You can tell a whole lot about a kid’s parents by the way a kid talks. That’s how I know Biker Boy’s adoptive parents even without spending much time with them. (Long-time readers will know that Biker Boy used to live on my street: I’ve known him since he was seven years old.)
The adoption didn’t become final until last November, but it’s been a whole year since Biker Boy moved into his new home. And it’s wonderful to see the changes in him. Gone are the angry outbursts. Instead, he says things like, “Let me know if you help with that. I’d be glad to give you a hand.” Phrases like that make him sound so adult that it makes me smile. And it’s pretty clear that he’s saying something he’s heard his adoptive father say to friends.
Last Sunday, I picked Biker Boy up mid-morning, and we drove to a park which has a spectacular waterfall. That’s our usual routine: I take him someplace outdoors and then we get pizza. We had planned to hike down to the bottom of the falls, but it soon became clear that we were way too early in the season for that. Even the steps down to the covered pavilion were so icy that we ended up going through a drift of snow instead. The waterfall itself was half-frozen, like a dramatic white sculpture, but water still came roaring down, spraying the rocks and cascading down into the stream below.
Biker Boy and I tramped through the snow until we got as close as we could to the top of the waterfall, the icy cold water spraying onto our coats. We stood there in the snow and talked — about his struggles at school, about the work he’s doing with a therapist, about the hamster his parents are going to get him.
Then we left to find a warm pizza place, where we could sit and eat hot slices while our feet warmed up. “I wish I could have been adopted a long time ago,” Biker Boy said to me. I knew what he meant. He’s got a whole lot of baggage to work through. But I have no doubt he’ll make it through.
We’ll go back to the waterfall again sometime after the rest of the snow and ice melt.