Tuesday, December 11, 2012


That Titus will be a big brother come August 2013. It is very early. I am not telling most friends and family until I get to what I feel is the safe point.

More soon. I have so many new pictures of Titus to share. He is doing great. Sadly, he has to have another surgery because he sprung a leak mid shaft after his hypospadias repair. The urologist gave us a 20% chance of this taking place so it's not a great surprise. It also seems that he has an undescended testicle. That will be yet another surgery down the road.

He is not quite walking yet but getting ever so close. He talks. Don't! Mama, dada, it good (it dood) hello, oops. What dat? Quite a few more. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday to Titus

He is having a big birthday bash later this afternoon. We reserved a private party room at a pub! It's a nice place though and pretty family oriented. I got him a cake at a small local bakery called Le Cookie Monkey. The cake is apple spice with caramel mousse filling and cream cheese frosting. He should like that. Loves apples, cinnamon and cheese. We are expecting as many as 40 guests.

My parents came to town yesterday and we had a little early party at home Titus did a lackluster cake smash, being 3 ours past his usual nap time.

We will update after the party today. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

The good stuff

This is what I was waiting for. This 9-12 month time. Titus is has been cruising the furniture for a few weeks. He shrieks with laughter, he likes to be tickled and might tickle back. He wants to try new foods. He is also a very naughty little man. He likes nothing more than to grab out computers, ipods, cell phones, remote controls and eat them. Smash them! He pulled a fake log out of the gas fireplace the other day. He discovered that the kitchen cupboards and drawers open and shut. He found to his delight and amazement, that the toilets are full of water. He will scream like a banshee if you take him away from what he wants. He kicks and growls too. Still, this is what I have been waiting for. The end of the newborn / helpless baby phase and the dawn of the interactive toddler.

I think that he loves us almost as much as we love him. He certainly adores his 5 year old foster brother.

I am actually looking forward to the holidays this year. Last year was miserable. I had  postpartum depression and anxiety and could hardly function. I still have to fight off the ppd funk but things are a thousand times better. I feel so lucky.

This is the good stuff and it is so good that we want to try to give sweet Titus a sibling.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Titus' catheter is coming out tomorrow morning. Bright and early. We have to be up at the children's hospital by 8am.  At long last! These 3 weeks have crept by quite slowly.

Brian and I took a shelter care foster placement for a week. Was only meant to be 2 days. The poor little guy accidentally took a full dose of a very powerful narcotic. His parents are homeless and drug addicted. This kid had been in care before. He was easily the most challenging kid we have had to date. Once it became apparent that there would be no relative placement, I had his caseworker move him to a long term foster situation. He had behavioral issues that I just could not deal with. He threatened the baby with violence.

Brian would like to take a break from foster parenting. To regroup and consider only moving towards adoption if we go that route again. In that case I will be free to work, and we are running out of the savings that we had from the last tax return and money gifts from his family. I saw the adoptive mother of the 3 girls that we fostered for nearly a year. Well, I see her and the girls a lot. She was wondering if maybe I would like to be a full time nanny for the girl's biological sibling. This baby is almost 2 months old. The position would start in January. 5 year old M should be reunited with his father by November at the latest. It could work out, it would save me from having to go back to work and find care for Titus.    This lady does not trust her children with just anyone. She would feel better if the baby was with somebody who loves those kids fiercely like I do. I would watch the older girls in the event of a sick day or a teacher inservice. We plan to hash out the details in the next month or so. Maybe write up a contract. I would turn the foster child bedroom into baby central. I do have the double stroller to get them out, even in the winter. I like the idea. I love the idea of being able to see the 3 older siblings much more often.

Titus is pulling himself up on ALL the furniture. Nothing is safe. Watch your water glass! We finally lowered the crib. He is just starting to cruise.

5 year old M continues to get comfortable and thrive. I really really want for him to do well when he goes to live with his Dad. I think the dad is manipulative and not telling the whole truth about his health. I want to be wrong about it though. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Titus had surgery to correct the birth defect of his urethra/ penis on the 2nd of August. The operation took 3 hours. They extended his urethra from the base of his shaft up to the tip where it belongs. They used his foreskin to accomplish this. They did some cosmetic stuff to his penis, unbending it and cutting the skin where it had been sort of tethered to the scrotum.

The end result was a gruesome mess, just like I expected. They did show me lots of post op pictures to try to prepare me. We took the bandage off on the second day after the surgery. he has a catheter stitched into his penis which is needed for the formation of the new portion of the urethra. He will have it in for a total of 3 weeks. During which time he is prone to infection. In fact this particular procedure has the highest rate of infection and complication of most any reconstructive surgery. He wears 2 diapers. One in his regular tiny size 2 to catch the poop. The second one we thread the end of the catheter into and it catches the pee. When he poops it gets all over his surgical site and catheter which freaks me out. He has to take an antibiotic to prevent infection but it gives his loose stools which in turn gets into places where it could easily cause an infection!

Titus has been getting 4 different medications daily. We give them with an oral syringe. He has come to HATE this and hold a grudge against us for doing it. I would say he fights tooth and nail but he does not have much in the way of teeth. We thought he had a little toofer coming in towards the back but it seems that it was a trick of the camera flash. Anyhow we don't know if it was his aversion to having things forced into his mouth,a heat wave, pain, decreased appetite from the meds, but something made him refuse nearly all fluids for 3 days. This landed him in the ER monday night. They came close to admitting him but really did not want to because of the risk of hospital based infections. They just kept offering juice and formula and he kept refusing. They gave him until late Tuesday morning when they planned to admit him and start an IV. Lucky for us he decided to drink 7 oz of his formula and we got to go home.

I was awake for 30 hours and exhausted by the time we got home yesterday. Titus and I both slept for 5 hours while Brian worked from home and looked after 5 year old M. Titus took 18 oz of formula yesterday and 2 jars of pureed fruit. Not the greatest but it was better.

here he is shortly after waking up from anesthesia

and here he is towards the end of our ER stay yesterday

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Baby Ellie left on a Thursday and 5 year old M arrived early the next day. Brian and I had barely recovered from a nasty stomach virus, and were moving pretty slow that weekend. Last week was our first full week on a normal schedule with M. He has a lot of parental visits as they are well into the reunification phase with his Dad. He spends 8 hours a day, 2 days per week with his father and 2 hours a week with his Mom.

M is settling in nicely. We do miss Ellie, but I feel reasonably OK about the move considering where she went. I know she will be loved and have a good life with her siblings. One nice part about having a  well behaved 5 year old in the house is that I have more time for Titus. I do not have to worry whether or not his needs are getting met. They are and then some. Titus thinks the sun rises and sets on M. He grins from ear to ear whenever he sees him. Titus follows the kid around, combat crawling and squealing with joy. M plays nicely with Titus and talks to him. At the same time I know that Titus has to be good for M. All that adoration and unconditional love. Learning to protect and nurture a bit. It warms your heart to see the interaction.

Tomorrow is Titus' hypospadias repair. The surgery will take about 2 hours. Of course we will be there most of the day between checking in and recovery. Waiting for a call from the hospital to see when we have to be there. He had a pre op appointment last week. His pediatric urologist took the time to show me lots of pictures of what these things look like post op. A horror show. Just gruesome. At least I know what to expect. He will have a catheter for at least a week if not longer.  My mother is taking a few days off to help out with M. Titus will be on narcotic pain medication, anti spasmotics for his bladder (because of the catheter) and antibiotics to prevent infection. There is a fairly high rate of complications such as fistulas with this procedure. All we can do is hope for the best outcome.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012


We had a visit from Ellie's social worker on Friday. I don't know what changed, but all of a sudden it looks like they will be able to certify the sibling family for foster care. Her caseworker says she has no idea how long this will take, an that there is some inter agency bickering as to who has to do this "special certification". Special because they will need to make an exception to their rule against having 3 under 3. This family has already completed a DHS homestudy and the classes required for certification.

This is probably the best thing for Ellie. To move now instead of later. Still stings a little though. I will miss this fat, red headed, smiley, mama's baby. She prefers my company and I think its so sweet. Titus likes mom and dad equally.

I had a long chat with the adoptive Mom last night. She seems like a nice lady.  Her family is coming over for lunch on Sunday. We will get to meet Ellie's 2 year old brother (they are still waiting for the sister to arrive from out of state). They will get to meet their daughter. Wow! Birth mom is talking about relinquishment. I wish them speed and ease in this adoption.

My certifier phoned shortly after the caseworker left. She said she had sort of been stalking Ellie's situation because she very much wants to move a 5 year old boy into our home. He is currently in a foster home where he is not doing well. They are not meeting his needs. He has regressed there and really needs some developmental assessments and speech therapy. I don't have many details yet. After reading all the notes it is our certifier's opinion that Ellie's move should happen quickly, within a week. They need to place this little guy in 10-14 days. I am hoping to speak to his caseworker Monday morning to get a better idea of how appropriate a match this is. I trust our certifier to stick to our rules and preferences when making a placement suggestion, but I am also so curious to know more. He can't be here if he is at all violent or sexually reactive. He will be starting Kindergarten this fall. Really, a child this age is a more appropriate foster kiddo for our home right now. Portland has all day Kindergarten so Titus and I would walk him to the school bus stop in the morning and then have all day to play, clean house, go to the library before we pick him up in the afternoon. Yes, a 5 year old is more appropriate but I will miss the dream of the sweet little baby.

This blog is supposed to be about Titus but I just seem to write about foster parenting lately. Titus is just,, fine. Super duper. He is so healthy and charming, and I STILL can't believe that he belongs to us.  He is perfecting the combat crawl. Still not sitting up unassisted much, but I have been told not to worry about that until he is 9 months old. He was 8 months on the 4th. He eats about 5 oz of baby food per sitting. He gets into things. Very fond of electronics, just like his daddy. Toys. I swear they multiply when you are not looking. We have a very small house and I always said it was going to be about quality rather than quantity when it came to toys. I think I will nip it in the bud and sent a box of toys along with Ellie when she moves. Titus likes to dance. He blows raspberries and screams MAMA if he wants me in the night. Part of me is sure it's just babble but another part is sort of unnerved. Is my 8 month old really calling out for me? It sure gets me moving fast when I hear it.

So there has been this sudden shift in direction at our house. From focus on Titus and Ellie to wondering about this new child. I don't know what to call him here. Perhaps there will be a nickname after we meet him. It sounds as if he has some of the same sorts of developmental delays that our last set of foster children had. I know how to help him.

Ugh, my youngest hobo travelin brother just called. been on the streets, getting ready to hop a train. they want to shower and wash their clothes. they are 20 years old and choose to live like that. better get some take out. might have to spray for bugs after they leave. serious.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Brian ordered us the  Britax B ready stroller  which converts to a double.  This means in 2 days I will be mobile with both babies! It has been fairly isolating being stuck at home. Now I can get out for walks in the morning this summer which solves my no exercise problem. We picked this stroller because it easily accommodates our Britax B safe infant car seat which we will put Ellie in. Titus will sit in the seat that the stroller comes with. When Ellie gets bigger we can splash out for the second seat.

My Dad and his wife gave us 3 hours notice before arriving for the duration of Father's day. It was fine, I'm just not really used to that. They had to drive 100 miles to get here. I moved to Portland in 1993 and never saw them outside of their home until I married Brian in 2004. I used to make all the effort. They got real friendly after I was married. I joked that it was in anticipation of grandchildren but now I know that was no joke.  As usual, my step mom brought a bunch of stuff for Titus. I had already told her no "vintage" plastic toys. our house is just under 1000 square feet and we have ZERO space for piles of plastic toys from 1992. She brought them anyway. Last time it was a giant box filled with smelly and ancient baby shoes. Out gassing plastic of unknown origin. This time 3 bins full of musty and out dated baby clothes. She did give us some nice things in the smaller sizes but I had to go through piles and piles of her hoard before I found the good stuff.  I have no garage or basement to put this stuff in. She expects to get it back. I dont even know where I can put it until she can come for it next month.  My own mother isnt much better. She means well but brings bags of clothes from the goodwill as is bins. They Stink! Im all for second hand but I dont want it to be so smelly that you cant get the stink out with 2 hot washes. I dont have the time to deal with this stuff. Think its time to put my foot down and say thanks but no thanks. There is so much crap in my living room and kitchen that it will take hours to sort today. I do want to cry. Here, have a load of garbage and be thankful for it. You would think they grew up during the depression, instead of the booming 1950's and 60's. My mom is from a regular middle class family and step mom was quite well to do as a child.

I did buy what they call a Lot of clothing for Ellie over the weekend. Most everything she will need from now until 18 months with the exception of coats, underthings and shoes. It was all gotten new by a lady who's  daughter has outgrown it and she gave me a fabulous deal. Not stinky or funky in the least. As soon as I get all the sh*t out of Ellie's room she can actually inhabit it with her things. That is the room that contains most of the previous overflow of stuff from my Mom's. For now Ellie sleeps in a rock and play sleeper in the living room. She seems to like it but the sooner we can get her into a crib, the better Titus slept in a bassinet in our room for the first 5.5 months of his life. When I moved him out I slept so much better. I admit that I often bring him to my bed in the early morning hours for a snooze and a snuggle. It is a good way to get him to sleep an extra hour or two and I love ( adore) sleeping next to him. During my years of infertility I longed for a warm snuggly baby body to cuddle up with. I wouldnt let him in our bed overnight because he is still prone to suffocation at his age. He sleeps in his crib, in a sleep sack, with a fitted sheet on the mattress and nothing else. Ellie will do the same in her crib.

Im starting to see why Ellie bombed the social portion of her developmental screen. Her eyes hardly track. Titus would follow anything with his eyes at her age. She is usually clamoring for milk, drinking milk, crying or sleeping. Not so much of that quiet alert time gazing at me like Titus did. I hope she will catch up in the coming weeks. Pleased that they are coming out to make sure she is developing normally.

Wow, this has turned into a real bitch session. I am cranky. My step mom told me yesterday that no matter how long Ellie is with us, they will try to get her adopted by family when it comes down to it. That means looking for 2nd cousins out of state. Divorced uncles. Of course responsible family cant always be found. Even a few years ago foster parents could claim psychological parenthood after a year or so. The law has changed. I suppose I feel a bit defeated, like no matter what I do for her it wont be good enough. This is probably exhaustion speaking to some extent.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I promise hes not pooping. Just growling!

I purchased a professional picture package, it's just a matter of when I will ever find time to take the babies.

How I wish I could share a picture of Ellie. Her growth continues to flabbergast me.

not much time to post at the moment but thought I would share a few things quickly

  • got final confirmation that the reason they cant place ellie with her siblings is the rule against having 3 under 3 in the same home, sometimes they can make an exception, not in this case.  This makes me pretty sure that failing return to parent, they will place the baby with the sibling family shortly after her older brother turns 3. Next May. This is just my very best guess. Like Faith said, she is not a suitcase and I worry how this will damage her. I will be the only mommy she knows this year. If Titus went to live elsewhere he would be so heartbroken. Already. I really wish they could just give that family some extra help instead of letting her bond with us then uprooting her.
  • My brother came round with some gas powered lawn tools and really got our yard whipped into shape. We need all the help we can get.
  • I turn into a raving bitch when I am this sleep deprived. My poor husband.
  • I got an invite to shop at a non profit charity shop just for foster parents. This was from a kind woman in a neighboring county. She has clothing for Ellie and a dresser. Maybe even a double stroller which we can't live without for too much longer. She also said I may select items for Titus :) All free of charge.
  • I desperately need exercise but don't know how I am going to get any. Too tired in the evenings to leave the house. I do have an eliptical exercise thing that I am going to have to bust out of storage. I feel like such a huge, fat, slug.
  • Plans to make batches of baby food this weekend.
  • Still trying to get my head right about this foster placement. Accepting that its likely we wont be able to adopt her, but making room in my plans, heart, and head in case we cann.
  • Loving these babies 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Court was interesting today. No private adoption will take place, as Dad is still out of the state.

Plan is return to parent, as it has to be for DHS to establish how mentally ill Mom really is and build a case for her not being fit to parents. This will probably take a year. Caseworker said that Ellie will be here a long time and confirmed that she is not being allowed to place her with the siblings. No word on future plans as far as the sibs go. Perhaps they will clear that family for 3 under 3 eventually. My step mom who works for the agency says that she suspects that there is something about that family that I dont know yet. A reason for them not to have made an exception and placed Ellie there anyhow. Should be interesting to see how that plays out.  I feel comfortable buying her a new car seat ( she has been using Titus') and fixing up the foster nursery all girly. His room needs a bit of attention too. He has no closet so he needs a wardrobe. She has a closet but could use a chest of drawers. Both need a book case and a toy chest. In the market for a used double stroller but not the god awful graco one that I got for the twins. We still have it but it is a beast. Hurts my back to push it. The newer models are probably less bulky.

I have a short video of Titus growling which I will try to post in the next day or so.

I am trying to line up some helpers so that I only have to be alone all day with both kiddies one day a week,, until this trying newborn phase is over. Once I can sleep a solid 6 hours a night things will get SO much easier. Im used to taking care of lots of kids at once. The twins and the girls primed me for that. I also used to nanny for little ones very close in age.

Quite possible that I will have a 13 month old and a 7 month old in my home come Christmas.  I wonder how mobile they will be? 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

To sleep perchance to dream

I have reached new levels of exhaustion and sleep deprivation. A level which I could only imagine before. My grasp on reality is a little shaky at the moment. I think Brian is feeling the same. Yesterday he said, "I put that onsie on Titus, the one with the wolverines and broccoli".  The pattern is owls and trees, but he was serious. That is what he saw.

At his 6 month visit Titus' pediatrician asked me not to worry about his growth. She said that if I went to get a second opinion they would be ordering more bone scans and the like, but that it is her educated opinion that he is just fine.  I have been worrying though as it seems he hasn't grown at all since we returned from England. He is still sporting his size 3 month trousers. He will be 7 months tomorrow. Baby Ellie is fast catching up to him in size. She turned 1 month old on the 1st.  She came home at 6.5 lbs and is now over 9lbs. Titus is 14 lbs, soaking wet. He takes just a bit more milk than she does. To be fair he is eating 2 puree meals a day.

In Ellie News, lets see. Her Mom had convinced DHS to allow her to arrange a private adoption. Even though their general policy is to not allow private adoptions once a child is in state care. She was going through the same agency she used when her 2 year old son was adopted as a newborn in 2010. She met with her adoption worker to look at family profiles, but out of nowhere decided that if Ellie's Dad wasn't going to participate she no longer wanted to proceed with the adoption.  Dad is MIA and presumed to be in Chicago. Her caseworker has not yet closed the door on this subject. I think they are all hoping she will decide to go through with it because it makes things easier for everyone. Everyone except Ellie that is, who I feel deserves to be with her siblings. For some reason Mom didnt want her to go there. DHS seems to concur. A supervisor has said that they may not place Ellie in the sibling home as they are awaiting the arrival of the 1 year old sister from another state. They think that this family would be over extended with a 2 year old at home, then a 1 year old and a newborn placed around the same time. My best guess is that they will  let the 1 year old sister get settled for a few months, then do a home study to see if the family would be able to handle all 3.  That is if no private adoption takes place. Things are up in the air at the moment. The caseworker said " She is all yours for now".

I have to purchase a new catalytic converter for my Honda van. Normally these things are not that expensive but its a part that is very particular to this Japanese car. It will cost nearly 1000 dollars for parts and labor. I need to renew my registration and cant do so without passing emissions. Bah. Brian has decided that we can not make it a day longer without buying some new furniture. Chests of drawers for our bedroom and a big linen cabinet sort of thing for the main bath.  This will eat into what little bit of savings we have at the moment. I hate to worry about money but its a fact of life with 2 kids and 1 income. Perhaps I can talk him into holding off on the furniture for a while. I wanted a weeks vacation in the Eastern Oregon desert this summer, but that night not be possible. Brian and I are talking about a full month in Mexico early next year.  Probably depending on the Ellie situation

Titus continues to be super delightful, charming everyone that comes in contact with him. One of my best girlfriends came over on Friday ( she brought a wonderful Thai takeout dinner). He has only met this particular friend a few times but that did not stop him from wanting her to hold him and giving her little love pats and nuzzles. He does like the ladies. He has very little stranger anxiety but is starting to protest when I leave the room. This is normal. His penis surgery just around the corner. I think that is a post for another day.  I don't even feel like talking about it.  He has been rather chatty. He says Mamama, Mamba, bababa, and dadada. My Mom is trying to teach him to say "Obama" in anticipation of the upcoming presidential election. He was born on election day.

I did get a questionnaire for a developmental screening for Ellie. They are also calling it a mental health screen but I am not sure how that works for an infant.  We have court on the 5th. At that point they switch her from an intake social worker to a permanent caseworker. This should shed a little bit of light on how long they expect her to be in our home. It SHOULD. Not to say that you can predict anything with social services in my state.

A few years ago I had 2 wisdom teeth removed. They said the other 2 were so impacted that they would never poke through or give me any trouble. They would have had to go in there and break things up to extract them. Well, now I have one poking through and bothering me. I am teething at 36 years of age! Titus can relate. I want to get these other 2 teeth removed but that will probably have to wait until after his surgery.

We are going through about 14 bottles a day. in the neighborhood of 55 oz of formula. 17 diapers.  I am getting 3 to 6 hours of broken sleep nightly. Ellie slept a 4.5 hour stretch last night. This is great for her age. I think she will be doing 6 hour stretches within a month. Maybe there is some relief on the horizon. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

things are still going pretty well with baby Ellie. She eats SO much. She is very much stronger than Titus was at her age. Her neck is stronger, she can wriggle harder. Her rooting reflex is certainly much more pronounced. Often she will clamp down on my boob right through my shirt if I am holding her at a certain angle. Titus had to be coaxed and coddled and he still did not want to nurse. This baby was built to thrive and I am proud of her. She is gulping down 3oz of formula every 2-3 hours. This is a lot for a baby of her size and age.

I keep expecting a call or email from the family that is waiting to welcome her into their home. I gave DHS permission to give our contact info and said I would be happy to facilitate a visit as soon as possible. I wonder why they are not phoning. I wonder if the caseworker even gave them our number. You would think that they would be very eager to see pictures at the least. Ive sent pics to the caseworker. Ellie's birth mom and dad did not make it to their supervised visit on friday. The agency will try again this coming Friday. They have arranged transport for her. I feel nervous about this teeny tiny baby being shuttled around town and passed around a visiting room. Her mother has a history of erratic and unsafe behavior with infants. She put peppermint  oil in a baby bottle once. I told the visit supervisor to never let the baby out of his sight and he assured me that nothing bad would happen on his watch. Also thanked me for being concerned, he said somebody has to be concerned on her behalf. I also dont like a ton of people handling a newborn. Germs! UGH.. and Im not going to be there to tell folks to wash their hands.

We have had a bit of a heatwave the past few days. Both babies spent the day in their diapers. Titus still broke out in a heat rash around his waist. 90ish degrees is unusual for this time of year. Nobody has AC in this part of the country. We have a small portable unit but it only cools one room. I am up now eating strawberries and waiting for miss ellie to wake up for a feed. High hopes that she will then knock out for another 3 hours so I can get a chunk of sleep. Titus doing a lot of night waking still. He feels that 4am is a fine time for a 6oz bottle then back to sleep until 7 or 8. He wakes several times in the night to express his displeasure at having rolled over on his tummy.

Waiting to hand this foster baby over to her adoptive family.. a huge bag of mixed emotions. Mostly it feels like being asked to hold another persons lottery winnings before they can come and collect. Im trying to think of it as baby feast after a long, dry, and unpleasant baby famine. The lovely smell of her! Her thick head of silky auburn hair is heavenly. I could eat her all up. I take her in later today for the 2 week well child visit and newborn screening part 2. She has a pretty nasty case of oral thrush. Apparently contracted at birth. Sadly, we will need to give her an oral anti fungal to get it cleared up. I am boiling all her pacifiers and bottle parts. Her belly button scab fell off a couple of nights ago. Yesterday she had her first proper bath in the Fisher Price Whale of a tub. She seemed to like it. Titus adores that bath and actually fell asleep in it yesterday. Funny little man.

A friend from the computer sent a box full of small baby girl clothing today. Hand me downs from her baby who was born the day before Titus. We are so thankful for this help. A shorter term placement of a foster baby always ends up costing the foster parent a lot of money. I will apply for WIC  to pay for her formula. The brand both of these babies take costs 22 dollars a tub.

Ellie stirs now. I might have to do a cool washcloth to wake her enough to eat. I think the heat is making her sluggish.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

we have a new camera.

Brian told me that he wasn't 100% sure that he wanted to adopt little Ellie anyhow. Of course that's easy to say now that we know we wont be able to. He said it was because he still wants another bio baby and wishes to continue fostering. If we adopted now that would be the end of our family building/ and foster parenting efforts. He does get a lot of satisfaction out of being a foster parent. Which is good because he dislikes his day job and we all need to feel like we are making a difference in the world. At least I do and I'm pretty sure he does too.

I'm starting to panic because I don't know when I will sleep when he goes back to work. Ellie takes nice long stretches of sleep during day. 3 hours of quiet sleep at a time. She fusses and grunts and wriggles all night. Titus has been waking because he rolls over on his tummy then freaks out, but of course he keeps doing it in his sleep. I plan to go to bed at 7 or 8. Brian can then put Titus to bed at 8 and stay up with Ellie until 11 when he normally goes to bed. If shes sleeping, great I can get another hour or two. If not I get up and feed her. This still isn't going to make for much sleep because I cant really drift off or nap after 4 am. Titus stirs around then and often requires a feeding. Most mornings hes been sacking out again until 6 but she will usually need to be fed during that time.  Unless both babies nap at the same time by some miracle, I wont be napping during the day. Titus has been FINALLY taking a longer afternoon nap. His morning nap is still 15-20 min. Same for second morning nap but usually around 2 pm he falls asleep for an hour or two now. Bliss. and really for his age he sleeps just fine at night. I just have to learn how to navigate this newborn thing again with another baby thrown in for good measure. When Titus was a newborn we mostly cuddled on the couch all day. I was sleep deprived but so anxious about his well being that I wouldn't take the opportunity to nap. I watched Ancient Aliens on the history channel and was so delirious that some of it actually seemed plausible.

speaking of sleep its quarter to 5. all babies sleeping so perhaps I should try too. I can leave ellie in her bassinet in the living room and go to my own bed & ignore her sleepy grunts and squeaks. if she cries I will wake up. If this works for me I think I might have just figured out the solution to my sleep problem!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

what goes up

We had a letdown during our first face to face meeting with Ellie's caseworker on Tuesday. Because the placement worker had one little bit of incorrect information, which made all the difference as far as our chances of adopting . Basically, the family that adopted the sibling who lives locally DOES want this baby. Very much so, They are not certified foster or adopt with the state though. My Mom said because they are considered family they could have done a provisional certification within 24 hours. They didnt do that so we assume they are doing it the long way which can take months. For those that dont know, my mom is a DHS caseworker in another county.

We are now back down to earth. The fall hurt. We do want Ellie to be with her sibling, so this is bitter sweet. I had an outpouring of support from some women in my November due date online buddy group. Some of them were kind enough to mail packages of clothing for Ellie, and now I feel a little bad because she will be leaving before she is able to make use of all of those things. The fact is that she needs them though. You dont sent a foster child to their new home without a full wardrobe. At least I never have! The child and protective services machine is such a slow moving thing at times, its really impossible to say how long we will have her. They wait for court dates, supervisor approval, bank holidays etc. The children suffer for that in the end. This was made clear to us with our last placement. 2 years of being in care and they are still not available for adoption. Still waiting on parental rights to be terminated even though those parents demonstrated over and over and over again that they are not capable or willing to properly care for those girls. Even though the policy is permanency plan within a year. Sigh. I do hope they move things fairly quickly for Ellie. She deserves to be in her forever home already. With a mother to gaze into her eyes while feeding, and stroke her and love her and never leave.

The jaded part of me thinks that we will have Ellie in our home just until she starts sleeping through the night. Just until she smiles a lot and becomes a little more charming and engaging.  This has picked open my infertility scab a little. I didnt know that would be SO very easy to do after having Titus. The feelings are still raw, still painful. I resent being so unsure how we are going to complete our family. Foster/ adoption is painfully hard. Birthing another baby might be impossible. Most people wouldnt have to worry about it quite yet, but Ive a gut feeling that any fertility I had is screeching to a halt. Time is running out and I dont have another 5 years to try for a second child. I just want my family complete, which it very well might be already. It might have to be, but thats not the way I want it.

Throwing another wrench into the sibling works, I have figured out that there is something very wrong with my belly. It never went anywhere close to a normal size after giving birth. I thought it was lax stomach muscles and belly fat. Now I am pretty sure that I have diastasis recti and or some sort of abdominal hernia. I walk around looking 6 months pregnant, I couldnt suck it in if my life depended n it. That whole area just has an odd look to it. Very unpleasant to look at. There is some amount of pain. I have wondered why my abdomen remains tender to this day. Underwear and pants can irritate that area. I thought it was nerve damage from the C section. I will make an appointment with my OB first. My guess is that they will tell me to lose some weight and do physical therapy  then see where we are at. Insurance likely wouldnt correct a hernia. Its considered cosmetic. I would have to pay the thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Titus is doing well. He sees his pedi on Thursday for the 6 month well child appointment and immunization shots  At 13.5 lbs I think he will no longer even show up on the growth charts. I cant care though because he is obviously so healthy. Chunky legs! little belly!  He is going through a frustrating phase. He wants to do so much more than he is capable of physically, which results in a lot of screaming and boredom. He wants to be all over the house getting into things. I hope his motor skills soon start catching up with his mind. Today he learned how to push air through his lips and seems so proud. Busts out laughing if you do it back to him. He has figured out the I drop it and you pick it up game. Another favorite game is "mummy eats my hands". He thinks that one is hilarious. The boy is very ticklish.  He is on 2 meals a day now soon to be 3. He had butternut squash 2 times today, in addition to trying baby oatmeal and peaches.

Time for a little snooze before either baby wants my attention.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 3

Today marks 3 days since I went and got baby Ellie from the hospital. We are calling her Ellie. This is not her name so its okay to use it here.

That afternoon was fairly surreal, due in part to sleep deprivation. I knew I needed sleep more than anything but my mind was reeling and my stomach was churning all that night. What if we could keep her!? What if we cant? What if social services bungles this up like they did with the twins? Those poor 2 year old twins placed in our home, yanked away on a days notice to live with an uncle they had never met, only to be given back to the state when he had to leave the country a couple of months later. I'm still angry about that. They have never been able to give me a phone number for the foster home they ended up in. The boys wouldn't know us now. Anyhow, I couldn't sleep and by the time I arrived at the hospital that evening everything felt like a dream. The nurses were pleased to see me and had been expecting me. They had the baby with them on her little cart, there in the nurses station. I presume because her mother had been discharged earlier that day and Ellie no longer had a room. I presented them with my ID, and they filled out a load of paperwork. They had me dress the baby. Good job I had thought to bring her a "coming home outfit". As far as I could tell they had nothing for her there.      she was 6.5 lbs and 18.5 inches at discharge, so has a little room to grow in the newborn sized sleepers. They loaded up my duffel bag with diapers, formula, bottles. The usual. Not as much loot as I got for Titus. In fact Im using some of that stuff for Ellie now, the extra nursers and nipples.

The social worker had said that the mother is mentally ill, and that its obvious when you speak to her. The nurses confirmed this for me by reading some of their nursing notes where they had recorded her erratic behavior and quoted some of her delusional conversations. The poor thing is very, very ill. She ought to be in a state hospital. With the budget cuts that have happened in this state the past 15 years, the only way you can get inpatient psychiatric care is if you are criminally insane or a real danger to yourself. Sad stuff.

So far she is an easy baby. Eating lots, and regularly. Pooping finally. Sleeping most of the day like a normal newborn. Not very fussy. She is physically stronger than Titus was at that age, although not much bigger. Mother nature designed her to thrive. Now she just requires that her needs get met. I can do this, if given the chance. I know it will not be easy with 2 little ones. Its not so different than having twins I imagine. One sleeps through the night.  Brian and I feel like we just finished a rather challenging video game, only to level up. You think you can care for an infant? Try it with another newborn this round and see how you do. We started keeping pace and the tempo changed. We do feel like we can rise to the occasion. It takes a bit of putting on your big girl pants and not feeling sorry for yourself during the long, sleep deprived hours of the day and night. The mind altering, bone crushing exhaustion. We have to laugh a lot. A mother of twins told me that its just one day at a time. This will have to be my new mantra.

I have wondered if this is fair to Titus.Does he not deserve to be my only baby for a while? In a perfect world, yes. He would have 2 or 3 years of my undivided attention. But I do not get pregnant easily. Nor have I had much luck carrying to term.  a sibling would be pretty hard to come by the old fashioned way. Not that adoption is easy, but I think the benefit of having a sister would outweigh a little less attention in these early months. Think of how much fun and how much mischeif they could get up to. They would be in the same grade in school. The class of 2030 if my math is right.

I will update as I get more information about her case. She is a sweet little soul and we are lucky to have her in our home, no matter how long she stays. Shes not a guest, but our daughter while she is here and we want to do everything we can for this baby.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

To my blog friend, Faith..

I thought of you yesterday hen I got a call from DHS asking my family pick up a newborn baby from the hospital Thursday evening. I thought of you often as I tossed and turned last night. If I remember right, your son was 6 months old when your daughter arrived. I wonder how on earth you made it work.

We said yes to this little baby. Who's parents have lots of issues and who already has 3 siblings who are either in foster care or already adopted. Who has no other family to take her. They say she is healthy and not drug affected or exposed. Our hearts melted when the placement worker called.  We know anything could happen but they told us to be prepared for a long term placement. To go ahead and invest in a double stroller, a car seat , clothing. It sounds as if this is as likely to go to adoption as it possibly can be. We are excited and nervous, even if its just for a few days!

I can sleep when I am dead. Well seriously, I know I wont be sleeping much. I wouldn't be taking this on if Brian wasn't such an amazing, involved, engaged daddy. He does a huge amount of childcare.

Of course my car battery died the other day. Have to get that taken care of before I can pick her up tonight. I walked up to Ross and Walmart last night to get a few things. I gave away all the newborn stuff. She is 6.5 lbs so needs tiny things. she now has 5 sleepers, 4 pants, 6 onsies, 6 hats, receiving blankets, bottles, her own tub of similac, and a couple packages of newborn diapers. We already had a second nursery set up in anticipation of a toddler but she will sleep in our room in a bassinet at first.

Faith I would love to email or phone you in the coming weeks if you are OK with that. I have so many questions. I need a buddy!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

We made it home on Tuesday. The flight from Amsterdam to Portland was easier than the flight from PDX to Amsterdam. Mostly because they gave us a bulk head seat with a bassinet attached to the wall.  We sat next to another couple with a baby. Wife from Portland, husband from Scotland. They were taking their little one to Portland to see her grandparents.

I was right about our time overseas, It was more obligation than vacation but I still enjoyed it. Most of our time was spent getting to know Brian's nieces and spending quality time with his parents. Not easy staying with your in laws for over two weeks though! Ugh. At my MIL's place everything is white and sterile. You re afraid to sit on the furniture. She was visibly shaken when the 8 month old niece spit up spaghetti  on her carpeting. She insisted on doing a chemical sterilization of Titus' bottles. I told her that we don't sterilize and that washing in soapy water with a hot rinse is considered good enough. The English are having none of that. They are told that bottles have "harmful milk bacteria" in them and must be sterilized. This is soo 1950's or even Victorian. Anyhow, his bottles ended up reeking of bleach and I felt helpless because she was so adamant about it.  It was that and lots of little things. Being told not to check on him during dinner. Being questioned about our choice to never let him cry it out. Both by MIL and SIL.  Being told whenever he fussed, that it was "wind" and he needed to burp. No matter what the problem was.  Im sure all of this stuff is part of a normal relationship with a MIL. Ive just never had to deal with one before because she lives so far away.

Brian's neices are delightful. I have become close with his sister over the past couple of years. Being pregnant at the same time and home with children all day certainly helped. She is very very different than my husband and they have never been close or even very friendly. This seems to have improved with time. They have both matured a lot in the past 7 years.

Titus is changing so much. He is not the same baby that he was when we left. Hes sitting up semi assisted. Soon to be sitting on his own. He rolls all over the place, sleeps in a room by himself in a big boy crib instead of a bassinet, eats some baby foods, laughs like a loon, lunges for things that appeal to him. When we left he still wasnt holding his head steady and needed to be cradled in your arms with supported neck. No more. In these picutres he wasnt quite sitting up yet. We have many, many more but this is a decent sample. He loved his cousins. Even with my 8 adult siblings he only has 3 cousins. All girls.

The big news this week is that the bio mom of our last 3 foster children is pregnant AGAIN. She just had a baby in Feb. of 2011. Her 5th child is due in June. The 2011 baby was adopted by a lesbian couple in Seattle. Their family is complete and they have decided they wont be adopting this next baby. She has asked the family that will be adopting the 3 girls if they wil take this baby. They are looking into all the legal aspects of it and are in shock. I dont think the mother dares to get excited or even mention it to anyone but myself and a few family members. The baby daddy is the same toothless,  criminal, geezer that the birth mom swore she wasnt seeing. This was always a stipulation of her getting the 3 older children back. She couldnt have anything to do with this guy. He also fathered the baby born last year. Tsk! Now she admits that shes been with him the whole time.

We are waiting for a foster placement. Its a strange feeling, waiting for that call from DHS. It could happen today or it could happen in 3 weeks. I think even seasoned foster parents jump when the phone rings.

Jet lag is killing me. I dont even want to admit how out of control its been since we got back. Okay,, its like this. I go to bed at 6pm and wake up with the baby at 2am. His sleep is all over the place. Brian has been home most of the time but we have to get this sorted out for this next week. Adjusting to an 8 hour time difference is not easy when there is an infant involved.

Monday, April 2, 2012

two days short of 5 months

My mom spends every Monday at our house. Titus is usually too busy looking at the shiny camera to smile but she caught him off guard. After practicing nearly all day for the past several days, he finally managed to roll from back to tummy and back again. A banner day for him.

I have not fared so well. I managed to eat some mislabeled sashimi  while I was out shopping on Saturday afternoon. I paid for it dearly that night and a good part of today. They said it was albacore tuna, turns out it was a rather toxic fish called Escolar. I have more to say about that later. I suppose the only good thing to come of it was that I dropped a few lbs before we leave for vacation.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


This is stolen time. I should be sleeping. Titus woke up at 5 am for a feed and I just put him back down. I have not slept more than 6 hours total in one night for a couple of weeks, yet the desire for a little alone time trumps the need for sleep on occasion.  We have been dealing with what they call the 4 month sleep regression.

Its a quiet Spring morning but you wouldn't know it. There are a couple of inches of snow outside. It will turn into slush just in time for the morning commute. We had no snow to speak of this past winter but now in March these mornings of unseasonable snow.

It was a year ago today that my husband and I discovered that I was pregnant. At that time, we had a house full of foster girls. A sibling group of 3. All 3 of those girls had special needs, including medical issues. The year went by in a blur of extreme fatigue and doctors appointments. I had a sort of complicated pregnancy. I would be pleased to never see the inside of a doctor's office again. That is not to be. Titus has a surgery coming up in June. To correct his hypospadias with chordee, which is a birth defect of the penis. I would like to tell you about my recent troubles with our insurance but its too long and tiresome. In a nutshell, our HMO referred me to  hospital to give birth that isn't exactly within their network. I had to have Titus there because their regular hospital had no NICU. In turn, that hospital referred us to the medical school hospital for specialty care that isn't otherwise available locally. A pediatric cardiologist , a pediatric urologist. The HMO denied to pay the claims from the medical school hospital. Now I must waste my time appealing these claims when it was a bureaucratic snag up on their part.The bills have already added up to thousands of dollars. It gets better and more complicated when you add the fact that the urologist actually works for my HMO one day a month when hes not teaching/ seeing patients the medical school. I wonder if we lived in the UK if we would have these sorts of problems. Likely not.

My husband is from England. He moved to Oregon in order to marry me over 7 years ago and has not been home since. In 2 weeks time we are going for a 2.5 week visit. His parents can meet the baby and we can meet his nieces for the first time. It will be a bit of what Brian calls a "bus mans holiday".  More obligation than vacation.  I am excited to see his family but apprehensive about taking a 5 month baby on such a long trip. I get ill just about every time I fly. Something about the recycled airplane air. I worry that he will too. I worry that we will both get a virus and that it will ruin our trip. Of course there is also jet lag to be concerned with when dealing with a small infant with an already slightly erratic sleep schedule. I have actually considered wearing a mask for the 10 hour flight from Portland to Amsterdam. That would probably look totally crazy.

Next week is Spring break for the local public school children. My foster daughters are now living with the people that we hope will be their forever family. The eldest one ( she turns 7 tomorrow) will be with me all day long over the break while her younger sisters are in daycare and her parents work. The poor thing had her appendix out a couple of weeks ago. It ruptured. Luckily her adoptive mom was quick to realize that the vomiting seemed out of the ordinary and rushed her to the ER. She is recovering nicely. Kids can bounce back so fast. I am looking forward to having the company. We have lots of play dates set up. Going to see The Lorax on monday. Then as much as we can do with a baby in tow for the rest of the week. Probably a lot of lunches in with friends. Some amount of baking.

I should probably use the rest of my stolen hour to tidy up the kitchen and switch the laundry.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A fresh start

My last blog was about infertility and pregnancy loss. A little bit of parenting sprinkled in towards the end as my husband and I became foster parents for the first time in October of 2010.

This blog is mostly about Titus. My long awaited and hard earned progeny. It will also be about his future foster siblings and my dealings with the foster care system. I will try to include more about my interests and what we get up to on a weekly basis.

Welcome to my old blog friends and hello to the new friends I will make here.