so many ups

but just to get it out of the way…the disappointing:

unexpected and mandatory visit at old foster home last week which saw old foster mom spoon-feed our quite capable little roxy, shower her with xmas presents, give her a sippy cup filled with milk, baby cereal, and nes.quik, followed by a cap.ri sun, and then a mini bottle of water that she wasn’t allowed to hold herself.  and no, she didn’t ask how she’s been, if she could have beverage after beverage, or even one question at all.  we sat there for 3 hours after being advised in advance not to leave by the social worker (coconut) and by roxy’s counselor.  leaving that home was difficult in a new way.  roxy didn’t say a word the entire time there but when we left she heart-breakingly murmured “mami” the whole drive home – no tantrum, just raw confusion.  still, this is what the professionals are calling closure and if we see old foster mom again, it’s going to be in a neutral place that doesn’t spark so much emotion in roxy.

still no word from my mother after the toddler bed incident.  two weeks and two days.  i’m embarrassed for her as she takes to the internet to insult us on fb.  there isn’t anything else to say about that.

now for the AMAZING stuff!

roxy has been eating so many wonderful things.  in the last two weeks she’s tried: indian food, homemade guacamole and salsa, onion soup, plain greek yogurt, truffles in pasta, plain avocado, eggplant rollatini, vegetarian chili, toasted raviolis, and mushroom/gruyere tart.  she wants whatever we seem to be enjoying and sometimes she’ll take one taste and that’s enough but at least she’s being adventurous.

last week i decided we needed to start buckling down with learning letters.  she’s been so relaxed and fun lately and we need more structure to our mornings and afternoons together.  after four hair-pulling crazy days of trying JUST “A” and “B” i was ready to lose my mind.  after all, i was a montessori teacher for this very age and i taught hundreds of children their letters and numbers successfully.  what was i doing wrong?  then i realized it was more a matter of roxy’s focus.  we sat for one day in front of a puzzle for THREE hours while she’d just stare into space (i seriously thought she might be having absent seizures).  finally, i went nuts and packed up all the character coloring books, the dora microphone, the elmo cell phone (all gifts, by the way) and stuffed them in a closet.  i said “no more morning television” and didn’t let up.  if given the choice between a television character or ANYTHING else, roxy will always choose the television character – her favorite distraction.  i’d had enough.  red heard earfuls about my frustrations and worked with roxy in the evenings.  it’s been one week and before you think it’s been all work and no play around here, know that we’ve turned a corner and roxy knows thirteen letters and their sounds as of this morning.  and best of all, she’s excited!  red will tell you everything excites roxy and that’s pretty much true.  she just loves adventure.

why this is so important right now?  i think knowing that this case could change at any moment terrifies me and i want to be sure we’ve given her the best foundation we can.  i would not have initiated this at this time if we hadn’t gotten to a comfortable place with her emotionally, and if she showed any interest in self-directed anything.  roxy still makes no initiative to play but we’re getting better at providing opportunities for engagement.  she loves her new sensory box and we’re getting used to lentils constantly on the kitchen floor (her effort to sweep is wonderful but ultimately needs work).  we’re also happy that she takes our suggestion to look at books and will sit for a considerable time flipping through her many stories.

we took roxy to a 5-star restaurant friday night because we knew she’d been groomed in the restaurant world enough (starting with the louder pub-type venues and working our way up).  no surprises, she was fantastic.  we then took her to the childr.en’s museum where they were hosting a dance battle for kids and we couldn’t have stopped her from participating if we’d tried.  we know we have a responsibility to foster her love of music and dance and are exploring the offerings.  this morning we’re casually listening to the entire suzuki violin repertoire (i suspect ‘twinkle twinkle’ will remain her favorite for many months) and i’m constructing her a cereal box violin while she dances around me in circles.

remember when she came to us and we were warned she hated water?  red took her to the pool yesterday where she spent two hours kicking her feet and putting her face in.  later they went on their weekly hike.

on attachement:  roxy was meeting some new people recently and didn’t hug them like she usually does when meeting strangers.  she instead hung onto red’s leg and smiled from there.  next we’ll work on the handshake.  this weekend we went to some hard-to-explain ridiculous performance that happens hourly at a local furniture store.  red was filming roxy dancing with other kids when all-of-a-sudden these bigger-than-life mechanical figures came towards her and she came running to us and wouldn’t let go.  it was adorable and while we consoled her we couldn’t hide our joy that she knew we’d protect her (and then we bought her an ice cream).

roxy’s birthday is in two weeks and we still don’t know what will happen or if we’ll have the good fortune to celebrate #3 with her but in this moment, life is full.

another bump

sometime last week, my mother texted me that she’d purchased a portacrib and asked if we would like a date night this weekend.  we obliged and figured we’d do well to have a night on the town with friends.  on saturday, we dropped roxy off at their house while my mother was out shopping for yet another portacrib because the one she bought earlier in the week was extra small.  a couple of hours later, i called to check on roxy, who had been hanging out with my dad.  my mother said “oh it’s the funniest thing, i bought roxy a toddler bed and she just loves it!”  i said “oh really? that’s kind of a big milestone and we wish you’d called before purchasing!”  she shrugged me off and we hung up.  i looked at red and we proceeded to get pretty hot about it.  roxy is still in a crib, despite her third birthday creeping up.  but that’s not exactly our choice to make right now.  if she goes back to her former foster home, she’ll be in a crib and in the interest of continuity in her very fragmented life, we are determined to tread lightly (at least until we know what the next 30 days will bring).

so red and i, who were still in the vicinity of my parents’ house, decided to go back over there and talk calmly about why we weren’t about to let roxy sleep on their second floor bedroom, in a toddler bed, for the first time.  and you can probably guess that my mother doesn’t take confrontation very well (despite our best efforts to be calm and reasonable).  we offered to run out and buy a proper portacrib then and there so the sleepover could continue as scheduled.  she said something about it not working out, that she’ll never buy roxy anything ever again, and we should all leave.  roxy took it very well even though she’d been so excited to make waffles and use the new juicer in the morning.  i haven’t heard from my mother since then and probably won’t for a bit, but my father called yesterday morning to say “do you think you might have overreacted a little?” to which i told him he was lucky we didn’t react as strongly as we were feeling about everything.  by the end, he said he understood and he’d hoped i could work it out with my mother.

as i’ve mentioned before, we have weekly counseling where we talk to death about every little change in roxy’s life and while we’ve made enormous strides by way of attachment and behavior, it is not my mother’s place to make a big decision like this.  sure, she may have reasoned she’ll grow out of a portacrib shortly and she very well will, but for her to say “this is not my first time [at parenting]” is a slap in the face to the sensitivity of a child who has had significant instability for the past two years.

the truth is my heart aches even being in a different room from roxy now that our weeks are becoming structured and a sleepover probably isn’t even appropriate at this point.  she adores her “grammy” and “papa” and shows no separation anxiety while at their house but for all we know, that could have been our last weekend with her (i know, i know – wait and see).  while we didn’t go out on the town, our dear friends came to our house saturday and we had a splendid time.  yesterday we took roxy to her favorite farm and today we start yet another week of a (possibly) big decision at trial.  just breathe.

here is roxy saying “bye” to her favorite farm animals.

the.big.day

today we waited to hear if roxy could stay with us while the judge renders his decision. and the wait was awful as coconut didn’t call red until 5:30 when red was walking up our stairs from work with a bouncing roxy eager to greet her.  it’s all a bit more vague than we might have hoped for but the gist is that she can stay at least until late next week when closing arguments are heard.  at that point it would be wild to send roxy back to the foster home she hasn’t seen in almost six weeks but again, we wait and see.

i guess i didn’t factor in “closing arguments” and thought today was the final day that started the 30 days the judge has before deciding.  but that’s where we are at.  foster mother is still out of the country so i’m sure she’ll be relieved upon returning since she has the other foster child, who is extremely high needs, waiting to move back in with her.

since roxy likes to “cheers” with her cup so much, we made sure to oblige her a few extra times at dinner tonight!

visitation

bio-mom’s caseworker (BMCW) asked me to drive roxy to the visit today.  did i mention she’s out of the hospital?  the visit was at our local office and i had been warned by roxy’s cw, coconut, in the past that bio-mom watches outside the building for how roxy is transported so i indicated i was not comfortable.  i was told not to worry, i’d park around the corner and be met by BMCW and bio-mom would never see us.  my mother offered to come and drive us in her car because bio-mom has a history of taking photos of license plates and posting them on her fac.ebook. so my mom, roxy, and i set out for the ten minute drive this morning and were met in the parking lot by BMCW, as expected.  roxy went with her into the building with no trouble while my mom and i sat and chatted in the car during the hour-long visit.

roxy was brought back out by BMCW, while i’m sure security held bio-mom in the building until we safely left.  unfortunately BMCW, who i had only first met today, didn’t give me any indication of how the visit went only to say that she was disappointed bio-mom changed roxy out of her nice outfit i had sent her in.  i expected bio-mom to change her clothes, honestly, but it’s still conflicting to receive a bag of clothes from her.  i already stored them away in a closet because the foster mom had said previously bio-mom will request them back.  she also sent a dirty old purse filled with 6 pairs of socks.  i totally understand that dressing your kid is important for attachment but roxy is so confused.  she doesn’t know bio-mom as anyone and i’m sure the first thing bio-mom does is strip her down.  i had sent wipes and oddly she used an entire package but i’m reading on forums not to expect anything back.

roxy didn’t say one word on the ride home and that’s not typical at all.  granted she was eating a donut.  as i got her settled here, i noticed her “new” denim button-down shirtsleeves were soaked up to the elbows so i quickly got her out of it (water table, maybe?).  we read a few books and she was really clingy and did the saddest whimpering as i put her down for a nap.  coconut is big on us observing behavior after visits and last time there really wasn’t any change besides two nights of bad dreams.  today is very different though.  bio-mom is already posting photos of the visit on her faceboo.k and roxy looks despondent.  we can only give lots of extra cuddles this weekend and hold our breath as next week brings the big court day.

final stretch #87

i’m happy to admit that things got really comfortable for a while but as we are less than a week before the next court date, our anxieties are mounting.  we had some behavior regression after the illness last week culminated in an ER visit during a snowstorm.  roxy is feeling great again but three days of being held in our arms non-stop have dropped us back into the drama of her refusing to meet even the simplest expectations.  i just finished reading momm.a z.en and handed it over to red.  while, overall, i realized i don’t breathe nearly enough nor always recognize what each moment is teaching me, i still wish roxy wouldn’t chew one bite of baby carrot for 45 minutes while gagging and whining.

and then there is the “wait and see” we’re in the thick of.  next week brings some scary possibilities.  perhaps the most likely is that roxy will be ordered back to her previous foster mother while the judge takes thirty days to render his TPR decision – assuming that, as expected, the final day of trial occurs as scheduled.  or perhaps the judge will lift his injunction against her being in her pre-adoptive home and she can stay beyond this “respite” visit.  but also now on the table is reunification with bio-mom, which we were initially led to believe would never happen.

red and i both wish this week (which has three roxy-related appointments including a bio-mom visit) and next week would just be over already.  the stress about the potential limbo is heavy and it’s all we can do to keep ourselves from withdrawing.  we wondered last night how we could’ve done this differently.  she is so much a part of our larger family already.  she longs to see “papa” (my dad) every day.  there is no longer just a tiny corner of toys in our home.  we have the play kitchen, the easel, and dozens of books.  yet, while the potential blow of bad news hasn’t even happened yet, we’re already dreading picking up the pieces and moving on.   fosterwee said it perfectly in her recent post:  “No matter how difficult this is or where we end up, I am fairly certain that I will be glad that I have done this particular thing in this particular way.”