Mother of Three in 10 Weeks!

Buddy turned four-years-old on Sunday! We took him and his two, much admired, cousins to the movies to see Paddington Bear, followed by a family party. He requested corn dogs for dinner, but being that he’s really the only one that likes them, I made them for him for lunch and ordered pizza and wings for dinner. Besides, pizza is the favorite food of his latest obsession- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! He had a ninja turtle cake, decorations and even got a ninja turtle scooter for his birthday! He had a great day!

Xander 4th birthday cake

Then, on Monday, we FINALLY signed Buddy’s adoption papers with the lawyer! All we have to do now is go to court to make it official, which should take 4-6 weeks. Then, Buddy will legally be our son and take our name! It’s been 26 days shy of two years that we’ve waited for this day to come. That beautiful, curly, blonde haired, blue-eyed angel with the long eye lashes melted our hearts from day one. It’s been amazing watching his little personality come through and blossom into an outgoing pre-schooler who has one active imagination and is surely destined for great things!

The real kicker is that in 10 weeks or less, I will be the mother of three! We will go from being foster parents with no kids of our own, to legally being the parents of three kiddos! It’s unreal that I just entered my 3rd trimester with twin girls! It’s weird because, even though my belly is growing, I feel the girls kick, I see my belly move, get to see them develop and grow on the sono and hear the amazing sound of their hearts beating, it still doesn’t seem real yet. We tried for these babies for so long, that I think it’s going to take me holding them in my arms to fully grasp that they’re mine.

My mom, sister and sister-in-law are incredible enough to put on a baby shower for me in two weeks. I’m excited for it since I’ve never had a shower before. It should be a really fun time celebrating these two little miracle babies with friends and family!

We had lunch with friend’s of ours who have a little girl who’s 10 months old and the huge smile on Buddy’s face as he played with her, just melted my heart! He’s going to be a wonderful big brother!

Mom of three! Oh my goodness! I can’t wait!

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Small Miracles

A few months back, we were all set to accept a newborn foster child into our home. I spent hours going through baby clothes, blankets, bottles and accessories to make sure we had all the gear in place for the little one’s arrival. However, the placement fell through for reasons unknown to us. I was devastated to say the least. However, all clouds have a silver lining because… I was “late.”

When I told my husband, he didn’t think much of it. We weren’t meant to have children of our own. We were given a 1% chance of conceiving and had already gone through fertility treatments with four rounds of IUIs that were unsuccessful. We had talked about IVF, but it was just too expensive, especi ally since I didn’t work for the past year. So, the possibility of pregnancy just wasn’t on our radar. The following week, I went and bought a pregnancy test and took it while Buddy was with his physical therapist. There was a very faint pink line! Could it be? Could I actually be pregnant? No. I didn’t want to believe it. We have tried for so long. It must have been a faulty test. I waited another week and tried again. Wouldn’t you know it really was positive!

I made an appointment with the doctor and went in to have a sonogram. The sonographer said, “how do you feel about two?” Two what? I still wasn’t convinced there could be a baby in there. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it. “Two babies! You’re having twins!” I immediately started to cry tears of joy. My husband, watching the monitor in disbelief, was crying in pain at the thought of raising three children.

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Suddenly I started to get all the symptoms. Unbelievable bloating, morning sickness (aka all day sickness) and fatigue unlike anything I had ever felt before. My friend said to me that the first trimester is literally like climbing a mountain. You are doing all the work of creating another human being (or in my case two) and it’s taxing on your body. Then one day I had spotting. I went to the doctor and I was reassured by two little heart beats on the monitor. More tears of joy! About two weeks later, while I was cooking dinner I felt something warm down below. It looked like I murdered someone. My husband rushed me to the emergency room. My mom came to comfort me and help with Buddy. I just cried on her shoulder. It was most certainly a miscarriage. Then I saw the ultrasound and there were those two little babies with good heart beats, arms waving and legs kicking away!

It turns out that I have something called placenta previa. Basically the placenta is sitting right on top of my cervix and most likely sitting on a blood vessel where blood is pooling. The placenta has slowly been moving away as Baby A continues to grow. Worst case scenario, I will have a C-section. Not a big deal. I was on two weeks of bed rest before returning to work.

So, it was a rough first trimester! My mom said to me, “I told you pregnancy was stressful!” The thing is, I never thought I’d ever get pregnant, but nobody was handing out babies to me either! So, I’ll take every little hiccup that comes with these two little miracles. I’m 18 weeks along and am feeling good! I’m getting a belly on me and have felt a couple little flutters from them kicking. I’m technically due April 17, but they won’t let me go past 38 weeks, so more likely end of March, beginning of April.

I’ve gotten all kinds of questions from people: “Are they natural?” Yes, they’re not artificial! “Do twins run in your family?” No, I’m just old and this was my body’s last ditch effort at passing on my genes. “Are you still going to keep Buddy?” Yes, he’s our son.

People are so nosy when you’re pregnant, but it’s okay. I doubt it will stop once I have two little bundles. “Are they identical?” Probably not, they have separate placentas and sacs, but you don’t know for sure until after they’re born. “Did you want twins?” Well, I always thought it would be fun to have twins, but I didn’t exactly plan it!

People keep relaying stories to me of how the same thing happened to a friend of theirs. As soon as they’ve adopted or were on their way to adopt (as in our case) their child, they were able to relax and get pregnant. Maybe my story isn’t unique or exciting, but it’s my story and I’m looking forward to my happy ending. Buddy is going to be a big brother to twin sisters and I couldn’t be happier!

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Super Birthday

ImageLast weekend was a special one for us all. It was Buddy’s 3rd birthday and the first one we’ve gotten to celebrate with him. We decorated the dining room with a big Avengers backdrop. There were Spider-man balloons and a banner that said Happy 3rd Birthday. I made a big 3 and decorated it in red, white and blue. Silver spirals hung from the ceiling with dangling stars.

ImageI made him a shirt with his name and superheroes inside a big 3, with a cape (see pics). I requested that everyone wear a Superhero shirt if they had one to go along with our theme. Buddy always calls me Wonder Woman and I actually found a shirt (with a cape, he, he!) on sale at Walmart. Daddy was Batman (of course, that’s his favorite). My sister outfitted the whole family with super shirts; it was awesome!

ImageBuddy requested green frosting for his cupcakes that he brought to daycare the day before. I decorated them with Spider-man faces and wrappers. They played birthday games and sang to him. We invited some friends to the bounce house and played for a couple of hours. He jumped, ran, maneuvered through obstacles and went down the slide to his heart’s content. Then we all came back to the house for pizza and salad and a chocolate (his request) Avenger’s cake. Still not understanding how presents work exactly, he came into the room singing Jingle Bells thinking that Santa had brought him his birthday gifts. We got him a train set and a play set that’s interchangeable with a workbench, school desk or kitchen. He got lots of super heroes and more. It was a great day.

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Is There Time For a Hobby with a Toddler?

 

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My husband and I need to find new hobbies! We used to do things like go out to dinner, see movies and peruse garage and estate sales. Well, when you’ve had gastric bypass or lapband surgery and have a two-year old, those things aren’t so easy to do anymore.

Movies are totally out of the question. Buddy is too young to sit through an entire movie. We can do Pixar or Disney movies at home, but any non-cartoon movie would have to be put on after he’s asleep and we’d likely fall asleep watching it ourselves.

We can go out to eat, but my husband and I can only eat small portions and Buddy is in the midst of his terrible twos. Sports themed restaurants have a-million-and-one TVs and are way too over-stimulating for him to handle. Places that offer crayons, are just inviting him to color anything within reach and eventually throw them. He likes to play apps on my iphone, but if there isn’t wifi, he’s limited in what he can do and becomes frustrated.

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We have to cool it on the garage sales! Last week my husband, who is a nurse who visits people in their homes, was in the midst of a neighborhood-wide garage sale. He called me up to say there was an activity table that included a heliport, police station, post office and had bins underneath for only $25. I said we didn’t have the room for a big item like that. He insisted that it wasn’t much bigger than the blanket chest we currently had, so we could just put it in its place. I hesitantly agreed if we could pick it up the following day. Well, my husband’s dimension figuring was quite off. This thing was huge! Our dining room looks more like a playroom with a table in it now! We need to move just to get a house that will accommodate all of the toys we’ve accumulated. Hubby is not the only one to blame. I also got Buddy a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Dora & Diego and a farm play dough sets (Buddy playing with a dentist play dough kid above), a doctor’s kit and some books, while at the garage sale.

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So, what to do, what to do! I walk the dog. Chasing a toddler around takes up a good amount of my time (Super Bud is so fast, it’s hard to take his picture. See blur above!). I have tried crocheting, but can only do straight lines. I’m better at cooking than baking because I don’t like to measure. I haven’t had much luck with gardening. Hmmm, we’ll have to come up with something… maybe competitive thumb wrestling? LOL

What I do know is that there are only a few more weeks left of school and I’m really looking forward to dividing my time between the beach and the pool!

Photo Credit: http://christmassiblings.blogspot.com/2010/01/taking-back-monday-and-tuesday-and.html, Man vs. Himself: Three Killer Reasons to Twiddle Your Thumbs at Work

Got OK To Have Ears Lowered!

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When we had court recently, the caseworker asked the judge if we could get Buddy’s hair cut. In case you missed my previous post, we are not allowed to cut his hair without his mom’s permission. She said that she wanted it to grow out so he can have a ponytail. In the meantime, it was getting snarly, was in his face, and made him hot and sweaty. Plus, people were referring to him as a girl. The judge said that it was an issue to be left up to the lawyer and caseworker to decide. He did not want to micromanage. Luckily, they said they would support our decision to cut his hair.

The daycare girl read a book about getting haircuts and we psyched Buddy up for his big day. We went to this awesome place called Sharky’s Kids and Cuts. They have little cars for kids to sit in with working wheels and horns and individual TVs with cartoons playing. They also have bigger TVs with Netflix or XBox for the older kids. Buddy got a kick out of sitting in the Buzz Lightyear car. However, it took a little while for the hairdresser to get to him, so he started to get impatient. Especially since the car really doesn’t go anywhere. So, when it was his turn, he sat on my lap in one of the big kid chairs and he got to watch the Lorax and he did awesome!

The girl who did his hair was great with him and another girl helped distract him when he initially started to fuss. He enjoyed his movie, got a sticker, a balloonand a bookmark. It was a little pricey at $17 plus tip (my sister brings her boys to a place that only charges $5), but I wanted someone who works with kids all the time (it’s not for everyone, I couldn’t do it!) for his first haircut with us and not knowing how he was going to react. So, I thought it was an awesome deal and his hair looks great! It’s the same style only shorter and more well kept. The hairdresser even sent him a postcard thanking him for coming in! His first piece of mail; he liked that!

I was nervous about his visit with his mom. I called the girl who supervises the visit to let her know about the haircut just in case mom blew a gasket. Well… she didn’t even notice!! All that fuss for nothing, we‘re all happy and he’s stylin’!

Photo credit: Micah Taylor / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Stressful Visit

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Stressful visit, stressful week, stressful year!! This is my second attempt at this post; let’s see if it goes through this time. Usually I’ll write my posts in Microsoft Word first and then copy and paste, but the one time I type right on the website, I lose everything I wrote, ughhh!! Some weeks I struggle to write a single post and other times, like now, when it’s only Tuesday, I could write 5 posts a day for the rest of the week!

Buddy had a visit with his mom yesterday. They were on Tuesday mornings, but were switched to Monday afternoons during his nap (of course I get no choice in the matter). Mom has been showing up weekly, but usually cuts out early.

The visits are held at a center run by the Salvation Army. A transporter comes and picks Buddy up 15 minutes before his visit and a supervisor watches them for an hour and a half. I love having the transporter because my husband and I both work during the day. However, that is all they do. They pick up the child and they drop them off, they have no idea how the visit went or have any other information. I have to call if I have a question.

At last week’s visit, Buddy came home with chocolate milk and an empty donut bag. I called the center and was told that mom brought it for him for a snack. He ate half of it at the visit and must have eaten the other half on his ride home. She told me that it makes the parent feel good by bringing their kid a special treat. I said that’s all fine and good, but a donut isn’t an acceptable snack for a two year old! There are plenty of healthy snacks she can bring him. He absolutely loves fruit. You can give him anything from an apple or banana to a kiwi or pineapple and he’ll go nuts for it. So, I told her to talk to mom about it and I would send him with a healthy snack from now on.

I called the girl at the center yesterday morning and told her that Buddy had an orange in his bag and it was already peeled and segmented. He also had some water. Later on I text the daycare girl to make sure that Buddy left and returned from his visit okay. It was 40 minutes after his visit and she said he hadn’t returned yet! So I called up the center and they said they had transportation issues and he should be there any minute. I said, “why didn’t anybody call me?!” My husband or I could have tried to make arrangements to come and get him if there was a problem! Instead of apologizing, she just said that she’d call me from now on.

After I hung up the phone in disgust, a million things went through my head. It is only a 15 minute ride from the center to daycare. Where was he all that time? Who was watching him? Didn’t the girl supervising have to go on to her next appointment? Was he in the car the whole time? I have no idea where the child was! It was a full hour later that he finally arrived. He’s only two years old. It’s not like he can tell me what happened! So, I put a call in to the caseworker. She said that the girl supervising the visit watched him until he was transported. That didn’t completely answer my question because she also said that mom cut the visit short, like she usually does! So, he was stuck somewhere for OVER an hour then, and I still don’t have a clear answer why or where, but nobody seems upset about it but me!

I rushed home once work was over because I was so relieve that Buddy was back and safe. His mom had given him some things. He was wearing what I call a “thug” hat. It wasn’t a cute little ball cap or a floppy summer hat, but a hat with a big, flat brim, with a big graphic on it that kids usually wear sideways. In his bag he also had a new outfit (too small), a pair of sandals (too big) and a book. That’s all fine. I understand that mom was trying to do something nice for her kid and I totally appreciate that. There was also a juice, a DONUT, the orange that I sent (untouched) and a note saying that he ate a lunchable! Now come on! At least they didn’t give him the donut which is a step in the right direction. They know that he ate lunch before he came and that he’s going to eat dinner when he goes home. Well, now he’s not going to want to eat dinner! According to the caseworker, that’s something I’m just going to have to accept that he’s not going to eat dinner on Mondays. I mean, what do they care that my kid is not getting a proper nap or proper meals? They don’t have to deal with the fall out after a visit, I do!

Now for the book… I’m sure I’m just taking this out of context because I’m upset. I have been collecting Dr. Seuss series books for a couple of years now, before I ever had Buddy, because they brought such joy to me as a child and I was hoping to share them with my future children. We already have the book that she gave him and I’ve read it to him several times, but never thought of it this way before. It was, “Are You My Mother” by P.D. Eastman. It’s about a little bird that hatches from his egg while his mom is away and he goes around to different animals asking if they’re his mother until they’re finally reunited. It made me wonder if it was a stab at me since she doesn’t like that Buddy calls me Mommy. Is she saying that he doesn’t know who his mother is but that she’ll get him in the end? Maybe I’m just being paranoid about it, but I will never look at that book with the same innocence again.

Adoption on the Horizon?

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We went to Buddy’s Service Plan Review on Friday. It’s basically a check by a neutral party to make sure that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do as far as Buddy is concerned: Mom is being offered services, Buddy is in a safe environment and getting the services he needs and the foster parents are on board with what’s going on. Bio-mom did not attend.

My big question was, “when would we be able to adopt Buddy?”

This is what I was told:

Buddy went into care in September. At his 53 week mark, next September, if mom has made no progress, my caseworker will file a TPR (Termination of Parental Rights).

Around October a petition will be prepared for family court. At this initial appearance, or pretrial, we can see if our lawyer can make a deal with bio-mom’s lawyer for her to relinquish her parental rights. For instance, we will send her a letter and a photo once a year giving her an update as to how he’s doing. If she agrees to this, then we can file paperwork to adopt him.

If she decides that she will not terminate her rights and she feels that she has done what she needed to do to get him back, then they would hold a trial in about February.

The trial would be a “fact finding” day to see what information we have to support why he should be freed for adoption or returned to mom.

Next we would go to a dispositional hearing to see if bio-mom is found neglectful or not based on the information from the “fact finding” day. If the judge says she was, then he’ll be freed for adoption. However, mom can appeal.

It takes 12-16 months for the appeals process to take place.

Best case scenario, we’ll be adopting Buddy in about a year. Worst case scenario, it could take up to THREE long years!

To mom’s credit, she has been attending weekly visits with him. He’s a mess afterward, but she goes. She did not go into rehab like she was supposed to. She has not attended the anger management, parenting or counseling classes or assessments that have been offered to her over the past eight months. So, she has 4 more months to either get her act together or continue down her path of destruction.

Photo credit: rumolay / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND