Baileys Adventures

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

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!

Advertisements
 

Hard Stuff October 1, 2012

Filed under: Adoption,B3,Foster Care — andreabaileys @ 8:00 am
Tags: ,

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.

 

9 weeks?! July 13, 2012

Filed under: Adoption,B3,Foster Care — andreabaileys @ 1:34 pm
Tags: , , ,

Somehow, it’s been over 9 weeks since B3 came to live with us full-time.  That’s just nuts to me.  Sometimes it feels like it’s been 9 minutes, and other times it feels like he’s always been here.  I’ve written this post in my head a billion times, but I haven’t known what to say so I’ve been avoiding my computer.  That, and by the time we get him to bed at night all I want to do is lie on the couch and watch my newest addiction (Mad Men, at the moment) in the 30 minutes I have left before bed.  This has been a huge adjustment on us all, but we’re starting to get a handle on it.

So far things are going exactly as we expected.  We had a couple good weeks with a sweet, agreeable, friendly little boy.  And then he started to work through the attachment stuff just like we were expecting.  And so we had about 6 weeks of….wow.  Angry, mean, acting out little boy who didn’t know what to do with all his feelings.  In the space of an hour we could go from a happy guy to hitting, kicking, screaming, and clawing.  And then poof!, he’d be fine again. We learned that B3 is a master manipulator who is entirely too smart for his own good, but at heart is simply a sweetie who wants love and craves attention.  He’s also downright hilarious and goofy, which is good.  In addition, it appears the headcount of “People with ADD in Our House” is raised to 3…  At least he’s in good company, right?

The past week has been pretty excellent.  B3 is starting to understand that Brian and I are in charge and that arguing with us is rather like arguing with a couple of posts.  He also learned that running from us is never a good idea since Daddy played football and Mama moves faster than any fat girl ever should. The entire past two months has been full of learning experiences.   B3 learned that running through the sprinkler (“sprinkles”) is awesome, and that riding your little motorcycle super fast is fantastic but hitting the ground at that speed sucks. Apparently all things are made better by a Phineas and Ferb Band-Aid, though.   Brian and I actually find ourselves discussing the merits of Diego versus the WonderPets (Backyardigans still get my vote every time, though), and 10:30 now feels like 2 AM.  Snuggling in bed with a kid may be nice, but snuggling in bed with my kid is rather like trying to hug an octopus made of knees and elbows who never…stops…talking.  I also learned not to start something with a 3 year old that you don’t want to continue ad nauseum, for the rest of your freaking life.  For example, this kid will expect lemon yogurt-covered pretzels (printzles) after lunch for doing a good job for the rest of his natural life.  And I learned that Miss “We Only Eat Healthy Stuff” will happily bribe her kid with food via a behavior chart: Dum Dums for five stars, chocolate pudding at 10, and Reese cups for 15 stars. Hey, Reese cups are clearly his currency — who am I to argue?

All in all, it’s been an hilarious two months, and we’re beginning to feel like we’ve turned a corner.  Hey, the monkey is usually eating the majority of his dinner without incident, is finally sleeping halfway decently, and loves to help out around the house. We’ll take it.  He’s baffled by cleaning and clapped for me after I cleaned his bathroom last night — where has this kid been all my life?!

 

Sometimes Vagueness is Necessary May 11, 2012

Filed under: Adoption — andreabaileys @ 2:20 pm
Tags: ,

So you may have noticed I haven’t blogged in ages.  Strangely, I haven’t done much of anything in ages that wasn’t strictly necessary.  Except clean the bathrooms, which is strictly necessary and may get done tonight.  Probably not.  The past few weeks have been proof that it is possible to have a Major Life Change and not announce it to the world via Facebook, no matter how much we want to.  I hesitate to even post it here.  So forgive the vagueness, but most of you already know the situation and will respect that, I know.

If I could, I would stand on a mountaintop and yell it to the world, or at the very least shout it from my front porch.  Three weeks ago (tomorrow) we met the sweet boy who will be our son!  By which I mean he already is our son in all but name and legality because he fits perfectly into the little boy-shaped hole in our family and we can’t imagine life without him.  He’s been here full time since Tuesday, and we are over the moon.  I’m exhausted and we’re both completely baffled on how this whole “parenting after 5:30” thing works, but we’re treading water and making progress.  Maybe by next week playing, dinner, bath, snuggles, books, prayers, and tuck in will happen in conjunction with cleaning the bathroom and folding the laundry all before 9 PM, but I’m not banking on it.  Because given the choice between mopping this floor and falling heart first into adorable hazel eyes?  The eyes have it.

For the record, you won’t see our son’s name here or any picture for a long time.  As far as I’m concerned, I put our names online for two reasons:  honesty, and to build a positive online presence for both my husband and myself in the event of job interviews, etc.  Sure, anyone with a brain can google us and find out the names of our family members or maybe stalk me via Facebook (though not Brian with his airtight vault of a persona), but I’m hoping for a bit of anonymity for our children, siblings, and nieces/nephews.  As for pictures, we’ll decide that after our little guy is legally ours, and you can bet they’ll be vetted and vague.  If we post any at all.  So, I’ll be referring to our new heart-stealer as B3.  There are many reasons, and we can all thank The Bum for the nickname.

Now…I need to go figure out how to convince a 3 year old to eat something other than hot dogs!

 

National Adoption Day November 19, 2011

Filed under: Adoption — andreabaileys @ 8:00 am

Today is National Adoption Day.  Today, thousands of families celebrate the growing of their families through adoption, and thousands more have their foster adoptions finalized in court.

I’d ask you today to remember any families you know who may have been added to by adoption, and to remember the families walking through foster care with their children.  Please remember the brave birth parents who placed their children in another’s hands for safekeeping, and pray for the parents who had to give up their children t0 foster care for whatever reason.  With every happiness there is a measure of grief, and with every forever family there is one lost.  Please be in prayer for children in dire situations, for parents who cannot parent safely, and for people receiving calls for foster care right now.

Please be in prayer for our children, wherever they are and whatever they’re going through.  Whether they’re our children forever or only while they need shelter from a bad situation, we entrust them to God and can’t wait to meet them.

If you’re an adoptive parent, thank you.  If you’re a birth parent, thank you.  If you’re a foster parent, thank you.  If you’re an adopted child, thank you for being a blessing in someone’s life.

This year, National Adoption Day has a little more meaning for me.  This past Wednesday, as part of my plan to be proactive and purge the denial and apathy from my house, I made the first contact to request information about becoming foster parents.  I’ve been putting it off, but we’ve been feeling this hole.  A gaping hole where our children would be.  I can only assume that’s God nudging me to action because someone’s going to need a forever family and we’re it.

 

 

 

Making Room November 18, 2011

Filed under: Adoption — andreabaileys @ 1:30 pm

As part of purging the denial, two weeks ago we undertook a major project.  You see, we have a cat in our small spare room.  A little backstory….

I have an 11 year old, dilute tortishell cat named Belle.  Princess Tallulah Belle, to be exact.  Belle is shy, skittish, and kind of persnickety.  She generally doesn’t like people, but the few that she cares to know are loved so hard it hurts.  Belle took to Brian with a fervor she had previously only shown for ice cream.  She may be mine, but he is hers.  Belle generally doesn’t mind Tiny, our dominant 25 pound gentle cat.  Tiny rules the house with a gentle paw, never needing to assert herself and keeping order easily.  Belle generally doesn’t like Merle, mostly because he acts like a perpetual 5 year old boy.  He’s mischievous, hyperactive, and outgoing.  He cannot understand why Belle doesn’t want to be chased around the house.  So it was no great surprise when little cat fights starting being the norm.

What was surprising was when Belle, fastidious to a fault, started peeing wherever she pleased.  And then doing worse.  Eventually it got quite bad, and several rooms in our house smelled like cat urine in the worst way.  Weekly carpet steamings were the norm as we struggled to keep things clean.  And then, in January of this year, it happened.  I bought a large storage ottoman for Brian’s video game stuff for his birthday.  He opened it, and we went to dinner.  We left the box on the floor downstairs until we got back.  Several hours later, we returned home to find Belle (and the products of her bodily funtions.  Plural.)  trapped in the box.  Merle sat outside, clearly waiting to chase her some more.  Tiny was nearby, obviously distressed at her uncharacteristic lack of control of the situation.    Belle has never been the same.  She became timid, hiding under our bed and marking our room as her own.  Literally.  She fought everyone.

In addition to all this, constant UTIs became a struggle.  We consulted our vet, and my friend Madhat who is a Vet Tech.  Thank God for her — she gave us much better advice than anyone else and fielded my worried texts and emails for several months.  The decision was reached to retrain Belle.  She was placed in our spare room with a clean litter box, new bowls, and a gate to keep the others from opening the door (which they totally can do).  This was somewhere around February.   She learned to use the box again, and seemed to enjoy sleeping on the bed instead of under it.  Then, another UTI hit.  Once she got to the vet, we found out she had diabetes.  The Diabeetus, even.  It could account for her behavior issues, her peeing, and her aggression.  We learned to give her insulin shots, trained some friends for back-ups, and moved forward.  The change in Belle has been amazing, and after nine months we’re starting to move forward with reintegrating her very, very slowly.  She roams the house in the evenings now, with the others sequestered with us.  She’s interacted with Tiny, and we’re trusting Tiny to help her reintegrate with Merle.  We realized that Brian travelling for work started most of her peeing, and that she needs attention from us on a much larger scale than we had previously known.  So now we make a conscious effort to give her all of that.  And a room of her own for as long as she needs it.  She’s returned to being the spunky, loving cat I thought was lost forever.

Last weekend, we emptied Belle’s room.  We took down the old twin sized bed we borrowed from Mama when we needed a bed for Brian’s sister to visit, and we took down my old bed in the other room.  We moved all the furniture to the larger spare room, and cleaned the carpet in Belle’s room.  Currently it only contains a chair, a small table for a lamp, and one slightly confused kitty.  You see, this will be our spare room. My old bed will be moved in there, the twin sized one sent home to Mama, and everything else from our big spare room moved in with Belle in the little room.  Nice and neat, with clean carpets and a retrained cat.  Because the other room….is about to become a nursery.

When we finish moving the spare room over, the bigger room (already being called ‘the nursery’ around here) will be empty except for my Granny Alger’s old hutch.  It was passed down to my grandma, and then my mama, and then to me.  It’s not an antique, but it’s not new.  I’m planning on painting it and adding new knobs to make it a changing table slash dresser.  That room will be ready for a shopping spree.  We’ve picked out a crib, and I’ve pinned a million ideas to get started on.  I’ll finally slap some paint on the walls, and start putting all the things we’ve saved for four years to good use.

Already when I walk in that room, it feels different.  Sure right now it contains 1 queen-sized mattress, 1 queen-sized box spring, 1 twin mattress, 1 twin bed frame (heavy wood, and bulky), 1 headboard & bed rails, extra bed rails my parents left at my house four years ago, linens for both beds, 1 hutch, 1 laundry basket full of misc. stuff, 1 drying rack and 1 basket full of actual laundry, a pile of mending, 1 dead TV en route to the dumpster (weighs 500 pounds and requires three grown men to move it), 1 wood desk full of….I don’t even know what because it’s Brian’s, 1 huge CD tower, 2 computers, 1 nightstand with stuff and about eight totes of stuff that’s either for the nursery or for the yardsale.

But soon?  It’ll have a crib, and books, and toys, and a child who needs a home.

 

Cabinet of Denial November 17, 2011

Filed under: Adoption,Infertility — andreabaileys @ 3:30 pm

If you asked me, I’d tell you that I’ve made my peace with infertility.  We tried with all we had, both physically and financially.  And certainly emotionally.  We stopped in February and I feel fine with our decision.  Reclaiming our lives in the past 8 months has been wonderful.  We’ve slept in a few Saturdays, made childless-people-plans on the spur of the moment, traveled to see Brian’s family without need of a Pack n’ Play, and maybe enjoyed a little too much adult libation with friends.  We’ve gotten to know each other again outside of the context of infertility, and I’ve reminded myself that I’m not simply an egg-producer.  Now, we’re preparing to start the process to be licensed for foster care very slowly.  We’ve been working on switching our spare rooms around so I can start on a nursery, and we’re looking at our house with a critical eye in preparation for our home study. We’re trying to decide the best time to start the classes so our crazy weekend schedules don’t interfere.  We’re preparing to begin, if you will.  We’ve come through infertility and survived with our marriage and collective sanity (mostly) intact.

But there’s a secret in my house.  There’s a little pocket of denial that jumps out at me at the strangest times.  You see, there’s a veritable pharmacy in my dresser.  I have an armoir-style dresser, which has two big drawers at the bottom, four small drawers on one side, and two shelves covered by a door on the other.  It’s that door that is my downfall.  That door lets me hide all the mess: lost buttons, spare change, mismatched earrings.  That door lets me hide my denial.

When I open that door, I see bottles upon bottles of pills — prenatals, multivitamins, D3 supplements, and progesterone, just to name a few.  I see a bag of extra syringes with needles.  There is a box of ovulation predictor strips that go with my fertility monitor.  It’s in there, too.  There’s a stack of pregnancy tests.  There’s a Pooh and Eeyore that match a set we got for our nursery.  Pooh has his arm around his buddy, comforting Eeyore, who is obviously…well, being Eeyore.

These shelves contain the parts of my life that are full of failure, dreams on hold. Who needs prenatals less than a woman who can’t get pregnant?  When the last bottle ran out, it was easier to put it back on the shelf than to throw it away.  My old vitamins from Before We Were Trying are in there — definitely expired, but a testament to a plan derailed.  There’s probably an out-of-date bottle of hCG, if I look deep enough.  There’s an old bottle of natural progesterone cream, from before I realized that I needed something stronger.

Everything on those shelves screams FAILURE!  And just down the hall is a room that’s even worse.  Because in that room is a borrowed bed we never intended to use as a spare bed for four years.  In that room are several totes of toys that aren’t “daycare toys” but will be for our children’s personal use.  There is a stack of burp cloths, the extras I’ve made as I’ve crafted for other people’s children.  There are crib sheets, purchased at a yard sale two years ago.  The room sits unpainted, rarely used, home to my drying rack.  The hutch that will become a changing table and then a dresser needs to be refinished, and curtains need to be made.  I’m stopped only by my denial, my fear, and my emptiness.

I wrote this post over two weeks ago….but never finished.  I couldn’t give it direction, and I couldn’t push “publish”.  The denial was thick like molasses.

No more.  I’m going to clean out my dresser, and throw out the failure.  It’s time to start on that spare room that will be a nursery.  I’m done with denial, and I’m done with apathy.  Somewhere there’s a child who will need my full attention and devotion, and that’s not possible if I’m standing ankle-deep in what could have been.