baby development

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Realizations in the OB/GYN Office

I had my annual tootie-cat exam last week. It was uneventful except...

At the intake meeting with the nurse when they ask you tons of questions about any changes, etc...

I got to tell them I have a daughter now.

(Nurse gives a confused look and I grin and say we're adopting.)

And I realize that I don't have to ask about infertility treatments. I have periods fairly regularly now with the Glucophage. But now that I have a toddler, sex isn't the priority it once was. If I was fertile, something more than sleeping would have to happen in order to find out.

The interesting thing is that I realized sitting there that I do not care.

While I was sitting in the waiting room, a happy couple exited and in the young woman's hand she held her ultrasound picture - her partner lovingly held his arm around her shoulder as he gazed at it. Their excitement and her "bump" were a beautiful picture.

I remember being there, in a way.

I remember shopping for a crib, a high chair, a stroller, and baby clothes. I remember wondering when my "due date" was. I remember wondering if it would be a boy or a girl, and if it would be healthy, or brown, or peachy beige. I remember praying for the baby's development.

I remember rushing to the hospital for the baby's "delivery" so to speak. I remember calling everyone with the "birth announcement".

I never missed a thing.

What about breastfeeding, you might ask. Didn't I miss out on that? Well...

The other day I was changing Cookie's diaper - and I happened to be fresh out of the tub and wearing nothing but my underwear. My breasts are...shall we say - "full and pendulous". Well, Cookie reached out and poked me right in the nipple tip - right on target on the little tip that looks like a pencil eraser. And then she pinched it between her thumb and index finger. And I yelped - "Yow! Cookie no!" Well, that just spurred her on even more to the point of obsession. Even in the tub, when we are soaping up together, she has to reach out and rub my soapy breasts (my husband says, "Well, duh. Yeaaaah.") So, anyone who worries that my child did not get enough boob-time can stop worrying now. She likes them plenty.


Monday, November 27, 2006

My Little Cat Chaser

My little girl is growing up so fast. She's now been down to FL to visit her grandparents (my parents) who cried upon seeing her for the first time. I imagine it was as emotional for them as it was for me.
I can't believe she's 11 months old now - running around the house and "talking" up a storm. She's 22 1/4 pounds and into everything she can get her hands on. Callie and Macy Gray (the cats) still aren't too sure they trust her yet, but she sure loves her "key-keys".
Thanksgiving was awesome. I cooked for my little family - turkey, homemade stuffing, apple pie, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes with pecan topping, cranberry salad, and fresh-made cranberry sauce. Cookie loved the stuffing and the turkey tetrazinni I made this weekend with leftover turkey.
In even happier news, we have accepted an invitation from my parents to join them for Christmas this year. Wonders never cease. Three years ago I'd have never believed it. When we saw them in Tampa aa couple of weeks ago, I realized it had been almost 2 years since I'd seen my parents, and that was only for my brother's wedding. Now, we will be staying a whole week in their house. Of course, it's all about Cookie. But she does tend to bring out the very best in people, and I think my parents are no exception. It was very nice to see them, and to hug my mom.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Blessings Upon Blessings

"Just a Mom" aksed about subsidies, etc. and I am thrilled to tell you about what we have learned. I am amazed when I recall that we just wanted a child - period. Yet we have been blessed with so much. (And I have no earthly idea why this "paperwork" and "contract" can't be started way before now - but then again, we did just get TPR on October 31st, so I guess that was what the wait was for - *sigh*.)

Once the contract has been signed and we are officially pre-adoptive parents, we will begin receiving an "adoption subsidy" that will replace the per diem we recieved as foster parents. It will be a flat $600 per month, which is what we have been receiving for her care. We will receive this until she is 18, and if she is in college full-time after that, we can request to continue the subsidy until she graduates. Can you say "books"? I am blown away by this blessing. This means we will not have to obsess about how to pay for band instruments, voice lessons, riding lessons, soccer equipment, swimming lessons, dermatologist appointments when she is 13, orthodontic visits and braces, and the "latest" pair of jeans she just has to have. We can even save up for that senior trip in high school or the study abroad when she's in college. That money is for her, and we will make sure it is put to good use. We will probably only tell Cookie about the adoption subsidy when she is old enough to understand it (which will be quite some time). We have already started her college account for room and board, or in case the laws change and there are no more federal grants for children who were wards of the state. If she went to college tomorrow, it would be basically free - but we all know a lot can change in 17 years, and we're not taking any chances. If we save up a ton, and then don't need to use it for her college, well, it may just help pay for a wedding reception one day.

Because we both work full time, our day care will continue to be paid for on a reimbursement basis. We will pay for her monthly day care expenses, FAX our paperwork in, and have a direct deposit reimbursement back in our account in 3 days. Who could ask for more? Wait - there is more.

We will also get to keep her medical card until she is 18, which means no co-pays, deductables, or extra costs of adding her to our insurance, and no cost for prescriptions. This has already saved us hundreds of dollars. Some adoptive parents choose not to go this route, siting poor quality of health care. But since we will always be at a major research university wherever we may go, there will always be great health care right around the corner. We have been blessed with the doctors at the University of Kentucky General Pediatrics - every one of them has been patient, kind, and competent.

Our lawyer will direct-bill the state for the legal fees, and up to $1000 is covered. Anything above that will be our responsibility to pay, but the adoption worker says she's never heard of our lawyer ever going over the $1000 limit, and she loves doing adoptions. I'm set to have a phone conversation with her next week, and I'll update about how that goes.

Jeremiah 33:3, indeed. We called upon God, and He has shown us magnificent things that we could not even fathom. We are not worthy of all this. There is nothing we could have done to "earn" it, or "deserve" it. But God loves to pour out blessings on those who do His will. It's funny - just when I think I'm blessed enough, there's even more blessings that follow.

I need to write about the baby shower my Sunday School class and women of the church threw for me and Cookie, and about our trip to Florida last weekend and Cookie meeting my parents for the first time. My mom cried. I mean really cried. The moment she saw her. It was beautiful. Mom called yesterday and asked if we were coming for Christmas - this only a couple weeks after she had told me that she and dad might go to Puerto Rico (or Costa Rica - I can't remember). How things changed after they spent time with Cookie. She loved them too. Grandparents are really important. I'm going to try to get her there for Christmas. Mom hasn't put up a tree in years. I think it's time to start again.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

First Meeting w/ Adoption Worker

I met with our new adoption worker and Cookie's departing worker this morning, and took notes on how the process will work from here on out.

1) We are to fill out paperwork on our financial status (same ones we filled out to become foster parents).
2) We are to submit copies of last year's 1040 tax forms.
3) We are to find and secure an adoption attorney who will write and send a financial breakdown letter to us and the adoption worker - this will be used to create our contract.

4) Cookie's case files have been assigned to a worker who will be compiling the presentation summary. This is basically a huge file of everything the state has on Cookie, her family, her past, and every family member who went through a home study in an attempt to get her but did not qualify because of their past involvement with the state. We will be told everything the state knows in great detail.

5) Once the TPR is final-final AND the presentation summary is complete, our worker can prepare our contract for us to sign. We sign it, and then we become Cookie's official pre-adoptive parents (as if we aren't already). We then have to wait 30 days before finalizing the adoption (what for, I do not know).

At some point, Cookie will be re-assigned a Guardian ad Litem (or however you spell it) who will also have to come out to our home and write up a report to submit to the courts. I do not recall in what order that happens. Ugh - it just seems like a lot.

6) The adoption worker, the lawyer, and the GAL will both turn in all their respective paperwork to the court, and we will await a court date to finalize the adoption.

It looks like it will be sometime in January at best - February (or March) at worst. The adoption worker says the team that prepares the presentation summaries are swamped as there have been many TPRs recently. So, like Queenbee and her husband, we must wait for that to be finished first.

I can't believe that in this country, a criminal has a right to a speedy trial, but a child without permanency does not have a right to a speedy adoption. It is wrong.

But this face - this face is so...right:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Adoption Worker Assigned

Woo hoo! I just got a call from Cookie's worker letting me know that we have now been officially assigned our adoption worker - K. will be coming over to our house on Tuesday the 14th along with Cookie's worker to make the transition. That will be the last time that Cookie's worker - R., will be meeting with us.

K. will be talking to us about the next steps in the process, our contract, and talking to us about the presentation summary and timelines.

Very soon we will have to decide on and retain our adoption lawyer. We are told there are several very nice (and smart and efficient) ones who will direct bill the state so we do not have to pay anything out-of-pocket. As we are not independently wealthy, this will be a huge blessing.

We are off to FL this weekend, and Cookie will be meeting her materal grandparents (my folks) for the first time. I think my folks are excited, and a bit nervous. They've seen one too many horror stories unfold on television about children who are taken away from adoptive parents. They really want Cookie to be "the one". There isn't anything more I can do to assure them that she is. They just want the paperwork to be "signed and sealed". I do too, but nothing that has happened in these past 10 months has made Cookie any more our daughter than she was the day she arrived at our home.

She's still doing great. Below is your humor for the day.

Dear Cookie, here are a few things you need to learn:

The toilet is not your personal splashing bowl.
You are not allowed to baptise your teddy bears in the toilet.
The kleenex are much more sanitary if you leave them in the box instead of pulling them all out.
The stairs are not begging you to climb them every time the baby gate is not secured.
I can cook a meal without you holding on to my leg.
All foods you put in your mouth do not first have to be spat out.
You do not have to taste everything I eat.
Your hollering in the car does not make us get home any faster.
It is best to pee before I take your diaper off to put you in the tub as opposed to peeing on the floor while standing next to the tub waiting to get in.
Giggling when we say "no" will not lessen the crime.
Mommy's earrings cannot be pulled out of her earlobes.