Paul and I have a little game we like to play. At random times he'll come up behind me and say, "You love me?" I'll peek over my shoulder and say, "Yeah I do!" and he'll shout, "Yay!" Then I'll turn around and ask, "Do you love me?" and he'll sit for a second, tap his chin, look up mischievously and yell, "Yeah!" Then I say, "Yay!" and tickle him and hug him until we pause for breath from laughing and he says, "... again."
I think this one of my favorite things with Paul. Maybe it's when I get to put him to bed at night and he's all cuddly and sleepy. Or when he just wakes up from his nap and just wants to snuggle up on the couch. Or when I'm getting ready to go somewhere and he'll jump up from whatever he's doing and yell, "I go with you! No! Gimme hug..." and follow to me the door and latch himself to my leg. Or when he dances in the car. Or seeing how much he loves Parker (and vice versa- it's great, really).
Today's Paul trial, deciding whether he'll stay with us (so we can adopt him), or go back to his grandparents. It's been a very distracting day, so I've been passing the time by really trying to prepare my heart for a decision either way. I'm just constantly amazed by how much I love this boy. He's only been in my life for a couple months, and I can't imagine life without him. His presence at home has shifted us as a family- not uncomfortably, just enough that if he weren't there we'd have an unmistakeable Paul-shaped void that only his little self could fill. I'm sure if God has decided that he won't be a part of our family, we'll learn how to move forward again without him. I just hate the thought, and don't want to entertain it unless we have really have to.
I never imagined me feeling this way about another sibling. When my parents talked about getting their foster care license here in Santa Barbara County so we could adopt another boy (they're done with girls, apparently- whatever), I was opposed. Through the whole process I was opposed. I just could not imagine another person fitting into our family and keeping the equilibrium like it's been for the past years since Krystal and Krystine became my sisters.
Then one day my parents got that call about Paul, and once I knew he was coming I immediately closed up because, I'm not gonna lie, foster care has been an emotional rollercoaster for the Leos family- and I didn't know if I could handle it if this kid came and then just left (I still don't know how I would handle it). The day Paul came I was with Parker, and I told him I was scared. But the moment I saw his little face, heard his laugh, saw him play with the girls...my heart couldn't help but open and be completely lost in Paul love. Now don't get me wrong- he has tantrums, throws things, hits, spits food- but that's all part of loving him no matter what. I love him as much as I love Ernie (don't tell him I said that, though), Krystal, and Krystine. My family's just a constant reminder to me that this kind of God-given love crosses beyond blood.
I'll update after the social worker comes and gives us the decision. I can hardly take the anticipation!