Tag Archive: Squirm

She Dropped Out of the Case!!!!

We probably will never know exactly why (although there are some theories floating around), but PFM has decided to drop all of her objections and withdraw all of her petitions!

It’s over and Squirm will be forever ours just as soon as all the paperwork can be prepared.

That is all. ūüôā

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Case Updates: Squirm & Lil Bit

I just realized that I have NEVER told y’all about¬†Lil Bit – like, at all! That’s terrible!! So I’ll get to him in a minute – but the update on Squirm will be much quicker, so I’ll start there:

NOTHING.IS.HAPPENING. As you already know, Previous Foster Mom (PFM) appealed our selection as his adoptive family. She also made some other legal maneuvers that can’t be fully addressed until her appeal is heard and ruled on. The appeal hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. Yesterday I was told that her attorney requested a continuance…

We don’t have a new date yet, but I was told today it will probably be in August. In case you forgot – Squirm became available for adoption on 1.16.14. So we will have his post-termination Permanency Hearing before this appeal is heard – and AFTER THAT, we have to deal with the other junk….

So, yeah. My child has been a legal orphan for 5 months, and there doesn’t seem to be any urgency to remedy that situation. The one upshot is that he doesn’t know that. He’s 2, so none of this makes any difference to him. That’s what I’m holding onto….

Lil Bit is just awesome. He is such a happy baby and he has the greatest smile. His laugh is completely delightful. In fact, my only complaint about Lil Bit is that he won’t laugh for me. ūüôĀ SuperDad¬†can get him to laugh, and he will laugh HYSTERICALLY for Squish. But I can’t get so much as a chuckle. However, he talks to me. Lil Bit and I have looooong conversations. And he sings to me. He occasionally will coo a little at SuperDad, but I’m the only one he sings to. And I’m the only one he has conversations with (and not just because I’m the only person that will have long conversations with a 6-month-old).

He was born with torticollis, which basically means that his neck, jaw and shoulder muscles were really tight and he constantly looked to his right. Which led to a serious flat part on the back of his head. Which led to the need for a cranial band (more commonly known as a helmet). He got fitted last week, and let me just tell you, he is TOTALLY rocking that helmet! We found a company called Bling Your Band¬†that designs decals for cranial bands. We ordered a custom kit that will make his helmet look like a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey helmet. As soon as everything comes in, I’ll post pictures of the application process and a review of the company (spoiler alert: I’ve already been really impressed with the company). Lil Bit has also had physical therapy 3 days a week for the last couple of months to resolve the torticollis. He has shown MASSIVE improvement, and we’re expecting the PT to be discontinued in the next few weeks.

His Case: Meh. The case plan is expedited TPR. But…. nothing’s ever easy, right? We can’t actually move forward until the birth father is identified…. I feel like I’m on an episode of Groundhog Day meets The Maury Povich Show – YOU are not the father… YOU are not the father…. I asked in court today how long this is going to be drawn out – why can’t we test all the possibilities right away instead of testing one, learning he’s not the father, going to court, asking for the next name, test the next guy, see if he’s the father before locating the next guy….. Supposedly they’re now going to try to track down all the potentials and get them tested before we go back to court in August (!), so hopefully we’ll move forward at that point. (I hope you’ll understand if I don’t hold my breath….)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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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Nothing’s ever easy (an update on Squirm)

I’ve been trying to write this post in my head for about a week… I haven’t really come up with anything I like, so we’re just going to see where this goes… Please excuse any vagueness – I feel like I need to be careful with what I share, since we’re in an ongoing legal situation.
I’m just going to lead with the bottom line: our family needs your prayers.
Squirm is free for adoption and we have been selected as his adoptive family (^you know, since he’s lived with us over a year & almost two-thirds of his life^).
Unfortunately, Squirm’s previous foster mom (PFM) believes he should be returned to her and is willing to fight as far and as long as it takes to get him back. We have retained an attorney and are mostly optimistic, but we know how screwy the foster care system can be, and we are confident that PFM has deeper pockets than we do….
A little more of the background than I’ve previously shared:

Squirm entered care in June 2012, when he was 5 weeks old. Based on his birth parents’ prior history with DCF, the assumption was that his case would go rapidly to adoption. In fact, he entered care with a concurrent plan – his birth parents were given reunification case plans, but he needed to be in a home that was willing to adopt him. So, ^naturally^, he was placed with a woman who wanted to adopt but (^evidently^) really wasn’t interested in actually fostering. He was her first (and only) foster placement.

I got a call in January 2013 asking if I would take an 8-month-old boy who was being moved ASAP because his current foster mom was interfering with reunification. I agreed to the placement primarily because my agency was in a bind and I wanted to help them out and only because we thought it would be a short-term placement going to reunification fairly quickly. I mean, ^who would rock the boat with a case that was likely to go to adoption???^

Because I had been pretty vocal about my opposition to Lady Bug going back to her dad, I was more than a little freaked out by the idea that a placement could be disrupted because of a foster parent interfering with reunification. Little by little, though, I was able to piece together enough information to know that PFM had done MUCH more than voice her opinion on the child’s best interests. I’m sure she meant well, but she definitely crossed some lines.

As a foster parent, part of my job is to support the case plan. Every year when my license is renewed, SuperDad¬†and I have to sign a document acknowledging that responsibility and reaffirming our commitment to supporting the case plan. I also realize that my rights are VERY¬†limited and I can accomplish the most by being a team player. PFM…. didn’t. She evidently didn’t realize that she couldn’t call the shots and she apparently didn’t realize she could advocate more effectively if she played nice. She definitely didn’t support the case plan.

So Squirm came to me on January 31, 2012. I won’t get into all of the details… because you don’t really care…. but I will say that his motor and social skills were significantly delayed when we got him, but he made RAPID progress once he was in our home – he was on-target for all his milestones by the time we’d had him a few weeks. The change was so pronounced that we submitted a statement for the investigation into the change of placement.

Because, yes, PFM contacted the governor and the state sent a team to investigate – they were here for something like 2 weeks. The interviewed everyone involved – including, I believe PFM. They read every document in the file. And they determined that the move was a good decision. I feel I should note that the investigation was soon enough after the move that Squirm would probably not have been seriously traumatized by reversing the move – AT THAT TIME. But the investigative team determined that the move was good, so we thought we were done with that chapter.

At some point, PFM petitioned to intervene in the case and was denied because Florida doesn’t allow a foster parent (^and certainly not a¬†former¬†foster parent^)¬†to intervene in a case when parental rights are still intact.

On March 13, 2013, the judge ordered that the case plan be changed to TPR/Adoption and parental rights were finally terminated in December 2013. ^Somehow^ PFM knew the minute Squirm became available for adoption and applied to adopt him immediately.

Which pretty much brings you up to speed. Obviously we applied to adopt him, and the procedure when multiple parties petition to adopt a child is for DCF/CPC to convene a Selection Committee – which selected SuperDad¬†and I. PFM has 30 days to appeal the Selection Committee’s decision, and she has stated that she intends to do so. I don’t know how far she can take this or how long she can drag it out since this seems to be fairly uncharted territory for everyone I’ve consulted.

You may remember that Squish came back to us on April 11, 2013 – since that time, with the exception of about 8 hours of visitation, 2 afternoons at the courthouse and maybe 2 doctor appointments, Squish and Squirm have literally been together 24/7 – they share a room, daycare class, nap time and anything else you can imagine. You may also remember that they are “twins” – obviously not biologically related, but Squish was born less than 7 hours before Squirm, in the same hospital (and Squirm is the only one of his¬†many¬†biological siblings to be born in this hospital). Splitting up these two boys would be tragic – everyone sees that but PFM – and I don’t think she cares.

I’ve been asked how PFM can possibly think that moving Squirm would be good for him…. I honestly don’t have an answer for that. My assumption is that her focus isn’t on what’s best for Squirm, but rather on what’s “FAIR” to her. I think that she feels she was mistreated and is trying to make a point, even if it’s at the expense of my son.

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 ūüôā 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!!

N.A.A.M. Blog Tour: Where did all these boys come from??? (Part 2: Squirm)

In January, just before Squish was reunified with his birth father, I told our agency, “No more boys. Only girls. Girls are more fun and boys’ clothes are boring.”

No more boys.

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, I’m participating in an Adoption Blog Tour¬†(AND GIVEAWAY!). Since we’re hoping to finalize a couple of adoptions in the next few months, I decided to write about the sequence of far-too-many-to-be-coincidence events that aligned and blessed us with two happy, boisterous, affectionate, spirited, funny, exasperating beautiful boys.

Because I’m incapable of making¬†a long¬†any story short, this will be a multipart fairy tale. Hang in there, because I’m pretty sure we all live happily ever after. If you missed it, you can go read the bit about¬†how we got Squish-ed (I’ll wait). Today, let’s talk about

Where Squirms Come From
  • I mentioned this yesterday, but it’s worth noting again: when we were initially licensed, even though we were adamant that 2 was our limit,¬†our licensing specialist licensed us for 3 beds, “just in case”.
  • Two weeks after Squish left, I got a call about a little boy. “I know you didn’t want any more boys,” starts our Licensing Specialist, “but we have to move him from his current foster home, we need someone on this side of the county, and it’s only for a few weeks – he’ll be reunified with his dad soon.
    • Squish’s birth father was identified in September 2012, but due to stupid paperwork delays and unnecessary red tape, Squish wasn’t reunified until January 2013.¬†If Squish had left¬†any¬†sooner, we would probably have already had another baby by the time Squirm needed a new placement, and he would have gone to someone else.
    • We decided to accept the placement because it would help our agency out and it would only be a few weeks anyway. When the Licensing Specialist told me his birth-date (exactly the same as Squish’s), I did a double-take – “Wait, this isn’t [Squish], is it? He just went back to his dad.” “No,” she said, “it says the name is [Squirm], and he’s coming from another foster home.”

SuperDad¬†picked up Squirm from the CPC office and sent me a picture. He was freaking gorgeous! We decided that it was a good thing he’d only be around for a few weeks, because we could oh-so-easily fall in love with those dimples and we definitely wanted only girls.

  • Then I got a call from Squirm’s Case Supervisor – we knew her from a previous case, and she was thrilled when she heard Squirm was coming to our home. He was being moved because the previous foster mom¬†went a little nutty when the case plan goal¬†wasn’t changed to adoption right away.
    • The CS had told Mr. Stork that she needed a home that would¬†support the current case plan (reunification) but that was open to adoption, because Squirm was very likely going to be available for adoption!
  • Squirm has several biological siblings (not enough for a baseball team, but enough for a hockey team and backup goalie). The three siblings just older than him had been adopted by a maternal uncle and aunt. They were asked to take Squirm when he came into care, but passed because they also had three biological children and they just didn’t feel they could handle 7 kids.
    • If the uncle and aunt had had room for him, Squirm would never have been placed in foster care, and we never would have met him.
    • If Squirm had been placed with anyone else when he first came into care, he wouldn’t have needed to be moved, and¬†he wouldn’t have needed us.
    • A friend of mine actually got a call when Squirm initially came into care, but she didn’t have a spot for a boy, so she passed. If she had said yes, we wouldn’t have Squirm!
    • To be honest, from the beginning I was very intimidated by the idea of transracial parenting (I still am, but that’s another post). I was far from convinced that I was up to the task, and I was certain that Squirm deserved¬†someone anyone better than me.
      • Then the maternal aunt reached out to us and asked for a picture of Squirm. My first thought was that she was maybe having second thoughts.
        OH, HELL NO!¬†SuperDad and I instantly circled the wagons – She had her chance, she passed on our baby, and we weren’t going to give a chance to change her mind.¬†That’s when we realized that he owned our hearts and began to pray that Squirm was here to stay.

Like I said, I’m pretty sure we all live happily ever after, but you’ll have to come back for the happy ending because we don’t have the final chapter yet.

* if you’re unfamiliar with any terminology, it might be helpful to check out my primer on foster care lingo.

Foster2Forever positive foster parenting adoption blogs support

Please check out the other foster/adoptive parents who have contributed to the National Adoption Awareness Month Blog Tour by clicking the photo above!

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