baby development

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

We Have An Attorney!

The attorney we were hoping would be willing to handle our adoption has agreed to do it - and direct bill the state for the $1000 we are allowed, and then we will have to pay $125 an hour after that (which is a very reasonable rate, all things considered). This attorney adopted her son from foster care in July, and is hoping to get another child again soon. Clearly, she understands "why anyone would do this", which seems so often to be a mystery to those on the outside looking in.

The attorney told us that we are likely to end up paying about $500 out of pocket, and that there are hourly expenses that are unpredictable. The example she gave was of a recent adoption she handled during which she spent 2 hours in the courthouse just waiting for the judge to show up (to the tune of an extra $250 for her clients). That may seem unreasonable, but consider the other option of the flat-fee attorney who drags their feet with the case. We could find cheaper, but we will never find someone who understands more about wanting an adoption to be finalized as quickly as possible.

Tomorrow is Cookie's 1 year birthday. We have nothing to do now except celebrate it. There are no papers to fill out, no attorneys to talk with, no deadlines approaching, no visits with birth parents to contend with. It is all very easy now. We understand that our case is atypical. It happens, but it is far from the norm. Had Cookie's birthmom not gone AWOL, we would have had the adoption finalized by now, since TPR was petitioned for back in June right before she ran. That started the lengthy process of appointing a warning lawyer. I'm reminded how much each child's case costs the taxpayers in each state, and how countless hours are spent running in circles. Last week there was a session in Frankfort to discuss improving the foster to adopt system in this state. Ironically, we seem be be light years beyond other states when it comes to expediting the process. For this we are eternally grateful.

I think I am now a bit of an advocate. I talk to people about foster care. I don't sugar-coat it, but I don't gripe either. It is what it is - the best case scenario we currently have. We need more people who are willing to take the risks. Our attorney had 2 other babies she told me about - both stayed for just a few months before being turned over to family members. She spoke of it in a very matter-of-fact way, in much the same way I talk about Baby Ray, Baby Alex, Howard, and Autumn - babies and children who were meant to be in our arms for only a short time. Each one changed us a little, and each one made us a bit more patient and loving and grateful for the one who would stay to become our forever daughter. We would do it all again. We would do it for the rest of our lives if it meant we could have our daughter. I have a much greater embodied understanding of the depth of love and sacrifice people feel for their children. It is such that I have no words that do it justice.

Tonight I will be wrapping presents for my child for the very first time. As exhausted as I am, I shall try to savor the moment and remember how blessed I am to have both presents to wrap and a lovely little sprite to wrap them for.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Adoption Progress

Amidst the illnesses, I've neglected to update on how the adoption process is coming along. Here's the latest scoop:

On Thursday, I got a phone call from L. who is the Social Worker assigned to put together the Presentation Summary on Cookie's case. She had a number of questions she needed to answer and write up for the files, so we chatted for about half an hour. Here are some things I had to answer:

What does Cookie look like?
What is she like socially?
How does she interact with adults? With other children? Your pets?
What does she like? Dislike?
How is she at daycare? Church?
What is her health like?
Other than you and your husband, who is she close to?
Tell me about her relationships with your extended family.

So, the questions were all fairly easy to answer, and I enjoyed the conversation. L. then told me she would have the Presentation Summary done and ready for review by our worker within 24 hours! Holy Cow!

The next day (Friday) we had a meeting with K., our adoption worker. She's a lovely woman who is definately working hard to speed things along. I gave her the paperwork we had completed which included the following:

Copies of last year's 1040 tax forms
A completed financial profile identical to the one we had to fill out to become foster parents (including all sources of income, depts, and all monthly bill estimates)
Paperwork about Cookie similar to the questions asked by L. in the phone conversation above

K. looked at the progress we had made on Cookie's lifebook, which is more or less nw big books of photographs put together by my mom and mailed to us (Fabulous!). Poor Cookie was so sick and coughing, so K. did not stay long at all.

K. told us to go ahead and hire a lawyer! AND she is going to come over to our house the first week in January and give us the Presentation Summary and get started preparing our contract. Now THAT is progress, my friends.

So, this morning, as exhausted as I am, I called a lawyer who had been recommended to us by several people who have adopted from foster care here in town. She direct-bills the state, so we wouldn't pay anything out of pocket (we've saved up a little just in case). I am hoping she has time to take our case because it is clear she is one of the best and fastest, and she loves doing adoptions from foster care.

Oh, and God's perfect timing? Cookie's old social worker, who visited for the last time last month is TRANSFERRING to Frankfort, KY at the END OF THE WEEK. Had she quit any earlier, we would have had to get a whole new worker and Cookie's case may have been held up for months. Whew. We will miss Ruth tremendously. That is one terrific woman - we will invite her to the adoption if she can make it that day.

We are on the homestretch, folks. This feels so good.

We leave for FL soon to spend Christmas with my folks. This is as it should be.

Cookie's recovering nicely, too. We have kicked RSV's butt.

If anyone has any questions on the adoption process, please don't hesitate to leave a comment and ask - I'll try to answer here in the blog so others who might be interested can better understand the process.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Another @#$%^&* Ear Infection!!!

Cookie and ear infections seem to like to co-habitate. And they may be the death of me. Michael just called from the pediatrician (yes, I stayed at work and HE took her - wonderful dad that he is) and she not only has another ear infection in the OTHER ear from last time, she also has...


I did not know about it. She's coughed so hard these past 2 nights she has barfed all over us. Add to it that she ate the innards of an egg roll last night before barfing all over me in bed, and you have a really interesting barf session. THEN she was so exhausted after barfing all over my chest that she laid her head down on my chest...IN THE BARF. Lovely.

All in all, she's been a real trooper. Had it not been for the wheezing and the barfing 2 nights in a row, we might not have taken her to the doctor's. She's a lovely little girl with a fantastic disposition, so when she began whining almost constantly in the evenings, I sensed all was not well with my Cookie.

It's winter, she's in day care, she never got to be breast-fed, AND her birth mom was a heavy smoker (and we have 2 cats). That's a sure-fire way to get Bronchiolitis.

So, Cookie now has another antibiotic to take (which will likely cause a yeast rash yet again - oh joy), along with breathing treatments. Michael said she was NOT happy in the doctor's office about wearing the tiny mask for the treatment there. I guess I will soon be learning how to administer the treatments when I get home in about an hour. I'll have to write about how that goes.

Well, folks, if you're the praying kind, please remember the Cookie, who is having a tough time breathing and sleeping because of the coughing. Poor little angel.

At least tomorrow is Friday - God Bless Fridays!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Wonderful Things A Husband Can Do

Tonight, my husband is going to proctor my final exam for the class I taught this semester. The students have really ticked me off, and I'm exhausted. When he offered to do this several nights ago, I thought he was joking. But, it's no joke. At 5:00 I get to leave work, go pick up the Cookie, and head home. I'm going to try to do some picking up around the house and put together some food for us, and just enjoy being with my girl. That Michael is doing this for me means so much. This makes up for quite a few scre-ups in my book!

Yesterday, he came up to my office with a small gift - a set of ear-bud headphones for me to use while I sit and work at the computer here in the office. Technically, we aren't supposed to listen to CDs on our computer, but most of us do it anyway. My boss to too technoligically illiterate to know anyhow.

In more interesting news about the Imminent Decline of the Universe, my husband's department has a rash of plagiarism - 9 cases in one class alone. This is another reason why HIM seeing them tonight is better than me. I might cuss. He would come up with something meaningful and above their heads. I would just cuss them out. So, it is better he go in my place anyway. Little rodents.

Tonight's gift from him to me is a VERY nice early Christmas present. I think I shall take a bubble bath with Cookie and then we shall put lotion on our legs, put on our jammies, and listen to Christmas music. It's going to be a great night.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Mitten Mission Accomplished

Thanks to E*bay, Cookie will soon be the proud owner of Children's Place Thermolite Mittens - new with tags - for a grand total of $3.24 shipped to my door. Lovely, isn't it? They weren't exactly what I was looking for, but close enough for me.

This morning, I put her in some Gymboree mittens I had picked up at a yardsale (brand new - with tags - I am a pimp), and put them on her tiny hands. My Cookie flapped her arms like a bird and looked at her gloved hands in utter disbelief. I think she said "Mom, please...I look ridiculous." It was snowing, so I did not give the Cookie a choice in the matter. She did, however, still look scrumptious.

Now, if I could only get her to keep her shoes on...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I'm on a mitten-mission. I realized this weekend while toting Cookie off to church in 30-so degree weather that she has no mittens. Coats and hats - yes - but no mittens. Couple that with my obsessive-compulsive streak, and you've got yourself a woman on a mission. To send it over the edge, add my mom's comments:

"Well, they need to be the kind she can't pull off with her teeth...AND they need to have that special coating like plastic on them so when she chews on them her hands don't get wet."


I googled. I checked ebay for way too long. I got a headache.

I HATE stores this time of year. I will pay outlandish shipping for the opportunity to have something delivered to my door. So...

I found the following:

Land's End has Toddler Squall Mittens for $15.50
Columbia makes a Waterproof Toddler Mitten and it sells for $15, though I have no idea where to go to get them.
LL Bean has Cold Buster Waterproof Mittens for $12.50 - but only in hideous colors.

I may soon resort to one of the above options, because I am far too tired to drag my happy A much of any place besides work. The Cookie is apparently getting some more teeth - or just being a diva - but she is not sleeping, so the Quest For The Mittens must be a simplified version.

If you have any tips for buying mittens for a soon-to-be 1 yr. old, please give me a holler.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another Toy I Will Not Buy Cookie...

Enjoy friends! TGIF