Tuesday, December 29, 2009
There were more questions that naturally followed the original...
So how does that work anyway? When do you run out of places in your heart to put people? Do you ever? If there isn’t anything missing, how can something find a place into your heart? If there wasn't a hole to begin with, why is there one when someone is gone?
I think I have come up with the answer. While I am not a philosopher by any stretch of the imagination and my college philosophy grades will prove that, I now believe the following:
There is never a hole in your heart, there are just spaces that are available for tangible(i.e. people) and intangible (i.e. religion) things to occupy. Those spaces are currently occupied with your own love. Things only occupy those areas of your heart if you open it up to them. Someone or something has to be very special for you to open up your heart, and when you do, you give some of your love to them. That creates the space that is then devoted to them forever. No one can ever take their place in that spot. Other spaces will be made available as new people come into your life and you give of your love to them, but ultimately the space given to someone is thiers forever. When they are gone, is when there is that empty feeling that never really goes away. You may get used to it after a while but it never really goes away.
A lost child can not be replaced with a newborn, nor can a lost spouse be replaced with a new spouse. You can just open up another area of your heart and let more of your love out. It is certainly risky business. The more you open up your heart and the more love you let out, the more susceptible you are to having empty spaces. So....back to the beginning. If you have no empty space in your heart, how is there room to add someone into it?
You make the room in your heart by giving of some of your love for that person to put into their heart. It is really quite simple. As the Beatles said:
"And in the end
The love you take
is equal to the love you make"
Thank you for indulging me in my little rambling
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Apparently Rudolph dropped some of his bells when he was leaving our house. All the reindeer really made a mess of the carrots that (S) left for them.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Well (S)'s parents have filed an appeal with the state supreme court. (This is the only court that hears appeals on these matters in this state).
There is no one that thinks an appeal will go through, but as those of you who have been reading this blog know, stranger things have happened. So is it good news or bad?
The bad news is that this will hold up any adoption for a few months longer. It means that we probably will not have everything complete in early spring. We are just hoping it can be complete before school starts next year so (S) doesn't have a name change while in school. The other bad news is that the court could make any decision and we don't know for sure what that will be. While all the experts are saying there is no way this appeal will go through, all the experts have been wrong before in this case.
So where is the good news? you ask.
Well, Bio mom and dad never showed up in court for the initial TPR hearing. We were there for two days and there was never any proof indicating where they were or that they even cared about their children. I may be going out on a limb here but at least this shows SOME degree of caring for their children. I would have expected them to fight harder in the intial case then they did. By fighting now, at least when (S) grows up, we can tell her that her parents did fight to keep her. I don't want her to feel as though she was the cause of anything pertaining to her removal from her birth family or that she was unloved.
The second part of the potentially good part is that once the appeal is over there will be no more possible chance for recourse. They won't be able to come back and say we didn't get the chance to present our side of the case or anything like that. They will have taken it as far as it can go, and the court case will be over.
So is it good news or bad? Well, like most things it is a mixed blessing. We won't know the final outcome for a few months, but we will continue to keep our fingers crossed and hope that ultimately what happens is the best thing for (S).
In the meantime, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I have given more thought to this and how children see their parents as they grow. When children are first born there is a natural atatchment to the mother and there is an attachment to the father developed relatively early. (this is in normal homes. I am not sure (S) ever had an attachment to her bio father).
Once they learn how to walk, they are encouraged to meet their parents at the door and the usual result is they get picked up by the arriving parent and get a big hug and kiss which is naturally comforting to them.
When they learn to run and jump, thats what they do when the parent comes home and the parent has no choice but to pick them up. (Not that anyone would refuse) This is the stage that (S) is at right now and I love it!
Unfortunately, there comes a time when they are just too big to pick up and the parent has to put a stop to the running and jumping. At that point it may be time for the parent to get down on one knee to give the requisite hug and kiss upon arrival at home.
The next stage is when they no longer care to acknowledge your existance. While they may come to the door and say a quick hello, if they have friends visiting they won't even acknowledge your arrival. Unless of course they are looking for something in particular. (roughly ages 12 to 14)This isn't all bad though because as long as there is no chance of being seen by their friends, they still enjoy spending time with you.
Then the teenage years hit full force. That is when they don't even want to acknowledge your existance. Family outings are for the birds and all that really matters are them and their friends. This is not true 100% of the time, but it is enough of the time to make you wonder if they care about you or is it just the things you can provide?
This is the longest and most difficult time of parenting. Kids are trying to test limits and experiment with different types of behavior. You hope you have taught them well, and that when they do something stupid it won't harm them physically. If you are lucky, they make it through the teenage years. After those years come to an end, you are in really good shape.
The older they get, the smarter you get.
They finally start asking for advice and valuing the advice you give them. They are adults and while at times it is difficult to treat them that way, there is no holding them back. They make their own choices and hopefully they are good ones. Again, hopefully they have a healthy and happy life. If they make mistakes, you can not blame yourself. They have made their own choices. DW and I have been very lucky. While there have certainly been trials and tribulations along the way, right now all of our children are living productive and healthy lives. They also seem to be happy which is most important.
So where does that leave us with (S)? Well, we obviously have a long way to go. While we don't know if she went through those first couple of stages with her bio-parents, we do know that she has been through the stage of meeting at the door, and now jumping up on me when I arrive. I love it. I just hope that she is able to go through the rest of her life being a normal little kid. You never know what happened that may have a long term effect on her life, but we are hoping that we can negate any bad things that may have happened.
On another note, the good news is that there has not been an appeal filed yet. Bio mom and Dad still have about a month to file one though. We are keeping our fingers crossed. In the meantime I am still travelling every week and spending my weekends at home with DW and (S). This week I will be home on Christmas Eve and stay through Sunday so that will be an extra long visit. Last week I was in Atlanta, and this week I am back in New Hampshire. I will be in New Hamshire until the week of January 10th when I will be going to New York for a week. Life goes on.
I will continue to keep up as much as I can, but in case I don't get back to this blog before Christmas, I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas spent with your family and a Happy and Healthy New Year. There is a quote from a columnist by the name of Bill Vaughn. (aka Burton Hillis) that goes like this:
"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other."
While family has always been important to me, it has never been as important as it has become over the last couple of years. I will be very happy to be spending this Christams with DW and (S).
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I have to spend a lot of time away over the next few months. I will be about 4 hours from home and am going to try tog et home on weekends at the least. So last night I drive the 4 hours and get home in time to take DW and (S) to dinner at (S)s favorite restaurant. She refers to it as the "restaurant where you pick out your own food". It is a buffet style place. They have chocolate covered strawberries there which she loves.
Anyway, we went there and it is lcoated inside a hotel. There was a group having a Christmas Party there and they had their very own Grinch. Unfortunately the Grinch scared (S), but she got back at him. She let out such a scream as he tried to approach her that the poor guy jumped. Unfortunately, I was holding her and I am still hearing rining in my ear.
Today was (S)s very first dance recital and this was the main reason I had to be sure to get home for today. It was held in the local High School auditorium and there were a lot of people there. There were 100 girls who danced on the stage this morning and one little girl who didn't. She just stood there looking around, biting her nails and checking everything out, but no dancing. In case you are wondering, it was (S). No, she didn't dance one bit. She did look adorable in the little costume they had her in, and my oldest daughter (A) had the video camera. I told her to make sure she panned all of the dancers so that we could at least see what she was supposed to be doing.
Tomorrow I have to go out of town again, but I will be back again on Friday I hope. It depends on the weather. Anyway, I am going to try to keep up with the blog, but it may be difficult with all the travelling I am going to be doing. I just look forward to the times I come home,. Last night when I walked into the house I got a great big kiss and a hug from (S). That is something you get with small kids that is just wonderful. I don't remember when it stopped with my biological kids, but then I didn't remember how much I missed it either. It must have been when they got to the point where I was unable to pick them up. I hope (S) stays small for a while.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Since Thursday, things have been crazy. It seems as though everywhere I go there is someone saying congratulations. Thanks to those of you here who have passed along your congrats. On facebook we have had many well-wishes and around town is fantastic. It is all overwhelming
This morning I took (S) to dance class. When it was over I was putting a pair of pants on over her leotard and getting her shoes on and I feel a tap on my shoulder. I look around and there is the case worker who actually took (S) into custody 2 years ago. She had her thumb up and a big smile on her face. "Congratulations" she said "I heard about it at work. you must be thrilled". I think she may have been as excited as we are.
The reason I was putting pants on (S) is because we weren't coming straight home. We had some errands to run while DW was at work. We went to the craft store and there was another person saying congratulations.
Tomorrow is the day we are getting our Christmas Tree. It will certainly be a special time of year for us this year.
We had a talk with (S) last night. We weren't sure exactly what to say, but we asked her if she remembered last Chirstmas and where she was. She did remember that she was at her other mother and fathers house and they had a room for her, and her father was taken away in an ambulance. She also seemed to remember that there was talk about her leaving our house and going to live with all her brothers and her other mother and father. We told her that she would still be able to see her brothers, but she would not be seeing her "other" mommy and daddy. We also told her that she would be staying with us forever. She is only 4, and I am not sure how much of it she really understands, but I do know that she spent the entire night in her bedroom last night.
We have been trying to get that point across as much as possible because the therapist thought that at least part of the reason she wasn't staying in her room at night was for fear of losing us. Hopefully the more we stress that, the more comfortable she will be.
Now we are really looking forward to Adoption Day so we can have our very own "forever family" party. We are open to ideas, and of course everyone will be invited!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
On a wonderful day like today
I defy any cloud to appear in the sky
Dare any raindrop to plop in my eye
On a wonderful day like today
So yesterday I ranted and said I felt better. No Rant today, but I feel fantastic!!!!!
Here is the process:
Step 1. We get approved as an adoptive home
Step 2. The TPR is granted.
Step 3. We wait 45 days to see if an appeal is filed.
Step 4. After 45 days or after the appeal is denied we have our disclosure meeting....Ought to be interesting since we know more about (S) then they do. :)
Step 5. We sign paperwork and bring a portion of it to the court house where we get an adoption package to fill out.Step 6. We have our fingerprints done'........ yet again.
Step 7. We get a court date.
Step 8. (S) is legally what she has been in spirit. A memeber of our family.
Step 9. We post pictures of the family after the hearing so that all can see.
We finished Step 1 last month. We got past Step 2 today. That's right!!!! The TPR was granted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We found out this morning. I can't begin to tell you how excited we are. This is a wonderful day for our family.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I am waiting for an answer.
I am waiting for the judge to reach her decision.
I am waiting to hear that we can adopt (S).
I am waiting for the end of this leg of our trip to come to an end.
I am waiting to make plans for the future.
If I appear to be frustrated, its because I am.
The waiting is KILLING ME!!!!!!!!!!
OK, I am done with my rant. I feel better now.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I am not a big bible person, and while I am spiritual, I don't really consider myself to be very religious. In spite of that, this seems to fit where I am at today.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, father.
Monday, November 30, 2009
So things continued to go the same way for (S). She acted up in school today and for the first time had a wetting accident while there. She wouldn't listen to her teacher on two separate occasions and she is being obstinate. I guess she wouldn't have these problems is the teacher listened to her. :)
The case worker came by today and we mentioned the problems we have been having with (S) since the holidays. We assumed it was because of the age and the excitement and all of the people that were here over the last week. She brought up something we hadn't thought of..............
It was just after Thanskgiving that she was taken from her last home. I said "come on, she was only 2 years old, she couldn't be making that correlation". The case worker insists that could be part of the issue. While (S) may not be able to explain it and may not even know consciously what the problem is, somewhere in her psyche something says that Thanksgiving is not always a sign of good times to come and Happy Holidays, but a sign of loss of something that at the time was very dear to her. Has anyone who has had a foster child for more than a year seen this before? If you have any info you can give it would certainly be appreciated. If on the other hand you are wondering how this plays out, t me know, I will be sure to keep it as a topic over the coming weeks.
I guess this is just a signal of another loss that we hadn't really thought about. This will be her thrid Christmas with us and we try to make it very special for her. I think we succeed at that. I just wish we could start talking more positively about the future and we could convey that in a way that (S) could feel the stability we know she longs for. (Forget the she....we all long for that stability)
Sunday, November 29, 2009
(S) went to her first theme birthday party today. It was a bowling party. She had never been bowling before. She was pretty excited about going to begin with since she loves cake and ice cream she was ecstatic.
The girl who was celebrating her birthday is a year older then her. Her mother does foster care and we met her through our original foster care class. We have done respite care for each other on a few occasions and (S) and DW have spent time at her house while the kids play.
Our biggest concern was whether or not (S) would try to throw the ball. Thankfully they were playing candlepins. For those of you in other parts of the country that don't have candlepin bowling, it is very thin pins. They are about as tall as regular pins but only about 2 inches in diameter at their widest point. You also use a much smaller ball. It is about 4 inches in diameter and has no holes in it. You just hold it like a softball and roll it. The lane is about the same, but the rules are a little different. Since the kids weren't playing by the rules or really even care what the score was, I will leave it at that.
Anyway, we got her to the party and got her shoes to wear. Since she loves shoes, she liked that part. She was not happy though when they had to be returned. After that it was step onto a lane and roll a ball. She had a blast. She just kept rolling balls and knocking down pins. The bumpers in the gutters really helped.
She is still lacking in social skills. We know that and she has made great strides in the last year since starting at daycare and now at pre-school, but it still takes her a while to warm up to a situation. She needs one on one attention. She can't just join a crowd of kids and particpate. Hopefully we will have plenty more opportunities to help her build those skills.
Tomorrow is our monthly visit from her case worker. I am hoping she may have some news, but I doubt she will. In the meantime, we will persevere. There is not much else scheduled during this week. Next Saturday is "peek week" at Dance Class, and next Sunday is "cut down a Christmas tree" day so next weekend is looking like fun.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I know we did
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Everyone has left and Thanksgiving week was truly wonderful. We had 8 for for dinner on Tuesday. We had 6 for dinner on Wednesday. we ended up with 16 here for both Thanksgiving dinner and for a brunch on Friday. Friday night we had 10 for dinner. After I took our family from Atlanta to the airport at 6:15 this morning we were back to just DW, (S), and myself.
We had such a great time. There was little to no stress during the week in spite of so many people being here. Luckily the people in the family who tend to create the most stress were not here.
(S) has been horrible today. She has been very obstinate and is not doing anything she is told. We are not sure what is causing this but it is certainly unusual behavior for her. She seemed to have fun the whole time everyone was here. She also seemed a little bit relieved when she woke up this morning and everyone was gone. She had been getting a lot more attention then normal over the week, but she wasn't getting all of the attention. Our little nephew is just 19 months old, and he was certainly getting his share of the attention. (S) did a great job of sharing her toys with him while he was here so that was good. She even got a kleenex and wiped his nose for him once when she saw it was running.
It is days like today that make us wonder what is going on in her head. What she is thinking, and why she is being so obstinate. Granted, she is only 4 and according to her therapist she is emotionally more like a two year old because of the two missed years of nurturing. How long is it going to take her to catch up though? She has to eventually I would think. So what else should we expect. It just becomes frustrating when we can't determine what the problem is, and she is unable to verbalize it in any sensible terms.
She certainly sees everyone as her family, but she still mentions her brothers on occasion. We don't know what she is thinking about them as far as whether or not they are her family too. We really need to talk to the therapist about that. When she brings up her brothers, we are never really sure how to respond. Soemtimes it is very benign, and other times not so much.
I don't want to get too negative here. As I said to start out, this was a truly wonderful week. I really wish more family could have been here, but I look forward to the next time we have a lot of family here. I am hoping it will be this summer, and I am hoping it is to officially welcome (S) into our family as a full-fledged and legal member.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Two months ago the plan was Thanksgiving for 5. Myself, DW, (S), (K), and her husband. The a borther and sister-in-law in Georgia decided they would come up here to Maine for Thanksgiving with our nephew. Since they were coming up from Atlanta, (A) decided she ws coming. She was going to bring her boyfriend and her two kids as well. So now we had gone from 5 to 12. Well (K) decided she wanted another cousin of hers to come up here from Massachusetts and she worked on her to work on her father (my brother-in-law). She was successful. So we have the brother-in-law, the sister-in-law, the niece and nephew. We were up to 16.
I thought that was where we were going to stay, but today (A) called and asked if we had enough for 3 more. Well, I told her we had enough food to feed an army, but if anyone else wanted to come they would have to bring their own chairs. Don't know if we will have those 3, but if we do, that brings us to 19. It would be nice if (B) could have come from Alabama, but we knew that wouldn't happen. At least I will get to see him in a couple of weeks when I have to go to Atlanta on business
So our Thanksgiving is going to be a house full of people and we are going to have a great time.
The best part of this whole affair is how (S) is looking forward to it. She is so excited that so many people from her family are going to be here. She is looking forward to this day more than anyone else in the family. We have never made any reference to our last name, but somehow she has picked that up and she told (S) that her last name was our family name. We have to hope she actually has that name before she can read the name on her dance shoes at dance class. That would really bring up some questions......So what could make Thanksgiving Day any better.........I think those of you who read regularly know.......A decision from the judge that will lead to (S) becoming a legal part of our family.
If that were to happen, this has the potential to be a Thanksgiving that truly gives us all something to be thankful for. Keep your fingers crossed and your prayers with us. We have two more days we could hear from the case worker that the judge has made that decision..................
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Two years ago I knew that there would never be another little child calling me daddy. I was hoping there would be new little children calling me Grandpa....or better yet Papa. Well fast forward two years, and I do have a little child calling me Daddy and there are no little children calling me papa. Funny how life works.
The fact that there is no little child calling me Papa is not a big deal or totally unexpected. While I do have three biological children between the ages of 27 and 31, none of them were married until this past June when the youngest got married.
The fact that there is a little child calling me Daddy, on the other hand, is certainly remarkable. Two years ago DW and I had completed our training class to become foster parents. One of the things mentioned in the class was that it can sometimes be confusing for children if they call their foster parents Mommy and Daddy. While it works for some, most people prefer to use something else. There were a lot of other reasons as well that we were given this suggestion by the instructor and quite frankly, I don't remember what they were.
I do remember that when (S) came to us we had her calling us by or first names. We didn't expect her to be here very long. As a matter of fact, I was thinking that by this time there would have been numerous children that had stayed with us temporarily before going back to their homes and living happily ever after with their biological family. I am learning that my view of the foster care system and the families of children involved in the system was really quite naive. I don't like to make generalizations as there are certainly some families where that is the case, but unfortunately those are the ones you don't hear about.
At some point along the way (S) started calling us Mommy and Daddy. At first it was intermittent along with our first names but gradually it has grown to where it is today. She calls us Mommy and Daddy exclusively. She refers to our three biological children as her sisters and brother. She calls my parents her Nanny and Papa etc etc etc. Maybe it was when she satrted calling us that, that we started thinking seriously about adoption. It still is amazing to me that we are not only hoping to adopt a child, but we are expecting to adopt a child.
We want to be her Mommy and Daddy, not just be called that. She considers us to be her family. She is so excited that we have so much family coming to our home for Thanksgiving. There will be 16 of us in all and it will be a great time.
There were a number of things my parents taught us growing up. One thing that was said on many occasions was that "no matter what happens, you always have family". They didn't just say those words either. They have practiced those words throughout.
It is my belief that won't be true for (S) if her family remains the one she was born in to. I can guarantee her that will be the case if the courts see their way clear to terminate the parental rights of her biological family and allow us to adopt her.
It is my hope that the court system and the Judge do not look at this case as the "breaking up of a family" but as a wonderful creation of 3 new, beautiful, and loving families that are interconnected through 5 biological siblings. All 5 of the kids deserve to have the kind of a family that is always there for you.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The parents were absent again today. Did anyone really think they would show up?
Today ended the hearing. There were only 3 witnesses that actually testified and a lot of information entered into evidence as well as the closing arguments.
When court began, the first witness was (S)'s therapist. She gave what was in my opinion very compelling testimony as to the impact that the parents have had on (S)'s life and most likely on all the children's lifes. She was very concerned about the potential regression if she were to be reunited with her parents. She said there would be extenisve counselling required with the parents and she has had 5 meetings set up with mom and mom has been a no-show at 3 of them. This lack of committment would not allow for the necessary counselling to take place. She also said that when she did have the chance to meet with mom, she was not truthful with her. This certainly would not be helpful in counselling.
After that there was a lot of legal manueverings taking place and meetings in chambers that we were not privy to. It seems that there were some problems with getting witnesses to arrive on time and other things to occur. It wasn't until about 3 1/2 hours after the recess that court reconvened. There were only two more witnesses called. Both of whom were testifying to the fact that mom and dad were spending a lot of time together and were certainly not separated as the first judge had thought.
It was then time for closing arguments. The longest argument went to the District Attorney. You could tell he didn't want to miss anything or leave anything out. He wanted to make sure that the judge had as much information as possible to terminate parental rights. I think he was successful, although he may have gotten a little carried away. I say that because at one point when he said "This is like overtime"....The judge interupted and said "When we get to the sports analogies, we have probably heard enough. Your closing argument has been longer than your case."
The lamest argument has to go to dad's lawyer. This is no reflection on the lawyer who is certainly competant and the type of a guy I think I could be friends with, but the fact that he had the lamest client any lawyer has ever had to put up with. I think dad not showing up only helped him through this hearing.
The most well thought out argument was the one made by the mother's lawyer. While it seemed to be well thought out, it didn't seem to be of significant substance, and i don't think swayed the judge much one way or the other.
The best closing argument has to go to the GAL. He was very passionate in his advocacy for the children. He emphasized the fact that these kids have been in limbo for almost 2 years and it was time to get the kids the stability they need. The best part of his argument, and the states case for that matter, was that all five childen have permanancy plans in place. There are foster parents with all 5 kids who are ready, willing, and able to adopt. We all know each other so there is high probablilty that the siblings will maintain contact. During his entire argument, the judge seemed to be connecting with what he was saying. She was nodding her head and paying close attention to what he said. She had no questions for him as he was complete with what he said and clarification was not needed.
So now it is up to the judge. She has mounds and mounds of evidence to analyze and then has to determine if the state has met its burden to terminate the parental rights.
Unforunately, of fortunately, depending on your position, it is the judges job to decide the case on the law. While what is best for the children has to enter into her thinking to some extent, if the state has not met its burden as outlined in the law, then the termination can not be granted. If on the other hand, the burden has been met and there is a belief that the children will be in jeopardy if the TPR is not granted then there is no choice but to grant the TPR. I would love to have a decision before Thanksgiving, but I think before Christmas is more likely.
It would be a wonderful Christmas present to be able to let these kids know that there will finally be some stability in their life. I hope Santa can bring them that.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Guess what.....Bio mom and dad couldn't be bothered to show up in court for the start of the TPR hearing. As a result, things went pretty quick today.
Now on top of everything else, we have abandonment as an issue. The lawyers for mom and dad did show up.No one knows for sure where etiher of the parents are but rumor is dad is in hiding and wants everyone to believe he is somewhere on the gulf coast. He may or may not be. Rumor is Moms grandmother dies and she was attending her funeral. (In the words of the GAL...."A lot of people have dies in this case") Mom's lawyer asked for a continuance, but the judhge denies that. The state called about 10 witnesses today. Mom's lawyer asked about 12 questions total and Dad's lawyer may have asked 2 or 3 questions.
Mom's lawyer is only planning on calling one witness, and dad's lawyer has no plans to call any witnesses. It seems as though they are convinced that the state will win this case and they are saving their energy for the appeal.....On the other hand, I don't think the state has presented as strong a case as they did the last time, but apparently they have all agreed to have the last case be part of the record of this case....I have no idea what any of this means and I am just hoping as everyone else is that whatever is best for the kids is what happens.
There will be a day 2......It will be tomorrow.......I will report on that tomorrow evening.......I won't have any more of an idea as to what is going on tomorrow then I do today.......I get more and more baffled by our justice system every time I show up in court for these hearings.
We will be keeping our fingers crossed....see you all tomorrow
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Monday we will start yet another TPR hearing for (S)'s biological parents. I am still not sure why this was necessary except that the first judge apprently had no interest in the law, his reponsibility, or what was best for the children. I am hopeful that the new judge will see things for what they are and act appropriately. I believed that the last time, but I am still going to believe it again. It is not as if much has changed.
Bio-mom and dad are in a worse place. It is clearer now more than ever that they are unable to properly and safely care for the children. While many people don't do what is proper in other peoples eyes, the "safely" part is a must, and they can't seem to control themselves. Even in court the last time bio-dad was out of control. They have no home, they have no visible means of support, they can't live together in anything other than a violent atmosphere, and they can't live apart.
DW and I plan to attend the entire hearing. We have been told that the DA will be asking if we plan on adopting (S) if the TPR should go through. We have to give an honest answer. There is no room for fudging around with the answer. While some of you are aware of the answer, others have wondered as we struggled with that right after the last hearing when it became apparent (wrongly so) that the parental rights would be terminated. I have fudged around a little bit here and there, but I wanted to let those of you that haven't been sure know what the answer is before that testimony is made.
So when DW is asked; "Do you plan on adopting (S) if the TPR goes through?"
The answer will be YES! and it will be our final answer.
This was never our intention when we started down this road, but there can be no other answer now. So this blog which was originally just going to deal with foster care, will add adoption to its focus as well. We still plan on continuing in our role as foster parents and will talk about that, but we will also be talking about adoption and how the process is working for us.
We just hope that whatever decision the judge makes, it is the best one for the children.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Last night (S) asked me to read her a book. I said I would and she brought me a large book that contains 6 different Disney Princess stories. I told her since these were long stories, I would be glad to read a chapter each night before bedtime. She liked that idea, and when I asked her which one she wanted me to read first, she picked out the story of Cinderella.
The first chapter was all set up for the story. It explained how Cinderella's mother had died and her father and her were very close. Her father said that his little girl was the most beautiful girl in the world.
When I read that part of the story (S) looked up at me and said "That's wrong daddy, your little girl is the most beautiful girl in the world.
Friday, November 6, 2009
This week we had a visit from the adoption resource specialist who is doing our adoption home study. It is not much in addition to what was already done for the foster care home study. We are still in the process of renewing the foster care license as well because that runs out in February.
Next week (S)s case worker is coming for her monthly visit, and the following week we will be in court listening in on the TPR hearings. It is scheduled for 3 days. DW will be testifying as well. This time there is a different judge. Whether or not things will go differently is anyone's guess. In any event we will try to be prepared for whatever comes.
In the meantime, (S) continues to do very well. She loves her pre-school and has made lots of new friends there, and she loves her dance classes as well. We took her trick or treating at the Mall and she had a blast there as well. The Smarties were her biggest thrill!
This morning she woke up to see we had about 2 inches of snow on the ground from a little snow shower that had come through sometime last night. She was so excited to see the snow.
Unfortunately, she was also disappointed. Last year after the plow had come a few times we had a big pile of snow near the house and we made it into a sled run for her. Well, there was no pile and no sled run, hence the disappointment. DW assured her it wouldn't be too long before there was enough snow to make that happen. In the meantime she packed up her boots and snow suit and mittens etc. in case they went outside at pre-school today. Then upon arrival at pre-school it was apparent that in just those 10 or 15 miles they had received a lot less snow then we had. Only a little dusting that would probably be melted by 11:00am. More disappointment.
While none of us like to see our children or foster children disappointed in any way, it is gratifying to know that this is the type of disappointment that she now has in her life. May she always be this disappointed!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Tonight we went Trick or Treating at the mall. The place was jammed with kids and it was a great time for (S). She was Tinkerbelle and seemed to have a great time. We went with her BFF and now her BFF is spending the night. Tomorrow morning will be pancakes.
Next week the licensing person will come to our house to do the extended home study we need. We are going to change our license from a "foster care" license to a "foster to adopt" license. I am not sure what additional is required, but we will find out when the adoption specialist shows up on Wednesday.
In the meantime we have court dates. November 16, 17, and 18 are scheduled for the TPR hearing. That means there could be a decision made before Christmas. Of course then there is an appeal that is likely and another wait for 3 or 4 months. In any event, we will be ready when the time comes to do whatever it is we need to do........I hope.
We have also signed up for a class so we can get our hours done because our foster license expires in February. The first class is for toddlers and preschool age children and the next course we are going to take is about kids who have suffered trauma. Of course both of those will fit well with (S) and hopefully provide us with information so that we are better able to understand her and any foibles she may have.
I don't know if that will be enough as I am not sure what is actually requried, but that is something else we can find out next week.
This past week we took (S) to her first movie. "Astro Boy". We saw it at a place called Chunky's and it was great. It is a combination restaurant and theater and it was a great place for (S) to see her first movie. She had a blast and we were with other kids and they had a great time too. The burgers were also pretty good. The one we went to is in Nashua, but I guess there are a few of them around the Nashua area and I think there is one in Sanford, Maine as well. We had never heard of it before, but if we are ever in the area again, it will be a definite to go there.
Monday, October 26, 2009
As most of you who have been reading this blog know, we have had trouble getting (S) to go to bed in her room and stay there.
We have solved the problem with getting her to go to sleep in her room. We set up a DVD player and let her watch movies in her bed until she falls asleep. While it is not something I would normally condone, we think it is best that she fall asleep in her own bedroom instead of on the couch in the den.
What we still haven't solved is the getting up in the middle of the night and coming to sleep on the floor in our room. At one point she had mentioned monsters so we sprayed her room with "Monster Elimination Spray" (available at fine stores everywhere). That seemed to work a little bit for a couple of days, but it is no longer solving the problem.
We haven't been sure what to do because we didn't know why she preferred sleeping on the floor in our room. Last night something happened that I think says it all.
(S) had fallen asleep in her room and I had turned off the TV and tucked her in for the night (or at least until she woke up and came into our room). DW and I were still in the den watching TV and we heard (S) get up. We figured it wouldn't be long before she was in the den, so we waited. Next thing, we are just hearing some crying that is more than the normal crying. I went out into the hall to see her walking back into her bedroom fron our bedroom crying. I spoke up and she turned around and came to me and hugged me.
It turned out that when she didn't see us in the bedroom she thought we had left. I don't know where she thought we had gone, or what she was going to do in her room alone, or why we had even left.
While most nights she sleeps next to DW on the floor, on a rare occasion she will sleep next to me on the floor. Either way, it is near impossible to move out of the bed without nearly stepping on her, and probably waking her up. The answer now is becoming clearer. I think she is just afraid of losing us. That would also explain why it started when she was visiting with bio-mom and dad in their "home to be" where she had her own bedroom and there were unsuprvised visits. There had to be talk about her living there, and since she has no real memory of living anywhere but with us, it obviously caused her a great deal of concern.
OK, so if we have correctly identified the root of the problem, we should be able to solve it, right? So what do we do? Any ideas are appreciated.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Thank you Nichole http://nottheusualtickingclock.blogspot.com/ for nominating me :) This is my first time and I am not sure what I am supposed to do, but I am game for anything.........7 THINGS ABOUT MYSELF THAT READERS MAY NOT KNOW:
1) My career is in aviation.
2. In spite of number 1, I don't do heights at all
3. I never thought I would have a foster child or even consider adopting a child.
4. My favorite place to be is York Beach, Maine.
5. I married my high school sweetheart and 34 years later she is still my sweetheart and best friend.
6. I know money isn't everything, but given the choice, I would rather be rich. :)
7. If I had the oportunity to live my life all over again, I don't think I would change a thing.
8. Thats right...a bonus....If I knew how to do those links, I would nominate people also, but I haven't got that part down yet. As soon as I figure it our, I will get to it.
Thanks again to Nichole
Sunday, October 18, 2009
(S) has done a lot of things that make us say "We think she is very bright". She has great skills for recognizing places and she remembers enough about books to almost read them herself. She was putting her index fingers and thumbs together today and said "Look I made a diamond."
There have been other instances as well. some of which I have documented on this blog and some that I just let go by the boards. Like the time I told her we had to let the meat rest and she went and got the aluminum foil out of the drawer without me even mentioning it.
Then there was this morning...
She had Corn Flakes for breakfast. She loves Corn Flakes and was making her own breakfast. She put the Corn Flakes into the bowl (She spilled a lot and we had quite a laugh over that). She put the Sugar into her bowl. I cut some banana and she put that into the bowl. She was then looking at the cereal box while awaiting me to help her with the milk.
There is a recipe on the side of the box for Crispy Chocolate Bars. If you are interested in the recipe, you can find it here:
So anyway, she is looking at that side of the box and there is this picture of about 6 of these delicious looking chocolate crsipy bars to go with the recipe. If you check it out, you will see that they look a little like brownies. It would be easy to understand if someone said "look at the brownies" and I wouldn't be writing this particular post, but what she said in a very excited voice like she just had a serendipitous discovery is:
Daddy,Look!!, Corn Flakes are made from Brownies.
We could be wrong.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Now at her 4 year check, I am happy to report that not only is she on the chart, but she is up to the 25th percentile. Certainly not a large child, but considering where she was, the doctor is very happy with the way she looks and the progress she has made
On a seperate note, we saw Bio-dads name in the court news yesterday. There were 13 different charges against him. I still can't figure out why he isn't in prison. I really need someone to explain this justice system to me. Every day you hear about people who spent years in prison and were exonerated because of new DNA evidence, but this loser has only spen a few weeks in jail.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Yesterday was a geat day for (S). Dance class was a little scary for her at first and she really didn't want anything to do with the tap dancing. Everyone there knew what they were doing and she didn't and she just sat there with DW watching. Then they started the ballet and she was into that and started dancing and even talked with another little girl in the class. We are hoping that next week she will fully participate.
Then we came home and prepared for the little family birthday party. (S) was excited to see everyone and even more excited to see her presents. She really liked her new princess bicycle. She was riding it around in the garage both yesterday and today......I know my bio-kids are going to have a fit if/when they read this but.....DW let her bring the bicycle in the house today and ride it around the kitchen living room and dining room,
After the party she went with her best friend to Build-a-Bear. While she was gone, (A)s boyfriend and I put up the swingset that he had given us for (S). Ahen (S) got home and saw it, she was absolutely thrilled. I think that may have been the best part of the day for her. She played on the swings for a long time.
The best part of the day was that she was so busy and going all day, she fell asleep in her own room again. We have finally got that down. It has been a few days since she has had to fall asleep in the den with us. We have hooked up a DVD player in there and let her fall asleep while watching a movie. The only thing left now is getting her to stay there for the whole night. Every morning we wake up and find her sleeping on the floor in our room.
One note.....She is still hyper sensitive to loud sounds. Today there was a siren off in the distance and she was getting very upset about it. DW had to bring her inside. We don't know if it is actually the sound or if there is a memory associated with the siren If there is, we don't know if it is Fire Truck, Ambulance, or Police. She seems to be most concerned about ambulences, but we are not sure.
All in all, it has been a good weekend and we still have one more day left. We are making cupcakes to bring to school on Tuesday for her class birthday party.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Saturday is going to be a big day for (S). She will be celebrating her 4th brithday with family and friends.
I just looked at that and wondered whether or not I had to specify that it is not her bio family, but rather us. DW, (S),me, (A), (K) and the rest of the gang. Well, I guess I just did that......anyway
That is not all that is happening on Saturday. DW went out today anf bought leotards, and tights. Tomorrow we get the ballet slippers and the tap shoes. Her first dance class is Saturday morning. She is so looking forward to it. I cna't wait to see her in class. She has never really been in that kind of an environment until just last month and this will be a little different.
Anyway, we are all excited about Saturday as is (S). I can't wait to tgell you all about it!
Monday, October 5, 2009
I have had this blog going since last December. I started it when it was getting close to the time when (S) was going to be going back to her biological family. Unfortunately, that never happened for her and now the state is going through the TPR process. Anyway, I started this blog and at the same time started following other blogs that deal with foster care and adoption. There are many good blogs out there. Some of the ones I follow are listed to the left side of this page. There are others as well.
They all have two things in common. The most important is that they are all interesting and enjoyable reading pertaining to adoption and foster care. The other thing they all have in common is that they are all written by women.
The only comments that have been made in the 150 or so entries I have made over 10 months have been made by women. They are all seemingly wonderful women who have a genuine interest and passion for foster care and/or adoption. They all care about the children in their care, or are anxiously awaiting the first child to come into their family. While I have never met most of them, I consider them all to be valuable sources of information. It does however leave me with the one question:
Where are the Men? Am I the only one here?
Friday, October 2, 2009
For those of you who have been reading this blog, one of the issues we had been strugling with was whether or not we would adopt (S) if ultimately that is her fate. We thought about it quite extensively during the time it looked like there was going to be a TPR and the need to make a decision in June or July. The judge essentially decided he didn't want to make a decision so now we are waiting for a new hearing before a new judge sometime in November. Our "final answer" was put on hold, thus giving us more time to debate with ourselves. (we aren't really debating anymore as we have decided what will we do if those circumstances occur.)
Part of the debate was whether or not we were too old to adopt a 4 year old child. DW and I are both in our mid 50's and our youngest child is about to turn 27.
We thought about all sorts of reasons why we were too old and all sorts of reasons why we weren't too old. well yesterday there was an occurrence. It seemed to fit into the "too old" column.
(S) is going to a preschool now and doing quite well. She loves going there and has made many friends in her class. There is even one boy who she says can make funny noises and everyone laughs. I didn't think there were class clowns at age 4 but apparently there are. I am sure his parents are proud! Anyway I digress.
Yesterday I went to pick her up from her school and there was another mother there picking up her child as well. Nothing real unusual there until I took particular note of the other mother. I am thinking is that "T"? No, it can't be "T". By golly it was "T". And who is "T" you ask? Well, she dated my son when he was in high school. They say you are only as young as or as old as you feel. At that moment I felt pretty old. She probably thought I was picking up a grandchild.
when you are driving home from preschool and (S) is sitting in the back seat of the car and she says "Daddy, I love you" well.....need I say more?
Sunday, September 27, 2009
That's right. (S) has spent 2 of the last four nights in her "Princess" bedroom. Apparently the monster spray works some of the time. We are certainly hoping this trend continues. It may only be until 6 or 6:30 am, but it is still a big step.
She still won't fall asleep in her room. We have to let her fall asleep in the den while we are still there, but once she is sleeping, I am able to move her into her bed. When we get her spending every night in her room for the whole night, then we will work on falling asleep in her own room. We totally redid the room last week making it into a "Princess" room. It now has pink walls, and a disney border and princess decals all over the wall. There is a Princess clock and a Castle throw rug as well. She loves her room. I think that may be helping a llittle, but she didn't stay in her room until after we sprayed with the monster spray.
Here is the recipe for Monster Spray.
1. Go to you local dollar store and purchase any spray bottle.
2. Fill the bottle with 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen.
3. Take the bottle and a cloth up to the infected room.
4. Spray in known areas of monster infestation wiping the formula in with the rag as you go through to ensure deep penetration.
5. Declare the monsters exterminated.
6. Repeat nightly as required.
Hey, it seems to be working for us!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
So (S) still does not sleep in her room the whole night. She was at the play therapist who she told there were monsters in her room. So she suggested we get some monster spray to rid the room of the monsters. Last night I got the spray out and sprayed the entire room. Apparently I missed a few spots.
(S) came in our room again last night and advised there were still monsters under her bed, in her dresser and in her closet. So tonight (S) helped spray so we could ensure we got the whole room sprayed.
I am not optimistic. She is a smart girl and I don't think she really believes in the spray, but I am willing to give anything a shot........
On the other hand, how smart can she really be. Last night DW and I were cleaning up after dinner and I looked over and saw (S). She was crouched behind a small planter. As I looked over she put her hands over her eyes and started counting. I was now deeply involved in what was happening behind the planter. when she got to 4 she uncovered her eyes and said
OOOOOHHHHH! I found myself!!
That's right folks. She was playing Hide and seek with herself.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn!
I've grown accustomed to her face.
She almost makes the day begin.
Her smiles, her frowns,Her ups, her downs
Are second nature to me now;
Like breathing out and breathing in.
We were serenely independent and content before she came;
Surely we could always be that way again-And yet I've grown accustomed to her look; Accustomed to her voice;
Accustomed to her face.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
There have been many times in my life when I have said " hey it is true, you can't judge a book by its cover." I remember a little Japanese restaurant in Montreal that a bunch of us went to. When we arrived we found a place that looked like a real dive. It was in a dying part of town. Old factory buildings that were boarded up lined the streets. There were stairs leading down to the restaurant located in the basement of one of those factories building. There was nothing else around and there weren't any people outside. The problem was that we were going to a baseball game and didn't really have a lot of time to find someplace else so we grudgingly went in.........It was fantastic!......You can't judge a book by its cover.
I could go on about movies that didn't look all that great but I went to because someone else wanted to go. I can think of books that really fit the theory. When we were looking for houses there were a lot of them. There were the ones that looked great on the outside and were in desperate need of TLC inside, as well as the ones that looked horrible on the outside but on the inside were absolutely beautiful......You can't judge a book by its cover.
OK, so the theory works. At least for inanimate objects. Not always mind you, but enough so that you really have to look inside to find out what the real picture is.
What about people? My idealistic side would like to think that everyone has some good somewhere, and I may be naive, but I am sure that is true to differing degrees. As far as the judging theory goes....well we were in court yet again last week and as always we were there for a hearing related to the TPR of (S). It was the busiest we had ever seen this courthouse. Being a family court all the cases were either child protective cases, divorce cases, adoption cases. There wasn't a lot to do except read old magazines, or people watch. I chose the later and found myself judging some of the "books" roaming around the courthouse on Monday.
There was a young couple there. One with a lot of life left ahead of them. On occasion they even held each other's hand. They were both well dressed and groomed. He was reading a book and she was sitting anxiously quiet. There was no way they were there to get a divorce. I am convinced they were in the process of adopting a young child.
On the other hand, there were a number of people there who were dirty, horribly dressed, and had obviously just came in from the wilderness of northern Maine. Most of them could not put together a sentence. I figured they must have been the ones involved in child protective cases. The only reason they could possibly be there is because the state had to take their children away.
There was a bleached blond girl there who was about 5'7" tall and I don't think she weighed 90 p0unds soaking wet. Obviously a drug addict. She was however well dressed. She was most likely trying to get custody back of her child/ren who had been taken away from her.
There was an older casually dressed couple there with a son of about 30 who looked like he was a hard working mechanic. His hands had the rough grease-stained look. He had on a pair of blue dickies and a sweatshirt. He was clean and was able to talk in complete sentences. Whatever the reason they were there, I was sure everything was going to work out for them.
There were the other people who were obviously there to testify. They were talking amongst themselves. Well dressed and groomed. A few I recognized as counselors and therapists from (S)s case.
The suits.....they all had to be the lawyers.....They had thick briefcases under their arms and cell-phones attached to their belts. One needed a cane. They conversed with each other about all matters of things. Some of them pertaining to cases, and some of them totally irrelevant to what they were doing in court.
So, was I right about my judgements? I have no clue. ( I was wearing a shirt and tie and had a cell phone but I am not a lawyer) I could have been right but most likely I was right about some and wrong about others. Hence the theory. But when you are sitting around in a courthouse all day awaiting your 10 minutes before a judge, what else is there to do? I am just left to wonder..... By the way (S)s bio-mom was there. She still looks used and abused although she was clean and neatly dressed.
If nothing else is clear, the one thing that is obvious is that some people have never been taught good hygiene, or how they should look when going before a judge.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I kept thinking each day something new was going to happen and yet it hasn't. Today we went to the courthouse and the new judge was there to discuss the case. She said the old judge may return to hear the case. I guess he is "active" retired. I am not sure what that means, but I am hoping that the new judge just hears the whole thing. A fresh look at all the evidence and what is and has been going on might work out best for all concerned.
In the meantime, the lawyers are going to get together in a couple of weeks to talk and we are looking at a November or December hearing that will last 3 to 4 days. Then there will be a 4 to 6 week time before any decision is rendered. Sooooooooooo we will be here in limbo until sometime after the New Year. At least (S) is unaware of her "limbo status". Of course one of the lawyers said that there was a warrant out for dad's arrest (not sure why) and according to the sw, mom and dad filed PPOs against each other but are living around the corner from each other. I could live to be 100 and I will never figure this out so I guess I will just report it and not waster energy trying to figure it out.
Mom will be having a meeting with (S)s therapist this week to discuss how visits with her may be handled. There has not been any progress made on this front, and I am quite happy about that. After the last visit with mom (S) took a giant step backwards and she is doing so well now.
Speaking of doing well.....(S) started pre-school last week. She really likes it. She seems to do real well. She is clingy in the morning when we drop her off, but it isn't anything that unusual. She has been dry and clean every day for a while now. She still wears a diaper at night, but she is making progress there too. We still can't get her to spend an entire night in her own bedroom. She hasn't done that since the last visit with mom over a month ago. She is turning into a terror at times. I think she is just testing the limits like any other child to see how far she can go. It can be very frustrating for us at times though.
Obviously, this saga will continue to continue or keep on keeping on, or whatever you want to call it. At least the plot isn't thickening....I think......
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
(S)'s caseworker came by today for her monthly visit to see how (S) is doing. Most of the conversation centered around these potential visits with her bio-parents. I told her that while I disagreed with the judge about the potential of these visits, I was willing to defer to the experts/therapists as far as visits with bio-mom was concerned, but after what happened on Monday there was no way I could allow (S) to spend any time, supervised or not, with her bio dad. (not that I have a lot to day about it)
Of course he had a case adjudicated yesterday that may have put him behind bars for a few months. If that is the case, then we won't have to worry too much. In the meantime, the meeting with the new judge is still on in two weeks. I plan on talking to the guardian ad litem to make sure he is well aware of our position. Of course I know that his position is no different, it is just a matter of making sure the new judge knows what a mistake this would be and we can convince her that there needs to be a change here.
So where does that leave us now? Nothing has changed. We are still not happy with the speed at which the judicial system is moving, but as long as there are no more visits taking place now, I guess I can't really complain.
........I never wanted to bring politics into this blog and that is not my intent. Most of us involved in foster care are people who care deeply about those who may not be as lucky as us or have as much as us. In particular the children we take into our homes. Unfortunately, these children and adults in similar situations have lost a great advocate with the death of Ted Kennedy. While a lot of people may have questioned some of his actions in the past, no one can question his consistent care and concern for the underprivaledged in our society.....so I just want to say "May he rest in peace"
Monday, August 24, 2009
Today was a family team meeting to talk about the kids. Bio-Dad was there. Bio-dad is still unable to control himself. He is back to accusing the state of kidnapping his children and it got to the point where they had to call the police to get him out of the building.
Mom on the other hand insists she is getting a divorce and that her lawyer has the papers and is gong to file them for her......She has been saying they are not going to be together since last March and yet the papers still haven't been filed.
Bio-dad says that his mother is coming up here and wants custody of the kids. Bio-mom says she doesn't like bio-mother and she isn't coming up here. She also said she will have nothing to do with bio-dads mother. Of course when she was on the stand she said that bio-dads mother was a part of her support group to help take care of the kids.
Everytime either one of them open their mouth they say something contrary to what they have said previously. Now they wonder why no one believes that they will do anything they say they will........It looks like there will be a court date in a couple of weeks that will just be to set a hearing date which is looking like November for the TPR. In the meatnime, two of the older kids are going to have a visit with mom. When (S) may have a visit with mom is a long way off. It will be up to her counselor who is going to meet mom next week to get some information from her. Like the title to this blog says....Life goes on and on and on.......no changes......kiddos up in the air.....all going through difficult times because of their bio-parents.
I just hope that whatever happens (S) comes out of this ok. She is such a cutie and deserves to have a wonderul life whoever that is with.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
There is a lot happening, yet nothing is moving. The family team meeting scheduled for the end of next week has been moved to Monday. Not sure why, but all that will happen there is discussion about the needs of the children. Both DW and I will try to make it.
We also received a call from the fire marshall who wants to come out to check out the house. It is time for license renewal so we have to do those things. In the meantime since it is time to do that anyway, we decided to have our license changed.......just in case......we are going to change from a "foster home" to a foster and adoptive resource home.
What that means is that if and when (S) becomes available for adoption and we decide to do that, the paperwork will be all taken care of on our end. Apparently we need to have another home study. I am not sure what questions they could ask us that they didn't ask before. Maybe they want to know what my favorite breakfast was when I was a child (Corn Flakes and bananas), or what I liked to eat for lunch (Velveeta Cheese sandwich). There certainly can't be much left of any relelvence that they didn't ask the first time.
Anyway, we got the forms to fill out in the mail today. We also have to set up an appointment for that home study. I dont' anticipate this as being any kind of a problem, just more red tape to go through.
We still haven;t heard from (S)'s therapist yet about when her next appointment will be. That will have to happen before any visits may occur. I am not sure what the situation is with (S)'s brothers but I guess we will find out more about that on Monday. Mayb e we will get more information then about the TPR hearings. If not, we have the monthly visit from the caseworker on Wednesday and that will be another opportunity to get some information.
In the meantime, we are still up in the air. We can handle that. It is (S) who is going to have the problems if permanency can't be achieved in a relatively short amount of time. This case needs to be heard decided and completed on the kids time, not on the courts, caseworkers, judges, or even the foster parents time. The problem is that the justice system that says it does things it believes are in the "best interest" of the children doesn't seem to really accomplish that with any degree of regularity It really is a shame.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Well I just got off the phone with the case worker for (S). She had just filed another TPR. I thought I was beginning to understand the system, but I am getting more and more confused. She still has to plan on visits for (S) with bio mom and dad even though they do a number on her. Those visits will be done when and how the therapist working with (S) decides they should be. In the meantime, the therapist just had surgery and I don't know when she will be back. If she calls, I guess there won't be any hurry calling her back.
I don't know what impact the filing of a TPR has on that. I guess until the next judge hears something the visits will be as ordered by the last judge. At some point though youhave to wonder how many times can they file for a TPR? Apparently there are certain circumstancs under which they can be filed, and if things change, which indeed they have, then they can refile. Like I said, Idon't understand this system, but I fel like th GAL and DA had a chance and they were so sure they had this case in the bag that they let up and that is what caused them to lose. On the other hand, they apparently left themselves an opening for refiling. Who knows? I certainly don't.
What I do know is that (S) needs to have some permanency and that can't occur until all these court proceedings come to an end. Is there anything that can be more damaging to a child like (S) then not having any permanency. At least at this point she doesn't know it, but if and when the time comes, I am sure it will be very difficult. I don't know how else it can be done, but
There has to be a better way.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
You have probably figured out I am talking again about one moronic magistrate in particular. Today he denied BOTH motions the state had made. I don't know why he thinks he knows so much more than all the professionals, but apparently he does. He also apparently has no regard what so ever for what is in the best interests of the children. That is the saddest part of all. So now the saga will go one for a few more months adn the children will remain in legal limbo until all is decided.
We have one possibble saving grace.....Our moronic Magistrate is retiring in two weeks. Going out to pasture with all the other cows where he belongs.......That means when the state files again for a TPR it will be heard by a different judge. I can only hope that judge pays a little bit of attention to the professionals.
I know I am not an expert in either of these subjects. I know little or nothing about theories of child development and psychotherapy etc, and I know even less about the law. I also know that the judge knows nothing about therapy. That is why they have experts come in to testify. So why does he not listen to the experts?
When I needed my appendix removed, I went to a surgeon, not a dentist. When I need a haircut, I go to the barber, not the hardware store. When I go to the surgeon or the hardware store, I go there because they can give me the information I need. Since I am paying them, I value their knowledge and information. It would seem the judge should do the same thing. He didn't......he is a moron....but I have said that enough.
So now, we wait some more and hope that the next judge will use some common sense. In the meantime, we will continue to care for (S) and hope that whatever happens, she will come out on the other end ok. She is such a great kid, I hope the judicial system doesn't screw it up. But I have to tell you that what the lawyers said in court, and what the judge said in his decision is all just legal mumbo jumbo as far as I am concerned. I am glad that there are a few of us anyway looking out for the best interests of the children. I pray that in the end, everyone does that.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
DW spoke with the GAL this week. It seems as though bio-mom is suspected of stealing food from the women's shelter and bringing it to her husband. Yes the same husband she is supposedly being protected from at the women's shelter, and the same husband the judge thinks she is no longer with.
The GAL is very concerned about the children and not very happy with the judge. There is a date for court of August 13, but the GAL says there is no guarantee that the judge will even hear the appeal that day. We can only hope that if he does hear it, he sees the light and amends his decision to something sensible.....Like TPR.
In the meantime, the caseworker is planning to visit here and see (S) the week after next. She also said she needs to plan another visit with bio-parents. She is hopeful that something will happen on the 13th to cause those visits not to occur, but like I said, the judge may not even hear the case.
In the meantime, we have (S) signed up for pre-school starting the end of this month. That gives us 3 weeks to get the toilet training back on track. She is pretty good about number 1, but she has not gotten back to pooping in the potty. We know she knows when she has to go, but she is says she is afraid to go in the potty. Hopefully we will get that straightened out.
In the meantime, the roller coaster ride continues. Thinking back.....January - ready to have her go home to bio-mom..........March - deciding whether or not we want to adopt after the TPR.......July - Wondering whether she will be up for adoption or returned to bio-parents.......August - hoping the judge makes the right decision.......Not sure whether or not the next turn on the roller coaster leads to an up or a down, but we will be ready for whatever occurs.............I hope
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
So a lot of people have asked what is going on. The short answer is....there is no short answer.
There are two things happening.
First, as far as the court and TPR and DHHS are concerned. The state, through DHHS, is still appalled at the judges decision. The so-called "emergency" appeal will not be heard for another week and a half. The Guardian Ad Litem is at a loss for words. The District Attormey has never seen anything like it, and the moronic magistrate?.....well, he is apparently oblivious to any reality. In case you are forgetting, the following post will give you some idea as to what was testified to in court:
As far as (S) is concerned.
Since her visit with bio-mom a week and a half ago and her visit with bio-dad this past Friday, her behavior, attitude, life, sleeping, mood, and anything else you can think of is messed up. These were the first visits with bio-parents in almost 8 months. She was making such great progress. She was using the potty most of the time. Always for wee-wees, and almost always for poop. That is no longer the case. She was sleeping in her room for most, if not all of the night. That is no longer the case.
She has returned to the "hyper-vigilance" the therapist talked about. She will fall asleep in the den and when we try to move her she wakes up and doesn't want to be moved. Heck, we don't even have to try and move her. If we try to sneak out of the room she somehow notices that we are not there. The easiest conclusion to draw is that she is afraid she is going to lose us and therefore does not want to be out of our sight. Whether or not she thinks someone is going to take her, or if we are going to leave her somewhere and never come back, who knows? I am sure there are other conclusions that can be drawn too. The bottom line is this is not a healthy situation for her. The "permanency" case worker has been trying hard to get some permanency and stability into the lives of (S) and her brothers and it seems as though she gets thwarted at every attempt. At least we know she is trying.
I don't know if I can last another week and a half until the court appeal, or maybe longer for the decision, or what that decision might be. This is where I have to just come to the realization that I have absolutely no control over it, so I shouldn't worry about it.....Yeah Right.....easy for me to say!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
DW got up to (S) wanting to get dressed.
DW helped (S) get dressed
DW told (S) to put her pajamas in the hamper.
(S) said " I'll just put them here with Daddy's" as she threw them in the pile on the floor next to my bed.
Now you know why I am in trouble!!!
Monday, July 27, 2009
The drizzle made keeping an eye on her difficult. She was fast. The van looks like it will fall apart at any moment, but she could drive.
I had that little voice in my head calling Daddy and I knew I was doing the right thing. I just picked a bad week to stop drinking.
She only drove about a mile and stopped at a walk-in clinic. I wondered how long she would be here and I sat in the car. I had a place where I could see her car from about 500 feet away. I waited and waited and watched and waited.
While I was there I called my wife on my shoe phone. She was the one who had me on this chase. I called to give her an update.
She seemed disinterested. "What's for dinner?" she asked.
I was confused. I said "I need a drink." "Pizza."
I kept looking. The pile of cigarettes on the ground outside the car was gatting large. I finally saw her come out of the walk in clinic. She walked fast and got into her car and started driving right off. I knew I had to be quick. I was too quick. I got right behind her. I was afraid of being caught so I went into the other lane to let a couple of cars pass so I wasn't right behind her. That was a mistake.
About 4 more lights down the street and I got stopped after she made it through a light. Dam, she had given me the slip, and I'm not talking about a piece of clothing. I though about going through the light, but thought better. I wondered...."why is it the PIs on TV never get stopped at a light?..... I hoped I would be able to find her again, no luck.
I do know she drove to the next town over. They used to live in that town so they may still be there. I drove over to where they used to live. No luck. I knew I had to find her, but I didn't know how.
It seemed as though I was going to have to wait until next week when the visit was with the Fat Man. He doesn't drive. It may be a cab, it may be a friend, it may be the bus. It will make for an interesting trail. Hopefully I will do better. I have to better. They are depending on me.
I called her.
"Your a dork." she said
I said "I thought you wanted pizza for dinner, not pork."
She sighed into the phone. I knew I had said something wrong, but I wasn't sure what.
I got the pizza.
(to be continued)
Friday, July 24, 2009
It was Thursday night. There was a strange smell in the air. Was it my cigarette or was it her perfume. I knew that smell. She was, after all, my wife and we had been together for 34 years.
It was her perfume.
"So what are you going to do?" she asked
I thought for a minute. I didn't know what she was referring to. This was a common problem, but this time it was different."about what?" I responded.
She became indignant not wanting to play games. I couldn't help myself. I loved her and she knew it. I needed a drink.
"What do you think" she said
She was talking about him and her. The two who were supposedly living together and shouldn't be. It was a web of unhealthy family ties and she wanted me to get involved. I was happy to oblige.
"Do you think I should put a tail on her and see if she leads me to the fat man?" I asked
She gave me the look. It was the look I had received many times before. I had to start making plans. She had me and she knew it. I couldn't say no. It was now time for me to go about my business.
"Don't worry" I said. "I will get to the bottom of this". I felt a strange heat on my fingers. "Dam" I said as I flinged my cigarette to the floor. I had forgotten I had it lit. I had a slight burn, but I could handle it
I needed to make my plans. Get batteries for the camera. Fill up the car with gas. Get my cell phone charged. Sure, I knew what to do. I had been on stakeouts before. After all, it was my job. But this time it was different. There was more riding on it than normal. I had to be successful. The future of her and me and the princess were at stake.
Oh, you didn't know about the princess. Well, let me tell you. She was a red head. Had a temper like one too. She had snuck into our lives one day and we couldn't get rid of her. We never thought we would get this involved but we did. She was like a magnet and we were definitely attracted. It was hard to believe she was only 2 when we first met.
I found the car I was looking for. Now it was time to wait. Wait for her to get in that car and take me to the fat man. Hopefully she wouldn't catch on that I was following her.
(to be continued)
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tomorrow is the first visit for (S) with mom in almost 8 months. BOY WILL SHE BE CONFUSED.
She knows that the caseworker is picking her up and she know she is going to visit with her brothers. She has no clue that bio-mom will be there. (S)'s therapist believes that the progress she has made in making her PTSD a thing of the past may well revert back to where it was.
We were making such good progress in toilet training and in sleeping and we are now concerned that we will have difficulties again. Only time will tell. The caseworker is not optimistic, and the therapist is not optimistic. So we are not optimistic either.
On the other hand, the reason for the TPR being denied was that the judge (hereinafter referred to as the magisterial moron) believed that mom and dad were no longer together and that mom should be given a chance on her own. It is too bad we allow such morons to be running our court system. It was clear that she was not alone and now the state has proof that they have been together. Unfortunately they will not have the opportunity to present that to the magesterial moron until the middle of August. On the bright side, that gives them more time to gather more significant evidence.
Unfortunately, they don't know where they are living.
"But I knew I could help them out" he said while puffing on a cigarette and thinking "I could be in Key Largo with a beautiful woman but this case is far too important."
So tomorrow, I may find my way over to where the visit is after it is over and play Sam Spade. That is right. I am going to play the lead in my own "film noir". Too bad I won't have Peter Lorre around to help me out. But I am hoping that bio-mom will lead me to the "Fat Man" (bio-dad)
Who knows, the next post in this blog could be real interesting.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
We have been making some progress on the toilet training although we are not sure it will continue after the visit on Friday. She hasn't had a complete dry day, but she has been pooping pretty regularly in the toilet so we are quite happy. Today at home she had a poop and said "hey, that looks like a banana!" Anyway, we went to a restaurant for dinner tonight and while we were there (S) advised she needed to use the toilet..........4 times........anyway, I felt it necessary to take my turn so off to the Men's room we go.
The room was empty which was good. It was a bathroom that has all the automatic fixtures. wave your hand in front of the faucet and the water comes out. Wave your hand in front of the towel holder and paper towels come out. Get off the toilet seat and the toilet flushes. Now this was not your regular toilet. This was one of those toilets that really makes a loud sucking noise as it flushes.
So I go into one of the booths with (S) and she proceeds to pull down her panties and pull up her dress and get situated on the potty. then she decides she isn't quite comfortable and starts to move around on the seat. That is when the toilet decided to flush! She went flying!!! She turned around with her panties at her ankles almost tripping over them and looking at the toilet with a look on her face that said "What the ^&#!& are you doing?" No, she doesn't know those words. That was just what the look on her face was saying.
Very carefully and with a great deal of trepidation she got back on the toilet. I was concerned that this might set the training back, but she managed to get through it. She finished her business and back to the restaurant we went.
I wish I had a camera to memorialize that look, but I can assure you it will remain forever etched in my mind. So if you ever see me just sitting in a chair and I suddenly just start laughing out loud.....I am remembering that look.
Monday, July 20, 2009
(S)'s case worker called this afternoon. It seems that the judge denied the TPR. The state is filing for an emergency appeal, but in the meantime they have set up a visit with bio-mom this Friday and with bio-dad for next Friday. (S) and her brothers have not seen their bio parents in 8 months. I know that (S)'s therapist will be livid. There is no way that (S) should be visiting with her parents. This will lead to no sleeping again and probably reverse all the progress we have made in toilet training. Sunday she actually pooped in the toilet twice)
We told the case worker that we would not be a party to this nonsense and that they would have to make the travel arrangements. We were not going to take (S) or pick her up. We understand that DHHS has nothing to say about it and they are under a court order, but DW and I are both working on Friday and (S) will be at day care, so if they want there to be a visit, they will have to take care of the travel arrangements.
Apparently the judge feels like the mother and father are apart even though the state has information that it isn't the case. That is the reason for the emergency appeal. From the sounds of what the caseworker said, I don't think their appeal is going to be successful. The Guardian Ad Litem is also against this. I am sure (S)'s therapist will be writing a letter for the appeal, but again, I don't know if it will do any good.
In the meantime, any thought of adoption is obviously to be put on hold. There may not be any child to adopt. All I want is what is best for (S). If the good lord determines that she is better with her biological parents then with an adoptive family, then I can live with that, but if this additional attempt at reunification isn't going to work, then we need to make sure that this visit and future reunification efforts don't really mess things up for (S).
I am very concerned about the impact on (S). I also wonder why the state hasn't done anything to ensure that the visit is preceeded with some kind of therapy so that (S) has some explanation and maybe a little understanding for what is happening.
I know that judge was in the same courtroom that I was. I also know he is retiring in August. He must have already gone senile. There is no way he could have heard that testimony and reached this conclusion. If I go on writing about him, I am bound to use language that I shouldn't, so for now I will sign off. We see the caseworker on Thursday.
I am so disappointed in this system.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I grew up in what was then a small town outside of Boston. All the houses were the same. Ranch houses built on slabs. Built mostly for returning GIs who had Veteran's benefits and could buy a home with no money down. The houses sold for around $16,000. I wasn't even two years old when we moved in and have no memory of living anywhere before this house.
When I was four years old a new family moved in to the next house. There was a boy who was one year older than I was. Besides myself and the new boy, there were two boys that lived right across the street. The four of us did everything together. We played ball together. We had a tree house together. We were in cub scouts together. We were each others best friends and for a while only friends. We were all we needed though. Obviously there are many stories of the four of us growing up that would certainly be good fodder for a blog, but that is not what I had in mind today.
About 2 months ago I got on facebook. (can you see where this is going?). Sure enough I found the boy that lived next door. My best friend. The boy who I played baseball with almost every evening in the good weather. The boy who knew more about me than anyone else in the world. The boy who I knew more about then anyone else in the world. I hadn't seen or talked to him in almost 30 years. It was wonderful getting in touch with him. We were able to write on facebook and talk about old times. He had some pictures from the old neighborhood and it was great looking at those. The only bad part was I found out that one of the boys that lived across the street had suffered a severe stroke of some kind and was in a home and basically a vegetable. The other boy that lived across the street was somehow estranged from the family and had only been back in town from the west coast once. So that left me and the boy from next door. I will refer to him as "D".
Monday night I had dinner with "D". What a wonderful time! I was travelling on a business trip to a town about 20 miles from where he lives. We really aren't all that far apart. Only about 4 hours total. We made plans to get together. We talked about all those old stories. It was amazing finding out what part of the stories we remembered togather and what we remembered separately. We could have talked to each other for days on end.
It was also great to talk about how our lives had gone over the past 30 years since we had last seen each other. What was even better was coming to the realization that we had such a similar outlook on life and had been so many of the same places, that we could have been great friends even if we never lived next door to each other.
You know that last line of Stand By Me........."I never had any friends later on in life like the ones I had when I was twelve, Jesus, does anyone?"
Well, I am happy to say I now have a friend that I also had fifty years ago, and after only one meal (granted it took almost 3 hours)I have a friend like the one I had when I was twelve. After all, he was one I had when I was twelve.
I am so looking forward to spending more time with him. Hoping to play golf together at the end of the month.
Like I said, totally off topic, but I felt the need to write about it.