Monday, December 8, 2014

Post adoption blues

I've got 'em.

Generally feeling down and bored. It sounds hard to be bored when I have a three year old at home along with two teenagers. I'm always moving, cleaning, driving, playing etc. but my heart doesn't feel in it right now.

We are still open to do respite care.

However without 4 monthly social worker visits and all the paper work I'm feeling a big let down. Parenting Primo is the same but without actively working in the system I don't have the urgent sense of usefulness I had before the adoption. That being said I don't feel ready to jump back into foster parenting again either. You must remember that I parented 4 small children many moons ago and I do NOT want to go back to that place in my life, it was HARD! Parenting one toddler at a time is much more enjoyable.

There's another piece to my post adoption blues. It's hard to be honest about this piece.
Mike and I are going to be parenting well into our mid 60s. As of today we are 2 years away from all of our daughters being away at college or adults out on their own. In my bluer moments I feel sorry about all of the couple freedoms we will be giving up: traveling whenever we want to, spending weekends out without needing a babysitter, sleeping in on the weekends (those 5:30 AM wake ups with Primo are tough). It all boils down to a loss of general spontaneity that I hadn't consciously ever realized I would miss.

So far I'm putting one foot in front of the other and walking my way through the blues. I think a long weekend away is what Mike and I need. Doing whatever we want to, with no nap schedule or potty training, sleeping into "whenever", reading, relaxing, walking at our own pace without chasing a 3 year old, you get the picture. So far this has eluded us, we need to find a good babysitter or find a time when our three younger daughters can hold down the fort for a while. Coordinating schedules with teens and young adults is tough, but I think it would be worth it. If it all comes together and we actually get away for a few days I will let you know, until then I'll be doing what I've been doing for the last 23 years: parenting.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Primo and I went to his first doctors appointment since the adoption. The weekend before this appointment I had received three letters pertaining to Primo's state health insurance. They were all very confusing and I'm still not sure what to do about insurance, but Primo woke up with a horrible ear ache on Monday and so we headed out to Primo's new doctors office.

Earlier in the month I found a male pediatrician whose skin color matches Primo's skin color. His office does not accept Primo's state provided health insurance, but I felt this pediatrician was the right one for Primo. So we added Primo to our own private health insurance, which is accepted at the practice. I had not realized that there would be no additional cost to add Primo to our health insurance.

I very much wish there was a class or some such thing to help out with all the post-adoption stuff like health insurance and birth certificates and social security numbers.

Anyway, the wonderful thing about the appointment was that instead of driving 37 miles round trip we only drove 11 miles! That cut our commute time down by 20-30 minutes! (depending on traffic)

There was a copay that we never had with the state insurance, but over all I'll take the short drive.

The needed prescription was covered by the state insurance, so there was not cost to us for that.

I wish I knew whether we can use both insurances or what the deal is, not sure who to talk to about it.

After 3+ years involved with foster care I have no inclination to spend time on the phone dealing with the state insurance plan, but I may have to???

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Overheard as I came down the stairs today: "Primo, that's just your ninja move, you can't really kick daddy".

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I'm finding having a three year old to be very trying.

You'd think I'd remember what 3 was like? I had four 3 year old children before Primo.

I've had the super temper tantrum thrower. There were the supremely clinging types. More than one of the "I'm not listening to Mommy" varieties. And the garden variety:
"I. DO. IT.MYSELF!!!!!! 3 year olds in my home. Not to mention the 3 year old whose favorite word is "nope".

Me: ready for school?
P: nope
Me: bath time!
P: nope
Me: lunch time
P: nope
Me: time for a potty break
P: nope
5 min later: P: I needa go poddy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! leak leak leak

You know what? I was very young when I had my first 4 children, like I didn't hit 30 until after all my girls were born.

I'm MUCH older now.

A three year old and teenagers at the same time is feeling very Crazy and Exhausting.

I'm up late with the teens and up early with the 3 year old. And in between I'm not getting much sleep because Primo is up an average of twice a night.

I never thought I'd have it all figured out, I know parenting doesn't work that way and every child is unique.

My new mantra is "this too shall pass" (on a good day). During the bad days all I'm thinking is, "this is really kicking my ass".




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Interesting adoption fact

Apparently our county is the only county, of all of the counties our lawyer petitions for adoptions in, that gives you absolutely no proof of your adoption when you leave the courtroom. Nothing, nadda, ZERO proof.

It felt very strange after all of the celebrating was over to not have a piece of paper stating that we are Primo's parents, proof that he is no longer an orphan, or a foster child.

For almost 3 years I've carried a piece of paper from our foster care agency stating that Primo was placed in our care on such and such a date and that we are his official foster parents. We've never had a medical emergency, or trouble when flying for vacation with Primo, but I've always carried it just in case. Now that piece of paper is meaningless and I have nothing to replace it with. 

This feels very strange. 

And so I wait, wait to change his name at school, wait to show his doctors proof that I can now make medical decisions for him, I wait.

The wait shouldn't be more than a week. We will receive a certificate of adoption in the mail and then we will wait 3-4 months for Primo's new birth certificate.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Oh really?

The morning after Primo's adoption is finalized I wake up happy and relieved.

Then my phone rings, and guess who it is calling? It's a social worker. And. She. Wants. To. Come. Over...

What?

That's right! She is the social worker from Primo's lawyers office, you know the one who comes out every six months?!

She's just been informed of Primo's adoption and now needs to come out for a "discharge" visit, oh my.

And she wants to come out today or tomorrow.

I immediately take the "tomorrow" option and am completely annoyed.

This will be the last social worker visit.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm completely paranoid about privacy, but I know how much I LOVE seeing your adoption day photos, so here goes. This probably won't be up for long.


                                           

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Primo is officially adopted!

 

We had a full courtroom of family and supporters.

The whole proceeding took about 6 minutes from start to finish.

We all celebrated afterwards and took many photos. Primo was happy and excited.

A BIG day for all of us.

Monday, October 13, 2014

DNA tests

Here's a question for those of you who have adopted via foster care: Have you ever considered doing a DNA test for your child/ren? Not a paternity test but a DNA test that will provide a break down of their ethnicity, or the even more advanced tests that will trace their maternal or paternal lineage back to their continent, country or tribes of origin?

I'm thinking about it as a way to provide Primo with some knowledge of his biological back round.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Adele please!

These are the words I often hear coming from the back seat when Primo is in the car with me.

Primo loves Adele.

The first Christmas that Primo spent with us I received 2 Adele cds from my girls. I love Adele and I would play them often during the days that I spent at home with Primo, who was just a few months old at the time.

During his first year whenever the long car rides to and from Primo's family visits got to be too much for him, he would wail sadly in the back of the car. All I had to do was pop in an Adele cd and he would calm himself and stop crying.

After Primo's first year with us I played less Adele and he no longer needed music to help calm himself in the car.


A few months ago Adele came on the radio on our drive to preschool:

Primo: I yike dis song
Me: Me too Primo, Adele sings this song

Well, from then on he has been asking for Adele songs almost every time we get in the car. It is completely adorable to hear "Adele please!" coming from the back of the car.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Finally!

This morning I had some free time on my hands and decided to go shop for a new dress for Primo's adoption hearing. I'm not a dress person, I'm not a dress up type at all, but there I was trying on a dress that I felt good in and I thought would be perfect.

My cell phone started ringing and my first thought was "this better be an adoption date call!" I shuffled through the pile of clothes on the bench of the dressing room and finally found my phone. 

What do you know? It was our agency adoption worker with a date for Primo's adoption. In 3 weeks we will officially and legally be Primo's family.

I quickly called Mike who claimed as soon as his phone rang he knew it was the adoption date call! I spent the next few minutes texting our kids, then our extended family. I was delighted with each congratulatory and happy text I received as I bought my dress and then headed to the a children's store to buy Primo an adoption day outfit.

The long wait is over. I was even able to cancel our DH$ adoption worker's visit for next week because she comes out once a month and he will be adopted by the end of October so there's no need for her to come see him. This means I probably only have one social worker visit left. Primo's foster care social worker sees him twice a month and her first visit of October is planned for later this week.

I was ecstatic for a few hours after that call and then I felt exhausted. I will be so relieved and happy when Primo's adoption is complete. No more social workers! We've been having 4 visits a month since June. 


I'm tired just thinking about all we've done to care for Primo over the past 3 years. The end of all the foster care craziness, family visits, paperwork, social worker visits, documentation, permission for travel an all of the uncertainty is near. The finish line is in sight, I can see freedom from the system for all of us.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weeks of waitng

We are now on week 7 of our 4-6 week wait for an adoption date from the county court.

I'm struggling with all the waiting we have done this summer. It seems that all of our waits have been beyond the given time frame. We waited 3 months for an adoption worker after being told the transfer time to adoptions should be 1 month. Now we are waiting beyond 6 weeks for a court date.

This. Will. Get. Done. These are the words I keep repeating to myself over and over again every day. The extra long waits are eroding my confidence, but I still believe.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The 6 week mark has passed and we still don't have a finalization date.

I'm hoping to hear something next week.

Life goes on.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A MAJOR first

Primo loves Mike, he really LOVES him. He prefers Mike to me everyday all day.

I'm used to this and am happy for the bond that Primo and Mike have. I know Primo loves me too. I see his little face light up when I pick him up from preschool. I imagine he's thinking..."Oh boy my ride back to Dad is here!"

Occasionally I do get tired of being straight armed by Primo when I come into his room to kiss him good night. He allows me a quick kiss and then puts his arm out gives me a little dismissive pat/push and with great purpose he says: "All done, goodnight Mama". 

Last night was one those occasions: I kissed Primo and was about to launch into a little speech about how dissed I felt, when all on his own, for the first time without prompting, he said "I love you Mama". Be still my heart. I gave him a big squeeze and a kiss and left him to his bedtime routine with Mike.

 As I was writing this post Vivienne popped her head into my room and excitedly told me that Primo told her he loved her all on his own for the first time!


How sweet is it that Primo is spreading the love around?

Friday, September 5, 2014

4 weeks

It's been 4 weeks since our adoption paperwork was filed with the court. The typical wait time for an adoption hearing date is 4-6 weeks.

Despite all I know about waiting and foster care I was still hopeful that we would receive our adoption date around the 4th week instead of the the 6th week, oh well.

I really should have known better.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Do you know what a Humphead Parrot Fish is?

I didn't until Primo identified one for me!
 
Right now Primo's special interest is in any and all creatures that live on this planet, specifically he's into the ocean and everything that lives in it.

We have 4 social worker home visits a month right now and he is always impressing the social workers with his knowledge of all things in the sea. He shows them his Narwhal, and knows the difference between a Sea Lion and a Fur Seal and a Walrus. He LOVES to watch ocean documentaries. He can identify 3-4 different types of dolphins!

One of his favorite activities is to have me pull up videos and photos of sea creatures on my computer. Last week was the first time he just asked for fish photos and not a specific fish or animal. So I pulled up a photo of some weird looking fish and wondered out loud about what the funny looking fish was?

"It's a Humphead Parrot Fish" Primo cried out joyfully! I burst out laughing.  All of the past week, at any old time, Primo will yell out "Humphead Parrot Fish!" and I will laugh again. He's so proud of himself. He thinks he knows the best joke in the world.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Google Voice and Foster Care


I'm not sure if I mentioned here on the blog that I have been writing letters to Primo's first Mom and Dad. This has been going well and the letters have been positive and informative.


Before I started writing I set up a PO Box in a neighboring town.

Let me backtrack a little. In my area parents whose children are taken into foster care are allowed to know where their children are being cared for, more specifically, the bio parents have the address of the foster parents. In Primo's case, and in the cases of his brothers, this was not thought to be safe for the foster families, so our addresses were withheld from all documents and not given to Primo's bio parents. 

Despite this Mike and I developed a mostly positive relationship with Primo's parents. There were some low points during emotional times, for example, when Primo and his older brother's goal was changed from reunification to adoption by foster parents. However over all it was a good relationship.

After termination I began exchanging letters with Primo's first Mom. I have saved all of these letters in a binder for Primo.

Primo's first Mom and I came to the mutual decision that after Primo's adoption was finalized we would meet up for a visit.

This brings us to today. We are now waiting on a finalization date and I'm still feeling it is not a good idea for Primo's first parents to have our address or phone number. I've seen first hand the stress this has caused for Primo's older brother's foster Mom. She has changed her number and moved so things are smoother now, but it was stressful and dramaful before she took these steps.

I have been thinking about google voice for a long time, but quite frankly felt overwhelmed by even the thought of trying to figure out this technology.

A few months ago I read this blog post. The description of how it all worked made google voice seem doable to me for the first time.

So last week I had a few hours of free time to tackle google voice, and that's about how long it took me to work it all out. I will add that I also downloaded the google voice app for my smart phone. The first one I downloaded didn't work correctly, it didn't sync up to my google voice account on my computer. Once I had the correct app for my phone I could do everything from my phone: call, text and email to Primo's first parents (when I'm ready), I tested it all out with my kids.

Now I'm ready to have more contact with Primo's parents once the adoption is finalized, and that feels good.








Saturday, August 16, 2014

A little sad

Now that we've completed everything on our end to make Primo's adoption happen I sit and wait and feel a little sad.

I didn't expect to feel this way. I'm feeling sad that Primo will be growing up apart from his 3 brothers. All three of us (the adoptive families) have decided to try and get the boys together once a month. 

We missed a month or two, but over all we've had fun getting together quite often. The way all of the kids and their siblings birthdays spread out over the year gives us lots of opportunities for parties and getting together almost every month.







Friday, August 8, 2014

Our lawyer has filed our petitions with the court...

I got the call today! Everything is filed and now we wait 4-6 weeks to receive a finalization dated.

I'm not patient and I'm not good at waiting. 

I've waited almost 3 years.

You'd think this would make waiting 4-6 weeks seem like nothing, but oddly the waiting this summer has been very difficult.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Primo's profile is finally finished and has been approved in record time by DHSnitty!

We have everything we need to file with the court.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Finger prints (again)

All of us who are over 18 redid our finger prints today.

We are walking for a second time in the steps we took last summer for Primo's adoption.

This will end and this adoption will happen. I keep repeating this over and over while trying not to cry in frustration.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Signed the papers

The paperwork from our lawyer arrived this week. Specifically the intention to adopt and petition to adopt. We have signed them both and mailed them back. (We literally signed them and mailed them back on the same day they arrived).

We are taking this step even though Primo's profile is still not complete. The lawyer wanted everything finished so that once the profile is approved by DH$ she will be ready to file with the court right away.

It was exciting to sign these documents and to see Primo's new name in print.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

One more step

This week during Primo's DH$ adoption worker's home visit Mike and I signed the name change paperwork for Primo and the subsidy agreement. This agreement states the amount of subsidy money we will receive for Primo each month until he is 18. The subsidy is available for most children who are adopted from foster care in my area. Some of the criteria are: 1. a minority child 2. a sibling group 3. any child who is older than two years old when adopted.

Another step along the way.

The DH$ adoption worker confirmed that she has NOT received Primo's profile from our foster care agency. We've now been waiting on this profile for over 6 weeks.

Monday, July 14, 2014

"How many children are you responsible for?"

Have you ever asked your caseworker or social worker this question? I've always wondered how many children the average social worker has on his or her case load. I have yet to ask.

This past weekend I finally watched the Episode of Our America that focused on foster care. I don't know how many children the average foster care social worker is responsible for, this show focused on LA county, one of the social workers they spoke with had 43 children to visit with and file paper work on! Can you imagine. There are on average 22-23 weekdays in the average month, I can see why making all of your home visits may be challenging. I know some of those children may be siblings in the same home, but still this seems like too many children for one social worker to manage care for.

I'm going to ask my social workers, our agency worker and our DH$ social worker, how many children they have next time they are out.

Have you asked your social worker this question? I would love to hear the answers.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Choosing a lawyer

Our agency social worker has decided that because all we're really waiting for is Primo's profile we should move forward with choosing a lawyer.

We were presented with several options, all of who will do the court paper work and filings for us for the price that our agency is willing to pay. I think this is around $3000.00.

We went with the lawyer that both of our adoption workers recommended.

That's one more thing to cross off of our list.

You would not believe how fast I respond to emails, send extra info, sign papers. I'm working as hard as I possibly can on my end to make sure that I don't hold up Primo's adoption. For the most part our adoption workers are doing the same, but there always seems to be something we are waiting for, what's up with that?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Primo's profile

Remember back to the beginning of June? That's when I was told that Primo's profile would be completed/updated/corrected in a week.

Here we are closing in on the end of June and Primo's profile is not finished and will not be finished by the end of June. In fact the contract worker responsible for this profile has not even looked through all the files yet.

There goes our July finalization goal right down the tubes. 

This is one of those days where I feel like I'm swimming up stream against white water trying to make this adoption happen. I can't do it. I have to let go. It will happen when it happens.

The frustration of it all!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Driving with teens

I clench my teeth as we lunge towards the stop sign at break-neck speed. My right foot pressing uselessly into the passenger side floor of the car.

"Stay on your own side of the road" I plead over and over.

When we finally reach the parking lot, the back tire bounces up on to the curb and then back down again.

I let go of my breath and sign with relief. I'm relieved I didn't freak out and throw and all out temper tantrum in the car.

I've survived another day of driving with a teenaged driver.

On to parallel parking, oh JOY!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We're fully into summer here. School is out and the staycations have begun.  We are waiting on paperwork for the adoption so we're not sure if we will vacation this summer (not knowing when our adoption date will be etc.)

I wrote my first letter to Primo's parents and am waiting to hear back from them. Until the adoption is finalized this is how we will stay in touch. I sent photos and updated them as to Primo's development and likes and dislikes. I've decided to send letters quarterly, more often if I receive responses.

Primo's profile is still not finished. So we continue to wait.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Post TPR Visits

We 3 foster Mom's agreed to get Primo and his brothers together once a month after TPR.

We managed to get together in March. Primo got together with is older brothers in April and then later in April visited with his younger brother. No visit in May, but we hope to get together at the end of June when school is out and all of our lives have calmed down.

When we made this commitment I knew it would take a lot of discipline to make once a month visits happen. We all made time to make it weekly visits at our agency, but without that structure it's not working out too well.

Primo asks for Adda and BB about once a month, so I know he wants to see his older brothers, he has visited with them every week, sometimes twice a week for almost 3 years.

We all also have large families of 5 or 6 children each and have our own immediate family birthdays, vacations and commitments .

I'm feeling a bit at a loss as to how to jump start our visits, is once a month too ambitious?


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Just got a call

from the adoption worker. 

Our family profile has been approved! We are officially approved to adopt Primo. Not that this was ever in danger of not happening, but it is a huge relief.

In one week our adoption worker has accomplished so much, I'm so impressed. After so much waiting it feels good to finally be getting this process moving.

Now we wait for Primo's profile to be completed, hopefully in a week or so and then we chose a lawyer.

Then another visit from the adoption worker to sign subsidy papers and officially record Primo's new name. We are keeping his name as it is (his surname will be his middle name) and adding our last name.

The adoption worker says that we should be able to finalize in July!
(I'm trying not to put too much hope in this, I know how waiting for paperwork etc. can drag on for weeks, that turn into months.)

Friday, May 30, 2014

1 out of 10 ain't bad for foster care

Our 1 is our new Dh$ adoption worker, she's has been out to the house already. I LOVE her, she works quickly and is organized. Not only has she been out to our home this week, but she's also been out to the 2 homes that Primo's brothers are in. Simply amazing!

Our family profile has been received by DH& and sent back to our agency for corrections and updates. This is unusual, but our new DH@ adoption worker and our agency adoption worker have both told me that our DH% adoption supervisor sends all profiles back and is not very easy to work with.

Well, you can't win 'em all, or as it goes in foster care: you can't win 9 out 10 EVER.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We have a DH@ adoption social worker!

Yipee! she's coming out this week to visit with Primo.

Our agency adoption social worker will be sending our family profile to DH$ this week.

Finally some real movement!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The next steps

Now that we have an administrator at DH& I decided to call our agency adoption worker to find out how the rest of the adoption process will go. (I will never speak to this administrator, he will chose a supervisor who will in turn assign an adoption social worker, this is who I will have contact with during the adoption process)

None of the following can actually be put into motion until we have an adoption supervisor at DH$.

1. Update our family profile. This profile was started last summer, when we expected TPR to happen in August, and was completed last fall. This is done by our agency adoption social worker.

2. Update Priomo's profile, same circumstances as above

3. Choose an attorney for the adoption.

4. Sign adoption agreement, name change form and subsidy agreement with DH&.

5. Sign intent to adopt and petition to adopt documents for the court.

6. Our attorney will file all of the above (along with Primo's original birth certificate, original TPR paper work) with the court.

7. Sit back and wait for 4-6 weeks while the court makes sure everything is in legal order.

8. If all is in order the court will let us know our adoption date!

Monday, May 12, 2014

It's been 80 days...

and there has been a little movement in Primo's adoption. He has officially been transferred to DH* adoptions and has been assigned an administrator who in his own good time will assign a supervisor, who will then, when they feel like it assign an actual DH$ adoption social worker.

I really have NO idea why this has taken so long, any ideas?

I think I need to go shadow a social worker in the DH% adoptions dept. it may help me to be more sympathetic and less pissed off right now.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Portraits

On a whim I took Primo to one of those department store places with a portrait studio. In the middle of the morning there was no one else there and they quickly snapped a bunch of photos of Primo.

Generally I think these kinds of photos are cheesy, but I told the photographer I preferred more candid shots and they came out pretty cute. I mean any photo of Primo is adorable, but these ones are funny and cute. He brought along his own favorite toy to pose with which really helped him feel comfortable. I drew the line at fake back drops and stuck with plain white and one other plain color back drop.

The reason I went to have his photo taken was so that I had a simple gift to send to his first Mom for Mother's day.

It feels like we are in an awkward in between space. TPR is complete, but our adoption of Primo is not. I've received conflicting advice from family and friends about whether to send a card or gift. I don't want to send a mother's day card it just feels weird, but I do want to acknowledge the fact that she is Primo's first Mom and will always be his bio Mom. My ulterior motive is to keep the relationship between us pleasant and open so in the future there may be contact, after the adoption.

My main goal is to have a healthy relationship with Primo's first parents for his benefit. What feels right at this time is to be in contact via letters and photos. I don't get much response, but I'll keep sending updates and pics of Primo.

From what I've read online and heard from friends who've adopted is that there really isn't much contact even in open adoptions. It seems that most of the time the bio parents drop out of contact.

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's been 60 days

since TPR and still no DHS adoption social worker and no transfer to adoptions yet.

I'm feeling pretty depressed about this, I mean come on! Legally DH& has 30 days to transfer his case and assign a social worker. I don't know what's going on, I have no contact at DH# and my agency adoption worker is coming up empty too.

What's another few months in foster care for Primo and his brothers? ARGGGGGG!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Self care: no exuses

I've bought a membership to a massage place. Think massage jealousy or hand and rock, you know one of those big massage chains.

They take $50 out of my checking account every month and I go in for a massage or facial every month. All I have to do is make an appointment and show up with some tip money.

In the past I have tried to be self disciplined about taking care of myself, but I'm not very good at it. I would tell myself that I would get a massage every month, (it's good for you, it's quiet and no one talks to you, the only sound is soothing music)  alas, I would only get about one massage a year. Time flies, especially while doing foster care.

Ever since I purchased my membership I'm forced to relax once a month. I have skipped a month or two, but that doesn't matter I never lose my $50, the next month I can go twice. 

I love it! I'm much more likely to get a massage if it's already paid for.

What do you do to take care of yourself?


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Running foster care tally

As of today Primo has been in foster care for 2.5 years and has had:

3 judges
3 lawyers
5 agency social workers
1 DH$ social worker
1 foster home

There is still time for the tally to go up as it has been almost 2 months since termination and Primo has still not been transferred to the adoptions dept. of DH$%#%#$^%$#!!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

And just like that, she's moved up...

Primo's new social worker has been promoted to supervisor (I've always wondered how many layers of supervisors there are, everyone in foster care seems to have one?)  I'm very disappointed, she was so prompt, organized and easy to get in touch with.

All the good ones move up too soon.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A little insight

We had a home visit yesterday.

As usual our new agency social worker was spot on time!

The interesting part of the visit was when SW complimented me on my ability to have paper work completed and in her hands on time, consistently. (I'm still flattered by this compliment)

She then went on to add that she loved coming to a home where the foster parents always remember that she's coming and are always home for the home visits. (This compliment I've NEVER heard before)

Apparently some of her foster parents write down or punch home visit dates into their phones and computers right in front of her and then when she shows up for the next home visit there's nobody home.

I appreciate having a little insight into the "other side".





Friday, April 4, 2014

Please stop telling me that my son "is SO lucky to have me"

Throughout my time with Primo there have been a few people who have told me that Primo is "SOOOOO lucky to have me".  I understand where this sentiment comes from. I may have said the same thing to another foster Mom before I became a foster Mom.

Ever since termination this comment is happening frequently. So frequently, in fact, that it's really getting old and offensive to me. At first I used to balk and feel like they had it all wrong, I was the lucky one, lucky to have such a special, beautiful child in my life. Although I could never quite say this aloud due to the fact that I couldn't reconcile my so called "luck" coming from all that Primo had lost in his life.

"What I hear when you tell me that my son is 'so lucky to have me': You believe he would be nothing without me. That he would have been so disadvantaged, miserable and neglected that he would have "amounted to nothing". Without me he would not be the valuable human being that he is. Without my love, stability, money, power, educational possibilities, nice neighborhood and whatever else you think of as a "must have" to become a decent human being, he would be deficient some how."

(Maybe I'm a tad defensive?)

This is simply untrue. Primo will always be a valuable and loveable human being, with or without me.

During the short 2.5 years that Primo has been on Earth he has lost everything. 

There is no fairy tale ending here. There is no luck, just life.






Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Memories

I took Primo to the post office today. As we passed through the double doors into the lobby he looked up and me and asked: " See Adda an BB today?" 

I replied: "No, this is the post office, no Adda and BB today."

Primo shouted "NO! See Adda and BB!"

I guess nondescript government buildings bring back memories of visiting with his siblings. He never asks for his first parents.

I let him look around until he realized his brothers were not waiting in line to mail a package, and then we left.

It's amazing that after months of not having visits, walking into the post office brings it all back for him.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A bi-racial family first, or was it?

The other evening Mike, Primo and I attended the church of Primo's older brothers and their foster family.
 
After church Primo and his brothers were very happy to see each other, they were hugging and kissing and running and playing while we adults visited.

I noticed a man watching Primo. As Primo played the man was scanning the room, he never looked at me or made eye contact with me even though I was a only a foot or two away from Primo. When Primo ran near this gentleman he reached out and took Primo's hand and asked him, "where are are your parents?" Primo was not bothered by this and I was a two feet away from them and Mike was standing right next to this gentleman. When I announced that Primo was with me there was a quick apology and no offence taken.

I shared with Dolly and Vivienne my take on this situation: because Primo is black this gentleman was looking for black parents and didn't even consider that Mike and I might be his parents.

Dolly looked at me skeptically, and said: "Really Mom? I'm sure that he just thought you were too old to be Primo's parents."

I guess it could go either way.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Amazing

Primo's new social worker called a week ahead of time to reschedule our next home visit appointment!

Where have you been for the past three years?

Friday, March 21, 2014

It's been 30 days

There has been no appeal to the TPR back in Feb.

We have an agency adoption social worker, we've had her since last summer and all of our adoption paper work has been completed since last fall.

It has been 30 plus days since TPR and Primo has still not been transferred to DH$ adoptions. I'm irritated but not surprised.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Well what do you know?

Primo's new agency social worker was on time for our home visit. I'm serious, she was on time!

For example if the appointment was for 2:00 PM she knocked on my door at 2:00 PM! Not 2:15, 2:30, 5:00 or never.

I could get used to this.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

We went to church today...

which is completely unusual for us. We've become Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter type attendees for the past few years.

We tried a new service today and it was very interesting. The general take away message was about getting out into the muck of life and doing something to help the world. If you see injustice in the word go out and do something about it. You know, the old get our of your bubble/box/comfort zone and change the world.

Mike and I have been of different minds when it comes to foster care. I think it would be fair to say that I am the only one of my family interested in continuing foster care after Primo's adoption is finalized. And at this point I'm only committed to providing respite care.

While I was inspired by the sermon and thought a lot about the fact that the pastor talked about every child deserving a peaceful, loving home I'm still conflicted. 

Participating in foster care for the past three years has been a huge sacrifice, not in the way you may be thinking when you read this. I literally feel that I have sacrificed some of my children to the wrecked system that is foster care. While I'm confident that none of my girls would change the fact that Primo is their brother, this outcome came with some REALLY BAD PAIN AND SUFFERING for our family. The kind of HELL you would never choose to put your children through. I will not go into the specifics to protect my children.

I also worry a lot about how continuing foster care would effect Primo. He clearly has abandonment issues and how would he tolerate brothers and sisters coming and going from our home on the whims of DH$ and our agency?

In the end even if I do feel inspired to keep on with foster care, can I really do this without the support of every member of my family who lives in our home?

I know there are ways to be involved in foster care without having foster children in our home, maybe it's time to explore those other options?


Saturday, March 15, 2014

One of the best things I've read on the web today...

Wow, there have been a lot of great blog posts about foster care lately and Don't Save My Child is one of the best. This post is not specific to foster care, but it does address many of the behaviors and responses to those behaviors that I have experienced in foster care. This is written so succinctly and yet is full of valuable information about children who come from very difficult places.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What do you think of this?

Primo's new agency social worker called me to schedule both of her monthly home visits ahead of time, as in WEEKS ahead of time, not hours!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A New Social Worker

That's what we've got, only a couple of weeks after TPR. The nice part is that she is experienced and seems very organized. I don't see any last minute visits in my future, and that feels good.

Once again we're in waiting mode around here. We are waiting for mid March to roll around at which point we will know if the TPR decision is being appealed and around that time Primo should be transferred to adoptions at DH$.

Primo has been developing by leaps and bounds, he has a good solid vocabulary which he adds to weekly. He is all little boy, jumping and climbing and tantruming. We actually left the barber shop yesterday because he couldn't keep it together. We went back an hour later and everything went smoothly. It's been a lot of years since I've parented a toddler, the amount of hard work, redirection, and negotiation seems to have completely slipped my mind!

Primo has also started a little preschool program which he enjoys very much, and I LOVE the time it provides me to run errands alone and keep the house more organized.

Monday, February 24, 2014

I threw it out

The first thing I did after Primo's lawyer called to let me know that TPR had been granted was...

Well, before that I let my husband and children know.

Then I had a good cry.

Finally, I felt the need for a concrete action that would represent the end to all of the visits I've taken Primo to.

My eyes settled on the 2.5 year old diaper bag that I have packed and carried to all of Primo's visits.

I threw it in the trash and that felt good.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's done

Primo and all of his brothers are now legally free for adoption. TPR was granted by the judge.

I'm mostly feeling relief, but also feeling very sad for Primo's parents.

Now we wait for 30 some days to see if there will be an appeal. DH$ also has 30 days to transfer Primo's case to adoptions.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I left the house yesterday without brushing my hair, and I didn't realize it until well into the day. A day of appointments and meetings.

As Primo's court date approaches I find myself drifting into malaise. I don't think I can take another phone call like the one I received last summer to let me know that absolutely nothing was accomplished in court and Primo and his 3 brothers would be in foster care for another 6 months.

I so want to be hopeful about the TPR trial, but I'm reliving last summer and wondering if these children will ever be free from foster care.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Update: Primo's hair and skin care

Back in 2012 I wrote about Primo's hair and skin care. Parenting an African American child was new to me and it took me a while to find the products I needed to keep Primo's skin and hair happy and healthy.

Since then I've changed things up a bit so I thought I'd write again about what products work well for Primo now that he's a toddler.

The main reason for the changes to our hair and skin care routine was that I was concerned about the fact that I was spreading lotions on Primo's skin every day that contained many ingredients that I couldn't pronounce and had very little notion of how they may effect him long term.  I was increasingly uncomfortable with the fact that Primo was soaking up a bunch of unnatural stuff, and the skin being the largest organ and all, I decided to research some all natural or gentler lotions and moisturizers.

This is what I've come up with for now. As always if you have any recommendations I would LOVE to hear what works for you.

I'm in love with this product:
You can find here at Truly Pure and Natural, (and this is their photo too) I use this every day on Primo's skin. It's light, fluffy and smells like heaven. I also use Truly Pure and Natural's shampoo and their amazing conditioner, which can be used as a moisturizer too. I know I couldn't believe it either, but it's great for when I need a lighter moisturizer for Primo during the summer months.  I order these three products online, click link above.



I also like Shea Moisture's Raw Shea and Chamomile & Aragan BABY Head-to-toe ointment for when Primo needs a heavy duty moisturizer/oil for his skin or has scrapes that may scar. I can pick this up at Target and a little goes a long way, so it lasts forever.

                                          Photo credit: Target

I also still use plain old coconut oil on Primo's wet hair after a bath to seal in the moisture from the bath. I'm finally coming to the end of the container I bought in 2012!

                                                         Photo credit: Whole Foods

I like Shea Moisture's Curl Enhancing Smoothie for Primo's hair every day. It doesn't have the over powering smell that some of the other hair products I've tried seem to have. I pick this up at Target, and the large tub I have is lasting a long time, so it is well worth the $12.

                                           Photo credit: Target







Monday, February 10, 2014

#Daysinfostercare

Some where out there in the world of foster care blogs some one came up with the idea of announcing how many days their foster children had been in foster care.

Primo is 896 #daysinfostercare. Hopefully this month his case will move forward towards adoption. His TPR date is coming up this month.




Monday, January 27, 2014

1 of 2 approvals

Way back in August we started our adoption paper work. You know, when we thought termination would be happening by the end of the summer?

Well, anyway we completed all of our paperwork, renewed all clearances had a home study done, so now before termination has even happened we've been approved by our foster care agency to adopt Primo.

This is 1 of the 2 approvals we need. If TPR is granted in Feb. Primo's case will be moved to the adoptions unit of DH$, this is supposed to be done within 30 days of the TPR. Now we wait for termination and then 30 more days after that to send our approved home study/profile to DH$. They have 2 weeks to look over our home study and approve it or ask for more info.

Ideally this would mean that sometime in April we will be approved by DH$ to adopt Primo, but as foster care goes I'm thinking this might not happen until next Summer.

 Wait, wait, wait...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nothing to see here...

There is absolutely nothing happening in Primo's case, we sit and wait until Feb for a second try at a TPR trial.

This leaves me with nothing to write about foster care with the exception of another post about the misery of waiting and the unknown. I'm pretty sure you've all heard way too much about that, am I right? Yes, I believe I am right.  Waiting is the worst part of foster care.

One small change is this: if Primo's agency social worker doesn't see him at visits (because there haven't been any in 6 weeks) she has to come to my house twice a month instead of once, BAH!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A holiday season of sickness

We've been sick sick sick over here. From before Christmas thru Christmas and after Christmas. Virus after miserable virus. We have now all recovered and I'm hoping we've had all our winter illnesses  for the rest of the season of sickness.

Time is drawing ever closer to Primo's TPR trial date in Feb. The closer it comes the more agitated I become. Worrying that once again we will be continued for months on end. Not sure how much more waiting I can take.

Primo has graduated to a big boy bed, no more crib! He loves it and is sleeping well. Could be the bed or could be the fact that he hasn't had a visit in over a month?