Lil Bit

Getting to Know Our #Partyof8

#AdoptionTalk: Getting to Know our #Partyof8

For the moment, everyone in our household is a forever-member, so I can actually share our family photo with no stickers or strategically turned heads.

Without further ado, please let me introduce our #Partyof8 (from left to right):

Squish (adopted from foster care 3.4.14), Jamie (me), SuperDad, Lil Bit (adopted from foster care 10.23.15), The Boy (our oldest child, SuperDad’s bio son), Squirm (adopted from foster care 8.22.14), Punky (our youngest daughter, SuperDad’s bio daughter), and Princess (our oldest daughter, SuperDad’s bio daughter)

Yes, you read that right, for the first time in 4 years, we have no foster children! How long that continues to be true is still under negotiation. After finalizing Lil Bit’s adoption in October, SuperDad wisely realized the importance of a little fostering break to semi-cocoon a bit and focus on family-bonding. After successfully getting Squeaker home to her forever family in time for Christmas, we began to discover life as a family of 8. For the first time in recent memory, there was no fence around my Christmas tree!! SuperDad is convinced that makes me sad – mostly it’s just weird….

With approximately 37 children under 4 years old, we get the “hands full” comment very frequently. Just the boys and I went to the zoo last weekend – when anyone mentioned my “full hands” I couldn’t help but respond how much easier 3 is than 4. Like, seriously, y’all. When you’re used to wearing an infant, while pushing a triple stroller full of toddlers, only having three to wrangle is a piece of cake – and just weird….

On the other hand, we’re starting to explore the things we have wanted to do with the boys, but are just too complicated with an infant. Next weekend we’re going camping. Later this month, we’re rejoining the sailing club we belonged to before we starting fostering. Now that everyone in the family gets around under their own steam, we can start planning to get back out on the water.

It’s also been nice to be able to just hang with the older kids when they stop by – with no one needing constant care, we can actually listen when The Boy tells us about his latest business venture. And it’s been a real treat to just enjoy the boys playing together in the evening. Without a baby who might be trampled, we can let their imaginations run wild and just enjoy the show.

If you’re new to Starfish Confidential, please check out:

When I decided to be a foster parent

How we found “twiblings” (and part 2)

Adoption stories: Are they twins? and The Sequel (Lil Bit’s to come soon, I promise)

And finally: our family’s journey (through 2014 when I apparently forgot this post should be regularly updated)   😳

Now on to the #AdoptionTalk Linkup!

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Today’s topic is Getting to Know You. Grab a button for your post and join Ashley, Erin, Jenni, Jill, and me!

New to linking up? We’d love to have you join us, here’s how.

No Bohns About It

 


#AdoptionTalk: Four under 4 is nuts!

How far should you go to keep siblings together?After Lil Bit, we're done adopting. The addition of Squeaker has proven, unequivocally, that four under 4 is nuts - anything beyond that is terrifying....

Four under 4 is nuts!

 

When Lil Bit was sheltered, and placed with a relative who had no intention of adopting him, I fought (and fought) to have him placed with us.

Not because I wanted another boy (remember I said no more boys three boys ago), and not because I was in a hurry to adopt a third child – but because siblings are important.

Squirm has 6 older siblings (that we know of). I know where three of them are and will be able to give him some direction when he’s older and ready to find them. I would love to start play-dates with them now, but they don’t know he exists. And their adoptive parents apparently plan to keep it that way. I have no idea where to even start looking for his three oldest siblings.

So when it looked like he was going to lose another sibling – because this relative wanted to give her friend a child – I got mad. And I got vocal. Eventually, when Lil Bit was about 3 weeks old, the relative officially stated that she had no intention of adopting him, and the paperwork was finally started to move him to our home. He was four weeks old when he came home – exactly one week before his first Christmas.

People frequently ask if Lil Bit and Squirm know they are biological half-brothers. I honestly don’t know. They definitely know they are brothers and that Squish doesn’t look like them, but I have no idea if they realize they’re related to each other in a way they’re not related to Squish. We’ve discussed the fact that Lil Bit and Squirm have the same first mom, and Squish has a different first mom, but I have no way of knowing how much they understand.

Obviously, they’ll know someday. And I worry sometimes that Squish will feel left out because he doesn’t have a biological sibling in our family – or because he’s the only blond.

SuperDad and I have recently agreed that we are done adopting. We want to foster for a long time and if we adopt any more kids, we just aren’t going to be able to continue. The addition of Squeaker has proven to us, unequivocally, that four kids under age 4 (all in diapers) is nuts… And it doesn’t help that she doesn’t appear to be anywhere remotely near sleeping through the night….

So one question we will probably have to address at some point – if Squish and Lil Bit end up with another biological sibling, are we willing to take that baby, if necessary? At least right now, the answer is “probably not”. Even a few months ago I wouldn’t have even considered turning away a biological sibling, but…. four under 4 is nuts!

It’s crazy to me to think of saying no, and I feel a little guilty even contemplating it. But SuperDad and I have realized that the last thing we want is to get to a point where Squish has a new sibling that needs a home – and we have to say no. And the worst case would be continuing to say yes until we’ve gotten ourselves more children than we can handle.

Four under 4 is nuts and, quite frankly, anything beyond that is terrifying.

 #AdoptionTalk Link Up

Adoption Talk Linkup Hosts

This week’s topic: Anything Goes!
(optional topic: Transracial Adoption)

Grab a button for your post and join ErinJenni, Jill, Madeleine, and me!
New to linking up? We’d love to have you join us, here’s how.

Starfish Confidential #AdoptionTalk

And that’s it! We’re so excited that you are joining us!


Squirm’s Forever Day

After much drama and angst and consternation – and 800 days in foster care, Squirm is finally “forever”. On Friday, August 22nd, we made it official. I had terrible dreams leading up to finalization – from PFM demanding one last unsupervised visit, to her showing up at the ceremony and demanding to be present. But none of them came true. The day was completely drama-free (well, except for the ticket I got for not hanging my handicapped placard as we rushed into the courthouse) and SUCH a HUGE relief. We hit up Teddy Mountain for all the kids to pick out their Forever Day lovies (our family Forever Day tradition) and then had dinner with some of my best friends. We’re still kind of in that surreal-I-don’t-have-to-report-every-bruise phase, and I still need to return his redbook to his former case manager, but he’s really and truly ours. FINALLY.

In other news, Lil Bit finally figured out the mechanics of crawling. So we now have two 2-year-old boys and a mobile infant. We are well and truly screwed.

I love my life. 🙂

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Hint:
It has recently come to my attention that not all of my readers can easily tell when I’m being sarcastic. That is truly unfortunate, so finding a solution was imperative. ^Obviously, the easiest answer is to assume that if something can be read with sarcasm, it should be;^; but that’s not really workable, I guess. After reviewing several options for a “sarcasm font”, I’ve come up up with my own system. Whenever you see italics inside carrots (^snark^), that is my “sarcasm font”.

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Merry Christmas!

The baby has arrived!! He is gorgeous!!!! He is 4 weeks old, but he was 5 weeks premature, so his adjusted age is -1 week 🙂 He is just a tiny little bit of a thing, and so, he will henceforth be known as Lil Bit.

He looks so much like Squirm that my heart melted immediately. He even already has some of Squirm’s facial expressions.

The Twins are doing really well with our newest addition. Squirm is  kind of oblivious and Squish is ENCHANTED. They both say Hi Baby and Squish gives him hugs – and then tries to stick his finger in Lil Bit’s ear.

Oh! And the final TPR order was signed for Squirm, so we’ve started the clock on his 30-day appeal period!!

It’s a Very Merry Christmas for our Traveling Circus!!

Our Journey (so far)

1999: 
Met the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen in my life.

May 17, 2003: 
Married my best friend at sunset on a sailing ship off the coast of Key West.

2004:  
Began infertility treatment with Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) at Shands.

Jan 2006:    
RE suggested moving on to IVF.
Registered for foster care classes.

Feb 2006:   
Got rear-ended while moving. No time to go to ER. In pain, but too busy for doctors.

Apr 2006:   
Got foster care license & first placement – 2 adorable little boys; 9 months and 3 years.
Finally admitted that I need to see a doctor about my back.

July 2006:
Discovered that back injury is serious & permanent – closed out license.

Aug 2006:   
Began to try to accept that God’s plan doesn’t include me being a mom.
Went to college – ultimately earn Bachelor’s Degree, Master of Accountancy & CPA license.

Aug 2011:   
Realized that I really do want to be a mom.

Sept 2011:  
Super Dad took the news like a trooper and checked into getting re-licensed. And learned that the class we finished in March 2006 was only good for 5 years(!).
Registered for foster care classes.

Mar 2012:
Got foster care license and 1st placement (7-month-old Lady Bug) in same weekend.

May 2012:      
Got 3-year-old Super Boy (ADHD and ODD) & 15-month-old Peanut (epilepsy)

July 2012:
Peanut was moved to a medical foster home & Super Boy to a home that could better meet his needs.
11-week-old Squish arrived in the middle of the night – 100% serious – he looked just like Walter Matthau.

Jan 2013: 
Squish was reunified with his birth father, and I told our agency No More Boys.
Squirm showed up with the expectation that he would likely be reunified in a few weeks…. We soon discovered that he was not going to be short-timer.

Apr 2013:
Squish‘s CM texted and asked if we’dl take him back because she thought he would be coming back into care. After harassing Licensing Agency, Foster Care Liaison and anyone else I could think of, Squish came home two days later – just in time for his first hockey game. 🙂

June-July 2013: 
We learned that Squish‘s birth father wanted his mother to adopt Squish. CPC requested an interstate homestudy (ICPC) from Massachusetts.
Squirm
‘s birth mom surrendered. She was expecting again, so we were pretty sure that was why.
Squish‘s birth mom surrendered, and her attorney stated for the court record that she was surrendering with the understanding that we were interested in adopting him.

September-October 2013: 
Squish‘s birth father no-showed an advisory hearing – motion for TPR by default was granted. The final disposition was entered and the 30-day-appeal-period countdown began.
Lady Bug reunified with bio-dad.

November 2013: 
Squirm‘s birth father no-showed the TPR trial- motion for TPR by default was granted.
The final disposition on Squish‘s birth father was entered and the 30-day-appeal-period countdown began.
Lil Bit was born, sheltered, and placed with a maternal aunt and uncle, over my protests.

December 2013: 
Squish became available for adoption.
Squirm‘s final disposition entered and the 30-day-appeal-period countdown began.
Lil Bit finally came home.

Our first Christmas with the boys.

January-February 2014: 
Squirm became available for adoption and we learned that his previous foster mom (PFM) would be applying to adopt him. This meant that an Adoption Selection Committee would be convened to select Squirm‘s adoptive family.
The ICPC for Squish‘s maternal grandmother was denied, clearing the way for us to adopt him.

March 4, 2014: 
We adopted Squish!!

March-April 2014:
The Adoption Selection Committee selected us to adopt Squirm and we learned that PFM not only appealed that decision, but also file a shady not-actually-legal petition to adopt him even though she wasn’t selected. We retained an amazing attorney and settled in for a long fight.
Developments in Lil Bit‘s case meant that we weren’t going to see the quick resolution that CPC had initially expected.

May – July 2014:
We had several meetings with our attorney and a court appearance and a continued appeal hearing and worried that, against all odds and expectations, PFM would succeed in taking our son.

August 2014:
The day before the appeal hearing, we learned that PFM was withdrawing her appeal and adoption petition, and finalizing our adoption paperwork was being fast-tracked (like seriously fast, not just fast for foster care).

August 22, 2014: 
We adopted Squirm!!

November 2014:
SuperDad and I took the twins on a Bahamas Cruise to celebrate their adoptions – just the four of us. It was amazing!