Monday, May 23, 2016

Counting

Lucy is learning the concept of numbers. For a long time, every time she saw a group of things, she would announce there were "two" of them. So, the collection of 5 horses in a field was "2 horses," the row of 3 birds on a telephone line was "2 birds," the long line of traffic coming the other way on the road was "2 cars."

We tried substituting "lots" for her -- "Oh, that's a lot of cars, isn't it!" -- but it didn't take. So, we took to counting them. "2 horses? Oh, I see... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 horses!"

She's getting there. Now she sits by the window in the car and "counts" with numbers in random order, but still generally ends on "two!" "One, three, five, two, three, four, one, two, three, two cars!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Miscellaneous updates

  • I still check up on the girls' birth mother periodically. Kayla went to jail in late November and stayed there until very recently. She gained a significant amount of weight while incarcerated (and complained about that on Facebook), but was so very thin before hand that I suspect she's actually closer to a healthy weight now than she was. She also commented about the weight being a result of being sober. I hope that her time in prison helped her break her addictions. What remains to be seen is whether her social circle is such that will support a lifestyle change to stay that way.
  • We're half expecting a DFCS call in about 9 months telling us there's another baby. (To which we will have to say: thanks for letting us know, feel free to share our contact info with this one's foster/adoptive family. There's just no room at this inn.)
  • Peter got his driver's license. There's a 15 year old Toyota Camry in my driveway that is "his to drive." Having him able to get himself (and his siblings over age 2) places has simplified life a bit. In our state, he's not allowed to drive friends for the first 6 months (and then only 1 at a time for another 6 months). (The not-driving-littles is a family rule which he is perfectly okay with obeying. They're just too distracting as passengers.)
  • Lucy has learned how to say "help", which is awesome for letting her tell us when she needs us to step in and when she wants to work at it and figure something else. She's also taken to saying "helper" when she wants to do something for you that she thinks will be helpful. Like pick up the Cheerios that Jill has dropped out of the high chair.
  • Susan will go to high school in the fall. We've had a meeting with her special ed team at the middle school as well as a representative from the high school to talk about the "transition plan." It all sounds pretty good. The real test will be next fall when she gets a whole new crop of teachers to work with and we find out how well the IEP gets enforced at the high school level.
  • Lucy has begun saying "stop it!" Eek. I wondered and guilted myself and struggled to remember -- do I say that to her too much? I don't think I've heard others say that particular phrase much? Then, I heard it come out of my mouth. And realized I do say "stop it" quite a good bit . . . to the dog. (She jumps at the television whenever there's any kind of animal on it and I scold her to "stop it!" She barks at the UPS truck making a delivery across the street and I fuss "stop it!" She growls at the bird in the back yard and I snap "stop it!") 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Doctor's Visit

I love my pediatrician's office. Today, I was reminded why.

C, who I think I shall begin calling "Jill", had a well-child visit. We were 15 minutes early because it was the first visit since the adoption was final, so there was new insurance and a name change and I wanted to give the office staff plenty of time to get all taken care of before our appointment time.

They were running late. Way, way late. It was over 30 minutes after our appointment time before we were called back to a room. That's 45 minutes in a waiting room with a 9 month old and a 2 year old.

(That doesn't sound like a reason to love them, does it?)

Here's why I love them:
  • Front office nurse apologized for the wait part way through.
  • Nurse who called us back apologized again.
  • Second nurse came in to help distract Lucy with crayons and a coloring book while Jill's vitals were taken and intake questions were asked.
  • When the doctor came in, she apologized again.
  • And -- on top of all the apologies? -- the doctor's only response to Lucy's meltdown while we were trying to get through the exam was "that's age appropriate."
I know delays happen. Appointments run long, people arrive a little late, children don't cooperate. I've always liked that they never feel like they are rushing through the appointment to get to the next one. But today, I really appreciated the total lack of judgement when I was feeling embarrassed by my 2 year old's "age appropriate" behavior.

(Jill is doing fantastic, by the way. She's on the small end of the growth chart, but staying steady on her curve; development is right where it should be. That, by itself, makes for a wonderful doctor's appointment, given the way her life started.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Late post -- we are final!

Oops.

I just realized I never did post an update after we finalized C's adoption.

It did happen in late February, we have pictures with the judge, her name was legally changed and we are just waiting for the state to send us an updated birth certificate so we can finalize all the paperwork. (I'm hoping the attorney will manage to "accidentally" get us a copy of the original birth certificate again, too.)

The home is officially closed -- I have no more bedrooms! -- but we have asked to be notified if there is another biological sibling. Birth mom is incarcerated (and has been for about 4 months), so I'm assuming we're safe from that all for a little while. I asked the caseworker, somewhat jokingly, if there was any news of another pregnancy already; she said she sure hoped not. I'm crossing my fingers that the jail would tell DFCS if they had a pregnant prisoner with a history with CPS, so that means she's probably not pregnant right now. I really have no idea what we'll do if we get that phone call; agency caseworker said (if birth mom was pregnant already), she would go ahead and decline the placement on our behalf to save us from ourselves. We'd still want to know of the child's existence, even if we couldn't take the placement, and hope to be able to set up contact if another baby ended up adopted. But that's all a bridge to cross when we get there.

Mr D and I went away for a weekend recently -- our annual just-us trip -- and noticed that "five" is apparently the number that makes people say "wow!" when asked how many kids we have. We heard it almost every time; that happened rarely when we used to say "four." I can't imagine what people would say if we ever start saying "six." (There I go again. I will not think about another sibling, I will not think about another sibling. I will not think about another sibling!)

It's nice to be down to normal business -- no more caseworker visits, no more documenting medications, no more asking for copies of visit notes from the doctor -- and I have a little less of the time-on-my-hands feeling that I had after Lucy's adoption finalized. A busy 2 year old and a baby starting to crawl will keep me quite well occupied, thank you very much. Also, there were never family visits for C, so that was one less thing that went away, so to speak.

It's a little strange to be thinking about colleges and preschools at the same time, but the age gap is really what makes this doable for me. I can't imagine having added two little ones when my original crew were younger and less self-sufficient.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Later this month? We think?

The lawyer finally got the packet of information from DFCS, so she can begin the process of getting a court date.

It's missing one key piece of paperwork that she had sent over specifically for us to sign, have notarized and be included. We signed it. I specifically remember a group discussion about whether it was like a mortgage document where you're supposed to sign in blue ink so the courts can tell whether they have the original or not. (Gotta love an inefficient caseworker!)

Luckily, it's not paperwork the lawyer needs to file with the courts ahead of time. So, she says she'll bring another one to the court date and we'll sign it then. There is one more adoption finalization date on the court calendar for this month and the lawyer is pretty sure we'll be on it.

I'm feeling a little guilty that I don't feel more excited at this news. Partly, I think, that's because we don't actually have a court date set yet. But mostly, it's because my frustration that the caseworker messed up again is overwhelming everything else.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Almost....there

The local sports news is full of signing dates right now as various players "commit" to play football in college. We have a different -- much more life-changing --  kind of signing date coming up!

The county caseworker finally has all her stuff together and we will be signing the Intent to Adopt paperwork later this week. Once we've done that, the lawyer gets involved and as soon as she gets all the paperwork she needs and files it, we can set a court date. And the lawyer is fantastic, so I'm confident things will move quickly from that point on. She says to expect a court date in February.

C will turn 6 months old in February.

Whenever I get frustrated by the "delays", I make myself repeat the above sentence. 6 months old and legally adopted? That's ridiculously fast, even for a case as simple as this one was. We just got spoiled by Lucy's county caseworker who probably would have had us final before Christmas. 

One of the questions DFCS had for us recently was about whether we would continue to foster after the adoption. We gave the same answer we had after Lucy's adoption; in general, no, but we would like to be notified if another biological sibling comes into play and we would make the decision at that time about whether we'd be open to another one. Just typing that makes me a little terrified. I really, really don't see how we could make another placement work in the next 2.5 years. And after that? I don't know if I could plunge us all back into this system after having been out of it for so long. But, we will cross that bridge if (or when) it is before us. It's honestly hard to believe (given the girls' birth mother's track record) that there won't be another baby, eventually.