Monday, December 24, 2007
Friday was a crazy day - Lily was visiting with her bio-aunt all day (as she does every Friday) when I got a scary call at work.
Before I go any further - LILY IS FINE. Quite well, actually. Not bothered at all.
Aunt A: I have some bad news for you.
ME (thinking): OMG OMG OMG OMG WTF is going on?
ME (saying - somewhat calmly): What? What happened?
Aunt A (crying): I was taking a pizza out of the oven when..... SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING.... Lily got burnt.
Turns out Lily made a mad crawling dash across the kitchen just as Aunt A. was removing a pizza from the oven and somehow managed to burn her palm. I don't think she touched the actual element - her palm is blistered but not severely burnt. She appears to be completely unphased by the burn - even when it's uncovered and in warm bath water, it doesn't seem to bother her. She lets us put cream on it and bandage it with absolutely no trouble - which is pretty funny actually, because she fights like hell against diaper changes these days.
But since she is in care it becomes a huge issue.
It necessitates a trip to the doctor, who was highly suspicious of me (despite my assurances that she was not in my care, that I saw nothing suspicious, etc.). It necessitates a 24 page report- which I still have to fill out and submit today. It necessitates calls to supervisors because regular caseworkers weren't in, and those supervisors mentioned the words like "hotline" and "investigation", which makes my blood run cold even though I won't be the subject of the calls and investigations.
I can totally understand how an accident like this can happen - she is really fast, and the burn (all things considered) is really minor. Lily's aunt feels like crap, has called repeatedly to check on her, and I really think probably is suffering more over this than Lily is.
I can also understand why this needs to be taken seriously by the County. I just wish I didn't have to be involved.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Lily has been sleeping like crap for the past 5 days. After a blissfully long (two week )stretch of solid 10 - 12 hour nights, it's been the same routine - in bed early, sleep soundly for about 2 - 3 hours, then up every hour, screaming for her paci.
This weekend, Lily took steps while holding onto the stairs in our hallway and the bathtub - yeah, I know a great place to learn how to walk.
Today? She crawled up two stairs at the sitters.
Methinks that walking isn't too far away. Break out the baby gates and God help us all :-)
Monday, December 10, 2007
I know, I know. I know some of you will say, "But Amanda, 30 isn't old." Or, "I wish I was 30 again." I get that once you're past 30, you want to be 30 again. Much the same way I'd like to be 20 again. Some of you will also say, "But Amanda, 30 is the next 20." To that I simply say, "Nuh-uh." I know, v. mature.
You see, I've really got a hangup about aging. I don't want to get old. I definitely don't want to die. But more than that, I have a really negative inner voice regarding being 30. For as long as I can remember I have thought of being 30 as the time when I will be old.
Now, bear in mind, I know a lot of people who are in their 30s (and beyond), and I don't think of them as old. But to me, personally, 30 has always felt like old. Like I can't imagine myself being that old. Like "30? When I'm 30 my real life - my grown up life - will be well under way. I will be well on the path to whatever it is I'm going to be or do."
I used to say, " I don't want to have kids after I'm 30." That's why PB and I started trying relatively early. Because by now, we were supposed to be trying for (or done with) #2. Instead? Well, we're waiting to find out if Number 3 (or number 6 if you count failed private matches) will stick around to someday, eventually become Number 1.
For a while now, I've been feeling pretty tired - you all have heard me
She's right. And to me, 30 feels pretty damned old.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
At any rate, she is on antibiotics now so hopefully we'll get the ear infection cleared up for good this time. As for milestones, we think she waved last night. We've been waving like crazy at her and last night she finally seemed to move her arm in response, so we're going to assume that's what it is.
Also, we are back in our master bedroom! Yay!! We finished the painting, ceiling, etc this weekend. Lily is in the guest room, which is a lot bigger so I think she will stay there for now. That means we just have to finish the drywall and paint the nursery.
That's about the only update I have for now. Hope everyone has a good weekend!
Monday, November 26, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
I've seen other people talk about adoption as a feminist issue, which I think is interesting. And I think the way the author paints the 1950s, Ward Clever-eque existence as a social abnormality is pretty cool too. There is so much pressure on parents, especially moms, to hold up the standard of the 50s family that I think it's extremely helpful to realize that the 50s and 60s were really more the exception than the rule.
As for her case... her mom is still not in touch with the c/w (or her family) as far as I know. Lily is regularly seeing her aunt and her great grandparents. She stays with Aunt A. every Friday while we are at work and her great-grandparents drive up from Jackson to visit her there.
Apparently, "Dad" (you know THE GUY WHO HAS SEEN HER EXACTLY ONCE SINCE SHE WAS BORN ALMOST 8 MONTHS AGO!) wants to pursue custody now - he is supposed to have a DNA test on Monday. I know it's not the right thing to feel or think or say but I can't help it... Lily already has a daddy and he's not this kid who can't be bothered to pursue the case unless the caseworker is hounding him, who didn't show up for 2 out of 3 court dates.
He's the guy who lights up when she reaches for him, who feeds her breakfast, changes her diapers and picks out outfits for specific occasions and is already looking for the perfect Christmas gift for her. It's the guy Lily gives kisses to - yeah, she kisses him and not me, I'm very jealous - the guy who has so many pictures in his cube that I think it compromises his ability to work, and the guy who plays guitar for her in the evening and is trying to teach her to sing along.
He's her daddy. Let's just hope it stays that way.
Monday, November 12, 2007
What am I saying then? I don't think I could consider adopting a white infant privately from an agency. In the past we have stated that we were open to any race. But I really think that the demand for white babies (and therefore the large amounts of money attached to them) is the part of private agency adoption that is most wrong and most damaging. It creates a culture that values some babies and devalues others, that it makes it OK to do or say certain things to e-moms (especially white e-moms) because there are so many parents who want to adopt white babies. If we don't participate in that segment of the industry that drives the most illicit practices, maybe that's OK... or at least more OK. Making the change official probably has no consequences in actuality - I can't imagine any agency placing a white baby with us when that's the only kind of baby some a-parents will accept.
I also think there may only be a handful of agencies we could work with. I know I'm painting agencies with a wide brush, but there are some good ones out there. There are a few characteristics we'll look for. Definitely not-for-profit. Definitely not ones who spend a lot of money in national advertising. Definitely not ones who charge different fees for different races. Maybe ones that only focus on African American or biracial adoption. The small social service oriented Luterhan agency we're working with in Cleveland is good, I think, but they focus more on international adoption, so the odds of us adopting domestically through them are probably pretty low. I've also read good things about two other agencies and we're checking into them now.
But, really, when you get right down to it, I'm beginning to think the best solution (for us) is to adopt from foster care. I hate to admit that, I really do. I love being a foster parent but I hate what that means - social workers and no real rights to the kids we love so much, and now, unannounced quarterly home visits.
The thing I've realized about adopting from foster care though, is I at least know moms aren't pressured to relinquish. On the contrary, those moms are probably 100 times more supported than most first moms who are working with private agencies. It seems like biological parents get more support (financial and otherwise), more intervention and more assistance in parenting from social services than they ever would from the typical private agency who is helping them decide whether to parent or not. Of course, bioparents in the system don't choose to be there. But I do think most children who end up in care end up there for a very good reason. And I do think that most bioparents get plenty of chances to get their kids back, and (at least in my county) plenty of support to help them do that.
As I've heard a lot of people say, in a perfect world, adoption would not exist. Given that it does, and it looks like that's how PB and I will build our family, the best option for us seems to be foster-to-adopt. But when I really get to the end of my rope with the red tape and the waiting and the uncertainty and the trauma of losing babies, maybe working with an ethical agency who specializes in placing African American children is our next option.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
So I'm reading this book called, "The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades before Roe v. Wade." It's a great book, written by Ann Fessler. And as a PAP, it's hard as hell to read.
This passage in particular struck me. The first mom who is speaking is particularly eloquent at expressing what it was like to be an unwed mom during this time period, especially the complete lack of rights or informed consent. She goes on to describe the constant, haunting pain that placing her baby with adoptive parents left on her life. She says that the only way to heal is to have that pain acknowledged:
Instead of always pushing adoption as this loving, wonderful, rescuing thing. Yes, that may be the case for people who adopt. It is not the case for us. You never are whole. Never. It's a hugely damaging thing. It's an enormously injuring, painful, fracturing, amputation of families.Ouch. I've read blogs by first moms before and they have moved me. But something about this passage stuns me. I think it's the "amputation of families" imagery.
How can I feel good about being part of that? Really? In a way, I think I know a small part of what she's talking about. I am familiar with the constant ache for something you can't have. And I know what it's like to love a baby and send it away. I'm not claiming I feel all of her pain, not at all. But if what PB and I are going through is even a fraction of what she's experiencing, I can't imagine asking someone else to go through it.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I think I'm in an adoption funk. After another failed match, with an agency I felt like we could actually work with and still respect ourselves in the morning, I'm beginning to wonder if this is ever going to work out for us. Like the last one, this one felt good. We liked them, they seemed to like us, they seemed really certain, and we tried to let them know that it would be OK to change their mind. But, just like the last one, they still felt they couldn't tell us they changed their mind... this time they didn't tell anyone, just disappeared. I know I shouldn't make this about me, but frankly, that feels a little harsh.
And Lily... she is awesome. I can't imagine anything I wouldn't do for her or to keep her. She is my daughter as certainly as if I had birthed her, I really believe that. Except, you know, for how she's actually not... And I find myself thinking more and more about the what ifs. What if Dad doesn't get tested? What if he does and wants her back? What if Mom shows up again? What if she doesn't? What if her aunt decides to take her?
What if we do get to keep her? That's where it gets dangerous. Thinking like that is not a good place to go. It's just not. Unfortunately it's where I keep finding myself. I think that's why my brain itches.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Don't ask me any details, I just know they were pretty popular last year and it's a crime to get to 7 months without owning blocks.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Sorry I haven't posted much lately... the last couple of weeks have been pretty eventful. Let's do a list of good things and bad, shall we?
- Lily's caseworker has made several comments regarding "speeding up" her case and getting it transferred to adoptions. Trying not to get too excited because there is still the potential for quite a few family members to step up but I am much more optimistic than I was a month ago at this time
- We met more of Lily's extended family - specifically, her maternal uncle (15 yrs old and looks just like Lily's mom), her great grandparents (who are literally some of the sweetest people I've ever met) and her cousin. All of them say if she doesn't go to family, they want her to stay with us.
- Lily slept all night last night, for the first time in about 8 weeks. She is also over 14lbs and seems to be recovered from her various ailments (see below).
- My dad had his gallbladder removed yesterday in an entirely uneventful procedure. It was done laproscopically. He entered surgey at 7:30am and by 11:30am was calling me from McDonalds (!) where he stopped to get a Coke on his way home (!!).
- We have a new roof. WITH NO HOLES. Yay!!!
- Contract renegotiation at work = substantial raise and monthly bonuses, provided the business stays healthy. Plus a commitment from my colleague (who is in the process of purchasing the business) to get me to "six figures as quickly as possible". Double Yay!!!!
- Oh, and we got the most adorable Halloween pictures of Lily. She should be a model. Really.
And the not good things:
- PB's grandma died. It was very sudden, though I guess it's never entirely unexpected when one is 84. The funeral entailed much interaction with PB's family (always a good time for me!) including a wonderful instance of exposing Lily to MERSA. Gotta love it.
- Lily had double ear infections and pink eye last week and she continues to throw up... a lot.
- Another failed match. I admit I was holding out on you guys... I didn't want to post for fear of jinxing it. But silly me, it's not an internet jinx, it's an Amanda and PB jinx. The story in a nutshell - we were matched and met with a 12-year old emom who was pregnant by her 14 yr old stepbrother. We really clicked with them (emom's mom sent us a bunch of family pictures for the album we were going to start for the baby, wanted to meet my parents and added me to her yahoo instant messenger list) and they seemed really set on placing. Then, they literally disappeared off the face of the earth, to the point of claiming the agency was calling the wrong number. Her due date was today. Good times.
- And then, a failure to match... we were not chosen by another family we were presented to - the same agency who matched us with the emom above had an unexpected situation come up where a mom is being induced tomorrow. Our letter was presented yesterday and I haven't heard anything which I guess means we weren't chosen.
- We still don't have any ceilings in our house. Not necessarily a bad thing because we are thinking of doing them ourselves and using the left over money to replace our front room carpet, which is so gross I don't want to walk on it, let alone let Lily crawl all over it. But still, pretty annoying.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
My apologies if the comment spam (and my lighthearted approach to it) offended anyone.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
He confirmed that neither Mom or Dad showed up for court and that they did get TCC. Her annual review is scheduled for June next year, which is actually good, because by then we will be at the 12-month mark where we can file for de-facto parent status. And if this case continues the way it has, we definitely will.
I'm taking most of the day off tomorrow... Lily has pictures then a doctor's appt, both in honor of being 6 months old. Then she is spending the weekend with my parents while we got to a wedding. Probably won't post much until early next week and hopefully then I'll have the this-is-why-foster-to-adopt-is-inherently-a-crazy-idea post ready.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I've been struggling to work out my thoughts on this subject for a few days now. I mean, I am still doing it, so I guess that's one indicator, right? And PB and I talk a good game about continuing to foster even if we get to adopt one of the babies. So that suggests yes.
But knowing what I know now, would I still embark on this path? Hmmm. This is where it gets a little tricky.
See, I wouldn't trade my experiences with Baby Bear and BeBe and Lily for anything in the world, given that I have survived them. They are, without a doubt, some of the most intense growth opportunities I've ever had and I think (dare I even say this?) I am a better person for them.
But the reality is that each of my kids has heartbreak attached to them. Lots and lots of heartbreak. I can't even imagine what it will be like when Lily leaves. Cannot contemplate it. OTOH, I am really proud of the work we've done with Lily and I feel like we are making a real difference in her life.
I suspect, for me, the question in complicated by the fact that we are foster-to-adopt parents. Despite my best intentions I think there is a part of me that hopes that Lily will stay forever. Even though I try not to, I still do, because I love her and I feel like her mom. Who doesn't want their daughter to stay with them forever?
Sometimes I wonder if this would be easier if I had at least one biological or adopted child already. Because it's weird to be a parent, then no longer be a parent. I wonder if I could embrace fostering more fully if I wasn't relying on it to build a family. In fact, I sometimes wonder if fostering-to-adopt isn't about the worst idea ever. There's a post building on that but I can't seem to get it right.
Plus, we haven't even talked about the crappiness of dealing with the system. I am lucky enough to live in a county where (I think) stipends are relatively generous AND I have a great caseworker. But, the fact of the matter is that foster parents are often treated like glorified babysitters... sometimes just babysitters. That's hard, when you are pouring all of your effort into doing the very best for the child in your care.
It's also hard to realize that child protection is not really about children or protection.... well maybe it is about protection on second thought, but mostly protecting the state against liability. It's hard to watch months and months of a child's life be frittered away in limbo, simply because their current placement is satisfactory and there aren't enough workers to go around. And it sucks to actually hear a c/w say "Yes, most of our kids have attachment disorders... there's pretty much no way around it," in regards to a one-month-old infant.
Finally, knowing what I know now, about the need for foster parents, about the crappy foster parents some kids have to live with, about the wonderful foster parents who have been doing everything they can for years... well... that makes it *really* hard to just walk away, makes it hard to say "No, I wouldn't do it all over again."
Even though I sometimes want to.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Then yesterday, J. told me that not only was she on her hands and knees, but she was rocking. I'm telling you, this girl wants to move.
I literally can't believe how quickly she's changing. She is developing new skills before my eyes. It's amazing.
BTW, the moving thing? V. cool to watch, not so cool in the middle of the night. For the last week, Lily has been waking up at around 2:30 or 3:00 and then every consecutive hour thereafter. Why you ask? Because she has moved from where I originally put her to the top / side / end of the crib and keeps bumping into it. Rather than just stop the bumping herself, she needs me to either reposition her or give her her paci or both.
Why the big gap until 2:30 or 3:00? No freakin' clue. But I'm not asking any questions because I need a little sleep every now and then.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Speaking of W.IC. Why do they even bother to make appointments? I got there at 8:20 for my 8:30 appt and left at 9:50. Fun.
But I can't complain too much - Lily's doc has switched her to Alim.entum, which is about $26 for the small (16 oz can). For those of you who are number crunchers like me, that's about $1.36 per bottle. And if waiting for an hour and a half every three months will get me all of her formula for free, I guess it's worth it.
Stay tuned for another update on Saturday - that's when she gets her 6 month check up (and, unfortunately, shots).
Friday, September 28, 2007
Now, today that was not a big deal because PB is on vacation anyway. But we take Lily to a babysitter every week day, and when I take her, I leave the house at 8:10. So today, I would have been 10 minutes late to work, assuming my babysitter would have availability when I told her she didn't need to (we use home care, not a center).
Thankfully my job is flexible enough that it wouldn't be too huge a deal. And pretty much the same thing goes for the babysitter. But he doesn't know that. Besides, foster parents are always an afterthought when stuff like this is decided.
I hate being an afterthought.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Done with fostering. Done with chasing after adoption. Just done.
Tonight I got a call from Lily's mom. She said that she wanted me to tell the transporter to bring the baby to the office instead of to her sister's house. I asked her if the cw knew and she said no, she hadn't been able to get ahold of him. I told her that I couldn't really change where the transporter was taking her but I'd see what was happening in the morning.
So I called her aunt, to see if she was still supervising the visit. She said the cw told her the visit was canceled because he hadn't been able to reach Lily's mom. So one of two things has happened. Either 1) he changed the visits to be back at the office AND lied to Lily's aunt about it AND didn't inform me of the change; or 2)he canceled the visit and the way I was supposed to find that out was by not having the transporter show up in the morning*.
Either way, I am royally pissed off.
I am also scared to death for Lily. Her aunt said that Lily's mom is no longer taking her calls, that she wants her to "stay out of her business." Keep in mind, her aunt is probably the only stable person in Lily's life who is biologically related to her and has shown any interest in seeing her regularly. Yes, that's right, Lily's "dad" has seen her once in 6 months and still hasn't had a DNA test.
Lily's aunt strongly suspects that her mom is using again and says there are other things going on with her boyfriend that the cw doesn't even know about. We talked for a while and she really seems to be at her wit's end.
What am I going to do if they send her back into some crazy situation? Seriously, how am I ever going to be able to live with that?
*Note, I have been trying to reach Lily's cw for the last week. I've left two messages AND sent an email and received no response.
Friday, September 21, 2007
I wasn't able to get ahold of him all week and I needed to have Lily brought to my house instead of the babysitter's this week after her visit. When the transporter arrived this morning, he still hadn't delivered my message and when I talked to her I found out she was ill and was going to call a sub to cover for her so I offered to just pick Lily up.
So far, so good. But when I got to Lily's aunt's to pick her up, I found out Mom didn't show up again. And she didn't show up at court earlier this week and neither did Lily's "dad".
Also, the last two times Mom did show up, it's because Lily's aunt got up at 5:30, went to pick her up, drug her out of bed and made her get dressed and brought her to her house.
Her Aunt - I'm going to call her Aunt A. from now on - said she doesn't now what it will take to wake M. up. She said they (cw, family members, etc) were going to have an intervention next week to try to make her realize that she's had to decide to either get Lily back or to let her go. Then she and her husband said they only had one kid on purpose and while they loved Lily, it was a huge decision that they would have to think about a lot. I told them if they did decide to adopt her it would be great if we could still visit. They said we could.
And then I blurted out that if we adopted her, they could see her whenever they want. They seemed surprised and happy to hear that.
That's what the cw won't like. I'm not trying to pressure them. I'm not. I feel like they should make an informed decision about adopting Lily. They are not making a choice between never seeing her again and adopting her. We honestly would let them visit with her, take her for weekends, whatever. We want Lily to know (and love) all of her family. We asked the cw to tell Aunt A that and apparently he didn't.
So he probably won't be happy that I did.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Starting with, "Yeah, that really does suck." Cuz, it pretty much does. But I guess it's how things work in the system.
Then moving to (cautiously), "Well, maybe we should be happy about this. Maybe it's good for our chances of keeping Lily."
And maybe it is. But I can't be happy about this for two reasons. First, it's just not my job to be happy when bioparents mess up. It's not my job to root against reunification. Even if it's what I really want to do.
Granted, it's also not my job to be pissed at Lily's mom for not appreciating her daughter. But... well, that's something I'm trying to get past.
The second reason is that I simply can't let myself think, or even hope, that we might get to adopt Lily. I went down that road with Baby Bear and I won't do it again. Now, to be clear, I certainly don't love Lily any less than I did Baby Bear. But, I don't imagine her being her in a year. Or when she's five. I don't think about having her at Christmastime...I haven't even bought her a Halloween costume. Heck I didn't even buy her any fall clothes until now and I *hate* having too many diapers in the house at one time.
I can't imagine a future with her because I can't mourn for that future on top of the very real loss of Lily, herself, when she goes home. Does that even make sense?
Friday, September 14, 2007
I suspect she might have done it by putting her forehead down on the ground, and shoving herself forward in a semi crawl. That should make for a nice rug burn eventually.
Freakin' A. You get to see your kid once a week and you skip it because you're out of town. WTF?
Apparently she's not working now either. Her boyfriend (not Lily's dad, the one she lives with) is still using, so I don't think she'lll make much progress as long as she's still with him.
I hate being so angry but I just can't help it. We love Lily soooo much. Why can't her mom see how awesome she is and be motivated to get her shit together for her if nothing else?
I suck at being a foster parent.
Monday, September 10, 2007
The verdict? The check will be $1000 less than the quote we received to just fix the damage to the roof. That doesn't include personal property (like all our bedding, mattresses, and random clothes that were ruined. along with our bedroom carpet) or tree removal - which when a crane is involved doesn't come cheap.
Tree removal: $1800
Roof replacement: At least 12K
Getting to fool with insurance and contractors: Freaking Priceless.
Friday, August 31, 2007
It was good. She didn't know I was coming (thanks c/w!) but when she realized who I was, she gave me a huge hug and was very happy to see me. She was very appreciative of what we're doing and listened intently to everything I had to say about Lily.
The visits are now happening at her sister's place, which, ironically enough is about 7 miles from our house. Lily's Aunt has been fingerprinted and is doing most of the visit supervision, I think. They had already went out and bought all the baby food I told them she liked in my last note. They also asked me about *everything*, even down to what brand of bottles we were using, because they didn't want to "mess up our routine." They complimented the clothes she wears, which was good, because PB and I tend to dress Lily in what we call "hippie baby clothes" so I'm glad they liked them.
Meeting my foster kids' bio parents is always a mixed bag. On the one hand, I want to like them and have a positive relationship with them because there is a high likelihood that's where my kids will end up. On the other hand, it would make my job a lot easier if I didn't like them. Working with bio parents isn't easy, especially when you're foster-to-adopt. So not working with them because they are horrible people would be better for me. But not for them and definitely not for my babies.
Seeing Lily's mom as villain who didn't stop using even when she was pregnant is much simpler than seeing her as Lily's mom who loves her, calls her "pumkin" and misses her when she's gone.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
OK. So, I am now on CD 54. I typically have long cycles, so I'm used to 33, 36, even an occasional 38. But 54? Really? And, before you ask, no, I'm not pregnant. I already took 3 of the El Cheapo internet tests I had left over from last time we were really trying and confirmed with an expensive EPT. Because yes, I am that desperate / delusional.
So I'm kind of at a loss. Then, I'm talking to my mom this weekend (you know, when we weren't busy gawking at a crane pulling a tree OUT OF MY HOUSE) and found out that she was done with menopause when she was 45, and started missing cycles when she was closer to 35. And apparently, a similar thing happened to one of her sisters. Nice.
The ironic part of all this is that we were actually thinking about trying again. I've got 5 Clomid pills burning a hole in my medicine cabinet and I've been taking metformin (on and off) for the last month or so in preparation for doing a real cycle next time.
Maybe someone really is trying to tell something.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Yay for more fun!
When PB and I returned home tonight we found a huge tree limb had fallen through our roof and into our bedroom.
It appears that we will probably need a whole new roof, at least for the top of our split level. All of the bedrooms have some cracking in the ceilings which means I don't feel comfortable sleeping in any of them.
Luckily my boss is out of town so we'll be moving there for the week. Boo-yah.
Here is the outside view:
It looks like a forest has eaten our house:
Friday, August 24, 2007
Two days later, he did it again.
To put this in perspective, my husband has never once brought up infertility, adoption, his feelings over sending Baby Bear home, or pretty much anything else that was serious and all-consuming twice in the same week, except for maybe his own feelings about having some serious medical issues that we thought could be an indicator of brain cancer. So for him to initiate another moving conversation so soon... well, I can only imagine that signifies lots of thinking and lots of concern.
This time, he suggested a less drastic plan (i.e. not right after Lily goes home) that we might only want to sell our house and move somewhere else locally. This was really bittersweet - Jacob *loves* our house. I like our house too, but I pretty much hate our soccer mom neighborhood. I would move back to our old neighborhood, closer to downtown in a heartbeat, although that would mean we'd have to rent (real estate is high in this particular area).
Anyway, this has been an ongoing discussion, so you would think this offer would make me happy, right? Well it should. And for a second it did. But then I remembered how much he really did love living here, and I didn't want to ask him to give that up, just because I'm in this funk. I told him that and he explained that he didn't mean moving right away, but just that we might want to do some things around the house to make it more marketable, in case we do make that decision. I agreed that was probably a good idea anyway. So that was that.
We talked about why it might be good to move... the visions we had when we bought the house, the optimism we used to have about kids. And he was right when he said there are a lot of reminders here and those reminders would be really difficult to deal with in the long run, if we never do actually have / adopt kids. We also talked about his earlier suggestion, of moving further away. I told him I might want to do that, eventually, when it became too hard for me to watch all of my extended family having lots of kids. Not that I'm not happy for them, but just that it's hard to see the reminder of what we don't have - just like it would be hard to work at a daycare center.
PB said he thought I was already there, and that's why he thought moving away might be a good idea for us. Ouch. Somebody hasn't been hiding her feelings as well as she thought, huh?
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
See, PB really doesn't often initiate the "what should we do" conversations. He also is generally opposed to moving when I have mentioned it previously. Plus, it came at a pretty difficult moment for me. We were at a concert (a pretty good one, actually, despite the crappy review it got in our local paper - Nickel Creek and Fiona Apple) and I was sitting there, looking around and suddenly, out of nowhere a thought struck me.
"I'm not happy."
I don't know if it was the people around me, dancing and looking all carefree in their summer dresses. I don't know if it was the three pregnant ladies in my immediate vicinity. I don't know if it was how uncomfortable I felt in my own skin (which is now significantly larger than it was in my pre-Clomid / stress eating days). I just don't know what it was.
But the idea was alien to me. Despite my whiny tone as of late, I pretty much pride myself on being mostly happy most of the time. And, when I'm not happy I try really hard to *do* something about it and not just suck it up and live with it. I believe that we do create our own happiness most of the time and my life is generally a good one and I'm usually pretty satisfied with it.
So, to be thinking that thought and to hear my non rash-decision making, most laid back person I've ever met EVER, husband, say "I think you should really start considering one of those big jobs you're always joking about and we should move because we need a change of scenery" was a pretty significant earthquake.
I should clarify here: I pretty much love my job, but I do feel underpaid. There is a strong chance that will change in the near future when the business changes hands. But, given my degree I should (and could) be making more money. OTOH, my work environment rocks (I have a view of a ravine and we have an office dog, need I say more?) and my schedule is about as flexible as a regular job with a traditional scheduling plan can be, which, a wise woman once told me, "is worth at least 20K a year."
So anyway, he says that, and I immediately start crying. In public. Not something I do EVER if I can at all avoid it. And I wasn't sobbing, I don't think anyone noticed, but still.... The end result of all this, is that he feels bad for upsetting me, but it's not that he upset me, it's that I realize that it's not moving that will fix this. And I tell him that, and we pretty much dropped the subject. Until he brought it up, with a slightly different twist two days later.
I'll post about that conversation next, if anyone is actually still reading this. Suffice it to say that we're not going anywhere for now.
Friday, August 17, 2007
From then on there was no stopping her, she rolls front to back, over and over and over again.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Since I last checked in, Lily got to meet some important people in her life. First, her great-grandparents, who live kind of far from us but still in the state visited for the first time two Fridays ago. They left her a large bag of clothes. Most of them were off-season so we won't be able to use them, but I thought it was still very nice of them to send them.
She also got to meet her bio-dad for the first time at this past visit. There was supposed to be a DNA test on Friday, however, apparently no one had any proof of identification for Lily so they couldn't do it. I didn't realize this was a requirement... we didn't have any proof of ID for Baby Bear, but they apparently do not issue birth certificates for Safe Haven babies, so maybe that's the reason? Anyway, I guess they will have to reschedule those appts - I'm not sure why c/w didn't plan for that, but I'll have to get in touch with him later this week to see when they will reschedule and what I can send with her as proof of ID.
PB and I are... OK. He's dropped a few bombshells on me in the last few days, both of which involve us moving and which will require their own posts. **Edited to add - we are not moving anytime soon and we are not moving because we have to - I'm sorry if I freaked out anyone I know IRL*** Both of us are grudgingly accepting that Lily leaving isn't so much an if as a when anymore. Both of us are trying to plan ahead to make that as survivable as possible. Me by immersing myself in anything besides being home, him by playing guitar more and more, in preparation for attending some local music stuff.
Other posts in the works. Just wanted to check in and let you know we're all OK.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Did I mention she's amazing?
As for M. (Lily's mom)... she's doing well too. She has tested clean so far, and has (on multiple occasions) provided the same sober date. Both she and the potential father showed up in court yesterday. Lily's c/w is trying to get her into a program that sounds pretty intense - it entails meeting with a judge every week, along with the treatment program. She is still working (with pay stubs to prove it) and they are going to extend visits to be pretty much all day on Fridays, I think. They may be supervised by her sister who has been approved as a caregiver.
This is so bittersweet. I am so happy that M. is stepping up and getting herself well. I can't even tell you how happy that makes me. She has more family support than we initially thought and she really does sound like she's committed.
And that's also why I'm so sad. I know this is nothing new. Maybe I should change the whole damn blog title to "Maybe I'm Ambivalent, or Maybe I'm not." It feels like I am always happy for mom and bio family and incredibly sad for myself. Or hopeful about a new agency and also feeling guilty about how they might take advantage of e-moms. Or happy for my friends who get pregnant and despondent that it's not my turn.
L. and I were talking and she said one of the things she's noticed most about this experience is that it's changed the way I express myself about some issues. See, I have pretty strong opinions on most topics (right or wrong) and I am generally... less than subtle... about voicing them. Now, I think that often comes off as seeing the world in black-and-white. Which I do, sometimes. And when there are shades of gray, I tend to pick the particular shade I can live with and turn it into my black.
Anyway, this entire infertility / foster parenting / adoption experience has made me less certain of myself and my views on some topics, I think. That is, I see (and express) more shades of gray. Which is good and mind expanding and makes me a better person and all that jazz.
But it's hard. Sometimes I just want my black and white.
I want a kid to either stay or go. I want my foster kid's bioparents to be either nice or evil. I want an agency to be either nice or evil. Hell, I want adoption itself to be either good or bad. I want to be happy with my job or not. I want to be actively pursuing different leads on adoption or not. I want to know an emom is going to place or not. Most of all, I want to be a mom or not.
The scary thing is that here lately, the "or not" part of the parenting equation has become more and more attractive. It's a break from all this drama and stress. It's a resolution to this question that's been hanging over our heads forever. It's calm and peace.
But is it happiness? Not sure. I think it would be OK. I think we (PB and I) would be OK. And maybe OK is enough. Or maybe not.
Monday, July 23, 2007
The Bad: There was also a "highchair throne" in L.'s kingdom. And a pre-printed birthday banner, and a plate (yes, a plate) for us all to sign. And mandatory, videotaped, Happy 1st birthday messages. Oh, and we ripped the Pack N Play bag because I have no spatial ability and PB has no patience when it comes to things like that.
The Ugly: My reaction when D. told us they are having another baby in March. I imagine it to be a kind of stunned sickly green expression, quickly followed by a big smile. The sickly green, BTW, being the unmistakable shade of jealousy. Oh, and I had a dream last night that K. (mom of Chicago Baby) called us because she had the baby and was pregnant again and wanted to place the second baby with us. That's just messed up.
The trip was actually pretty good, all things considered. Lily is a much happier baby these days. I think the Prilos.ec and cereal is helping, which is great. She still spits up as much as she ever did, but as long as she's not in pain, I'm OK with it.
As for the pregnancy news, I think I recovered quickly. And I am happy for them. Really. I am. They struggled with infertility before having L. and apparently this time, it happened way sooner and more easily for them, which is great.
It just sucks that I now know two people who started trying after us and have now had 2 children. Sigh.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Me: If I thought [PB] would let me get away with it, I'd definitely stay with you and Gibson (that's our dog).
R: Well, maybe there will be alcohol served in L's kingdom... [the party is Princess themed]
A. Yeah, right. I'm sure that no one is ever allowed to drink around Princess L. Is it bad that there have been several occasions lately where I have *seriously* considered taking a flask? I think that means I may be slipping into alcoholism. LOL
R: I just think that's a survival strategy. I only worry if I think about bringing a flask to work. If you are there, then I might start worrying just a little. But I do think it's a necessary fashion accessory for a 1-year-old themed birthday party.
Me: Well, OK then. I'll rely on you to keep me honest, and hopefully out of inpatient treatment.
The only concern is that alcohol makes me louder (which doesn't seem like it's humanly possible, but is actually true) and more obnoxious... Well, that and I don't actually have my own flask - I would have to borrow PB's. And while he is a total hippie born 30 years too late, I really think even he might object to that plan...
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I also talked to Lily's mom, M. She wrote me a very nice note in return to the, "Hi, We're Amanda and PB, Lily's foster parents..." type note that I stuck in the bag before her visit last Friday. She left her cell phone number and asked me to call her if I could. I did and she sounds very nice. She has a real job. She hasn't missed a visit since she got out of jail. I do have to admit it was painful when I said, "Really, it's our pleasure, she's an adorable and beautiful little girl," and she said, "Thank you." Like a mom does when someone compliments her child.
Like I do when people tell me Lily's adorable. Which she *totally* is.
So, my guess is that reunification is a strong possibility. Which is good - if M. can really get (and stay) clean for her little girl, then that's where she belongs. Even though it feels just fine to let her belong here.
Lily is smiling and talking up a storm now. She's also losing all her hair. And she has an ear infection, which she's just getting over so she's not the happiest baby in the world. In fact, as much as I love her (and I do love, love, love her) she is kind of a high maintenance baby.
This weekend we are traveling to attend the 1st birthday of PB's goddaughter. I know I'm an ass but I am so not looking forward to it. L is the little girl and her dad (P) is PB's oldest friend - they've literally known each other since daycare. I love them both and L's mom, too, but I remember them calling to tell us they were pregnant, two full years after we started trying. And I remember PB saying, "We've got to be next, babe, our kids will grow up together."
Or something like that. Sorry to whine, but I am in wallowing mode right now and I can't seem to snap myself out of it. I'll be back when I'm capable of being positive, or at least mildly amusing.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
- Our e-mom changed her mind
- Lily's mom started visiting
- I received a letter from the IRS because there is problem (albeit minor) with our tax return
- My cat ran away - he's been missing since Wednesday
- We toasted our swimming pool. And by toasted I mean fucked up. We drained the water, scrubbed it all out and when we refilled it, pieces started popping out. Turns out draining an inground pool can cause the liner to shrink. Boo-yah. Let's see where we can scrape up the money for that repair.
So I don't think my Karma is as bad as say... Hitler's. But, I'm thinking a more moderately bad guy.... not sure who. Thoughts? The criteria are mean enough to deserve moderately crappy luck, and dead before 1977 (when I was born).
Monday, July 02, 2007
Actually, that might not be true. Maybe I am a considerate blogger. For the last week, I've spent a good deal of time raging against the universe. I think any post I could have constructed would probably have been a profanity laced piece of crap.
Not that I'm promising this one won't be.
Anyway, here's where we stand. Mom has shown up for two visits in a row. C/W says she is very committed to getting Lily back. Mom's sister is attending visits with Mom and a potential father has been identified (though no paternity test has happened yet and I don't think he will visit until after that comes back). So, my gut tells me that Lily will eventually be returned to some combination of family / biological parents, but we'll see.
BTW, the reason mom did not visit before is that she was in jail and was only recently released. From my calculations, the first three visits she missed were not during the 52 day sentence, but C/W is cutting her a break and assuming they were.
Lily, meanwhile has decided that sleeping is good (she's slept at least 6 hours for the past 4 nights). She is happy and adorable. She smiles like crazy and has made big strides in the head control department. She recognizes PB and I by voice now, which is pretty cool. She is starting to reach for things and is constantly trying to suck her thumb / gnaw on her fist. Only issues right now are serious bouts of spitting up - thinking that could be reflux - and her recurrent diaper rash.
Oh yeah, I am also a bad, bad, bad, bad mom. The doctor prescribed a new cream for Lily that was not covered by Medicaid and was... wait for it... $193. I declined the cream (for now) and we're trying the more conventional Maylocks / Acquafour (deliberate misspellings) combination to keep it in check. It's not too horrible yet, knock on wood.
As for PB and me, we're hanging in. I think we are definitely in the midst of the "fake it till you make it approach to life." My future plans change by about the hour. Since we got the call last week, we've considered:
- Chucking the whole idea of kids, moving to Hawaii and drinking a lot
- Chucking the whole idea of kids, moving to Cali, making a lot of money working for the man I lovingly refer to as Satan himself and drinking a lot.
- Calling our caseworker and asking her to open our second spot back up so we'll have higher odds of cycling through to the adoptable one more quickly, and drinking a lot.
- Calling out attorney and spending more money to have him match us with another e-mom, and drinking a lot
- Calling the fertility specialist we saw and spending more money for her to try to get me knocked up. And not drinking a lot because it's bad for my fertility but wanting to really badly.
- Breaking out the Metformin and Clomid and doing a little amateur fertility doctoring of my own and... see second sentence above.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I'm breaking radio silence to let you know that Lily will have her first visit with her mom tomorrow morning.
Fun keeps right on coming.
PS - Lily is doing so well. She's huge and smiling and happy and beautiful. Too bad she's not mine.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
At least we don't have to fight over a name anymore.
If you don't hear from me for a while, don't worry. I have plenty of support, this is really just all too hard for me right now.
I am driving myself crazy here. I know K. has had cell phone difficulties in the past and I know that she and C. are not always the best about returning messages to their friends and family. However, K. has always been really good about getting in touch with me. In fact, this is the longest I've gone without talking to her since we talked the first time on the phone.
The thing is, it's not even about whether she's changed her mind or not. It's about *knowing* whether she's changed her mind or not. It's the uncertainty.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Lily's court hearing was today. I haven't heard from the caseworker yet - I know, shocking given he still hasn't answered my messages about her un-visit from last Thursday and Friday - but my friend who is a GAL was at court today and apparently it was continued to June 29. Amy said neither Mom or Dad showed up and Dad's attorney hasn't heard from him. I have no idea what any of that means. I think they scheduled the continuance so quickly because if they go more than 90 days they have to dismiss and refile. Or something like that.
I left a message for K. on Sunday night but haven't heard back. Today is the original due date, although it sounds like her OB thought she might actually have a later due date than originally estimated. Hopefully I will be able to catch her tonight at some point.
Oooh, wait, here's something we can talk about - Lily found her thumb this weekend (just once, but still...) and you should see her in the bathtub. She has discovered the kicking and she really loves it. I think she would stay in there for hours if I'd let her.
Other than that, nothing shaking. Thanks for all the comments and emails. I'll post as soon as I know anything!
Friday, June 15, 2007
Doctor prescribed some kind of powder that gets mixed into her bottle to help restore the healthy bacteria in her digestive track and said she has "a bug." Because she doesn't have a fever, seems pretty happy otherwise and isn't refusing food, there's not too much to worry about.
Lily is now 8 lbs, 15 ozs, just two ozs away from doubling her birthweight! Yay! Also, her mom is finally out of jail, so visits will (theoretically) begin again soon.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Um... no. I don't. But thanks for freaking me out. Awesome.
I wasn't terribly upset because when I spoke with K. late last week, she told me she was out of cell phone minutes. BUT. She also told me that they were taking care of it and she would give me a call that weekend. And I was already thinking, "Hmmm. Maybe I should call her." Then the agency calls and, trying to be very nonchalant, totally freaked me the hell out.
So now I'm all nervous - wondering if she's changed her mind. I decide to call her and check in and can't get her and I just leave a message.
At this point, I begin to realize how excited I have been about this whole thing, even though I've been desperately trying not to get my hopes up. And I convince myself that it's not going to happen and that I shouldn't have ever allowed myself to hope it would. And then I try to convince myself that it's fine, that if she decided to parent, that's great. Which it really would be (honest!) even if we were disappointed because we don't get to parent.
And then, yesterday, I received a message from K. Everything is fine! There was a bit of a miscommunication - the baby isn't full term yet, but when he is full term, they expect him to be 9lbs. So we aren't quite to the countdown yet. She said she is feeling good and they are looking forward to seeing us again very soon. She even mentioned that she was calling the agency because they had left her several messages.
This is such a surreal experience.
Friday, June 08, 2007
She is getting nervous - the baby is already measuring just under nine pounds. Poor thing! I really hope she doesn't have too hard a time of it.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
First on the intensely angry front. I spoke with Baby Bear's grandma today because I needed her mailing address. This weekend I did something I've been needing to for a long time. I went through the mountain of pictures of Baby Bear and pulled out his early pictures for his mom and dad. Of course, I kept some for PB and I, but they didn't have any of his hospital pics or any of the pics we had done when he was 4 weeks old. It was funny because it felt OK going through them. It felt like I was nearing closure, even though it was a really sad closure.
And then I called his grandma. Turns out his mom is not following her caseplan (despite the fact that CS is closing the case next month). She has totally dropped out of school. She has Baby Bear Tues - Thurs, Dad (well, really, his grandma) has him Fri - Mon, but half the time, she's not there when they go to drop him off. And the kicker? Grandma thinks she's pregnant again! So, Baby Bear's got a great mom, huh? So angry.
And on the Oh my goodness, what do I do?? front, Lily has decided that sleep is her arch enemy. Seriously, it's like she's Batman and blissful slumber is the evil spawn of Mr. Freeze, Penguin Man and The Joker all rolled in to one. She gets really tired, but it's like she's somehow forgotten how to go to sleep. She's not even fighting it, necessarily. I think she's having a hard time relaxing enough to drop off. Poor thing. She's mad and can't sleep and then not sleeping makes her madder and... you know the drill. Seasoned moms with tips, please help!
And on the Yay, something is going well front, things seem to be progressing nicely with the Chicago adoption situation. We continue to talk with C & K and they continue to seem pretty certain about their decision. And, K was able to get health insurance through the state which means the insane amount of money I've been able to borrow in the last four weeks will likely over all the expenses because we won't have crazy medical bills.
And finally, on the Dear God in Heaven why can we never agree on anything?? front, PB and I have been kicking around names for what we affectionately call "The Chicago Baby". As is the case with most things that can be impacted by personal preference, we don't agree. I guess we should have taken the hint when it took us two weeks to pick out a wedding invitation because each of us literally hated what the other picked out. I'll let you know when we reach a compromise we can both agree on.
I think that's it for now. Sorry about the drive by posting. I've been working like crazy and doing some extra stuff on the side to try to pay my attorney, agency, healthcare costs for Chicago, so I have 0 time. I'll try to do better, promise.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Traveled to Anaheim and back (by plane)
Traveled to Cincinnati and Louisville and back (by car)
Traveled to different city in the midwest and back (by car)
Taken my first red-eye
Met three *wonderful* bloggy friends
Reconnected with some people who were very important to my professional life
Visited Downtown Disney
Ran 12 focus group taste tests
Missed Lily like crazy
Missed PB like crazy
and... met who I think will probably be the first parents of our (hopefully, someday) adopted son.
See how I tried to sneak that in there on you? LOL. Let's go in order though. My trip to Anaheim was for a professional conference - the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers. It was a really good conference, even if it was in the middle of strip mall tourist hell. I reconnected with my former adviser, and with a fellow grad student who worked with him so it was good. The red eye, BTW sucks!
The bloggers I met were Renee (and Shana), Susan and Raechelle. I loved *all* of them. I also got to meet their great kids and share in Rae's recent good news. I can't even express how much I wish we all lived near each other. It was so cool to finally meet them in person. I am not blogging more about this or posting pictures because I know that some of them like to remain pseudo-anonymous, which I can totally understand :-)
Downtown Disney was very cool. There are lots of shops and restaurants and on a personal note, I had the realization that I was in a better place with my infertility - that is, seeinig tons of happy families with their perfect children didn't make me want to run screaming from the place.
Work is work and the taste tests were part of that. Enough said.
I miss PB and Lily like crazy - I've barely seen either of them... PB and Lily did just fine without me of course, but she is huge and . . this close to smiling.
And now, what you've probably all been waiting for. I think I mentioned at some point that we were speaking with a couple who were connected to us by PB's cousin's roommate. I had several really good phone conversations with the mom, K, and I really felt like we clicked. As in, I could imagine us having an open adoption and being perfectly comfortable with it. K is really sweet and seems to have really thought out the decision. I met her boyfriend, C, for the first time this weekend when we drove to a different city relatively near (i.e. within 6 hours)our home and met them. It was great. We all felt pretty comfortable with one another (or at least that was my impression). And we talked a lot about their decision and I got all of the rest of the info our adoption attorney needed. Both of them tell us they are really certain this is the best decision and in fact, they both expressed that finding out about us and meeting us was a huge relief because they didn't know what they were going to do. They both seem so young... I can't imagine trying to make this decision.
K actually asked me to be in the delivery room. I am not sure how I feel about that - there have been a lot of bloggers (first moms and adoptive moms alike) who say that a PAP in the hospital is too much pressure, and I would imagine a PAP in the delivery room is too much pressure to the nth degree. But C is really squeamish and has expressed he doesn't want to be there and I definitely don't want her to go through that alone. In addition, K. really wants both PB and I to be at the hospital for pretty much the duration of her stay - she says that she feels like it will be easier for the baby if he transitions from her to us. I think it comes down to my whole approach to keeping this as ethical as possible and that is doing whatever the first parents say they want us to do. If they want us to come to the hospital we will, if they don't, we won't.
My only hangup is that she hasn't told her parents yet - she suspects they know because her sisters know but they haven't actually talked about it. I told her I thought she should tell them as this could be an avenue of support for her that she hadn't explored yet. She says she isn't interested in their support and she feels like it would damage their relationship irreparably. I am clearly not going to push it as she is an adult and I don't even know her parents, and it's really none of my business. I just knew that for my own mental health I had to make the suggestion.
So, at the risk of jinxing this (which is why I haven't posted sooner) I am cautiously optimistic. I am afraid the situation at the hospital could get really weird if her family shows up and is against the adoption. I also don't know how well I will do in the delivery room if it really comes down to that and I have no idea how the logistics of travel will work out when she actually does into labor.
PB and I are off to pick up Lily from my parents - they kept her for us overnight last night while we were away.
Stay tuned for more details :-)
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I am funny, some of the time.
I am happy, most of the time.
I am grumpy as hell in the morning, all of the time.
I am infertile.
I am a foster mom.
I am married to a wonderful husband who complements me well and is much nicer than me.
I am surrounded by people who care about me.
I am honest and direct, sometimes too direct.
I am lucky to have the life I do and I am aware of that fact.
I am pretty typical and sometimes boring.
I am prone to strong emotions and sometimes don't control them.
I am a blogger, a reader, a writer, a thinker, a music lover, a knitting fiend, a sister, a daughter, a curious agnostic.
I am me.
So I am supposed to tag 5 people to write their own "I am" poem on their blog.
R. (since you post anonymously, no blog link but I can put it up if you want to)
Friday, May 11, 2007
Disturbing news story here
"Given what we know today, we will probably work toward terminating her parental rights and reuniting the child with his father or another relative"
Note, probably italicized by me.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Mom did not show up for the hearing last week because she was in jail. Potential dad did, however, show up, which surprises me. CW was perturbed that the only questions he asked were what Lily looked like and if she was cute. Paternity testing has been ordered and if it comes back that he is the dad, I guess they will start visits.
Unclear when mom's visits will resume, though according to her sister (who contacted the cw to let him know about the jail thing) she still wants to see her.
Also unclear at this point if sister is a potential relative placement. We'll see what happens.
Hearing was continued until June 19th.
Monday, May 07, 2007
I started to comment then realized I had my own blog and didn't have to hijack her comment page. What I started to write about was how perfectly she described my own feelings about Baby Bear.
I think PB and I have an unspoken agreement not to see him anymore. Not because I don't love him (and miss him) like crazy but because it is too hard. But beyond that, it is because mourn for what we could have given him, if he had stayed with us. And I don't mean material stuff, except to the extent that he wouldn't have to live right on the edge of poverty. I mean love and support, a caring extended family, attention to his development, encouragement & unconditional positive regard, and two parents who are emotional and mentally ready to be parents. All of the stuff that all kids should get. And all of the stuff I want him to have.
And you know what? He might be getting that, or at least most of it. And maybe maintaining contact with him would let me see that he was. But I can't face the alternative and, honestly, I can't watch him turn into a differnt person than I know he would have been with us. Maybe that's selfish and maybe it's not.
The bottom line: it just is. It is what I am capable of handling.
I have mentioned before that I didn't know what people meant when they said their heart was breaking before Baby Bear left us. I have lived a pretty pleasant life. I had a remarkably lovely childhood. I have tons of people in my life who love me. I married the first man I ever seriously dated. I still have both of my parents and generally, what I've set out to do, I've done (except for that whole getting knocked up thing). So my life has been relatively light on the despair and drama. Which is a good thing. Before Baby Bear I didn't know what it was like to physcially hurt when you just thought about someone leaving. I didn't know what it was like to have a panic attack. No possiblity in my life had ever been so terrible that it made me literally throw up. I didn't know what it was like to miss someone so much that it was blinding.
One of the things that has come out of this whole thing has been surprise at our capacity to love. Again if you know me IRL, please try to hold back your gag reflex. But truly, I am amazed at the depth of our love for him, after such a short time. And I am equally amazed at how quickly I fell in love with Lily, this time against my best self protective efforts. I guess if nothing else ever works out - if we never get to adopt a baby from foster care, if we never get to maintain a positive relationship with any of our former foster children, if we never win foster parent of the year LOL - I will at least have gained that.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Found out from the Help Me Grow nurse that Mom also used Methadone, Marijuana and drank occasionally. This makes me very concerned for her. With that kind of drug cocktail, I would imagine she is at high risk for ODing. And she is so young.
Monday, April 30, 2007
She is up to 6lbs, 11oz and 20 3/4 inches long.
This is great progress - she's gained almost two pounds and 2 inches in 3 weeks. *So* happy.
Mom, BTW, did not show. I believe that visits are suspended until further notice. At that point, I think the arrangement would be for mom to show up to visits 1 hour early. Only upon showing up would the transporter be sent to pick up Lily. Then Lily would arrive on time (or one hour after mom, however that works). So basically, the bar has been nudged up a little higher.
Should be an interesting court hearing coming up.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Although I already love Lily very much, I am not hoping her mom won't step up and get things together. Really, I'm not. Would I adopt Lily if she became available? Yes, without question. Am I wishing and hoping her mom will drop off the face of the earth and am I happy when she misses a visit? No.
I'm not saying this isn't a hard line to straddle - of course it is, in fact I'm trying to gather my thoughts enough to write a post on the inherent conflict present for foster-to-adopt fams and whether the whole idea is ludicrous... but it's not ready.
For the time being, I wanted to clarify that I'm not rooting against Lily's mom. I am very angry that she doesn't appreciate the miracle her child is (wow, how schmaltzy is that? people who know me IRL are probably gagging a little right now) and I am angry for what she put Lily through. I am conflicted because it feels like CPS is forcing her to parent, when honestly, it doesn't seem to be important to her. But I'm not hoping that she fails or drops off the face of the earth or never sees Lily again, even if that's what it sounds like when I attempt (apparently poorly) to express what I'm feeling.
And even though it would be *way* easier psychologically if I could.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Unfortunately, Lily's mom missed her very first visit yesterday. I'm told that if she misses three in a row, visits will be cancelled. Sort of like baseball or those three strikes laws.
I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I don't want Lily to be transported unneccessarily and (as I think seeped through in my previous post) I'm not sure I think her mom should be seeing her at all until she cleans herself up.
On the other hand, starting twice weekly visits before she's entered rehab seems like a pretty big gauntlet and I have to wonder if mom's not being set up to fail. Which isn't really fair.
And to complicate matters even further, I don't really feel like the visits are necessarily in Lily's best interest at this point... I concede that moms and babies bond in utero and that children who are separated at birth experience separation issues. In this case, I'd imagine that Lily's drug withdrawal was probably worse than her mom withdrawal though, at least so far.
The issue I have been butting up against, and which I hate myself for having is that I don't think babies this young need to see their bio parents. There. I said the ugly thing I've been thinking. If Lily was 1 or 2 years old when she was removed, or in fact, if she had lived with or been cared for by her mom at all, then of course I'd think the parental bond needs to be maintained - that's why we took Bebe to visit her mom two or three times a week.
But at this point, are we maintaining a bond? Or at best are we re-establishing a bond, or creating one that's not there at this point? And at worst are we re-establishing or creating a bond prematurely - that is before Mom has even demonstrated that she's in any way committed to actually reclaiming the child that she had at one point decided to place with an adoptive family?
With Baby Bear, I really felt that the visits were neccessary and ultimately good. Because both his mom and dad really cared for him and were working to get him back as quickly as possible. They were very young and made a mistake which they were trying to correct.
This time, not so much. And I know it's about addiction and that she's disorganized and has little control over her behavior right now. But I also know she's had a baby and she needs to at least muster the wherewithall to decide what the heck she's going to do about that. I guess as much as I hate it I am angry. Angry for Lily and what already has happened to her and what might (or might not) happen to her in the future.
Friday, April 20, 2007
So, just heard from Lily’s caseworker – he met with mom yesterday. She was apparently very strung out and is still using (by her own admission). He said he “knows she’s got two years to get her act together” but that he’s going to push her to get into treatment before then. He said she looks terrible, and he is not at all optimistic about her
getting staying clean.
And in the same breath he said she will be starting visits on Thursday.
I know that this is required by law. I know that she is Lily’s mom. I know that she deserves a chance to get her life back together and get her kid back.
But I also know Lily is tiny, and she went through a lot of pain and withdrawal because her mom couldn’t manage to get clean for her while she was carrying her. I watched her in the hospital as they were weaning her down. I stayed up with her last week because she couldn’t sleep.
I guess the bottom line is that I know Lily has already been through a lot and I know that personally, I would do anything in my power to keep her from getting hurt again. I wonder if her biomom feels the same way? I wonder if it’s fair for a child to be a reason to get clean? I wonder who the system is really out to help, the kids or the parents?
I know I will get slammed for this. I know this is what I signed up for. But it’s still hard to deal with while it’s happening.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Then Thursday rolled around and the baby fairy dropped off a new little girl who looks exactly like Lily but actually sleeps.
AAAAAAAAA. Yes, that's the sound of the heavens opening.
On Thursday I swaddled her up and I almost didn't even try the crib because I was so sure it didn't work. But I rolled up some blankets on each side of her (a simulated snuggle LOL) and gave her her paci and she went right to sleep. Yay! Ever since then, I'm almost embarassed by how well she's been doing - she's sleeping reliably 3 -4 hours at a time. And not to jinx it, but last night, she actually slept for 5 hours. So I caught up on my sleep this weekend and I was actually able to form a somewhat cohesive thought to post here.
She is eating like a champ and gaining weight really well - when we went to the WIC office on Friday, she was up to 5lbs 6oz. Her face is really starting to fill out and she is even awake and alert and happy sometimes.
Still no word from Mom and it's unclear how her case will be handled. I suspect if mom doesn't show for the May and June hearings they will get pretty aggressive with custody, but I don't know for sure. We'll see. I have to admit I've got mixed feelings on this one. With our first two placements, I felt mostly positive about the families the child was going home to. With this one, it's hard to be excited about the idea of a mom who was addicted throughout her pregnancy getting her baby back. It will be interesting to see what she's like if I ever get to meet her.
Monday, April 09, 2007
She will probably be a handful though... the nurses tell me she has her days and nights mixed up. Good for my friend, J., who will be watching her during the day, not so much fun for PB and me. We've definitely identified two things she doesn't like at all - riding in the car and having her diaper changed. She is a total snuggler - between me, PB (who is a big baby hog) and my mom, she is definitely in the right place.
She is having some common issues with drug exposed babies - sensitivity to stimuli and difficulties soothing, along with a really bad diaper rash. But we're not getting longs jags of inconsolable crying or lots of tremors, so that's good.
If I know you IRL or if we've been corresponding by email shoot me a message and I'll send you a picture. I wish I could post them here but you know the rules :-(
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Speaking of, last night they told us it would be a week before she would be discharged. But they bumped her dosage down again and they think she might be out this weekend. Apparently, she's at .1ml twice per day and she needs to be at .1ml once per day. We'll see what happens.
But, man, is this a weird experience!!! I don't live in a particularly small city. There are at least 6 hospitals in our county's service area. But Lily was born in the same hospital as Baby Bear. To top it off, when we saw her the first night, she was in the exact same spot that he was. And again, this is not a particularly small hospital.
It was eerie.
I also got to see my favorite nurse who took care of Baby Bear. She instantly broke into a huge grin and gave me a big hug. I was surprised by how hard it hit me when I told her he went home. I promised to bring her a picture of him when we visit tomorrow.
The two situations are not really parallel, though. Baby Bear was born strong and healthy, maybe even overterm, and had no prenatal drug exposure. Lily is pretty small (though she was nearly full term - 38 weeks) and was born addicted. Baby Bear's mom was a teenager and Lily's mom is an adult. Baby Bear was instantly taken into court custody as he was abandoned, and with Lily, I'm really not sure at all what's going on.
Lily's mom made an adoptive plan with a local agency. In fact, there are discharge orders for that agency in her file. The best I can make out is that Lily's mom was making an adoptive plan but was pressured by her family to abandon it at the last minute. I don't have any idea how things will progress from here, and I haven't really been able to contact Lily's caseworker - when I tried to call her today, her voice mail said that she will be out until the 24th. In fact, it could be that we will only have her until the agency can claim her and pass her along to another family.
Oddly enough, I feel OK with that. I mean, I will take great care of her and I'm sure once she's home I will be singing a different tune, but I'm feeling much more up to the task of fostering this time around. I feel like I'm going into it without blinders.
Or at least with much smaller ones :-)
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Haven't met her yet, but here are the "specs"
- Born 2/25
- Tested pos for oxycotin at birth. On methadone for tremors, but they are weaning her off right now.
- 4lbs 10oz (again at birth)
- Apgars: 8 and 9 (Yay!)
- Will probably be released later this week.
Monday, April 02, 2007
The first was about 3:30, from the same worker who called with the sibling group of 3. This time it was a 2-year-old boy and his 3-month-old sister. I guess Mom gave the baby to her neighbor, saying she didn't want her. The neighbor then took the baby to the courthouse to adopt her, not realizing there were legal requirements for that sort of thing. This triggered an investigation and the brother was pulled one day later. They had been in their current foster home for one week and the foster mom asked that the brother be removed, because he was too much for her to handle. Of course, they will move the sibling group together.
PB and I turned this one down, too. I know, I know, it's like we don't really want to foster, right? But with both of us working, taking on two kids at once, especially a baby and a 2-year-old felt overwhelming. So, right or wrong, I turned it down. I told the worker I felt badly about it, but that we were really probably going to have to stick to one child at a time. She suggested we officially change our profile to say that. Hmm, a great idea, and why haven't I thought of that myself?
Anyway, we made the change. About half an hour later, I was upstairs talking to my boss when apparently the second call came. It was actually pretty funny. I came back downstairs and my coworker said, "Hey while you were up there, XXX County called." And I said, "Yeah, right and they have a sibling group of 7 for me, right?" I so thought he was kidding.
So, I missed the worker (by this time it was after 5:00) and she just left a message at our home number saying she needed to talk to me tomorrow "about the placement of a baby." I suspect that it is probably a direct from the hospital placement or she would have been a little more frantic about it. But I don't know if it's a boy or a girl or a preemie, or what...
I do know this, I am *so* excited.
When I called PB, he said, "See, we were right. We would have missed this call if we had taken the other placement we were unsure about."
And he's right. But we were both really bummed for the two little ones that won't be placed with us. As usual, I wonder what will happen to them.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
On Friday, PB and I got a call from his aunt. PB’s cousin’s girlfriend’s twin brother’s girlfriend is pregnant. Got that? Basically, a friend of our family’s family. That’s much clearer.
Anyway… they (as in both mom and dad) want to place the baby for adoption. And the twin sister (i.e. the potential biological aunt) wanted to know if we were interested. And, the baby is due in July… wait for it… yes, the same month as S.
Initially, we were too shocked to respond positively. Shocked, like first we have no babies. Now, without even pursuing anything with an agency or facilitator, we could (potentially, theoretically, in the abstract) have two babies. BY JULY.
Then we thought, wait, can we afford this? Umm. Not so much. For instance, can we afford the legal fees for two babies? No, but we can borrow. Can we afford formula and diapers for two babies? Ummm… yes, I think, hopefully? What about two cars and two college educations? No, but they can borrow.
Finally, we decided to go for it. As an exercise at work, I started thinking about the probabilities of the various outcomes. Assuming there is a 50/50 chance that either placement will actually occur, and the placements are two independent events, here are the odds:
· There’s a 25% chance we’ll end up with no baby.
· There’s a 25% chance we’ll end up with two babies.
· That means a 75% chance we’ll end up with at least one baby!
And lastly, there is a 100% chance that our home is still open with no calls and a 79.45% chance that we have officially been blackballed. Of course I’m making that last one up. The blackballed part, not the no calls part.
* That extra 0 is intentional. My mom is over the moon excited about this prospect.