Monday, August 27, 2012

A Week Until School Starts!

Today we begin easing into our new daily school routine.  The kids have been sleeping until about 9:00 most of the summer.  Today and tomorrow they get up at 8, then Wednesday through Friday at 7.  Starting next week we will begin our days at 6:30 so that we can fit everything in without working on schoolwork late in the day!

I have almost everything we need, although finding the best way to organize it all is not coming as easily to me as it has in past years. And I was going through our supplies last night, I discovered that I haven't bought any regular pencils yet!  Ridiculous!  Other than that, we are good on supplies (I think!), although I am watching for good crayon sales because I always like to stock up on those this time of year.  I do still need to get a couple of books for Hunter, but as usual, we are going to start the year off with some review, so we will be set for the first week or so.  

I do wish I could find a couple of desks, but I have little hope of that.  I may try to check one or two little antique places around here, but I'm not getting my hopes up.  If I could find them, it would make life quite a bit easier.  However, I do have a small desk that is currently in Ryan's room; he has never used it, and if these first few weeks of school go by and he still doesn't use it, I'll be re-commandeering it for more practical purposes than collecting odds and ends!

With the start of the new school year, the kids are going to start some classes at the YMCA.  Hunter doesn't know it yet, but he is going to take a rock climbing class on Monday nights.  I'm still looking into options for the girls; I was hoping to get them into swim, but the fall schedule isn't out yet and I'd really like to find classes that meet at the same times. 

Well, I guess that's it for now.  I have a TON of things to get done this week, and I have my doubts that getting them all accomplished is even realistic.  (That won't stop me from trying though!)

I hope as you prepare for the new school year - whether you are a parent, a teacher, a student, a homeschooler, or any combination - that things go smoothly and you enjoy a great start to a new year!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another K3 Update

Well I think I'm level-headed enough to try to write about yesterday's hearing.

I texted the Caseworker this morning just to confirm nothing had happened at the hearing yesterday.

The motion they went in for didn't pass, as everyone predicted.  But, the judge discovered something else.  The piece of paper stating the TPR was being filed on the parents wasn't attached to the main petition packet.  So the judge threw out all the grounds reasons that were contained in that petition.  They still have the grounds that she has been in out-of-home care for 15 out of 22 months (she's been in foster care for 24 months now), but the DA doesn't think it will be enough.  (I don't know why, when 15/22 is a federal statute, and ought to be enough all on its own.)

Bottom line: if they decide to drop the petition now, they can't refile again for 6 months.  

Why does every single case have to be difficult?  Why can't we catch ONE break?  

Sorry.  /pityparty

I just think children deserve better than this.  She's already having attachment issues and fear of abandonment, which are affecting her behaviors.  Dragging this out is definitely not going to make those things any better.  


Monday, August 20, 2012

K3 Update

Well, since we're calling Liam by his future/hopeful adoptive name, I might as well start referring to our other little one by hers - Kaedyn :-).  We are alternating names with her, here at home, to give her time to get used to the name.  Her birth first name will become one of her middle names, along with Ann - the middle name of my mother-in-law and one of my best friends.  (In case you missed it in the past, each of our kids has two middle names and at least one family name/namesake.)  After a few weeks of declaring she was "not Kaedyn," two weeks ago she proudly announced she "was not ______; she wanted to be Kaedyn."  (Cruel, you say?  Not exactly.  We started calling her by her new name now, so that if after months of hearing it she still did not want it, we would not force it on her at adoption.)  The really funny part is, Kaleigh went through this exact same thing.  For weeks, she said, rather vehemently, "I'm not a Kaleigh, I'm a Shilah!"  And then suddenly one day she said, "I want to be a Kaleigh!" and the next time she saw her Great Grandparents she said, "I'm not a Shilah, I'm a Kaleigh!"  It was so cute.  And just melted this Mama's heart.

Anyway, there you go.  I love, love, LOVE our kids' names.  I should probably write a post about where each of their names, first and middle, come from.  They are each intentional and meaningful.

SO.  Tomorrow is a hearing on Kaedyn's case.  We don't need to be there; in fact, the birthparents won't even be there, just the attorneys.  The hearing is so that the attorneys can be heard on a motion that even they admit is frivolous and won't be granted.

On the one hand, I'm glad we don't have anything to worry about.

On the other hand, I think it's absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable that the system can be used this way - by attorneys who are supposed to be ethical and do the right thing, of all the people in this system.  The TPR hearing is scheduled for October; we continue to hope and pray that it will not be rescheduled again.  She goes for her once-a-month visit this week, and I'm not looking forward to it.  She doesn't really know him, but I still hate having to send her away for those couple of hours.  I will be glad when thoughts of him/them are not constantly waiting at the back of my mind.  (Yes, thoughts of the birthparents, as a piece of our family one way or the other, are always "there."  But it's not the same as their constant presence, no matter how infrequent.)

So even though it really isn't likely to change anything, I will still be waiting pretty much all day to hear from the CW confirming that the motion was not granted.

Friday, August 17, 2012

On Grandparents

I want to start by saying I think grandparents are God's most wonderful invention.  I, of course, have the best grandparents on the planet!  My parents are amazing grandparents, and if my husband's parents were alive, I know they would be too.  My parents love being grandparents, and our kids absolutely love their Grammy and Papa.  Personally, I don't know what I would do without them - my mom never hesitates to run over or take the kids whenever I need her to (and I try very hard not to take that for granted!)

Those of you who were with us when we went through our first adoption, know that we had a huge struggle with great grandparents in that situation.  Hunter had lived with them on and off for most of his life, and Kaleigh for all of hers. There were issues with boundaries, safe and appropriate parenting practices, and discipline; as well, the reasons the children were taken into foster care were multi- and cross-generational.  When we started putting boundaries in place (no overnights, controlled visits, limits on gifts), we had problems for awhile.  Things have gotten a little better over the past couple of years, although birthdays and holidays continue to be a struggle on the spending side of things.

Now that we have Liam, we have another grandparent situation.  His biological paternal grandmother has legal guardianship of his 3-year-old brother, who has Down's syndrome.  Early on in the process, I was a little nervous, given our history with grandparents.  However, she and I have kept in regular phone contact, and have had to play dates so far, so that the boys can see each other, and of course so she can see Liam.  She is down to earth and practical; having been a foster parent, she understands the system and exactly what we are going through.  She also has a very realistic view of the kind of person her son is, and what he is and is not capable of doing.  I think (and HOPE) she knows that he is safe and happy with us and that we are a good family for him.  I am actually looking forward to keeping in touch with her and know she will be a valuable part of Liam's life.

It's nice to have a positive grandparent experience after the other difficult one we have dealt with!

And thanks to my parents for being fabulous grandparents, and thanks to the rest of you grandparents out there who are doing such a great job!  We parents - and our kids - need and appreciate you!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quick Liam Update

So, here's my almost-two-day-late update on court yesterday!

We got into the area early (it's an hour away, and we had to drive during a BAD traffic time!) so we got Starbucks* of course :-).

This judge's courtroom is the same courtroom that Hunter and Kaleigh's judge was in, two and a half years ago.  I'll take that as a good sign.

Neither parent had a TPR attorney (a public defender who knows the ropes of the TPR process), because their previous attorneys had not referred them to new attorneys yet, as is their job.  I had a feeling they thought they were "helping" by doing this (or maybe just being lazy!), because they knew the judge would adjourn the hearing, thereby drawing things out.  However, if that was their intention, it sort of backfired. 

The judge did adjourn the hearing (he didn't really have a choice when they didn't have representation), but he also suspended visits until at least that time.  They both kind of freaked out, which didn't make a lot of sense to me.  In 8 weeks, bdad has not seen Liam once, and bmom has seen him twice, and only because the caseworker made an "exception" visit last week (and because I disrupted my schedule to make it happen).  After a lot of crying and pleading on the part of the bp's, the judge stood by his ruling and said no visits between now and then. 

Today I had a home visit with the Caseworker (intentionally scheduled it for today, knowing I would want to discuss and ask questions, etc.).  It went really well.  I lay in bed last night, having the hardest time trying to get to sleep because of everything running through my head, and she really quelled all my concerns, so that was good.  I also learned some new information, and was able to give her some new information (always good). 

Above all, we know God is in control, and we are trusting Him to take care of our Liam.  He loves him even more than I do - and that's REALLY hard for me to comprehend!

So, that is about it for now.  The next hearing is in September.  I will update as that gets closer!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It Begins

Tomorrow we have our first hearing for the baby, who we are now calling Liam.  Since finding out he will be TPR'd, we decided to start calling him by the name he will receive when he is adopted.  He never really responded to "Ty," and the first time I said "Liam," he looked right at me.  We knew that was his name!

Tomorrow's hearing is the initial appearance for the TPR.  In our other TPR cases, we have come in midway through the process; so I have no idea what to expect from this hearing, other than that they will schedule the trial.  I also know that both the GAL and the Caseworker (and probably the DA) will be asking that visits be suspended until after the trial, but we aren't getting our hopes up.  The CW told me it will be easy to prove that the visits are not in Liam's best interest, but that we still can't expect anything, since most judges won't do it, simply because they don't want to risk putting the outcome of the trial in jeopardy.

Up through late last week, I had a good idea of how things were going with BP's; but since then, I haven't heard any updates.  As of the last I heard, BM wasn't doing well (as expected - she has a very predictable MO), but not having heard anymore about it is making me a little nervous.

More to come after tomorrow...