Monday, October 20, 2014

An update and a blog hiatus

M's mom surrendered in September. We signed an Intent to Adopt, which is legally binding and prevents the county from searching for a different placement for M. We've had one visit with each of her parents and they both went as well as we could have hoped.

The baby is working hard on teething and it keeps us up a lot at night and I'm back to newborn levels of exhaustion but without those newborn hormones to help.

We finally got assigned an adoption worker and the word on the street is that she is a cantankerous stickler who looks for problems where there are none and will generally act like we're trying to pull a fast one on her by adopting our beloved daughter. Should be fun.

I'm starting a tumblr to document more of the day to day stuff. If you're interested, contact me and I'll shoot you the link. I will probably come back to this joint eventually but there's just so much happening all the time that the longer entries here are a chore to compose because I want to be thorough. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A bit of an update

Well hello, you good-looking readers. It's been a while but you haven't aged a bit.

Things have been pretty nonstop for us for the last several months. June alone has five birthdays, plus we had a million appointments and some court stuff and work and life. Here's a brief rundown of the major events, before I disappear back into the crowd:

  • The baby had chronic ear infections for months and it super sucked. We finally got her scheduled for ear tube surgery. We even got on a waiting list and had it moved up several weeks, but the day before the surgery both kids came down with hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is majorly gross, so we had to postpone back to the original date of July 30. She recovered well from the surgery and hasn't had any more ear infections, but immediately after the surgery she started cutting her eye teeth several months ahead of schedule, in order to keep up with her nighttime waking schedule.
  • Things are moving forward with M's case. They scheduled a trial for her dad, but he surprised us by surrendering at the pretrial hearing last week. We agreed to four visits a year and really hope he chooses to remain in M's life. We had a court date for the mom to surrender yesterday and we had a really good talk with her about our joint wish for M to get to know her, but unfortunately she chose to leave before we saw the judge. It's a horrible and heartbreaking thing, to sign away your rights to your kid, and we understand, even while we're disappointed. They scheduled a"default date " for October. If the mom shows up and surrenders that day, cool, she gets a legal obligation from us to allow her two visits a year. If she doesn't surrender or doesn't show up, they'll start a trial that day to terminate her rights. I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that it is now just a matter of time until she's freed for adoption. The dad was always the wild card, and his surrender eliminates any possibility of M going with him. After things happen in October, we'll be switched to an adoption worker and start the long, paperwork-heavy process of finally adopting our daughter.
  • In a few weeks we are going on our first actual family vacation. We are going to the Jersey Shore and hoping for good weather. I tried to watch Jersey Shore as a research project, but it's not on Netflix anymore so I guess we'll just have to wing it.
I miss blogging, but not as much as I miss sleep. See you soon, lovelies.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Less than no progress

We had court last week. We expected nothing to happen: the first hearing in the termination process is basically the county saying, "hey judge, we plan to proceed with this petition. Everything is filed correctly and all of the necessary parties have been served." Then the judge says, "oh okay, cool. See you in a few weeks."

Well, instead of that, we were adjourned for three weeks. The mom didn't show up, and the dad didn't know he had a new attorney despite having been properly notified (and the new attorney didn't know either, somehow, and hadn't seen any of the paperwork on the case). So we sat in the waiting room from 8:50 until 11:15, and then we spent four minutes in the courtroom setting a new date.

The only positive thing is that the judge didn't want to wait until the next permanency hearing we have scheduled for the end of June, which indicates that he's not feeling patient with the case. He scheduled us for a new date in the middle of June - in the same week that we have Nora's birthday and Andy's birthday and checkups for both girls and my sister coming into town for kids' birthday parties. PERFECT.

Really looking forward to some sort of progress happening before M is a teenager.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A little bit of progress

So the paperwork to file M's parents' rights was filed a week and a half ago.

In the three months since I last posted, M's mom has decided she'd rather M stay with us than go with her dad. This is awesome, but only if M's mom sticks to this statement in court and doesn't let M's dad intimidate her into staying quiet about it.

M's dad is not happy about being served with the termination papers. He says she shouldn't be adopted and that he's going to file for custody. He's had two and a half years in which he could have done that, so I'm sure the judge will see right through it. It does indicate that things aren't going to be as easy as we could have hoped, though.

Our first hearing is on May 22. Nothing will happen that day, and then we'll come back for our permanency hearing (those are the ones that happen every six months) in June. We'll eventually hire a lawyer, but the one we're going to hire is (rightfully) very expensive and it doesn't make financial sense to hire her until we're closer to knowing where this is all heading.

It is a lot of fun to have the girls old enough to interact. The baby is ten months and is getting really close to walking. It's exhausting and so fun and I wouldn't change a second of it. Besides M not being ours [yet?] - I'd change that in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hello, hello

Hello, internet friends! We are all alive and well. It turns out it's really, really exhausting to have two little kids and a new house and a full-time job, so the blog was an easy thing to cut.

The paperwork to terminate M's parents' rights still haven't been filed. The worker told me last week the writing portion is finally done, so now they're making copies of all the relevant documentation (two full years' worth of letters and emails and notices and stuff), then it'll to go an administrator for review, then it'll be filed. No idea how long that'll take. We had court in January and her dad's attorney tried to suggest we look towards moving visits to the dad's house, and the county attorney and M's attorney advised against it. The judge denied the request and set our next hearing at the standard six months, which is significant - he could have told the worker to increase visits, or set a date a month out, or all sorts of other things, and the fact that he didn't might mean he's not interested in playing around. Maybe. Who knows.

The new baby isn't quite as new - Nora is now a fun happy seven-month-old who has three teeth and another ready to break through any second. We moved her to her own room a few weeks ago and we're all doing okay with it - she only woke up once last night! I'm still really struggling with being away from the girls during the day, even though I know full well that there is nothing wrong with daycare and that if anything it's actively good for M. Still sucks every day. Still want to quit my job and just hang out with these two. Still have no way to make that work financially. Blarg.

My laptop battery is about to die, so this will be brief. See you soon, maybe!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's the holdiay season!

Y'all. We have a real Christmas tree, and M helped decorate it. Having a toddler is fucking cool, so much of the time. Her language skills are fantastic and she's funny and I love her. There's not much new with her case - her dad only had one visit in November due to a medical thing, and because it was medical stuff the missed visits don't count against him, which pisses me off because when she finally visited again, it freaked her out and made her cry. I've spoken with her attorney and with the pediatrician and with the worker, and we're just waiting for the stupid papers to be filed STILL.

M's birthday is coming up, then we have Christmas, then we have the anniversary of her arrival in early January, so lots of busy craziness in the coming weeks. Nora is down to one or two feedings a night, so I'm hoping to get to one consistently so I don't collapse from exhaustion.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hello, hello

1. M had a visit with her biological mom this week. It was the first time M had seen her mom in 18 months. I requested to be allowed to attend, so M could have someone she was familiar with, and the worker reported that the mom said she wasn't trying to be a bitch or anything but she didn't want me there. I'm choosing to look at it this way: The mom knows the termination is coming. She will almost certainly wait until the last minute and then surrender her rights, because if she surrenders she can request visits. She's comfortable with the worker (they've known each other for about five years) and it's scary as hell to start visiting a child you haven't seen in over a year, but a lot more scary to do so when it's at the whim of the strangers who have been raising that child. I'm trying to be positive about this, because of course it would be better for M to have a relationship with her mom, but damn does it suck to see her wrecked by visits over and over again. The night of a visit she cycles between being super clingy, and naughty on purpose, and silly and manic. It's rough. And now that she's able to communicate, she tells us she doesn't want to go on visits, and it really sucks that that doesn't matter to anyone but us.

2. Other than visits, nothing is new with her case. The worker reported that the termination paperwork was "half done" but I have no idea what that means in terms of time. Our next court date is scheduled for January, but the worker remains optimistic we'll be in before then to have the first hearing about termination. Oh, and the dad attended every single visit for a whole month (all of October) for the first time ever, and then canceled his first visit in November. And they're changing the visit times AGAIN because of the dad's bullshit, so that's pretty cool for M.

3. We're in the new house and it's starting to feel like home. The stuff we need for daily living is all unpacked, so now we have to decide where we're keeping stuff like outgrown baby clothes or Christmas decorations or whatever. We are making slow progress, because by the time both girls are in bed we're both just ready to collapse, and it's hard to make ourselves do stuff like paint all of the ugly celery-green trim in the upstairs hall when there's a new season of Parks and Recreation on Netflix.

4. Nora is still awesome and funny and huge - she'll be five months old this week, and she's wearing six-to-nine-month clothes. She discovered on Thursday that she can get her foot to her mouth, which is pretty funny to watch. She laughs when she sees me and my heart just about explodes every time.

5. This past week has capital-S Sucked. Being at work and away from the girls was harder than it's been in a month. Work has been annoying and I've been tense and grumpy just about every minute I'm there. I cried when M's mom showed up for the visit and there was no call from the worker that the mom had changed her mind and I could come. And then I got my period for the first time in over a year and it all made sense. I don't really know how to have a period anymore. I got super indignant that this shit happens every goddamn month, too. What is that about?