My Family

My Family

Thursday, August 30, 2012

First Meeting

It has been really crazy busy around here.  Not unusual for us, but hings have really picked up.  I feel like my house has been hosed down in pepto.  Honestly, I have never seen so much pinky cuteness around here.  Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled.  It is just so weird after years of blue, green, and brown to have so much estrogen unleashed in a matter of a week!  I am girly myself, but this tops it all! 

So this means yes baby is coming home!! All those months of hair pulling, crazy insane moments.  Cary will arrive on this coming Tuesday at 11am.  Eastern Standard Time.  And yes, we are thrilled. 

But I really want to back up to our first meeting with our new little one.  This meeting was a lot less stressful than Marvin's meeting.  I really came prepared. I had extra tissue for tears, camera, water bottle (when I am really nervous I get extra thirsty), mints, you name it I probably had it in my purse. 

I was early at the DSS and spent about five minutes trying not to have a nervous breakdown.  I kept busy by watching parents scream at little kids and little kids climbing on chairs, hitting people, all the good stuff you find waiting at a DSS office.  I did find a nice quiet family to sit by.  The kids had hand held video games and were excited that they were getting into really high levels. 

Then Shannon and Ms. J. walked in.  Shannon was carrying a car seat.  In that car seat was a snoozing baby.  Apparently, he had gotten there at the same time.  We went upstairs to the cafeteria and Shannon plunked down a little pink bundle on the table.  (Sorry no pics.  I can't get them to upload.  I'm going to have to get Shannon to look at this!  It is really irking me!) 

Cary was placidly snoozing away.  I looked around for a foster mom and there was none in sight.  In answer to my questioning glance J quietly said that the foster mother refused to come.  In one way that was good.  I could just focus on loving up Cary and not have to worry about upsetting her.  In another way I felt really bad.  I wanted to hug her and thank her so much for taking such good care of Cary.  I also wanted to know her schedule, what she liked to play with, type of formula, that sort of thing.  But since that was not going to happen I just decided to focus on Cary. 

Which I did.  I scooped her right up out of her car seat while she just kept on sleeping.  I kissed her little head, and just commenced extreme love time.  After a while J scooted on out of there so Shannon and I could just spend time with her.  By then she had woken up and Shannon was holding her.  He resisted holding her claiming he didn't know how but I made him and he caught on pretty quick.  She really liked Shannon.  Then I claimed her again and J had come back. 

Cary really started coughing at that point.  She was turning purple and I know that that is not a good sign.  So we went down to J's office and Cary stopped coughing.  She became very busily employed on chewing through my shirt at that point.  J showed us Cary's drawer filled with over , wait for it, 5,000 pages of medical history.  Yup. 

That is a little scary.  But Cary was in the hospital from her birth till May.  So a lot of the pages are just what time she ate, that sort of thing.  But there are definite delays. 

Cary is just about one, but she is functioning at about the level of a two month old.  She also had trouble with her eyes.  She kept trying to look at us but they would slide down and she would flutter her lashes in annoyance (yes she was peeved) while she tried to look at me.  But after about the 15th person stopped in the office (there are not many babies in care so a baby is a very exciting thing) and told me how much better she was doing than her older brother (yes she has a six year old brother who has been adopted) and what a little fighter she is, I started feeling better. 

Then J's supervisor came in and told us about how he thought we were the perfect family.  He said so many nice things.  He thought that we would be strong advocates for Cary and that we were just the best fit.  I ended up feeling really good.  So did Shannon.  About then Shannon went back to work and J walked him out.  Cary and I were having a blast.  Then J came back and Cary decided that she needed to hurl.  On me.  Oh joy.  Let's just say it was gross and I was really thankful that I had a change of clothes in the car.  J and everyone else thought it was pretty funny. 

Then Cary had to go home.  I was sad that the meeting was over, but happy that I got to spend two hours with her.  Plus she was going to be coming to us in a week and we had a lot to do.  The first thing I did (after changing) was call my worker.  She invited me over to raid the closet at Children's.  The closet is a big room full of items for babies.  I was a little timid about taking stuff, but the women who worked there weren't.  I got some cute clothes, a little vibrator seat, and some rattles.  It was great and I was thankful. 

It was such an amazing day and now we are just counting down the hours until our angel comes home.  We are so blessed to get two very young children from foster care.  That is a miracle in itself.  Someone asked me if this was it the other day. I told them that every time I make plans they end up changing.  So I am just taking it one day at a time and enjoying the journey!

Monday, August 27, 2012

We Have a Meeting!!!


Tomorrow we will meet our daughter and hopefully discuss when she is coming home.  It was all crazy how it came about so let me back track a little bit. 

Friday I was getting ready to go get groceries and books when my phone caller ID flashed Ms. J's name.  I answered it and she asked if I had a little time.  I roll my eyes back further than I think I am capable of and put on a "happy" voice and say sure.  J is very to the point.  She said there has been a change in our case.  I start to panic.  I think, did mom and dad find Jesus and reform, is there a relative wanting Cary, or do you just hate us now? I was ready to throw up. Really. 

J said that our placement plans have altered slightly.  Gone is the need for 2-3 pre-placement visits.  She is looking for a "cleaner and quicker" transition.  The foster mother is having a hard time and it wouldn't be in the best interest of the child to drag it on.  She went on with a few other things that are too private to place here.  I agreed and then I shared another time and place that this happened. 

Walk back with me a few years and months to a cold December day.  I was so scared.  I was meeting my son for the very first time.  I hadn't slept the night before.  I was so full of joy and bounce I was driving everyone bonkers.  We got in Ms. T's car and pulled up to the L family's home.  I couldn't stop smiling.  The air was cold, clean and crisp.  I wore my lucky sweater and my boss had given me time off so I could savor this day.  We rang the bell and a woman opened it up.  Mrs. L was everything you could want in a foster parent.  Sweet, funny, easy, kind.  She was smiling but it didn't meet her eyes.  She was trying so hard to be happy, but it didn't take me long to figure out the facade.  I tried to play along, but I was uncomfortable.  We walked in and she offered us a drink.  I declined.  She showed us Marvin's stuff and proudly announced she'd weaned him from a bottle to a sippy cup.  She showed us all his toys and stuff.  She had gotten it from the goodwill and assured me that it was great stuff.  By then I felt this undercurrent of tension.  Ms. T felt it too and asked where her little man was. 

At that point Mr L. came in with Marvin.  I was over joyed.  My son, my baby, my boo-boo.  Mr. L took one look at me, burst into tears, and threw Marvin in my lap, and ran out of the room.  A part of my soul was broken.  To this day the whole thing makes me cry.  It was at that point I realized that for my dream to live other people's dreams had to die.  For my heart to be mended, other hearts had to break. 

The meeting got better.  Mr. L managed to pull it together and we all hugged and cried.  Then we made a date to bring Marvin home and it all went south again.  At that point Ms. T figured we'd better leave.  We did go.  I never forgot though. 

So after I shared highlights of Marvin's meeting I ended with saying that even though I would like it all to go smoothly and everyone hold hand and sing Kumbyah I realize that this is not reality.  Ms. J was silent for a moment and said that she wished it could be that way too but was glad that I had lived through this once and "got it". 

I honestly wish that I hadn't gone through it.  That it would have been a fully magical first meeting and everyone smiled and was happy.  That there would have been rainbow, chirping birds, and your various Disney creatures dancing.  But that is just not real life. 

So tomorrow I go meet our daughter for the first time.  I wish I could muster as much joy as I had for Marvin's meeting.  Don't get me wrong, I am still very excited.  I can't wait to hold Cary Lynn for the first time.  To look into her eyes.  To take pictures.  To think of all the things that we will do together.  Of all the pink that will invade our predominately male household. 

But for the expansion of our family to happen a woman must choose to let the little girl that she has cared for since a few months old go.  Another mother must have her parental rights terminated.  In life there is a mix of joy and sorrow.  The sorrow can weigh you down if you let it.  I will let it shape me into a more compassionate person, but I will not let it weigh me down.  I choose to live a life of joy, of hope, and of promise. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Baby visit coming soon!

That's right.  We finally get to meet this little person.  It took some doing and a lot of pesting on my part! What?  You thought this was going to be easy?  I laugh, ha ha. 

The reality is it is the end of summer and their is some sort of weird migration pattern going on in Social worker land.  Our social worker is on her umpteenth vacation since she got hired.  I'm serious.  Every time we have something come up she goes away and sends a very nice e-mail along the lines of, "you can handle it just fine".  I'm not complaining, and she is right.  Having walked through the fire pits before more than qualifies us to handle pesky stuff. 

But I was really hoping to have more done by now.  Thanks to mass migration we are at least two weeks behind schedule.  The good news is that I finally pinned down Ms. J to a meet and greet.  It is for Wednesday next week.  Further down the line than I wanted, but she is holding down her work and her co worker's work while she is migrating.  Ms. J will call me tomorrow and pin down a time.  I will also ask if I can bring my camera to take some pics of the baby.  I would very much like to show off our new offspring.  But we may have to wait until the second meeting to do that.  It is all kind of weird and you never know the rules of the game until you are in the middle of it. 

I have been really busy around here.  Life continues 24/7 whether you want it to or not.  For awhile I was really dragging and down because things were going so painfully slow.  But then I figured I could mope and sulk because things were not going according to my neat packaged plan or I could get out there and enjoy something I haven't had in years.  A little me time.  So I will say taking a little time for me to get some things that I want to do done has been nice. 

Another good part is I am knocking out household projects like crazy.  You know how you make a list and then say I'll get to it whenever?  Well, my whenever is now.  It won't be long before I will be backlogged again so I am organizing, cleaning, and catching up on paperwork as fast as I can.

Marvin continues to thrive in school.  It has really surprised me.  He comes home eager to share his day, talks about his friends, and just seems to really love it.  I guess it shouldn't bother me and I should be more embracing of this new chapter in his life, but I am a die hard Montessori teacher and while his new school is nice and all, it just isn't very.......Montessori.  I am hoping I adjust to this fact as well as Marvin has. 

So that is where we are right now.  I hope to have some new baby pictures soon and even though it is very frustrating and wrath provoking this is all going to come together.  I just hope for sooner verses later!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Growing up and moving on

So it has been a really long and busy week.  We had another social worker visit and Marvin started kindergarten. 

I will have to say I had a very hard time with him going to public school.  I humped and grumbled.  Then I was reminded that it was important to have an open mind and not to pass judgement and to get off my high and mighty Montessori throne.  So I went to open house and saw the classroom, met Marvin's new teacher, and his classmates.  I ended up cautiously optimistic about it.  I really like Marvin's teacher.  She is really nice and was more than willing to answer all my questions. 

School started Wednesday.  Marvin couldn't wait to get on the bus.  We missed it on day one!  Shannon and the driver got their wires crossed and gave me the wrong time!  I was fried!! That was my Kodak moment people!!  But on day two I got my pic.  I'd post it, but blogger is giving me trouble so I will save it for another day.  Marvin never looked back.  Waaaahhhhhh!

He has taken to his new school like a duck to water.  He loves it.  He talks about what he is doing, is excited to eat in a cafeteria, and drags me out the door to the bus stop every morning.  No separation anxiety either.  At least for him.  I miss him during the day, but the change has been helping our at home relationship.  He no longer has to juggle mommy as a teacher and a parent.  So there are some good things happening. 

As for the baby we had another meeting with her social worker.  She came to the house to see if we had outlet covers in our outlets and that we didn't have a swimming pool.  I kid you not.  Really.  She also made sure we had a first aid kit and no fire arms around.  Plus she made Shannon take time off from work so he could be here for the full 15 minutes.  Gotta love DSS. 

On a good note, we are making some progress.  We hope to meet Cary Lynn very soon.  She is making developmental strides and we are slowly closer towards getting her home.  Her social worker needs us to meet her at least two times and then needs to come back to our house to make sure our outlets are still covered and that we haven't snuck in an Olympic sized pool.  I wish I was kidding, sadly, I'm not.  It is frustrating to wait, but we are hoping to have her moved in by the end of August beginning of Septemberish.  Part of the problem is that agencies can't share background checks and paperwork so we have to fill out stuff, get fingerprinted, and so forth all over again.  Cary's social worker promised to call on Monday (which means Tuesday in DSS land) to set up a time to see our baby.  Waiting stinks, but my friends assure me that it is building my character.  I won't say what I said about that.  Plus the baby get up during the night so I should probably enjoy sleeping all night long while I can=). 

So that is where we are right now!  I will keep everyone posted on developments.  Thanks for the prayers and support as our family transitions into a new season of our lives!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The 411 on what's happening

It has been a busy couple of weeks here as we prepare for our new addition to our family.  Life just picks up and is going at hyper speed.  So I am taking this post to answer some FAQs that Shannon and I have had. 

How did this happen?  I thought you said there were no babies and you were getting an older child. 

That is generally true.  There usually are no babies and toddlers.  Most infants and young toddlers are adopted through private agencies.  Children like Marvin and Harmani are once in a blue moon.  When a young child comes into the system they usually have special needs.  That is the case with both Marvin and Harmani. 

What's wrong with the baby? 

This is a tricky question.  Well not that tricky.  She was a preemie born at 28 weeks and was not eating.  She was being fed through a nasal tube.  Now she is taking a bottle and loves her feeding time.  She has some vision issues and may require glasses.  She requires some PT.  But she is making strides.  When we adopted Marvin he was done with all these things and requires maintenance.  With Harmani we will be coming in at the beginning instead of the end. 

How will you work and take care of the baby? 

Well that was the hard part.  When we were first told about the baby I started making plans for her care and looking into daycares that specialized in preemies and their needs.  Then I found out that there were a lot more things that needed to be done.  I wanted it all and started to realize that I couldn't have it all.  It was crushing.  I cried lots and lots and lots.  Shannon and I ran scenarios and looked at all options.  So after much thought, praying, and agony we decided that I would stay home.  It was a hard choice.  I love my job, my co-workers, and my boss.  They get me.  And they like me in spite of all the nutso things I do.  I love the children.  They bring me joy.  Plus I love to teach.  So after a lot of Kleenex and support I am starting to get cautiously excited about my new role. 

When are you bringing the baby home? 

The baby's social worker is on vacation this week but she is looking to expedite it and we are pushing through another mountain of paperwork.  Ms. J is looking for it to happen soon.  She said mid-August, but knowing how much of a roller coaster ride this has been I wouldn't be surprised if she wants to place next week.  But we are looking at a soft date of the 14th or 15th.   

When is the adoption finalized? 

Here again is a tricky question.  This is a legal risk adoption.  The parental rights have not been terminated.  We are going into this process labeled as a "foster parent with intent to adopt".  What that means is that even though we are the chosen ones at this point a bio family member may come out of the woodwork and want to adopt Harmani.  We don't anticipate this happening, but we are still taking a big risk.  But no pain, no gain.  And she is worth the risk. 

How do you say her name? 

Well, you change it so you can say it.  Haha.  We are changing it.  Her name is Cary Lynn.  Cary after my sister and Lynn is my middle name.  We have to retain her original name until the adoption is finalized and by then I hope to learn how to pronounce it.  I have heard her worker pronounce it several different ways so I am hoping to clear it up. 

Do you have a picture? 

Yes I do.  Mind you it is the same one as I posted on Facebook but still so dog gone cute!

Feel free to say Awwww.  We have a picture on the fridge and Marvin kisses it every day.  It is super cute. 

So what happens to Marvin? 

Well we decided to keep him as well.  Hahaha.  I know I know.  Well that was tough as well.  Not only was I stepping down but we had to make a choice for Marvin as well.  He will be going to a school up here.  Not my favorite choice but I have reserved the right to home school if things start going south.  People keep telling me he will be fine, but I have strong reservations about it.  He is going through some transitional upsets right now and wetting himself.  This is normal and I we are spending lots of time with him talking things out and encouraging him to express himself.  He and I are role playing about the new baby.  He is relieved to know that she doesn't want his tractors right now and that he doesn't have to share doggie (his lovie). 

That is where we are.  I am feeling more positive about things and my sense of peace is coming back.  Reading my last few posts I realize I was pretty negative.  I hate when I am not in control and that makes me really crabby.  But as I said, things are a little more smooth now and though I realize with DSS I will never be fully in control I am coming to understand the lay of the land and feel that I can adapt to the needs of those around me.  We had to make some pretty hard choices and I was pretty upset and scared.  But now that we have made them and we are marching forward I wonder what I was so upset and afraid.  I look on the face of my son and new daughter and I am ready to embrace the future.  No matter what comes.