Foster Series: 4

Today’s foster series post is brought to you by a wonderful woman who has asked to not be named due to the foster status of her son.  This is yet another interesting story about how families come to be in the foster care system.  While this child has some obstacles to face, his parents who hope to adopt him, fight for him daily.  They don’t dwell on his disabilities but rather allow him to flourish with his abilities.  Thank you for contributing to my series.  I wish you the best of luck and hope you can welcome your son to your family permanently.  He deserves you! – Sarah

PS.  This one hit home for a me a little too… My husband, Joe, also has something similar to a lazy eye.  I love his googly eyes and the way they look at me. 🙂

Parents with ChildIt was a two minute phone call about two and a half years ago that changed my life.   “We have a pre-adoptive placement.  A two year old boy.  He has a lazy eye.  That’s all we know.”  I said yes.  No hesitation.  No name, no other information, just a lazy eye.  I have a lazy eye!  Our daughter has a lazy eye!  He will fit right in!

The next day a little mop topped Hispanic boy showed up with a social worker.  He had been in a relative home for about 10 mos, but was being kicked out with only 24 hrs notice.  He was calling the social worker mom, and he called me mom instantly.  He was clinging and clearly scared.  He liked to dance, and that is how we calmed him, music and dancing.  We were about to learn some things…and fast.

His birthmom stopped visits shortly after his placement with us.  She will voluntarily terminate her rights.  She has AODA (Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse) issues.  We have only met a few times in court.  I see her love for him, but also see she knows she is doing what is best.

We learned after we had him for several months that he had been born dependent on drugs and had spent his first 5 weeks in the hospital.  We learned of his severe neglect as time went on…the information trickled in to us.  It took a long time for us to get his full story.  I suspect we will find out more when we get his adoption packet.  He had very few social skills when he came to us, a store was too much stimulation, and caused him panic.  He would hit and kick.  I don’t think he had ever seen a park.  He has long raging tantrums, they are violent and can last for an hour.  We believe he is ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), and he is currently medicated for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  He is incredibly impulsive.  He has very big abandonment issues and will panic if he thinks you are leaving.  If you have shoes on before his are on, his world crumbles.  It causes panic.  This is an improvement from where he used to be.  The damage done at young ages is real.

He is very smart though.  He may be behaviorally challenged, but he is SO smart.  He is already starting to read and is ahead in 4k (4 year old Kindergarten).  He started spelling small words even before 4k started.  This from a boy who needed speech therapy and was behind in talking when we first met. He has an amazing memory as well.  Like most kids with ADHD, he also loves his electronics and video games, and those are great as rewards.  His lazy eyes have also been fixed with a regular sleeping schedule.

Because previous caregivers have been woman, he projects a lot of anger onto me, his mom.  I understand that, although it doesn’t make it easy.  He has never had a positive male figure, so dad is a superhero.  He also worships his big sister.  He has a typical sibling relationship with his little brother.  It’s beautiful.

He has a lot of potential, if we can get his behavioral issues managed.  He is challenging, but adorable.  He is scared of leaving and that is tragic at his young age.  I feel like the system is failing him by the length of time he is in it…and that laws need to change to reflect this.

This is a legal risk placement, adoption isn’t a guarantee.  To this day, we are still fighting and its been 28 months of placement with us.  He is now four and a half years old.  We have just recently gotten a termination of parental rights, but his biodad is appealing. He is in prison and has been since our son was 6mos old.  He cannot get out until he is 9.  Yet, he is appealing, thinking he should have to wait for him to get out, establish a relationship, since they do not know each other and he can then try to parent.  He sees this as fighting for his son.  I see it as fighting against him…keeping him as part of a legal system, rather than letting him move on with his life, and with the only family he knows.

He is our challenging little boy.  But we love him with his challenges.  That two minute phone call, with no information…it was life changing.  It brought us our son.  We will continue to fight for him, and get him to his adoption day.  He deserves his chance at feeling safe, and having happiness.  So do we.  It’s a long hard road…but we will get there.

– Anonymous

Happy 1st Birthday Ezra!

A Year of Ezra!

A Year of Ezra!

Wow, a whole year has passed… really?  It seems like this has been the fastest year of my life.  It seems like just yesterday that that little baby was still in T’s belly.  It seems like just yesterday I fearfully attended doctor visits with her and made trips to the hospital for amniotic fluid checks, wondering what day he would come and would she really be able to let him go?  I can’t imagine the pain she had, even knowing the choice she made was going to allow her the ability to give more to the children she was parenting and to him at the same time.  What kind of selfless love is that?  The strength in her and J’s choice astounds me.

So as I celebrate his day of birth, I also will be taking a moment to mourn their loss with them.  I thank God every day that through the miracle of open adoption I get to share him with them still.  They can see him periodically, text or call when ever they want, follow him daily with the countless pictures, videos and statues I post on Facebook.  I am thankful that when the day come that he starts asking questions, he will already know the love they have for him.  They hug him and kiss him and tell him they love him every time they see him.  He will already know them and his biological siblings, before he even knows how to verbalize his questions.  He’ll never have to search.   How amazing is that?

As Ezra has reached this giant milestone of turning ONE today, (*sigh, cry, weep, sniffle, smile, cry again*) I want to thank his first parents for trusting us and our family to love him as much as they do.  Not a day goes by that we don’t think of them.  This year has been such an amazing journey for us.  Our family has grown in ways more than just being a family of 4 now.  We have learned our strengths, our weaknesses and our endless love for each other.  We have watched this little, once helpless infant, learn to smile, “talk”, crawl, feed himself, test us, giggle, and now walk!  He now enters toddler-hood!  A new phase and a new stage.  Where has time gone lil’ man?

Happy Birthday Ezra Joseph! You are loved by more people than you will ever know or understand.  You are our precious little boy and the child that completed our family.  I love watching you with daddy and your big brother.  You are an awesome kid and I can’t wait to watch you grow into a young man just like I have watched Isaac over the last 12 years!

Stay tuned for birthday cake and party pictures.  🙂

Adoption TV Shows

Adoption TV Shows

“I’m Having Their Baby”

Sarah Baker | June 12, 2013 | 09:30 AM

It seems in the adoption community there are mixed feelings about shows portraying adoption. When we decided to add to our family through adoption we welcomed any resource we could find to help us understand the process and cope with the emotions. Television was one of those ways. Whether a documentary on adoptees and birth parents being reunited or shows featuring the adoption process, we watched. However, I guess some feel that adoption shows shed a negative light on adoption or make adoption trendy.

One night while talking to our first birth mother over text, I was also watching a movie on the Oxygen Network. A commercial came on for “I’m Having Their Baby”. I told her how a new adoption show was coming out and we should watch it together each week. It featured two expecting mothers considering adoption and often also followed the adoptive parents the mother picked. Our birth mother thought it would be a great idea to watch together weekly (over the phone) so we could understand the emotions and gain insight the other person was feeling since those emotions are hard to communicate. I wasn’t expecting what happened next… she signed us up for the show.

What are the chances we’d get picked? The first episode hadn’t even aired yet. She started getting calls about her application and soon the media group was sending out producers and psychologists to meet with her to learn more about our adoption story so they could decide if we would be a good fit for the docu-series. It wasn’t long before they told us they wanted to film our journey. They found our friendship and match to be unique. Add in the fact that the birth father was involved and did NOT want to do the adoption and I guess it made for good TV.

Our episode airs tonight and I am terrified! The show has posted several sneak peeks of our episode on the web. I learned the hard way that although the media group shoots and produces the shows, the Oxygen Network can take the footage to make the clips any way they like. The first clip showed me in a horrible light. I cried the entire preview and was a ball of stress for days. I looked like a baby hungry vulture, circling the expecting parents to take their unborn child in the clip. What it doesn’t show is full conversations and the bond we had with the birth parents. Yes, the birth father was struggling with the adoption, so was the birth mother. It was hard to watch. So tonight when the whole episode airs, I have no idea what to expect. How can a 7 month long bond during the pregnancy be shown fully during 30 minutes of television? How can our journey be fully documented? I fear they will focus on the emotions at their highest and leave out the casual and fun times. I am nervous how I personally will look to others. Why do I care? I know, I shouldn’t care what strangers think… but fact is, I do.

It doesn’t help the situation that my family and I are on vacation. Our rental condo does not get the Oxygen Network. We have not seen the episode. So, it seems the rest of the world, our friends and family, will see the episode before we do. That feels like a nightmare to me! I have a feeling tonight my phone and Facebook will blow up.

So, hopefully you can tune in tonight and watch our episode. I hope that it portrays the real story well and helps anyone in our situation know they are not alone and maybe help them through the emotions and figure out solutions to the problems that come up. We are so happy that our story has a happy ending. Our little guy will be featured in the show’s season finale as well. The show crew came back and did a follow up with us when Ezra was 3 months old.

http://im-having-their-baby.oxygen.com/

“I’m Having Their Baby” Oxygen Network Wednesday June 12th @10PM/9Central