SOME STRANGE SHIT
March 2010: Payton’s first visit with Ruth and David today. As Andrew said, “that is some strange shit!”
Payton’s first visit with Ruth and David is a week after the TDM.
“I think we should both go. It might make things easier for Payton,” I told Andrew.
In Carole and Ruth’s most recent telephone conversation, Ruth had insisted, “Payton WILL NOT be adopted.” Did they think we had any say in adopting Payton, or think we were intent on taking her away from them? Had we gone from helpful friends to the enemy? In the same email, Carole relayed that she spoke with Charise, who said she could only have supervised visits with Payton. In her email, Carole said she was extremely angry to “be put in the same category as Ruth and David.”
My stomach tightly knotted, we pull into the parking lot at the assigned visitation building. Large buildings create a barrier between the parking lot and the street. They are newer, gray-silver and two stories high, with tall, skinny windows looking out over the area. Low-maintenance, hearty, flowering Manzanita plants outlined the buildings and separated them from the parking lot. Payton belts out songs in the backseat while Paige tries to keep up.
Ruth and David are walking across the courtyard. Ruth notices and our eyes meet through the glare on the windshield. She turns as if to walk over but at the last minute continues following David inside.
I’m hyperventilating a bit. I take a couple of deep breaths but as I thought, they don’t work. Andrew sips his soda. The girls continue to sing. The moment is soft and surreal.
“Should we go?” Andrew asks, setting the empty can in the cup holder. I nod, not trusting myself to speak.
I hold Payton’s hand and Andrew carries Paige. We walk into the building and through a door that says “Visitations.” Ruth and David sit on the other side of the room. Generally the social worker accompanies the child to the visit to keep the foster family’s anonymity, pointless in our case
I’m hiding next to Andrew, trying to make myself invisible. I have a silly habit of playing with my hair when I’m nervous, which I’m doing now. I steal glance at Ruth and David. Ruth’s face is drawn; she is trying to mask her feelings but the slight downward curve of her lips and her sunken eyes reveal her sadness. She clutches a disposable coffee cup, fingers tapping the side of it.