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Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Addy's pics from first visit
I took out the pics we took of Addy at our first meeting with her. I can't believe it's the same kid. She has this dead empty look in her eyes that just saddens me. She has literally come alive in the short time we have had her. If we have come this far so soon, I can't imagine how she will thrive and grow once she's placed with us full time.

If only I could make the hurts of her first months of life just go away and make everything better. I can only be there to help her heal and grow. I love that little baby so much my heart could burst.
Court tomorrow
Addy's caseworker emailed me, she was wrong on the court date - it's tomorrow @ 10:00. She really wants me there, so I'm using yet another vacation day. We're not even out of January and they're going to be all used up. She would like to set up contact arrangements with the birthmom if she shows up. She said that she hasn't shown up for a visit since June 2006 so to just offer pictures and written accounts and bmom will probably accept that.

Caseworker is going to try and work on getting her placed right away if bmom agrees to terminate her parental rights tomorrow. If not, she'll let us have visitation tomorrow afternoon, and longer than originally scheduled on Saturday. Every little bit helps to keep her away from fostermom.

It might be over tomorrow!
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Another visit down...
Today I met the caseworker at a neutral spot at 9:30. As soon as we got out of our cars, she told me this was the worst day yet. When I peeked in to her car, Addy was there with her face literally covered with dried snot. One nose was completely clogged, it was all over her cheek, her nose, her forehead. I ran into the restaurant and soaked some baby wipes at worked at it as best as I could.

We drove to A's work to show everyone. She was being shy and clinging to me. She did go to one lady though. From there we came home. One of the girls we took adoption class called and I told her I'd bring Addy by her store to see her. When I went to change her outfit into one that fit, I took off the jacket part of the outfit and when I went to unsnap the onsie shirt, I saw she was soaked all the way up her chest. I changed her diaper and I could tell it hadn't been changed since the night before. I was livid. I put on a nice comfortable outfit and brushed her hair and changed her into clean socks that fit.

I called the caseworker and pleaded with her to do the emergency removal. She is disgusted and said she'd see what she could do. When she called back, she said no luck. (I think that if it was just Addy in the home they could do it but since there is the other girl that would have to be removed they may not have a spot open for her to be moved to). She said the mother has a hearing tomorrow and we are welcome to go. I haven't been in work all week so I really need to go the few days before my leave starts. I would love to.

Addy is still no better attaching to A. If anything, she's even worse. He can't even look at her and she cries. He's getting frustrated and that's not helping either. I'm sure she senses it.

I took her to my friend's boutique and she gave Addy a little knitted sock cat. I bought her an adorable hat for the summer. She is going to get her homestudy changed so if we decide not to accept Addy's brother or sister, she'll have a shot. That would be so great as an alternative.

After lunch, Addy and I went to view the daycare facility. She will start on 3/12 for a few hours to get her used to it and then officially start on 3/19 when I go back to work. I asked and they do take infants over 6 weeks. I have to call and see if it is possible to have two maternity leaves in six months, LOL.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Big News!
The caseworker dropped Addy off this morning. She was dressed in a coat that was so small it couldn't be pulled together enough to zip. When I took off her hat, she saw what a mess her hair was. The clothes were too small again. She apologized for her coming like this and asked if I could bathe her and wash her hair. She said her face was a mess this morning and she tried to wipe the snots off as best she could before she took her in.

She said that due to the conditions of the baby, she was going to try and get an emergency placement. She said that if that happened, the baby would just not go home but everything of hers would have to stay (no big loss). I told her we had everything we needed already.

She also had BIG NEWS. The birthmom is pregnant again, due in June and we have priority placement if we want the child. Sex is unknown. Wow, that news was totally unexpected. We have a LOT to discuss before June. I would love Addy to have her bio sib grow up with her and to have that connection that she could never have with us. On the other hand, four kids is a lot. I would do it in a heartbeat, DH is going to take some convincing.

Addy was a peach as usual today. She is just the most laid back kid. She cuddles, she plays, she laughs. She let me bathe and wash her hair no problem, I change her dipes and she just lifts her legs for me to do it. Anything I feed her she happily eats. She was sitting next to J on the couch watching tv and she reached up and played with the hair on top of his head, she was doing belly laughs at him playing peek-a-boo and she loves to jump on the couch and her bed.

DH is having a tough time with her. She hasn't attached to him yet and he's taking it personally. He doesn't understand that it takes time and it will take even longer with him because there were no men in her life before. I think it hurts that she is so attached to me already.

When I dropped her off to the caseworker, she was going to have a talk with the foster mother to let her go sooner than later. She told her on the phone today that it's hurting Addy at this point more than helping her and these last few days are only for the fostermom. She said she would think about it and I don't know what happened with the drop off this afternoon. Hopefully, we'll have good news today and Addy will be home for good. At least the end is in sight, less than a week to go.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Saturday visit
The car service came and I went out to get her. She smiled at me when she saw me! I carried her onto the front porch where J was waiting and she said "HI" in a really loud voice to him and waved! She was smiling at the dogs. As soon as I got her coat off, she made a beeline straight to her room and went right for the toys. J and her played in there for a while. They climbed up on her toddler bed and both laid down and she was pretending to sleep and smiling. She was really playful. So I climbed onto her twin bed and pretended to snore and she was literally laughing and squealing.

Then my mother came over with donuts and she tried the chocolate covered but she didn't like the chocolate so my mother-in-law fed her some of her sugar jelly donut and she loved it. I woke B up (the 14 y.o.) and Addy and J and B sat on the floor in the livingroom playing with wooden blocks. The boys would build up the blocks and Addy would knock them over. She was having a blast. Some of B's friends came over and they all went in Addy's room. She was having the best time being the center of attention. She was dancing and being silly. It was incredible to see her personality for the first time.

DH came home from work and today she wanted nothing to do with him. She cried when he held her and kept yelling "Mama". She was going "eh" and smacking him away, LOL. She definitely is spirited. She only wanted me though, she wouldn't go to my mil or mother. She loved the boys though.

She ate another hotdog and some white grape juice. I put cortisone cream all over her hand and her legs and belly and it really softened up her skin and she wasn't scratching.

Once again, the clothes. She had on newborn socks. I had taken off her shoes and she kept going "uh oh Mama" and pointing to them every time they came half off. I changed her into a pair that I bought her that fit. Looking back over the pictures I took of her Tuesday, Friday and yesterday, you can literally see her hair explode. It must have been fairly clean on Tuesday because the curls were tight, Friday her hair was unruly. Yesterday, she had a full out afro going on - it looked like a rat's nest. The pants were too tight and short again. I can't wait to get this baby home and dress her in comfortable clothes.

At 12:45 the car service came. As soon as he walked in the door, Addy burst into tears. She knew what was coming. She cried the whole time I put on her coat, carried her out and strapped her in. She was hysterical at that point but there was nothing I could do but kiss her and then close the door. I could hear her cries as the van pulled away. It's just not right to put this baby through this.

No visit today. The house is so sad and quiet without her. It's amazing how fast she became part of our family. 8 more days and she's home for good. It's going to be a tough week, especially since we don't get her at all for two days in a row Wed and Thurs. I don't know how I'm going to do it.

We all love her so much.
Friday visit
Addy's first visit was Friday morning. The caseworker called and said that she was still coming but would have to be picked up a few hours earlier because the foster mother made a doctor's appointment for her at 12:00. Whatever. So she was dropped off at 9:00 and was picked up at 11:15.

The car service came and I ran out to get her. She cried a bit when I took her out of the carseat but then she was ok. We came inside and she was oohing and ahhing over the dogs. I took her into her bedroom and she made a beeline to the toy corner and started playing with the electronic activity table I got her. She kept yelling "Doh" and pointing to the dogs. Katy kept coming and sniffing her and she would pet her very gently.

My mother came over and my mother-in-law got back from taking J to school. So, I moved the activity table to the livingroom and she played out there. There's a little telephone and she knew right away to put it up to her ear. My mother-in-law (who is in love with her BTW, I knew it!!!) was playing peek-a-boo with her and she smiled and came out of her shell a little bit. She was really attached to me right away wanting me to hold her. When I went into the kitchen to make coffee, she started to cry and yelled "Mama". I'm still amazed that she picked up right away on Mama and Dada.

DH came home from work and when he went into our bedroom, she was craning her neck to see where he went and she called out "Dada!" and put up her hands like she didn't know where he went.

She ate some Gerber strawberry banana puffs, 3/4 of a hotdog and a little juice. Her eczema is so bad on her hand. The knuckle has a huge crack in the skin. When I was changing her diaper, as soon as I pulled it off she started scratching her belly. Her skin is so dry, poor baby.

She came with her hair sticking straight up and not even brushed. She had dried snots all over her forehead and cheek. Her clothes were too small again. I'm buying 4T and she had on an 18 month outfit. Again, the pants fit her more like capris.

She did so incredibly well, the visit couldn't have gone better. She went to my mother and snuggled into her and almost fell asleep. She was doing High-5, she loves to shaker her head no but she said yes a few times, too.

The car service came and I brought her out to the car and strapped her in and kissed her and told her I loved her.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Yay! Visitation set!
I worried all morning because I never heard from the caseworker yesterday. She emailed me at work and it included a visitation schedule with the baby starting this Friday! After I got done crying, I emailed her back and she called me. She apologized for not calling me after the hearing yesterday but it lasted a long time so she never ended up going back to the office where my number was. She said it was rough, the foster mother put up a real stink but she said that they presented "an overwhelming amount of evidence" against her. The committee has 30 days to issue their written decision. Once that is made, her only option would be to take the case herself to family court. The caseworker said not to worry.

So! Visitation begins on Friday. I have her for a few hours in the morning. Saturday, same thing. No visit Sunday. Monday, all day. Tuesday, all day. No visits Wednesday or Thursday. On Friday, she gets dropped off at 1:00 for an overnight visit and gets picked up Saturday at 1:00. No visit Sunday. Monday 2/5 - she moves in!!!

I worked out next week with work. I'll work around her visits and use vacation time for the rest. Then my maternity leave officially starts 2/5 and I return to work on 3/19.

I stopped off after work tonight and bought her some wooden blocks because she loved playing and stacking at the museum. I got her 3 pairs of pajamas. I showed Jack the little pink camouflage pair that I got her for her sleepover next Friday night!

Friday, I pick her up at 8:45 at a neutral location and then a driver will pick her up at 12:30. The boys will be in school so I'll have some alone tme with her getting her used to the house and the dogs. My mother is coming over to meet her new granddaughter and my mother-in-law will be here. DH is trying to get out of work at 11:00 so he can see her, too. On Saturday, the boys will get to see her for the first time. I'm so excited for them.



I
It's so hard...
I took her pictures to work today and it's so hard to look at them and not to have her with me. She already has my heart and she is my daughter. Now I have to just be patient and wait until I can bring her home. I am so looking forward to having her 24 hours a day for my maternity leave, to help her establish the bond that I already have her and to attach.

Am I allowed to post pics of her? I wish I could show you all how precious she is. She is absolutely perfect. My little doll.

You know that poem by Maureen Hawkins- "Before you were born.."? That's exactly how I feel. I had to tweak it to fit adopting but the feelings were the same yesterday seeing her for the first time as they were on the days I gave birth to my sons.

Before you were conceived, I wanted you.
Before you were born, I loved you.
Before you were in my arms a minute, I would have died for you.
That is the miracle of life.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Her Room so far






Our FIrst Meeting!!
We're head over heels absolutely in love! We met at a children's museum. Addy and her caseworker were in a room waiting for us. We went in and and I gave her the bear. She was very serious, checking us out. We sat on the couch and DH asked if he could have this stuffed crab thing she was holding. She gave it to him. Then I held the shape sorter and she tried putting the shapes in. She kept looking to the caseworker for comfort.

After about 10 minutes, we went out into the museum. We looked at the fish then we took her into the water room. I put a little red smock on her and she splashed her fingers in the water and played with the ball pit balls. She would scoop them out of the water and put them in a colander and then dump them back into the water and start all over again. She would hand us the balls. During this time, the caseworker slipped out.

We took her upstairs and she played with the big plastic foam stacking blocks then we took her into the jungle room and she loaded up a wagon with plastic rocks. Then she ruffled through my pocketbook and tried to put on my sunglasses. She kept sticking them on her neck instead of her eyes (so cute!) After that we took her over the the magnet wall and I got on the floor and we played and that's when she kind of smiled. No laughs out of her. She loves to shake her head "no". She did that to everything, LOL.

When we were sitting on the floor playing with the wooden blocks she started scratching her hand. She has awful eczema on it and her thumb is really rough and scabby. I caressed it and did nice to her boo boo and she let me. Then she let me kiss her boo boo better. I got the pink bear and told her that he had a boo boo, too. So she took her little index finger and caressed it like I did to her.

We spent almost two hours with her. When I knew our time was almost up, I brought her to a bench and sat her facing me and we cuddled and she laid her head into my chest and let me stroke her hair. Then DH carried her downstairs and we went back to the room to meet the caseworker. She was thrilled at how good she did with us.

Addy had on an outfit that was at least one size too small. I thought she had on capri pants which I thought was odd since it was snowing out. Then I realized they were just too small. Her hair was kind of matted in places, too. The caseworker was disgusted with the way she came to us. From our meeting, she was going to a hearing with the mother and an appeal board. Frankly, if I was the foster mother in danger of losing my kid, I would make sure she had clothes on that fit and her hair was brushed. Plus, it's like 20 degrees out and she didn't even have a hat.

She was all congested and her nose was running, poor baby. I just wanted to hold her and never let her go....

We got her bundled up and walked the caseworker to the car. After she was strapped into her carseat, DH reached in to kiss her goodbye and he said "bye bye" and waved and she waved back at him! She also gave him the High-5 in the museum.

She is just too precious for words. I love her so much already. She has the softest, most beautiful hair and her eyes are dark and very serious. She looks at everything and takes it all in. She has long lashes and a little cupid mouth and chubby cheeks. Her arms and legs are so fat! She's huge! Heavy and solid, I couldn't believe it when I picked her up. She has to be at least a 3T or 4T and her shoes are a 7W! LOL. She a chunky monkey.

We don't know when our next visit will be. The caseworker is supposed to call me after the hearing or as soon as she find out something. Our next visit will be all day and she'll be able to come to our house. I'm dying for the boys to meet her. It couldn't have been a more perfect first meeting. We can't wait for her to come home. I want to love her and keep her safe and spoil her and cherish her like she deserves.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Tomorrow is the day....
In less than twelve hours, I'll be meeting my daughter! I've felt literally sick to my stomach all night. I don't know if it's nerves or if I'm coming down with something. A couple of nights ago it hit me like a ton of bricks that I could lose her. She's still "at risk" and the foster mother has her appeal on February 1st. I know however small the chance is that she could win, there's still a chance.

I spoke with Addy's caseworker today and she's going to pick her up at the foster mother's house and talk to her. If she won't waive the 10 day notice, we're set to bring Addy home on February 5th. I wanted her moved before the appeal date. But, at least two weeks from now at the latest and she'll be here.

I spent all day yesterday shopping. I found the perfect dress for her to wear to her baby shower next month. It's pale pink eyelet with a white scalloped crinoline underneath and a pair of white tights. Once I find out her shoe size, I need to find white maryjanes to go with it. Then I got a white cotton crocheted look sweater to go over it. She's going to look so pretty! I also got her a white wooden toddler bed, a soft blanket for it, 10 bibs, headbands, hairbows and crib sheets. We got two carseats and the highchair. I bought her stroller the other night so all the big purchases have been made.

Addy got her first present today! A co-worker got the most darling little flowered cap-sleeved top and pink pants. She bought her 4T and it looks big. I can't wait to peek in her shirt tomorrow to see what size she is and pull off her shoe and see the size so I can go shopping!


How am I going to sleep tonight?

I promise to post lots of pics soon - her room, her gorgeous shower dress and I'll try to get some shots tomorrow that don't show her face. I can't wait to hold her.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
New Look and a Big Thanks
Isn't my new blog beautiful? THANK YOU, Margaret!!! I absolutely love it!
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Name Change...Room almost done
DH and I compromised on her name. I wanted it done so I could get the wooden letters for her bedroom wall. We went back and forth and back and forth. Finally I just said - Addy, Faith, Grace or Hope. You pick it. He wanted Grace for the first name so we decided to change her name to Addy Grace. He doesn't like Faith. I can live with the name change as long as I get to keep Addy. To change it to anything else just wouldn't work because to me her name is Addy. There wasn't any changing it in my mind. She IS Addy.

So her room is almost done! Everything is up except the roman shade and 2 shelves. 'Addy Grace' is written up on her wall so it's a done deal. I'm so relieved!

I got her stroller tonight - a Graco Mosaic that was on clearance at Target for $50. It's black and red. I bought her the cutest baby doll. I also bought her a pink bear to take to take to our meeting Tuesday, 2 cases of diapers, some more socks (since I can't buy clothes yet!), dishes, sippy cups, utensils and a few other things.

I put her picture in a frame and I can't stop looking at her. J is already showing signs of jealousy and acting up. He caught me looking at her picture and told me to stop smiling every time I looked at it. He's alternating between being clingy and acting up. I'm glad he'll be at school on Tuesday when we have her meeting so I can just enjoy her without having to watch myself. When she gets home, I'll have to make sure I give him lots of attention. B was the same age when J was born and I can remember how mean he was to me. It was DH's baby, too, but it was only me he hated for a time. I know it won't last forever.
Friday, January 19, 2007
First Meeting set
We're meeting her next Tuesday at 9:30! This is moving so fast. They're still checking to see if the 10 day notice to the foster mother applies or if she can be moved sooner. So, I'm going to have her next week or the week after for good.

This is all surreal to me. New Years Day I didn't even know she existed and now I may have her home for good before the month is over. I have her picture on my desk and I get teary-eyed every time I look at her. I can't even imagine seeing her in person next week and just holding her and hugging her. I feel almost too blessed. I'm crying like a baby just typing this.

Now DH doesn't know if he likes Addy. I'm still calling her that but we'll wait and see when we meet her.

I have to tell you the story about her real name. Poor baby. When the mother went to court, the judge asked her what she named the baby. She said she couldn't remember but knew that it began with a "blank" and that she got the name off a cookie box. The judge racked his brain trying to come up with a cookie that started with that certain letter and he picked one but got the name wrong. It's not even the one he was thinking of. Caseworker said absolutely, to change her name. Even the foster mother wasn't calling her that.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Addy
Oh, she looks just like an Addy! Kara and the other names DH and I had talked about just didn't fit her. I look at her and she is an Addy Faith.

She weighs 36 lbs! She's 19 months, is sweet and lovable, has "eyelashes that are so long and thick, they'll never need mascara". She loves music, musical toys. My mind is going a mile a minute.

I have to tell work I need maternity leave asap. I told them last week they'd have plenty of notice and it would probably be a month or two of transition.


The caseworker is going to call her ped and EI to authorize release of information to me. She's going to start the ball rolling tomorrow.

I wish I could show you what she looks like. I'm dying to see her and hold her....
It's Official - I have a daughter!!!
I don't even know where to begin....First, we accepted Addy and we should have her home within a week or two! I saw a picture of her and she's beautiful.

Ok, this afternoon around 1:00, my trainer called with info on Hope. The presentation that was supposed to be Monday had to be rescheduled. I don't know what happened (maybe in therapy) but a whole ton of things became apparent and it may be several months before any decision can be made about her. I was so shocked and saddened for her. The timing was unbelievable to find out this information, I felt awful but at least I could now go into accepting Addy with no hesitation or guilt.

So, we had the meeting. The baby is on track, she has EI once a month now and has just about caught up to where she should be. I thought the transition would take months but they want it as quick as possible - one, possibly two visits. Holy shit! I could have her in my home for good by the end of the month.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
One day to go
I swear this has been the slowest two weeks of my life. Finally, I can say the presentation is TOMORROW! DH is getting her furniture out of storage and bringing it home today. It's been a long time coming to see her room finally coming together.

No word yet on Hope. I don't want to be a pain and call my trainer and ask but it's killing me not knowing.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Hope's Presentation
Today is Hope's presentation with the other lady. I hope it goes well and she decides to adopt her. All weekend long I've been getting the baby's room ready and I kept seeing Hope's face. I have tremendous guilt over this. I could love either Hope or Addy equally but having the chance to raise a daughter from toddlerhood was just too much to pass up. It's something I'll have to live with for the rest of my life if she doesn't get chosen today. I'm just so depressed and teary today. I pray to God that Hope finds her forever home today.

I bought Addy's crib mattress yesterday. We still need to find a crib. Her room is coming together nicely. We'll probably get her furniture out of storage tonight and then I can start decorating.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Racism Alive and Well in America
Forty years after Martin Luther King and racism is still alive and well in America. Very sad. I can see it's not going to be an easy road raising a transracial daughter. I'm so excited to be getting a daughter and the pigment in her skin is of very little concern to me. What I see is a little 18 month old girl who needs a mommy and daddy. Apparantly, others aren't so opened minded.

I called a co-worker that I don't talk to very often but she was excited last summer when I told her we were adopting and I promised to keep her updated. So, I called her and she was thrilled and excited and gushing over and over. Into the conversation, I told her I hadn't even seen the baby yet but I knew she was African-American. Silence. Gushing stopped, not so happy anymore. The tone of the whole conversation seemed to shift. Ok, that kind of pissed me off but I have to learn to accept that people aren't as open as they should be.

Last night, we decided to tell my mother-in-law. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: "We got a match!"

MIL: "You did? A little girl?"

Me: "Yes! She's 18 months old."

son: "Her name is Addy and she's black"

(shit hits the fan)

MIL: " WHAT? How can you adopt a black baby? Blacks belong with blacks, whites belong with whites. She'll be embarrassed when she grows up being the only black girl in a family of whites. We're Italian, we can't have a black baby."

son: "Grandma, she's just a baby who needs a home" (I could kiss my wise 14 year old!!! I was very proud of him)

Me: "Well, we're getting her. I hope you can learn to accept her and that you won't be mean to her. She's going to be our daughter."

MIL: "How black? Black, black?"

Me: "We haven't seen a picture of her yet. She's dark skinned, that's all I know. It's just the pigment of her skin, what does it have to do with the fact that she's going to be our daughter?"

MIL: "Well, I'm not watching her"

Me: (thinking I wouldn't subject my precious daughter to your filthy, vile mind anyway) "No, we have daycare lined up for the time I'll be at work and you will never have to babysit if you don't want to. But, I hope when you meet her you'll fall in love with her and learn to accept her."

MIL: "I would never be mean to her but I still think she's belongs with a black family"




So, that went rather well, don't you think? I guess it's her generation. She's in her mid-70s but still, I was surprised at the 30 something co-worker.

My mother was rather cold about it at first until my sister read her the riot act that she would risk losing me and to be supportive. I've had many conversations with my mother over the last few days and it seems not only has she come around but she seems to be getting excited and is even planning to throw me a baby shower at her home. I just don't get it - a baby is a baby, she's needs a home. No one would even question me taking her if she was white. What difference does it make? Believe me, I know I will have issues to face in the future. I hope Addy loves us and doesn't resent that we adopted her instead of her going to a black family. I won't know. It's a leap of faith that we just have to take, I guess.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Seven Months!
I just noticed our adoption journey ticker - we officially began seven months ago and I already have been blessed with a match. I'm so grateful and blessed but what a rollercoaster of emotions these months have been. It will be all worth it when I see Addy's face for the first time.
Addy's Presentation Appointment Set!
I called Addy's caseworker this morning and told her that I want to move forward with Addy. She asked if I was really sure and I said yes, I've thought about it all week and I am 100% certain. I would rather not wait for Monday for Hope's presentation and I don't even want to know the outcome, it would hurt too much if she doesn't get chosen by the other lady.

So, the presentation is set for next Thursday, January 18th, a few days before my birthday. I can't believe I'm getting a baby girl for my birthday!!!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Baby Shopping!!
Knowing that Target had all that stuff on clearace was killing me so I ran over there tonight. I got her 3 zip up hooded sweatshirts, 2 sweatshirt outfits, a bunch of socks with little rosebuds on them, a little pair of decorated jeans, 6 bottles, a bottle brush and a crib mattress cover. Yay! It was so much fun. Shopping gives me a rush but BABY GIRL shopping was even better. I still have the smile on my face from it.

Then I came home and decoupaged the shelf that goes above the window that her valance will hang on and folded all her little clothes up. They are so tiny. I can't wait to hold her and see her in them.

Thursday down.....4 days to go.

My mind is 100% made up now. I don't want to be a pain in the ass and call Addy's caseworker again this week so I'm sitting tight until Monday or Tuesday. I might change my mind tomorrow though.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
99% sure
I called DH at work...I really want the baby. He said we'll discuss it tonight. I called my sister and we talked it over. She has an 8 year old and said she's such a great, cuddly age that she would go with the older child. Yes, I know it's a great age and they're still little but she had the experience of raising her from birth. I want that, too. I told her it's like the choice of having her daughter dropped off at age 8 or age 18 months. I want to raise her.

I've fallen in love with this little sweetheart in the last week. I love her name, I love to say it - "Addy Faith". I knew over the last few days which way I was going but I was afraid to admit that I might not choose Hope if I had the choice. That's why I was hoping the decision would be taken out of my hands.

Next week if Hope is still available, I want Addy's presentation first. I'm still really scared of all her mother's diagnosises but we can't say what the future will hold for anybody and I feel we were placed in Addy's path to help her make her way through life, good or bad.

So, I feel a peace that I haven't had lately. I hope her presentation doesn't come out with any more scary things than I've already heard so I can feel confident proceeding with her.
Called Addy's Caseworker
I haven't slept in days. Every night I get in bed and I start thinking of the girls. Honestly, it would be impossible to choose between them. So, I called Addy's caseworker this morning to just talk to her, to see if it would make my decision any easier. I asked her if we would be able to adopt both. She said unfortunately we wouldn't and that after you adopt there is a 1 year waiting period before you can adopt again. I asked if she could at least email me a picture of the baby since I already saw Hope's video. She can't do that either.

She apologized that I was put in this situation in the first place. She said had she known about Hope, she never would have come forth about Addy until that was resolved for this very reason. She is baffled that they are giving this other lady all this time and a second presentation.

She said again about how great our homestudy was. She said sometimes she'll read through 100 homestudies before she finds one to match. She got so excited when she read ours because she thinks we're the perfect match for Addy but she wants us to wait until after Monday to see what happens and possibly have presentations for each girl and that might make the decision clearer. She promised that she will schedule her presentation asap so we don't have to wait any longer than we have to.

Oh, and Monday is a holiday! She said that their offices are closed but maybe the worker agreed to meet on that day to accomodate the lady. We're both hoping that by Tuesday we'll have a definite answer on Hope. I want to just say yes to Addy but then last night I watched Hope's video again and I just love her, too. I feel like I'm in the middle of a tug-of-war with both girls pulling at my heartstrings and knowing that only one will be my daughter. To be honest, Addy is my first choice but I feel so guilty to admit that like I'm being disloyal to Hope who was there first.

Wednesday....5 more days to go.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Room is coming together!
This was the day I've been waiting for for months - to see her room come together. Today I put the second coat of paint on and got the border up and the light switch covers on. I put the over the window shelf together and tried to hang the roman shade but it was too hard. Billy's bunkbed unit is still in there because DH has been sick. Once that is out, I can bring the furniture in and put the rest of the room together.

I got out all of the stuff I've been squirreling away for the past 7 months and just sat on the floor in the middle of it just so happy that my little girl will be home soon. It's going to be so pretty. I wish I knew which girl this is all for.

I'll post pics as soon as it's all put together.
I want this week done!
This is seriously killing me not knowing which girl I'm getting. I was at Target last night and there is a HUGE clearance sale. All the baby clothes in the clearance section were marked down to $1.74! Then, there's this gorgeous white crib on Craig's List that I want to buy but I can't.

How could I possibly choose between them? It's keeping me up at night because I weigh the pros and cons to each of them and honestly, I couldn't have two better kids to choose from. I could love them instantly.

Pros

Hope - 8 years old, no daycare, would be an instant fit in the family, could be J's built in playmate, looks like she could be our daughter

Addy - to be able to mother a baby girl is too much to wish for. The little outfits, the snuggles and getting to do all the baby things with her and nuture her right from the start, we'd be the only family she's ever known

Cons

Hope - she'll be a teenager in 5 years

Addy - more work for me physically with daycare, diapers, etc. Early Intervention sessions. more baby equipment to buy (not that I mind!), racial issues - we're not prejudiced but I don't know how the outside world would react, including some family members. I don't care, if they are then they don't have to associate with us. Our town is very diverse with every race and color so she would fit in fine at school. I wouldn't have to worry about her being the only black child in a school of all white kids.



See? It's impossible to choose. I still hope the lady chooses Hope. It would make it soooo much easier on me. My husband and kids don't care which girl we get. Family and friends are mixed.
Monday, January 08, 2007
What a mess
My trainer called. She got messages from Addy's caseworker and Addy's supervisor. Somehow they think I don't want the baby anymore after talking with the foster mother. In no way did I say that at all to the caseworker this morning. I just let her know that Hope's appointment was Monday and we might as well wait to see the outcome of that before we have this huge committee at my house for the baby. If Hope goes with the other family, I will take the baby. I did mostly because DH has the flu and we got nowhere getting the girl's room ready and I would rather have it done to show them.

I asked her why they are letting this lady take forever to make up her mind on Hope. This is ridiculous, she must know after 6 weeks if she wants the kid or not. She's is holding everything up. I just want this week over and for Monday to be done with so I know.

They won't show me a picture of Addy until after the presentation because they don't want us to get all fixated on the baby's pic and not listen or disgregard all the bad stuff just because we want the baby. I told her I've heard a ton of negative stuff about the baby and it hasn't turned me off to her yet so why would it now? She said I should ask Addy's worker when we set up the presentation meeting and maybe she'll bring one.

I told my trainer either child is fine with me. The 8 year old would make a better fit for our family but we would love to have the baby, too. I'm really sick of this - I want it done.
Spoke with Addy's Caseworker
The caseworker called me this morning. It was the first time I spoke with her. She said our homestudy was fabulous and she would we happy to place any child on her caseload with us.

I explained about Hope and that her 2nd presentation with the lady is next Monday. We agreed to postpone our presentation for Addy until after Hope's.

That's wonderful news because my house is in an upheaval moving Billy's stuff out and trying to get her room ready. DH came down with the flu Saturday night so it wouldn't have been done for Thursday anyway.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Talked to Addy's Foster Mother
I got in touch with her this morning. She was kind of surprised that I was calling but she was very, very nice. The baby's TPR hearing was in December. The mother wanted an open adoption with the foster mother. The court ended up terminating rights and denying the foster mother because of a few issues regarding a boyfriend. She has appealed and her court date is February 1st. I think she's under the impression that she still has a chance at adopting her but the state is very much on the path to getting the baby placed. I really felt for her, she's the only family the baby has ever known.

She talked about the baby and the mother and the grandmother. Both the mother and grandmother are borderline retarded. She says that neither one has any common sense and they just have very low intelligence. Neither one can read or write. This scares the crap out me. It's one thing if the mother was but to find out the grandmother is too is throwing me in a tailspin. How much is inherited and how much is social? I hope we're able to find the answer to that question in her file.

The baby has been in Early Intervention since she was 6 months old. She is delayed, too. Plus, she's 33 lbs and only 18 months. That seems really off to me. I don't know what her diet is like or if it's because she's just not mobile alot. It's so hard to get an idea of just how delayed she is unless I actually saw her and was able to see how she is. Will she be able to function as an adult if she gets this help or is her intelligence what it is based on genetics?

I don't know, after talking with the mother, I'm so unsure and a lot scared. DH and I talked it over and we agreed have Addy's presentation, wait for Hope's presentation four days later and just take a wait and see attitude. We're sure it will all work itself out. I'm getting way ahead of myself without knowing all the facts. I'm forcing myself to make a decision way too soon. We were both feeling so positive.

The funny thing is now we have 2 custody issues! Potentially, they won't come to anything but they do still exist.

In the meantime, today we have to clear out Billy's room so I can paint it and put the border up. Tomorrow - I need to get her furniture out of storage and paint and refinish it. Monday night after work - I'll work on getting up the roman shade, installing the shelf over window up and get the other shelves, pegracks, mirrors, etc. up. Tuesday - finish putting the room together and clean the rest of the house. Wednesday - clean some more, wash all the floors. Thursday - Addy's presentation!

No more buying anything, no more planning...just concentrate on getting her room in order and the house ready for the meeting Thursday. I shouldn't have gotten ahead of myself the last couple of days. Hopefully by next week we'll have our answer.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Baby Shopping List
Here's the list I've made so far of the basic essential. It's been so long since I had a little one, it's hard to remember.

Gear:

crib
crib mattress
crib toys
Today's Kids Play yard
stroller
baby gates
crib sheets

Stuff:

diaper bag
diapers
wipes
wipe case
Desitin
shampoo
baby wash
nail trimmer
sippy cups
bottles
spoons
snack container
nose sucky
Tylenol
syrup of Ipecac
safety stuff for house
Ambusol

Clothing

winter coat
10 outfits
socks
10 pairs pajamas
hat
mittens
sneakers
shoes
hair bows :)



Anything I'm missing? Does an 18 month old still use a bib? Teething ring? I better put What To Expect in the Toddler Years book down, too.
Called Foster Mother
I wrote down a whole bunch of questions to ask the foster mother, rehearsed exactly what I would say to her when she answered, made a cup of coffee, told Jack to put in a video game and to be quiet while I made an important phone call. So I take a few deep breaths, compose myself, dial and...busy. Grr. Ok, iron DH's uniform, call again....busy. Call my sister, make a list of all the baby stuff I need to buy, call again....busy. You get the idea.

Two and a half hours later - still busy........ I'll just call tomorrow.
Waffling on name now
I thought I had it all decided that the baby would be Addy Faith but now I'm having second thoughts. I think it's such an old, beautiful name but people either really love it or really hate it. I even had one person stare at me with this confused, quizzical look like I was naming her Moon Unit or Apple or something

My favorite is still Kara Grace but that was the baby that ended up adopted by her foster mother. C'mon out of the woodwork if you've been reading the blog and let me know what you think! You must have an opinion, help me out. It's a good way delurk and introduce yourself.

Which do you like best?

Addy Faith

or

Kara Grace
Got our Presentation Appointment!!
DH just called, we got the call for our presentation for Addy! It's next Thursday, January 11th at our house. I'm at work, I'm freaking out right now. I can't even put a coherent thought together never mind speak an entire sentence.

The psychic called DH and before he told her anything that's going on, she told him that we could have Hope but she sees many problems with her. Her friend who is a psychic saw us with a 2 year old with dark hair down to her shoulders. She is one who said at the first presentation that we weren't going to get Hope.

I HAVE A DAUGHTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Shhh, shopped a little
Yesterday was my early day from work so I stopped at Target on the way to oogle the baby stuff. I saw the most adorable shirt - hot pink shortsleeved with white longsleeves underneath with the saying "It's all my brother's fault". I couldn't resist it. It was too cute to pass up. I also bought a coral cable knit sweater for her. If we don't end up getting her, I'll just return them.

Last night I went to mall and had the best time browsing Gymboree, Children's Place and Baby Gap. Oh gosh, the stuff was so cute.

My mother just called, she got a practically brand new carseat that still has the tags on it and a highchair for us! Yay. I shopped around online for cribs. Walmart has a nice Jenny Lind crib for $100. Since she's 18 months, she probably won't use it for too much longer so spending $300 on a more expensive one seems stupid when we have so many other things to buy.

I have no idea how much stuff comes with the baby. Does the foster mother keep the clothes, toys, shoes she bought for future placements? I have to remember to ask that.

I think I want Addy. I'm falling with love with the idea of having her in our lives.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Maternity Leave
The dreaded phone call - I think I should make it tomorrow to give them the heads up.

We have different offices and my big boss is in the other office. I did call him when we found out it was down to us and the other lady for Hope just to put him on notice. Allowing for the few weeks until we actually find out which child we're getting then transition time, we're probably looking at a couple of months maybe? That will give them time to hire a temp and my nice co-worker that I job share with already committed to picking up more days and taking time off in the summer in place.

I only work 3-1/2 days so that is the max that Addy would be in daycare in any given week. My dh works a rotating shift so he could keep her home if he has a day or two off on one of the days I'm working.
Whirlwind Day (in a good way!)
Wow, so much has happened since my last post. I think since I've thought it over and gotten used to the idea of getting such a little one after focusing on an eight year old I can truly say that I'm equally as excited to get either one of them.

We discussed her birth name and it's really far out there so, if we are blessed with her, we plan to change it to Addy Faith after my great-grandmother and Faith just because it's my faith that brought us together.

My worker called with information on Hope. She really doesn't think that the lady is going to move forward. She had major concerns about the brother at the first presentation and he has now filed a motion for custody. The second presentation is scheduled for January 15th.

In the meantime, I'm waiting for Addy's caseworker to call to set up the presentation for her. They'll give me all her paperwork to have reviewed by the ped. I'm feeling so positive now that I've gotten all the advice from you all and talking to my ped friend. I hope I can see her picture soon! I'm dying to see her little face.

I found daycare center for her already! I called a couple of places and there weren't any openings. One place I called is under 5 minutes from our house and are licensed for DCYF and many families that use the center have foster or adopted kids. He will give me some references specifically from those parents. They're holding the spot for her and I told him I'd let him know either way in a few weeks and I can tour it if it's go.

So, I have done a total 180 or 360 or whatever in the last day. Potentially, in less than two weeks I could have my choice of either child. Hope will still have the custody issue. If I choose Hope, there is a small percentage that we could lose her to her brother and I wouldn't end up with either girl. Of course, Hope would be so much easier - no diapers, no daycare, etc. but if it comes to having to choose between them, I would choose Addy at this point. She would be all ours, no custody disputes, not even any family contact at all, she's young enough that we would be the only family she's ever known.

I prayed for clarity and I got it today with everything that's happened. I told the worker that we would be blessed with either girl. I wish I could adopt both! Hope said in her video she wanted a younger sister. I'm going to ask if we could possibly have one girl as a foster child and the other as a foster-to-adopt until one adoption is finalized and then start the second. I think that's against policy of having 2 unrelated children at the same time but it's worth a shot. It may never come to that. I hope Hope is picked by the other lady at the presentation so the decision is out of my hands.

Either way, by my birthday at the end of the month I will know the name of my little girl. My head is still spinning that it happened so fast after the holidays! I am truly blessed.
Slept on it
We talked about it last night with the boys are they are fine with getting a sister a lot younger than we thought we would.

I didn't get much sleep last night. I thought all night, cried, prayed. I cried all the way to work. I called a pediatrician friend and she told me what I need: get Early Intervention records and have them evaluated by my ped., talk to EI case manager, if possible have the ped do a physical exam on her. She was really encouraged that she is using a spoon to eat among other things I told her.

I called my worker and told her we want to move forward on Zoe but we will not give an answer until Hope's case is closed. She is trying to see when Hope's 2nd presentation is going to be and she'll let me know.

My firm belief is that Zoe was chosen for us by God and I will follow the path that was chosen for us. If Hope's family does not choose her, then it is meant to be that we are her parents. If not, then I can let her go and give myself fully to Zoe. I'm excited, teary, scared.

My two huge concerns are the seizure and bi-polar of the mother. I really have to research to see if they are hereditary. I know that cleft lip/palate runs in the family but the baby does not have it. There is a chance when she has children that they may inherit it though.

I need to move forward cautiously and gather as much information as I can. It's very important that I consider our existing family we have as well. A lifetime of issues for the baby could mean upheavals for the boys.

Thank you all so much for your advice. I can't thank you enough for the straight talk and encouragement that I needed. ((Hugs))
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Got a match - I'm scared
I got the call I've been waiting for....we've been chosen for a little girl. So, why aren't I jumping up and down and crying? Frankly, I'm scared shitless.

So, my worker calls and says she just got the email that we were matched with a little girl, "Zoe". I told her I really cannot commit until I find out there is absolutely no shot for us to have "Hope". So, she said she'd try and find out what's going on with her and I didn't have to give an answer now.

About Zoe - she's 18 months, African-American. taken at birth from the hospital. Has Early Intervention for fine/motor skills and speech. Dark curly hair, dark skin, big brown eyes. Likes TV, music and bathtime. Good eater, uses spoon.

Mother - (this is what is going to be the deal breaker for me). Diagnosed with ADHD, seizure disorder, mental delay, mild retardation, ODD, Bi-polar, illiterate. Alcohol and marajuana use (none noted at birth though).

Father - unknown

Mother already signed all papers and it will be closed adoption. She does not want any contacts.

I NEED ADVICE, PLEASE!!!!! Do you think I should turn her down? She's so little, any of the things she might have inherited may not be inherent right now but that doesn't mean it won't show up down the road.

I'm not not getting the warm fuzzies and immediate feelings of love that I had with Hope.

Is it ok to turn her down? I just want to cry. Am I being too picky or do these things throw major red flags to you, too?

I'm still waiting for them to get back to me with Hope's status. I pray that I won't have to make this decision regarding Zoe. I don't want to have to.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
More Adoption Books
I just ordered a few more books online and a couple of them are adoption related:

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wished Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge

and

Parenting Your Adopted Older Child: How to Overcome the Unique Challenges and Raise a Happy and Healthy Child by Brenda McCreight

I'll let you know how they are soon.

Between reading books, the Yahoo groups and other adoptive parents blogs, I have gained so much insight and learned so much about adoption. I've always been the kid who always had her face in a book at all times, I read cereal cartons or the newpaper while eating, I had a book for every car ride or bus ride, I used to read under the covers at night with a flashlight. I can't read enough. I have more books on primitives and colonial architecture and antiques that I can count, hundreds of magazines that I can't bare to throw away. I have a collection of "Country Living" magazines dating back to the late 70s. Those are among my most prized possessions. And don't even get me started on the internet. It's like crack for the reading addicts. The world is literally at my fingertips now - billions upon trillions of words just there to be read.

Now, I've started collecting adoption books. I've only read about 15 or 20 so far. Some have been really, really helpful. Some not so much. So, lurkers and readers (I hope I have some)....I pose this question to you - what adoption books have you read and which ones do you recommend and which ones are not worth investing in?
Follow-ups and inquiries
Now that the holidays are over, it's time to get back to work finding my child. I sent a few follow up emails and 2 new inquiries on some children. I will not let myself call on Hope and, unfortunately, that state doesn't give out email addresses for the caseworkers.

One boy/girl sibling group that we were interested may have a snag as the girl's foster parents had big dogs and one of them bit the girl so now she is afraid of dogs. They wanted more info on ours so I sent them a description as well as their photos from the presentation book. I guess it would all depend on the level of comfort she has with little dogs to see if we're eliminated or not.

The sibling group of 2 sisters still needs to gather a few more homestudies before a decision is made for them so she told me to follow up again in 10 days.

I feel really good that something good will happen sooner rather than later! New Year, New Optimism.

New Years Resolution update: ate 4 pieces of fudge and a bowl of Cocoa Krispies. OK, I'll start tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day. LOL.
Monday, January 01, 2007
Happy New Year
Happy New Year! I'm glad 2006 is over and I'm looking forward to see what 2007 brings. I have a new 365 days to find and bring my daughter home.

My resolutions:

1) Lose weight. My goal is 30 pounds but I'd be thrilled to lose 20.

2) Be patient in my adoption journey. I will not call on Hope for 3 weeks. Maybe 2 weeks? OK, I'll set a goal for 2 weeks and then I'll call if I haven't heard anything by then

3) Be a better housekeeper. I'm a slob, DH is a slob, the kids are slobs, the dogs are slobs. I hate cleaning - I would rather be on the computer or reading or watching tv. I resolve to clean more this year!

4) To have my daughter home for Christmas