Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You can't write this stuff people!

I walked into court 5 min before it was supposed to start (haha...like I mentioned yesterday about the wait). I sat down in a row of 3 chairs with one chair between another woman and myself.  I saw my friend Melissa  who was there for her own case and she came over and we chatted about both our cases for awhile.  In walks Uncle and we said hello as he passed me.  He sat down right next to the other woman and it hit my like a 2X4 in the forehead....It was bio-mom!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was so shocked I almost fell over.  She has not appeared in court in literally 2 years and has not seen her son since he was 3 months old!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I figured she got served her papers, but when I spoke to the case worker she said that she had not yet been served.  Bio-dad and her are back together apparently and he told her when the hearing was.  She was given referrals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes...what a great idea!  Let's abandon your child for 2 years then when they threaten to take your rights away...that's when you give a care!

I literally have felt sick all morning.  At the hearing she was officially advised, but Dad was not there because he had to work (gag!) so his TPR advisory will be in a month.  Then we have pre-trial the end of April and the official trial date will be May 2nd.  My brain is having a hard time processing this garbage.  It's just so clear WHO the courts serve.  Seriously?  If this were about Choo Choo this could have been done a long time ago.

So....this weekend is Choo Choo's weekend visit with aunt/uncle.  It will also be a "family" visit with bio-mom and bio-dad (who hasn't seen him since last Oct).  Sigh....I just keep saying that I can't believe this.  The GAL atty was even like "this throws a wrench into things."  The bio-family and aunt/uncle will be working together like never before to keep Choo Choo in "their" family.  LOTS OF PRAYERS NEEDED AND APPRECIATED OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ready for another court day

We have court again tomorrow.  I can't say that I am super excited to be going.  It's pretty much going to be like it was last time....wait for hours only to have a 1 minute hearing.  It's the TPR advisory which basically just tells the parents (who I am pretty sure won't show) that TPR is being pursued.  Hopefully they both have been served though and appear.  I am praying that tomorrow brings a trial date and we can get this show on the road!  The MBI (Manifest Best Interest) should be done soon after TPR.  We are also praying that we get assigned to adoptions tomorrow as well which would mean that the adoption worker can start the paperwork/visits between aunt/uncle and us and start making her determinations as to where Choo Choo should live....permanently!  I'll update tomorrow....

Now for a cute thing....
Choo Choo and I went to Costco today and on the way out they always check the cart and put a smiley face on the back.  The sweet older gentleman said "happy, happy faces!"  It made me think of Phil from Duck Dynasty if you have ever watched that stupid (but funny) show...so I taught Choo Choo to say "happy,  happy, happy!"  LOL!  So this evening he was walking around and asking "where my happy, happy, happy?"

This kid talks SO MUCH for a just two year old.  Sometimes it is sooooo cute and other times I think "oh my gosh...my 2 yr old should NOT be saying that!"  He has picked up some of the negative words that my older kids say as well as some lovely phrases from his aunt/uncle's house.  I was cracking up the other day when he was being so loud and obnoxious and I would only whisper to him.  He kept saying "what?!  what?!  What you say?  Talk!  I talkin' you Momma!  Talk!!!!!!!"

In other news....Michael is challenging us daily as parents.  We have gone through this with all of our boys.  The two's have nothin' on the 3's!  He is smart, charming and funny, but oh....the crying, tantrums, drama, expressions, defiance, etc.  We are closer to 4 than 3 now, so hopefully "magically" on his 4th b-day he will be our sweet, happy little boy again who says "yes, mama" and likes to cuddle and obey :)  A girl can dream right?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Special Ladies

Yesterday I had the honor of going to lunch and a speaking engagement with these wonderful foster mommas!  The woman on the far left is Ashley Rhodes-Courter.  She is a New York Times best selling author of "Three Little Words."   It is her memoir of her time spent in the foster care system....TEN YEARS of being in the foster care system.

My dear sweet friend Amanda (second from the right) bought each of us a copy of her book and so far I am about 5 chapters in and hooked.  It is a sad story of her life in foster care and the unspeakable things that happened to her and her brother.  It breaks my heart to read it, yet it gives such an insight into how a foster child thinks/feels and experiences that you want to keep reading!

Ashley spoke of her wonderful Guardian ad Litem that was the only constant for her during her time in foster care.  Of all the workers, judges, lawyers, etc, Mary Miller was the ONE who stuck with her, mentored her, and encouraged her to rise above what he had been through.  She cared!  It made me tear up because in each of our two foster cases it has been our Guardians who were the only people stay on the entire length of the case (minus us of course) and without them we wouldn't be where we are.

All 4 of us what to be Guardians when we "grow up."  We all realize that the fostering "gig" won't last forever (we just don't have the space!) but we all still want to have an active role in helping children in the foster care system.  Ashley was a Guardian (practicing what she preaches) for a couple of years before getting married and becoming a foster parent herself.  She called us "the new faces of foster moms!" :)

We all enjoyed ourselves so much (kid-free momma time) that we are already planning another outing.  It's good for the soul to take some time away and get refreshed :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Home Visit

Apparently our case managers now have to see children every 25 days rather than 30, so I got a text at 8am yesterday morning telling me that she needed to see Choo Choo by 6pm.  Yesterday was my husband's b-day and we had plans for most of the day so I gave her a two hour window from 2-4 because we had a sitter coming at 5:00.  She showed up at 4:55!  Thank God she was quick!

She didn't say too much in our 5 min (literally!) visit but she did mention that the bio-dad still has not contacted her (no surprise) and that the adoption case plan has been submitted to the OAG with an expiration date of April 1st.  Could that really be?  Could my baby's "fate" be decided (or at least made know to us...we know it's already decided) by April 1st??  Of course the goal is to have TPR before that!

As hubby and I were out on our date last night we discussed this a bit and it was a hard realization that Choo Choo MAY not be there for our family vacation to MI in June.  This MAY all be decided by then.  Don't get us wrong...we haven't given up and we aren't claiming any of that, but we have to keep being realistic in these things.  Foster care has you living with one foot in what you want to happen and the other foot in the reality of the exact opposite.

Discussion of what the future may look like also happened...... :-)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I can't say I'm surprised

I got a text last night from Uncle asking that if they moved the birthday party to Sunday from 2-5 would we be able to come?  I answered him back that we already have a different birthday party to go to at that exact same time about 45 minutes from them.  We left it that he would let me know for sure what they decided when they actually decided.

FF to this morning around 11am.  I texted to see what was up and at this writing (2:30) I still haven't gotten a  response.  I'm sure it will be tomorrow when we are not able to come.  It is what it is....

This whole thing has me thinking though about how we can bring them into our lives more as well???  Would they come to our area of town?  Oh this is taking me out of my comfort zone.  I'll have to talk to hubby more about this.  :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy 2nd B-day!

Yesterday we celebrated Choo Choo's 2nd birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It just doesn't seem possible that he could be two already.  Where did my baby go????  He enjoyed yummy homemade donuts, cupcakes, presents and his choice of the t.v. yesterday :)  Mittey Mouf (Mickey Mouse) all the wasy baby!!!  Here he is holding his beloved soccer ball!!  If anyone got close to him he'd say "back away my soccer ball!"  Tomorrow makes 2 years that he has been in our home.  Wow...that's all I can say! :)  He blesses this family and enriches us!  It so hard to think of the possibility of him not living here forever.  Whatever happens there, we are thankful for each holiday and birthday that we get to spend with him soaking it all up :)

Are the tides changing???

I thought it would be a typical drop off this morning but when they pulled up and Aunt was there I got a bit nervous.  She even got out of the car and walked over to me.  When she said "Good Morning M-" I felt a little better (she totally ignored me the last time).  Choo Choo did his usual crying and clinging and she was shocked and said that Uncle was telling her was doing this but that she thought he was exaggerating.  Nope....real tears and all.

After a bit Uncle took him from me and got him settled in his car seat while Aunt started to chat with me.  She said that Choo Choo's oldest brother's b-day is today (7) and Choo Choo's was yesterday so they are having a family party tomorrow and want us and the kids to come!  What???  She went on to say that no matter how this case goes she needs to put it aside and Choo Choo needs to know that we are working together and it's not "our house" " their house."  I totally agree with her on this. It's only taken a year to get to this point-lol!  He needs to see us together and hopefully that means that whoever gets to adopt him will keep the other one in his life.  I firmly believe in keeping bio-family connections.  Of course I continue to pray that we get to adopt him and we have get togethers, etc, but I have to be realistic that it may go the other way.  What a blessing it would be to still get to see Choo Choo and be a part of his life if he goes to live with them forever!

We ended our time with a hug...a mom to mom hug.  I was shocked.  She said there is no animosity toward me or the workers anymore and we all have to move on together.  I pray that this is true.  I am not going to sit here and lie and say I want these people to be my best friends, but I do think that a positive relationship moving forward is what is best for Choo Choo.  Choo Choo's other brother (the one adopted out) is going to be there tomorrow too so that will be good as I have been meaning to get together with her again as well!

By the time they were ready to leave I kissed him and she referred to me as his mom (shocked!!!!) and he was done crying and on their way.  I am VERY curious though to see his reaction when we are all together tomorrow at the b-day party!  I think he will cling hard to me...and then the goodbye.  Talk about confusing! Whew......