Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Are You Kidding Me?

We got an interview date for the waiting child we were interested in. We found out just a couple days later that another family had stepped up and asked to interview as well. Seriously? He's been legally free for nearly four years. We stumble across him, get licensed in the hope that we might adopt him, finally get our license and score our interview, and now there's someone else? You've got to be joking.

And I thought it would be as simple as checking our homestudy, doing an interview, and start fostering him in preparation to adopt. Oh no. No no no. We interview with his team. The other family does the same. They all talk about us. They present one or both of us to him. Then we start phone calls with him. Then visits. Then maybe he can spend the night at our house. This is all from 3 hours away. Then we'll start talking about him moving in. Then we have to foster for six months before we can even begin the adoption process. CHINA will give you a kid with less red tape. Not even kidding. This may be cheaper, but China is easier. Maybe quicker.

So yesterday, I was stressing over this. All of it. The length of the process, the amount of red tape, how he will fit with our other kids, his age (14) compared to theirs (4 and 1). I was working on the required scrapbook (for those unfamiliar, it's like a Dear Birthmother, except it's Dear Kid I Want To Adopt), and all I could think about was how annoying it was that the state required us to figure out a family dynamic without ever being in the same house. It is infuriating.

Then, right after I put Little Miss to bed, my phone rings. Why does your social worker call you at 8:45 on a weeknight? I'll give you a hint. It's not to invite you out for steak and whiskey. Ever.

There's an emergency. Again. Isn't there always? I mean really. It's foster care. When is it ever lukewarm? Anyway, an emergency placement. Bonus points for the fact that it wasn't a newborn this time! At first she asked me to take a set of teen girls. Luckily, I didn't have enough beds. Then she called back and asked if I had a toddler bed. There was a 5yo girl. Could we please take her? Just for a couple days?

Her final termination hearing should happen next week and she will be legally free.

I've heard this old story. A farmer lived on a river. It flooded and a man came down the street in a boat and offered to take the man to safety. The old man said, "No, God will provide." Later, after the water rose considerably, another boater found the farmer stranded in a second floor window. Again, he was offered a ride to higher ground. He gave this man the same answer, "No. God will provide." Finally, a third boat arrived to find the old man on the roof, the only solid ground in sight. The would-be rescuer begged him to get in the boat and be saved. The man vehemently refused. "No. God will provide." When the man drowned and stood before God, he was angry. "Where were you, Lord?! I trusted you to save me! To provide for me!" God said simply, "I sent you three boats."

For so many months, we've had nothing but faith that this waiting child is our kid. Then Ms. T fell into our laps. Contemporary to our children, almost free, no more red tape than a typical foster-to-adopt placement. Is this God providing? Am I reading too much into it? Am I just a sucker who keeps taking emergency placements? I DON'T KNOW!!!

So, I'm terribly confused. After 22 hours with her, I'm emotionally exhausted. I just need to do a lot of soul searching right now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Want Your Life To Go Nuts...?

...Start a new blog.  Seriously.  It's not totally a good excuse, because it doesn't cover the entire time I've been gone and there have been a few moments where I read a book or slept and could have maybe been here, typing away, but I chose to do other things instead.  But mostly?  Shit's been crazy, yo.

On Sunday the 6th, I was helping The Husband put a new (to us) bigger (huge) TV up on our mantle.  Our living room isn't huge, so we put our television up on the mantle to free up space for, you know, toys.  And furniture.  Nothing was going swimmingly, when weakling me nearly dropped my half of the 130lb television from chest height.  Good news is that I didn't let it hit the floor.  Bad news is that I bent backwards at the waist with 130lb on top of me.  That's a lot of ouch, in case you were wondering.  So there was much  yelling on my part, apologizing on The Husband's part (even though he didn't do anything), and Little Miss was pretty confused by the whole episode.

The next morning, Monday, I was planning to go see my doctor to make sure I didn't completely wreck anything back there.  I was planning to do that right up until my phone rang and my licensing social worker (S) said, "I need you to sit down."  Well, um.  Okay.  I thought maybe something had happened to the waiting child we had expressed interest in.  That was honestly my first thought.  Instead of saying much, I just let her continue.  We had gone to one training session at the office and met another couple there - one battling infertility who were hoping to adopt a baby.  Their background checks weren't in yet, ours were, there was a newborn needing picked up from the hospital, I had experience with drug exposed babies, DHHR really liked us for this baby in the interim, and could we please get absolutely all of our paperwork together and drive an hour north to finish our license RIGHT NOW so we could pick up the baby and keep him until the other couple could finish their license?  Pretty please?

Really?  Are you effing kidding me?  My husband is in the bathroom, my back is killing me, and you want me to make this decision like I'm an adult or something?  I'm only 28. Those thoughts happened in about a half a second.  Then I said yes.  Why?  Because I've been there!  I've done this infertility racket.  It SUCKS.  It sucks real bad.  And what if we couldn't have had a child unless someone was willing to step up and help for a few weeks (or months?) until something completely out of our control could be completed?  There really wasn't a choice other than to just do it.  So when The Husband came out of the bathroom, I told him what we had to do.  He didn't complain.  He thanked me!  He THANKED me for knowing that he would have said and done exactly the same thing.

There was much rushing around - copies of divorce decrees and marriage licenses and drivers licenses and car insurance and homeowners and holy crap.  Luckily, my mom could come sit with Little Miss while we took part in all this craziness.  Somewhere in the middle of it, she arrived.  We dug out Little Miss's car seat and what few baby things that could be used for a boy.  We stopped along the way for my physical and donuts.  Donuts are very important.

When we got there, S immediately handed him over.  He was so teeny tiny.  Little Miss was born chunky and healthy and awesome.  This little guy had a rough start.  He hadn't wanted to nurse for anyone.  He had diarrhea with every bottle.  He was just generally unwell.  I held him while we worked on finishing up some training and paperwork.  The supervisor worked on writing our final homestudy.  The potential adoptive parents arrived and we gave him to them for a while.  It was all kind of a whirlwind.

It looked airtight.  His incubator was already involved in a DHHR case regarding her step-children.  Bio-dad was having his rights terminated to the other kids.  Incubator tested positive for drugs at delivery.  What could go wrong?

We had him 8 days.  Eight.  Eight sleepless nights.  He gained eight ounces.  Blah.  The bio grandma lawyered up and got custody.  It was awful for everyone involved.  It wasn't AS bad for us because we knew he wasn't ours to keep.  We had already planned on him going home with someone else, so we didn't see him as our child.  But we were crushed for the potential adoptive parents.  We had been to their house, they had been to ours, they had bonded with him...  And then he was just gone.  We may never know how he is or what kind of guardian she is to him.  And I know, logically, that this is the story of foster care.  This is just what it is.  You're a temporary refuge until they "go back."  Except that was never our plan.  Our plan was to straight up adopt...  Just adopt.  No foster care, no sending anyone back, none of that shit.  None of it.  Not again.  No more uncertainty about futures.  Yet here we are.

I guess at the root of it, I'm being selfish.  Well, no, I know that.  It's not a guess.  But damn it, I'm allowed.  Eight days may not seem like much to you, but it was eight days of nursing a newborn through withdrawal.  That's work.  That's serious stuff.  I fostered a bond between him and the potential adoptors.  I find myself feeling guilty for that.  I have done this before.  I should have been reminding them to guard themselves more against the possibility of him going away.

I don't know how I feel about that situation right now.  I'm not devastated anymore.  Not crushed.  Numb maybe.  I think I've kind of shut it out for the time being.

And right now, I'm dealing with a sinus infection and Little Miss went to bed by herself for the first time in MONTHS, so I think I should get some sleep while I can.  I promise to try to do better with the writing.  I promise this to myself more than you.  You being someone who probably ended up here on accident.  But if someone really is here, you could leave a comment.  Quite handy in letting a blogger know you exist.  :-)