Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Our NJ social worker came to the house today for our first post-placement follow up visit. I was a little nervous - with baby stuff everywhere, piles of pictures, receipts and adoption paperwork on the dining room table, I wasn't quite sure what I was being graded on. No need to worry though. It was just a nice visit with our social worker (she did our home study too, so we have gotten to know her pretty well). She was here for about 2 hours, but it was mostly conversational. Lyla slept through the whole visit of course...but she did peak out at the very end so the social worker could tell that her eyes are indeed brown.
We will have 3 more visits in the coming months, and soon we'll be scheduling our court date in Texas (some time at the end of February/early March) and then it will all be final. Such a process!
We used a different agency for the home study/follow ups that we used for the actual placement. I learned some interesting things about this agency though (American Adoptions). They have a high risk adoption plan, so if a case falls through (a disruption in your journey), you won't be out any money. I LOVE this. While hubby and I went through two disruptions, and lost some money (quite a bit, actually, but not as bad as it could've been), I wondered how couples who weren't in our situation might have been able to continue down this path. Since we've always known we would adopt, we had money set aside for it. But if life unexpectedly takes a couple/person into this journey, it's nice to know that there are agencies out there working to protect them. YEAH RIGHTS FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS!!
THREE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT LYLA THIS WEEK:
1. Yesterday she started reaching for things, and accidentally grabbed the pacifier out of her mouth - then screamed because it was gone
2. They say it's just gas still, but I like to think those little smiles are meant for me
3. When she sees a bottle/pacifier coming towards her mouth, she gets so excited that she starts shaking her head, and I have to really aim to get it in her mouth.
She's adorable and one month after placement I am still on cloud 9!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
So we got the call that our birthmother had gone in to labor and we changed our flights to get there early. As we landed in El Paso, TX, we got word that it was a false alarm and they had released her. We then spent the week waiting and waiting for miss Lyla's arrival. We got to spend a lot of time with our birthmother and her sister's family.
Then the big day came - they started inducing her on Thursday August 20th. I stayed overnight in the hospital with our birthmother, and at 12:51 on Friday August 21st, I got to see our daughter be born. It was amazing to be there right from the beginning and I feel soooo lucky to have been a part of it.
I stayed overnight again with the birthmother and Lyla, and Saturday they released us all at the same time, so we took Lyla back to our hotel with us. Sunday afternoon our social worker came over to sign the paperwork, and an hour later she called with the amazing news that the birthmother had signed and it was a go - SHE WAS OUR DAUGHTER!
Frank had to fly home to go back to work, so my mom, the best grandma ever, hopped on a few planes and took his place to help me tag team my newborn. It was great to have her there with us, and she of course was thrilled to get some quality time with her newest grandaughter.
We flew home on Saturday - an all day ordeal - and Lyla did amazingly well on the planes. We were all exhausted and slept in Sunday morning. Then the revolving door started Sunday afternoon with brothers, sisters-in-law, grandmas, great grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins all coming by to meet our newest family member. It was so great to see everyone so excited and just gobbling her up.
So far so good, Lyla is a wonderful baby and mommy here is enjoying every single minute of it. I even love when she wakes up for a bottle at 3 am - special quality time for mommy and Lyla where I just get to soak it all in. I AM IN LOVE!
Thank you to everyone who has offered your prayers, crossed your fingers, kept us in your thoughts, and pulled for us. We are so lucky to have had such a wonderful adoption story, and to be surrounded by so much support - on and off line.
OK enough typing - I have a daughter to bond with!
Monday, August 17, 2009
We went back to the hospital Sunday night so they could induce, but it turns out someone is VERY comfortable in there and just not ready to come out yet. So after a few hours they let us go - though we didn't get to see an ultrasound which was really cool!
Our birthmom was told to do as much walking as she can, though in this heat that really isn't much unless she's just walking around the house. We head back to the doctor at 8 am Tuesday morning for another check up and they will decide if they are going to induce or perform a c-section. For the sake of our birthmom I hope the baby is ready to come out!
Fingers still crossed, but I think this is going to be such a strong adoption, with a great relationship with the birthmom. I know I said I wasn't going to say things like that until it was official, but I can't help it - this has been such a wonderful experience so far, and I know that our birthmom is happy with her decision to choose us as her adoptive parents! I feel so lucky! (aye-yay-yay why do I do this to myself?!)
Friday, August 14, 2009
This is incredibly exciting. As long as baby doesn't decide tonight's the night, we will get to see her birth. SO COOL. And so cool that the birthmother and doctor are sensitive to our excitement and completely planning around us getting there. This couldn't get any better.
Everything is crossed, and I can't wait to get to Texas. The bags are packed (and yes, the unborn baby definitely has more than we do already!), and I am off to bed...like I could sleep!
P.S. Nephew is still in the hospital but being released tomorrow, so all is well with the world :-)
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Today is my last day at work (KNOCK ON WOOD). We are headed to Texas in just a few days, which leaves me with tomorrow to get everything together and fully prepare. The excitement is tangible and I can't wait to get down to Texas and meet my birthmother and soon-to-be-daughter.
Thank you all for your support and please keep your fingers crossed. I will let you know AS SOON AS it's official!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Our newphew came to visit on Sunday, and Monday we ended up admitting him into the hospital for an eye infection. He had a procedure done last night (at 1:30 am) to drain the infection that has swelled his eye shut, but there was nothing in there so it's all just inflammation and they don't know why. They did a biopsy, but we won't have answers for a few days so he just has to sit in the hospital. So frustrating and I feel awful for him.
On a brighter note, we are getting close to our due date! It's actually tomorrow, but our birthmother had a doc appointment today and she's not dialating yet. She is going back to the doc on Friday, and if all goes well they can induce on Monday - so we are flying down this weekend to spend some time with her before she goes into labor. WOO HOO! We also talked about hair care products since the baby is African American and I am not quite the expert in that area yet (though I will be!). She gave me some good tips, and her sister told me what she does for her 6 month old daughter, so I am feeling pretty well prepared, and really lucky that we are having these kinds of conversations.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
OK, so the rules of the "One Lovely Blog Award" are: Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15* other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
Unfortunately, I can't list 15 other blogs that I follow, but below is a list of the blogs that I enjoy reading. They aren't all about adoption, but they all give me a reason to smile and keep reading!
Amstel Life - A birthmother's view of open adoption that has set us down a wonderful open path as well
Beanie Baby Blog - Another mommy-in-waiting, waiting for her turn
Flowers & Weeds - A still growing adoptive family, with a lot of great insight on adoption
The Kamienski Chronicles - Real life with an adorable 2 year old
Thanks again Sally - I'm off to start reading the other blogs on your list!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Hubby talked to BM and her sister Tuesday night, and that seems to have gone well. We are hoping the more we talk to BM the less awkward it will be when we meet her next week...and hopefully as she gets to know us she still beleives she made the right choice with us! And I decided that I am going to buy her and I matching baby album/memory books. This way we can store all the stuff from the hospital, and as I fill things in, I'll let her know so she can keep her's up to date too. I think it will be a great way for us to continue bonding and for her to keep connected to the baby.
Also talked to my social worker today who told me she will be out of town for the next week and a half, which means we have been handed off to another case worker - but the good news is that I LOVE the other case worker, so although it's a bit jarring to realize your social worker is not going to be available when your daughter is born...it will all be fine!
I've started looking at hotels and flights. Scared to book, but if I don't book now the prices will just get higher and higher. But I'll be refundable tickets so it shouldn't be considered a jinx. But fingers crossed nonetheless!
My mom also left for Ireland today for her first real vacation in a LONG time, and her first time out of the country. She of course is devastated that she won't be here when the baby is born, but she'll be home before we are so hopefully she is feeling reassured by that. And maybe she'll buy a baby Irish sweater (after she gets the call that it went through, of course!)
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Time is flying by. Quick update on life:
The weekend was spent moving oldest stepdaughter from 3rd floor walk-up apartment to 3rd floor walk-up apartment down the road. Needless to say I am feeling pretty buff, and proud to say that by the time me, her mom and her dad left the apartment Saturday, it was in pretty good shape for a less than 72 hour spree!
Unrelated, my Trumpette order came today - 3 sets of socks for 2 baby boys and they are just adorable. They also sent me a free pair of little girl slippers - dare I say that's a good sign since I only ordered boy items??
On the adoption front, I spoke with birthmom for the first time yesterday, and then again today. I also spoke to her sister, who she is currently living with. They both seem lovely, and this truly does seem like it's fully Ashley's plan and her family is supportive. So it was a good conversation yesterday - I spoke to both of them for about 45 minutes (more the sister, but I think she's just older and more talkative). BM wants a pretty open relationship, which I think is pretty cool. It makes me a little nervous because she wants to see the baby the whole time she's in the hospital...and after what happened last time, it makes me nervous that she'll change her mind, but I have to respect her decision. She's also making a photo album for me of her and her family so the baby has it - which is AWESOME and I'm really excited about that. Overall, it was a great conversation, and hopefully this is the start of something beautiful!
Then today her sister called my cell while I was in a meeting (and of course I had left my cell in my office) so I get back to find 2 messages.
Message #1: BM is having contractions and they are on their way to the hospital, they'll call back with an update
Message #2: False alarm - she's not even dialated and they sent her home. YIKES!
SO I spoke with her this afternoon and she's feeling fine, but was in a bit of shock since she thought she had another week to go. If baby stays put, we are looking at an August 13th delivery date.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
It sounds like this is HER adoption plan, and she hasn't been forced in to it, which bodes well for us and our future relationship with her. Her family seems supportive, she has definitive goals for the future and has already started planning her life after pregnancy. All good signs!
I'm hoping to get out of work early today so that I can call her and introduce myself. I'm glad she's open to talking to us. We figured it's best if I call her first, then bring Frank into the conversation - the two of us could be overwhelming at first!
My social worker also made the point of telling her about our first loss situation, and how delicate these situations are. She said the birthmother felt awful for us, and assured her she is ready to follow her plan. I know this still isn't a guarantee, but I have to appreciate that she's being proactive here and really seems to want to do this. Fingers crossed everyone!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
She seems to have a great attitude towards adoption, and has specific goals for her future. But we all know that goals and plans change. So for now I am just trying to keep myself busy, and not stare at my cell phone as I wait for the social worker to call me and let me know how it went today.
I also don't think that my company is taking this case seriously. I haven't heard back from HR if they have found any candidates to even start interviewing, and my boss is now beginning to take work away from our account teams and put it back on me. Kind of the opposite of what I was hoping would happen. But work is work, and if/when the call comes that I have to head to the hospital, I AM GOING, and everything I'm working on will just get reassigned as quickly as I can make it happen.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I've already ordered 2 boxes of newborn socks for one friend (the sneakers pictured here and a set of cowboy boots). They also had them for toddlers so I ordered a set for a certain one-year-old I know that is just not so into shoes...
I was able to control myself and did not buy anything for my sooner-or-later-hopefully-sooner baby. We did sign our commitment letter today, so it was quite hard to control my spending. But to be honest, the real reason I didn't buy any is because I'm not sure if my newest birthmother is having a boy or a girl yet! I should find out tomorrow or Tuesday! But you better believe if it's a girl I'm buying the ballet slipper socks!
Fingers crossed...and happy shopping www.trumpette.com
Thursday, July 23, 2009
We have A TON of questions about the case, but she seems like a great candidate (I know, I've already said that twice...). She seems to have a great attitude towards adoption, and to have thought this through. It's a little scary to jump into another case so quickly, but I guess depending on the answers I get, how could I turn down a chance to be a mom?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I am really tired of people telling me that "everything happens for a reason" or "something good will come out of this." I have probably already mentioned this, but this is really a stupid thing to say to someone. First of all, I do believe in God, and I do go to church and all that. But do I really think God is up there playing this game with me? No, I do not. Do I think that if something bad happens to you, something good will follow? No, I do not. So what do I think? I think that things happen, good and bad; life goes on; and life is really what YOU make of it. Thinking there is some worldy reason for everything is a cop out. I had two unfortunate endings to an adoption case. I'm not giving up. I choose to continue down this path, stay positive, continue to get excited about each and every case (even if I do keep it to myself and the blog from now on) and know that if I stay strong and stick with it, eventually a case will work out and I will have a baby. Or a toddler. Or triplets (hey, if I'm being optimistic why not go all the way!)
So what is a good thing to say to someone? Nothing has meant more to me than the text I received from hubby's ex-wife, mother of my wonderful stepdaughters. I am very lucky that they have a great relationship, and it has transcended into a happy, functional extended family. Her text said, "I can't even imagine what you are going through nor do I even know the right words to say. Don't give up. Hang in there. I know that there is a child out there for you to love, it just hasn't found you yet. I know it's not the same, but you are a good stepmom to my girls and I love you for that." It was literally a virtual hug :-)
Sometimes, there is just no better therapy that driving home, with a great CD blasting in the stereo, playing drums on the steering wheel, and singing your heart out. Last night I left work around 9:30, which means it was dark and there was no traffic so no one enjoyed the show but me. I threw in an old CD I had made of my favorite bar songs - the ones that when the bands starts to play you grab your friends and head to the dance floor so excited because they are clearly playing it because YOU are there. By the time I got home, I was destressed from work, adoption and life. And the fact that hubby had ordered a pizza so I didn't have to cook or go hungry definitely helped.
Monday, July 20, 2009
I'm sad, disappointed, frustrated and basically a little hopeless. BUT, tomorrow is another day. So today, I can be sad, disappointed, frustrated and hopeless, but tomorrow, the sun will come out, life will go on, and our profile will be shipped.
I am sad for the children. I hope that this family comes together to give them a good life, and put their best interests first. They have already been through a lot, and I hope the family understands that, and is ready to give them the life they deserve.
There is a baby out there for me. I know it. I just hope the next case has a happier ending because I don't know how many more times I can do this. I am thankful for the love, strength and support of my husband. And for Tostitos and nacho cheese which I am currently also finding comfort in. Diet starts tomorrow along with the resurgence of my positive attitude...
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Then today I went to a baby shower. I've been to plenty in my life time, but this is the first since I had ever been selected by a birthmother. It was very casual and not overly 'baby shower-ish.' I had debated going - wondered if it would be hard for me to sit through - but it was a close friend, and we barely all get together anymore, so I figured I would be fine. Overall it wasn't a big deal, but watching her open all the gifts, and the excitement in the air over a newborn, and watching the daddy-to-be dote on the mommy-to-be made me a little sad. First time that's happened to me. I guess it's normal now that I am so far along down the adoption path and it's more real that our family will be staring soon.
I'm not sad that I won't be pregnant, or that I may or may not have a newborn. I think it's just the general excitement that most pregnant women get to experience (though I'm not jealous of the swollen ankles, retaining water, stretch marks, etc.!). But after my first adoption case fell apart, my family and friends are much more reserved with this one. And while I know that this one may or may not work out, I know that I will always be really excited for each and every case. I never want to look back at the anticipation of an adoption and remember that I was scared, nervous and anxious. I want to remember how excited I was, and the anticipation of meeting my son/daughter/both. But I know that the excitement my friends and family may feel for me is reserved, and behind a wall of doubt and angst that this one might not go through. Or that I will get hurt again. I think parents going through adoption just see it so differently than everyone else.
But for now, hubby and I will just keep reminding ourselves how happy and excited we are, and we'll turn our attention to baby proofing the house for their arrival!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
It's sad to take such joy in someone else's sorrow, but I am so excited to meet my new son and daughter. (This is me playing it cool and keeping my fingers crossed, as I promised hubby I would. I just can't contain excitement!)
I've already started reading up on life with toddlers, and adopting toddlers, since everything I was focusing on up until now was about newborns. So exciting and so much to do! But...fingers crossed!
Off to read my new "What to Expect: The Toddler Years" book!
Friday, July 10, 2009
Received pictures of the kids from the social worker. The children are absolutely adorable. I'm on cloud 9.
Work for 2 hours.
Received call from the social worker telling me that they have hit some snags with the termination rights of both birthparents, she's confused about what's going on, birthmother siad she's going to a different agency, and she doesn't think this is going to happen.
Literally three people lined up outside my office to talk to me, so by the time I even got to process what happened and call hubby, I have it all scrambled in my head. But regardless, it isn't happening.
So, we're back to sending out profiles and hope that we get another call!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Hubby and I have been spending a lot of time discussing this situation. It's not what we were planning for, but I think we both agree that while it will be more work, and potentially a difficult situation, it will be well worth it - we want a family and these kids deserve a good home. Isn't that all that matters?
We aren't going in blind. We've thought about the issues and the difficulties, as well as looking at this from the children's eyes. And I think as long as it lines up the way the social worker is expecting, if she calls with good news on Monday we will probably commit!
Hubby told my stepdaughters today and they are excited for two babies, but definitely going in to this case a lot more guarded. But I know once we get these babies home they will be thrilled! And Sheamus will finally have some little playmates!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Then yesterday another case worker calls with a very unique situation. She has two kids - a one year old and a two year old (boy and girl) who's mother wants to place them for adoption. Long story short she just wants them to have a better life.
Is it crazy of me to adopt two kids at once? I had really wanted an infant, and experience ALL the "firsts," but the thought of being able to keep siblings together and out of the foster system is hard to turn down.
It would be a lot more challenging - attachment issues, they could have developmental issues, etc. I don't know much about them at this point. Need to talk to the hubby about it, but I just don't know. It's so strange to be in this position of choosing our situation.
Monday, July 6, 2009
It did spur interesting debates though. While the adoptive parents have no rights in these situations, and I am left wondering about the rights the babies themselves have, I can't quite figure out how you would even go about changing legislation. I wish we were more protected, and that there was less risk with a birthmother changing her mind, us getting attached and then losing a baby, and not to mention the financial costs and risks. But it is a woman's right to choose to have and raise a child. Even if it isn't in the best interest of the child. And EVERYONE seems to have an opinion on it.
I also know that a lot of adoptive mothers are not offered maternity leave, which is typically covered by disability. I am lucky to work at a great place that offers 3 months maternity leave at full pay - and when my situation came up, they simply added a clause so it would include adoptive mothers as well. An amazing thing to do. But if it's covered by disability, it's no wonder most companies can't afford or don't even think to do that. So not only do we not have rights when it comes to the actual adoption process, most women are then forced to go straight back to work which interferes with their bonding and attachement to their new child.
In this day and age when families are so diverse and adoption is so common, I think it's crazy that legislation is so far behind social acceptance/tolerance. Though I guess the advocates of single-sex marriage feel the same way. We need YOUNG, FORWARD-THINKING officials running our government, fighting for the rights and happiness of our citizens.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I can't beleive that was a week ago already.
I might be dwelling, or this might be normal, I don't know. But I hope she's ok, and they are taking good care of her. I can still feel her in the crook of my arm. How can you love someone so much that you only knew for 6 hours? But it's getting better. I haven't cried for two days. That's two good days.
I don't know if I'm ready for another call yet, but I am glad the agency is showing our profile. I am so ready to be a mommy.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I'm not sure if this makes me feel relieved or worse. I had only a 1 in almost 7 chance of this happening. Yet it happened. And next time, I'll have a 1 in 7 chance that it will happen again.
BUT, we are back on board with the agency, and they have already started sending out our profile again. So we sit back and wait, with our fingers crossed that our next experience has a much better ending.
On a side note, the awkward stares have begun to dwindle, and I've actually had a few pretty thoughtful approaches - a voicemail from a friend saying she understand if I don't want to talk about it, but she's there if I need her and she'll check back in a few days just to say hi; an email from a coworker not claiming to understand what I was going through, but expressing her sadness and anger for my loss; and a prayer card from a friend just letting us know she is thinking of us and praying for our happy ending. Sometimes it's hard to find the right words, but it's amazing when people figure it out. Thank you to my friends and family for their support...
Monday, June 29, 2009
I guess I should just be thankful that aren't saying "something good will come of this" or "everything happens for a reason." That's even worse.
I look forward to next Monday when everyone has enjoyed their long weekend and long forgotten about this.
And just as I was venting about this, someone came in my office to have a real conversation about what happened without using any cliches. I so greatly appreciate that...
Of course we knew we had to be careful - the birthmother can change her mind. By TX law (where our agency is) she has three days. I was prepared for those to be the longest 3 days of my life. I was right.
We got the call on 6/24/09 that our birthmother had gone in to labor. We should head to TX ASAP to meet our daughter. We got a flight out in just a few hours, yet by the time we boarded the plane, she had arrived. The birthfamily sent me pictures and kept me updated. We didn't arrive until 3 am, and checked in to a hotel to get a few hours of sleep. We met the birthmother and her father at the hospital at 8:30 am. We immediately began caring for the baby - holding her, feeding her, changing her diaper. We med with the birthfamily - told them more about ourselves, answered more of their questions, and they told us again why they had chosen adoption for the baby. It was going so smoothly.
And then at 2:30, we got the call from the social worker that they had changed their minds and were not going to release the baby to us. Of course we knew this was a risk, but that still doesn't prepare you for the devastation of losing your daughter. Sure I was only a mom for 6 hours, and I know it could've been much worse if i had more time to bond with her. But it is devastation nonetheless.
The agency will begin sending out our profile again today. I don't know if I will do anything differently, I don't know if this experience has made me smarter or stronger. I just know that I am READY to be a mom. If I ever had a question about attachment to a newborn or the strength of the love a mother could feel for an adoptive child, or whether I would be 'a natural', this experience taught me that I will have more love for my son or daughter than I ever thought possible. I look forward to my next call, my next birthmother, and meeting my next newborn...