Just yesterday, I was buzzing with exhilaration. The day came. His adoption was finalized. He and his sisters will move no more. It is official, and they have a great family. We have kept in touch and it's fantastic. I even asked permission to share pictures of him and was given it, something I had dreamed of since Pterodactyl. My friends and family are celebrating with me, celebrating his adoption and also just getting to share our love openly and see this adorable and amazing little guy.
Today, I am coming down from that high. I am still grateful and thankful. But I still ache from how much I love him and miss him.
So, it seemed like time to finally write.
What I Learned from Crocodile
- Some kids have so. much. energy. I joked that when Crocodile was sick, he had the energy level of an average child. Nothing tired him out.
- Sometimes that energy is not happy energy, but being stuck in the "flight" mode of "fight or flight."
- I learned specific things about kids with Crocodile's trauma that I didn't know before. I also learned more about trauma-related behavior changing with age, and he was with us the longest of our foster placements.
- I learned some daycares can be in your corner when there are behavior issues, and how encouraging that feels.
- I learned the heartbreak of witnessing the end of a case, of termination of parental rights. But I also witnessed the joy of adoption and reunification of siblings. I got to see more of the next chapters than ever before.
- I learned what it was like to sign "no" on an "intent to adopt" form, and while it was for the best of reasons (that he would be adopted with his siblings), it would still be surreal. I also learned how quickly people give up on keeping siblings together, which thankfully did not work.
What I Loved about Crocodile
- His exuberance. He was almost always up for excitement and going places. He ran at life like if he didn't get to it first, it might go away. Trying new things with him was almost always a blast: sledding, camping, biking, carnival rides.
- His athleticism. He is just a marvel to watch. I had to actually put effort into throwing rocks into a river to make sure a 4-year-old didn't show me up. Incredibly strong, incredibly coordinated, incredibly fast. He could hit a baseball, hike two miles without a sweat or whine, do rock-climbing, and ride a bike without training wheels at age 3. It was a lot of fun to experience and to brag on.
- His grin. He has smiley eyes and an enormous grin, a face so expressive that it came off cheesy in some photos but it just captured your heart in person.
- His voice. We barely understood a word he said when he came to us as a toddler, and while he talked much more by the time he moved, he had his own sound-swaps that were adorable. He also talked with exclamation points pretty much all of the time.
- His deep love for people. Crocodile had a way of making you feel absolutely adored. I know he made his biological mom and his mom's boyfriend feel that way. I know he made his sisters feel that way. I know he made us feel that way. I know he makes his new family feel that way. The love this kid radiates is undeniable.
Keep running at life and loving big, little guy. It's okay that we love you so much that it still hurts. I hope you feel that love like we still feel your love. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.