Baileys Adventures

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…-Proverbs 17:22

Quiet Little Update May 11, 2014

Filed under: Baileys Adventures,Foster Care,Turtle — andreabaileys @ 6:48 pm

If you’ve spent any time around here you probably know that when I go silent big things are afoot.  This is no exception.  Less than a month after my last post we received a phone call from our social worker asking if we’d be willing to foster a newborn due around the first of the year.  We’d had to turn down several calls in the fall (it’s hard to have a 15 month old and exposed sub-flooring, at least according to Brian.) and knew that fostering a newborn would be our smartest bet until we get B3’s “big boy room” done and the nursery set back up.  We were glad to have a few weeks’ advance notice and got busy getting ready.  We were told to expect a good sized baby boy who most likely “wouldn’t be healthy”.  That’s all we knew past a delivery date.

The day after New Year’s my wonderful Little Bro and Sweet Lizzy had my awesome new niece, who still needs an undercover name.  She’s amazing, guys.  It’s so cool to look at a little person who looks familiar.   She’s such a good mix of the two of them, and then there are things that I see that are such “Hill things”.  Or my pointy ear, inherited from my Grandma Bowman 🙂 Holding her on January 3rd it was amazing to think that her cousin would be joining us within the week.

On Tuesday, the day after the baby was delivered, I was called to go downtown to sign some papers in preparation for his homecoming on Friday.  I called Mama to come watch B3 and the Munchkin Coalition, and prepared to head to DSS.  On the way out the door my social worker called back and said to come to the hospital….the baby was ready to be released.  It was at least 2-3 days earlier than we expected, but luckily we had a bassinet and car seat ready, and all the clothes and diapers washed up and ready to go.  I had taken my Christmas tree down that morning, and there were literal piles of fake tree needles all over the front room.  Thank goodness my mother can wield a broom with the best of them.   She had everything in order before I got home.

Picking the little guy up from the hospital was surreal.  Brian was en route to Staunton to work for the afternoon and couldn’t make it back.  The baby was (is) absolutely beautiful, completely healthy, and just generally perfect.  There was tons of paperwork, inf0rmation from doctors and nurses, and the pervading sense of worry for his mom a few rooms over.  She didn’t know me, and I didn’t know her.  My heart broke for her and the happiness of meeting a new little person was tempered with the knowledge that his mother was suddenly without her baby.  They made me ride in a wheelchair to the front door (which you can imagine  just thrilled the tar out of me.  /sarcasm) surrounded by a team of social workers.  Loading the baby into the car seat I was stopped by security and detained for a while.  I’m glad they were taking precautions but when you have 4 folks from CPS and DSS with you, you don’t expect problems.

Since then the past four months have been a whirlwind of readjusting schedules, learning how to be a mom of two, discovering that four hours of sleep has a very particular feel to it, and getting to know an amazing little person.  From the very first day his nickname has been Turtle, so that’s how he’ll be known online.  I can’t post any pictures or any details at all, but guys….he’s amazing!  He was just under 10 pounds at birth, is rocking 6-9 month clothes already, sleeps through the night (and half the morning), and is rolling over like a champ.  From his fuzzy little head to his incredibly big feet, lovely blue eyes and oh my word those cheeks, we’re in love.  B3 has taken to being a big brother again with ease and is definitely Turtle’s favorite person on earth.  He’s the easiest baby I’ve ever cared for and so far each day is a great adventure.

At this point we don’t know what lies ahead.  We do have a great relationship with his birth mother, and see her for visits on a regular basis.  For the past few months it’s almost been like co-parenting, and she’s wonderfully easy to work with.  If he returns home to her we’ll hopefully maintain a very open relationship with her, and if he ends up being adopted we’ll definitely include her in our family as much as she’s comfortable.  We’re in love, we’re blessed, and we’re having fun.  The only thing we kn0w for sure that’s coming in the next few weeks or months?  Teeth.

Happy Mother’s Day to our moms, our sisters (biological and in love), and all the ladies who helped raise us.  Happy Mother’s Day and huge hugs to the two women who birthed our sons, both permanent and foster.  So much love to women who wait, who mourn, and who hope for children.

 

 

Slowly But Surely November 22, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — andreabaileys @ 1:58 pm
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***SKREEEEEE***

(taps mic)

“Is this thing still on?”

This is how I feel about my blog.  I’ve written countless posts over the past five months…in my mind.  None of them came to fruition, and it’s time to bite the bullet and talk about why.  I used this blog throughout the beginning of our marriage and our experiences with infertility because it gave me a chance for catharsis and processing, and in order to provide people also experiencing infertility to read about it from a personal point of view.  I promised myself I’d be truthful, and I hope I succeeded in that.  There was good and bad, tears and endings.  I thought I would do the same through foster care and/or adoption.

I was so wrong.  See, the problem is that admitting that not only is adoption hard but also being a mom isn’t always fun means admitting that I’m not very good at what I wanted more than anything.  Admitting to being depressed after your adoption feels like the whole world is going to judge you and find you lacking.  Admitting that falling in infatuation with your son was the easy part, but being almost unable to feel loving toward a child as he’s in the midst of crisis and trying to be unloving is a hard thing to admit.  The truth is ugly and hard, and it’s impossible to come off looking like a good mother most of the time.  So I chose to keep quiet, denying myself my favorite outlet and distancing myself from all my friends in order to maintain a halfhearted charade.  I Fakebooked and occasionally outright lied.  Chances are if you asked me how we were in the past year and a half and I said “great!”, I was lying through my teeth.  I’m sorry.  If you know me personally, you know I abhor lying.  But the truth was far too hard. 

The truth is our son came to us with issues we never saw until he got comfortable, and in the process of unpacking his baggage he uncovered all of ours.  The truth is that many days I hated myself, hated being a mom, and hated most of the people around me, even as I loved them.  The truth is that the past 18 months were harder than anything I ever imagined and I walked through the blackest period of my life I’ve ever experienced.  The truth is I failed over and over and over, I distanced myself from my son daily, and I just wanted to crawl in a hole and hide. 

Somehow through all of this B3 begin to trust us, to love us, and to outgrow so many of his frustrating behaviors.  He started having more good days than bad, and started showing us the resilient, sweet boy we were hoping was in there.  His forgiving, loving nature began to smooth my edges.  His need for a different manner of parenting showed me a different manner of parenting.  I learned from him, we grew together, and we’ve emerged on the other side hand in hand, firmly attached and completely in love.  We have rough days sometimes but now they’re handled with patience and peace more often than not, and we don’t get derailed.  Somehow we’ve ended up exactly where we need to be, and I’ve never been happier.  I have a lot to write about now, after the fact.  It’s time to get truthful. 

 

Where God Comes In June 11, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — andreabaileys @ 10:18 pm
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In February Brian and I took B3 to church for the first time in…well, let’s just call it 3 months or so.  It’s really hard to keep a 4 year old happy and occupied during an hour and a half of church!  He doesn’t know the songs yet, so he doesn’t sing along and he can’t figure out why I make him wait for the sermon to gorge on Pirate Booty and Angry Birds.  But I’m learning that at this point I should just give him his snack and tablet as soon as we walk in so I can enjoy my time, and  last time he did a great job, so hopefully we can start attending on a more frequent basis again.

Our church is absolutely beautiful.  It was almost overwhelming the first time we visited.  The sanctuary is a beautifully made of wood with a vaulted ceilings and a wall of windows.  It’s routinely filled with 350-400 people comfortably and everyone is welcoming and kind.  In the center of the sanctuary’s ceiling the vault opens into a recessed skylight that fills the whole room with sunlight.  If you click the link you’ll see it on the outside picture, and the website header is the view looking up at it from an angle.  Sitting under it is amazing, and our usual seats pre-B3 are almost directly underneath.  On the Sunday in February we were running late (as usual) so we missed out on the coveted spots on the back rows for people with children and instead sat in our customary spot.  B3 flopped into his seat and looked up.  His brow wrinkled up and he pointed to the skylight.  Not-too-quietly-in-the-middle-of-singing he asked “What’s that?”

Now, we didn’t attend Lindale when it was first built so we don’t know how this came about but the whole church refers to the skylight as “where the Holy Spirit comes in”.  I was so excited to lean over and whisper in his ear for the first of many times “It’s where God comes in, looks at us, and see us worshiping Him!” His eyes lit up and his mouth dropped open as he craned his neck completely back, taking in the sun and the view.

“I don’t see Him!” he whispered back.

“See the sunlight?  That’s Him!  Remember how God is always watching? He is now, too,” I replied.

Throughout the rest of the service he would pause, look up, and look for God.  And over the next week he mentioned “the window where God comes in” several times.  I so look forward to raising him in a place and in a manner where he’s always watching for the Lord.  He’s starting to ask questions about Heaven that I hope I can and have answered in a way that leads him ever closer to Christ.  His little soul is a huge responsibility, but an absolute treasure to get to guide.

 

Time Flies… May 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — andreabaileys @ 10:37 pm
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I am continually amazed at how time is flying and how much B3 has changed.  I’m trying to find time to post more, now that it feels like life isn’t completely insane.  For now, I give you this….

Image

Same park, same boy….but oh, so different.  Love to you all.

 

Our First Year March 25, 2013

Filed under: Adoption,B3,Baileys Adventures — andreabaileys @ 9:32 pm

The password for this video is B32012

As you may know by now, our adoption of B3 was finalized last week. We are so excited to be able to share B3 with you at last. We have been so blessed by everyone’s comments and support, both through our adoption and through our entire quest to start a family.

I think I’ll find it a bit easier to blog now that I can show you pictures of what we’ve been doing. For now, enjoy catching up on our year!

 

9 Crazy Months February 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — andreabaileys @ 12:06 am
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I cannot believe 1. That we’ve had our son for almost 9 months and 2. That I haven’t updated this blog in ages.  I promise to do better, especially once I can post pictures.  Which shouldn’t be that long since we signed our official adoption paperwork in November.  We’re about a month to six weeks from finalized, depending on how quickly it all moves. 

Things are going well.  We had a pretty major setback in the fall when we inadvertently sent B3 to the same therapist he had seen with his biological parents and his foster parents, as well as the place where he had his visits with his bio parents.  Oops!  It only took one visit to completely derail him and the following two almost completely severed his attachment to us completely.  We’ve had some seriously rough times from October until about Christmas, and intermittently even still.  But we regrouped and we’re patching things up and every day is a new one.  

Halloween and Thanksgiving were major triggers for B3, but seemed to go well once he realized we’d all be together.  Christmas was suitably overwhelming, and he was so excited to celebrate for about a week straight.  He enjoyed giving gifts and hanging out with family as well as receiving, so luckily he wasn’t that kid who seems greedy on Christmas.  In mid-January Brian’s family visited, excluding Nurse Baileys and Cop Guy (now to be known as Investigator Man, I think).  We managed to surprise both B3 and my mother in law with a visit from Brian’s sister who lives too far away to visit often.  Christmas Part 3 coupled with a huge family trip to the children’s museum that included both sets of grandparents, one uncle, one aunt, and Cousin Girly Monkey, and B3 was in heaven.

Basically the past few months have just been crazy, crazy, crazy.  My little guy is growing like a weed, and is learning so much it’s amazing.  Somehow all the size 3s he came with are too short and tight, and his “he’ll grow into them” 4Ts fit perfectly.  He can do so much more independently now, and the amazing questions never stop.  He understands so much and is amazingly thoughtful when he wants to be.  He’s 3-starring levels in Angry Birds Space,  learning to write letters, and asking questions about time. He’s pushing hard for a baby sister, and has stopped napping except in the car. Every day he challenges me, frustrates me, inspires me, and melts my heart.  

 

Hard Stuff October 1, 2012

Filed under: Adoption,B3,Foster Care — andreabaileys @ 8:00 am
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Last week Brian and I went back to the foster classes we took in February and March  to speak about receiving a placement of a child who is adoptable and the various  issues that come along.  It was a little nerve-wracking to openly tell people about our first three months.  Because it was hairy, folks.  B3 came to us only 6 months after losing his family of origin, and losing his second family (his foster family) so quickly left him with some serious abandonment issues.  This is on top of his existing behavior issues and the fact that he’s three.

But as we prepared to tell these foster parents to be what to expect (ha!), we realized again (and again and again)  just how far our little guy has come.  It’s been ages since either of us has been hit, kicked, or bitten.  The angry screaming and inconsolable crying has tapered to an occasional phenomenon, and running away in public seems to be a thing of the past.  As we talk more and more about feelings and strive to give them names B3 is starting to use that knowledge to say “I’m a little sad today” or “That makes me angry”.  We’ve learned that none of the plans we had for parenting are going to work, and that if your three year old is bright enough you actually can reason with them.

I was glad to share our story with folks who will probably find themselves knee deep in angry, confused, broken child within the next six months.  It’s not all lollipops and sparkles, by any stretch.  But sometimes your little guy sits on your lap and tells you that he’s “a little happy but a lot sad and and angry” and doesn’t know why…so you send him to “Mister Donald’s” for lunch with his daddy and he comes back feeling at least 25% better.   And later you pick him up from your parents’ house and he had a great time without meltdowns and he goes to bed happier than he got up.  And that’s a little tiny victory.

 

Where Does He Get This Stuff?! September 28, 2012

Filed under: B3 — andreabaileys @ 1:30 pm

Last weekend, Brian and I finally took the kiddo out to buy a new bed.  Since B3 came to us so suddenly, we were still set up for “birth to three foster care”.  Everything was slightly baby-oriented and convertible for older children.  My brother and sister-in-law bought us a crib, and our awesome friends the Bravermans bought us a mattress.  Set up in the toddler bed mode it has been perfect for B3 since he came in April.  Lately, though, we’ve noticed a lot of tossing and turning, and our very active almost-4-year-0ld was using the remaining bars on the bed as a jungle gym.  Finally we realized he’s just gotten too big for his britches…um, I mean bed.

So off we went to buy a full size bed, and I headed to Target to have entirely too much fun buying snazzy new bedding for my little guy.  It was an all day operation, and by bedtime we were all exhausted with shopping, hauling, laundering, bed-dressing and the tiring effect of “change” on B3.  He doesn’t enjoy it, that’s for sure.  As we finished up our bedtime routine and B3 and I were laying on his new bed waiting for Brian to come read books, the following conversation made me laugh my head off:

B3: You want some covers, Mommy?

Me:  Sure.  Thanks.

B3:  Can I put my head under?

Me:  Sure.  It’s your bed.

B3: You want covers over your head?

Me:  No, thank you.  I don’t like covers over my head.  I can’t stand it.

B3:  (nodding sagely) You know what I can’t stand?

Me: (afraid of where this was headed) What?….

B3:  Lions.
He never missed a beat, and was dead serious.  I literally laughed til I cried.  I love this kid.

 

Summer Recap, B3 Style September 23, 2012

Filed under: B3,Baileys Adventures,Catching Up — andreabaileys @ 12:05 am

Don’t freak out, your Google Reader isn’t broken…I just haven’t updated my blog in almost two months.  I’m realizing that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get every thing done, which is probably why my house is a huge mess and I seriously need to hem a few pairs of jeans (or grow three inches) and nothing has gotten crafted, sewn, crocheted, or otherwise done around here.  Most days I’m happy we’re all in clean (if wrinkled) clothing and fed a somewhat nutritious meal at some point before bath time.

The nutshell version is:  we’re all doing well.  We’re finding a system that works for all of us and are really enjoying our new little family.  Brian’s been working a lot of overtime and I finally have a full house again.  B3 is settling in nicely and is usually on a pretty even, albeit hyperactive, keel.  We have rough days and we’re working through a lot of emotional stuff, but by and large it’s all working pretty much as well as we could ask.  While it’s slightly uphill, this whole parenthood gig is pretty awesome.

I’m finding it hard to write blog posts without pictures.  I really want to share B3 with you guys!  Not only is he adorable (I can say that — I didn’t make him) but we’ve been doing some awesomely fun stuff this summer.  So, here’s what all I would show you if I could…and some day soon I will:

*B3 meeting my parents, who promptly fell in love.

*My first Mother’s Day and the first time I took my kiddo to a restaurant, and his first time meeting his Uncle.

*Our yearly yard sale, now with cute entertainment.

*B3 meeting Brian’s parents, who promptly fell in love.

*A huge picnic with my father’s family and some family friends to celebrate Father’s Day and let folks meet B3.  He was understandably overwhelmed but had fun.

*Riding his “motorcycle” up and down the back alley, including a huge wreck and our first “boo boo”. First here, at least.

*A huge storm which led to all of us huddling in the basement. B3 was introduced to Angry Birds that night and was a trooper through all of it.

*Meeting Spiderman at a local furniture store. Good call, Brian!  It blew his mind.

*VA’s baby Z was born, and B3 spent his first day away from me.  We survived.

*Fireworks!  B3 was completely underwhelmed.  I may have built it up a little too much.

*A fabulous picnic with my mother’s entire family to welcome B3.  He had an absolute blast playing with cousins and making Mama and my Little Bro run all over creation on the park. We learned that he will run willy-nilly in front of a bunch of swings, repeatedly. B3 met sweet baby Em since my YaYaPrincess came down, too!

*Our first trip to WV to see Brian’s entire family.  Folks came from several hours away for a giant picnic and we had a blast.  B3 met his aunts, Uncle Cop Guy, Girly Monkey, and about a billion cousins.  He did great on the 8 hour trip there, and when the trip home stretched to 11 hours he still did just fine.  We stopped at WVU to see the coliseum and Jerry West statue (“That guy is huge!”) and he enjoyed running around all weekend meeting new friends.  Saturday morning he took a face-plant into a set of wooden steps, bit into his cheek and gave me a coronary.  After a bloody hour he had recovered well, was sporting a huge bruise and gash and had a good back story (“It was a bar fight.”)

*Driving over the mountain to see Uncle Little Bro and Aunt Sweet Lizzy’s new house and have lunch.  B3 had tons of fun.

*Discovering my kid has an amazing innate grasp of math and reasoning, including the ability to subtract and do 30-40 piece puzzles he’s never seen before.  Yeah.  So pretty quick we went from “working on basic stuff” to homeschooling for real with plans and curriculum.  My 3 year old can trace letters, memorize Scripture, and manipulate numbers, ya’ll.  I thought I had two years to adjust to being a mama before I had to learn how to be a homeschooling mama.  Nope.  Our first official day of school was September 10, and he’s doing amazingly well with two 45-minute sessions each day and some review work or sensory activities in the evenings. WOW.

*My birthday.  35 feels pretty sweet.  We took our first picture with all three of us, which is my new favorite picture.

*The Hill Reunion, followed by our joint daycare picnic.  Both chances to run around parks and eat hot dogs.  Or, as B3 would call it: Heaven.

*Two hours hanging out at BW3 to watch WVU slaughter JMU.  B3 can officially hang with the Mountaineer crowd — which is good since that’s pretty much his only Daddy-permited college choice other than Stanford.

*A few trips to Skyline (we saw a bear both times!) and the arboretum, and fun at the parks in our neighborhood.
It’s been an amazing summer.  Thank you to everyone who’s made our little guy welcome in the family, and to everyone who’s praying for us as we learn how to be parents.  Happy Fall!

 

Mama Said…. July 24, 2012

Filed under: B3 — andreabaileys @ 10:18 pm

…there’d be days like this.  You know: those days when you get to the end, sink down on the couch and just thank God it’s over? Yeah, those days.  We just made it through one of those days, and thank God it’s over!

B3 is many wonderful things. He’s adorable, funny, sharp as a tack, and so gentle and loving.  And at the same time, he’s a three year old boy who’s been in foster care.  That’s a whole ‘nuther can of worms.  B3’s been with us for 11 weeks tonight (wow!), and I’ve been with him almost 24-7 for that entire time.  I think I’ve left him with Brian 4 times and Mama once in that three months.  What this means is that he seems to be attaching to me quite well, and after about two rough months I seem to be having more good days than bad.  There are exceptions, of course, but by and large he and I have a good idea of how things need to happen in order to get to 9 PM happy.  Unfortunately, Brian is with B3 about half that time, so they’re only about half as far along the line.  Which means that lately every time they’re together someone ends up in time out or yelling.  Usually it’s B3.

Today…good grief.  One of those days.  I may have watched one too many episodes of Mad Men last night and was a bit less than eager to get out of bed this morning.  I decided to shower at nap time so I could actually enjoy it.  I headed to work and spent the next two hours trying to keep a 3 year old, a 2 1/2 year old, and an 18 month old from swinging off the fan while the five month old refused to drink his bottle or take a nap.  The 18 month old took three years to eat some oatmeal.  B3 refused to eat a cinnamon roll for breakfast (hello?  who prefers cereal to that?!) before heading to the arboretum with Brian for the morning.

And then…the tantrum began.  Refusal to put on his shoes, refusal to go use the bathroom, refusal to….well, everything.  Ever been involved in a two and a half hour tantrum and time out?  It’s just as fun as you would think. By 10:00, the 18 month old was headed home with a fever over 103.   Somewhere around 11 I was refereeing another fun father-son battle of wills while holding a squirmy baby and trying to convince him (again) to drink his bottle when I heard that distinctive sound that means someone is going to have to change a diaper soon.  Since he’s definitely gifted me with several poopsplosions before (like last week), I almost said out lout “Man, I hope this diaper holds until he takes this last ounce or so.”

About 5-10 minutes later, I got up to put the little guy in the swing, and as I shifted my hand under him, it felt wet.  I immediately said “Oh, God, no!”…and realized that my hand wasn’t the only casualty.  My only clean jeans, the baby’s outfit, all lost to PoopTuesday.  I will say I instantly had the attention of every kid in the room, even mine who was serving yet-another-time-out.  From there the rest of the day went downhill.  I’m lucky my Munchkin Coalition is well-trained enough to handle it when one small boy (mine) loses his mind at lunch, crawls under the table to avoid going to nap and then plays for two and a half hours instead of napping. My nap time shower?  Lost to thunderstorms and a tornado warning.  Instead I managed to develop a migraine so bad I couldn’t even function.

Other than a brief period from 4:20-5:28, the rest of the day progressed the same.  I taught a lesson listening to the strains of one screaming boy pushing his daddy’s buttons, Brian escaped to the store to pick up (sweet, blessed, caffeine-laden) Dr. Pepper while the monkey ate dinner, and he finally dropped off to sleep by 8:45.  We heated up chili from the freezer and indulged in the sad, desperate lives of Don Draper and Peggy Olsen.

Some days…you just thank God you made it though. Luckily, as I keep telling B3, tomorrow is a brand new day.  Goodnight!