Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How Yesterday Went

  • Got a text telling me he was signing surrenders.
  • I replied asking about the DNA sample
  • Responding text said they were doing that "right now."
  • Anna brought C back to the house.
  • She said "you were right; she does hate the car."
  • Learned that they had taken C's DNA sample.
  • Anna did not actually see biofather's sample given and she said she "hoped he didn't leave."
  • There is a rule (law? policy?) that states the child has to be in the home for 6 months before finalizing an adoption. I understand the logic behind the law, but Anna says she'll see if they can get it waived for this case on the grounds that we are already the adoptive parents of the sibling.
 Pending DNA results (which should take 2-4 weeks, but last time took closer to 6) and also pending the window of time biodad has to change his mind and revoke his surrender (highly unlikely -- he declined a final visit), C is "legally free." She's not quite 2 months old.

We've contacted the lawyer and started the process rolling.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Court Today

We learned late Friday afternoon that C's case would go to court this morning. She's required to attend. (I asked for notice so I could arrange childcare for Lucy. I guess I got the weekend.)

Biodad is supposed to be there and (we're told) will sign surrenders. No idea if he's given his DNA sample yet. (Apparently last year's sample given for Lucy's case is "no longer good." I guess they don't preserve them for long term storage.)

Awesome agency caseworker (Anna) has rearranged her schedule so she can go to court and volunteered to take C. So, she is picking her up early this morning (with a fully stocked diaper bag) and will bring her back when it's all over.

Normally, I like to go to court, if possible. But, for this case, I wasn't so sure. I don't know if the biological parents know that C is with the same people that adopted Lucy. I don't know how they might feel about that. And I, selfishly, don't really want to see them. Mr D has work commitments this morning and can't go. (We don't think they'd recognize him.) Also, this particular court has a tendency to decide on the day of court to "just meet in chambers" instead of in the courtroom. When they do that, there's a limit on the number of people who can come in the room (due to space) and the foster parent never makes the cut. When that happens, it means I juggled childcare and drove (an hour) to court to just sit in a waiting room all day.

So, C is off to court with Anna. I'll be giving Lucy some intensive one-on-one Mommy time, although right now she's still asleep. And around mid-day, I should learn what happened and where we go from here. Will biodad show? Do they have the DNA sample? What does the time-frame look like moving forward?

Interestingly, I got a call last night from the person writing the Child Life history. I think things behind the scenes are moving pretty fast.

Waiting is always a big part of foster care. At least this time, I know I'll get some answers today because Anna has to bring C back to me....

Friday, September 25, 2015

Where Things Stand

A bullet point update, because I am Always Too Tired right now.
  • The SwaddleMe swaddling blankets (pictured to the left, although ours are shades of pink) have been a life saver. C needs to be wrapped up tightly a lot of the time, especially to stay asleep. Her withdrawal symptoms include a lot of jerky flinching, which wakes her up. Mr D and I have realized that we are both very, very bad at swaddling a baby in a blanket. These things, though? Fantastic. 
  • At first, the blankets were only saving my sanity while we remained in the house. C hated the car and, of course, I had to unswaddle her to put her in the car seat, didn't I? But, then! I realized what the little hole in the back of the blanket was for. I CAN SWADDLE HER WITH THESE WHILE STRAPPING HER INTO THE CARSEAT. Answer to prayer.
  • Birthmom's surrender is official and final and done. There does not appear to be any plan for a final visit.
  • Birthdad has stated his intent to surrender, but has still not actually been seen by the caseworker. I doubt he will want a final visit, even if offered one, since such a visit would also be the first time he's seen her.
  • Caseworker seems very thorough and on top of things. It makes me happy when they actually want to see the child's bedroom and check under the baby's clothing; I know I'm not hurting this child, but it's the caseworker's job to ensure it.
  • I used up my Dreft on the second load of her laundry. I'm not buying more. She's doing fine with her clothes washed in our regular detergent.
  • Daytime sleep is still a bit of challenge. 
  • Every day, I see a little bit more happy baby time and a little less screaming, miserable, withdrawing-from-drug-exposure baby time. Hooray!
  • Lucy is equal parts proud of and jealous of her baby sister. She points her out to people -- "Bay-bee!" -- and insists I go running if she hears her over the monitor. On the other hand, she's gotten very clingy to me and begun to resist letting Mr D or Peter doing things for her, especially when she's tired.
  • Tho Originals are still being big helps, although I try to limit what I ask of them, other than being more responsible for their own things. (I no longer make school lunches, for example.)
**Disclaimer, in case you're wondering: I have no ties to the makers of SwaddleMe and purchased these with my own money.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Early Days

C arrived during Lucy's naptime on Friday and then it was the weekend. Today is the first time I've really had to be alone with both littles awake. That's fun. (Well, no. No, it isn't. Hopefully, it will be fun. Later.)

C seems so tiny -- although she's a healthy weight. We're still working on figuring out the best bottle/nipple combination for her. She has a very strong suck, so she gets frustrated with store bought "infant" nipples with their slow flow because she wants the formula to come out faster! This is the learning curve that happens with every baby, of course.

She has no issues with night/day confusion, thankfully. She'll usually take at least one long sleep overnight. We've haven't discovered a consistent daytime nap schedule yet, but I'll take that over night time sleep issues any day.

She's generally happy if held, which is where the challenge this morning came in. I can't just hold her all day, as much as I might want to do that!

To answer Emily's question, the big three are being big helps right now and are completely in love. Edmund held her (sitting carefully on the couch) for me the other day when I needed to go clean Lucy up from a diaper explosion. Peter came home from a run and immediately invited Lucy outside to play with him on Sunday evening while Mr D was out doing the grocery shopping. (He'd thought he could get back before Lucy got up from her nap. He was wrong.) Saturday afternoon (while Lucy napped), I was trying to get a screaming C to settle down and Susan came down from her room to ask if there was anything she could do to help me. I'm well aware this spontaneous helpfulness won't last, but I'm using it while I can!

Lucy is fascinated, but a little clingy. She calls C "Bay-bee." It's adorable. Except when she screams it at the top her lungs when "Bay-bee" has just started to drift off to sleep....

Saturday, September 12, 2015

She's here!

Kayla went to the court date and signed the surrenders.

Biodad didn't show up. The caseworker still hasn't actually seen him. And she was at the hospital when C was born. He wasn't there then and the NICU reports that he has never visited. Kayla keeps telling the caseworker he's at work. When the caseworker told me that, she made little air quotes with her fingers.

So, the case goal is unofficially adoption, but the caseworker (who only does the intake) isn't sure if the county will have to assign us a foster caseworker first until they can get biodad into the office to sign his paperwork. We are irritated by the delay because we're so spoiled by Lucy's case that we let ourselves wonder if another December finalization was possible. (Lucy was legally free in mid-August! If C is legally free in early September, maybe....?)

She is already off the one medication that she was still on. She's tiny -- I'd forgotten how little 9 pounds really is! -- and beautiful. She seems to be doing OK. Mostly, she got held a lot yesterday and spent the night in the swing, waking to eat and settling back down pretty well.

Friday, September 11, 2015


When things finally move in foster care, they can move very, very fast.

I got a text Wednesday night saying that DFCS was filling out the paperwork to take custody on Thursday and would set things up so we could go visit Baby C.

Mr D and I plotted and planned to go Saturday afternoon when Peter could watch Lucy since NICUs don't allow children into the unit.

Then I got a call on Thursday from the county caseworker. C was going to be discharged "today or tomorrow" and the nurses would really like us to come visit so they could go over everything with us directly.

We ended up at the NICU yesterday with Lucy in tow and just took turns visiting with C.

There is court this morning, at which both parents are expected to officially surrender their rights. After court, the caseworker will pick C up from the hospital and bring her here. If court goes as expected, we are already looking at an adoption case.

She was born with quite the cocktail of drugs in her system and it has been a lengthy withdrawal and weaning process. But, she is off of all but one of the medications used for that and on a "tiny" dose of the remaining medication.

She's about a month old. She is smiling and cooing at the nurses and they clearly adore her.

She sleeps best while rocking in a swing, per the NICU nurse, which for sure simplifies the whole "where does she sleep" question I was stressing over way back when. (She sleeps in the swing because that's what the medical staff told us to do. We are working on assembling an assortment of swings and swing-like objects to keep all over the house. When she gets big enough to not need to do that, she will move into Lucy's room. )

Mr D and I went out to dinner last night because we could. And soon, we can't. Word is starting to spread. (We told the church staff, he told some co-workers and (biggest source of spreading) the players and parents of the team he is coaching right now.)

Here we go.

Bracing ourselves.