Baileys Adventures

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

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!

 

New Journey, New Prayers February 2, 2011

Filed under: Adoption — andreabaileys @ 8:00 am
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As we pause to gather our strength, heal our souls and lick our wounds, we look forward to a whole new journey as we move towards adopting through foster care.  I’ll post a whole host of things about that as we move forward, have no fear.  But for now, I’d ask for prayer.

But not for us.

Please pray for our child.

God already knows who our child will be.  Maybe he’s not born yet, or even conceived.  Maybe she’s six months old.  We don’t know, but He does.

We’re planning to begin the process in six months, and until we get approved and have a child placed with us it might be some time.  But if we receive an infant for care, he could be growing quietly right now.  He may not be receiving any prenatal care.  His mother may  be using drugs or destroying her body in a variety of ways.  He may be conceived into a hostile environment, or be forming his little body amidst chaos.  He may not even be conceived but his mother is already in a bad situation that will only get worse.  Please pray for her, as well.

If we receive a baby a bit older, say 18 months old or so, she’s probably still with her mother right now.  I’d like to hope that her mommy is doing her very best and the reason for removal is valid but not tragic.  It’s possible that her mother is all alone and will pass away unexpectedly, leaving our future daughter with no one.  We’ll be here, waiting.   But it’s possible that the baby we’ll receive is currently going through hell.  It’s possible she’s being abused, or neglected, or exploited.

The child who will be our child could be going through the hardest part of his or her life right now.  Please join us in praying for our future child, whoever God has picked out for us.

 

Finding Our Path February 1, 2011

If I’m honest with myself, this is a post I’ve actually been looking forward to writing for some time. Have you ever felt a certain way but tried to convince yourself you felt something different because you thought you were supposed to?  I guess it’s lying to yourself, isn’t it?  I’ve been doing that.

At this point, we’ve been “trying” for three years, including two and a half years on some form of medication and treatment.  With 13 rounds of clomid and two cycles of injectible drugs to prepare for artificial insemination, it’s been a long road of trying to find the right combination of things to achieve pregnancy.  Obviously, we haven’t found it.  Now, I’m waiting on these stupid cysts to resolve so we can begin our third IUI cycle, a gracious gift from my parents.

Friday I went to the doctor to find out if my cysts were gone (they’re not) and to see if we were good candidates for a third cycle (we are).  Something strange happened there.  As he gave me bad but improving news about my cysts and good news about our chances for success, I realized that I was….disappointed.  Not that my cysts weren’t resolved, because I could have told you that already.  No, I was disappointed because he didn’t give me an out, and excuse, a reason not to go on with Round 3.  I realized that I had been pinning my hopes on the possibility that these cysts were a sign that I’m not cut out for gonadotropins.  I realized that I had been hoping that our success rate would be so low that it would be silly to go on.  I wanted to be able to say “We can’t do a third IUI.”  Because I didn’t want to do it.  I don’t want to do it.

That’s hard for me to admit.  It’s not hard for me to accept that I don’t want to — it’s hard for me to admit that to other people.  I’m supposed to push on, to persevere.  I’m supposed to stop at nothing to have my baby with Baileys eyes, good Hill teeth, and a brilliant little brain.  I’m supposed to strive toward a baby with my mama’s nose and Brian’s sisters’ figure.  A child who can sing but understands the writings of Hawking like his daddy.  I’m supposed to do it all for my possible child.  But at what cost?

Infertility has nearly destroyed us emotionally.  It’s tested our marriage, and it’s obliterated our finances.  When you add the other things that are going on in our lives, it’s nearly tipped the already precarious balance to a very scary place.  Some days I’m not even sure who I am anymore except in relation to infertility.  I’m learning to live with a load of guilt that I don’t anticipate will ever go away.  I’m learning to accept failure at something so basic it’s literally instinct.  As it stands right now, we can’t afford the scary stuff — a spate of bed rest would mean lost income that we can’t cover anymore because we spent all our savings.  A baby in the NICU could mean bills we would have no way to pay.  Physically, I’ve allowed PCOS — a disease, mind you — to have free reign in my body for three years.  I’ve gained an inordinate amount of weight from that, and on top of it I’ve added many cycles of what are basically steroids.  My health is great, but my body is a wreck.  At this point, I have to ask myself if being pregnant would be the best idea.    That’s a big question.

This isn’t a new thing.  Every few months we’ve made it a point to touch base and see if we felt that we were following God’s will and if we should continue. Obviously, if it was God’s will for this to work, I’d be pregnant, right?  Every time we’ve tried a new treatment or a new method, God has thrown up a road block.  Some we’ve told you about, some we have not.  Some have been minor — here’s six cysts for you! — but some have been major things.  Each time we’ve been able to see a road block pop up, either derailing us or sending us in a new direction.  Unfortunately we’ve usually seen it in hindsight.  This time we just had the foresight to stop and consult God before we jumped into IUI #3.   I talk a lot to Brian about the still, small voice.  This time, the answer was loud, and it was clear.  The relief we felt upon truly hearing Him can only be described as the peace that passes understanding.

10% of all couples who are of child-bearing age experience infertility.  Two thirds will go on to have biological children.  We are not in that group. At this point, we have made a very important decision and want to let our friends and families who have been involved in this process know where we are headed from here.  At this time, we will not be pursuing any further fertility treatments in hopes of pregnancy. While we will probably return to treatment in the future, it is not the path we are going to continue down in hopes of our first child.  We definitely want more than one child, and know that they will not all come to us in the same manner.  We are feeling very definitely led in this direction, and are making this decision after much prayer and discussion.

Instead, we will be taking a few months off to process and heal, and to generally give ourselves a break.  At this point our plan is to then pursue adoption through foster care.  We would ask that you continue to lift our family up through this process as you have through our infertility.  While it’s exciting, we know that it will also bring with it hard work and possible heartache, and a whole other set of circumstances.  I personally can’t wait.  I feel like I am walking the path the Lord has laid out for the first time in months.

After we decided this, I sat down to write a little note to our families and friends who had supported us.  As I told them, we want to take the time to thank you for supporting and praying for us for the past three years as we have tried to start our family.  This whole process would have been so much harder if we hadn’t had the support of so many of our friends and family, without the constant encouragement and interest.  This definitely includes my bloggity friends who have been just as instrumental in my survival.  I know that at times people haven’t known what to say, or haven’t understood what we were going through, but the fact that you were there has been more important than you will ever know.

As we move forward, first taking care of ourselves and then trying to find a small person to take care of, we’ll need you.  I’ll still need to vent, to think “out loud”, we’ll still need prayer.  This decision will never take away my passion for infertility and breaking the silence that surrounds it.  Infertility, baby loss, barrenness, childlessness — all these things still weigh heavy on my heart and I will never stop listening, posting, advocating, and praying.  Share your stories with me or ask for prayer.  Let’s just add a new facet….let’s learn about foster care adoption, y’all.

And from the very bottom of my heart — thank you and God bless every single one of you.