Wednesday, September 27, 2006

In a parallel universe...

We decided this summer that we're not going to count on foster care to build our family. Adopting through foster care, though our blog title, is just not possible in our county right now. We do know of some people who have recently adopted or have kids who are going to be TPRed, but that's few and far between. Kids are going home.

What we've decided to do is go through domestic private adoption. We will continue fostering, after a break of undetermined length, but we will get our first forever baby through private adoption.

We've picked an agency and started our homestudy last week. We're working on all the paperwork and are hoping to get our fingerprints tomorrow and get everything rolling asap. We'll be going to meet with the agency in October (it's out of town).

It's very weird to be talking about adopting and our future baby while we still have Niblet. She'll be playing on the floor and we'll be sitting there discussing what kinds of babies/situations we're willing to accept, etc., and it's just SO WEIRD. Niblet really was meant to be our child. Sometimes what's meant to be just doesn't happen. I can accept that, but it's still really hard.

To top it off, the social worker who is doing our home study (a friend of ours) told us the other day that she was talking with the head of the agency and that she said they have a birthmother in mind that they'd like to match us with, so they're hoping we get our stuff in soon. Or something like that.
I can't even wrap my head around that. Realistically, if it's true, if the baby is due anytime in the next few months, we would have to pass on it.
We need time to recouperate. To clean the house (we never fully unpacked, as we moved in 1 month before we got Niblet). To have time to ourselves, time together, before we commit to being parents 24/7 for the rest of our lives. 4 months is the minimum, I think, but a little more would be good too.
Of course, we don't want to wait too long, but the agency said that, given that we want a situation where we wouldn't have to pay very much for the birth mother's expenses, we'd probably have to wait 9 months for a match. If we were willing to pay anything, it'd be much sooner. This is mainly because we're open to any race and gender. Most of their clients want white girls. Whatever.

Anyway, it does feel good to be on this path. Having Niblet leave will be the worst thing in the world. Welcoming my first permanent child will be the best. Being on both paths at once somehow feels right.

Transition's Upon Us

It's been a while, but there's been nothing and everything to say.
We had another case review meeting (probably the last) a couple of weeks ago.
Niblet's case worker was actually civil to us, but only because we forced *our* case worker to come to the meeting to back us up, if need be.

The meeting was to be about planning the transition from us to Niblet's dad. Instead of a conversation, the case worker came with a calendar all laid out. It had been set up by her supervisor and wasn't up for discussion. Fortunately, it's not too bad and she did agree that if Niblet wasn't handling it well, that we could revisit it.

Basically, we're adding one overnight per week. This week it was 2 nights/2 days. Next week 3 nights/3 days, etc. So that by the end of the month, she's coming back to us for one day and then back to him for good.

I counted it up today and we have 16 days with her between now and the end.

Looking at it on a calendar is so painful. It makes it so real that she's leaving. She's really not ours anymore.

The dad has filed for custody, so it's possible that the judge will call us all to court and give immediate custody back to the dad before the end of the month. We discussed this possibility during the meeting and everyone seems to be in agreement that, regardless of who has custody, the transition should proceed as planned. We don't want to traumatize Niblet.

If there's one thing we are FIRM on, it's that this little girl is NOT going to end up with an attachment disorder because of the County's fuck-ups. We don't care what kind of trouble we cause, we will work with her dad to transition Niblet as smoothly as possible.

He's said numerous times that we're like family and that of course we will be welcome to visit Niblet after the transition. He's said that we could take her for overnights; that he'd probably welcome that. (Of course, this wasn't said in complete sentences, but that was the gist...I think...)

Our pipe dream, as of now, is that we'd be able to set up with him a weekly overnight. That we'd be able to have her Sunday morning until Monday morning. Give him some time off, give Niblet the security that we haven't abandoned her. I don't know if he'll go for something structured like that, and I don't know how long we'd want to keep it up. But, really, I'd be happy to do it forever. We kinda think of it as us being the "non-custodial parents". We can stay in her life, be a resource for her, and only see her once a week or whatever. Who knows how it would play out, but it's our hope right now.

She comes back to us tomorrow morning. I hope the extended visit wasn't too hard on her. I hope she continues to be as brave and strong as she always has been and starts seeing him as a parent. She's really the one who is going to make this work. I really do think she'll be okay.