This is more a short update than an actual post. I have been listening to the relatively new Calexico live album, Spiritoso, consistently for the past few months and I still have not tired of it. The album is from a series of shows backed by Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg. The backing is incredibly natural, well-imagined, and adds a great richness that doesn’t change the character of the songs. If you can’t tell, I think it is very good. I am a big fan though and am definitely biased. Crystal Frontiers and Black Heart might be my two favorites.
Relaunching my blog has been on my list of things to do since I decided to leave the comfort of my law firm and start Healthfundr with my good friend Jared. It just took unexpectedly becoming a father last Saturday to get me to do it.
I became a father and Crystal became a mother last Saturday afternoon. We’ve been trying to adopt for nearly a year now and about 6 months ago we decided we also wanted to become foster parents, mostly as another path to adoption, but knowing that most (all?) of the the children we would foster would not become part of our family permanently. We decided to go ahead with it anyways. My father was raised in a foster home and I’ve seen first hand how positive an influence on our society’s most vulnerable children foster parents can be.
Since the beginning of June, we’d received about a call a week from Circles of Care, the foster agency we work with that interacts with Child Protective Services (CPS) on our behalf. Apparently, June is busy season for crappy parents in Texas, since the number of children brought into the foster care system ramps up at the beginning of each summer. Each time, our coordinator would tell us the sparse details she had, give us time to decide whether to take the child, and then tell CPS that we were interested. Each time, we were told in a second call that the child had gone to another home. The first time was tough, but we realized this is the way things have to work when the biggest interest at stake is ensuring the child goes to a home, not our own desire for certainty. I had decided in my mind that it was going to be a long time before we received a positive second call. Last Saturday though, the second call was to tell us that we were going to be bringing an 18 month-old little boy into our home that afternoon.
It’s now just setting in though, a week later, that I became a father last Saturday afternoon. To be honest, it felt like glorified babysitting the first few days and even today I’ve wondered what we’ve gotten ourselves into, but it’s become much more than babysitting. I probably won’t be our little boy’s father for a long time, but after seeing the positive effect we’ve had (along with the great friends who have helped us care for him during the day) in the short time we have been with him, I am sure that I have been his father and Crystal his mother during this difficult period of his life.
When he arrived, he cried constantly for hours at a time, thinking, quite literally in his young mind, that we had kidnapped him. While I’ve had to step into another room to collect myself and remember patience on more than one occasion, I’ve also seen how much we’ve been able to help him through the most difficult and unfair experience of his short life. As Crystal has told me numerous times, “we are doing a good thing” for him. He came to us from a very, very dark place. He still struggles, particularly when left alone, but he is becoming more of a child each day. I mean this in the best possible way. He now smiles, is becoming curious, is figuring out how to do things himself like open ziploc bags, is learning some sign language, and is overall learning to be a child. Most importantly, he is allowing himself to feel happiness and set aside some of the defensive mechanisms he never should have had to create in the first place. This morning, he even woke up smiling for the first time. We don’t think he has ever had strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, or most other fruit before, but is already in love with them. Crystal made chicken pesto pasta for dinner last night and he audibly giggled each time he took a bite.
While our first week as parents wasn’t what we imagined when we first decided to have a family, we were still able to become parents. It has been extraordinarily challenging and fulfilling at the same time. We are making the most of what reality has thrown at a sweet, sweet little boy’s life and positively shaping it to the extent we can. As Dieter Uchtdorf, a leader in our church, said, “Lift where you stand.” This is where we are standing, so this is where we’ll lift.
We’d love to post pictures of our little boy, but one of the foster care rules is that we can’t post anything on the internet. Email me if you want to see him.
Postscript for the other things going on in our life.
In other news that will play a more prominent role in my future writing, I started a company, Healthfundr, with Jared Iverson. We’re making it possible for a lot more people to invest in health startups at investment minimums as low as $1000.
Crystal also started a new job three weeks ago at Boka Powell, an architectural firm here in Dallas. It has been a busy time here in the Schantzen household.