Monday, December 17, 2012

Early Christmas!

"Merry Christmas!"

That's what Liam's case manager said when she called at 11:00 this morning.

I sat in stunned silence for a moment, unsure of whether it "meant" something or she was just giving me a cheerful greeting to begin her phone call.

You see, today was the day our court hearing for the TPR for Liam's birth mom was supposed to begin; we wouldn't even know until today whether our case made it into the court room today, because they schedule 5 trials to begin every Monday.  We found out last week that we were second on the docket, and the case who was ahead of us might not be ready to begin today; but we still wouldn't know for sure until this morning.  I didn't go to court, because it is an hour drive, and it didn't make sense since we didn't know if it would begin, and I wouldn't have been allowed in for the trial anyway, since I was subpoenaed.  

So I was expecting the CM to call, and had to assume trial began today, since court started at 8:30, and she wasn't calling until almost 3 hours later.  But that was the most I could hope for.

"Um...  Does that mean you have good news for me?" I asked slowly.

"Yes!" she replied excitedly.  "BM terminated her rights voluntarily!"

"Really??  I mean, really??  It's done??"

"Yep!  The judge asked her all the questions and went though everything, and then she left.  Then I gave my testimony and he scheduled the adoption!"

She then proceeded to give me the date for the adoption, and then went back and told me a few more details about her conversation with BM before court.  

She's coming on Thursday for a home visit, so I may hear more about it then, but honestly I doubt there's much to tell.  

Three years ago today, we got the same exact Christmas present.  This was the very same day Hunter and Kaleigh's TPRs were finalized.  (***CORRECTION: I went back to check the facts, and Hunter and Kaleigh were actually TPR'd a week earlier.  My apologies for the mistake!!***)   Liam's adoption date falls just 4 days after theirs!  Which is way cool, because we'll have an AWESOME way to celebrate Hunter and Kaleigh's adoption day this year - and they'll all celebrate at the same time every year.  It's just really cool.

And of course we are humbled and grateful to God for His mercy and grace, shown to our family and to our sweet little boy who has already brought so much joy to our lives.  We are blessed beyond measure.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Multiple Updates

I know the update on Liam is what everyone is reading for, so I'll lead with that.  Then if you don't want to hear about the hum-drum stuff, you don't have to.  ;-)

(Just a reminder, Liam is not yet his legal name; so we aren't breaking any rules here.)

We had pretrial this week, and while I didn't go, the CW updated me after the hearing.  BM was still going to fight because she "thinks she deserves the chance to parent him."  Yeah, don't even get me started.  Then her lawyer asked for the hearing to be rescheduled, but the judge denied his request, because there is only one other case ahead of ours, and it sounds like there is a pretty good chance they won't be ready - which means our trial would start Monday!  I received a subpoena in the mail last week from the DA's office; I'm not sure if they will actually want me to testify or if they did it just in case they go right into the Best Interest phase after the Grounds phase is complete.  (I can't imagine any reason I would be called to testify in the Grounds phase, since that is about proving there are sufficient grounds for TPR, and the Best Interest phase is about deciding what is in the best interest of child as far as permanency.  Typically a foster parent would be called in the Best Interest phase in order to state their desire/willingness to adopt the child.)

Apparently the judge gave BM a speech about doing what was best for Liam, and her attorney and a permanency counselor were still going to talk to her after trial about doing voluntary.  Still, I have to say, I don't really want her to do voluntary.  She is the person who would turn it around on herself, brag that she "gave her son up for adoption" (which is an inaccurate statement when CPS is involved), and try to make everyone feel sorry for her and believe she is a selfless person.  Yes, I'm aware it sounds somewhat selfish, or bitter, but after everything she has put him and us through over the past two years (because she was abusing him in utero), she should go through a trial and see what that's like.  But, that's neither here nor there; we will see on Monday how it goes.

The Little Man in question is teething, once again getting four teeth at once.  Between that and the periodic withdrawals, he can be quite the crank monster, not to mention he is drooling like nobody's business.  He still has his happy times though, which I am very thankful for - he is such a sweet baby!  At the moment he is digging through his diaper bag, pulling out snacks, his water bottle, and the few toys I keep in there.  He loves to eat - his favorite foods are bananas (his first official word besides Mama and Dada was Nana) and avocados.  He has absolutely no interest in walking (which is fine with me HAHA!) but can crawl like a maniac and get all the way around the main floor circle at a ridiculous lightning speed.

My little K3 will be 4 years old in only a month and a half!  It's so crazy to think about that, when she was just a couple of months over 3 when she came to us.  She has really grown in development over the past 8 months.  We have had some pretty serious behavior issues with her; she is in therapy, but at such a young age therapy can only do so much.  It is sad to think about the possibilities when it comes to realizing what is behind the behaviors.  I have a feeling that part of the deal is that she knows she is in a safe place now, and perhaps her mind has "permission" to start remembering things that maybe it wasn't safe to remember before.  I may be wrong about that, and I'm sure there are other factors and triggers as well - I'm quite certain BD told her she was going to come live with him soon - but I think that's at least part of it.  She loves to play with babies, and also enjoys coloring, though doesn't always like to sit still and concentrate for very long, as is typical for her developmental age.

Kaleigh has struggled through general number sense in school this first half of the year, but is finally starting to grasp the concepts, and has her addition facts down pretty well.  Her general reasoning skills tell me that once she really gets into math, she will excel, so for now we just keep practicing, practicing, practicing!  She is reading like a pro now, and of course writing and spelling follow.  Her favorite activity is still coloring, though!  She is a very meticulous child most of the time, and likes to color detailed pictures, as well as any activity that includes cutting and pasting.  A new fun thing she has recently discovered is word search puzzles.  It won't be long before she is doing crossword puzzles and playing Scrabble.

Hunter is plowing right along through seventh grade.  He's doing pre-algebra work, although the most frustrating thing with him and math is that once he masters a skill, he forgets it.  We've had to go back and review some fifth and sixth grade fractions work in the past two weeks; it just makes the new lessons move slowly.  He continues to be a voracious reader, which continues to thrill me to my core.  He is really enjoying the Rick Riordan books, and keeps reading the different series' over and over.  His New Year's gift of "Something to Read" is going to be The Hunger Games, which he has been dying to read; he will be totally surprised because I told him awhile back that he had to wait until he was older.  I think it will be good for him though.

At this moment, my Christmas cards are sitting in the UPS warehouse in Sturtevant! It's the first year I've had the time and energy to get cards done, and they are sitting in a warehouse while I could be getting them in envelopes!  GRRRR!

I have almost everything I need for the kids' Christmas Eve packages!  Pajamas, movies, mugs... need to get slippers, which I will do this weekend, and I saw some of those little fleece blankets for like $5 at Walmart a couple of weeks ago, so if I can find those again, they'll each be getting one of those.  

Next week is baking week.  I have several recipes ready to go; I'm going to have to swing by Sam's and/or Aldi to get more of the staples before we get started.  Hunter's math homework next week will be to double or triple each recipe (depending on how much we need) :-).  All three of the kids will practice following directions!

Off to enjoy the last few minutes of Liam's nap before he wakes up...