Saturday, July 28, 2012

Questions from a prospective adoptive Mom

I'm starting this post before I go to meet a former co-worker.  We were friendly at work though I worked pediatrics and she worked adults so we rarely were in the same building.  Since leaving the hospital we have kept in touch swapping dogs for vacations, and she started a professional journal club that I attend.  I was aware of her dietary changes as well as her using acupuncture.  I was nearly positive that it was for infertility but having been down that road I never said a word.  The last thing I wanted when I was going thru that process was prying eyes.  If she wanted to share with me she could.

About a month ago she contacted me asking me for a quick summary of adoption and what agency we had used.  I shot an e-mail back and let her know that I'd gladly meet her for coffee or lunch if she wanted to talk about our experience as well as help guide her thru the process.  She responded yesterday asking if we could meet- so tomorrow we will meet for coffee.  I am brining all of my adoption books as well as our portfolio which I picked up from our agency today.

I found out that D never did receive a copy of our portfolio.  I asked that a copy be offered to her and sent if she wanted it.  I trust that our agency would give her a copy if she had wanted it so I'm guessing that she didn't want a copy.  The agency asked if they could keep the other copy to share with other families.  I plan to agree with the only condition being that they share with families that I DONT recommend having your family complete pages (that was added stress).  The ironic thing is we stressed over the book so much but D never saw our book- ever.  She was verbally presented with information about us like the state we lived in, our names, our jobs, and how long we had been married.  Those are the facts that I know D knew before we arrived.  D had asked the agency to find a family that was married (she didn't care homo/heterosexual) but beyond that she had no other requests.  She had not asked to even approve the family though the agency did present her with limited information verbally before they had us drive the 8 hours to PA.  (so I digressed).

Today I looked back at some of my initial posts.  I read the first one.  I read the post about my fears.  I read about our interviews.  I read our portfolio.  I wish I had a real live person that had been thru the process before to ask questions to.  To share with me that it was normal to see the check list and want to recycle the list.  It would have been nice to have had someone tell me that the portfolio is important but dont drag it out for three months- be yourself and move on.  Same with the check list.  The things I worried most about checking off where non-issues and the things I though I was OK with turned out to be my biggest stresses.  I'm interested to hear her questions, her fears, her reservations.  I dont know if her husband will join us.  I dont know if she has gotten the application yet.  I really do hope that I can be a person to lean on for her.  I do plan to share my blog with her if she is interested.  Best of all I have baby girl to share with her (I confirmed it was OK to bring her) and show her that its all worth it.

So we met.  We chatted for two hours.  Baby Girl was perfect she played with her toy and pounded on the table.  She is at a point where she is deciding between IVF and moving onto adoption.  She has family members that are not in support of moving onto adoption.  I'm glad I'm not at that place anymore.  It also reminds me that I'm grateful that DH and I had determined an end point prior to starting even trying to conceive.  I dont envy her position.

She asked the typical questions-
Will I love a child that is "not mine"?
My answer- yes.  The child will by YOUR baby.

Will open adoption make me feel like I'm raising someone else's child?
I feel like open adoption is like having an extended family.  I am Baby Girls Mother.  She has an extended family larger then most including her birth family.  They want to know how she is doing and have comfort that D made the best choice for her.  They do not offer advice on how to parent and we dont have to visit them for every holiday.  The relationship is for Baby Girl and not for me.  I'll admit I'm insecure at times but the more we talk about it- the more it normalizes it.  D is part of Baby Girls journey to our family but D will never replace my role as her Mother.

If we have an Open Adoption with the Birthmother show up?
NO.  There is a relationship and a trust that is established showing up with break that trust.

Nature Vs. Nurture?
Nature determines genetics, how tall Baby Girl will be, her eye color, I think her personality (she is WAY more out going then DH or I am).  We will instill our values on Baby Girl.  We will share with her our views on right/wrong.  She will challenge us and we will learn from her as well.  D had a hard childhood and had things happen to her that were outside of her families control.  Unfortunately those events lead her to a lifestyle that was harmful to herself and her family.  Baby Girls siblings as well as D's siblings are perfect examples that there was love in D's home I firmly believe that the trauma D experienced outside her home resulted in her downward spiral.  There is no such thing as a perfect home or perfect life.  We as parents try to protect our children the best we can but there are people outside our home we cannot control.

Given the community we live in we felt we could not provide cultural experiences as well as mentors for most races.  My concern was not that our child would look different from us because there were some races other then caucasian that we were open to based on our ability to provide mentors/ cultural experiences.  Baby Girl already routinely hears about her adoption story and how it makes her special.  As I have heard from other blogs that having an transracial adoption means you will need to be ready for the best and brightest of our society making comments that are hurtful not only to you but your child.  Baby Girl does look like us but we still get comments from those we know best- family/friends and in some ways I think those comments are more hurtful because they are from those that know us best.

Domestic Vs. International?
Neither is easy.  Domestic provides more regulation and birthparents should be provided education on their rights (though unfortunately there are agencies that do not do this sufficiently).  Domestic allows you to meet your child sooner and even potentially be in the hospital room when they are born.  Domestic does have a risk of a birthmother choosing to parent and an adoption resolving though heart breaking I do think of this as a positive.  I've said this before I take great solace in knowing that I can share with Baby Girl that D made a choice to place her with us.

Adoption isn't for everyone and its not an easy road.  The road leads to the gift of parenthood.  I wont go as far a to say that adoption results in pain for your child because if you are a well educated adoptive parent the lines of communication between your child and you should be open (this isn't just regards to adoption communication).  Having communication (even minimal like in our case) with the birthfamily will also help in making your child feel secure in their home with you.  There are children that are adopted that turn into unbecoming members of society but there are biological children that turn into unbecoming members of society.  Adoption will not define Baby Girl but I strongly believe that having her questions answered will make her comfortable in who she is.  She grew in D for 9 months and then was placed with us to be loved for a lifetime.

Comments/Additions to my answers would be gratefully received!  I do anticipate that she will read my blog at some point.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bank Account

So DH got a call yesterday from my MIL telling us that her Aunt had sent us a check for Baby Girl and we still have not deposited it.  When we received checks for Baby Girl we wrote thank you notes and explained that as soon as we could open an account for Baby Girl we could deposit the check to start a college savings account.  I plan once we finally are able to open an account to write and remind the gift givers so that they expect the check to finally be deposited.

I had DH call his Mom back and explain that we dont have a social security # thus we can't open an account to deposit the checks.  We also do not have a birth certificate or other legal documentation with Baby Girls name on it.  We have documents with her birthmothers last name on it but nothing with ours.  So we told her as soon as we could we would open an account.  She didn't understand.

DH had to explain AGAIN why we do not have a social security number (and thus could not open an account).  Last weekend he had to AGAIN explain to her why we had to go to court and NO we did not have the court date yet; nor have we gone to court yet.  He also had to explain to her why it would be nice once we get the court date for her to come to the court the day our daughter becomes legally our daughter.  We have explained all of these things to her more then once.  I'm starting to think that she is suffering from dementia- I no longer pity the fool I now think I'm worried about her memory.

Today we did get an e-mail from our agency stating that they had received the paper work to submit to court from the agency in PA.  So as soon as the paperwork is submitted we will have a date.  I need to clarify if they need to wait a month before submitting or if they are going to submit right away.  If they submit the paperwork right away we will hopefully have a court date at the end of August/start of September- we shall see.

(There also were hints that we had not sent thank you notes to some of her family- I remember writing the thank you note in question, and I have a check next to the name of the person in question.  Its possible in the 150 thank you notes I sent out (in between taking care of a newborn) that I might have put a wrong address or it may have fallen behind the couch- I dont know but I wrote the thank you note!  When I offered to write a new one (which I will do anyway) I was told "not to worry about it."  Then why bring it up!?  I am a stickler for thank you notes so it was hurtful to be accused of not sending them.)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Back To Work

DH had his first day back to work.  I was so terrified I'd not get up in time to have Baby Girl ready for my aunt I woke up each and every hour starting at 1AM.  Before I went to bed I had asked DH to come in before he left for work at 5:30 AM and make sure I was up.  He must have shifted in bed because I thought he had crawled into bed.  I started to get up and ask something to the effect of "Are you here to wake me up?"  He didn't know what I was talking about.  I woke up with a start at 2, and 3:30 then baby girl woke up at 4.  She talked in her crib until almost 4:45 when she started to cry.  I got up, changed her, fed her and put her back to sleep.  I then went back to bed. I then told DH I was going to sleep until 5:45 since baby girl was already ready for the day with the exception of her clothes.

When I woke up she was still sleeping so I laid out her outfit.  I had already gotten the diaper bag ready including the bottles the night before so all I had to do was finish getting myself ready.  My aunt arrived at 6:15 as planned and I left at 6:30 as planned.  She was still sleeping.

As soon as I got into the car I felt sick.  Sick to my stomach.  I drove to get my coffee and nearly got sick.  I called DH to tell him he was the one my aunt would call if anything happened since I'm harder to get a hold of.  I shared with him that I felt sick and he just didn't understand why I would feel sick.  So I rushed my day left only 10 minutes late (compared to my usual at least 20-30 min).  I got home to find out that Baby Girl was perfect- no tears, naps on schedule, and ahead on her bottles.  Go figure- all the worry for nothing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Paternity Leave Ends and the Police Schedule Resumes

Tomorrow DH's paternity leave ends.  He actually was given an extra week since he was only scheduled for two days so they gave him those days off.  So we jump back into the police schedule.

DH has enough seniority that he can pick any shift he wants.  For the past two years he has been on day shift which I enjoy.  Night Shift is my second favorite followed by Evenings.  Night shift he can gift me a kiss on my way to work in the morning- he sleeps all day- then when I get home he wakes up.  He starts his days back on fives which means he works five 10 hour days on, three days off for five weeks.  Then he switches to four 10 hour days on, four days off.

Its complicated though a little less so now that I don't work Sundays.  The police schedule makes daycare challenging.  For example his first week back we need daycare Thursday and Monday then don't need daycare again until the following Monday (since he has off Tues, Wed, Thurs and I have off Fri, Sat Sunday).

You get used to it and I really don't mind it most of the time.  I try to keep track of "real weekends" and utilize them to the best of our ability.  DH has time to mow the lawn/go to the dump on his days off we dont share and I go to the grocery story and run errands on days I have off and he works to utilize our time together the best we can.  Having Baby Girl will complicate this some because before when we had days off alone we could just get stuff done.  Now we will have to watch baby girl and do our weekend chores.  

Morning routines and bedtime routines will also have to be worked out.  On days we both work DH leaves at 5:30AM and baby girl doesn't start daycare until 7:30.  I used to start work at 7 but will likely start at 8.  So it makes sense for me to get her ready in the AM.  Bed time again will likely be me because DH has to be in bed by 8PM to get 8 hours of sleep.  At this point baby girls bedtime is 9, though its slowly moving earlier.

Its going to be an adjustment.  Baby Girl doesn't start at the daycare center for another month so we will have some time to practice.  My aunt who lives down the street is watching her this Thursday and Monday then my older sister who is a teacher from WI will watch her Aug 5 until daycare starts.

Another adjustment is- its not just me and DH anymore.  We live in a safe area though bad stuff still happens.  Traffic accidents are actually the primary cause of death in the line of duty for police officers.  He no longer rides the police motorcycle (per my request) which makes him a little safer.  I know DH works hard to be as safe as possible and I trust his co-workers they are like extended family.  There is a reason the police symbol is "a thin blue line" and to me its a reminder that my DH is no different then the officers that have fallen in the line of duty except that he didn't respond to the call they did.  What gives me comfort is that IF heaven forbid anything were to happen I know that the guys/gals their husband/wives would be there for us.  I try not to think about it but every now and then I give my chance to consider what I'd do; almost in a hope that if I think about it- it will never happen.  I married DH knowing the risk and I know he is good at what he does, and couldn't be prouder of his willingness to keep us safe.  On days he works and I'm home alone it give me peace to know that he is keeping not just our home safe but the town safe.  

I think i'm more sad for DHs leave to end then I expected.  It will be an adjustment.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Birthmother Grief

I will never know the pain of placing a chid for adoption.  I know I blogged prior to Baby Girls arrival about how I was uncomfortable with the notion of adoption being the end of my pain while knowing that it would be the start of a heart break for another Mom.

On the day we left the hospital in PA and began our journey home D came to the hospital.  She arrived hours late puffy eyed with her mom as her support.  I left the three of them alone- three generations of family.  I knew that this would be D's last time alone with Baby Girl.  There are many things that I wish D did differently to better herself and the lives of her two children her mother is guardian of.  I know options she had but chose to reject.  In reading birthmother blogs, adoption books, etc that a birthmothers grief may dissipate but it never goes away.  I know D blames herself for baby girls condition at birth.  I wonder at times if D's choice to reject her alternatives were a way of punishing herself, and covering the grief of placement.  D is an adult (older then myself significantly).  She has choices, she has support from her mother and daughter, but continues to spiral downward.

Adoption books often shed light on adoption as a means for birthmothers to "better themselves."  Baby Girl was headed down a road towards DCF custody not going home with D.  Based on D's track record I think the outcome would have been adoption regardless.  I wish for D that at some point she finds it in herself to have enough self worth to take the support she has and the resource offered to her better herself.  So as I send letters and receive silence in return I remind myself that D is grieving.  I want so badly for Baby Girl to have communication back.  How will I explain to Baby Girl that we sent letters/pictures to D but D does not have the emotional resources to write back?  I also sometimes wonder that the letters/pictures D requested cause her pain vs. comfort?

Today as I left work a co-worker asked me about Baby Girl.  While we waited and after baby girls birth she has said very little about baby girl or adoption so her conversation felt a little awkward.  She shared with me how happy she was for our family and that six months has just flown by.  She then timidly shared that a friend of hers placed a child for adoption many years ago and since has married and had three children.  She shared that her friend still grieves over the placement and it was during the time of closed adoption.  She told me she had shared our excitement as perspective adoptive parents and now parents with this friend.  She shared with me that she felt like sharing our experience from one of the other perspectives of adoption helped her friend.  I didn't ask and I'll never know- but based on her story I actually wonder if she herself was that birthmother we helped.

As I started- I will never know the pain.  I can only guess it to be a fraction of the pain of infertility because at least with infertility we knew that adoption would grant us the ability to be parents.  For birthparents once you sign those papers and the waiting period is over- there will never be a chance to parent that child.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fake It Until You Make It

From the draft box-  I wrote this post just days before we learned of baby girl.  I never had a chance to post it.  I never did have that follow up MD appt to check my blood pressure (though the stress of PA I probably could have used it).  Its interesting to read this post now that I've completed the process.  I have been planning on but have not yet had time to write a post to reflect on my lactation experience.  To sum it all up in two sentences- I'm glad I induced lactation the best I could given the circumstances.  Had I chosen not to try I think I would have forever wondered what it would have been like if I had.  Oh and now I think I could write a post with the same title about parenting :)  So here is the post in unedited form:

Fake it Until You Make it- January 27, 2012

One of my Occupational Therapy professors told us before we went out on our field work placements (aka clinicals) to "fake it until you make it."  When we were about to graduate and were terrified that someone would pay us to work in the "real world" he again reminded us to "fake it until we make it."  In hind sight I think he was telling us to fake our confidence and that we knew a great deal more then we gave ourselves credit for.  Until you have practice with your expertise its hard to have that confidence.

I recently started getting hits from Adoptive Families website.  I thought it was weird at first and then it kept happening.  I finally went to the website and searched TTA to see what came up.  On the Adoptive Families Communities website someone asked about Establishing Milk Supply.  Someone commented that I was a waiting mother and I was working on establishing a milk supply.  I felt like the post upped the expectation.  I panicked!  I'm not an expert!  I am just some mom to be that wants to breastfeed their baby.  Will it work I dont know but the tenderness of my breast are any indication I'm expecting some sort of results.  I can only follow the protocol and hope for the best.  At worst I'll know I tried and well... thats all we can do as parents- right?

One insight I think I can give is that remembering to take meds 4x's daily is hard.  So here are the strategies I've come up with.  My pill box sits on the sink between the edge of the sink and the basin I can't do anything at the sink without reaching over them so that takes care of my AM med.  When I get to work I write on the top of my coffee cup meds so when I finish my coffee at lunch time I dont forget (yes- I drink the cold coffee I can't finish in the morning w my lunch).  My 4PM one is at the sink again when I get home and change out of my uniform.  I also have added a reminder on my phone for this one since I dont always go straight home.  8PM I have a reminder that goes off on my phone.

So here I am faking it until I make it.  I have expertise in my experience of going to the doctor and getting the prescription, and I have expertise in remembering to take the meds in 6 weeks i've missed two pills.  In two weeks I go back to the doctor to check my blood pressure (which I've been doing at work as well w no problems so far).  I do hope that once the protocol is complete and baby is in hands I'll be able to shed real light on the process.  Until then I'll keep taking my 4x daily snack.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Where is she now?

February 2011 we had a potential match.  I didn't qualify for FMLA and just like baby girl she was in PA it was unclear how long she would be in the hospital for as she was born premature.  We didn't have funds for an out of state adoption.  We didn't have a place to stay.  She also had medical complications that DH wasn't comfortable with.  I cried in the drug store parking lot on my way home from work that day.  I was sobbing so hard I couldn't drive.  My dear friend talked me down but event still I just felt like she didn't understand my heart break for a baby that the timing wasn't right for.

The baby was "offered" through an e-mail to all prospective adoptive parents at our agency since there were no families that "matched."  She had minor health challenges typical of a premature infant but it was unclear when she would discharge from the hospital to a family willing to love her.  She was already almost a month old at the time of the e-mail and they had been searching for a family to love her.  The TPR was almost run out given how long she had already been waiting.

Tonight I had to stop at the ATM on my way home from work.  The bank and drug store share a parking lot.  As I parked the experience flooded back to me.  I think of this baby girl often.  I wonder how long she had to wait in limbo until someone would claim her as their daughter?  I wonder who loves her.  I wonder how strong she has gotten.  My eyes always well up with tears thinking about her.  My sweet baby girl who arrived a year later was so similar.  It was as if this first girl got us ready to say "yes" to our daughter because one week shy of a year later a one week old little girl needed us to be her Mom and Dad.  A year prior the idea of going to another state for a child in the hospital for an undetermined amount of time was something we were not ready to do.  In having the ability to digest the prospect I had told DH I would say "yes" to if the situation arouse again and we would do just as we did- I'd stay where the baby was until we could come home.  I couldn't endure that sadness again.  I wasn't willing to have another little girl be "matched" via a mass e-mail.  It breaks my heart to think that no one wanted her.  It makes me sad to think that our healthy little girl was considered "high risk" just as this other little girl had been a year earlier.  I have been given the impression from our agency that they were worried about how long it would take to place our daughter.

These "high risk" babies are real babies that just need someone to hold them in the hospital.  Let them know they are loved and they grow leaps and bounds right before your eyes.  My baby girl did the fighting in the hospital but I know my ability to comfort her helped her get stronger faster.  To think that this other baby girl who they were unable to find a match for was alone for at least a month in the hospital breaks my heart.  My baby girl was alone for a week before we arrived.  I try not to think about her time alone in the NICU.  I saw babies cry for 45-60 minutes while nurses were occupied.  Its not that the nurses dont want to love these babies but they can't.  There isn't time in their day and I'm sure emotionally they only have so much to give.  So they sit alone waiting for someone to love them.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why Are We So Judgmental?

All Moms judge each other.  Cloth diapers vs. disposable.  Breastfeeding vs. formula.  My baby is smarter.  My baby is bigger.  My baby is going to Harvard.  I do admit I compair.  Its hard not to.  We have a friend who's baby is just a few weeks younger and well they will do things around the same time.  Baby girl does a little more in the physical front but she also started out with a strong extensor tone and thus could hold her head up the first day we met her.

I'm also fortunate to be part of a passionate group of Moms.  I'm an Adoptive Mom.  Each of found our way to the path through our own unique journeys but traveled the same road.  We each were given choices about what we would "accept."  We all had ideas about if we wanted open/close adoptions and made agreements with our birthparents.  We all at some point will be (or have been) matched with a baby.  We then all parent.

You would think that once we joined the parent crowd we could just judge each other on the same playing field as all other moms.  My baby is smarter, bigger, faster, breastfed, home schooled,  etc.  I've been surprised though now that I've gone from a waiting mom to an adoptive mom how judgmental the adoptive world is.  So now not only do I have to answer to other Moms I have to answer to the adoptive world.

I've started a post called "adoption isn't rainbows and sunshine" in which I discuss what I have found challenging about adoption and what I wasn't prepared for (I thought I was prepared since I read a lot and attended every adoption support group I could).  One big thing I wasn't ready for was the judgement.

I read on the Adoption Magazine forum today an adoptive mom thinking of closing her adoption temporarily until the birthmom was no longer in an abuse relationship.  The birthmom's boyfriend (boyfriend is not birthfather) is involved in gangs, drugs, and is monitoring all of the birthmoms communications.  The adoptive mom felt unsafe and has chosen to temporarily close the adoption.  A good number of people ganged up on her saying that she couldn't make an agreement with the birthmom to have an open adoption at birth and then close it.  By closing the adoption (even temporarily) wasn't fair and it was taking advantage of the birthmom.  Too often women dont listen to their gut when they dont feel safe.  This Mom felt unsafe and that her daughter was unsafe.  No other mom would be expected to bring her child to visit someone if they felt their child was unsafe- why is an adoptive mom expected to override her motherly instinct and continue to bring her child into an unsafe situation.

Stepping back a little there maybe other solutions besides closing the adoption.  If I were this mom I wouldnt think twice about telling D that we needed to stop visits until I felt we could establish visitation that was safe for my daughter (visits in this case were happening monthly).  I would feel comfortable with letters as we do now sent by way of the agency and would be willing to include pictures in the letters.  D doesn't have access to our facebook accounts so I wouldn't have to end that contact as this Mom needed to.  We have a shutterfly account that allows D to see pictures when she chooses and is dedicates specifically to Baby Girl.

Adoption agreements are important but are made at one snapshot in time.  Many birthparents move into places in their lives where they could parent and could possibly allow an adoption to become even more open.  There are birthparents that dont.  Its not fair to tell an adoptive parent- sorry you agreed to visits- even if you dont feel safe- you have to maintain what you agreed to.  Changes shouldn't be taken lightly.  Changes shouldn't happen just because there is minor disagreements.  If the issues is something that can be worked on it should be and every attempt should be made to maintain contact.  If safety is of concern have it be the birthmom is showing up under the influence, or you feel like the birthmoms boyfriend is a threat.  Its fair to say visits are suspended until the birthmom is in a place that is safe for the child.  

Its not fair to judge each other.  Its OK to suggest alternatives or offer places to receive guidance but I think us Moms are judged enough.  I actually turned off anonymous posting because of some of the strong judgements I was receiving.  I'm OK with a healthy productive discussions and even a challenge to think outside the box but lets stop the judging!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Its a boy!

I just found out tonight that a couple that started their wait a few months after ours was matched.  They left for FL on Monday and were discharged from the hospital today.  They are waiting comfortably in a hotel waiting for  the interstate compact process to complete.  It always seems so much simpler and perfect from a distance.  I am sure they are on a rollercoaster ride as well as I know this was an "unexpected" arrival.  I believe (and I'm not positive) FL is one of the states that when the birthparents signs unless they can prove distress it very quickly becomes binding (unlike PA where we had to wait 30 days).

I am so very happy for them and can't wait to meet this guy!  Assuming they stay in their current home; baby girl and their son will be classmates!

We are so fortunate to have so many families that grew with adoption in our neighborhood- I think the current count (i'm aware of) is 5 kiddos including baby girl.

Monday, July 9, 2012


I think about adoption each and every day but its become part of who we are.  I try not to let it define us  or make me feel like less of a parent.  Its been much easier since leaving Phili because I'm not constantly reminded that I'm not "mom."  In the hospital I was reminded daily that I wasn't mom and it made me mad.  I hated that feeling of not being able just to decide what was best for my child and move forward.  Instead the agency had to be called frequently and was the final say in things.

Now that we are home as long as fools dont use comments like "real mom" I just dont think about it (most of the time).  Besides being able to open a bank account for her there is nothing I feel like I can't do with her... until tonight- I was reminded again- I'm not "legal" mom- just plain old regular mom.

My aunt innocently enough handed me a flyer from the newspaper for an open casting for a local company.  They were looking for infants to be in their ad.  My aunt of course thinks Baby Girl is the most amazing, vivacious, superstar of a baby so she cut it out and gave it to me (I have to say I fully agree with her opinion of my superstar).  Its a company that I like, I love their products, and their mission.  Well I'm not "legal" mom.  So I asked DH if he thought we needed to ask the agency if it was OK?  At this point we have completed our post placement visits with no concerns and are just waiting on a court date.  TPR has long passed and I have not asked the agency permission to do anything since we walked out the doors of the hospital.

I've considered going.  I have off on Friday and DH has off the other days that would be required IF she was picked (and of course she would be) .  I'm just dreading getting their and them asking for a social security number, a birth certificate, something that proves that this baby belongs with me.  Something that shows that I am her mom.  I've had this argument a few times over with people (when we flew, when I inquired about a bank account).  People INSIST that babies get social security numbers and birth certificates AT the hospital.  In baby girls case her birth mom didn't get these things at the hospital, rather they were mailed to her and she didn't get them until around the time we went home.  So even if I was her "legal" mom from day one I wouldn't have had these documents from day one.

Those pieces of paper mean little to me.  I AM her Mom.  Though I'm sometimes reminded that in some eyes I am not really Mom until I'm "Legal Mom."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

3rd Post Placement Visit

We walked down.  Baby girl was tired but stayed awake.  The social worker asked for any updates and how baby girl was developing.  We shared her Bmoms current situation and our contact with her bsister.  The social worker agreed that we likely wont have contact with D.

She shared the next steps in the process which will be they will submit the paperwork to the courts and we will have a court date.  I need to email her and clarify because she said that the six months started the end of february.  Not sure if this because baby girl was in the hospital until then.  She told us she didn't expect a court date until late September/early October.  It would be fitting if our court date was the first week in October as that would be a full two years since our profile "went live."

We took pictures with the new social worker who did all of our post placement visits.  We will use the pictures in our "My Family My Journey" book for Baby Girl.  The social worker that was the supervisor and was our contact during our time in PA stopped into the office.  It was nice to personally thank her for all of her support during our time in PA even if it didn't result in us getting back home any sooner.

Really the only changes that this last visit insights is- no more visits to the agency, and no extra paperwork when we go to the doctors.  Other then that its parenting as usual.

Bed Time

So I've become the bedtime queen.  I change her, feed her, read three stories and put her down with few tears (most nights).  Apparently I do too good of a job because DH never is game for trying.  Tonight I convinced DH to put her to bed because at some point I'm not going to be there be it a babysitter or him.  So the two of them are currently working out their own routine.  Its taking all my strength not to get up from the computer and save them.  I know DH is competent and Baby Girl just isn't used to him putting her to bed.  I know as it becomes more routine she will accept that he is just as good as I am.  If I jump in it wont help anyone.... This is what I signed up for- right?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Eve Of Our Last Post Placement Visit

Its hard to believe tomorrow is our last post placement visit.  Tomorrow we will walk the two blocks to the agency.  Share with the social worker baby girls likes and dislikes.  She will tell us baby girl appears to be adjusting well and we will go home to await our court date.

I'm long past being bitter and angry at the process.  I wont claim that frustration still boils up.  I wish my integrity was enough.  I wish they could look at my life and say "she never even got a detention in school."  What more could we want in a mother?  How horrific this amazing couple cannot have children- what an atrocity.  I've gotten past the fact that its not personal.  Its just the facts of being an adult- "life is not fair."

The struggles that accompanied this journey just means I hug baby girl just a little tighter knowing that I'm her Mom.  I was scrutinized and accepted by the agency.  I was entrusted by both of her birth parents.  I was followed and approved by the agency in post placement.  Now I just have to wait for a silly piece of paper that states that I am legally and forever her Mom.

Tonight as baby girl and I drove home from the grocery store and she babbled away to her toys from the back seat I had a moment.  A moment I've dreamed about for years occurred.  As the college student when picking out my Mazda Protege I picked in part because 10 years from then I'd have a husband, a house, a dog, a job, two children and my Mazda.  My dream was simple so I thought.  It was to look back and see a carseat protecting my child.  My dream didn't occur in my Mazda as I had envisioned those many years ago but I also didn't realize how long it would take to achieve that simple dream.

This process has made me realize its not about how many of those milestones you have hit- marriage, house, job, cars, pets, and children.  Its about appreciating the simplicity of these dreams yet how I cannot take any of them for granted.  Some of those milestones are purely luck- I met a fantastic guy.  Some of them take extraordinary work- like the process of adoption.  None of those milestones makes me a successful adult- I'm successful independent of those milestones but I appreciate each and every one of those milestones. 

I'm one lucky Mom, of one amazing girl who is lucky enough to have a fantastic Father.