Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Adoption Process

I got a call in late January from someone from our Region's Adoption Services, saying that she needed to meet with  me and Elmer. 

We set up a meeting for the first Friday in February (Fridays are my day off and when I try to plan all the foster care meetings and doctor's appointments, etc.).  She didn't show up.  I called her 30 minutes after she was supposed to be here.  She made an excuse, but really, I was gathering that she just forgot to put it on her calendar. 

So we rescheduled for the next Friday at the same time that Elmer's caseworker would be doing her monthly visit.  The day before that meeting, the adoptions worker called and said she thought she was working her part-time job the following Friday but it was actually the Friday we had set up our meeting... so she needed to reschedule.

I couldn't do the following Friday (because it was Twin's adoption day) so we set up an evening that week.  Two hours before we were supposed to meet, I got a voice mail from the adoptions worker saying that she had another appointment at the same time that she had failed to put on her calendar so she would have to reschedule. 

At this point, I was hot.  We had three different appointments already set up, and three times she had to reschedule (or no-showed), not due to unforeseen circumstances or emergencies coming up, but rather due to her NOT WRITING THINGS DOWN ON HER CALENDAR and not being able to manage her schedule.  I was already anxious to get the ball rolling because I didn't want there to be any hold-up if the judge recommended termination of parental rights (TPR) at the next court date, which I figured would be in April or so.  (Since then, I have learned we are nowhere near close to that point yet.)  So I called and left a not-so-nice voice mail saying I wanted to make sure she had checked and re-checked and re-checked again her schedule to make sure that we actually had the meeting this time, as I had already arranged my schedule three different times for this meeting.  When she returned my call, she had the nerve to say, "Well, I am trying to get this done on YOUR schedule.  Evenings are more difficult." [We had only scheduled one evening - the others were Friday afternoons.]

We FINALLY were able to meet up the following week.  Basically all that was done was that she asked if I was interested in adoption, I said yes and signed a form stating that and that said all the pre-requisites had to be completed in 90 days, and the adoption worker asked if I had contacted Adoptions Services yet to get the process started.  I said, um, no, I thought that's what you were here for.  Apparently not.  She gave me the name and number of the person to contact and I rode her phone for several days until I got in contact with her.  During our meet-up, the adoptions worker also said that once rights were terminated, they would put me with 2-3 other families to a committee who would decide who the child would be adopted by.  That the foster family usually is the one chosen, but that there are no guarantees.  I knew that this would be said (several other foster families had told me this), but even so, it still makes your gut drop. 

Once I talked with the Adoptions Services office, they set me up to go to Adoptions Orientation shortly after.  I went to that meeting, which basically was a lot of things I already knew, or discussing requirements I already had done through the foster care licensing process. 

At this point, I have filled out the few pieces of paperwork that were not included in my foster care licensing, and have emailed Adoptions Services to determine if they need the rest of the requirements or if they can get them from my foster care licensing file. 

This whole adoptions process is completely separate from Elmer's actual case.  Even if all the adoptions requirements are completed does not mean that adoption would happen any time soon after.  The parental rights would have to be terminated first, which may be on a completely different time frame than the adoptions process. 

I've been fostering for almost two years now, and there are still things that I have no clue about!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Foster Care Review Board

On March 2nd, the first Foster Care Review Board for Elmer was held.  I was told that the board members like for the foster parents to bring the babies in so they can see how they are doing.  I had scheduled an ENT appointment for Elmer for the same afternoon, so I picked him up from daycare and went to the Foster Care Review Board meeting first. 

Bio's didn't come (not that I thought they would).  Although apparently mom had texted JATH the day before and said she was going to drop off some clothes for Elmer - and then did not show up for that, either.  (She later dropped off the clothes, which were all from Gymb*ree.  Most were marked as clearance but still not extremely cheap.  It's always interesting what clothes the family brings.  About 3/4 of these clothes were in the right size, but about half of those were winter clothes - and we are pretty much out of winter at this point.  The other things were in random sizes up to 12 months bigger than what Elmer is in now.) 

Although the board usually asks the foster parents and other "spectators" to step out while they deliberate, they did not ask me to leave, saying "I think we're all on the same page."  Then one of the board members said, "We have decided he is going home with me," to which I quickly replied, "You will have to fight me for him!" 

Then their real recommendation: "We are going to recommend termination of parental rights."  (Reminder that the judge is the one who makes any actual decisions concerning this - the Foster Care Review Board just gives their recommendation to the judge.)

The meeting was also where I learned they cannot proceed with the next court hearing yet because they still have to have a merits hearing for dad.  Ugh.

Friday, March 18, 2016

My Bald Babies

(Alternately titled: I've Definitely Gotten My Money's Worth Out of This Exersaucer)

I was looking at Elmer in the Exersaucer the other day and was thinking I have taken a picture of the other two babies in it from above, so I should do the same for him and put them side by side.  The thought also crossed my mind that it might be difficult to tell them apart from this angle.  :)

Sweet, sweet babies.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ear Infections

February 17, Elmer had his first appointment with the ENT, after his eardrum ruptured the day before.  The doctor gave him antibiotic eardrops, in addition to the oral antibiotics he already had, and told us to come back in two weeks so he could get a better look at the ears when they weren't infected. 

At that appointment on March 2, the doctor said the ears were no longer infected but still had fluid in one ear.  He said to come back again in six weeks - if there was still fluid in the ear, he would do ear tubes; if Elmer got another ear infection before then, he would do ear tubes. 

Elmer is pretty much always congested to some degree.  But the weekend of March 5th, he started wheezing and coughing more than usual.  After four or five days of this without much improvement, even with nebulizer treatment, I made an appointment with the pediatrician.  "Well, his lungs sound a little wheezy but not nearly as bad as I was expecting based on his cough... but both of his ears are infected."  Oh, geeeez....

I called the ENT office and talked with the nurse.  She talked to the doctor, who said he was okay with proceeding with tubes without seeing Elmer again.

So that is scheduled to happen in a few weeks.  I'm hoping that will decrease some of the random crying and/or waking up at night that Elmer is doing most nights. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Four Months with Elmer

I am planning to do a series of more detailed posts on the following items, but I wanted to go ahead and give a quick update since I have been a bad blogger lately. 

A couple of days ago marked four months since Elmer was placed with me, and three days longer than I have had any other baby. 

Developmentally, he is doing GREAT.  He is ahead of his age with pretty much all his milestones.  He belly laughs all the time! 

Medically, he has still struggled with ear infections and just last week, the doctor decided to proceed with ear tubes in a few weeks.

As far as the case goes, I am hoping to be able to adopt him.  Bio Mom was not offered a treatment plan, and has been to court during which she agreed to this.  Bio Dad did not show up to that court date in January, nor to the previous court date that was held before Elmer was placed with me, so he still has not had his merits hearing.  They have to have that before they can recommend termination of parental rights... I'm not sure how many times Bio Dad has to not show up before they move on without him. 

He is so happy now - always smiling.  And he is so chill - he hardly ever cries unless he is tired or hungry.  I long ago fell head over heels in love with him.  He's such a sweet and fun baby to have around, and I hope things stay that way forever.