Friday, June 26, 2015

The Day We Met Our Third Child

We set up the visit by email with Baby's foster mom.  We arranged for Brother and Sister to stay at Judy's house, so we could focus on meeting our new daughter.  I say new...she's ten months old and we've known about her since before she was born.  We had seen her in passing as we shuffled our two kids in and out of CPS parent visits, but we had never truly met this baby, never held her, never viewed her as our own.

Her foster mom shooed the other kids out into the yard and said "let Baby have some time with her new mama and daddy."  Her other kids are all either adopted or close to it.  "New mama and daddy" wasn't a strange phrase to them.   Her foster mom talked to us for a bit about the transition plan we had all come up with, about Baby's habits and routines. She said since all her kids have either been adopted or gone back to their biological parents, she has never done this before. We said we haven't either. Then she went outside too and left us alone in her house to get to know the little girl she had raised and loved for the past eight months.

Trent and I looked at each other and at the sweet little girl on the rug near us.  We had already been on the floor since the moment after shaking her foster mom's hand.   She crawled toward us, a strength she had only recently attained after some struggle and therapy.  We praised her and told her she had a more normal crawl than her older sister's funky side winder crawl had been.   We told her that her sister had some strength troubles too but caught up quick just like she is doing and that her brother welps up like crazy from mosquito bites just like she does.

She stared at us.  Oh, did she stare at us.  We knew about this, from the kids' caseworker and from her foster mom.  She's a serious baby.

We each held her for a little while.  We talked to her and played.  Then after almost an hour, we left.  What else does one do during an initial visit with a ten month old?  We will have more visits.  We will have more transition.  But for now, we have at least met her and held her and let her know we exist in this world.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Futral, Party Of Five...AKA The REAL Reason We Bought A Minivan

No, I'm not pregnant.  If you assumed that, you just need to hush.  If we bought a minivan in December because we were pregnant, then I would be looking slightly different now in June.  No, we bought a minivan because we came upon a steal of a deal.

Also because our kids have a ten month old baby sister who will be moving to our home very soon.   

Yeah.  So.  Let me back up a smidge.  And y'all get comfy...this is a doozy...

Not that many people know Baby even exists, much less her story or where it's headed now.  We have known about her since day one, though she was not born yet.  On the night Brother and Sister were brought to our home almost a year and a half ago, the investigative social worker who had removed them said "Their mom is three months pregnant."  I stared at the six month old baby in my lap for a moment and my heart thundered further into my throat than it already was after suddenly having two babies plunked into our home.  I said something lame like "Ok then" and we proceeded with signing many placement papers and embarking on our crazy foster care journey.

We didn't know how things would play out with the placement overall, much less with the baby sister that didn't even exist yet outside the womb.  The older two could be back home with mom before she was even born, she could be born and cared for by their mom just fine, or she could be removed as well.  There was just no knowing.

We quickly, and sadly, learned not to tell many people about her.  All three kids are each almost exactly one year apart. When Baby was born last August, their mom was a couple weeks short of having three kids under the age of two.  Aside from people either very close to us or very polite, the responses to such information turned out rude and hurtful.

"Doesn't she know about this thing called birth control?"....."Oh my god, what an idiot"....."She needs to keep her pants on"....."Did she get knocked up while on drugs?"....."Who in their right mind does that?"....."She's obviously nuts"...............

With each stinging comment, the words SHUT UP YOU JERKS rose higher and higher in my throat and Baby slipped deeper and deeper into secrecy.  The people that needed to know, did know.  Family, close friends, bosses, the aforementioned polite people, folks that earned the privilege of receiving ongoing information about our true situation by extending grace and insight at the onset instead of hurt and judgement.

And now for a brief history of this sitcheeation, to bring all you other folks outside that circle up to date on how exactly we have come from being a family of two to a family of five in less than a year and a half.

February 2014 - Brother and Sister were placed with us by CPS.

Summer 2014 - Their mom gained enough stability such that CPS did not intend to remove Baby at birth.

July/August 2014 - Brother turned two.  Sister turned one. Baby was born.

October 2014 - Some stuff happened and we thought there was about to be a quick end to the case overall with Baby remaining with her mom. Then some different stuff happened and CPS removed Baby.  Even though we had known for a long time this was a possibility, we struggled, we prayed, we cried.  We weren't licensed for three.  We weren't ready for three.  Three, at that time, would break us. We made our decision and CPS placed her with another foster family.

Winter 2014/2015 - A lot of people decided a lot of things.  The kids' mom decided to relinquish her rights to Brother and Sister but fight for Baby.  Baby's foster family decided they did not intend to adopt, if it came to that. And we decided that in that case, we didn't want Baby submitted to the masses for adoption, so either she went home to Mom or came to us.  So, we bought a minivan.

Spring 2015 - We waited.

May 2015 - CPS called us and said the case was not progressing and they were changing Baby's permanency plan to adoption instead of reunification.  The ball was tossed into our court to work with her foster family and work out a time to transition her to us.

July 2015 - Baby will move to our home.

That's quite a nut shell for how the past year and a half went...

But here we are.  About to be a family of five.  About to be challenged.  About to have three kids under the age of three.  About to have birthday season at the end of every summer for the rest of our life.  About to deal with crazy looks and comments from people that assume we birthed them all that close together.  About to have a little posse of siblings all together in the same home.

How are we feeling?

Oh...ya is one supposed to feel about things like this?  We are excited. We are freaked out.  We're working out some logistics like which two kids will share a room and bracing ourselves to spend a lot of money on special skinny car seats for Trent's car in order to fit three across.  We're wrapping our hearts around the idea of a new child coming to our home and grateful that we will have a stellar resource in her foster family to ease the transition and help us learn to care for her.

We are at peace.  We are willing.  We are choosing to trust.  We are choosing to love.

That's our story and we're stickin' to it... 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Takeaways & Tidbits Vol. 13

I admit that sometimes I go to church just to sing.  I love to sing.  I'm not a snob either.  I have friends who poo-poo anything that's not a deeply and rightly theological hymn, not me.  I love the hymns and I love the big hairy worship anthems, I love singing Jesus-is-my-boyfriend songs and Scriptures songs, I love simplistic choruses and I love when they play the piano and tell us to just pray to ourselves and the way that the melodies of our own mouths rise up.

Palms by Sarah Bessey


Me:  Why is there glitter all over the sofa? What do we have that is glittery?
Trent:  Children who attend daycare.


Me: I've got a pot roast in the crockpot at home.  I'm on top of life today.
Coworker:  Pot roast equals on top of life?
Me: Hey, small wins for people with small children.


Regarding our daughter and her spunky personality...

Trent: I'm so glad she turned into an actual human instead of a non-sleeping, vomiting, zombie child.


Brother: I want donuts
Trent:  Sorry buddy, we don't have any donuts.
Brother:  Uuh, get more donuts.