Squish

What’s In a Name?

There is an on-going controversy debate discussion in foster-care adoption circles on changing a child’s name at adoption –Should the adoptive parent:

 
Change only the last name?
Change the last and middle names, but leave the first name alone?
Change all the names?
Keep first and middle birth names as double middle name?
 
Rearrange first, middle, last and new names to create an obscure anagram?
 
Should the child be given a choice? 
At what should the child get input?
At what age should child make the decision –
Should it be a guided decision?
Carte blanche? ….
 

Blah, blah, blah….

I don’t want to talk about the rights and wrongs of changing names. Not today. Maybe not ever.

We changed Squish’s name when we adopted him. We kept his first birth name as his new middle name in case he ever decides he wants to go by that. Trust me when I tell you that he will not ever want to go by his birth middle name.

 
We will be doing the same with Squirm’s name for the same reasons.

When we got approval to start using Squish’s new name, he had been going by his birth name for a year and a half. He knew his birth name, Squirm knew his birth name and on occasion, Squish even answered to his birth name. Never mind that all his teachers and classmates knew him by his birth name.

The Twins’ therapist suggested that one way to help with the transition would to be to get some personalized books with Squish’s new name to read with them – if I could personalize a book on adoption, so much the better!

And so the search began…

……….
and continued
……….
until I gave up.
 
Have YOU tried to find a foster-care-adoption-appropriate book that can be personalized??
 
Well, let me save you the trouble, because one found me!!!!!!!!!!
 


Two weeks before Squish’s adoption was finalized, I was contacted by www.PutMeInTheStory.com and asked if I would interested in reviewing one of their newest titles – I Wished for You: An Adoption Story by Marianne Richmond. This is actually one of my absolute FAVORITE adoption books, so you can imagine how excited I was to personalize one for Squish!!

I was actually dreading the personalization process because I’d already checked out a couple of personalized book websites… let’s just say I wasn’t impressed with the user-friendliness.

But the process at Put Me In The Story was EASY-PEASY!

 

Find the book you want to order and click on the “Personalize Your Book Now Button.”

The personalization frame pops up so you can enter the child’s name, who the book is from, and a dedication (the dedication was the hardest part of the process for me – I have a hard enough time with Twitter – how am I supposed to say something meaningful with only 100 characters??? But I guess the dedication shouldn’t be a book in itself, so maybe the limitation is a good thing).

This is also where you upload a photo for the dedication page – you can even crop or rotate the photo right in the frame!

But here’s the coolest part of the Put Me In The Story process – once you’ve entered the names and dedication and uploaded your photo,

 
YOU CAN PREVIEW THE BOOK —- WITH YOUR PERSONALIZATIONS!!!!
 
 

How freaking cool is that?!?! You can preview one or two pages at a time to make sure you like how the personalization looks and flows – before you commit to anything!!

 

I was so excited just from the previews that I was almost in tears. Then the book arrived on Forever Day Eve!

 

And it was more beautiful than I could have imagined.


*I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I was not financially compensated in any way and all opinions are my own.*

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!!

A Good Day for the Traveling Circus! (Updates)

Squish: TPR disposition hearing today. No surprises, and we’re one step closer to Forever Day. Judge Chinchilla ruled that all parental rights are terminated. The CLS attorney has 10 days to submit the order; 31 days after the order is signed, Squish will be freed for adoption.

We are still waiting on the ICPC on his paternal grandma. Everyone seems to be very surprised that MA is moving so slowly. The CM sent an update request through official channels, but has yet to hear anything.

Squirm: I’m not sure how or why, but I haven’t posted about the recent mini-roller coaster we’ve been riding with Squirm’s case. I mentioned previously that his paternal grandmother had apparently located an army of “SEVERAL close Relatives who would like to get [Squirm] so that he may Remain in Our Family.” Well, two of those relatives have come forward in the last 6 weeks. The first call came 6 weeks ago from a great-aunt who was supposed to call the CS back with names, birth dates and socials for all household members. She never called back and didn’t return the CS’s call a couple of weeks later. I never really worried much about her – I just didn’t feel like she was a threat to us – just an irritation.
 
But then, last Monday, I spoke with the CS and learned that an out-of-state cousin had come forward – she hadn’t known that Squirm was in foster care, but was willing to do anything necessary to get him. The cousin seemed really nice, gave the CS all the necessary information, and they made arrangements to speak again this week. I don’t know why, but this one freaked me out – it could have been timing, it could have been that the CS thought the woman was very nice… I don’t know, but this one had me worried. Since we are SOOO close to the TPR trial, which starts 11/8, the CS wanted to speak with her supervisor before moving forward with the ICPC.
 
So…. hurrah! I spoke with the CS today – because these people have come forward so late in the game, and ICPCs take SOOO long, CPC will not be moving forward with any homestudies for the great-aunt, the cousin, or any family members that come forward now!!! Granted, the bio-dad can still have his attorney file a motion for change of placement. But considering that there’s almost no chance that he could get a court date prior to the TPR trial… by the time the motion could be heard, he wouldn’t have any rights anyway!!!
 
Which means… really the only thing between us and Squirm’s Forever Day is the previous foster mom – and I’m really confident that’s she’s not a threat. Not only has he been with us longer than she had him (over 3 months longer by the time he’s freed for adoption), but they took him away from her for a reason…..
 
So, yeah. Today was a good day!!
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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!