Testing, testing; one, two, three…

There is a great test going on here right now; my husband and I are going to need a lot of support.

My job is officially ending on Dec. 29th.  I got word yesterday.  Now, I’ve known about it for a while but I really didn’t address it because I hoped that somehow the company would come to their senses and realize that letting go 40% of the workforce at the end of the year was not a good idea.  So much for that idea.

I’ve been looking…but not seriously…for another job.  Now I need to really look.  But there is another story here as well.  We are hopefully going to be fostering a new born…an early born.  Through our extended church family, we learned of a pregnant birth mother who’s older children are in foster care already.  The state would like the siblings to have contact but the other foster family just can’t take on a newborn.  Enter us into the picture.  We are ready and willing.  Enter the challange:  the baby was born 13 weeks early.  He weighed under 2 lbs at birth.  We don’t know if there will be any other issues.  We do know that if he survives, he will be placed with us.

How, then, do I look for a job knowing that this little tiny guy will be coming here and needing more than just a few hours a day of my time?

I’m trusting that God has his hand on all of this and that he will work it out for us.  I’m trusting that the money we need will be found.  I’m trusting that…..well…I’m trusting.

Life since High School

Recently through facebook I have  been re-connecting with some old classmates, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the twists and turns that got me where I am.

Summer between sophomore and junior year of high school, my parents divorced and we moved to the east coast from the mid west. Life wasn’t easy. Here’s the rundown in fast forward:

Struggled with the new social rules and language, joined the swim team, made varsity, went out for softball and blew out my knee triggering all the surgeries, worked at Wendy’s, finished high school, worked at an electronics manufacturing plant, got pregnant, had an abortion, married the guy, had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, divorced, worked, worked, worked, moved to California to be a ‘nanny’/Auntie to my beautiful nephew and niece, started a long distance relationship with Mr. Right, moved to Michigan, moved to New Hampshire, married Mr. Right, built a house, got a puppy, started taking classes to change careers, got another puppy, moved to Connecticut (hated it), adopted another young dog (bringing the total to 3 dogs at 1yr, 1 1/2 yrs, and 2 yrs old.)  Moved to Rhode Island, met my father-in-faith via the internet and was led to Jesus, found my church family, started a new career as a tech writer, fostered a child, adopted that child, waiting to hear about fostering another; this time a newborn.

There…that about covers it.  Looking back, there were defining moments: parents divorce, moving away, abortion, ectopic pregnancy, divorce, that really changed me, and one defining moment that really confirmed Me.  I’m not proud of what I did.  But I’ve been granted the forgiveness and mercy that helps me to learn and move forward and beyond those moments.

As difficult as it has been at times, God knew all along the path I would have to walk.  He wanted different things for me however I made choices that changed the path.  But never the goal.  God made sure of that.

UPDATE:

As of December 2009, we are foster parents to a first grade boy!  The newborn we were waiting for was placed elsewhere due to his medical issues.  But once again, God showed us that His plan is perfect and sent this wonderful, challenging, articulate, fun, loving little boy into our family for how ever long he needs to be here!

Journey to Family part 7

On our flight to Florida, Mary looked at me and said, “Thank you for taking me to Disney World!” Her smile melted my heart yet again.

We had expected that by the end of June the adoption would be final, but it was the end of July and we had no more a clue as to when it would be final then when we left court following the TPR (termination of parental rights…not something I like to say, or write.)

Phone call after phone call, the answer was the same:  still waiting for the documentation to come from the court.  The final decree of the TPR had to go from the court to the DSS area office where the case workers sat.  I kept thinking, I could just call the court myself and make it move along faster than this!

Summer slowly turned to fall, and school started.  The adoption case worker had agreed to let Mary start school using our last name in the classroom, avoiding another transition for her.  We had told her that she would have our name by the time she started second grade, and we were determined to make that happen.  I felt there was nothing worse in the world then for her to have to explian over and over why she had a new name.  And so she did.  Her nametags arrived in the mail, (the teacher has the children wear nametags for the first 3 days of school) with the wrong last name.  Off to school I went, the day before classes started, to get new ones with our last name.  Mary’s name tag was hand written, all the other children’s were printed from the computer.  I wondered if they would notice.  I wanted so much for her to just be like all the other children in her class.  Driving home, I reconciled that.  She’s not like all the other children.  The more I try and erase the first 6 years of her life, the more noticible it becomes that there was something there that is now smeared over.  I allowed myslef to give it to God; to let Him be the one who erases…or not…the ugly times.  It wasn’t/isn’t my job to do that.  My job is to make sure that the following years of the rest of her life are better than the first 6.  So with a new sense of purpose I drove home with name tags that displayed exactly what God wanted the world, albeit 18 secnod graders, to see.

September was quickly winding to a close and we still had no word on finalization.  Then one after noon I got an e-mail from my husband.  It was disturbing, insighting, frustrating.  He told me that he had spoken with the adoption case worker who informed him that she would be retiring in mid October, and that as of yet she had not heard.  She said she had requested a date for finalization that was before her last day, but she hadn’t been given a date yet and she thought that it would most likely be after National Adoption Day in November, but possibly into December.  Part of me wanted to cry.  A bigger part of me wanted to call her.  So I did.  I pushed.  I pleaded.  I asked for a phone log of who she had called, when she called and the outcome.  I became a mom advocating for her child and for her family.  I didn’t yell, I didn’t threaten, I didn’t loose my temper.  But she knew all of those things were just under the surface.

I got another e-mail from my husband the next day.  I opened it and quickly my eyes fell to the words “We have a date.  October 10”  That was all I needed to see.  It was a mere 9 days away!  We decided to take Mary out to dinner to tell her.  She had been asking and asking and all I could do was tell her soon.  But this time I could tell her the date.

We went to Applebee’s.  It’s not far from us, and it works for a week night out.  As we sat waiting for our food to be delivered, we decided to tell her.  “Remember you asked me when you would be adopted?” I asked.  She answered without looking up.  “Yes.”  “Well,”  I said, “we have a date now.”  Her eyes darted up at me.  “When?” she asked, with a sparkle starting to form.  “In 9 days.  A week from this Friday!”  Her mouth dropped open and she froze for a split second.  “Cool.”  Cool…was that it?  Was that all I was going to get?  Cool????  My heart was bursting with joy and all she can say is cool?  So a few moments later I snatched an opportunity and asked her, “You know what that means?”  She looked up at me again and asked “what?” and then went back to playing Cats in the Cradle.  I said, “It means forever” with a big smile on my face.  She abruptly looked up at me and with a very surprised look on her face she said “No, Mom.  Remember you said my mom and dad can’t take care of me for now.”

Countdown: 1

As I entered the kitchen this morning, I was greeted with “MOMMY!  MOMMY!! GUESS WHAT?!!”  I rubbed the last of the sleep out of my eyes, and yawned, “what, hunny.”  She answered with a slyness to her tone, “I’m getting ADOPTED TOMORROW!!”  A big grin swept across her little face, and her eyes sparkled with excitement.  I could only hug her and whisper, “I know, sweetheart.  I know.”

Maryisims and other stuff

Mary is 7.  She still has some cute words.

When she first came to live here, she heard me telling Jingo very casually to put his hackles down.  I just kind of say it like…eh get over it!  Well, on another day, I heard her in the living room doing the same.  Only what she said was, “Jingo!  Put your freckles down!”

She gets tongue-tied a little sometimes.  Recently, she told me that S’Mores are too “Choclicky” for her.  This same week, we were discussing things, and I told her that, technically she …..  She responded that, infact, techlickly I…

When going to school and camp, there are things kids need to carry with them.  While everyone else has a backpack, she has a pack-pack.

We have nick-names for everyone.  Hers changes, but she hasn’t really changed what she calls the dogs.  She followed suit with us when it came to Spirit, who also goes by Toppy, or Topoliss (long story), or missy.  Patriot is just, well, Patriot…unless he’s Mr. Mr.  Then there is Jingo, who we sometimes call Jingo-bear, or at daycare he is Jingosaurous.  Mary, however, calls him Mr. Jingo Pants.

I love life with a 7 yr old!

When teeth can’t chew

One evening, not too long ago, we served salad with dinner.  Mary is not interested in salad…not even a little.  She let the bowl with a little lettuce sit there and sit there.  Finally, after taking one or two bites, she announced that her teeth just can’t chew the lettuce.

The next trip to the dentist, we checked with him, and sure enough, her teeth can in fact chew lettuce if she puts the effort in.

I have that problem sometimes with scripture.  I just can’t chew it.  Maybe I don’t want to.  Maybe…

Journey to Family part 5

We paced about the house, watching anxiously out the window for the car. Finally, it arrived. We could tell it was them because the car was going slowly. As it pulled in the drive way, we cautiously walked down the front walkway to greet our new house member. She bolted out of the car and exclaimed “I can’t believe I get to live here forever!!”

A year’s worth of things have happened in the 7 months that Mary has been with us:

Thanksgiving (spent at our home this year with family coming to visit)
Rich’s Birthday
Christmas
New Years
Valentines Day
St. Patrick’s Day
Easter
Mary’s Birthday (a huge event celebrated with friends and family!)
Memorial Day
Mother’s Day
Father’s Day
End of school, start of summer camp
My Birthday (coming up soon)

And we have had some other milestones as well, such as loosing a couple teeth and a visit from the tooth fairy, acomplishments in school, report cards, school pictures, as well as a myriad of hand done pictures, drawings, paintings, books and notes! We have lived a lifetime in these short months and it has been wonderful!

In the mean time, there was still work to be done legally. We didn’t enter into this thinking that we would adopt Mary right away, rather that we would foster until her birth parents could get themselves together. But the state had different plans. It wasn’t long before they moved to change the foster care goal from reunification to adoption. We didn’t initiate it, the state did. We were surprised to learn that the state had been involved far longer than we thought. We learned a few more horrifying details of her past life, and knew what we had to do. There was no doubt that the occasional visit (which were scheduled monthly but didn’t happen that way) was difficult for Mary. Although she didn’t act out as some children do, her school work suffered. We noticed right away how her quality of work took a nose dive. The artistic child turned to scribbling and destroying pictures she had drawn. Her overall behavior became a little out of control, and it was months before we saw the happy child again. And the weekly phone calls were difficult too. She would usually talk for just 5 or 10 min. Once we had to end the call because her birth mother burst into tears on the phone and saying things that a 6 yr old just doesn’t need to hear.

During this time, we spent time praying about adoption. We had made it through the first battle of getting her placed with us and now the next battle loomed: how to go about adoption.  We met with a mediator on a couple of occasions, and even one round table with the birth parents to come to an agreement for open adoption.  We felt that this was the best route given that we have known the parents for so long, and didn’t want to gamble that a court could order more visits per year than we were prepared to deal with.  Naturally, they didn’t want to give up their rights, and I felt, in a way, criminal asking them to. It’s a difficult place to be; wanting to have this child, not wanting to hurt the parents, wanting to protect the child, not wanting to hurt her by taking her from them. Millions of emotions that go back and forth. Wondering on some level if it is the right thing, but knowing on every level that her needs are paramount.  Our agreement was achieved, and we successfully drafted a plan that we felt kept Mary’s interest at the front.

After 1 or 2 more court appearances, and a foster care review board meeting, Mary’s birth parents signed away their rights in court in March.  It was a bitter sweet day for all of us.