Life is Amazing

At the time of my last post, I was pretty down in the dumps. I felt like I was just not good enough. I couldn’t land a job. I didn’t get the new foster baby. I didn’t know how things would go with Buddy. I was pretty depressed and feeling lower than low. Well… it’s amazing what a week does!

Buddy got to pet a peacock at the NYS Fair.

We took Buddy to the NYS Fair for opening day and he had a ball going on rides and seeing and petting animals like this peacock, and even got to walk a llama!

We had Buddy’s disposition hearing. I didn’t even have to testify. The judge terminated bio-mom’s rights! The reason why I had a little more confidence in how things would go, was that I knew bio-mom wouldn’t show up to court. She has a warrant out for her arrest for assaulting her partner and there was evidence of her actively using. However, you just never know what the judge is going to do, especially since this is a new judge and this is her first TPR case. Well, she brought up the supposed dad again. We all thought that was done and over with and they did their due diligence. Well, his rights still need to be terminated and that paperwork was never filed. Someone dropped the ball on that one. On a whim, the caseworker decided to give the “dad” a call while we were out on a break. While the caseworker was testifying on the stand, he actually called her back! This is the first contact he has made in the two years of Buddy being in foster care! He said that he was definitely not the dad and bio-mom was actually pregnant when they met! He agreed to sign off on any paperwork! So, we do have to go back to court again, but at least all loose ends will be tied up and then we can go on with the adoption! Well, as long as bio-mom’s lawyer doesn’t appeal and hold things up, but at least we know it’s going to happen!

Then I got offered a job! How awesome is that?! My last workplace was so abusive. So, it’s incredible to work with a nice group of people who truly care and have a passion for what they’re doing. It’s not a farce. Nobody has yelled and screamed at me and I don’t anticipate that they will. It was difficult leaving Buddy, but I got him into a daycare/preschool that I absolutely love. I know that he just craves interacting with other children and he will have the opportunity to do that every day and continue to learn and grow. I know it is the right decision for my family.

I have even more good news, but am going to keep it a secret for a few more weeks!

I’m just really counting my blessings right now. I feel very fortunate to have a loving husband, a beautiful little boy, great family and friends, a good job and more! Things are surely looking up for us and I’m really excited to continue on in this journey.

Conversations on the Toilet

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Conversation with Buddy as he’s sitting on the toilet…

Buddy: Mommy, I’m going to go to school?

Me: Next year you’ll go to Pre-K.

Buddy: I’m going to take the bus?

Me: No, not until you’re bigger; when you’re five. But then Mommy will be sad because you’ll be so big.

Buddy: You’re going to be mad because I ride the bus?

Me: No, I’m going to be sad that you’re so big and I want you to stay little.

Buddy: You’re going to be mad that I’m going to school?

Me: No, I’m not going to be mad.

Buddy: You’re going to be mad that I’m big?

Me: No! No! I’m not mad, I’m happy, I’m very happy! Go potty!

 

Photo credit: ben110 / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Out of the Mouth’s of Babes

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Some of the things that come out of Buddy’s mouth are hilarious. It really makes you wonder where he comes up with this stuff. Other times he’s very endearing.

One day he says to me, “I want a monkey!” A monkey! Where the heck am I going to get a monkey?

The other day, out of the blue, he says to me, “I want a bike for my birthday!” Huh? You already have two bikes, I said. Plus, your birthday isn’t for three more months. “No, my birthday’s coming!” Okay, okay.

Another time, he gave me a mask and said, “you be Spiderman.” So, I put on the mask. He takes it off me and smugly says, “Hi Peter Parker,” and proudly walks away.

Lately he’s been saying “my mommy.” I didn’t know if he was referring to his bio-mom since we have been talking about her lately since she recently popped up. So I asked him. When you say “my mommy” are you talking about Mommy M? He looked at me and said, “You’re Buddy’s Mommy!” and gave me a big hug.

So, then yesterday I gave Buddy a quick shower before bed and then he had to use the toilet. As I went to put the towel around him, I knocked over a hand-held mirror and it shattered on the floor. My husband came running up the stairs. I reassured him we were okay; I’ll just have another seven years bad luck on top of the last mirror I broke. When I went to put Buddy to sleep he asked me why Daddy came upstairs when the mirror broke. I said it’s because he loves us and cares about us and wanted to make sure we were okay. He looked at me and said, “He’s a good Daddy!” Yes he is baby, yes he is.

We just love that boy!

Getting Caught in the Rain

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There are times, when Buddy throws a fit or won’t go to sleep, that I wonder why on earth I wanted children when we could do whatever we wanted when we were an “empty nest couple,” as our gym membership calls us. Then there are days like yesterday that make me so thankful to have him and be able to see the world through his eyes.

We walk Frannie the dog everyday. It’s good exercise for all of us. When we first started doing this with Buddy, it was a chore to get him to walk, stay on the sidewalk and not beg to be carried. However, we make it fun by seeing who can get to the stop sign, fire hydrant, for sale sign, etc. first. We also pretend we are super heroes and get bad guys with our webs or blasters, all while traversing under the pointy branches, over the slippery apples and past the silly trees.

Yesterday was no exception, but there was rain in the forecast and the sun wasn’t out. I brought the umbrella just in case. The skies continued to darken, the wind started to pick up and then it started to sprinkle. I tried to hurry Buddy along, but that, as I’m sure some of you know, isn’t an easy feat with a two-year-old. When the rain started to come down in buckets, he could have gotten upset. I could have gotten upset! But, he started to giggle and we ran, as fast as his toddling little legs could run and we both held on tight to the umbrella, stepping in puddles, laughing, playing and teasing the rain to make us wet.

A nice gentleman in a big truck pulled over and offered to give us a ride home, but we were only 2 blocks away and I was having a blast, being caught in the rain, with my little man. If I was alone and stuck in the rain, I would have been mad that it ruined my day. A child like Buddy loves the rain because it’s a new adventure!

Photo credit: mangee/ Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

She’s Back

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We have had almost six months of peace. We haven’t heard from Buddy’s bio-mom, he hasn’t gone on visits and she has had no known address. Then a defense attorney called the caseworker… she’s in jail.

To the average person, that might sound like a good thing. She’s in jail, that means that she’ll have no chance of getting Buddy back. Well, maybe, but that’s not how I see it. While she was “MIA” she had no known address to send info to. So, she didn’t know about doctor’s appointments, progression in the case or that the paperwork for her rights to be terminated (TPR) is being filed on Tuesday.

Now she has an address. It’s the justice center in the city. The caseworker is required to let her know what’s going on. She also has the right to resume visits. IN JAIL!! That just infuriates me to no end. Why do people who are in jail have rights? Our little man, who, 90% of the time is sleeping through the night, without night terrors finally, is going to have to sit across from his bio-mom, who he hasn’t seen in six months, for a visit in jail if she chooses.

We have a permanency hearing in a month. Is she going to be allowed to go to that? Is she going to go to the TPR hearing?

Another perk of her being in jail is that she get services. As part of her pleading guilty to her charges, she has agreed to go to inpatient rehab. If she screws up, she’s back in jail (I’m not sure when this would start or when she’s getting out in the first place).

We were in the home stretch with our little man. Yes, it will put off his adoption and that stinks, but what is worse is that it puts her back into his life which was finally starting to be somewhat normal. He smiles and laughs all the time now. He trusts us more. He’s sleeping.

She currently has 9 various charges filed against her. Four she committed while in jail. The other sad thing to note is that for $14,000 she could be out on bail, but has nobody to post it for her. She is a sick young lady. Hopefully she’ll choose to do what’s best for her son.

 

Photo credit: ABN2 / Foter / CC BY

Anxiety is Setting In

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I have submitted 16 applications for jobs since my contract was not renewed at my last school. I’ve gone on three interviews and have a forth next week. Each time I go in so optimistic and feel that I did really well, only to be told that it’s a competitive pool of candidates with more public school experience or more experience specific to the position. I am frustrated. The window of opportunity is very small. I have about a month left and then school will start.

I just don’t want September to come and I’m wondering what I’m going to do next. I can always go back to school and get my administrative degree. I can always look for another career, but that takes time and money. Time, when you’re trying to adopt a son and live life as a family, is very precious and money that I don’t have.

I’m seriously trying to find the silver lining in all of this. I’m trying to keep optimistic that, when the right opportunity arises that I’ll meet the challenge and prove to be the right candidate, because whatever I lack in experience I’ll work my tail off to overcome.

So, if you happen to know of a school in the Central New York area looking for a top notch Special Education Teacher who will try her damnedest to meet all expectations, let me know, because I’m getting nervous here! In the meantime, I’ll love my little man with all of my heart, because just looking at that little face makes everything right with the world again.

He’s Very Two

Darth Buddy getting into Daddy's books.

Darth Buddy getting into Daddy’s books.

When asked recently how old Buddy is, I responded that he is “very two!” He doesn’t listen, runs everywhere, says “I don’t want to,” needs kisses for old boo boos and his latest trick is spitting out food. When he sleeps though, he’s an angel!

Until recently, Buddy has been a good eater. At daycare, he’s awesome and will do anything that the other kids do. He always devours everything on his plate. At home, he would at least eat the meat and would at least try the vegetable and side. Lately, we’re lucky if he has more than 3 bites of anything without spitting it back out. Foods he likes one day, he spits out the next. I’m assuming it’s just another part of his defiance/independence/terrible twos phase. However, the child needs to eat! I’ve tried being a good role model. “Mommy is almost done with her rice. Mmmm, it’s so good.” I’ve tried making a deal with him. “If you eat 5 bites of chicken you can watch Dora!” I’ve tried threats. “If you don’t eat some of your dinner, you can’t go out and play.” I’ve tried separating out his food so they don’t mix together and I’ve tried making it colorful. Hmmmm…

He has also decided that he’s going to be outright defiant. I was cooking dinner and he came over by the stove. I told him to be careful, it’s dangerous. He came over again and I said, “No, it’s hot!” and I showed him where the flame comes up. He still came over and put his little finger on the stove anyway! He had quite a few time-outs that day. He also must think he’s a teenager because he’d stand with the fridge open, looking in. Are you hungry? No. Are you thirsty? No. Then get out of the refrigerator!

The other thing lately is his obsessing over boo boos. That, I know, is part of his anxiety. The cat gave him a tiny scratch on his hand. We heard about that for over a week. A girl at daycare pulled his ear and he continuously harped about it. He had a bug bite that was just healed up, but he continued to touch and scratch at it and wanted medicine for weeks afterward. He also scratches at his face at night, almost like he wants to cause a boo boo so he can touch it.

Some of these things I know are just part of being two and his desire for free will and hopefully, he’ll grow out of it. However, I can’t help but wonder if it will develop into something more serious. I know foster children are an anxious bunch and need time to heal their wounds, both physical and emotional. You really have to “live in the now” with foster care. You can’t dwell on the past and you can’t worry about the future. You just have to take each day as another adventure. I do my best to be a good parent, provide consistency and love and hope for the best for my little man!

Doctor’s Appointment Nightmare

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I know it sounds a bit dramatic, but it did include, yelling, swearing, door slamming and hitting and not by my toddler either. Buddy had his follow up doctor’s appointment at the clinic and his bio mom is always invited to attend. She has been pretty hit or miss when it comes to visits, so I wasn’t sure if she would come or not.

As Buddy and I walked from the parking lot to the building, a thin woman with dark hair pulled back into a ponytail, multiple piercings, tattoos and wearing skater shorts on a blustery cold day, ran up behind us saying something. Assuming it was bio mom, I turned around and she introduced herself to me by saying, “that’s my kid.” I said, “hello, my name is Lisa, you must be _______, it’s nice to meet you. She shook my hand and promptly took Buddy out of my arms saying that she never gets to see him anymore.

We rode in uncomfortable silence up to the 4th floor and entered into the empty waiting area because we were the first appointment of the day. It is not the most prompt office and employees trickled in as Buddy and bio mom played with toys and I looked on. Next thing I know, two other people join bio mom. They did not introduce themselves, but took pictures on their cell phones and chatted amongst themselves. Next thing I know, bio mom starts slapping Buddy on his little round belly and loudly exclaims, “You’re so fat! You’re such a fat boy!” I let it go once, but she continued to whack him on his stomach and call him names. I said to her, “we are practicing not hitting, if you could please not do that.” She ignored me. I said it to her three more times while we waited. In the meantime, I frantically text (or is it texted?) my husband because I just had a really bad feeling. I didn’t like how things were going already. Where was the caseworker, where was the receptionist? Why am I alone here?! Luckily, my husband wasn’t too far away and said he’d be there in a few minutes.

The nurse called us into an exam room and the whole entourage got up to go. I said, “I think it’d be best if just mom went in.” She turned to the other people and luckily agreed. Then I began to wonder if that was a good decision. Should I really be alone in a room with a woman who the caseworker described as “hostile?” She needs a police escort when she goes to the DSS office, why doesn’t she need one at the doctor’s office? Where was the caseworker anyway?

Bio mom began spinning around on the doctor’s stool and scooting about the room like it was a race track with Buddy in her arms. Buddy repeatedly reached for me, but she wouldn’t let me take him from her until the nurse returned. We were freezing, but bio mom kept commenting on how hot it was in there and that they should really do something about the temperature (showing signs of using or going through withdrawals). Luckily, hubby and the caseworker, who offered her apologies, came in the room. Buddy needed to get three shots. Bio mom grabbed Buddy from me again and he was pulling at my shirt because he wanted to be with me, so she relented by putting him on the exam table and held him there. Hubby talked to the nurse about Buddy’s progress and his issues.

The nurse came in with the shots, so I told Buddy, “hold Mommy’s hand,” and I tried to comfort him the best that I could.  Then, bio mom flipped out! She said, “I’m not going to take this shit!” and stormed out of the room and slammed the door. I looked over at my husband and asked what he said. The caseworker informed me that it was because I referred to myself as Mommy and bio mom doesn’t like that. I didn’t even do it consciously! I was just trying to comfort the baby! I just started shaking. Out came all the pent up emotions I was feeling since we got there and I told everybody about how she was hitting him on the belly and calling him fat, how she brought the other people and wouldn’t let me hold him when he reached for me… and he’s only two! He doesn’t even understand the term mommy. To him, every woman is mommy and every man is daddy. Why? Because he’s been shuffled all over because she abandoned him! He needs to have a person to call mommy in his life right now!

The caseworker and the nurse were in agreement with me and when bio mom stormed back into the room, they discussed this with her. She said I was damaging his mental health because when he goes back to her, he’s not going to know who’s who. Bio mom ended up leaving in a huff and the doctor told the caseworker that I’m not to be left alone with her ever again.

I couldn’t just go home after all of that, so Buddy and I headed over to a play area at the mall and played and he had some pizza. Then we took out some books at the library. Phewww, what a day!!

Photo credit: Alex E. Proimos / Foter.com / CC BY