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.

 

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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.

 

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?!

 

Friday The 13th: A Mixed Bag April 13, 2012

Filed under: Around Our House,Foster Care — andreabaileys @ 6:00 pm

There is nothing like waking up at 6:15 with a blinding headache.  Except waking up at 6:15 with a blinding headache not because you need to go to work, but because yourhusband has a 7 AM store meeting.  I managed to squeeze another hour of semi-sleep out of the day and stumbled blearily downstairs for a couple Excedrin before the Munchkin Coalition showed up for the day.

Fast forward to 8:30, and it was time to give Belle her insulin.  This is ordinarily Brian’s job in the morning before work, but at the new store the weekly meeting is super-early on Fridays so now I handle it once a week.  The MC and I got into the swing of this while Brian was off at training, so we have it down to a science.  I can get upstairs, do the shot and drop off food for all three and get back down in under 5 minutes.  My eldest Munchkin, A, is 4 going on 14 so she is capable of making sure no one else runs amok while I’m upstairs.  Except for today….  She apparently thought that she needed to stay right with the baby and not go anywhere….even if she had to potty.  So as I come back to the kitchen I hear “Andrea, I have to go peeeeee!” in that desperate voice.  I said “GO!” and before I even go the word out I heard a panicky “Andrea, I peed in my pants!”  I busted downstairs to find one girl-sized fountain in my bathroom.  Ugh.  Thank heavens for extra clothes.  She changed, I cleaned, and we snuggled a little bit to take away the utter embarrassment of peeing oneself and someone’s floor.

Not 15 minutes later, my little guy who is potty training decided to finger paint in my bathroom while going potty.  Oh…..my….word.  I may never recover.  Granted, his brother did the very same thing at this age, and everyone does it at least once.  But holy moly, I don’t want to do that again for a while.

The rest of the day proceeded in the same fashion, filled with kids who decided to lose their ever-loving minds every 10 minutes, and a To Do List that grew in leaps and bounds.  Thank goodness a few things actually got accomplished around the house during nap, because………..

OUR PAPERWORK IS ALL FILLED OUT AND OUR HOMESTUDY STARTS TUESDAY!!

We both finished up our physicals and TB tests this week, and all of our forms are signed and ready to go.  Our social worker comes to meet with me next week and Brian the week after.  I’m super nervous and want everything to be in perfect order, but also realize that at any given time there are two adults, five children, and three fuzzy cats running around my house.  The carpet and walls might not be perfect, but it’s mostly clean and everyone’s getting snuggled.  Please send up a prayer or two if you would over the next few weeks — we don’t know how long it will take to get licensed, but we’re so looking forward to being ready to help some little folks who need a place!

Happy weekend, blog friends — may your 14th be better than my 13th!

 

So Blessed March 26, 2012

Filed under: Baileys Adventures,Family Stuff,Foster Care — andreabaileys @ 1:59 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Last weekend, Brian and I headed to West Virginia to see his side of the family and meet our niece, Girly Monkey.  She is just as sweet as we thought she would be, and we’ve both mentioned repeatedly how much we’ve missed her since we’ve been home.  While we there, we got to experience one of the awesome perks of being part of such a large, loving family.

About a month before, Brian’s sister told us that she, their other sister, and their mom would like to throw us a foster shower to help us get ready for foster care.  We’re kind of at a disadvantage because we’re going into foster care without having had our own children so we don’t have all the things we’ll need for new kiddos.  We do have a lot of daycare stuff, but that doesn’t get the job done after 5:30, you know?  We’ve assumed we’d be doing this alone, and we’ve been quite frugal about what all we needed.  On Saturday, about 25 of our friends and family came together to supply us with some of the necessities for emergency child care.  We were completely overwhelmed.

In keeping with the theme of the room we're preparing for foster care, all the decorations were "classic Pooh".

The food was awesome and cake was adorable (and yummy!).

Adorable Pooh Honey centerpieces made by my sister-in-law!

The Bum provided games and made two strands of bunting and an awesome wreath for our room. I can't wait to hang it all up soon.

It was so touching to see the amazing gifts everyone brought. Several of the guests, including Brian’s parents, have either done foster care, been through the classes, or have thought about it so they had unique perspectives on what we would need.  Sure, the state pays for diapers, clothes, and food, but what about the time between a placement and when the first support comes?  Kids arriving unexpectedly still need clothes and wipes, right?  We received bottles and utensils, books and puzzles for all ages, and some of the most touching handmade gifts imaginable.  You know they were awesome because I’m willing to put up these pictures of myself making weird faces….

Beautiful handmade quilts from a family friend. One for girls, one for boys, and a fleece car seat blanket.

Soft crocheted blankets from a cousin's boyfriend's mom.

A handmade basket of necessary goodies in a cute classic Pooh fabric. Note my new addiction: Dreft!

The same friend who made the Pooh basket made a WVU diaper cake as a surprise for Brian, too!

He loved it!
(want one? I bet that can be arranged. Email me for details.)

One particularly thoughtful present took me completely by surprise, and made me tear up.  Four sets of pajamas in toddler sizes like 2, 3, and 4.  A lot of people don’t realize that foster kids can arrive in the middle of the night with only the clothes on their back, and will need an immediate bath and set of pajamas.  I took a minute to explain to our friends why this spoke to me, and the lady who brought the pajamas shared with us that she knew from experience how appropriate this gift was.  Her grandchildren arrived on her doorstep 20+ years ago with nothing but the clothes they were standing up in, and she proceeded to raise them all.  She knew the value of pajamas to a child in the midst of chaos.

On top of everything else, we received a huge box of hand-me-downs from Girly Monkey (who has good taste and grows super fast!), as well as from some family friends.  A variety of bottles, shoes, sleepers, and swaddling blankets are all a Godsend.

When we got home, I unpacked everything to get a feeling for what sizes of clothing in each gender we’re missing so we can make sure to have something available for any child we could have in care. Being a chronic organizer, I sorted things out and made piles to show Mama.  I was completely overwhelmed by the clothes, wipes, “gear”, and gifts of money or store cards we received.  To top it off, Nurse Baileys gave us a new high chair/booster seat, and Anchor Girl and Brian’s Mom went together to get us a complete set of covers for our cloth diapers.  Mama sent up a basket of goodies, including a food mill that was a huge hit with the crunchy moms in the group.  You can see why I was amazed and touched….

Yes, that is Tiny claiming a blanket on the couch.

SO many wipes, body washes, and lotions. This will be invaluable in helping take care of babies as soon as they come!

Bottles, a high chair I won't bang my toes on, and diaper covers!

The closer we get to being done with all our paperwork and getting ready for our homestudy, the more amazing it is to see our families get excited, too.  It’s so nice to know that whatever children come through our home, and however long they stay, they’ll be welcomed like blood to a huge community of family and friends that will support them forever.  Children that return to their birth families will be remembered and prayed for.  Children who need a permanent family will be absorbed into both sides of ours seamlessly, I hope.  I was so blessed and overwhelmed by such a physical display of this last weekend.  Thank you so much to everyone involved!

 

Nursery Update February 20, 2012

Filed under: Baileys Adventures,Foster Care — andreabaileys @ 1:30 pm

Our house has three bedrooms.  Well, it could have four, but that’s a debate for another time. We like to call that fourth one “the living room”, especially since that where the back door is!  Since we moved in, we assumed that the room across from the laundry closet would be where our children would start out — the nursery, I guess.  But as we’ve been planning things, it became clear that that room is drastically smaller than the other, even though it’s technically about a two square feet difference.  But the layout just makes it feel awkward and small.  So we needed to move some plans around.  We rearranged all our furniture, sent some borrowed furniture home to Mama, cleaned out a few closets, and generally got things ready to make a child’s room.

Last weekend, we finally started making the room into what it needs to be.  I had been stalking Craigslist for a chair, and found a great one for $25.  We drove about 45 minutes away to pick it up on Saturday morning, and then spent a good part of the weekend working in the room.  I never remember to take pictures of projects before I start them, but I did this time!  I wish I had gotten a picture of all our extra beds and such stacked up against the wall to start with.  Actually, no I don’t; it was rather embarrassing.  So here is what our baby room looks like so far……

The first issue was a pile of yard sale stuff, an old fan, and my guitar.  It all needed to go to storage or a new place in the house.

I hadn’t really realized how much I had been just laying stuff on Granny’s hutch to avoid finding a better place.  Our plan for this piece is that it has a date with some pale green spray paint when the weather warms up, and then the bottom part will be our changing table.  The top shelves detach, and we’ll put it back on when a child is old enough to need a dress with shelves for books and such.

We’ve been stowing stuff in the closet for our Future Children for a while.  The funny thing is that things we had to remove from this closet included my wedding dress, a large case containing a KISS box set, an Iron Maiden box set, as well as countless amounts of  Zakk Wylde and Black Sabbath paraphernalia, a set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and extra Christmas wrapping paper purchased for next year. Why, yes, we are eclectic around here!

After a few hours of diligent working (and vacuuming, and a trip to storage), the room is finally starting to look like it’s ready for a coat of paint!

Our new chair fits great in the corner, and with two new bolts courtesy of Brian, it’s seriously the most comfortable chair in the house!

Merle was relieved to have his favorite spot cleared off, and supervised our work as usual!

The next step is to make some curtains so we can match the paint up, and to clean up a mysterious spot on the carpet that looks like grease.  Neither of us rebuilt a transmission in this room in the past four years, so we’re not sure what it is.  But after curtains and spot-removal comes my least favorite part but most favorite result: paint!

Happy Monday, everybody!