Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Something I've never written about...

Primo is now 4 and he still doesn't sleep through the night. He slept through the night briefly around a year old. Since then he has never slept through the night. Well, every now and then he does, maybe once a month, sometimes less often.

We have a good bedtime routine and he falls asleep easily at 8 PM, but he doesn't stay asleep. On a good night he's up twice. A bad night means getting up 4 or 5 times with him. He's never up for long, sometimes he goes to the bathroom other times he just runs into our room and one of us gets up and takes him back to bed and he's asleep in 10-20 minutes. We always offer the option of sleeping in our bed, but he wants his own bed. 

I don't know what to do. We've tried Melatonin, but this doesn't help Primo stay asleep. We've tried relaxation/meditation cds for children, rewards for staying in bed, making his room darker with light blocking curtains and no night light. None of this has changed anything. Despite waking up so often at night Primo is ALWAYS up and ready to go by 5:30-6:00 AM!

Over time the problem has improved, in that he no longer has temper tantrums in the middle of the night, so that's something. But last week Mike admitted he was falling asleep at a red light on his way home from work. We need to correct this sleep problem fast. Our quality of life is not what it could be.

Anyone else have this problem? What helped your toddler sleep through the night?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Maintaining Contact?

For 3 months after visiting with Primo's first Mom he was back in diapers after being almost completely potty trained. I'm happy to say the Primo is now completely potty trained. Such a relief as he is almost 4.

I've been trying to set up another visit with both of Primo's first parents but no luck so far. If I'm being completely honest it's been a bit of a relief as Primo is ready to move out of his day care preschool and on to old fashioned arts and crafts and lots of outdoor play time preschool my other children attended. The hitch is that he has to be completely potty trained for this preschool, another set back at this point would be a real pain.

The lack of visits has been because I've not heard from Primo's parents in over a month. We set up times to meet and then I never heard from them. It's a real bummer as I had imagined we'd get together 3-4 times a year, but I'm letting go of that expectation. What will be will be. I will keep trying to keep in contact, but this is a two way street and I can only be responsible for my side of the street.

Most of what I read online supports visits for adopted children with their first parents and or siblings, but in my real life the 4 other Mom's I know who adopted via foster care, along with Primo's old social workers,  think I'm crazy for remaining in contact with Primo's first parents. They don't understand it.

I've also been trying to track down Primo's many siblings. I believe it is very valuable for him to know his siblings when he's ready. I found the parents of an older sister a few months ago, but have not made contact with them. One of the Mothers of Primo's brothers was down right annoyed with me for finding her. I've also found a bunch of adult brothers, but no one but me is interested in contacting them.

What would you do? I'd very much like to hear about your experiences with maintaining contact with your child's biological family.

Monday, March 2, 2015

One last thing

My trip to the social security office was an education indeed.

I had been once to our local and small SS office, this office has seating for 6 or 8 people and wait time of about 15 min. Sadly this office closed so I had to go to one of the big city offices to change Primo's social security number.

Here there was seating for at least 80 people and there seemed to be about as many people standing as were seated. I received my number and waited.

About half way through my wait I scored a chair.

There were so many sad and dismayed people in that office. Many did not speak English and many of them, after long waits for their number to be called, went on to spend over an hour at the window only to not have their issues resolved. It was nuts. 

There were 21 windows.

It took 3 hours for my number number to be called.

I brought Primo's birth certificate, and his adoption decree with me, but they didn't want either of these. They asked if I had an id card with his name on it. What! The only thing I had was his medical card which had his new name on it, but his middle name was just and initial. Well that was all they would take, we argued over this for 15 minutes.

I was not able to change Primo's SS number without a police report, this took about 20 minutes of my time at the window to figure out.

By this time I felt a bit like an accused criminal that just wanted out of a long interrogation. I would let them put the name Mickey Mouse on his card if I could just leave all of this insanity behind.

As my 45 minutes at the window was wrapping up, my interrogator, er... helper dude, printed a receipt like thing and turned to make his third mysterious visit to the back of the building. I picked up the small piece of paper, no alarms went off, so I quickly read it. There was Primo's name and below that were the names of his birth parents and his birth date. I guess that Primo's SS# will be forever tied to his first parents. Strange.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Primo's revised birth certificate has arrived and I'm headed to the social security office today.

This is the last piece of the post adoption puzzle I need to take care of!

Monday, February 16, 2015

"...but like all things in child welfare, the clocks are set in months, not minutes."

~To the End of June, Cris Beam

Saturday, February 14, 2015

To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care, by Cris Beam

This is the latest book on foster care that I'm reading. I read a lot about foster care. Sometimes I think I read too much about foster care. Let's face it reading about foster care can be depressing.

This book is no different, it can be depressing, but the information it contains was garnered over years of interviews and through lots of academic research and I like that. I would say that To The End Of June is based mainly in New York, but it does branch out and study other foster care systems as they've changed.

Here are a few quotes from the book that touched me:

"Dr. Francine Cournos has written and spoken extensively about child welfare since she was a foster child herself in the late fifties, and she says that still, workers focus too much on rules and protocol rather than on kids' emotional attachments."

"The day somebody asks a foster child, 'Where were you living before your biological mother's? (speaking of a child coming back to care after reunification has failed) How long were you there? How did that work out?'--that will be a very good day."

"It's partly because the system treats foster parents as "interchangeable parts" that they don't do the critical work of attaching to their children. Or they do it and then they stop. They're just like foster kids: they get burned out on the system's entrenched disregard for their love."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Our first post-adoption visit

We met in a public place near Primo's parent's home. Only Mom showed up and we had a nice visit. Mom did really well, she let Primo have his space and enjoyed visiting with me while Mike and Primo played near by.

Primo totally remembered his Mom. He was unsure at first and asked if Mike and I were going to stay with him? I reassured Primo that we would stay with him the whole time.

Primo came over to Mom and held her hand and talked with her, she wiped his nose for him and told him how handsome he is.

The visit felt like a win win to me.

But 2 days after the visit all of our potty training progress flew out the window.

Primo had been 95% potty trained when we went to the visit.

I can't be sure that the cause of the potty training regression is due to the visit, but on the drive home from the visit Primo insisted that I sit in the back of the car with him and hold his hand all the way home,  while he cried on and off.

I feel torn, I still believe that seeing his first parents is good for Primo, but a reaction like this shakes my confidence.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I still have the blues and medical insurance issues

It was just plain miserable having the blues over Christmas and New Years. I'm very tired of feeling this way when everything in my life is going smoothly, it's just beyond reason. But it is what it is. I'm beginning to feel that exercise may help. This is a true sign of my desperation to change the fog I'm spending each day in. 

I guess I'll be dusting off the treadmill.

As for medical insurance, now Primo has been signed up for our the insurance that our state provides for low income children. I have NO IDEA who signed him up, maybe it's automatic when a child is adopted via foster care??? 

I've called the state children's insurance twice asking for them to remove him from their list. During the first call they assured me they had no record of Primo. I can't believe this after I have received not 1 but 2 welcome packets. When I called again the person qualified to remove him from the insurance was not available.

I don't think Primo needs three insurance carriers, I'm not sure it's even allowed. If our family was low income I may consider using the state children's insurance, but we're not and I don't want to take a service that is not meant for us.

Just last week I received a new medical card for this state insurance, I guess I will be calling them again and asking them to remove Primo from their insurance, not that it will do any good.

As for Medicaid and our private health insurance I'm now realizing that to keep the Medicaid I need to take Primo to a pediatrician that takes both our private insurance and Medicaid. For the simple reason that when I take Primo to a specialist (which is every 6 months, for regular care, not to mention what he may need in the future) I need a referral from both insurances.

I'm feeling very sad about this because Primo's new pediatrician was the best kid doc I'd ever had over the last 20 or so years, and as an added bonus he and Primo shared the same skin color, doesn't accept Medicaid. The only solace I have in this whole insurance BS is that when I talked to Primo's pediatrician about what I should do he advised me to always try to hang on to Medicaid as having this as secondary insurance could be extremely valuable if Primo ever needs major medical intervention or mental health services.

So now we search for a new pediatrician that accepts both our private insurance and Medicaid...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A little history leading up to our first post-adoption visit

I can't remember whether I mentioned this on the blog, but a few months after TPR in Feb. 2014 I opened a post office box in a town nearby and started writing to Primo's parents. His parents were happy to have contact this way and we wrote many letters back and forth. I have copies of the letters I wrote and have kept all the letters they wrote in notebook for Primo when he's older.

Letter writing was a safe way to continue to build our relationship before we decided if we wanted to have face to face contact with Primo's parents. I had always assumed we would have face to face contact a few times a year, but I have to say that once the adoption was finalized I was overcome with the temptation to completely forget about having contact and move on with our lives. This would be the simpler option, but I wanted to do what is best for Primo.

After Primo was adopted, I jumped on my google voice app and sent some texts to Primo's Mom to see if she wanted to get together for a visit. I got no response. I waited 2 weeks and left some voice messages, but still no response.

In the last letter I'd sent I had mentioned that I would call or text when the adoption was complete, so they knew I'd be in touch. Mike told me it wasn't my job to track them down, if they wanted to have contact they would respond.

In a last ditch effort I sent a letter and included my google voice phone number. Two days later I received a very grateful text message from Primo's Mom. She no longer had the same phone number she'd given me in our letters.

We set up a time and place to meet...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Post adoption visit

We had our first post adopting visit with Primo's first Mom yesterday. Over all it went very well, but I still need time to process it all.

More later.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

True Dat Tuesday

In the past year I have twice met up with some local foster parents with the purpose of talking with a couple who are interested in foster care.

Results: 1 couple has been placed with an adoptive placement via foster care
              1 couple is now fostering dogs for a local rescue

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Medical Assistance, foster care and adoption

About 5 weeks after Primo's adoption I started to receive mailings about his medical assistance (an adoption benefit he will receive until he is 18). I received his welfare card, (to be used for food stamps or other benefits it also proves his access to medical assistance or Medicaid) in Primo's case the only benefit he receives is Medicaid. I also received letters from the city he was born in, and who had custody of him until he was adopted, requesting that he choose a medical provider etc. 

All of this paper work was dated weeks before, but only arrived at our house a day or two before Primo was required to choose an insurance provider. After what seemed like 10 phone calls it was all taken care of and Primo was all set with this Medicaid. 

A week later I receive a letter from an insurance company along with an id card, but it is not from the insurance company I signed up with? In fact is was from the lowest rated of the 4 insurance companies I had to choose from for Primo. Odd.

Fast forward 3 weeks: on the same day I received Primo's new Medicaid insurance card (the one I signed up for) I also received a letter from his birth city letting me know that Primo no longer qualified for Medical Assistance. After what seemed like 36 phone calls it was finally revealed that his case had been transferred from the city of his birth to the county where he lives with us. We should not have received a letter saying he was disqualified, but a letter saying his case was transferred.

Oh, and that mysterious medical card from the lowest rated insurance company? I was informed that the computer just generates a random insurance company for Primo before we even received the mailings about his insurance.

OK, all settled, fewsh!

Fast forward another 2 weeks and on a Monday morning I receive 3 more letters addressed to Primo. Included in the envelopes are a new welfare card with a different number and all of the other paperwork involved in changing his medical insurance AGAIN!  

It would seem that now that our county has his case we must go back and re-choose the same old insurance company he's had for the past 3 years.

I expect that I will also find another random letter from an insurance company chosen at random, with another id card we will never use in about a week. And about two weeks after that we will finally have Primo's REAL insurance card.

One can only hope...