Monday, March 31, 2008

Lily's family

This weekend, we met Lily's dad's family. They had a birthday party for her, here at her aunt's house in town.

In the words of PB, "It was easier before we met them".

They are not bad people - quite the opposite in fact. I suspect that Lily's mom has been lying to a lot of people about this family and Lily's dad. They seem perfectly normal, and remind me a lot of my own family actually - they are loud, and funny, and clearly they love each other a lot. I would say that if Lily returns home (and at this point, I really don't see how she won't, unless PGM decides that she can't commit to raising her) she will return to better circumstances than either Baby Bear or BeBe. In fact, I think she would thrive with her family, based on what little I saw of them this weekend.

And really, that breaks my heart.

I liked it better when I thought that her paternal family was disinterested at best and unfit at worst. That's fucked up, I know it is, but it's the truth. Because I don't want to REALLY think about her leaving. I still can't think about it without crying. I cried when I told my boss about the visit this morning. I cried when I came home and told my mom about the party. And I am crying now, as I write this post.

I want Lily to NEED us the way we need her. And she does, right now, because we are all she knows. She will suffer if she is returned, but as hard as it is to think about, it will be a temporary, transitional thing. It seems that reality is that, in the grand scheme of things, she might not NEED us to parent her for the rest of her life. There might be perfectly suitable parental figures in her biological family. And in time she will stop crying for us and bond to them.

She will forget us.

Please don't mistake me - the thought that Lily will be in a safe and loving environment brings me comfort beyond measure. I just hate that it's taken so long and she has become such an integral part of our family. She is my heart.

I am really beginning to hate being a foster mom. Truly. I suspect that despite all lofty goals to the I will be a short termer. I have to stop writing now because I am at work and I am losing it.
I will post a Lucy update later.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Luuuucccccyyyyy, you're home

Don't worry, that won't be the worst I Love Lucy reference, I promise.

Lucy is home. We returned last night around 8pm. She met my sister, was greeted by her bug sister (who was promptly put to bed), then snuggled with her daddy and ate 3ozs of formula.

Which was all she ate until I woke her up at 2:30. Then she at an ounce and a half. Slept again, until PB woke her up at 7:30am, when she at an ounce. Yes, that's aout 2.5 ozs in 12 hours. Not good.

We called our doctor this morning and they told us to bring her in. He suggested it was a feeding issue related to nipples that were slightly different than those used in the hospital. He did not seem to be concerned about the small amount of formula and told us to call if / when she went 6 - 8 hours without a wet diaper. She weighs in at 6lbs, 10oz, so she is approaching her birthweight pretty quickly. We take her back in a week for a follow up.

I am a giant ball of stress right now, which is not what I was expecting. I hope she starts eating for us soon.

In the "Oh-my-god-my-girl-is-brilliant" moment of the week - the first time Lily saw us feeding Lucy, she promptly made the sign for water and pointed at her cup, the first time I've seen her generalize a sign or word in any way.

Gotta love that.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March 25th is my favorite day EVER

Lily turned one today. She was with my parents and my sister for most of the day, but when we got home this evening, we had a little birthday party, during which Lily wore a hat, ate some cake, looked at her balloons and generally hammed it up. I *can't wait* for her big family party (in two weeks).

As you all know we have been pseudo-parents for some time now. But, thanks to Baby Girl's first parents, we are now legally recognized, will be finalized in 6 months, de-facto parents. They signed the surrender, we signed the adoption placement agreement and she will hopefully be home (for good!!!!) on Thursday.

The whole day was very emotional, incredibly draining and I feel like I want to sleep for about a month. So I won't be posting any details now, but they will come, I promise.

BTW, now that Baby Girl will be a permanent feature around here, I think I will make her blog name Lucy - it was in the running for her actual name, but we went with something else, so I'll use it here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A random post about where I am right now

We met Baby Girl's parents at the hospital before we went up to meet her. It was strange to meet in the hospital, especially since Mom had just delivered, but there really wasn't too much choice.

When we met with her Mom and Dad last Saturday, they had a few questions for us, but really they didn't ask that much. They have visited fairly regularly since she was born. They did not visit this past weekend, though Mom did visit (and brought her 6-year-old son) on Friday. It is hard to talk with her and see how painful this is for her. She seems very certain that it's the right choice, but I think she wishes she were in a much different place and that the choice wouldn't be necessary.

She told me a little bit about her past. Apparently she has (in the not so distant past) used with her own mom. She acknowledges that she has taken advantage of people in her life in the past, in order to get money for drugs. She told me about being in prison for drug offenses and said that she is clean now, for good. She said that's because Baby Girl "saved her life".

I can't honestly say that I would rather see Baby Girl go home with her mom than us. I wish I could say that, but I simply can't. I can say I would rather not take her home than feel like I talked Baby Girl's mom out of her daughter and I would rather not take her home than know that either Mom or Dad felt "obligated" to place her. I know that I've done *everything* I can to make sure there was no pressure from us, aside from our presence at the hospital to visit with Baby Girl (which Mom and Dad both feel is a good and necessary thing).

I hope it's enough.

My mom thinks I'm crazy for not asking them to sign sooner, for not pushing for things to be final. But really, what's a week in the grand scheme of things? I've lived with crushing uncertainty about Lily for so long that I feel like I could handle this in my sleep. Sure it would be the suck if the adoption failed now, I am certainly attached to Baby Girl, and we've picked a name for her and we anticipate bringing her home on Tuesday.

But that's nothing compared to raising a baby for a year and watching them grow and progress beyond your wildest expectations. Baby Girl doesn't call me Mommy, and doesn't smile when she sees me and doesn't bring me things to look at that she's excited about.

I feel like my feelings about Baby Girl and Lily are all tangled up right now. Untangling them could be interesting.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Still smooth sailing.

Hospital staff are behaving themselves, Baby Girl is doing amazingly well - she in markedly more relaxed today and I really feel like she is over the hump. Of course, now that I say that I'm sure I've jinxed it.

The best part is that PB and Lily should be on their way up here very soon. I miss her tons and tons - and him too, of course :-)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm glad I came

In the end, I couldn't wait until Saturday to come back up again. I really felt like I needed to see Baby Girl again, and she needed to see me too. The last part is probably false - her mom and dad have been visiting each day when we can't be there so she's got plenty of love.

Once I got back up here, it was just like last weekend - they gave me a room to visit in and let me stay with her as much as I wanted. I met the social worker, who was much more pleasant than I was expecting and I also met with our social worker from the agency. I had a really great conversation with the nurse practitioner and have, generally, had nothing but a warm reception from the staff.

It looks like mom and dad will do the permanent surrender and we will officially be Baby Girl's future adoptive parents on Tuesday at 2:00pm. Mom is still very emotional about all of this, so there is still a chance it might not happen. That said, I think that Mom and Dad both feel that placing Baby Girl would be the best decision for her. I feel so badly for them - it's hard to watch.

It's also hard because I really want to keep reminding them that they don't have to place her with us. But I've already had that conversation with them a couple of times and I don't want them to think that I don't respect their judgement, etc. I also think they are probably right in their evaluation of their ability to parent her in the immediate future. They are both addicted to some very nasty drugs. He is still actively using and she is on methadone, and will attempt to get clean once she feels like she is past the post-partum period. THat doesn't mean they couldn't turn it around and parent her, it does mean it would be very challenging for a while.

Baby Girl herself is doing very well. If things keep up the way they are right now (i.e. her w/d scores stay low and she continues to eat well) it looks like she will be discharged on Tuesday - we will be able to sign the papers, pick up our girl and BRING HER HOME. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for us.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Advice, anyone?

Has anyone adopted privately and had any difficult coordinating with the hospital regarding visitation, etc?

I'm getting serious mixed messages from the various staff there. Last weekend, the nurses were great, seemed happy to have us visit with baby girl and were super nice to us. This week, we've been told different things by different people (I can board there, I can't board there, We can call to get info, we can't call to get info, she is doing great, she is going not so great).

It's so hard, it's all complicated by the fact that we're three hours away. We want to be there as much as we can IF we can visit as much as we can, but it seems silly to go there, pay to stay and have limited contact ESPECIALLY when we have Lily to care for. I don't want to take time away from her unless it will be useful to be in Cleveland.

As we stand now, I can't stay at the hospital and I will only be permitted to visit for one hour, every three hours. If you take away the nighttime - when I can't be there because I can't board there - then that leaves about 5 one hour visits per day (max), at a cost of 100 bucks a night for a hotel, two days PTO from work and three days away from Lily.

ARGH... I am really at a loss about what to do at this point.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An update on both my girls

First Lily: she walked 7 steps in a row today. And PB got to see it.

Her c/w visit wasn't as terrible as I was afraid it might be... it doesn't seem like a move is imminent. Basically, the meeting was more of the same... mom hasn't been in touch, dad doesn't have a job, has been testing dirty and isn't doing his parenting / drug stuff yet. But, you know, if he busts his butt between now and April, then we'll go ahead and file for an extension.

PGM is still very much on the fence. He actually suggested that if they go for permanency (which they may at the June hearing) we might all (meaning us, her aunt and uncle who still see her and her dad and PGM) want to get together to decide what would be best for her.

Wha? You mean the team concept might actually be employed? I'll believe it when I see it.

You might not be able to tell it, but I actually do have a lot of respect for her c/w. I think he is good at his job and he doesn't let bioparents get away with much. The problem is that his hands are (almost) as tied by the system as ours.

At any rate, nothing is happening right NOW. There is still a possibility that we MIGHT be able to keep her. That's enough for me, for today.

Our other girl is also doing well... so far, she hasn't been medicated at all. She is eating better today and also seems to be sleeping more peacefully. Our biggest issue (right now) is that she is losing weight. She was born at a healthy 7lbs, then dropped to 6 lbs 9oz Sunday and to 6lbs 5oz yesterday. Apparently it's OK for an infant to lose up to 10% of their body weight over the course of a week or so... but over the course of 2 days, well, that's cause for concern.

They've bumped her up to a high calorie formula, and she seems to be coordinating her feedings better, so hopefully this won't be a concern for long.

In addition, we've *finally* received authorization to call in to get updates on her. This happened because her dad was there visiting and expressed his strong desire for us to be able to call in. Then, he called me himself, from the hospital and gave me his "band number" which is the call-in code.

So, all is good with her for now. Unfortunately for her, w/d peaks between days 3 (today) and 5, so she may just be entering the worst part of it.

Tomorrow, I am heading back to Cleveland and I plan to stay through Sunday night. After that, we'll need to reevaluate her status and try to make some guess about how much longer we're looking at. I can't wait until we can get her home - leaving Lily behind really makes me sad. Who knew that one day I'd be splitting my time between two daughters in two different cities?

I am convinced

I voted for Obama in our recent primary, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

I count myself lucky to live in a nation where I had to choose whether to vote for a female candidate or a black one. I count myself lucky to feel that my choice in the primary was between two people who I would be equally thrilled about being the next president.

The feminist in me was SCREAMING to vote for Hillary. Not only because she is a woman (I happen to think she would be a fine president) but at least partly because she is a woman. And how freakin cool would it be to tell my daughters that I helped elect the first woman president? In the end, I voted for Obama because I think he is more electable. But I have to admit, I almost cried when I did it.

After hearing the speech he delivered today, I am firmly convinced that I did the right thing. I have never heard a politician (or really anyone) for that matter, speak so eloquently about issues of race and inequality. If Obama wins the nomination and the candidacy, I think today's speech will go down in history.

I'm proud that I voted for him in the primary.

Monday, March 17, 2008

She walks!

Lily is almost officially walking - like I wouldn't call her a walker yet, but she has officially walked. Her aunt said that she took two steps on Friday, but she didn't take any this weekend. Then, this afternoon, J. called and said she saw her take two steps. When I got home, she was up to three and I saw her do it a couple of times. Unfortunately, she wasn't "performing" for PB so he hasn't seen it yet.

It's so adorable, she throws her hands up and out and is so proud of herself. Then she freaks out and falls down.

At the same, time, it's also incredibly sad... she is growing up so fast. Her milestones are making crazy now. I feel like each one if bringing us closer to the day when she's taken away from us. How morbid is that?

I've felt all along that PGM would be the biggest possibility for placement, and moving visits there is a pretty good sign - she has now passed the homestudy and is an approved caregiver. There is no supervision during the visits.

Last week I got an email from her c/w - Lily's grandma has expressed "some interest" in getting her. Now, IMHO, "some interest" after almost a year doesn't mean shit. But we all know that's not how the system works, now don't we? Her c/w is coming out to meet with us tomorrow night; I'm afraid he's coming to tell us that he will recommend moving her at the June hearing. That thought literally terrifies me. I don't even know what to do with thoughts of her leaving. I mean, it was terrible enough with Baby Bear, this... this is something I can't even comprehend happening.

Lily also has three teeth now - one of her top teeth broke through just last night / today. Why do I wish I hadn't noticed that?

Edited to add: will post updates about the new baby soon. I'm really focusing on Lily tonight.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cleveland rocks!

Or at least for now it does.

Our maybe, eventually, hopefully, soon to be, adoptive daughter was born yesterday at 5:47am. We got the call to come to Cleveland around 11:00am, and we were here by 4:30.

She is adorable, of course. She was born at 7lbs exactly, and is 19 and 3/4 inches long. She has a full head of dark hair and dark eyes... or at least they look dark, what little we've seen of them.

We met mom and dad. They were very nice, and the meeting wasn't nearly as awkward as I was afraid it might be. Mom, especially, is very emotional. I feel really badly for her. It's so hard to realize that our happiness has to be based on someone else's loss.

The baby is doing well so far, but she is already beginning to w/d. We will be here through tonight, then back home for a couple of days. I am considering coming back up on Wednesday, with PB joining me on the weekend. We'll see. The hospital says we are looking at a hospital stay of 10 days, minimum - it's their policy to not dismiss babies born addicted prior to 10 days.

Lily is at my mom's house, which I think has both of them thrilled. We miss her terribly, and we talk about her all the time with the nurses. My parents and my sister are doting over her, so I don't feel too bad about leaving her.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rest assured....

Late night visits will not be happening again, if I can help it.

Lily finally got home at 9:30. Now I don't think nap and bed times are sacrosanct, that kind of rigidity is not my personal priority - though I do understand that for some children, routines are absolutely necessary. So a disruption in her schedule does not normally cause me to flip out. That said, Lily is in a pretty consistent pattern of going to bed around 7:00 -7:30.

IMHO, transporting an infant to a visit with her biological family in a city an hour away in the evening is just not acceptable... it really isn't.

Her cw insists it is a one-time thing. And if I have anything to say about it - which, let's face it, I really don't, especially if I'm not the one transporting - it will be.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's 8:15pm

And Lily is not home. Why, you ask?

Well, that's because this week is the first week they transported her to a city an hour away for her visit. Crappy enough in and of itself.

But, this week the transporter had a conflict. So, of course, we just pushed the visit back. She wasn't picked up until 4:15. So with an hour each way and two hours in the middle, that puts her back around 9:15.

But wait, she wasn't picked up until 4:30... so 9:30.

Only two hours past her bedtime. No big deal.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Home

Mom got home on Friday. She is still weak and tired and very much in the thick of recovering, but she is happy to be here instead of in the hospital.

Lily and I are here keeping her company. I think Lily is good for her. Or at least I hope she is :-)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A close call

My mom was admitted to the hospital on Sunday. She has pneumonia. When she got to the ER her BP was 60 over 30 and apparently, her kidneys were failing. After they realized this, they admitted her right away. It was a close call.

She began to make some improvements, was feeling better and breathing better. Until Tuesday when her BP bottomed out again and she started feeling much worse. Turns out she also has sepsis.

5 IV bags full of antibiotics in 36 hours have helped, but she is still there. I do think she's feeling better and she's probably going to be OK now, but it's hard for her - she's pretty much NOT into being sick and really dislikes being forced to have a roommate. They're telling her she'll probably get out tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Update

We did match with the e-mom. We asked for time to make the decision, we apologized profusely for not being able to say yes right away, but both PB and I felt like we needed to just process the situation and make absolutely certain it was a good idea.

I don't want to disclose too much, but the e-mom has a disease that is transmitted through blood (not the BIG one, but still). There is a very low chance of the baby contracting it, but it is still a possibility, and we won't know if she has the disease for a very long time.

It was a surprisingly hard decision for us to make. I don't like to think of us as "those" PAPs, the ones who feel their pain and their infertility and their long suffering childless standing give them the privelage of parenting only a perfect, white infant. What we realized when this situation presented itself is that maybe we are more like "those" PAPS than we thought, which was... um... ridiculously uncomfortable.

Eventually, we thought about Lily and how similar this baby's circumstances are to hers. We thought about the fact that we had absolutely no idea if her biomom had the same disease - she very well could, given that she shares a similar history with the e-mom. We realized that if our agency called us and asked us to take this baby we would, without hesitation. We felt like she might need us, that maybe having Lily prepared us to not flip out about the drug exposure (which we probably would have just one year ago).

So first, on Thursday night, we said, "No way." We took the night to sleep on it and asked Nancy, our wonderful s/w from Cleveland for more time to think about it. Then we took the weekend, talked, thought, etc, and finally called Nancy on Monday morning to accept.

So that's probably way more than you wanted to know about the process. If anyone is still wondering, I did tell PB that I am roiling ball of emotions, which, you know, up to that point he hadn't realized, and that he had to have the ultimate veto power on this one.

Now we wait.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Survey says...

Hey, if you are a member of the adoption triad, take a minute to complete Dawn's survey, will ya:

Click here

I unfortunately don't yet qualify for the survey, which is about open adoption.

You should also check out her blog, if you haven't already. Love it.