Monday, April 30, 2007

Lily is growing!

While they were waiting for mom to show up at the office today, the early intervention nurse measured her.

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

A quick point of clarification

I think I may be expressing myself poorly - not that that's a big surprise.

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

And Thursday makes two...

She missed her visit today. I guess I don't have much more to say about that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

One strike....

Lily's cw decided to do visits twice a week since she is so young and it's important for them to bond as soon as possible.

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.

Sigh.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Let the circus commence

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

A new week, a new baby...

Not actually a new baby... Lily's not going anywhere anytime soon. But our first several days with her were really rough. She wasn't sleeping at all. I'm talking sleeping 20 - 30 minutes at a stretch, even when I finally broke down and brought her into bed with us. And I know, that's a no-no, but I could.not.help it. I couldn't think of anything else to do but snuggle her.
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

Lily is home!

We finally got to pick her up tonight. Let me tell you, I am already in love. She is so cute - and little!! Of course, I'm just a little biased.

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

Deja Vu

I've internet christened her Lily. We've been visiting her for two days now. She seems to be doing very well. She is perfectly adorable - tiny, tiny with a lot of dark hair. She is doing so well for a baby born in her circumstances. The nurses tell me she is much calmer than most drug exposed babies and that she is easier to soothe. In addition, and much to PB's delight, she seems to be sleeping in 5 hours stretches. Of course, who knows what will happen when they wean her fully off the methadone?

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

It's a girl!!

In the same hospital where Baby Bear was. I am trying to come up with an internet name for her right now.

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.
We are so excited. I will post more details later, because I shouldn't be blogging at work, but I figured a drive by posting would work for now.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Close calls.

Proving once again that my blog title is so not true, we got not one, but two, placement calls today. So I guess that officially means we're not blackballed.

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.