Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tomorrow, tomorrow I love you tomorrow... I REALLY DO!

I'm starting to write this post on Wednesday afternoon while the kids are cracking up watching Wipeout repeats on demand. I love hearing children laugh, it truly is one of my favorite sounds in the entire world and let's face it this world has millions of sounds to choose from, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Thursday is a big day and I wanted to be able to share this ASAP!

J has been in baseball camp this week. He loves baseball almost as much as he loves Lego's. He is excited to be part of a team, so hopefully we will be able to sign him up for fall ball if he is still interested in playing after the intensive introduction he is receiving this week. The coaches have been working on skills with the boys all week and they have games scheduled for Thursday and Friday mornings. Thursday morning was J's judicial review in court so I attended that while Michael filmed the start of J's game. I arrived in time for the last half of the game. It was fun watching little guys bat and slide, bat and slide, bat and slide. But enough about ground in stains on brand new white ball pants - yup that's right Michael bought him WHITE ball pants - it is easy to see who doesn't do the laundry in this house.

So about this morning in court, first I'm thankful to be able to say I drove myself into downtown Tampa and I made it home safely. Now for what we know about the adoption after the judge had her input.

Here is what we were looking for going into today...

1. An update on the at risk situation that could prevent J from being adoptable, unlikely to be resolved today but sure would be nice.
~ The judge was not impressed that this has not yet been resolved - it should be old news by now but she set a future court date for this to be completed.

2. Solidifying when J can move in as a non-relative placement, as adoptive placement is currently not an option.


3. Will the judge approve us taking J to Canada? Will she provide a letter to that effect stating we have permission to apply for a passport for him?
~Yes we have her approval - an official order will be completed this afternoon. 

So that's what happened today, and here's where we go from here....

1. Take the boy to get passport photos taken.
2. A day trip for mom, dad and J to Miami to try to get that mystical passport.
3. Get packed for Canada - one way or the other some of us are headed north!

UPDATE July 27, 2012 - THERE'S (at least) TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY

So when I originally published this blog J didn't yet know about the exciting moving in news. Michael and I took him to his therapy appointment in the afternoon, where his therapist told him he would be moving in while he was on neutral territory without the pressure of reacting for our benefit. We could hear his excited "woohoo" from out in the waiting area. He took the news VERY well and my eyes filled with tears as Michael and I sat there and stared at each other in silence. I should preface this by saying his therapist has been preparing him for the adoption and this move for months now. After his therapist told him he was moving in with us forever, the very next day and his initial excitement wore off he asked her about his foster parents, "Will they miss me? Will they be sad?" I know from experience when we were foster parents, YES they will miss him. He was in his last foster home for just short of 18 months, that is a real blessing in that he had that stability for the first time in his life. His foster parents are wonderful people who have trained J to be a kind, caring and polite boy and I'm sure he will miss them too.

His therapist also talked with him about the possibilty of him traveling to Canada with us and that got another great reaction. She did explain that there is still the issue of a passport to be worked out and if that comes through then we are off for International adventures!!! 

So that brings us to today, Michael & I, along with R, picked J up just before 8 this morning. He hugged his foster mom goodbye and we grabbed the last couple of  bags of his possessions and loaded in the van for the drive to the last day of baseball camp. Yesterday when we got in the van after leaving the therapist's office he said this was the 'best day of his life.' :-) He then went on to say 'we should have a celebration and a cake.' So after I left them at the field this morning I headed over to Publix to buy a cake, ice cream, balloons, and poster board to make a Welcome Home banner. Tonight , while T is here between babysitting gigs, we will eat dinner, have cake and ice cream for desert and celebrate our son's first offical day living with us as a family. 

BTW we are back to a change of first name again - I really thought that had died off but he REALLY wants to change his first name and get a fresh start in as many ways as he can. Although a change of name can't change his past, it is something he has voiced repeatedly to a variety of people - including a random boy who was helping coach him at ball camp yesterday. The boy was wearing a Newsome Baseball t-shirt and J connected the dots and asked if he knew T - he did, what are the chances of that? Newsome high school has over 2000 students. T's friend texted her that he just met her brother.....Sawyer McIntosh.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Weekend dynamics...SO much energy

So last weekend we enjoyed the company of our son, the six of us had a full weekend together. The six of us...the six of us. Why does that sound like SO much more than the five of us? Another question, how can one little boy make SO much more noise than three tween/teen girls? The Wii brings out the fierce competitor in him. He frequently enters the room with a back flip over the ottoman. What? Why walk across the floor when you can incorporate a hand spring or two? All of this energy is amazing. Honestly boys are SO much different from girls - even three girls together. The more time we spend with J the more time I think back to growing up with my own little brother and all my broken toys that accompanied having said little brother. While I was content to spend my childhood quietly alone in my bedroom reading, Ian was outside, no matter the weather, playing in the dirt or the snow depending on the season. My brother was in constant motion, much like his nephew.

One of my favorite moments from the weekend was Friday night when the kids had voted for homemade pizza night over homemade Chinese food. Pizza won - sorry K - but homemade Chinese food came around on Saturday night. Sorry for the diversion, Friday night J & R were working feverishly at their mounds of fresh pizza dough and J says, "Remember last time we made pizza and mine looked like Florida?" Remember last time? Our son is making family memories over a lump of pizza dough. Teary eyed moment. As a mom I love hearing our girls reminisce about favorite memories and have struggled with the fact that J has missed out on 11 years of memory making with us and our families. There will be many inside jokes and funny stories that he won't get and we will have to explain - you know nothing is ever as funny when you hear it retold rather than being there to see it in person. On the flip side he too has 11 years of memories that we will not know about unless he chooses to share them with us. That being said we have many more years ahead of us to make new memories together.

J's pizza masterpiece

A start to the memory making was the Star Wars marathon on our first weekend visit together. We watched the first three original Star Wars movies one each night Friday thru Sunday. We grabbed snacks, blankets and pillows everyone settled in for a couple of hours with an occasional interruption by J, "This is fun!" ~ I agree J ~ SO much fun!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New shirt, new shoes, no problem

It's taken me a while to get around to writing this post, I apologize. Adopting takes lots of time and energy outside of what I write about here. It is emotionally and mentally draining by times. Oh and I DO have a family of three girls and a husband to be concerned about while maneuvering the adoption hoops. Two cats, and a dog with a penchant for eating non-food items. Add in a new son who now understands the meaning of "be sure to pick up your socks and put them where the dog can't get them." Ugh! Mentally and emotionally draining and as for the dog - yes he is "drained" too.

Last week we had visits with J almost every day. Our usual Tuesday and Thursday visits were both shall we say "unusual." An extra visit on Wednesday due to a slight complication with the timing of Tuesday's visit. See emotionally and mentally draining mentioned above. Thursday was unexpectedly longer than usual - again emotionally and mentally draining when you think his case worker is picking him up and she thinks you are picking him up and come to find out he is at the foster home waiting for anyone to pick him up. Friday was R's birthday and J got to spend the afternoon with us and come along for birthday dinner out. In preparation for R's birthday dinner out I had purchased a chambray shirt and tan shorts for J. He still needed shoes and R wanted TOMS for her birthday gift. So off to the mall we went. This seemed like a new experience for J. R was thrilled with her black sparkly TOMS and we knew J had found his perfect pair when they turned into dancing shoes in the middle of the shoe store. Too cute.

Did I forget to mention dear husband had to work 7 days straight starting July 1st, including MANY late nights? J really misses Michael when he isn't around. Out of the blue this week J was playing on the Wii with T & R and he says, "I really need Dad, I need Dad the most." Awwwww..... yes it was just that sweet and it was so unexpected.

Sunday everyone was home - all day! Michael wasn't working, T wasn't babysitting and J arrived at noon. We had a nice afternoon - J got a new ball glove that needs to be broken in for the baseball camp he will be attending in a couple of weeks. He also got to go to church with us. Now if you were at church on Sunday and are wondering why you didn't get to meet J - Michael and I were teaching 4th & 5th graders in Building B at the 5 o'clock service. It just so happens that J is in the right grade for our class. So we got to see him in a new environment. He did really well. It was a small class with only 3 students including him - the only other boy there he had met the previous Sunday at our Canada day celebration. What a blessing that was - they joked around and were silly together - it was nice to see J so comfortable his first time at church. Of course we did have the opportunity to introduce him to a few new people, nice how certain people just happened to be there. :-) Meeting so many new people has to be overwhelming, I know it would be for me.

This week our visitation scheduled has been changed, to avoid a repeat of all the confusion of last week's visits. We now will visit on Wednesday's and ALL WEEKEND - Friday - Monday - OVERNIGHTS. This is a major step forward. So about those goals in my last post...

~ first sleepover July 6th did not happen
~ first weekend visit July 13-15th YES! scheduled
~ move in date July 20th - the week before J's baseball camp begins. Not going to happen
~ The current court date is set for the end of July so I'm going to hope it can get moved up to the week of July 16th. Not going to happen
~ At that court date July 26th I'm hoping we will solidify the move in date as an official adoption placement and that we will get a court order for approval to take J to Canada on vacation. Adoption placement cannot take place until 30-60 days after this court date HOWEVER he may be able to move in as a non-relative placement following court. We'll take it! Still holding out hope for Canada though. 
~ Of course the item I continue to have no control over THE PASSPORT! ASAP PLEASE! Still hoping.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Updated goals

We had such a great Canada day visit with our son and with wonderfully supportive American friends. 

Thanks mom for sending us all the fun decorations. 

It was nice that J got to meet a few of our friends and their fabulous children. Last night as we finished the clean up from the gathering I reflected on the fact that Canada Day had been my goal for our first unsupervised visit with J. We actually had our first unsupervised visit on June 19th almost 2 full weeks ahead of our goal.

July is going to be a very big month in our adoption process. There is a court date to deal with the ongoing "at risk" concern. Hopefully this will be resolved this month and there will be no question that this sweet boy will officially become a McIntosh. There is the potential that J will begin to have sleepover visits this month and "maybe" even move in. We are hoping J's first sleepover will actually be this Friday which also happens to be R's 12th birthday - what a present that would be. We know for sure he can come spend the day with us and go out for dinner to celebrate R's birthday. The tears at the end of our visits are getting more and more difficult to deal with. We are all growing closer and it now feels even more unnatural to return him to his foster home at the end of our visits. July 1st was a big day marking the beginning of this month where many things need to happen. Not the least of which is the continued search for the elusive passport.

Because our goals have been met or exceeded up to this point I'm going to step out and set some new ones -
~ first sleepover July 6th
~ first weekend visit July 13-15th
~ move in date July 20th - the week before J's baseball camp begins.
~ The current court date is set for the end of July so I'm going to hope it can get moved up to the week of July 16th.
~ At that court date I'm hoping we will solidify the move in date as an official adoption placement and that we will get a court order for approval to take J to Canada on vacation.
~ Of course the item I continue to have no control over THE PASSPORT! ASAP PLEASE!