Monday, March 19, 2007

Things are Good

Not much to say 'round here. The little one ("Squeak", I'll call him) is great. He eats (nurses like a champ! Go adoptive breastfeeding!!), he sleeps (in the sling on my chest right now), he poops & pees like mad in his stylish cloth diapers, and he's just generally CUUUTE.

Does he sleep "good"? Well, for a 7-week-old, he does pretty well. Better than Niblet did for most of the time we had her, that's for sure. He gets a mite gassy at times, but he's a trooper. And did I mention cute? Yep, he's a cutie.

He's filling out a bunch, too. He's finding his hands a little bit. He loves it when we sign to him, and he smiles almost everytime I play this little nose-beeping game. It's super-adorable.

We're enjoying having a "normal" baby. It doesn't take 2 hours to get him to fall asleep. He eats a healthy amount at every feeding. He's 2 pounds lighter, at 7 weeks, than Niblet was at 6 months! And he's not a porker, for sure.

We haven't seen Niblet yet. She was out of town with her mom the first weekend we had Squeak and this weekend she and we are all sick, so no visit. We're on for next weekend, though. I know she's going to have grown a ton by the time we see her - and next to Squeak, she'll be HUGE. :)

On the DSS inquiry front, I called the woman heading the investigation about Joy and she said they will likely make their determination by the end of this week. That will be a huge relief. Even if if comes out against us, then we just go to the judge and argue it and we'll win. So there. It might even all be over and done with by the time we find out if Squeak is ours for keeps or not. That will be excellent.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

We're home!

After transit delays galore, we finally got into The Big City on Thursday evening and made our way to the agency's office where the director was sitting in a rocking chair with Our Son.

(Okay, so he's not Totally Our Son, just Probably Our Son...28 days to go!)

I'll tell you right off that he's the most beautiful baby in the world. I apologize to all your children or future children, cuz he must have been a real pig at the Cute Buffet.

I sound like a mommy, don't I? :)

We stayed with family Thursday night and came back yesterday afternoon.

We got to bring him to services last night and introduce him to our Rabbi. She always knows the right thing to say and, being familiar with foster care and adoption, said, in Hebrew, the thing you say when someone tells you they're pregnant (not that I'd ever say that "I'm pregnant", cuz that's weird.) It's something along the lines of "good luck". She knows congratulations aren't quite in order.

We're feeling really good about it, though. It doesn't hurt that the chances of his first mother deciding to parent him aren't very high. She's young, has her family's support in the adoption, and had actually originally placed him with another agency and then changed her mind. Once she had him home for a while, she realized she really needed to go back to her adoption plan. So she called our agency and dropped him off same-day. I can't imagine how hard it was for her. People often talk about their child's birth mother and say "she's the strongest woman I know" and it always sounded fake to me. But faced with what our little guy's mom did, the choices she made because of her love for him, I know she's a very strong young woman.

She didn't want to meet us or see our profile, because she said it would make it harder to stick to her decision. She finally did decide that she wants us to send pictures/letters a few times a year. I'm glad for that, because it leaves it open for her to decide to contact us or him. And, in the future, if he wants to talk to her, at least he can write her a letter. Even if she doesn't write him back.

We really were geared up for a very open adoption, but this is okay. It's his life and, if we turn out to be his permanent parents, we'll be there to help him navigate it all.

Okay, you want to know about the baby, right? He's cute. He's a little under 9 pounds and he's 6 weeks old. He's got a lot of dark baby hair that will probably fall out and kink up. He's been, so far (crosses fingers), an easy baby. He eats, he sleeps, he burps, he wets like a monsoon. He's currently in a sling on my chest. He's healthy, happy and seems to be adjusting to us pretty well.

The comparison to Niblet and her constant need for attention, motion, quiet, is...well...striking. We're calm. We're not worried about him.
Niblet, however, is coming over tomorrow afternoon and we're guessing she won't like sharing us with the interloper. We're going to go pick her up a little brown baby doll of her own to hold and take out her agressions on. Wish us luck on the introduction!

We're just happy campers right now.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Have I mentioned the rollercoaster?

Previous baby situation is no more.

But we're getting on a train tonight to head to The Big City and get a baby boy who was born at the end of January. His mom has had him since birth and decided to make an adoption plan.

They want us there early tomorrow morning tonight to do the paperwork and take him home.

Could this be IT? I can't make assumptions, but it seems likely. It will still be 30 days until the surrender is final, but considering how long we had Niblet without knowing, 30 days will be a breeze!

In other news, CPS can bite my big patootie. They're doing their thing with the investigation and I just don't care anymore.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Possible adoption match

There's a woman due at the end of March who contacted our agency.
The financials are a little higher than we'd wanted, but otherwise it sounds perfect.
We haven't gotten to talk to the agency yet, as they emailed us on their way out the door at 5pm. Obviously we'll be on the phone at 9am tomorrow.
She'll be shown our profile among at least a few others, and she may or may not pick us.
If she does pick us, she may or may not actually place with us - it is our understanding that chances are less than 50% for pre-birth matches.

Yet, it is still very exciting.
The baby will be a full African-American girl.
And since it's only 2 weeks til her due date, the wait wouldn't be very long.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Want a laugh?

They're doing an investigation regarding the bruises Joy has.

They took her to the ER, took our statements and removed her to a different foster home.

Just when she was starting to get used to us. Poor kid.

They have 60 days to decide if there's anything to blame us for. Then we'd have to go to court. Unless they clear us. Who the hell knows what they'll decide.

Everyone - our placement worker, our friends, other foster parents, everyone else at DSS who has met us - knows that we didn't hurt this baby. It doesn't matter. (and, yes, I understand and respect that they have to apply the same rules to everyone and investigate, but I get the impression that they could have de-escalated it early on in the process and chose not to.)

Well, I guess we know we won't be getting any new placements for the next 60 days, eh?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Cuz I know you're all wondering....

Here's how the visit with Joy's mom went.
Good and bad.

Joy was ecstatic to see her mom. She was smiling, babbling, playing. She'd had a good time at daycare, too, and was just so psyched to be with mom. Her mom said she was even more animated and talkative than she is usually.

Her mom is young, early 20s, and lacking in much common sense. We met at McD's and Joy happily ate a bunch of fries, 2 mcn*ggets and chocolate milk. So maybe if we get her healthy chicken nuggets, she'll eat those? Her mom said she pretty much doesn't worry about what she eats except at dinnertime when she "has to have some real food". She said that Joy liked the Tuna Helper she made one time and that she put green beans in it and she ate them. And that she likes the toddler entrees (she pronounced it "entries") from the supermarket.

My thought is that she likes to eat in social situations. Cuz she ate some at daycare while the other kids were eating. Now, there's nothing particularly wrong with chicken tenders and toddler entrees, except that they're wicked expensive. But we're health nuts. We shop at the food coop, we eat vegetarian, our meals are mostly beans/grains/veggies. We're happy to buy meat for a foster kid if that's what they'll eat, but I'm just not feeding a kid McD's on a regular basis! So hopefully we can find some stuff that isn't very expensive and that she'll eat.

Joy's mom said that she usually lets her stay up until very late at night and then lets her fall asleep in bed with her. So, basically, Joy has never had to fall asleep by herself in her crib. Which is exactly what we had been expecting of her. Which is why she was flipping out and crying so much. I feel really bad about it, but really, if the cw had set up visits or phone calls BEFORE Joy came into care...or even let us talk with the mom the day we got her...then we would have had this information and we could have taken better care of her from the beginning. Last night I stood by her crib for 45 minutes while she got up and down, drank milk, cried, relaxed, cried, and then finally fell asleep. It wasn't too bad.

But the last straw? Bruises.
Yep. Joy's mom went to change her diaper in the well-lit bathroom and came back to get me and show me these pretty big, really weird bruises on the sides of her legs.
Did I freak out? Yes. But not outwardly. All I was thinking was, well, there goes our foster care career, down the drain due to unexplainable bruising. The mom said she wasn't blaming us, but that they were weird and "if it were me, I'd take her to the doctor". (Um, it's your kid.)

I know she didn't have them when we got her, because I gave her a good once-over. But I had no idea where she got them. To make a long, stressful story short, I did eventually figure it out.

Seems that, while she was crying in her crib, she was trying to climb out and kept getting her legs through the bars of the crib. Her thighs aren't quite thin enough to slip through easily, so she'd get up to her thigh and then pull her leg out. and then try the other leg. We never knew she was doing this, because whenever we'd go in to give her another hug and lay her back down, she wasn't doing it. While I was with her last night, she did it a few times while she was trying to get me to take her out.

So, of course, we called her mom to let her know. We called the case worker to let her know, and to ask if we should still bring Joy to the doctor, and we emailed our social worker so that she's in the loop in case the cw freaks out anyway and says we are bad foster parents.

Those bruises are physical evidence of how f'ed up the system is. If they didn't have their 3-step plan for creating RAD, this child would not have these bruises.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


fostermama called our social worker and told her that the case worker hasn't set up visits yet. She was kinda surprised and thought it was ridiculous, so she gave us the mom's phone number and said to call her directly. fostermama double-checked that this wasn't going to get us into huge trouble, and the sw said it would be fine (which basically means she'll handle it if the sh*t does hit the fan). So we have a meeting set up for this afternoon.

I'll pick up Joy from the daycare and bring her to the local McD's where we'll meet up with her mom. She'll have about 30-45 minutes with her mom and then we'll go home and the mom goes to some class she's taking. The mom didn't feel comfortable having me come to her house, so that's why we're meeting at McD's. I totally understand, except, um, we have her kid. How could she feel fine giving us her kid, but not want us to see her messy apartment, or whatever? Anyway....

I know Joy's going to freak out when we have to leave her mom, but it'll be good for her to see her, anyway. I'm going to bring our camera so we can get a picture of mom and print it out for Joy to have.

Additionally, our SW was saying how there was talk that the placement might be for 6 weeks. Um, no. We signed up for 3 weeks. I would be fine doing 4 weeks, but more than that is ridiculous. It's not any good for Joy to be with us and longer will just make it worse. If a couple weeks post-partum isn't enough recovery time, then the mom needs to place one or both kids for adoption because she just can't hack it. And, realistically, it would be better for her to place the newborn and keep Joy because Joy needs her mom.

I just hope the visit goes well and I get some info on Joy so we can take care of her better.

DSS - Creating attachment disorders in 3 easy steps!

1. Take a 13-month-old child from her mother and place her with foster parents with no transition at all.
Even though the county has been working with the mom for over a year and knew exactly when her due date is and probably knew a while ago that it would be a good idea for her to "voluntarily" place the child while she recovers from giving birth, they made no motions at finding foster parents until the due date. and then, once found, made no motions at any kind of transition.

2. Don't allow the mom and the foster parents to contact each other.
We told them to give her our phone number. We asked if we could call her in the hospital. We need to know her routines, her likes/dislikes. We need a picture of her for the baby to look at. The mom hasn't done anything wrong and should still be intimately involved in her daughter's life.

3. Don't set up a visit right away and delay doing so until it looks like the kid is going to go at least one full week without seeing her mom.
The mom asked, yesterday afternoon, when there would be a visit. The cw didn't just pick up her cell and call us. Instead she said she'd "call tomorrow", which most likely meant she'd call Friday. And I bet she'll want to be present at the visit, which is completely unnecessary, so it won't get to be until Monday or Tuesday.

This poor little munchkin, who I'll call "Joy" (because she's completely lacking any joy in her life, so I'd like to put a little bit into her via this blog), is in full-on baby depression. She doesn't eat, she doesn't smile, I haven't heard her laugh. She cries unless we're holding her and cries occasionally even if we are holding her. We had to put her in daycare part-time because we can't rearrange our schedules for such a sort period of time. She was fine at daycare yesterday, but cried when each child left. She doesn't understand what's going on and doesn't want anyone to leave her. Hopefully this won't scar her forever, but I don't know how long she (and we) can handle it.