Post Holiday Check In

christmasI’m happy to report that we all survived Christmas… in fact, it wasn’t that bad at all. Daffy really pushed her limits in the few days leading up to Christmas, but she and I used a notebook to write to each other (as suggested by Daffy’s therapist, and something that we used to do on a regular basis) and we were able to communicate and get through it without any major blow ups. Another small victory, thank you very much. ūüėČ

Daffy left last night to visit with Woody and Jessie for several nights. Despite the fact things have been going ok, I am quite relieved to have a few stress-free days to decompress from the holidays. I am hoping to get the tree down this weekend, do some work and spend time with the older kiddos (and my new grandbaby, Andy)! It should be a relaxing weekend!

Yesterday the social worker cancelled our one meeting for week because of a little snow. She rescheduled for today. With Daffy gone and Mickey & Goofy working, my heart really wasn’t in it. Tink scheduled an appointment for Andy to be seen for thrush, so I decided to cancel the meeting. It would only have been Pluto and I anyway, and sometimes I’m just tired of hearing myself whine bitch.

As a side note, the photo above includes the tree we had painted to celebrate Daffy’s adoption. Each of our immediate family members carved their initials into the base of the tree (blurred in photo for privacy, of course). At the adoption party, our friends and family added their fingerprints to the leaves and signed their names. It still brings me joy every time I see it! ūüôā

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She’s Adopted!

The judge shaking Daffy’s hand after the adoption

The past 6 weeks have been a blur. Rather than documenting them, I spent my time living them. There is a part of me that regrets that because I know many details will be lost before I can share them here, but at the same time, there is another part of me that enjoyed the break. There was no pressure to look for deeper meanings and no pressure to find the silver lining in any of the things (many painful) our family experienced.

With that out of the way, I am thrilled to share that DAFFY IS OFFICIALLY ADOPTED!

As I posted before, Daffy chose 10/11/12 as her adoption date. Although the adoption was scheduled for 2:30pm, I needed to attend a meeting and a hearing at the courthouse for Donald ahead of the adoption. We left home around noon, with Daffy dressed in a gown from Tiffany & Co given to her by her former foster family (Woody, Jessie & Buzz). She was a perfect angel as we made the hour trip to the courthouse. When we arrived her and Goofy found some chairs by a window and sat down to play with their electronics. Once I finished the meetings, I expected complete mayhem but came out to find she was sitting as peaceful and calm as when I had gone in. Weird…. yet wonderful!

It was a reunion of sorts as we waited for everyone to arrive and be called into the courtroom. One of the staff from the group home Daffy lived at (pre-adoption) came. The group home had also told her Godparents about the adoption and they came with their daughter. There was a slew of social workers and case workers from the past 9 months on Daffy’s case. FINALLY, the¬†bailiff¬†called us into the courtroom… we filled every chair and then some! The judge started with introductions and then asked Mickey and I a series of questions to be sure we understood the legal¬†implications¬†of adopting Daffy. The judge asked Daffy if she wanted to be adopted and, of course, she said yes.The judge then confirmed the name Daffy had chosen, spelling it to confirm it was correct. In retrospect, I wish that we had to SIGN something in the court room, but all the paperwork had been signed over the summer at our kitchen table and was simply awaiting the judges signature… which she happily provided. That was it… the official end of the hearing. The judge then called Daffy up to sit in her chair and let her choose a stuffed animal from her special “adoption drawer.” Our family went up for group photos with the judge and then the judge called Daffy into her chambers…. she wanted to show Daffy that she had hung the drawing Daffy had given her in July right on her wall! Daffy was really pleased to see that! I could tell that made her feel special!

Once the photo opps with the judge ended, we went back into the lobby where Daffy opened a few gifts and cards and then headed outside for more photos with all the people who had attended. Everyone was full of congratulations for us and lots & lots of hugs!

Our family (& a close family friend) went for dinner at Olive Garden and feasted to our heart’s content! It was at the end of the meal that Daffy got to write her full name (including new middle and last names) for the very first time…. right on her take out box! lol

By the time we got home, it was already Daffy’s bedtime, especially considering it was a school night. Of course, we made time for one of our famous chats.

I will share more about the adoption celebration party in another post soon….

Ideas Needed for Party & Gifts

Now that we have an official adoption date, I am eager to get planning the celebratory party to be held that weekend! Anyone have any ideas (or links to blog posts about their own adoption celebrations) they are are willing to share? I need your help!!!!

We host quote a few parties throughout the year and many are themed, so I am trying to decide on some sort of theme to really bring the event together. I am leaning towards football themed because that will be “in season” in October and I want to order these awesome Patriots shirts¬†for our family custom designed with our last name on them along with each of our years of birth. I thought this might give our family a unified look while allowing others to coordinate (which always makes for great pictures). I am thinking we can tie some football words to adoption, too…. maybe “Touchdown” to show we met our goal? And reference our family as a “team” as in “Look who’s joining our team” with a picture of Daffy on the invitations with those black stripes under her eyes? I dunno…. still thinking about that… I know its not “traditional”, but we aren’t really traditional people, so maybe it works?

Here are a few of the other things I am considering:

  • Pictures of Daffy throughout the house, maybe hung by clothes pins¬†like they did here? Could be mixed in with team logos? Or placed on a pennant banner?
  • A video running with photos and music throughout the night
  • A guest book (saving space for photos to be added later) for our guests to write messages in… I also love the idea of the¬†thumbprint family tree guest book found here!

Also, while I dont want this to be about gifts, I do want to get some things for Daffy that really send the message that she is a permanent part of our family. Here are a few ideas I have:

  • A scrapbook showcasing the highlights since we met her last November.
  • Personalized items (not sure what, though, besides the tee shirts mentioned above…. got ideas for cool items that can be personalized with a full name and not just initials, since, by chance, her initials arent changing?)
  • Adoption themed¬†jewelry of some sort, or maybe a locket with a picture of me and of her birth mom inside?

Speaking of gifts, do people usually bring a gift to this type of event? I don’t want to assume they do, but was thinking if anyone asked that maybe I would suggest a family game of some sort to build the game closet with things we can all do together? This would kind of tie in nicely with the “football/game” theme from above… Good idea? Or should I just flatly refuse any gifts?

On ¬†a similar note, should we have favors of some kind? If so, any ideas of something that would represent adoption or family? Maybe I could find something Patriots related? I like the idea of key chains, but $5 per person is gonna add up quickly and it’s not very personal….. personalized Pompoms could be fun for the kids….. ooooooh, what to do? What to do?

Oh, wise experienced party planners or adoptive families, please offer some advice! I would love your thoughts on my ideas or any you might have!

Review Hearing | We Set An Adoption Date!

This afternoon we had our quarterly review hearing with the court. We had requested that Daffy be able to go and meet the judge (for the very first time!). We picked her up from school and made the hour drive to the court house. On the way, I explained the importance of standing when the judge speaks to you and when you speak, as well as referring to her as “Your Honor”… she thought that was pretty silly, but did accept it once I compared it to the title of Doctor, Chef or even Mom, LOL

Daffy seemed pretty comfortable when we arrived. Obviously she recognized many of the people from the team right away and began chatting with them about her summer and the recent sleepover with the former foster family. Once we were called into the court, she became quiet as a mouse. The judge began by asking all of us to state our names. (I am always so proud, when I add “Pre-adoptive Mom” to my name!) She then spoke directly to Daffy to welcome her and ¬†asked the state & GAL if there were any updates since their written reports submitted in the past couple weeks. The state updated about the consult saying that the recommendations were in line with what the team had been thinking and that all indications were that Daffy should be adopted.

The judge then started to ask Daffy some questions but was not able to hear her quiet little tiny voice (one I have never heard since she has been with us, LOL) so the judge asked if it would be okay if she came closer. The judge sat in a chair near Daffy and chatted with her about her summer and her hamster and other little things. Then, she asked the question we were all waiting for…. whether or not she wanted to be adopted and when! Daffy said she wanted to be adopted on 10/11/12. The judge talked to the clerk (or whomever was that lady taking notes in the room, lol) and determined the date was available and at that exact moment, Daffy’s adoption was put into the schedule!!! I could feel my eyes filling with tears. Months of waiting for us, months of challenges for everyone and a lifetime of struggles for Daffy had all been leading up to this. This one day will change things forever! Oh, I know that Daffy’s isn’t going to wake up the next day and be a perfect angel…. heck, I am not going to become the perfect parent either…. but this day will be a defining moment in Daffy’s life and ours! She will officially and legally become our DAUGHTER! (Just typing that word brings more tears to my eyes!) I am so very much in love with this little girl and will spend my life working to repair the damage that has been done to her over the past 9.5 years. She will finally belong, something she has needed and craved for a very long time. We are so blessed to be the ones to be able to provide that permanent security to her.

I am so grateful for all of the people who made this possible. From our newest case worker and our social worker, to our friends & family and the many people who have supported me on this blog and on Twitter…. I can’t possibly thank you enough. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I know that’s true. I also know I have the very best village a girl could ask for. So, thank you all for helping us to get to this point in the process! We look forward to celebrating with all of you in October! ūüôā