Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ahh, the probabilities

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:

· Our chances of getting just one baby are still about 50%.

· 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!

We like those odds and honestly, I am secretly excited about the prospect of pseudo-twins (that’s my own personal term, I’m about to copyright it). That’s probably because there’s a 0% chance that I will end up as the SAHP to them, and there is a 1000%* chance that my mom will come stay with us in August as she is off from school at that time.

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.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

No news is...

no news.

Haven't received any more placement calls. Haven't had any more contact with S.

We are in a major holding pattern.

So what does a redblooded American do when they are stuck in a rut and need an emotional high? Well, they buy something of course! Here's what we bought:

I *heart* my new car. PB says it's a "hipster" car, so I think there's a good chance that my car is way cooler than me. Actually I'm sure of it, but whatever. Here are some reasons why my car is so freakin' cool:
  • It has an iPod compatible radio. I plug my iPod into a special plug on the console and it automatically talks to my radio. It shows all my song titles (even the crappy ones that PB tags my music with - Amanda's Crappy Song 1, etc) and... wait for it... it charges my iPod at the same time. Do you know how long it's been since my iPod was fully charged?
  • Said radio has a background that magically changes colors. The little screen changes from Pink to red to gray to blue to purple, etc, ad infinitum.
  • It is red. Salsa red. Like the picture*
  • It is EPA rated at 33 and 35 mph. So it will probably get high 20's. So I think that means it's considered environmentally friendly. Err... friendlier.
  • There aren't a ton of these on the road. But it's not as distinct as the car with all the doll parts on it. Sorry, this is a reference you will only get if you live in my town... although come to think of it, it's pretty straightforward. Think crazy car guy who has glued miscellaneouos doll parts ALL OVER his car. That's about it. The point of all this? My Scion makes me "optimally distinct".
  • It's made by Toyota so it should be reliable. And to me, reliable is cool.
  • It has, like, 4 cupholders.
  • It has a "European style" dash. C'mon. Just calling it that makes it cooler.
  • It is square, like an old-school Jeep Cherokee. Only it rides better. Yay!
  • It is reasonably priced. Or as reasonably priced as any new car can be. I usually don't buy new because I hate the ginormous depreciation that happens pretty much the second you leave the lot. This is a new 2006. They didn't make a 200 7 model because they are retooling the design, and the 2005s weren't really much cheaper. End of crappy rationalization.
So somehow this turned into a post about my car. I hope that's OK. I don't mean to brag, I'm just really in love with this thing.

I am trying to come up with a name. Naming my cars is a big thing for me. I've had Trixie the Tempo, Patty the Plymouth, Sally the Stratus and now I have to come up with a Scion name. I'll keep you posted.

*This is not my actual car. This footnote is probably totally unnecessary if you know me IRL, because if so you know the last time I was on a bike was when I was like 12. I've forgotten how. Despite the urban legend that this is impossible. I have. Really.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I'm going to be blackballed.

Turned down another placement yesterday. When the referral worker starts with, "I know you're licensed for 2 but this is a group of 3" and, when you ask for more info says, "Do you have a piece of paper and a pencil?" you know you're in big trouble.

3 kids, aged 2, 3, and 4
Going to file for PCC, and the referral worker said, "I do see here that you're dual-licensed. I'm not asking for a commitment from you to adopt, but I I wanted you to have that piece of info."

And they needed to be placed last night!

No way we can take that on. I am sure that all of these "nos" are being recorded somewhere, but I just can't do it.

Oh yeah, and with this one, we've officially turned down more placements than we've accepted :-(

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A confession

I'm jealous. Of PB, my husband.

See, the thing is he is the most laid back man I've ever met. Which is good because he balances out my tendency to be ridiculously high strung and borderline crazy less laid back.

But I am so envious of his ability to not let all of this drama get to him. Or at least it gets to him rarely. He is almost always on an even keel. And before you even say it, it's not that he's really feeling tons of stuff and doesn't talk about it. He is really and truly able to let things go and just be.

He doesn't obsess about when our next placement call will come. Or what happened to the placements we turned down. Or what S. is thinking and whether we will be parenting her daughter later this summer*. Or whether we will ever be parents. Or whether we should just chuck the whole thing and start travelling... a lot.

He is able to make plans, buy concert tickets, go out with his friends, join softball leagues, schedule doctor's appointments, plan to work overtime, all without wondering if we'll have to change things because there will be a baby in the house.

He can look at car listings and try to pick what he wants (within reason), without wondering if we should get something cheaper to help pay for attorney fees. He can tell his mom that we're fine, that we're just waiting, that eventually it will all work out.

He doesn't let our infertility and our status as foster parents impact every fucking decision he makes. And I am so jealous of that.

*I am happy to report that he recently started suggesting Ma names. Which made me happy.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Turned down :-(

Got a call today about a 11-month-old little girl. She needs to be moved immediately and we can't take any time off work tomorrow so I had to turn it down.

Backstory: Mom is a heroin addict who has already had three kids taken from her. Baby has been staying with grandma. Mom took baby from Grandma's and ran, OD'd on heroin and baby ended back up in foster care. Grandma wants to remain part of the case, but mom is currently living with grandma so baby can't be placed there.

It's so sad... I want to take all of the kids they call me about but I just can't. This would be so much easier one of us (meaning PB) was a stay-at-home parent.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I do have to admit...

I am the tiniest bit excited... S. mentioned that she wanted us to pick out a name for the baby together. Her criteria is that it start with an Ma, and contain 3 as if possible, as that's the case with her other two children. So I have to cop to the fact that Ma girl names have been bouncing around my head like crazy since she called. But, shhh.... not even PB knows that!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

It's a girl!

S. is having a girl. She called to let us know earlier this week. She still seems really set on us adopting her baby. I still have no idea about how the whole thing will play out.

We are thinking of retaining an attorney because a) if both S. and Dad (don't know his name) decide to place, we'll need one anyway and b) I don't want to have to be the one to tell S. that we can't help her when it comes to the situation with Dad. Well, let me rephrase, it's not like I am afraid of telling her. I don't want her to think we are throwing our hands up and walking away from her because we know that Dad is involved. She has the perception that we can affect the situation, if we choose to. Although I've tried to tell her that's not the case, I feel like she might interpret further communication about that to mean we don't care enough. I think, if she hears it directly from the attorney (who she has given us permission to release her information to) then she will understand the situation better and hopefully, the attorney will be able to give her sound legal advice about her options.

I really want to help S., if I can, regardless of whether she decides to parent or not. I'm just afraid there's not much more I can do.

A couple of people have asked how I feel about this whole situation. Honestly, I have really mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am so sad for S. and what she's going through. I mean, I am well aware that in a perfect world, she'd parent her daughter if she could. And I encouraged her to be sure that that wasn't still an option for her. So, I am proud of P.B. and I for trying to handle this whole thing as honestly and ethically as possible.

But if I openly acknowledge that S. would rather parent than not (and I do), and if she really feels like she has to place her for adoption to "give it a better life" [her words], then it's really hard for me to be happy for us. I mean, how can I celebrate the fact that she feels like she can't provide for her child?

By adopting the baby, do we take advantage of her situation? Or could I right just a little bit of the wrong by being sincerely and honestly open to whatever level of communication she wants to have with her daughter in the future? Is that the best case scenario given the shitty reality that she doesn't have enough money to provide for herself and her children?

And am I being a total ass by not respecting her right and ability to make this decision for herself and her child? Should I not even consider our role in "perpetuating" (not the right word, but I don't know what is) situations where mothers have to make these decisions? Is that, in and of itself, incredibly condescending to her as a mother?

I don't know. I just don't. I know there aren't any easy answers. I am torn between my self interested need for adoptions to happen and my uneasiness for what it means to take a child from its mother, especially if she's not entering into the situation because she doesn't want to parent, but because she feels like she doesn't have enough money or support to parent.

If you're still reading, thanks. There's really nothing new or interesting here, just some thoughts I need to get out, to struggle through and try to make sense of.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Our meeting

Well, in terms of meeting with a woman who is considering adoption and communicating with her on a very honest and productive level, I think our meeting went really well.

S.’s first words to us were that she was nervous. Well, besides, “Hi, I’m ______”. Anyway, we laughed and I told her we were, too. I actually started off just as you all suggested, with the statement about how what we really want her to know is that if she chooses adoption, we would like for her to understand that we would be the best parents we could and that we welcome whatever degree of openness works for her.

Midway through the opening sentence, she cut me off and said, “I am sure that I want to place the baby. If you all are open to fighting for this baby, it’s yours. I definitely want to give it up [her words, not mine] but his dad says he wants to raise him.” She didn’t ask many questions about us. She looked through the picture album I had hurriedly put together, and she asked us if we had any other children, but other than that she wasn’t that curious about us, per se. Part of that may be because she had already received a lot of information about us from her sister.

Anyway, the issue is she doesn’t feel like she can give the baby the kind of life she wants to, so she is looking for a “financially stable, well-educated family” [again, her words, not mine] to place the baby with. She is convinced that the baby’s father cannot provide this; he is young, parties a lot and does not regularly call her to see how she is doing. She thinks that he may change his mind about parenting, and she wants us “fight him” and “convince him” that it’s not a good idea for him to parent.

I tried to let her know that that really isn’t the way it works. That if he wants to parent, he has the right to, that we don’t have any legal standing or influence when it comes to who the baby is placed with, that if she terminates her parental rights, she won’t either. I also told her we really didn’t want to put any pressure on her (or the father) to place if they don’t want to.

What I didn’t tell her is what I suspect is probably the truth – the only way she can guarantee that he won’t parent the baby is to chose to do so herself. I feel terrible for the situation she is in – it’s clear that if she had more resources she would raise this baby. I can’t imagine having to make that choice, that sacrifice.

Uggh… why does this have to be so hard?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Thank you!

Now that I've had a day to process things, I'm feeling much less, well at least a little less, freaked out. I appreciate all the comments and of course, all of you are right. I just need to be myself. And I didn't express myself well yesterday - probably because I literally had just hung up the phone when I posted. I'm not nervous that we'll make her decide not to place the baby, or even that she'll decide not to place the baby with us. Those are her decisions to make and I realize that I can't (and I really, really, don't) want to influence them.

The thing is, I really want to do well by her (ack... still not expressing myself well). I just... I want her to feel OK if she doesn't pick us. I want her to ask us all the questions that she wants to - I want her to know what we know, that if she decides not to parent, we will be kick ass parents to her child (especially PB), but that if she decides to parent, well, that's fine, too, and we will wish her the best.

I think Dawn was right on when she said that it's like a first date. That's exactly the kind of nervousness I feel. Well, I've only had one first date (remember how I married my HS sweetheart? Yeah, turns out he's really the only guy I've ever dated. I know, we're weird like that) but the point still holds. I know that this may (or may not) be the beginning of one of the most significant relationships of my life. And that's what I'm nervous about, will we click, will we get along, will we feel comfortable? And if we don't, will I be able to keep my huge mouth shut and not try to fill the silence?

I know that it will be OK, whatever happens - whether this is the only time we ever speak to S. or whether this is the beginning of a connection that I don't have the experience to prepare for... It'll be OK.

I just wish the first part of it was over.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ummm.... Yeah.

OK. So I'm freaking out a little right now. S. (ex-sister-in-law's sister) wants to meet us. On Sunday.


That about sums it up. I am so freaking nervous. I've never written a dear birthmom (or firstmom) letter. I don't know how to talk to her. And when I get nervous, I talk. I talk way. too. much. Plus, I can be kind of of loud and overbearing. And I might mess it up.

Ahhaaaahhh.. forget it. See above.

Words of wisdom, anyone? Or just words?