About a week ago, my husband and I gave our 23-month-old son some apple slices while we were finishing making supper. I turned around to stir the pot on the stove when I heard him say, “Up a nose!!! Up a nose!!!” I ran over and stared up my child’s nostril (having a toddler makes life so glamorous) and I saw what looked like a chunk of apple. Just then, he sneezed, and I watched the apple chunk nearly disappear deeper into his nose. Awesome. We just won ourselves a trip to the ER!

Although Traevin has been with us since he was two-days-old, his adoption hasn’t finalized yet. Therefore, we aren’t yet his legal guardians, so before leaving the house, we made sure to double check that we had all of his paperwork in the folder we keep in his diaper bag. The paperwork is always there, but we’re so paranoid that both my husband and I felt the need to flip through each document to make sure everything the hospital would need was in the folder.

We got to the ER and went to the triage booth. They asked us what brought us in and I proceeded to tell the apple-shoved-up-nose story. The nurse got a little chuckle out of it and looked at me asking, “And you’re his Mom?”

Well wasn’t that a loaded question? I’ve been struggling recently with the fact that we’re nearly two years in, and our adoption hasn’t finalized yet. And in that moment, all of those emotions came flooding out from the corners of my mind where I thought I had securely tucked them away.

I took a deep breath and said, “Well, yes, but not legally, yet. He’s a foster child and I’m technically his Auntie, but he’s been with us since he was two-days-old and we’re just waiting for his adoption to finalize.” I pulled out the folder full of paperwork, feeling that I was suddenly on trial and needed to provide evidence to prove my case. The nurse took our folder to the back so he could photocopy each of the pages. Meanwhile, my toddler pointed out every single part of the triage area that was not childproof. The nurse came back and we had a discussion about the fact that he has two files on record, one under his birth parents and one under my husband and me, but that they can’t close the first one until we bring in a copy of his adoption order after finalization. I asked if that meant both sets of parents could access his records, but he assured me that my husband and I were the only people listed for access.

Glad to have that part of our ER trip taken care of, we went out to the waiting room where I attempted to entertain Traevin. I pulled out his drawing pad and asked him to name the shapes that I was drawing for him. We went from the basics like circle and square to more challenging shapes as I desperately tried to keep his attention.

“I don’t even know what a trapezoid is!” The high school student sitting beside us confessed.

“But you didn’t stick a chunk of apple up your nose, did you?” I responded with a wink.

Despite the discomfort of having a nose full of fruit, Traevin was the highlight of the waiting room. When the nurse finally called his name to come back, there was a chorus of well wishes from the others patiently waiting their turn.

About three tries, plenty of tears, and 25 minutes later, we re-emerged from the back and announced to the waiting room, “They got it out!!!” Everyone cheered and we went home to sleep. Every day since then, Traevin has been telling us, “No stick stuff up a nose, okay?” Lesson learned.