Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our First Visit

In my last post about adoption plans I mentioned we had a visit scheduled for baby D’s mom and dad the day after Christmas. I had been worried about giving her parents my number but from the time we left court that day until Monday at 3:00 pm they had not called. They called Monday just before the visit to let me know they were on their way and to make sure I would still be there. We were getting ready to head out for the visit so I said I’d see them shortly.

We met at a local McDonald's that had a play area so that the older kids could run around and they could visit with the baby and that we could all eat and visit. Bio mom, bio dad, bio brother, his girl friend and her daughter came. Her daughter was 3 so it worked out really well because Miss M had a friend to play with. Dude had a friend with him as well, so that was nice he just played but did get to meet them. He still hasn’t really asked any questions, but I did explain to him that Bio Mom carried baby D in her tummy just like I carried him and that her Bio Dad is just like his dad. I really struggled to explain that. It is much easier to say the mom is the one who carried in tummy but how do you explain dad when he has very limited concept of where babies come from.

They brought some gifts for the three kids, so that my older two wouldn’t feel excluded and I was happily surprised that they thought of that. I thought it was very sweet and thoughtful.

Her bio dad has usually been very quiet and stand offish, letting bio mom take the lead. But, he reached out his arms and held her immediately and also fed her yogurt. He was still pretty quiet, but interacted with her quite nicely. Bio brother 2 (second oldest son of mom) really paid a lot of attention to her and wanted to hold her a lot. She happily shuffled between then three of them most of the visit, just touching base with me every once in a while. I am really happy that she felt secure enough to go to them and let them dote on her. I think maybe part of it is our comfort with them and her familiarity with them from the visits at social services.

I gave them each small presents, a frame with a picture and pictures. For Bio Mom I made a memory box with pictures of baby D mod podged onto it and pictures inside. I got dad a metal tin to keep pictures of the baby in. They got me a hat and scarf.

Bio Mom told me she was really happy with baby D and that she is smart and happy and beautiful and she is thankful that we are doing a good job with her. I feel like most days we are, but it is nice to hear it from her Bio Mom.

Overall, the visit went really well. I think everyone was at ease and I am confident the visits will likely continue. We talked about doing another visit at Easter. I think trying to schedule them close to holidays will make it easy. I do have more pictures that hadn't printed before I was leaving to the visit, so I have to decide if I meet again soon to give them to them or just wait. I kind of want to meet sooner as the prints that I have are a shot of them with her. We'll see.

Here is baby D and her older brother:


Merry Christmas Part 2

We had a wonderful Christmas with the kids. It was very low key and we just got them a few things each. We had a nice dinner the five of us on Christmas eve. After the girls went to bed, me, hubs, and dude read twas the night before Christmas and the story of Jesus' birth together snuggled in his bed.
Then I got to wrap presents and put together toys. I only had two this year, a plasmacar and a doll house. The doll house took me a good hour to put together.
The kids got up Christmas morning and we opened presents before breakfast and then headed off to my in-laws. We spent the afternoon with my MIL, FIL, and my sister-in-law's family. The kids got more presents of course and got to ride their bikes and play outside.
We then headed to friends' house for a few hours for Christmas dinner. The kids had such a great time and it was nice and low key.

Here are a few pictures from the day. 

With Grandma and Grandpa: 

Christmas Girls: 

With cousin: 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Court This Week

I know not many foster parents can say this regularly, but court was great. It was better than expected this week. It definitely had its sad moments, but I really feel we are moving forward with an open adoption so it doesn’t have to be entirely sad.

Court opened and immediately the judge called the four lawyers into her chambers. Everyone looked shocked like this doesn’t usually happen and why is this happening. I had that brief moment of fear that something was going wrong and they were going to take sweet baby D. I was afraid that something went wrong with the relinquishment. But, they came back and no one looked shell shocked. It seemed to be okay. There are four lawyers because there is one for DCS, one for the GAL, one for mom, and one for dad.

Mom and Dad did not need to be at court since they relinquished but I think they wanted to make sure things were okay. I looked at it like they needed a little more assurance that baby D was staying with us like they had decided and wanted.

The first thing the judge asked was about paternity and Dad did have a paternity test and he is her biological father. Then the State got to say what they prepared. They basically said that Mom and Dad were active in the case, attended visits, foster parents were active, the bio parents relinquished and that foster parents wanted to adopt. The GAL Lawyer asked if there were any concerns and Mom and Dad’s lawyers had no questions.

We got asked a few questions by the lawyers like how she was doing, any concerns, and any parameters set on visits, etc. The judge commented that we looked very happy.

The Judge spoke to the parents first and commended them on making sure their baby girl was taken care of, making the best decision for her, and realizing that they loved her so much they knew that maybe someone else needed to do the day-to-day care of their baby. The judge said the SW, GAL, foster parents, and parents showed the way the system should work with everyone working together.

I can’t say what made this case different, but everyone was engaged and looking out for baby D. She had a very proactive Social Worker, her GAL was always available and made sure she was spoken for, we had a great mediator, and we were involved. Bio parents were welcoming and involved. I just go back to the very first visit when dad walked in and his first words were “I am so grateful to you two for taking care of my baby”. I think it set the tone going forward. I always made sure that they were kept up-to-date, I liked sending pictures, and I liked writing notes on how she was doing and what she was doing.

Whether the goal is reunification or adoption, I think this is how it is supposed to work, a whole unit of people working together and looking out for the best interests of the child who can’t speak for themselves.

We set the first visit with her parents the day after Christmas. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I think it is going to be a good thing. We met mom and dad on Monday and set up the visit and at court Tuesday mom said she already took the bus by the location and she knows where it is. I got an address and contact number for mom (I hope it stays reliable, it is her mom’s number and the address is the shelter). I reluctantly gave them my number. I had meant to research getting a number to use for them, but I think it will be okay. I don’t think they will abuse it.

I struggle a little with what I will tell Miss M going forward as we don’t know her dad and her mom stopped showing for visits the visit before the final visit (after faithfully showing up for almost the entire year). I will have a few years before she questions why D has another mom and dad but she doesn’t. I just don’t want her hurt by it.