Friday, July 30, 2010
The family is about to grow rapidly. (K) will be having her baby real soon. If not on her own by August 24th, then by C-Section. Our first grandchild! A boy named (L) for now
On September 25th (A) will be getting married and since her finace has 2 children, we are going to claim them as well. Grandchildren numbers 2 and 3. 2 is a girl (T) and 3 is a boy (H).
Then sometime in the near future (S) will be child number 4 for us. In reality she already is, but legally, we will have to wait. I spoke with the caseworker and the National Adoption Day I wrote about the end of last month is looking more and more like the day that we will be all a legal family. I can't wait until whatever day that is. You can expect at that point to see a famiy photo on this blog that includes all of the above mentioned individuals along with (B), DW and of course moi. Oh and I can't forget (K);s husband. I would use his initial too, but it is already taken.
I was on facebook the other day and a long time friend of mine mentioned the "Hokey Pokey". I left a comment saying "what if the Hokey Pokey really is what its all about?" His response was that in his family every time there was a special occasion like a Wedding or a Bar Mitzvah the Hokey Pokey was always played at the party, so that was what it was all about....family.........how true.
So to put it simply, we will be doing the Hokey Pokey a lot in the coming months. I hope you will all be able to join us!
Monday, July 26, 2010
DW has been away in Atlanta for the last few days and I have been left to the duties of single dad. This morning I was getting (S) ready for camp and I got her the breakfast she asked for which included a glass of milk.
As we were walking down the stairs, she turned to me and said:
"This milk is bland"
I was stunned. It was early in the morning and this was not on my list of potential expected conversations. I replied with:
At this point (S) looked at me like I was an idiot and explained what she meant:
"Its bland, that means it has very little taste!"
I felt like saying something along the lines of
"I know what bland means", but I figured I didn't have to explain myslef to a four year old...or did I? Besides, I am not used to getting pop quizes at 6:45am. She is 4 1/2 years old and I still can't believe she felt she had to explain the meaning of bland to me.
I can tell I am going to learn a lot from her over the coming years. I just hope more of it is stuff I don't yet know.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
This has been one of the best days of my life. I took DW to the airport as she is going to visit her brother in Atlanta for a few days. It is an opportunity for (S) and I to have some great quality time together.
After I left the airport, I checked out the court web page. YAHOOOOOOOOOO. I couldnt believe when I saw that the court had finally finished the case and made a decision. THE BIGGEST HURDLE IS OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have been waiting for this day since December and it has finally come. The feeling is unbelievable.
But I didn't have (DW) to share it with. Of course I shared it with everyone else whose cell number I had by sending a group text. (actually a few group texts because I can only send a text to 10 people at a time).
I had to share this with DW though and she was on a plane. I quickly called the local check-in desk of the airline and explained that I had to get this message to my wife. She said she would do what she could. The first stop in her flight was Detroit and she wasn't going to be there for 3 hours. I had to wait that long to see if she got the message. Indeed she did!!!
The pilot got the message and wrote it on some kind of a paper checklist and gave it to the flight attendant who found DW and read it to her.
"The case is over, we can now move forward....Jump for Joy."
Of course she is saving that message for the scrapbook. I spoke to her in Detroit and we are both happier than you can imagine........work to be done.....
I called the case worker and left a message that I wanted to set up an appointment for our disclosure meeting and to take care of the other paperwork that needs to be done before we can file at the probate court.
She called back and when I spoke to her she asked me how I found out because she had to call the GAL to confirm what I had seen. I told her it was on the web-site and she said she couldn't find it. Wonderful.....Anyway, I told her I wanted to set up an appointment for next week. She is busy next week.........Another delay. I made her make two appointments with me in case one isnt going to work. The first one is for August 5th. Two weeks from today.
So how does the process work now....Well for those of you who don't know how this process works at all, I will take you from the start as to how things have gone in our state (Maine) with (S):
- December, 2007 there is a court order determining that (S) is in jeopardy and needs to be removed from her family along with her 4 siblings.
- We get a call asking if we can take a 26 month old little girl for a couple of months. We say yes. It is December 11, 2007 (2 weeks before Christmas)
- There is a plan developed to reunite the family and the biological parents agree to the plan working towards reunification.
- In September 2008 visits in their home are started and there are some that are unsupervised.
- December 2008 reunification is about to begin there are many unsupervised visits and we are starting to mourn the loss of (S) in our home, but happy that she will be where she belongs, with her family. I start this blog
- January, 2009 reunification abruptly comes to an end. bio-dad has gone off the deep end and the home is not safe. The state begins TPR proceedings.
- June, 2009 the court hearings are over. It is appearing that there will be a TPR granted and we are asked if we are going to consider adopting (S). We had no intention of ever adopting (S) so the answer is no.......we keep thinking about it though and seek our own counselling to determine if it is the thing for us to do.
- August, 2009 we decide that if the opportunity presents itself, we will adopt (S). During the same month, the judge decides that the dad should be out of the picture but that there may be hope for mom. She has certain things to do.
- December, 2009 it is determined that mom is not doing what she should and there is a TPR granted by the judge. The bio-parents lawyers file an appeal which goes to the Maine Supreme Court.
- Today......The Supreme Court affirms the decision and there is no longer a route of appeal for mom and dad. The TPR is final and (S) and her siblings are now available for adoption.
What happnes next in the process....
- There is a "disclosure" meeting with DHHS. This is where they tell us everything they know about (S) to make sure we still want to adopt her and there are no secrets. (key here is we know more about (S) then they do)
- There is also paperwork that needs to be filled out to continue the process.
- All the paperwork gets taken to the probate court where additional paperwork is received that DW and I need to fill out so that the adoption can continue and move forward.
- Fingerprints of DW and I are taken yet again for yet another background check.
- A court hearing is scheduled so that the adoption can be formalized
- We go to court and FINALLY (S) is an official member of our family
- We get a new Birth Certificate showing DW and I as (S)s parents
We are done!!!! I don't know how long this last part will take, but I know it will be shorter than the last 8 months.
I hope you find this post has useful informaiton about the process, but I really just want to thank everyone who has had us in their thoughts and prayers that this day would come soon. It is here, and I still can't believe it.
July 22 is a day that I will always remember. It will be a happy day for our family. I just wish DW was here with me to celebrate, but she will be home Monday and we will have plenty of time to celebrate then. I am truly overcome with joy tonight as I sit hear typing. Life is good!!
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Well we had the session with the therapist and we have talked with (S) about why she remembers another family. We have explained to her that some parents are not able to keep their children safe so there are people that help them to find parents that can keep them safe.
Her case worker is the one that helped her parents to find us and that is why she comes to check on her every month to make sure she is still safe. We also explained how there would be a time soon when a we would go to a court and a judge would make it official that she was our daughter forever and she was a part of our family and we were her forever family.
We also talked with the GAL this week and he is confident that the courts will finish their busness pretty soon and then the adoption process will move very quickly. We are really hoping that he is correct. It would be so nice to have our WHOLE NEW FAMILY together for A's wedding in September.
By that time K would have given brith to our first grandchild. We will have one very large family then. 4 children and three grandchildren and 2 sons-in-law. It is amazing how fast this family is growing.
In the meantime DW had to work today so (S) and I went for a ride in the country. We came across a deer ranch with a huge family of deer
Then we went to our initial destiantion which was one of the many covered bridges in the northeastern US. This one is just a few miles from our house, but (S) had never been there before. As a matter of fact, I had never been there before either. I knew it was there, just never went to it.
We had a great time together. It was fun. Next weekend DW will be gone for 4 days and (S) and I will have the whole house to ourselves. We are planning on going to the "restaurant where you pick out your own food" (buffet) the first night that DW is gone. We are also planning a trip to the beach and of course we will go to the playground on more than one occasion. The only thing we really need now is to have good weather.
Speaking of the beach, we are going there tomorrow with DW, (S), and I. Maybe K and her husband will come.
Monday, July 12, 2010
(S) is really becoming more and more aware of, and questioning her past and her bio-parents. We still have not had the chnace to have the real conversation we need to have when we are with her therapist but I am hopeful that will come at our next appointment,
She is 4 1/2 years old and we are told this is to be expected at this age. I guess there are a couple of other ages at which these same types of things will come up again but for right now we are dealing with the knowledge that she once lived with another family and that there were times when her bio father got mad and he would fight with her bio-mom and now she doesnt live with them any more. As a result, when I tell her she has done something wrong, she has started with a new response.....
Are you still my daddy? She just doesn't understand that I am here and not like her bio-daddy, but I don't want to talk poorly about her bio-dad. That is not good either.
It doesn't matter how many times I tell her that I will be her daddy no matter what happens, the question keeps coming up. I get the impression she does things she knows she shouldn't do just so I will tell her not to do that and then she can ask if I will still be her daddy. I think she needs this reassurance from me. Unfortunately, she needs it pretty regularly...
I am hopeful she will no longer feel uneasy about the situation when we finally get things worked out and finalized and can go to court and have a party and officially tell her this special ceremony and party is to celebrate that we are with her forever.
She knows her bio mom and dad used to fight a lot and she says they were broken and had to go to the hospital. She says they broke into a mikllion pieces. I don't know why that is the story she tells, but I am sure it is what helps her get by.
I think she is definitely trying to cope with the idea that parents are not forever. Why should she think otherwise? She had parents once and they are no longer her parents. Of course she thinks that we can no longer be her parents at some point.
We need to address this as quickly as possible. I hope we will be able to set up another appointment quickly. the one we had for today was postponed and we don't have a date for another yet.
(S) really needs to be comfortable that we are here for her forever. Of course the courts would help me feel better about this being forever, but as we know, they don't move at anyone's pace but their own. 'nuff said about that...
Friday, July 2, 2010
(S)' guardian ad litem called today. It seems that bio-mom and bio-dad attempted to either contact or snatch the two older boys. He said that bio-mom told the police that they were going to try and snatch them, but they weren't arrested, so I don't know what the real story is.
I do know it is scary. We have been always keeping an eye out for them, but now we will have to be extra vigilant. They only know the whereabouts of three of the children. The two they tried to get to today who live in the same family, and (S).
(S) of course is oblivious to what is going on, and we never let her far from us anyway except when she is in pre-school. They also know what is going on and have had a picture of bio-mom and dad for the whole time (S) has been there. I never thought that we would have to worry about this kind of thing when we first got involved in child care. I guess I don't know what I was thinking.
Right now, I just can't figure out why they aren't in jail. This is just further pressure for us to move away the first chance we get. I don't want to spend the rest of our time raising (S) looking out for them. There will come a time when we will have to let (S) ride her bike and go off to her friends house etc. We can't do that living here.
The only good thing to come out of this is we now know for sure where they are and we know they still have the same vehicle that they had when we had last seen them. Luckily they are living about 1 1/2 hours away from us so we shouldn't see them by chance. Of course if we do see them, it will be because they are up to no good. This gets more and more frustrating every day and of course another week without hearing anything from the courts......keep your fingers crossed!!!