Thursday, November 17, 2011

You know that this means?!?!?

Photo removed. Contact me if I know you :) Introducing Brooklyn :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

He waves!

B.B. waved for the first time today - at my coworker Alison. PB dropped by with the baby so he could sign the last bit of paperwork for Brooklyn's adoption, which is slated for National Adoption Day festivities at our agency. Let the carnival commence.

B.B's mom missed her first visit on Friday. I'm hoping that she will show today and it was just some mix-up - she previously called to cancel a Friday visit, so perhaps her CW was just out or something. It is scheduled to start in 6 minutes so time will tell.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Twice in one month? Wha? Wha?

You know, I used to think that once you had three kids, more kids wouldn't matter. I'm not totally sure that's still true. What I do know is that for us, the transition from 2 to 3 was MILES easier than the transition from 3 to 4.

BB is worth it though. He's adorable and a happy baby. I still can't figure out his backstory - since we don't interact with mom much I don't get a good feel for what his life might have been like. I do know he is a people person and he acts like a "spoiled" baby - I don't really think babies can be spoiled, but you know what I mean. He is charming, smiley, and does not tolerate being ignored. He is in love with PB - he might be perfectly content with any random adult, until and if PB enters his line of sight, then he cries like he's in pain until PB rescues him.

We got a notice for a 90 day case review. Unlike every other notice I've ever received regarding these things, this one clearly said we should be there and our presence is important, which was good to see. The former letter basically said, You NOT required to attend. You do NOT have to show up. I like that our County is moving in this direction.

The girls are all back in preschool. Miss Brooklyn is the darling of her class - the teachers at her school adore her, which is great. Lily is way more excited about school this year, which is also great. Lucy apparently cried on and off for her entire first day (!!) but rebounded and told me "school was very fun." on her second day. This is day 3 so we'll see where we end up.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Mr. BB

BB is now army crawling - happened sometime last week (I was away on a business trip). He is also still very personable.

Ironically enough, BB's mom is in the same treatment home as Brooklyn's mom was. Visits started last week. BB's worker is really odd - she insisted on arranging transportation both ways for the visits, which is kind of a bummer for PB and me, given that we really like to work with biofamilies - PB met mom and grandma once, the first time we dropped him of for a visit.

Brooklyn's case is moving. We've completed the application to adopt and are waiting now. No word from Mom.

Lily and Lucy are getting ready to start preschool. Lily saw her old preschool teacher (the one she wouldn't talk to or make eye contact with while she was actually her teacher last year), ran across the office and gave her a huge hug. I think she is growing out of the shyness.

Lucy is absolutely hysterical. She now has a boyfriend, called Roger. He is 16 and apparently comes to our house at night after PB and I go to bed. I told her I'm having him arrested.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Fastracked

So with regard to Brooklyn, my mixed feelings have more to do with the loss I know she and her mom feel rather than mixed feelings about whether or not the outcome was the best / right one. I definitely think it was best. I know it was right.

Though her mom was very close to reunification (overnight visits were about to start) I'm not sure she was psychologically ready, or that she would necessarily ever have been. I am relieved to know that she called the c/w one last time about a month before PCC was granted - although she didn't know the date / time of the hearing, she was made aware that the County was filing and I'm confident she knew what that meant. She refused to tell the c/w where she living and didn't take any more action to try to see Brooklyn or stop the PCC from occurring.

Although the end outcome (knowing Brooklyn was going PCC and not doing anything about it) is still the suck, I have to admit that that makes me rest a bit easier. I had nightmares about her finding out after the fact and being very angry. She may still be very angry, but at least I know she knew. If that makes any sense.

So we had our first visit with an adoption worker last week - the same worker who finalized Lily's adoption. She was thrilled to see Lily and says the adoption is being fasttracked. Suffice it to say I'll believe that when I see it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Brooklyn is officially staying (well almost)

Yesterday was Brooklyn's review hearing. The county went for P.C.C. and it was granted. Pending a 30 day appeal process, her case will be transferred to adoptions.

Court was so bizarre. On the one hand I know that this is the best thing for Brooklyn - I have no doubts about that. But I had a lot of interaction with her mom and she was SO close to reunifying that it was odd to see all that so fundamentally changed in a 15 minute court hearing. Bizarre.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Welcome to BB

Yeah, I know this blog name is close to BeBe, who was our second placement but I'm not feeling that original now and we actually call him B.B. IRL as a nickname for his real name.

Here's the scoop.

Just as I was about to leave work to go to an evening focus group, I got a call from PB. Here's how the conversation went:

PB: Guess where I'm going?
ME: I don't know. Graeter's (a frequent destination because of the ladies love of ice cream and indoor playgrounds)
PB: No, guess again.
ME: I don't know. Where?
PB: Intake
ME: For what?
PB: To pick up a 6.5 month old baby boy.
ME: Oh my. What have you gotten us into?
PB: I thought you wanted to take a baby boy.
ME: I did. Hypothetically. Crap. OK. Well, send me a picture as soon as you can!

I then obsessively checked my phone for the next hour waiting for the picture of the world's cutest baby boy to pop up on my phone. All smiles. He is easily the most cheerful baby I've ever seen (which is saying something because Lucy was a pretty happy baby).

His birthday is 12.28 so he's coming up on 7 months. Appears to be happy, health and well cared for. Was staying with a grandparent who can't keep him. Mom is away for 3 months so we'll see what happens after that.

So we're a family of 6... For now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Will we adopt her?

The short answer is Yes.

The long answer is Yes, but I feel a little guilty about it. Here's the thing, Brooklyn has been with us for 18 months so far. When she came to our house she was mostly emotionally non-expressive, couldn't walk, didn't crawl, and wouldn't (or couldn't) talk.

Now she is a happy (if temperamental), healthy, walking, running, skipping, trying to jump, almost 3 year old, part of our family. She has made so much progress in the last year and a half and she in incredibly bonded to our daughters. It's been our honor to watch her transform.

So, we simply can't imagine NOT adopting her. I also can't imagine the consequences of moving her to another home at this point. As much as neglect was involved in her state when she came to us, I know that part of it was the abrupt transition, too. She must have been scared sick, and it took her A LONG TIME to come out from wherever she was before. So even if we could wrap her heads around her not being with us, I don't have any mental space to contemplate what her being somewhere else would look like.

That said, we certainly weren't planning to adopt again, especially someone who is four months younger than our youngest. I worry about the impact this will have on our family in the long term. I know it means that Lily and Lucy will not have some of what they might have if we stuck to just two. Attention for one, cars for another :) But they love Brooklyn, and she loves them.

I feel guilty because I'm not over the moon excited about adopting her. I can't help but think about what we felt when we knew Lily would finally (FINALLY) be available for adoption. I worry about whether those feeling show through. I know that I don't consciously treat my children differently, but I worry that a part of her gets it.


And then a couple of weeks ago, PB and I sat on a preservice panel - the last meeting of training for new foster parents. Brooklyn was with us, and sitting behind the table where we were. I saw a few couples in the room looking at her and smiling, and I knew. They were us. The us of four years ago. Any one of those couples would feel about adopting Brooklyn like we felt about adopting Lily. What right did I have to stand in the way of that?

I've been poking at these feelings for quite some time now, and I think part of it, too, has to do with the fact that quite simply, she hasn't been *mine* for as long. The reality is that I brought home Lily as a tiny, tiny, baby and she was mine LONG before she was officially mine. That's why I was so sick at the thought of her leaving. She has (almost) always been MY child. Admitting that is tough, because it means that I didn't really want her to reunify, as much as I wanted to want her to reunify.

But I think I feel more like a foster mom to Brooklyn. She was, quite simply, someone else's child. She saw her mom a lot. Her mom was working very hard to get her back, and I was doing what a good foster mom would do - I loved her, and I did whatever I could to facilitate a bond between Brooklyn and her mom. I fed her, and bathed her, and played with her, and loved her. But the reality is that I loved her like I loved someone else's child. Not just any child... more like I love my nephew - I'd be really, really, really sad if he was gone, for instance, but my life wouldn't crumble.

I don't know if that makes sense. But in the last few weeks I've done a lot of thinking and lot of rehashing with PB. Understanding the Brooklyn is ours, and loving her like she's ours will be part of the process of adopting her. Those other couple at the panel aren't us. They haven't loved Brooklyn for 18 months. She's just part of our family, and so, of course, she will stay.

Friday, March 25, 2011

In case any of you don't follow fosterhood

Go show Rebecca some love. Her FD, Jacket, is about to go home permanently with basically no transition.

http://fosterhood.tumblr.com/

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For those who are still interested....

First of all, happy birthday to my sweet Lucy. Breakfast cake was enjoyed with Gusto at Chez Psychic.

Brooklyn is obviously still with us. After making lots of progress, including getting a job, and a place to live, and completing nearly all elements of the caseplan and proceeding to unsupervised visits, her mom... disappeared. This is not the first time this has happened, but I suspect it will be the last. Brooklyn's next hearing is scheduled for June, and from what c/w is telling me based on information (which I do not know) from the probation officer, Brooklyn's mom would have to start all over on the caseplan.

I am thinking this must mean she is in really bad shape. Since they have already filed a first extension, it's unlikely that one more extension (which is all that is allowable by Federal law) would be enough time, even if she resurfaced right away. Which she didn't.

So we're left having dinner conversations about how sometimes adults use medicine that they shouldn't, and when that happens they can't make good choices for their babies, so it's not safe for babies to live there. And saying "I don't know" when asked when we might see Mama M. again. And watching an almost-three-year old look disappointed and confused.

Which is really nothing compared to what this is like for Brooklyn's older brother who "stays with" Mom's cousin. He was (until about 6 weeks ago) visiting regularly with his Mom, spending weekends with her. He is old enough to really and truly understand what's going on, and I can't imagine what this is like for him.

I am angry. But I also feel badly for Mama M. I know that this addiction is something she has fought so hard against and I do know that deep down she loves Brooklyn. That said I can't fathom an instance in which I would let anything stand between me and my children - not drugs, or a caseplan, or a boyfriend. Nothing.

That ambivalence is rough. Not nearly as rough as what Brooklyn and her brother do (and will) have to deal with. I've got the easy road here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Second crappiest foster parent moment ever?

Answering, "I am sorry honey, I don't know" to Brooklyn asking SIX times "Where she at?" as we waited outside her mom's apartment for the visit she missed.

No one has heard from her since before our vacation, and she cancelled the last visit we had before we left. Apparently she is going to manage mess this up.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Hmm...

Thought I should check in and let you know that we are all, in fact, still alive. Here are some drive by updates on my girlies:

Lily - Will be FOUR in March - how f'ing crazy is that? I am continually amazed at her processing, and the things she asks and wants to talk about, but I've told you that before. Conversations with Lily as of late have centered around not wanting Brooklyn to go home, Disney World (where we're going NEXT WEEK!!), and anxiety about school - one of her teachers left unexpectedly in the middle of the year and I made the mistake of mentioning that she would get a new classroom next year, which OMG, the sky is falling, and she doesn't want to change classrooms, and she doesn't want to go to school, and oh by the way (direct quote) "I want to stay 3." Well, ok then.

She has also been talking about skating with Aunt R., which I'm told did not go as well the second time as the first, but which she still seems pretty stoked about. And, finally, she got her video from her preschool Christmas program. I dropped her off at school yesterday, and kept it in my car. She was apparently pretty perturbed that PB wouldn't bring her to my work to get it. The SECOND I was home, we had to watch it. Before starting, she said "This is going to be so awesome." After watching, she said, "I loved that movie." The child is seriously buying her own press. I'm glad she can't read my blog (yet).

Lucy is her adorable, (mostly) laid back self. She will be THREE in March (see my comment above). This morning she said that she can't wait to grow up so she can use big people words. She then paused, looked at PB, and said "Like you", slowly swiveled her adorable little head to me, and said, "and you." The last thing I told Lucy that I couldn't believe came out of my mouth was, "Lucy, you CANNOT call your sister a beef penis." Yes, she did and yes, I did.

She also is convinced that all comments / corrections are yelling. She would not get into her chair for dinner one night this week. And I said, "Sweetie, you need to get into your chair." Really, that's exactly what I said. She turned around, gave me an AWESOME glare and screamed, "STOP.YELLING.AT.ME." She's not sure about going to preschool next year. She said she's rather "stay home and hang out with Papa." Fair enough.

Brooklyn is still with us. Her mom just started unsupervised visits last week, which seemed to be going well enough. Our only hitch is that now that there are no social workers around she seems to live in silk pajamas. A bit awkward for PB, that. Brooklyn's rate of catching up seems to have leveled off, and her preschool teachers are happy with her progress, which is good. She is coming with us to Disney, and I think that if her mom keeps it together, she'll go home no later than early June. We'll see. Her mom has been working very hard and deserves this chance. I just hope that it will be OK.Recently Brooklyn told me that she wants to live with Mama M (her mom's first name) which I think is a very good sign, even if she doesn't really get what that means. She is also coming to us with Disney - her mom said we could take her even if she went home by then, which was really nice, I think.

I am also struggling with how to most easily talk to my kids about this and get everyone ready. So far it's been pretty matter-of-fact, and neither of the girls is happy at the thought of Brooklyn leaving. I am ambivalent. She's been here for so long, but she's always felt like what she is - someone else's child. I think that's been more obvious with her because her mom has been so involved for so much of the time she's been here. Anyway,aside from how Brooklyn and her mom will fare, the second biggest worry is how I keep my kids (especially Lily, who like me, overthinks EVERYTHING) from thinking they might have to go live somewhere else someday, too. I think this is unique to having adopted and foster kids, and would love to hear any advice you've got.

Phew, I think that's it for now. What's up in your corner of the world these days?