Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

I have to say that I am glad to see December, 2006 bite the dust. It hasn't been my finest moment, despite the learning opportunities that it has presented.

To steal a page from Dr. Mark's book, I'm going to put in some lyrics that have been bouncing around in my head lately:
It's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last.
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass
So what of this year? PB and I completed all of our preservice requirements and also became official with the County. We brought home a baby boy who gave us simultaneously the best
and worst two months of our lives. We got another placement, a three-year-old girl who is teaching us the limits of our patience (and our fledgling parenting abilities).

My relationship with my mom changed in ways I couldn't have imagined. She has been such a support for me this last year. I never gave her credit for how much I needed her.

PB and I talk. Really talk. We have been working on this for a while, but between hitting the three-year mark on our infertility and struggling through those bittersweet months with Baby Bear, I am confident we can now talk about anything. Well, except maybe PB's weird attraction to Dirty Harry movies.

I guess that's what I got from this past year. More painful than I might have wished, but in the end, all good things.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

From the mouth of BeBe

Here are a few of BeBe's favorite phrases (in no particular order):

  • You need to gimme a break (boy / girl as appropriate)
  • You gettin on my nerves!
  • Bam!!*
  • I'm about to put you out my house
  • We're about to fight.
  • Sorry!!!
  • You buy me (XXX) cost 50 dollars?
Keep in mind these phrases are accompanied by (in)appropriate hand and head movements. Sometimes it's all I can do not to laugh out loud at her... Which I don't because I know it will only encourage her.

BeBe is definitely wise beyond her years. She knows the names Freddie, Jason and Chuckie. She also knows what drunk means and knows what kind of bottles beer and wine come in, and she asks us constantly if we are drunk or if we are going to get drunk and she just turned 3 at the end of September. She is fiercely independent and stubborn. And she has more energy than any little person I've ever seen.

Please send good karma :-)


*Yes, Bam like from Emeril. Used sort of as a verbal explanation point. The most charming of all her favorite phrases, I have to admit.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What to do?

BeBe is still with us. She is still going strong... we, on the other hand, may be dangerously close to being in over our heads.

BeBe is generally a nice child. However, we have found a disturbing tendency to pick on things smaller than her. Like our dog. And other kids. This is coupled with a sneakiness that we didn't necessarily pick up on in the beginning. Like doing something she knows she shouldn't and then looking over her shoulder to see if we're watching.

She had a particularly bad day yesterday, brought on (I think) by the fact that we took her to the hospital to see her mom and her new baby sister, who was born on Christmas Day. And before you ask, no we will not be bringing said sister home for two reasons 1) Mom is taking her home and 2) We could not handle an infant on top of BeBe.

So back to yesterday. I took her over to our fostermom friend (J) who watched Baby Bear for us, planning to stay there for a while and then leave and work from home. A sort of trial day because I was concerned about how well she would fit in there - BeBe needs constant supervision and redirection and J has a two-year old and a 7-month old. She was fine while I was there with her - was not even freaked out by J's dog, who is much bigger than ours and seemed to be playing well with J's 2-year old daughter (G).

Apparently that all ended when I left.

J repeatedly had to redirect BeBe from the knives in her kitchen and later BeBe "stabbed" at the dog with a fake knife. She also was picking on both G and the 7-month-old (K) to the point that G. retreated to the couch and J had to hold K to keep her safe. If J. weren't an experienced foster parent (with several 2,3, and 4 year old placements under her belt) I might not think too much of this. But, she called me after only about an hour and a half to come pick her up and said that she didn't think it would work for her to watch BeBe in the long run.

So yesterday, when I was supposed to be working from home, I was instead scrambling to find a new daycare arrangement for BeBe. I managed to locate a nursery school with an opening for 4 days per week and PB and I are still trying to determine what to do on Thursdays. I'm also a little nervous that she might get kicked out of this school. If that happens I'm not sure what we'll do. I've placed a call to my social worker, which I hoped I would never have to make, to let her know that if I can't find appropriate care for BeBe we might have disrupt the placement. I really don't want to, but I also really don't want to lose my job and burn all of my vacation trying to care for BeBe.

However, this all could be a moot point. Biomom seems to think that BeBe will be back with her relatively quickly, assuming she follows through on the caseplan which includes a restraining order against her boyfriend and some anger management classes. I worry about her ability to handle both BeBe and a newborn full-time. I'm afraid that might be setting her up for failure.

We'll see what happens. Keep your fingers crossed for us (and BeBe and biomom!)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

BeBe is in the house!

Finally, an update. First, this one's pseudonym is going to be BeBe (close enough to her real name that I'll remember it, far enough away that I'm not violating confidentiality).

She is in one word, energetic. I have never seen such a busy little person... She is adorable, physically a beautiful child, with a great smile and huge brown eyes. She just turned three years old at the end of the September, but she's very tall, and very verbal. She seems to have been generally well-taken care of - she is happy and clearly not afraid of adults. LOL. She is in care because of a dispute between mom and boyfriend that ended badly. I really don't think she's been abused or neglected, so if / when mom gets the legal ramifications of this straightened out I think she will go home fairly quickly.

PB is really enjoying having her around, and I have to admit that he's better with her than I am... he is more patient in general. I am struggling with repeating things many, many times, but I'm doing my best. She literally goes from the second she wakes up in the morning to the second her head hits the pillow at night, so needless to say we are pretty tired.

It will be nice to have her around at Christmas time. My family is going nuts... she is going to have so much stuff. We took her to get her clothing voucher today and I also did her hair for the first time, which was... interesting. BeBe is African American and unfortunately, I wasn't able to take the class that is offered by our county agency yet. Luckily my sister has some experience from her daycare work, so she helped me this time, but she lives about an hour away. Anyone have any websites with good tips?

We have already visited mom once and I think BeBe will be calling her everyday. Not sure when they will get a regular visitation thing going, but hopefully soon. Mom is really distressed to be away from her, and this is the first time they've been separated since BeBe was born. And Mom is also 9 months pregnant (due today!) so I think she's got a lot on her plate right now.

Oh, and an update on Baby Bear - I heard from his paternal Grandma on Wednesday (the morning we got BeBe)... she said we had been on her mind and she wanted to encourage us to remain a part of Baby Bear's life. She said that she could tell how much we loved him from the way we looked at him, and I think she loves him just as much. She actually asked us to be his godparents... not sure exactly how I feel about that. PB and I will need to discuss it and decide. But I think we are going to get to see him again... if we can handle it.

Sorry it took me so long to update. It's only happening now because we're at my mom and dad's for Christmas and I can actually steal 10 minutes away. I'll try to update more frequently, but in the meantime, send me your best calming / patient karma, OK?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Be careful what you wish for...

It's 1:30 am and we're waiting for them to drop off a three-year-old little girl.

Looks like we will have a child here for Christmas after all. Too bad I don't have any three-year-old food, toys or clothes in the house.

Here we go!!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

I'm not psychic... I'm officially certifiable.

I looked at PB yesterday and said, "I think I've totally lost it, but I wish they would call us." He said, "I know, I miss changing diapers and making bottles."

We are nuts. No call from the County as of yet, though.

I am resisting the urge and haven't called to check on Baby Bear. I figured that I should at least wait one week or I risked officially being the psycho foster mom stalker person.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Baby Bear - Summary

So this is really for my own archiving purposes more than anything else. I want to make sure that I have a record of all the kids that come and go in our house. Not that I could ever forget this one (or probably any of them), but I'm just anal like that.

Internet "name": Baby Bear
Placement Dates: 10/9/06 - 12/13/06
Case Resolution: Return to biomom and dad

Baby Bear was our first placement. Initially we thought the odds of adopting him were very good - he was left for Safe Haven at a hospital. Birthmom surfaced relatively quickly and after telling her mother (who was unaware of the pregnancy) and attending parenting classes, etc, Baby Bear was returned to her, with shared parenting with Biodad.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Lesser of Two Evils

So, PB and I are doing OK. We are working through things and, right now, trying not to think too far ahead – though I have to admit I was shocked to see PB browsing the adoption photo listings online when I got home from work yesterday. We are doing well about protecting ourselves and making it easier. For instance, we are skipping PB’s Christmas party tonight because we’re just not up to answering tons of questions… I know the questions are well-intentioned but there are just so many people at his work who are happy for us but don’t know Baby Bear is gone. So we’ll be MIA.

Luckily, PB scored some last minute concert tickets to the Matt Costa / Pete Yorn concert tonight. Which will be v. cool and v. distracting J

But back to my topic. The first night after Baby Bear left, the night we actually dropped him off, I didn’t sleep so well, as I mentioned. I was waking up a lot, wondering why he hadn’t woken me up. So last night, after consuming several Margaritas in honor of my birthday… oh wait, I didn’t mention that he left the day before my birthday? Yeah. Really, it’s not a huge deal, as all my friends know this is the last birthday I’m ever celebrating (29) because I am *so* not OK with aging.

But again, I digress. When we got home, I decided not to leave anything to chance and to take a very mild sleeping pill last night to make sure I would sleep.

And, sleep I did. But I had really crappy dreams about Baby Bear and what might happen to him. About him getting hurt and about his family having contact with us then abruptly moving to Atlanta (? Random WTF) without telling us. About his biomom cutting his biodad and grandma out of his life.

Not pretty.

The interesting thing is that I haven’t really realized how stressful and anxious I was regarding his safety. I have really been focusing on how much they loved him and wanted him back. I guess this is the beauty of what we psychologists call post-suppressional rebound – the thing you’ve most tried not to think about comes back to bite you in the ass when you stop suppressing it….

I’m thinking eventually I’ll be able to sleep again without the aid of pharmaceuticals and I’m sure I won’t have these weird dreams forever. I’m just trying to decide if I should try another sleeping pill tonight…. It’s only night three and the dreams / sleeping pill combination could have been a coincidence.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's over.

We packed up all his stuff last night and dropped him off at Grandma's house - mom was working and couldn't get the night off, but Grandma told us over and over how grateful she was for what we had done and how sorry she was that we were going through this. I told her not to apologize, because it's our job.

The packing was the worst part. Luckily, PB was great (as he always is) and coordinated me - it's funny because it's usually the other way around.

My parents made it over to say goodbye and that was hard too - I feel so badly for involving other people in the situation and putting them through this too. I mean, I know this was their choice and I know that I didn't ask them to get so attached to him, but I also know that if he wasn't with us, they wouldn't be going through this pain.

Anyway, a v. small part of me is relieved, to be honest. We've known this is how it would end up for a while and I'm so glad he went home before he was old enough to really miss us. Plus, he'll get to spend his first Christmas with his mom. Waking up in the middle of the night in a panic because he hadn't woken and needed to eat? Yeah, that kind of sucked.

Speaking of, I was wrong in the last post. Mom gets him during the week and dad on weekends.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

He's leaving...

Well, I got the call today. Baby Bear is going home....

Tonight.

It was pretty shocking since his cw said that he would be with us through the holidays on Monday. It turns out the DNA test came back and now the recommendation is to place him into a shared parenting context with biomom and biodad switching off weeks.

He'll be fine - there are lots of people that love him and want to take care of him.

PB and I? Well, we'll see.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Worries v. 2.0, now with improved guilt producing properties.

So, I am increasingly coming to terms with (if not necessarily making peace with) the idea that Baby Bear will be leaving us soon. I really think that if the DNA had come back by Friday, he would be going home after his court hearing on Wednesday. Since it didn't, it looks like he'll be with us through the holidays.

Though it's difficult for me to wrap my mind around him not being here, I know it's going to happen. For me, being the planning and research oriented kind of person I am, that means obsessing about what PB and I will do next. PB is sure that he wants a family, and if this experience has convinced me anything it's that, suprisingly, I'm OK at this mom thing.

Good to know.

But where do we go from here? We're committed to sticking with foster care, but it may not be the best (or should I say Most Emotionally Tolerable?) way to build our family. So we're trying to figure out whether we want to put a hold on our home for now, what other methods might work for us. I even contacted a couple of local adoption attorneys last week so we could consider private, domestic adoption.

But frankly, I'm scared. Baby Bear is a tough act to follow. And not just in the biased-parents-always-think-their-baby-is-wonderful kind of way. He is a good eater. He is a good sleeper. He is a snuggler. He smiles like crazy, grins and trys to laugh whenever he sees PB and me (well, PB more than me, but who's counting...). By all objective standards, it seems as if he may be the world's most perfect baby.

So what does that mean for the next one?

I am afraid that if I get another baby, maybe one that is drug addicted, maybe one that is collicky, I will respond to it differently. I've seen how second kids get the shaft, sometimes, how they are compared to their older siblings. And the thing about Baby Bear is that since I won't have to struggle through his terrible twos, or hear him tell me he hates me when he turns into a sullen teenager, he will be kind of frozen in time as a snapshot in my mind, this perpetually perfect child, brimming with infinite potential. And that's not fair to the next child that comes to us.

So that's Worry # 1: May forever compare next child to Baby Bear. Guilt? Check.

Then there's the whole question of foster care. I really feel like PB and I could make a difference. I really want to keep doing it in the long run. But I don't know exactly how that works. Once Baby Bear leaves should we get another placement right away? "Get back on the Horse" so to speak. Should we take some time off? This is what my gut says, but I'm kind of afraid I'll never do it again, that I will be too afraid to voluntarily say, "Hit me again, Ike and put some stank on it." (Sorry, bad Jim Carrey reference)

Worry #2: May never foster again, even though we know we could and we know what a need there is. Guilt? Check.

Now, I know that's only 2 worries, but you have to understand, for me that's big. I don't typically worry about things, I try to take action and change what I don't like. And I've never really been into the guilt thing. So, it's an interesting situation for me to think about... Any suggestions, especially with regard to the "take another placement right away or take some time off" question?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

When a fender bender is so much more...

I don't know where the time goes. It's been another week since I last posted. Baby Bear is over 2 months old now and will get his first set of shots on Monday. PB is taking him and BioMom is meeting him there, which is good. Things are actually pretty good on the BioMom front, after a rough couple of days earlier this week. Let's just say there was some serious drama about what's happening with Baby Bear during transport (which I can't control) and what was or was not contained in his diaper bag (which I can and do control). BioMom apologized for upsetting us by suggesting that Baby Bear wasn't being properly cared for and told me last night that she is starting a savings account for Baby Bear. I think both of these are v.v.good signs.

We had an interesting week though. Did you know that when you have the most minor of fender benders, it can ruin your whole day? Turns out it can if you just so happen to be dropping your foster son off at the babysitter's when said accident happens. I didn't know it at that time but that means 1) You have to take foster son to Urgent Care 2) You have to file a 20 (yes 20!) page incident report with your caseworker 3) You have to break the news to birthmom who is already feeling anxious about Baby Bear's care, and 4)You have to replace the carseat.

So yeah, that was fun.

Oh and something funny in an ironic sort of way?? Accident protocol was covered in the Rules class we attended at Children's Services today (2 days after the "incident"). Luckily J. is a seasoned foster parent and could tell me what to do.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

An update on Baby Bear

At Renee's request, I am posting a new update for Baby Bear. I guess first off, he's not so much of a baby anymore. Well, of course he's still a baby in the sense that he's little and adorable and helpless. But he's kind of lost that newborn look, you know?

He is over 12 lbs now. He goes back to the doctor on Dec 11th, so I'll have more precise stats then, but for now, just know that he is growing well. He eats *a lot* and he is awake much more, which is v. cool.

Also, last Wednesday, he flipped back to front. I am not sure if the stars were aligned and it happened accidentally or what, because he hasn't repeated it again. J. (his babysitter) just told me that she put him down on his belly and when she checked on him 10 minutes later he was on his back.

We're counting it as flipping over :-)

Baby Bear continues to visit with both mom and dad - he attends parenting classes with each of them (on mondays and tuesdays) and every other Thursday he has an additional visit with his mom. Aside from some transportation difficulties (like when PB went to pick him up last Thursday and was informed that he was being transported to our house, where no one was - grrr!) and a bit too much contact with Birthmom (like when she left 8, yes you read that right 8, messages on our voice mail while we were out of town for Thanksgiving), the contact between mom and dad and baby continues to go well.

I've also begun to pack up the littlest of his clothes, which he is definitely outgrowing. This is cool (he's doing so well!) but v. sad at the same time. I realize that the bigger he gets, the closer he is to going home. Which I really think will work out for him and which I really try hard to stay positive about. Most days I do OK, or at least I do OK on more days now than I used to, which is how I'm defining progress these days.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My Favorite Pieces of Assvice

In the spirit of the holiday season, please sing to yourself from Julie Andrew's classic number from The Sound of Music. Picture rich, but miserable children dancing on beds in the thunderstorm.

Now that you’re fostering, you’ll surely get pregnant.
Chinese girls are cute
You could always adopt one…

When God Closes a Door….
Just relax!
Take a vacation.
Whatever you do don’t let hubby wear boxers.

Everything happens
to you for a reason
Even though it sucks.
I simply remember my favorite assvices.
And then I don’t feel…. So… bad….. (sung triumphantly)

It really is funny that people totally feel the need to offer you unsolicited advice. Completely unsolicited. I once got advice from the lady giving me a pedi when she overheard my conversation with a friend.

Generally I try to chalk it up to people being helpful, and most days I’m OK dealing with it. Other days it inspires me to create masterpieces like the one above :-)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Are we supposed to be parents or "Sort of" parents?

Since becoming a "foster-to-adopt" parent and receiving my first placement, I have come to realize that foster parents are in an interesting situation. We are supposed to love the children that are placed with us, we are supposed to "treat them like our own" (whatever that means) but somehow, we're supposed to stop just short of loving them so much that we don't want them to leave. We're supposed to "sort of" be parents. I'm not sure it's possible for PB and I to do that.

This situation seems to be most highlighted for me when I come into contact with people who "strictly foster" without intending to adopt. There is some tension there. Not nastiness or ugliness, just what seems to me, some latent judgment about how people who are fostering-to-adopt approach the situation. We are often reminded that reunification is the goal and we shouldn't be hoping that children become adoptable, as if rationally we aren't aware of that. We're also reminded the children we are caring for were "never really ours to begin with." Because you know, I didn't realize that before.

The thing that troubles me most though, is the implication that if we foster parents would just realize that they weren't "ours" and if we really understood that reunification was the goal, losing them should somehow be less traumatic.

I don't think it can be. Or maybe I should say I don't think it can be for me. I think if you really put your heart into it, which is what good parents (note the deliberate omission of foster in that statement) do, it will hurt no matter what. The idea that it's selfish to feel badly when a child leaves is a hard one for me to swallow.

Don't get me wrong, this doesn't just come from other foster parents. Well intentioned friends and relatives like to keep reminding me that I "knew what I was getting into". And I did.

But that doesn't mean it's not OK to mourn when one of them leaves. I don't think I could be human and not feel that way. The question is whether I can keep mourning each little person who comes into my life and not drive myself entirely crazy.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Long Overdue

My apologies for not updating sooner. I am not sure why, but I have been avoiding telling this part of the story. Maybe because I know it’s good and I still don’t really want to admit that… lots of cognitive dissonance there. Anyway, I wanted to let you know what has transpired in the last week or so.

Baby Bear had his first visit with his biological parents last week. Yes, you read that correctly parents. His biological dad and paternal grandma now know about him, and they seem very interested and excited… or at least Grandma does. Dad looks kind of scared, like Baby Bear might fall to pieces every time he holds him.

Meeting his biological family was, as several seasoned foster parents predicted, a good thing. A very good thing, actually. Returning him to strangers with uncertain backgrounds who I had not met was a much more terrifying hypothetical than watching his mom hold him again and realizing that she looked at Baby Bear the same way I did the very first time in the hospital – with a huge amount of love and just a little bit of awe.

And it’s also different than walking into the room and seeing all of his features reflected in the face of his biological dad. It’s uncanny how much they look alike. Baby Bear has dad’s nose, his mouth, the same slope to his forehead. It was beautiful, actually. And, for me personally, incredibly bittersweet.

Do I still have doubts about what will happen to him? Of course. But does the thought of him leaving now reduce me to hyperventilating? Not so much.

I think bio mom and grandma were relieved to see how “white” Baby Bear is. That’s troubling, because I don’t think your love for your child should depend on skin pigmentation, or lack thereof, but I haven’t lived their lives and I don’t know what their family is like. Thankfully, paternal grandma, who is also African American, is aware of the situation and told me in no uncertain terms that she won’t let the fact that he’s biracial be held against him. I can’t tell you how happy I was to hear that.

In fact, I think his biological paternal grandma ROCKS! She is, I think, a big part of why I feel I am beginning… in the very tiniest of ways… to make peace with his return to his biological family.

Yeah, wish me luck with that.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Backsliding

First an update: things continue to progress with Baby Bear's bio family. Biomom and Biograndma are having their first visit with him on Thursday. So things are moving along smoothly there. At this point, a quick reunification is probably best for everyone involved.

An interesting thing has happened in the past few days, one that I'm not at all happy about - I've been backsliding. As my profile suggests PB and I have been dealing with infertility for three long years. When we were in the midst of that struggle, I thought things were as bad as they could possibly get. They weren't (hello, October 2006) but it was a long hard climb out of the pit I created for myself. I went through the grieving process, I felt guilty (like it was my fault, since it's female factor infertility), I bargained (you know, just one kid, and we'll be done) and then I got really angry for a really long time. I also had serious issues dealing with "fertiles." I felt especially resentful of people with tons of kids, or of people who had kids who were about the age of our imaginary kids, had we been able to conceive relatively quickly. I started to hate my body and developed serious body image issues for the first time in my entire plus-sized life.

It took me a really long time (and some therapy) to work through all that crap. But I honestly did. At the end, before we dove headfirst into foster-to-adopt, I was still upset by my infertility and every new failure still hurt, but I didn't rage against the Universe and people with kids, and everyone else. I had accepted that this was our reality and that it was unlikely to change. I finally got over those feelings of intense jealousy.

One totally unexpected and unwelcome side effect of this whole situation has been an extreme rushing back toward my worst feelings about my fertility. It's like I've not made a shred of progress in dealing with it. I'm mad at people with children again, even though I shouldn't be, and I don't want to be. I am seriously resentful of the failure of my body to do what most women's bodies can do. I'm afraid that it will ruin what PB and I have (even though, really, I know that we are strong enough to get through this).

Secretly, I worry that I am being punished for not wanting kids all along, for not being sure that I could be a good mom.

L says backsliding is called that because it is descriptive of the state - you slide back, but not permanently. She's sure I'll make it back to a more OK place with my fertility (or lack thereof). Because I still have some sense of persepctive, I think she's probably right. We'll see.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The other (and probably final) shoe drops.

So. Last night I spoke with birthmom again... and her mother. Biological grandma and I talked for about an hour. She had just found out her daughter got pregnant, hid her pregnancy, gave birth to a son outside of the hospital, left the son for safe haven and then came back to reclaim him.

Needless to say, she was shocked.

She knows Baby Bear is biracial, and while she and her family "don't agree with that" she said that he is her grandson and she doesn't care. That makes me happy. Bio grandma even acknowledged how difficult it would be for us when he goes back to them - letting go of a newborn, one that we brought home from the hospital with visions of adopting. I told her it was probably the hardest thing we had ever done.

But it's our job.

The worst thing about this situation is that there is no one to hate. I don't hate the birthmom - she was a scared, confused teenager, who made a poor decision to hide her pregnancy. But when push came to shove, she did the right thing. She brought Baby Bear to get treatment and left him when she didn't think she could care for him. And, I can't hate the birth grandma - she didn't even know about Baby Bear. Her mom is sick with terminal cancer and I'm sure there was a lot of distraction.

The one exception might be Baby Bear's intake caseworker. Had she done her job and sought out potential kinship placements once she knew Bio Mom's identity, Bio Grandma probably would have picked him up from the hospital and nobody would be in the situation they are in now. Instead she claimed that Bio Mom wasn't sure what she wanted to do and handed the case off to an ongoing caseworker (after she named the baby, of course).

So maybe there is someone... But, then again, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

What I don't know what to do is move on from here. Baby Bear is still with us, and we still love him dearly. But it's getting harder and harder to have him here. Not that we don't want him, but that we want what's pretty much inevitable - reunification with his biological family - to happen already. It's better for everyone if Baby Bear leaves before he is old enough to remember us.

Even though my heart breaks just to write that.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

With a little help from my friends.

I am doing my best to come to peace with the idea that Baby Bear will, in all likelihood, return to Mom eventually. She called again today, just to check on him. She thanked me for taking care of him.

She is still doing all the right things.

I am one big ball of raw emotion right now... I don't know what's worse, the waves of sadness or the resounding guilt. Guilt that I am not totally supportive of Birthmom, as I should (and hope I eventually will) be. Guilt that I brought PB into this. Guilt that I involved my family who are all in love with Baby Bear too. Guilt that I don't want to do this anymore.

I am really trying to take the advice of some seasoned foster moms and get behind the reunification process. I know that's what I'm supposed to do and, at this point, it's probably what's most healthy for everyone involved. And I promise I am working on it.

But it's damned hard.

One thing I am not good at it is reaching out. I don't like to ask for help; I prefer to feel self sufficient. Unfortunately, this is one situation that I don't think I can handle on my own. One of my best friends, L, came to sit with me this morning. I can't tell you how comforting that was. Two of my other best friends, R and A are providing me with their legal opinions on the whole situation. My immediate family is so concerned about PB and I. And, several foster moms have reached out to me via this blog, and I've responded and tried to pick their brains. PB is an amazing support for me. I am surrounded by love and concern.

I know I can get through this. I just don't want to.

The sound of silence.

Another phone call changed my world last night.

I talked to birthmom.

She wants to get him back.

That's pretty much all I can write right now.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A long strange trip (already)

So, as is often the case with foster placements, nothing is as clear or easy as it first seems.

Baby Bear (that's his internet pseudonym) is still precious and adorable and I can't imagine loving him anymore. Birthmom showed back up at the hospital two days after dropping him off and may or may not be interested in filing for custody. She is young and her parents are not aware that she's had a baby. She has called his caseworker twice and seems very interested in how he's doing. But, she hasn't asked to visit yet, so it's unclear what her intentions are.

I genuinely feel very badly for birthmom. She is so young and she must be so scared. When she visited Baby Bear's caseworker last week (10 days after giving birth) she had not received any medical attention. Thankfully the Children's Services nurse was able to check her out and she seemed to be fine.

Here's the kicker. Baby Bear's caseworker called yesterday to give me Birthmom's phone number. She is interested in talking to us. PB is confident that she just wants to make sure he's OK, that she's only heard terrible things about foster parents, etc. Which is fine and totally understandable. PB and I are also *very* willing to pursue an open adoption with her if that's what she'd like to do. If there's one thing we've learned in the process of preparing ourselves to adopt it's that involvement with biological parents is critically important to many adoptees.

So why didn't we call her yesterday? Frankly, because I'm scared. I'm afraid she'll say she wants to start visiting, that she might want him back. Which is well within her rights, and which, as foster parents, is our stated goal. But it is so much harder in reality than in theory. We're very attached to him; he feels like our son. I know that's not what we're supposed to do, but I don't know how not to.

I know that in the end things will work out - one way or another. Birthmom is taking her time and making a careful decision, she left him at the hospital instead of a dumpster... she's doing all the right things.

And maybe that's what scares me most.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

So I am totally not psychic but my mom is

On October 5, 2005 we got a call that changed our entire lives...

Yep, our first placement. 10 days after our license was issued. For a perfect, adorable, lovable brand new baby boy. It was predicted by my mother (hence the title of the post).

I got the call at work. I thought they just needed me to do more paperwork or were calling to introduce themselves. She told me she was calling from the "placement" department but I had no idea she meant actual placement. So I said, "Yes, what can I do for you?" And she said, "I'm calling to see if you'd be interested in an infant placement." I was literally shaking and couldn't breathe and asked her to repeat herself twice - I'm sure she loved that.

He is a safe haven baby, born to a very young mom whose parents didn't know she was pregnant. She brought him to the hospital 8 - 12 hours after delivery and surrendered him. It is not clear if she wants to pursue custody. I really, truly feel horrible for her.

We got to visit him all weekend at the hospital and we brought him home on Monday night. PB is the most amazing father ever - I knew that I loved him and I knew that having a baby would change us but I didn't know it would happen this fast. And I didn't know that I would see an even gentler, more loving, more beautiful version of him. The things you learn.

Have I mentioned that he is adorable and lovable and brand new?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Commencing Countdown, Engines On...

Well, it's official. We are finally certified to be foster parents - our license arrived in the mail today. Whoo-hoo! Perhaps countdown is not the right word, however, because we really don't know when the count down ends. That makes for one fucked up astronaut.

I am finally starting to get excited... I have been pretty nervous up until now - still not sure about the whole, kid could leave at any time thing, but I guess I don't have too much choice.

We will meet our new caseworker next week - somehow we must have been expedited, our approval was final on September 20 (my mom's birthday, a good omen she says) and they told us it would take 30 days after that to process the license, but clearly ours was faster.

Well, kids, let the waiting begin...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Takin' Care of Business

So today, PB, Mom, Dad and I readied the house for our final home inspection. Much fun was had replacing outlets and plug covers, putting up trim in the room-I'm not-calling-a-nursery and general scrubbing and crap sorting / throwing away.

Which, now that I mention it, can we stop for just a minute and appreciate how much junk PB and I are capable of accumulating? I seriously don't understand how it happens... Then again, maybe I do. Every time we move (and that's 4 times in the last 6 years) we have this conversation:

PB: So, we're not taking anything we don't need right?

Me: No. Nothing we don't need. [Nods head firmly]

Skip two days forward to actual packing...

PB: OK. I've found 4 packages of small binder clips. I don't think we need 4 packages of small binder clips.

Me: What do you mean? These are perfectly good binder claps [Alternately insert item we definitely don't need, but I just can't bear to throw away.

I feel encumbered by my stuff. Seriously, I look around my house and think, "God, how can I possibly have this much stuff??" I gaze longingly at websites devoted to modern design. I drool over the latest beautifully-Swedish, minimalist baby furniture. Yet, I still have too much stuff. Don't get me wrong - I'm not a hoarder, I don't have dirty, nasty stuff. Or 7 million of a clean, nice collectible. But I do definitely have more than my fair share of stuff.

What to do?

My only solution thus far has been to sell everything I own and live as the gypsies did - with only the stuff you can carry in a smallish, wooden wagon. Guess that makes me an all-or-nothing type of girl, huh?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Hello Internets

OK. I'm finally going to do it. I've been thinking of starting a blog for a long time now and I read a ton of different blogs. Which BTW, is why I. Heart. Bloglines. No seriously, if it was legal and wouldn't be polygamy, I'd marry it.

Anyway, what I want to do here is just give myself an outlet for all the feelings, random thoughts, etc that go through my head. For the most part I'll focus on infertility because.... well... that's what I'm obsessed with. But I also find myself unable to comparmentalize my world so you'll probably hear about other stuff too. Forgive me if I can't give you a better idea what to expect. That's because I don't entirely know what to expect myself.

So, to start off I am a 28-year-old Midwestern girl, married to her awesome, Midwestern boy high school sweetheart.

Waiting....


OK - as a demostration of my psychic abilities I can predict with 99% certainty you had one of two reactions. Either, "Awwwww, that's so cuuuuute" or "Whoa. Weird." I know this because they are the only two reactions I ever get. And, because maybe I'm psychic... a little.

Right now, PB (my pseudonym for my husband, derived from the name I affectionately call him, "Pete Best" AKA The Fifth Beatle) and I are trying cycle number 3 million with Clomid. Well, not 3 million, but you've just learned something else about me. I LOVE hyperbole. Love it more than anything else in the known universe PLUS infinity squared :-)

But really, we're doing Clomid this month, and next week is when we finish up our local county agency. CD 9 for those of you who are into stats.

Here we go on another roller coaster ride...