Don't worry- this is not your invitation to the pity party. This post is getting better.
We are in the exact same position court-wise with Baby 4 that we have been for two years. We go to court next week for another adjournment. He'll be freed for adoption next year- hopefully we'll be able to adopt next year, but I'm not holding my breath for all that.
Baby 9's case is progressing nicely towards reunification. We are doing 6 visits/week right now, and seeing Mom socially as well. The 'seeing Mom' has gone really well, but it's a huge time commitment. Baby 9 is brilliant. She's the happiest baby I've ever met. She wakes up smiling every morning. She started crawling at 5 months old and is into everything. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to keep her. I love her so so much.
Baby Girl has been blowing us away with her progress. She's taking steps now, and crawling, and doing stairs. She's a rockstar. We've gotten so many bad updates on her health last month, I lost count: She's deaf, she can't have the heart surgery that she needs, she had to go back on the ventilator and oxygen 24/7- which is awful since she is now mobile. I see so much of myself in her. Not the strength- that's all hers, but the attitude that accompanies her fight. She is considered severely speech delayed. It makes sense now that we know she is missing a lot of what a typical baby hears. The therapists have been working hard on pictures and sounds with her, and she does alright. I started looking into ASL and signing as a primary language maybe 3 weeks ago. Before that, we had just been doing baby signs: "more", "all done", "eat". I thought it would benefit her to sign more. Apparently she agrees. She has picked up around 20 more signs, and she does an ASL version of babbling where she makes up gestures and watches to see what gets a reaction. It's almost like she's going to to do what we teach her- plus some, just to show off. If she keeps up this interest in ASL, I can see her communication delay disappearing very quickly.
In the past couple of weeks, I've had the opportunity to meet my local foster friends out in the real world- in court during a 3 hour stint in the lobby, at a MAPP panel where we shared our story with fosterlings, and at our agency's foster parent appreciation banquet. It's interactions like these that allow me to step back and see what our life is really like outside of the daily humdrum. I love the people that are living their own love stories. Being around them- hearing the triumphs and losses they go through for foster care... It's like walking with warriors. I'm in awe of them. They are so strong and make such a huge impact in our world. Their kids are being given everything these foster families have to offer. Then, because they are so awesome, someone will point out that I'm one of them. I'm in the warriors club; which is great news since I was feeling like president of the homely housewives club. Foster care hasn't consumed all I once was, I've been in battle and just gotten a little banged up recently.
All of my Mommy Facebook friends share that quote about the days being long, but the years going fast. Foster Care is kind of like that- The days are draining, but the years are fulfilling.
Our overall story is amazing. I can't believe I live like this. We have 9 kids who have changed our world forever just by being here a short time. Our daughter found us all the way across the country when we weren't even looking to adopt. We've put families back together. We've helped sick children get well. I can hold my own in most medical conversations- and pick out the inaccuracies in episodes of Grey's Anatomy. I've made friends and lost family. I've questioned my faith and received answers from a loving God who has never let me go. All while holding beautiful babies tight every night before bed, and getting to be the one who tells them they are good and they are loved.
So I packed up the pity party and put on some lipstick. Our story is too important to complain about how hard it is.
"Children born to another woman call me 'Mom.' The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me." ~Jody Landers