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?