mom was looking forward to another grandson. That was my mom: family first. Just like she said: “family is not defined by blood, it’s created by love.”

A good start.

Overall, I’d call this a good start on his life with us. Welcome to the family, Damian, I’m sure your time with us will not be dull.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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