It was a weekend of firsts. Including the first time we've had to ground him. On Saturday, he missed the mark during some time we allowed him to spend with one of his friends. He didn't keep in touch as he is supposed to, snuck off to the car, and ran the car battery down to zero listening to the radio. I dropped his friend home before discussing it with him. Then I said, "I think you didn't do a great job today of keeping in touch and telling the truth. What do you think?" He covered his eyes with his hands and wailed "I think I got a D-minus!" He's 6'2", but he was slumped down in the seat with a look of terrror and shame like a young child's. I said, "Okay, so there has to be a consequence, so tomorrow we're not going to visit your friends as we had planned. Is that fair?" He nodded yes, and then he was very very quiet.
After about half an hour, he still wasn't talking and he seemed quite crushed. I said, "Tim and I realize that you've been living in situations where you're not given much freedom and as a result, maybe you've had to sneak and lie in order to get any free time with your friends. And we do things differently. So it's going to take awhile to get in the habit of using your freedom wisely. When you start to lie to me, I want you to stop for a second and think about whether you can tell me the truth instead." He said "okay" very softly. Then I said "You have a lot of adults poking around in your life right now. It's going to be nice when it's just us, working things out together like this. We've talked a lot about you. Do you have things you'd like to know about us?" He looked shocked and amused and made a face that meant "A million but I can't put them in words." I offered, "Maybe you wonder why we want to adopt, or why we chose you?" He said, "Well yeah!" with a big exhalation. So I told him that, although some people adopt because they aren't able to have a biological baby, that wasn't true for us. I explained that my best friend in college had been a foster child, and I didn't like how she was treated. So when I grew up, Tim and I decided maybe we'd adopt a foster child - that we liked the idea of making a family with someone like him, where we all choose to be together of our own free will. And I told him that we weren't totally sure we wanted to adopt until we met him - and that as soon as we did, something about him set the wheels in motion and we just knew he was the person we wanted to be in our family. He just LOVES this story. He just beamed quietly with this amazing soulful expression on his face. I said, "And nothing that has happened since then, in all this time we've spent together, has ever made us feel differently about you. We like you much much more than I even thought possible, and I couldn't possibly be more proud about having someone in my family than I am of you." He didn't even pause before he said "Thank you!" in a firm, proud, satisfied way.
I asked him then if he still felt like the adoption was something he wanted, and he said yes.