Thursday, December 29, 2016

Potty Humor

So the potty humor has already started at 15 months old! Elmer was standing in the tub tonight, passed gas, looked at me and started laughing. I did nothing to encourage this reaction. Boys!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Longest Placement

Evie was here for 13 months and 13 days.  As of Monday, Elmer has become the placement that I have had the longest, at 13 months and 14 days and counting. 

Still waiting on a trial date for TPR. 

I was at a friend's house the other day and went into the bathroom.  Elmer followed after me, calling, "Mama!"  I hope that he is here forever.  But even if he isn't, for now I am his "mama" and every child needs and deserves someone to call that on a day-to-day basis. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

14 months





Elmer is 14 months old now.  I often watch him play and sit in amazement at how well he is doing, considering the start that he had. 


He can spontaneously say 17 words:
Pumpkin (our cat) (pupu)
Uh-oh
Yay
Mickey Mouse (nunu)
Banana (nana)
Paci (pa-pa)
Bubbles
Diaper (piper)
Up (bup)
Sock
Mama
Ball
More
Dog
Peekaboo (pu-boo)
Bye bye
Hi


He repeats MANY more words than these. 


He can point out 5 body parts when asked:
tummy
hair
ears
mouth
nose


He knows what 4 animals say:
Cat (ow)
Duck (kak)
Monkey (aaa-aaa)
Chicken (ba-ba)


He feeds himself with a spoon fairly well.


He knows where to go to get his medicine, to go bye-bye, to get his diaper changed.


He can kick a ball and walk really fast.  He still falls a lot.


He rats himself out when he is touching something he knows he is not supposed to, by saying "no-no-no" while he is touching it. 


He drinks one bottle at bedtime and usually passes out while doing so.  He sleeps with a lovey (thank goodness he is not particular - we have four different ones and he is cool with any of them) and a pacifier (sleeping is about the only time he has a pacifier).  He goes down in the crib at naptime and puts himself to sleep without crying. 


He is becoming such the little boy lately, and is still so happy!


Those curls!!
And just for fun, almost exactly one year apart.  (Nov 17, 2015, just 5 days after Elmer arrived; and Nov 22, 2016).  I did not put him in the carrier specifically to get a picture, nor did I purposefully have the same shirt on both years!





Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"You [Are/Are Not] the Father!"

Several weeks ago Elmer's caseworker (JATH) contacted me saying that there was a man who said he had had relations with Elmer's mom around the time of conception and that he may be Elmer's father.  He said that he had been in contact with Elmer's mom when Elmer was very young and had seen pictures of him then.  He said Elmer bore a striking resemblance to his family, who are all blond haired and blue-eyed.  (This put me somewhat at ease because although Elmer had had a fair complexion - and no hair so could have been any color - when he was very young, after the summer his complexion had darkened and his hair had come in a brown color.) 


So my question was: If he had known that Elmer existed since he was very young, where had this potential "father" been for the last year?!  I could almost get on board with this man taking custody of him if he was actually the father, and if he had had no clue that there was a baby until recently.  (Don't get me wrong, it would have COMPLETELY devastated me, and I would definitely have some serious grieving to do.)  But this person should have no bearing on Elmer's life at this point if he knew about Elmer and chose to ignore him for a full year. 


But he is biological family, and he does.  If this man was the dad, then that would introduce a whole different set of people as factors to Elmer's case - if he or any of his family were willing and capable/safe to care for Elmer, then DSS would move him to them without too many questions asked.  The fact that I have been caring for him for a year at this point and that I am the only home/mother he has ever known would not matter.


So Elmer had to have a DNA test to see if this person was his biological father. 


Meanwhile, I am torn up and stressed, but trying not to really think about it so that I wouldn't get too stressed.  Trying NOT to think about the "what if's". 


And then I got a text from the JATH saying


.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.


The man is NOT Elmer's biological father!




An instantaneous wave of relief came over me and I burst into tears.  So glad that I do not have to deal with a new set of unknowns! 


Now we still wait for the county's legal department to file for a TPR (termination of parental rights) trial with the court.  From my understanding, we have been waiting on this very thing since August. 


Patience. 


Patience.







Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Perdon

Pretty late in posting this, but...


We had a new friend stay with us for a couple of weeks back in late October-early November.  Her foster family was going out of the country so I provided respite for her. 


Perdon (Spanish for "excuse me," because that is how she started EVERY question... and she was very similar to Evie and asked A LOT of them) was five years old (actually just two months older than Evie - who just turned seven BTW! - was when she left here). She apparently had been moved from her first foster home to her current one due to behavioral issues, but I did not have any problems at all while she was here.  Current foster mom also said she doesn't have any issues, other than Perdon lying. 


The night before I was going to pick her up, I met up with her and her foster family to get her things, and also so that a stranger would not be picking her up from school the next day. At that point, I learned that there was a six-year old and twelve-year old who would be going to stay at a group home while the foster family was gone, since there were no other families that could provide respite.  I very strongly considered taking the six-year old as well.  I don't have space, and I knew it would be chaotic, but I hated the thought of a six-year old having to go to a group home!  However, when I asked the foster mom if she would be okay with Elmer, the mom said, "Well, you will have to watch her constantly and you will need to let him sleep in your room" because she had a history of sexual abuse and the foster mom was not sure how she would act.  That tipped the scale to the "No" side.


Perdon loved Elmer, and Elmer loved having someone to play with.  It was nice that when we walked in the door from daycare, I could get dinner ready (usually just cut up and heated up) without a baby hanging on my leg and crying, since he had someone to entertain him. 






Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cutest Thing Ever

I know that Elmer is not the first baby to dance to the M. Mouse Clubhouse Hot Dog song, but he is my first to do it. 


He will stop what he is doing when the song comes on and go right over to the TV.  He bounces his body up and down.  And then stops bouncing briefly at the parts when they stop the beat for emphasis ("problem soooolved" and "off the flooooor"). 


And it is pretty much the Cutest. Thing. Ever.



Friday, September 30, 2016

My First Halloween

Elmer was placed into DSS custody within his first few days.  He was about two weeks old when Tigger left my home on October 13 of last year.  I did not have any foster placement between that date and when Elmer was discharged from the hospital and placed with me on November 12.  At the time, I was sad that he had been in the hospital, alone, other than a visit from the caseworker, who knows how often.  I wished that someone had told me about Elmer and that I could have visited with him in the hospital before I brought him home.  For four weeks, I was sitting at my house alone as well, without any foster placement or any major responsibility.  I could have been at the hospital, at least a few times a week, rocking that baby, and loving on him, and bringing him clothes and other things.  I know that the nurses really did love on him, but nothing's the same as a mommy's snuggles. 


But last year, I really didn't think about Halloween.  Halloween is one of my favorite times of year (second only to Christmas).  I have been to several different stores in the last month or so, and the Halloween attire always catches my eye.  And when I look at the infant clothes, much of it says "My First Halloween." And then when I think about the fact that I missed Elmer's first Halloween, I get teary-eyed in the middle of the Target clothing section.  I just want to scoop one up and scrawl the words "With My Mom" in a Sharpie marker underneath that "My First Halloween."  But then I think... it's not a forever situation at this point, so I keep walking past, knowing that I will never buy my baby a shirt that says "My First Halloween," full of sadness that I missed this milestone.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Elmer at One

Elmer is almost a year old, and is doing so well!  Most, if not all, of his developmental milestones are ahead of average. 
  • He started standing ten or more seconds on his own and taking a few steps at a time by himself about a month ago.  Now he can stand pretty much as long as he wants, and is walking more and more around the house but still falls a lot.  I have seen him walk 15-20 feet at a time, but sometimes he falls after 4-5 steps. 
  • He wants to feed himself with a spoon, and a couple of weeks ago did pretty well with feeding himself yogurt, although it was messy. 
  • He can say the word "baby," but usually only does it in imitation of me saying it to him first.  He consistently signs "more" (by himself or in response to me asking him if he wants more) to get more food. 
  • Even though he doesn't say much, he understands A LOT.  He knows where his shoes go (will pick one up and put it to his foot) and what a brush is for (puts it up to his head).  He can do motions just by me saying the words "splash", "jump", "boom" (bang onto stuff), and "dance."  And he will hand me his pacifier when I ask for it (without me motioning for it). 
My little monster is having a monster-themed birthday party tomorrow, and we have done it up big!  I can't wait!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Adoption is Born Out of Loss

When I really think about it, hoping to adopt a child out of foster care is such a weird situation - especially when the parents are good parents at least some of the time. 


Meeting with Elmer's parents and seeing that they are good with him, and love him, brings some interesting thoughts to mind.  Hoping to adopt him is, in essence, hoping that they will lose their son.  Not that I think they should not lose their rights.  Their history (and even current actions) indicate that there is almost certainly no way they would be able to parent Elmer appropriately and safely 24/7.  But there are times, like in watching them with Elmer at the park, that it is obvious that they do love him and that they even have the potential to be good parents to him if they could ever break free from all of the demons that seem to have haunted them for many many years. 


So it makes me really sad that the only way for his adoption to happen is for these parents, that do obviously love their child, to lose their rights to him.  And for Elmer to lose the life of being raised by his biological parents. 


Adoption is a good thing.  It's even a joyous thing.  But we can't forget that behind the joy, lies tremendous loss for both the parents (whether they voluntarily give up their rights or their rights are taken away) and for the child. 

They Are So Inconsistent

Elmer had another visit with his parents on August 25th.  It was shocking that they visited TWICE in one month!  That weekend, his mom texted me, saying they had meant to send back diapers and wipes with him at the visit, and could we meet up at the park the next day for them to get them to us.  We actually had a busy day that day, so I told her I would touch base later in the week about possibly meeting up the next weekend. 


Not that I WANTED to meet up with his mom and/or dad.  But I knew that doing so would be best for everyone involved, in the end.  If I end up adopting him, it is good for them to see Elmer with me and see that he is happy and how much he loves me (and how much I love him).  And if, heaven forbid, he somehow ends up back with them, I need to see them with him and try to have some sort of relationship so I can maintain some sort of contact. 


So we ended up meeting up at the park on September 4th.  Elmer's mom, dad, and maternal grandmother were all there.  They were all very good with him.  I tried to stay far enough back where I could interact with the adults a little, but where Elmer would not really see me - because I knew he would want me if he did.  Which is exactly what happened when I walked over to look at his ear draining; but I was able to step back again and he was fine. 


We had somewhere else to be so had a reason to leave after about an hour.


And then the caseworker (JATH) told me they had a visit scheduled at the DSS office that Thursday, September 8th.  She came and picked him up and took him to the office, and then the parents didn't show up.  She said she followed through with the visit even though they had not confirmed the night before, because they had been consistent lately. 


And then there was another visit scheduled for today, and JATH said she would let me know yesterday if they had confirmed.  I assumed she would NOT come pick him up if there was no confirmation this time.  I never heard anything, and Elmer was never picked up for a visit. 


I'm pretty sure that the last two visits were not just scheduled by DSS where the mom may not have been aware or actually wanting them.  JATH had told me one time a while back that she was not setting up visits unless the mom requested them (every other week is standard for this county, unless the court orders more often).  So I'm pretty sure the mom initiated these visits, but then didn't follow through with a confirmation once the date actually came.  I'm just glad that Elmer didn't have to get in the car for an hour round-trip for a visit that didn't happen; and that he has no clue that his parents are flaking out on him. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Permanency Planning Trial

Court for permanency planning for Elmer's case was scheduled for August 22.  It was "Standby Case B", meaning it would get heard if there was still time after the main case and Standby Case A. 


For "hearings," each case is on the docket for 15 minutes only, so any contested matters - i.e. if DSS and the family cannot agree - are "continued" for trial. For trials, they will take as much time as needed to present the evidence and for the judge to make a decision.  Hence, sometimes the standby cases get heard on trial day, and sometimes they don't.


Court was planned for a workday for me (the hearings are usually on Fridays, a day that I don't typically work). I had just been out of work sick for ten days a couple of weeks before, so I decided not to take more time off of work for a case that might or might not get heard. 


In the end, the case WAS heard and the caseworker texted me that they got the agreement that the plan would be TPR concurrent with reunification so that the parents would agree.  She said that DSS was still planning on going through with the TPR. 


I wish that I had been there so that I could have seen how things progressed to end up at that point.  I thought that because this was a TRIAL, that it was up to the judge to make a decision and that they didn't need to have the parents agree.  So I don't know if the judge just felt sorry for the parents and so said reunification would be a concurrent goal; or if it was just easier to proceed if the parents agreed; or if this is TRULY a concurrent goal. 


I have had a couple of people ask how those two things could be concurrent goals since they are polar opposites.  It actually is common to have those two goals together.  Meaning, the goal is reunification (as it almost always is in foster care), but knowing that there are often times when the parents can't get it together and so there is a backup goal of TPR/adoption - and all the preparation for the adoption side of things is done if the reunification does not work out.  I understand the concurrent goal as a general concept.  However, in this particular case, I have a hard time wrapping my head around reunification still being any sort of goal, since the parents don't have a treatment plan and agreed to "forego all reasonable efforts to reunite."  So then why is reunification still written down on paper?

Monday, September 5, 2016

11 Months

Elmer is eleven months old now!  And is such a little monster!



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Quite a Feat


Somehow the daycare managed to squeeze my little fatty into a size 3-6 month onesie.  He is outgrowing some of his 12-month stuff, so that was quite a feat!

Monday, August 15, 2016

I Have Proof that Tank is Alive and Well

I have been thinking for the last several months that I need to try to get out to see Tank, realizing that I don't think I had seen him since late last summer.  The scare a couple of weeks ago was the catalyst for me to say, "Hey, let's get together!" 


Elmer and I met up with Tank and his aunt at the park this weekend.  He didn't know who I was, but when I started walking over with Elmer in the stroller, Tank ran over and yelled. "Baby!!"  It was soooo humid, but at least the playground was shaded and the kids didn't really care about the heat. 


They both were swinging - Elmer was laughing at Tank and watching him the whole time, and Tank was screeching in delight as the swing went back and forth. 






And then a dog walked by and Tank yelled, "Puppy!  Puppy!" and his aunt says that he loves dogs. 

So now I have seen with my own eyes that Tank is alive and well! 



Sunday, August 14, 2016

They Know

Elmer has gotten to a point that I can just lay him down in the crib when it is time to go to bed (or nap), and he goes to sleep.  Sometimes he talks and rolls around for 10-15 minutes, but he almost never cries. 


We were at my mom's house today, helping them unpack.  It was time for Elmer's nap, so I held him for a little bit - he was looking around at all the different surroundings.  When I laid him down in the pack n play, he immediately stood up and started crying.  I ended up having to lie in the bed with him to get him to go to sleep. 


This made me think about these babies that come into foster care.  Even at ten months old, they KNOW that something weird/traumatic/scary is going on.  Machine Gun was the same age as Elmer is now, during the few days I had him. I could tell that he knew things were different - he would immediately look up at the ceiling fan whenever we would enter a room.  He screamed when I would even stand up to walk across the room; he had to be rocked to sleep and held a LONG time before I could put him down. 


When in a strange place and a strange bed, even with the person he knows as mama, Elmer was scared and had a hard time going to sleep.  I can't even imagine what it is like for these babies who come into care and have to do a strange place and a strange bed, without even the comfort of a familiar person. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Who Thinks That's Okay?

Elmer had a visit last week with his mom and dad.  He was supposed to have a visit the week before, but mom cancelled it.  The caseworker told me that mom and dad are both still under the impression that they are getting him back.  But that they both have had lawyers the whole time, so they should understand what it meant when they agreed to DSS's plan to "forgo all reasonable efforts to reunite."


They brought him diapers and wipes, a bunch of clothes from The Children's Pl*ce (I always wonder where the money for all these expensive clothes comes from), and a few other things, including this:




Yes, those are wires hanging out the back of the toy.  I honestly can't figure out why, unless the toy was made defective.  But who thinks this is okay to give a child?!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sometimes

Sometimes I sit and watch Elmer playing,
and tears form in my eyes as I think about how amazingly well he is doing,
considering his start in life. 
 

Monday, August 1, 2016

My Heart Attack

This afternoon I got a voice mail (to my Google Voice phone number which I use for communication with bio's) from Tank's mom.  Tank's mom has never called me, and I don't think I even gave her this particular number. 


It said, "This is Tank's mom.  You took care of my son for a while.  I just heard the bad news about Tank.  I just wanted to say thank you for everything you did for him when I couldn't.  Please call me when you can."


My heart DROPPED.  What has happened to Tank?  I immediately texted Tank's aunt and asked what had happened.  And tears started to well up as I pulled up the online obituaries.  Something in her voice told me this was what it was.  I paused and said to myself, "I can't believe I am about to type in his name to search in the obituaries" and said a silent prayer that nothing would show up.  The search did not produce any results, so I breathed, but only slightly. 


In the next minute or so, I got a response from Tank's aunt saying, "Someone told her that he was dead.  That baby is just fine!  Somebody is very cruel to do that to her!"


And then the tears came gushing out in a release of emotion knowing that he is okay. 


I told her to give him extra snuggles for me tonight, and then I did the same with my baby here. 


Wow.  When I use and hear the phrase, "Foster care is a roller coaster", I never expected it would include something like this. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ten Month Photo Catchup

First trip to the waterpark

Middleton Gardens - up close and personal with lots of animals

We went to my aunt's lakehouse for the weekend.  Elmer stood here for at least ten minutes watching my cousins' kids playing the game.

This is an outfit that Tank wore at 5 months old, shortly after he came to me.  Elmer is 9 months here.

First tooth finally coming through just before nine months old

I took some 9-month pics of Elmer at the park.

That curl.  He's starting to get more in the back, too.

First time with red-sauced pasta

Blurry, but cute!  First Fourth of July

Getting into everything!

"Give me that camera!"

This is Elmer rolling, trying to get away from me because he knew I was trying to take a picture and wanted him to be still!

Ten months old

Saturday, July 30, 2016

It's Not All About Adoption

I have started this post in my head several times, from several different angles based on my then-current situation. 


First, in a position that I felt fairly confident that I will be able to adopt Elmer but just wasn't sure when.


Then, after court when mom named two more relatives, when there was a very real possibility that Elmer may be leaving me. 


And now, when it again looks more like I will be able to adopt him, but (although my brain has always known this) when I have the reality check that no matter what the case looks like, there is always a possibility that a child in foster care will leave.


But no matter what angle I was going to come at this post from, the message was always going to be the same: Foster care is NOT all about adoption.


In my interactions with other foster parents (both online and in person), I have discovered that there are some foster parents who are bitter, angry, and unsatisfied.  And I have discovered that these are usually the foster parents who are ONLY fostering to be able to adopt a child. 


We all have issues with The System.  Many of us have experienced situations where we are sad and angry (and frightened) that children are reunited with parents into a situation that we know is unsafe and the child is very likely to end up back in foster care (or worse).  But if the foster parents have the right mindset for foster care, the number one reason that they are sad and angry is because they fear that CHILD is not going to be safe; not because they are sad and angry that they won't be able to adopt them.   Of course, they may also be sad that they won't be able to adopt them, but that is not the primary thought. 


The goal for children in foster care (at least at the beginning) is always reunification, either with the biological parent(s) or with some other member of the biological family.  That goal may quickly change if the parents have walked away with no contact, or if they are in jail for the next 10 years for example, and there are no family members that are suitable to care for the child.  But most of the time, even a year (or sometimes three) into the case, the goal remains reunification.  The goal in even Elmer's case, whose parents have no treatment plan and have only visited with him three times in eight months, is still officially reunification. 


Foster parents have to enter into foster care with that understanding.  DSS is NOT an adoption agency, and should not be looked at as that by foster parents.  And the foster parents that have the attitude that they are only in it to adopt are miserable with foster care pretty much all the time.  They get mad with any decision that DSS makes toward reunification.  And they often close their home after a child they were hoping to adopt is sent back home. 


I am the first to admit that I would LOVE to adopt Elmer, and even that I hope that happens.  When his parents were not given treatment plans and no relatives stepped up to take care of him, I began to expect that I would adopt him.  And if I am not able to, I will be absolutely Heart.Broken and will have a lot of grieving to do. 


But even at the point that I was expecting to be able to adopt Elmer, I fully understood (and still do) that anything could happen, and that if family members came out of the woodwork that were able to care for him, they would move him to be with that family. 


So if you are considering foster care, PLEASE don't go into it with the sole purpose of adopting a child without the high-ticket price of a private adoption.  You have to be willing and able to support reunification, as long as it is a safe situation, EVEN IF that child would have what you consider a "better" life with you, a life with exposure to more experiences and opportunities.  If you can't support reunification, foster care is not for you. 


It is okay to want to adopt a child that you foster; but you also have to have the mindset that the primary goal is going to be reunification and that anything can happen at any point.  If you don't, you are destined to spend most of your time on the foster care roller coaster being bitter and angry.

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Sigh of Relief

At least for now. 


I finally talked with Elmer's caseworker today, after playing phone tag for a few weeks.  She said they did not end up doing home studies on the two relatives that mom named at court last month.  (From what I understood from her, though, neither was a blood relative to Elmer.)


The first was under the impression (from mom) that they would just be taking care of Elmer for a while until mom got him back.  When the caseworker explained that this would be a long-term arrangement, they were no longer interested.


The second apparently has not returned any phone calls to set up a home study. 


And I got a letter in the mail today saying that my home study had been submitted for consideration to be the adoptive family for Elmer. 


So I'm breathing a little easier tonight.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Case Update

Court was June 17th. 


This was both a merits hearing for dad (because he had not shown up the first two times, but court was continued due to the fact that he had a lawyer there), and a permanency planning hearing (to determine what the long-term case plan is). 


As far as the merits hearing, dad was present (maybe not of his own will) and did not contest that DSS was not offering him a treatment plan.  However, they did stipulate that dad could complete treatment on his own. 


As far as permanency planning, DSS recommended the permanency goal be changed to TPR and adoption.  Both parents contested that.  Because it was contested, now there has to be a permanency planning TRIAL for both sides to present testimony and the judge to decide what the permanency plan should be.  (As of right now, I have not heard a trial date.) 


* I did not know that there was a separate permanency planning HEARING and TRIAL.  I do remember a note on one of the previous court notices for another child, saying, "This is scheduled for 15 minutes.  Any contested matters will be continued for trial."  I will say that every time I go to court, I seem to learn something new.  At some point when I feel like I know enough to do so, I want to write a post summarizing the legal process and all of the things that can happen. *


And in the midst of the discussion about permanency planning, the bomb was dropped.  Elmer's mom has named two more relatives that need to be investigated to see if they are feasible placements.  Ugh.  Where were these relatives nine months ago?!  My guess is that they were not willing to take him when there was potential for him to have issues, and now that he is "fine", they are okay with it.  (Or I hope - selfishly - that maybe they are still not okay with it, and mom is just trying to buy time.) 


And it's now a month later, and I haven't heard any more information one way or the other about these other two relatives - if home studies have been completed, what the results were if they have, or if they have declined home studies (as at least one of the other relatives in the past did).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Is One Out of Three Acceptable?

I previously wrote about the start to the adoptions process in this post. I was able to attend the third day of "training" on the first Saturday of May.  (The first two days were already completed when I did my foster care training - this is a day specifically for adoptions, although most of what we went over I already knew from doing foster care.)  One of the discussions during the day was about the fact that when you adopt from foster care, you have to sign an agreement saying you will never use corporal punishment (including spanking) as a form of discipline for that child you adopt.  Although I signed a contract not to use corporal punishment for foster children, and although I don't think I would really use it much anyway as I feel there are many more effective forms of discipline, I was a little surprised to find out that this is dictated for a family even after an adoption has taken place.  The reason is that many of these children have endured physical trauma and/or abuse from their families in their lives, and corporal punishment is likely to trigger major issues for these kids.  But... it just seems that it might be something that no one could truly enforce once an adoption has happened. 


But I digress...


Then in June, Elmer's GAL (guardian ad litem) called saying that she needed to see him before court on the 17th; she gave me only a few days notice, so I had no choice but to have her go see him at daycare.  However, in seven months, she had not ONCE come to the house or seen me interact with Elmer.  I really wanted her to do that so that she could provide first-hand information about where Elmer should end up when it went to the adoptions committee to decide the adoptive family.  So we scheduled a visit for the following week. 


I was off all day on Wednesday, so I ended up scheduling a bunch of different things.  Elmer's adoptions worker (the one who no-showed or cancelled three times) was supposed to come at 9am, the GAL was supposed to come between 9 and 9:30, and the person completing my adoptions home study was supposed to come at 11am.  At 8:55am, the adoptions worker called and said she thought the appointment was at 9:30 and she would need to reschedule; I told her if she could be here by 9:30, to just come on.  I had planned all of these things for a day that I was off, and trying to find a different day that would work would be even harder than adjusting my schedule that day. 


She arrived at 9:30 and was gone by 9:45.  At this point, the GAL still hadn't arrived yet.  I called her to see if she was still planning on coming (as we hadn't set up an exact time), and she said she forgot about it because she had been out sick, but could be here in 20 minutes.  So we waited.  She as well was not here very long.  As soon as she left, I took Elmer to daycare so that I could get back for the adoptions home study.  She was the only of the three appointments that actually showed up on time. 


The adoptions home study was pretty much exactly the same as the foster care home study, except this lady asked a lot more questions that were not in the autobiography packet.  (I don't know if that was a difference between foster and adoption home studies, or just a difference in the two interviewers.)  I also had to ask the foster care home study examiner if she was going to look at the child's room; this adoption examiner asked to see practically every square inch of the house!  The laundry room, the backyard, the bathrooms, the linen closet, on and on. 


She also had to come back a second time as a formality (they said at the foster care home study that they usually come twice, but because I was single, they were able to complete everything they needed to in one visit).  She emailed me July 5th to let me know that she had submitted my home study to DSS that day.  From what I hear, it usually takes about a month for the state to give an answer about the license. 


As a reminder, this adoptions process is on a completely independent and separate timeline from the timeline of Elmer's case.  I actually had her complete the home study as a general one (not specifically for Elmer) so that it would still be valid if things do not end in adoption with Elmer.  (Separate post about Elmer's case coming.) 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Bad Blogger

I have been a bad blogger lately.  I'm going to get back into it.  There is so much stuff to say.


In the meantime, here are Elmer's 8- and 9-month pictures. 






Saturday, May 21, 2016

Life Just Got a Lot More Interesting

This is what has been happening this week.  

video




Enter, baby jail.




He's not really happy to be in the Exersaucer anymore, so I need a way to contain him at times. 

Elmer's been a busy boy this week!

Friday, May 13, 2016

What Has Elmer Become?

Elmer has been turning into all kinds of things lately! 


  • Human Garbage Disposal: He is eating all kinds of baby foods, puffs, and small bites of table food.  He has liked EVERYTHING I have given him!  Except spinach.  He will bang the table and/or whine/fuss between each bite to get more. 
  • Houdini: See that strap by his feet?  I was tucking the excess under the car seat so he wouldn't chew on it, since the strap touches the ground when I put the car seat down.  Well, he has now figured out how to move his feet around on top of it to wiggle the strap out, so he can lift it up with his feet and grab it with his hands to chew on it! 
    
  • Wiggle Worm: He is moving EVERYWHERE!  He can get up on his hands and knees, move from the floor to sitting up by himself, and is constantly moving!
  • Albert Einstein: He will purposefully put his bib over his face, and then pull it down when I say, "Where did you go?"  Most seven-month olds will pull a blanket off of their face to play peek-a-boo, but I think it's pretty advanced to independently put something over his face to start the game. 
  • My Offspring: We were at the doctor's office yesterday, and another patient's mom said, "Aww, he looks JUST like you!"  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Things That Have Been Said About Elmer by Strangers This Weekend

  • He looks like a baby model!
  • Hi!  Oh wow!  That is a big smile!
  • He's so happy!  Is he always this happy?  [Pretty much.]
  • He looks like the Gerber baby.
  • When a baby comes through here that is calm like that, it makes me want to have kids.  (said by the teenaged grocery store cashier)


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Meet Elmer



For anyone new to the blog, this is 7-month old Elmer. 
7-month old with a high-risk history who has just started getting up on his hands and knees, and who has just learned to purposefully put his bib up over his face and pull it back down to play peek-a-boo. 
7-month old who is now one of the most "chill" babies I have ever seen, but once was a 6-week old who was never fully settled. 
7-month old who smiles all. the. time. but whose adorable smile I can't show you.  :(

Elmer is the fifth foster child that has been placed with me.  He is the first one that has had a primary plan of adoption.  The next step is another merits hearing that will be scheduled for dad in June sometime (he has not showed up for the first two).  The caseworker thinks they will be asking for recommendation of TPR (termination of parental rights) as well during that court date.  This case is going on way too long for one where the parents aren't even being given a treatment plan.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Review: Busy Baby


One day when I took Tigger to the doctor, we got this book.  He LOVED it and talked to the baby on each page.  He would always look to the side of the book that had the baby's face on it. 

Now Elmer also interacts with this book.  He doesn't talk to the babies but has started smiling at some of them.  The one below is his favorite!  Interestingly enough, his second favorite is one that Tigger didn't talk to.


The book seems so simple (just one short sentence and a baby's picture on each page) but I'm realizing that this is a GREAT book for the six-ish month age group.  And apparently it is only one in the Baby Days series.  This book is definitely staying in my infant book rotation!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Slow Down!



Not even seven months old, and last night he rolled from his back to his side and pushed up onto his arm.  I waited to see what he would do.  He stayed in this position at least thirty seconds, and then lowered onto his elbow and rolled back to his back. 


Little one, you need to stop growing up so fast!!

Music Monday: When I See You Smile

That smile. 
Brightens up my every day.












Saturday, April 9, 2016

Previous Placement Updates


Tank's aunt texted me a bunch of pictures this week.  He is sooooo precious.  He has a head full of curly hair and still has rolls going up his arms.  He will be two this month.  It's hard to believe my first baby is almost two! 

My nephew Bop keeps asking about Evie and saying that he misses her.  So I texted Evie's mom last week and asked if I could come pick her up and take her to Ch*ck E. Ch--se's with Bop since it was spring break.  I never got a response.  :(  I hope everything is okay.

What Elmer's Mom Brought for Him at the Visit


Because every six month old needs a big pile of stuffed animals.

What Happened in That Half a Mile?

Yesterday, JATH was scheduled for a visit with TT's baby at 4:00 and with Elmer at 4:30. 


I was looking forward to her visit as Elmer had had a visit with his mom on Thursday and I wanted to hear how it went.  JATH was also supposed to ask his mom what his middle name is, so I wanted to find that out.  (I'm fairly certain I will change Elmer's first name if I adopt him, but I want to know what his middle name is, as I may keep that; and if so, that may affect what first name I will use.)  I also was wanting to ask her about what was next in terms of Elmer's dad. 


At 5:00, I texted JATH asking if she was still planning to come.  I didn't get a response.  At 5:15, I texted TT and asked if JATH was still at her house.  She said, "No, she left here about 20 minutes ago.  I asked if she was headed to your house now, and she said yes."  Then I called JATH and got no answer - I left a voice mail.  I still have not heard anything back from her. 


So I'm wondering... what happened in that half a mile between TT's house and my house?? 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Elmer is Growing and Doing New Things!

I realized that I haven't really posted much about all the amazing things Elmer has been learning. 




Between three and four months:


 He started rolling over from back to stomach!

 Lying on his stomach with cousin Bop watching TV.

Um, Elmer, let's go back to that sleeping through the night thing!!

Just a cute shot of Elmer snuggling his monkey blanket.

Between four and five months:
 He started grabbing his feet.

 He got his first Valentine's Day card,

and celebrated his first Valentine's Day.

 He started eating cereal (and was a champ from the beginning - he opened his mouth as soon as the spoon came near it!)

 and then ate more foods - making a mess of some of them!



Between five and six months:
 He started sitting up in the stroller and on the "sit up" side of the bathtub. 

 And was working on sitting up in general.

First time in the big swing.  He laughed immediately.

 He celebrated his first St. Patrick's Day,

and first Easter.

 Checking out what the Easter bunny brought him.



I feel like I'm going to blink and he will be walking!