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No rest for the weary, but I’m not complaining February 14, 2010

Posted by paulstella in Uncategorized.

God, I’m so tired! As I’ve expressed to a number of people over the past several days, this past week has felt like an all-out sprint.

Hanging out and having fun at an arcade in Lexington

But don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty sure I’ve never been happier. At my side nearly the entire time has been a young man who consistently dares me to smile. And he rarely fails. Even when my stress level starts to rise, I’m simply no match for that twinkle in his eye and the mouth full of metal smiling back at me.

Austin and I arrived back in Rochester Monday night. The weekend spent in Lexington gave us a great opportunity to reconnect. But more importantly, it was time for him to say his goodbyes. That Saturday, I took he and his girlfriend to go bowling. I felt a little out of place, to be honest, as I suppose any ‘chaperone’ must feel. But I believe strongly in the need to support and respect the relationships he’s developed in Kentucky. They provide him the strength he will needs to move ahead with this transition.

Diane Underwood is one of Austin's state caseworkers and has been a great source of support for Austin and me

The end of that evening was tough. Both kids were very emotional as they said goodbye, and my heart ached for Austin as he returned to the car with tears in his eyes. I knew that no words were sufficient, so I only put my hand on his head to let him know I cared.

“I’m doing the right thing,” he said almost immediately. I wondered if he sensed my apprehension that maybe he had been doubting his decision to get adopted. “It’s hard to leave people I care about, but I’m doing the right thing.”

I assured him he that he was. “You have no idea how much I admire you,” I told him. “You are so brave.”

The remainder of our weekend was upbeat—shopping for new clothes (including a couple of UK shirts for myself), playing arcade games, and watching the Super Bowl from our hotel room.

Margie Cherry is an agency caseworker in Lexington. She had a knack for keeping Austin in line.

Then, on Monday morning, we went to visit his caseworkers to formalize his placement with me. After a few signatures, Austin officially became my foster son. I have mentioned how fond I’ve become of his caseworkers. They’ve been staunch advocates for Austin during the turbulence of his multiple placements in recent years, and it was nice to express my appreciation to them directly.

Since returning to Rochester, the race has really intensified—getting Austin enrolled in school, filling out more paperwork, running around town to meet various needs, and reconnecting with family here in Rochester. Oh, and yeah, trying to do my job in between.

For me, the biggest concern is the downtime that Austin is now facing as he waits to start school. This is break week, so his first day of classes won’t be until a week from this Monday. It only delays the opportunity he has to meet new people and establish a new routine. I just don’t want him getting too bored.

Nevertheless, he perseveres, usually in high spirits. He’s just such a joy to be around, and I look for every opportunity to make sure he knows that.

“I’m really proud you’re my son,” I told him last night.

“I’ve never heard anyone say that before,” he replied nonchalantly.

Wow, I thought to myself, I’m sure that he hasn’t. What a shame.



1. Frank Battaglia - February 14, 2010

“I’m doing the right thing.” That could have also been stated by the author of this blog too…

Another delightful piece, Paul. When you wrote about being tired, an old David Letterman line started running through my brian: “I’m tired, but it’s a *good* kind of tired.” In this case, I think it’s the *best* kind of tired.

2. Jenn - February 19, 2010

Paul, I had no idea that you were adopting! How exciting! Congratulations and best wishes to both of you! This

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