Baileys Adventures

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

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. 

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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.

 

9 weeks?! July 13, 2012

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

 

Work in Progress Wednesday: Nursery February 1, 2012

Filed under: Work In Progress — andreabaileys @ 3:44 pm
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Last week we started our PRIDE classes in order to be licensed as a foster family.  Our home study will start after that, and then we’ll hopefully be open to placement for children who need a place to live for however long.  At this point, we’re open to fostering children temporarily as they need it, and more than willing to adopt children who can’t return home for some reason.  We’re not entirely sure of the exact requirements in Virginia are yet, but we’ll know soon enough how much needs to be prepared ahead of placement.  But most of the information that I’ve read indicates that we need to be able to show that we have a room ready for a child to move in with no notice.  We plan to paint the room, have a crib and basic furniture, and a few pieces of clothing in each size for both boys and girls.  We have diapers, of course, as well as some toys and books, so that’s taken care of.

Last weekend I had some spare time and I decided to check out the children’s clothing at Goodwill.  I’m a thrifty shopper at the best of times, and I love a good yard sale or Goodwill.  My intention was to pick up a few staples that a child would need if they arrived in the middle of the night or whatnot – things like sleepers, onesies, T-shirts that can work for a child until I can get to a store for their things.  I was pretty proud of myself:  I only spent about $12 all weekend long!  However….

I always said that I wouldn’t dress our daughters in the mandatory pink frou-frou stuff.  Pink is fine, but I want our girls to be able to wear any color they want, and to define their own preferences and identities.  Apparently, I am a big fat liar.  Because I fell in love with a little pink dress and crocheted sweater.  Heaven help the first girl to come through our house who can fit in this dress…


In addition to some clothing, I picked up a moon lamp that I had picked out from IKEA.  It was listed on Craigslist for $5, and it’s just as awesome as I hoped it would be.  I can’t wait to get everything put together and hang it up!

Our next step is to paint the room a pale yellow (in keeping with the Classic Pooh theme we picked out years ago) and then head to IKEA for the crib.  This is probably my favorite work in progress!

 

This Mother’s Day, Remember. May 6, 2011

Filed under: What's On My Mind — andreabaileys @ 8:07 pm
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Every year, Mother’s Day is a mixed bag for me.  Of course I like celebrating my mother and friends who are moms.  Being a mother is hard work, no doubt.  And most moms are underpaid (ha!), overworked, and vastly under-appreciated.  I love the idea of a day to “pamper” your mama — the “jewelry commercial ideal” of breakfast in bed fixed by well-meaning two- and four-year olds and their father who has never made pancakes before, maybe a picnic or cookout for lunch, and a night out for dinner.  Gifts of sparkly things from Dad and handmade cards from kids. No laundry, no grocery shopping, and certainly no cleaning or cooking.  A day of rest for a woman whose work is never done the other 364.  Do it up right and celebrate your mother, or celebrate being someone’s mama!

But on the flip side of that coin are the social media status updates about “carrying my child within my body”, setting your worth by the number of children you’ve pushed into the world, and making it clear that only mothers who give birth to perfect little babies with ease and then devote their lives to them deserve a day of celebration.   Where is the day of celebration for the courageous mother who gave her child to someone else to raise, whose current friends don’t even know she had a baby at 14?  What about the devastated woman who lost her unborn child last month?   What about the women like me who can’t simply create life from their own bodies?  How do we define our worth on this day?

Just for a hour this weekend, look around with your eyes wide open.  Notice the bombardment of “Procreation = Self Worth” on social media.  Turn on the TV and count the commercials reminding men to spend money on diamonds for their wives who can have babies.  Does your church ask the moms to stand up, give them roses, and does the pastor preach on the devoted mothers in the Bible?  Imagine the woman in the fourth row, trying not to cry in church because she might never stop.  What about the husbands of these women, who don’t know how to make their wife feel better about something she can’t help?

Do not get me wrong — please take this weekend to celebrate motherhood. Let your husband feel like he knocked it out of the park with your gift, and pretend those preschooler-cooked eggs are yummy.  Go out and celebrate the fact that you have survived pregnancy and birth or adoption, that you lived through sleepless nights or court dates and paperwork, and remember those times when you thought you’d never make it as a mom.  If it’s your first Mother’s Day, extra congratulations on making it this far!  Kiss your mom if she’s still with you, and revel in the good memories you have if she’s passed on.  Hug your granny, and call your mother-in-law if she’s as cool as mine.  As you celebrate your moms this weekend, or as you celebrate the fact that you are a mom, please remember the women in your life for whom this day is incredibly hard or even torturous.  Most of us don’t want to talk about how hard it is (even me, thanks) but I’m sure we’d all appreciate your prayers and understanding if we’re a little distant.

Now go celebrate some mothers!