Saturday, July 25, 2009

Good Fortune

DH and I had Chinese for dinner tonight.  These were our fortunes:

His. . .Organize your life around your dreams-and watch them come true. 

Mine. . .The path is getting easier from here on out. Luck is helping. 

Not bad, huh? If all this works out, I'm going to frame these suckers. Seriously. 

If it doesn't, I might burn them.  OK, probably not, but it will cross my mind.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Update: The Next Step

We talked with the little boy's case worker today and have scheduled a disclosure meeting as the next step in the process.  It will take place in three weeks. At the disclosure meeting, we'll get to look at all the records and get releases giving us permission to contact the pediatrician and other caretakers. They're not expecting the foster parent to be there due to the contentiousness of the situation.  After the disclosure meeting we'll have a couple of days to think about it and make our decision. 

The worker did go over the timeline of this child's situation and the numerous opportunities the little guy's foster mom has been given to adopt him.  She's turned down every chance but doesn't want him adopted by anyone else either. Apparently, the subsidy, or lack thereof, is the sticking point for her.   If she adopts him, she would lose the monthly foster care payment from the Department unless he's determined to have special needs, which at this point several evaluations state he doesn't have.  If he had special needs and would get a subsidy after adoption, then she would have finalized already. She says she can't afford to keep him without the extra money. On the one hand I feel bad for her because it must be hard to think about giving up the child you've been raising for four years due to money.  On the other hand, most people don't get paid to parent their own kids, and when you adopt that child becomes your own kid.  Plus, I have a couple of friends who have children with significant special needs and it seems wrong to want your child to fall into that category.  Finally, it's really not that much money per month and I think I'd sacrifice just about anything to keep him if I were in her situation.  It's sad all around.

The legal questions aren't entirely answered to our satisfaction at this point either, but we're going to keep looking into it before the disclosure meeting.  

Ultimately, everything is still up in the air for now. 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hold On Tight, Folks!

***I know this post is incredibly long, but writing everything down helps me to process all of it***

We got another call, Friday night at 4:52 PM. I've heard so much about THE call, but that's not how it works when you adopt from foster care.  At least that's not how it's worked for us. It's been multiple calls with lots of follow up calls.  This new one concerns a little boy.  He sounds like a wonderful kid. He's developmentally on target in all areas, doing well in preschool, gets along with his peers, a little active but no behavior issues to speak of, able to form attachments. When we signed up to adopt from foster care, DH and I knew that most of the kids in care have experienced some kind of trauma and as a result often have behavioral, emotional, and physical issues. It was drilled into us during our adoption classes: "Our kids are great kids, but they have lots of challenges." We've put a lot of thought into clarifying what we're prepared to handle and what we feel is beyond us.  We're not looking for a perfect child. We know there's no such thing, no matter how a child enters your family. 

The profile of this particular child doesn't fit what we were expecting to hear.  Of course, he's not perfect but has no behavioral issues, no emotional issues, no physical issues. . .and he's legally free for adoption.  There should be people lined up to adopt this child. Then our worker mentioned that he's been in foster care with the same foster family since he was an infant and has been legally free for over two years.  

Me: Wait a second. He's been legally free for over two years and the family he's been with for four years hasn't adopted him.  What's up with that?

Our Worker: Oh, you noticed that (chuckle, chuckle). Well,  I was going to get to that.  His foster mother has been given time to consider adopting him, but she wants more evaluations before deciding.  He's already been evaluated multiple times (mentioned the names of the hospitals) and found to have no problems every time.  She still won't commit to adopting him so we're moving on with finding a permanent family for him. 

Me: Is she OK with that?  

Our Worker: Hmmm. Well, uh, not exactly.  She doesn't want to adopt him, but she doesn't want him removed. She appealed the decision and lost, so now she has no choice. She says she's going to get a lawyer and sue the Department to become his guardian (though not to adopt him) but we don't know yet if that will happen. 

Me: And if she does. . .?

Our Worker: Well, technically, it would be a legally free placement, but it's more like legal risk.  We've given her plenty of time. too much time, so I don't see how she can win, but there is a chance. Are you interested? Think about it over the weekend and let me know.  

I have multiple concerns/thoughts/questions running through my mind:

#1 Clearly this child would be better off staying with his current family if they would have him.  He's been with them for four years!  Why isn't foster mom adopting him?  Are there more issues than his file shows and she's just being an advocate for him?  Or is this about getting him classified as having special needs so he can receive a subsidy after adoption (I hate to even think that one)?  Why won't the Department just give her what she wants so this little guy can stay with her?  Is there more to her than they're telling us?

#2 What's the likelihood that this foster mother could win custody at some point in the future? We're willing to accept legal risk placements (when the birthparents rights haven't yet been terminated, but the state is moving to legally do so).  Very few TPR (termination of parental rights) petitions are denied in my state once the state gets to that point. This current legal situation is one that I know nothing about.  What kind of rights does the foster parent have?  Not to mention that TPR is easier to support because birthparents have been given multiple chances to get it together enough to parent their kids.  They're not able to provide a healthy environment for their children.  This woman has apparently been doing a great job with this child so far.  And then, there's the fact that I don't want to disrupt this child's life only to have a judge return him to his foster parent in a year.  I don't want to disrupt my life only to lose the child back to his current placement (which is where it sounds like he should be if she'll adopt him).

#3 Our worker described this child as having an attachment to his foster mother.  I know that's always a good thing because it means he is able to form healthy attachments.  However, I've also read that a poorly done transition can do a job on a child, even one who's had solid attachments to that point.  Ideally, the transition should take time and involve the foster parent and adoptive parent sharing tasks as the adoptive parent slowly takes over. It doesn't sound like that would be possible in this situation.  It sounds like the bond would be abruptly broken.  I can imagine it might not be at all pretty.  DH and I think we can deal with the immediate consequences (I hate you, You're not my real mom, regression, etc).  It would be like what many foster parents deal with when a child is first removed from his or her birth home and placed with them. What I worry about are the long-term consequences for this child and his ability to form future attachments.  

#4 Why us? Other than the fact that we're a couple of awesome people, why did they choose us for this situation?  Are we just a prod to get the foster mother to ante up and decide to adopt this child?  I can deal with that, but I'd like to know if that's the case. Is it because we're new to the process and might not know to be nervous about the legal issues?  

#5 What will it be like to be instant mommy to an almost five year old boy?  I'd need to study up on five year olds.  What time do they go to bed?  Do they bathe themselves? What kind of car seat do they need?  I know, I know, I'm getting ahead of myself. 

DH and I have decided to take the opportunity offered to us to speak with the child's worker tomorrow and ask some of those questions.  

So more phone calls.  

And another roller coaster ride. Here we go!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just Call Me Chicken Little

I had my pelvic MRI at 3:45 in the morning yesterday.  I got the call today from my Nurse Practitioner.  It turns out that what looked like a complex cyst on the ultrasound is actually a simple cyst on the MRI.  It's about 1.8 cm.  My cycles have been totally screwy (24 days, 21 days, 3o days, 14 days) and I have pretty much constant pain (like someone poking a blister) in my lower right pelvic area.  However, according to the MRI  it's not a mucinous cystadenoma and it's not something worse than that.  I suppose a small simple cyst can cause those symptoms; the other cysts I had after various IUIs and IVFs were pretty asymptomatic. The NP suggested I try low dose birth control pills to try to clear up the cyst and see if that helps all the other stuff.  So that's my next step.  BCPs for a couple of months and then another visit to the NP and probably another ultrasound at that time.   

I want to write more about my reasons (family history and the aftermath of multiple failed IVFs) for being so nervous about the possibility of ovarian cancer, but I'll have to save that for next time.  DH and I are leaving to go camping for a few days and I'm leaving my laptop at home.  That's a first for me and  I think it's about time. I'm looking forward to a few stress-free days!

Friday, July 3, 2009


I've always been a worrier.  As of yesterday I have new reason to worry.  I've been having some lower abdominal discomfort.  It feels like I have a canker sore in my ovary that someone pokes every once in while.  It's not exactly a sharp pain, but it's not an ache either. There's also been a weird fullness or pressure in the area. I've been having some GI distress for the last couple of months.  And for the last two months my periods have gotten weird, varying lengths and lighter, but with some cramps for weeks ahead of time.  My PCP was pushing the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) angle, but I wasn't completely sold on it.  I asked for an ultrasound because I worried I might have another mucinous cystadenoma.  My left ovary was removed about 2 1/2 years ago due to one.  If was after that removal that my FSH jumped and my fertility went downhill quickly. 

Yesterday afternoon, I had my date with the dildocam.  The GYN nurse practitioner filling in for mine called last evening to let me know that I have a complex cyst on my right ovary.  She said they think it's likely an endometrioma or a hemorrhagic cyst.  Of course, those are the exact words used by my RE when she first discovered the cyst on my left ovary, which turned out to be neither of those possibilities.  I went to surgery thinking I was going to get rid of some endo and woke up without an  ovary.  This time I feel like my most likely, and best case, scenario is a mucinous cystadenoma.  Pessimist that I am (beating the infertility odds on the negative side every time tends to squeeze the optimism out of you), I've been googling the worst case scenario, too.  Apparently, there's about a 6% chance that a complex cyst is cancerous. 

The next step is to talk to my regular nurse practitioner when she gets back on Tuesday.  I was told she'll probably want to schedule an MRI.  Personally, I feel like telling her to screw the MRI; just schedule the f&%#ing surgery.  They're going to need to operate anyway for a complex cyst and I want it out, O-U-T, OUT.  I'm not thrilled at the thought of surgical menopause, but the idea that it could be even worse than a mucinous cystadenoma, that it could the the big C, is way more frightening than hot flashes.  

How messed up is it that right next to dying, my biggest worry about all of this is that it will keep us from adopting? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Not Ours

The little boy I wrote about in my last post was placed with a kinship placement. His sibling's adoptive parents decided to take him. DH and I know it's the best thing for the little guy to be with his sibling, but we're a little sad that he wasn't meant to be our child. DH is more upset than I am. Before our homestudy was complete, he thought I was going to give my heart away to every child presented to us. It turns out that I'm more cautious, while he starts imagining trips to Disneyland and camping and buying toy trains immediately after the first phone call. I guard my heart more closely.  I guess the cycle of hope and disappointment from our failed IVF cycles has made me more self-protective.  I gave a bit of my heart away to every one of our embryos and I never got those pieces back. I'm not giving away any more until I know for sure that we're bringing home a child. 

I appreciate all the encouraging words when I wrote about this latest potential placement.  I feel a little bit like "the boy who cried wolf" when I share situations that don't work out.  I considered waiting until we got a confirmed placement before sharing on here, but I think I would go crazy if I had to keep it all to myself.  If you're going to keep reading, you might be on this roller coaster with me for a while.  I really do appreciate the company.