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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This Feels Wonderful

momentThere are countless posts that I should have written to catch things up to current… like a post about how we just had our 60 day team meeting and have only met with our lead social worker twice because of all the changes and internal issues at the agency… or a post about Daffy meeting with two of the post adopt workers to discuss what she thinks is appropriate for visits with her birth Mom and Donald.

But for right now, THIS is all that matters.¬†Tink’s son Andy has arrived! He was born Sunday 12/15 after one of the most calm labor and deliveries I have ever seen. Tink blew me away with how she trusted her body to birth her son and she even did it med free! Later that evening Tink was talking about how wonderful it was to have her family all around. Goofy commented that Pluto was not there (we didn’t have time to pick him up after Tink’s water broke at home)… and Tink replied “And Daffy.” Whaaaaaaat? I was FLOORED… almost to the point of being speechless. Tink requested that Daffy come to the hospital the next day. I contacted one of our social workers and asked if we could move our Monday evening meeting from our home to the hospital room and she agreed.

I have to admit, I was pretty nervous the next day. We had never discussed a hospital visit with Daffy, as Tink had said there was no way in hell she would allow her. We had never even asked Daffy if she WANTED to come. I mean, I’d assume she would want to, but with Daffy, you never can be sure. She has been unhappy about this pregnancy from the start. By the time this whole plan came about, I was almost AFRAID to ask, fearing that she might say no. I also didn’t want to make it a huge deal when this is what NORMAL families should look like.

So, anyway, Daffy and I talked a little bit Monday afternoon about what the birth had been like before we headed out to see Tink and Andy in the hospital. I was explaining how they placed the baby right on her chest the second he was born to promote attachment, etc. Daffy commented that it was like ducks… the first person they see is who they attach to as their mom. She also commented about how the cat was going to feel really displaced by the baby (yes, I could easily read through that to know she was talking about herself…. unless, of course, she was just looking for an excuse to be able to touch the cat.)

When we arrived at the hospital, the potential “baby daddy” and his mom were in the room which was quite uncomfortable (but not relevant to this particular story so I won’t go there). The social worker was already there as well (got to be the first time she has ever been on time, LOL). We encouraged Daffy to go have a look at the baby and she did so, somewhat reluctantly…. or maybe hesitantly is a better word, it was hard to tell.

Daffy sat back down and the social worker later commented that Daffy seemed to fill the space with stories of little value about her homework and other such things. (Daffy’s need to constantly chatter drives me crazy, but seeing it from the perspective of anxiety made it easier to understand.) I felt like Tink might be ready for more so I whispered to her that maybe Daffy was ready to hold the baby, espcially in such a controlled environment. She agreed. The moment Tink handed Daffy the baby, my heart swelled. It was history in the making for our family. A truly life changing moment.

I snapped a few pictures (and Snapchatted one to Mickey who was at work). Daffy’s arm quickly tired (or maybe she realized just how boring it is to hold a tiny human who does absolutely nothing?) and she gave the baby back to Tink.

I remained mesmerized long after. Heck, I’m still in awe of that moment. I don’t want to get my hopes up that we have turned a corner… I don’t believe that any of this negates what we experienced over the past year or the risk that Daffy poses to animals and potentially Andy… but for right now, I just want to enjoy this time with my family for what it is. Oxytocin from Tink’s birth? A Christmas miracle? Finally the beginning of positive change? No matter what the reason, the past 5 days have been amazing and it feels WONDERFUL!

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Family Therapy Cancelled

The new in-home social worker just called and said she had a family emergency and was on her way to the hospital so she needed to cancel our first official-every-one-in-attendance family meeting for today. As nervous as I had been all day, I’m kind of disappointed because I was hoping to see some real honesty happen at today’s meeting. It’s unlikely that we will be able to get everyone together again until next Tuesday. In any case, since I have an opening in my schedule today and really need to get some things off my chest…. well, you are stuck listening to my vent!

I never know where to begin. Too much time passes in between posts because every day is simply too draining to tell the stories. Many of the stories would probably seem like nothing by themselves anyway. It’s the constant ongoing drip-drop… like Chinese water torture… that has taken its toll. I’m at the end of my rope. I think the difference between earlier in the year when this breakdown began and now is the toll it’s taken on the rest of my family. It’s no longer just about me & Daffy. My bio kids BEG me to get things back to the way they used to be before Daffy came here. My marriage is hanging on by a single thread. I think OFTEN about just getting in my car and driving as far as my minimal money for gas will take me. My bio kids are what keep me hanging on. I know it wouldn’t be fair to them to leave them with the mess I (and Mickey) created by adopting Daffy. Tears are shed every single day. We just can’t take it.

So, to give this post some purpose, let me go back to Friday. Daffy came home from school and gave me her report card. I was heading out the door to take Goofy to work so I tucked it in my purse and left. Once I was in the parking lot, I opened it and was STUNNED to see she had 2 D’s on her report card as well as several negative comments from her teachers. Her progress report had been glowing and of course, she has been telling us she has completed all her homework, blah blah blah. I was FURIOUS that this was the first I was hearing about these obvious issues at school (at Daffy, at Daffy’s teachers and guidance counselor and at myself for not keeping a closer eye). I came home and got onto the online grade system and printed out her grades from those two D classes. I wasn’t surprised when I saw that she had not completed many of her homework assignments. I highlighted the missing assignments and attached it to the report card to leave it for Mickey. At this point in our relationship, I know better than to say ANYTHING to Daffy that she could construe as negative because she simply shuts down and makes our lives miserable. Giving it to Mickey means it isn’t likely to be discussed at all, but at least I can feel like I did my part to gather the information for him.

The next day I was out of town with a friend and when I returned, Daffy was whining about how she forgot her book at school. I asked “Why? were you planning to actually DO your homework this weekend”? ¬†She looked down and made her typical “hmmph” noise. I went on to say “Yeah, I know about that. In fact, I printed out your quarter grades and gave them to your Dad so he can know all about your lies too!” (Admittedly not the best choice of words, but FAAAAAAR better than what I really wanted to say.) She was silent. Like she always is. She simply doesn’t answer any questions that she doesn’t like.

She went to bed early that night, without saying good night of course. The next day she lurked around and wouldn’t speak to anyone (mind you, Mickey was at work…. she won’t let him see how she truly is!). I can’t describe how incredibly creepy it is when she lurks around muttering to herself. (In fact, I can hear Tink saying this very same thing to her pregnancy social worker downstairs right now as I type this.) She left several times and wandered ¬†around outside the house. She would stop and stare through the windows and glare at Tink. She wouldn’t even break eye contact when Tink looked back. Tink was really spooked by it. A friend of mine was over at the time for a training (we work in the same industry) and commented about how bizarre the behavior was and could tell that it was affecting Tink and me so she offered to take her for the night. God bless her soul. Everyone needs a friend like her. She can’t understand what we are living, but she also doesn’t judge. She simply supports anyone who needs it.

She returned Daffy home past bedtime last night. I was so grateful that I was doing laundry when Daffy arrived so Mickey put her to bed. I didn’t see her this morning. It’s now been almost 48 hours without a single word of communication. This is our normal. BUT THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

The bottom line is, we can’t stand each other. I don’t know how we got here. I can still remember loving her last year. I thought she was the most beautiful thing in the world. And now, I dread interacting with her. I dread the fights. I dread saying anything at all. Hell, I dread waking up in the morning. Why? What’s the purpose? My life is hell. My family is falling apart. My marriage is crumbling. My bio kids are begging¬†to go back to the way things used to be. And no one seems to understand.

I could buy the theory that this was MY fault and MY perception, hell, even MY own adoption issues playing out…. if not for the fact that my bio kids witness all of this too. They tell their dad. They tell the workers. NO ONE LISTENS. Or no one cares. I just don’t get it. Are we beyond hope? Can we not be helped? And if so, why won’t anyone just admit that to us?

As things stand right now, Mickey is in charge of scheduling the nuero psych exam. I imagine that will likely take several months before we have any answers there. And who knows, maybe that won’t answer any questions anyway…. clearly Daffy has become quite the good manipulator since she left the group home. The therapists and workers at the group home were all very clear about her reactive attachment disorder diagnosis, but no one seems to want to hear that now. WHY? Could she have just suddenly been CURED of RAD???? I don’t think so. Her behavior says no.

We are continuing with 3-4 weekly meetings with the new in-home service. We are still at the beginning stages so I am trying to give it a chance, but it’s hard. Mickey is rarely there for the meetings. My bio kids are grumpy to give up any more time to the misery known as our family. And I am EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTED that my entire life revolves around a child who hates me. It leaves no time for my marriage, no time for my bio kids and their needs and no time for my friends (ok, ok, I do still spend some time with them, its my ONLY sanity).

Oh, and have I mentioned Tink’s baby is due in 32 FREAKIN days?????? ¬†Mickey is currently installing doors on our former living room (the room Tink will share with her baby… now to be “blog named” Andy from Toy Story)! This is the first real safety item we have implemented. She did get one baby monitor at her baby shower, but we are on the hunt for a video monitor for an added level of security. At the suggestion of a couple of the workers, we bought Daffy her own baby doll so she could have practice before Andy comes. She doesn’t play with it. In fact, it would surprise me to find it in a ¬†noose in her room. The more we follow suggestions, the more resistant Daffy becomes.

Things are still in a holding pattern with the birth mom. Birth Mom and Donald mailed letters to Daffy recently. Birth Mom was very forceful in requesting that Daffy just “say what she wants” and that “no one will be hurt”. It was the first time BMom referenced Mickey and I by our first names rather than Mom & Dad, which took me back a little bit. I decided that we should run the letters by Daffy’s therapist before passing them on (something we have not done since the first letter well over a year ago). Therapist said the letters should ABSOLUTELY NOT be given to her and that Birth Mom was out of line to put so much pressure on Daffy. First of all, it’s not Daffy’s decision to determine whether or not visits are appropriate and what the frequency should be. Second, I’m not convinced Daffy even has a real opinion. She mimics what she hears. She says what she thinks she should based on who she is speaking with. You could get ten different answers if she spoke to ten different people in the same day. As for what *I* think…. I still just don’t know. I like Daffy’s birth Mom for the most part. If it weren’t for Donald living with her, the decision would be easier (still hard, but def less complicated). Daffy saw her 5 times in 8 months. Things were bad. She has seen her zero times in 4 months. Things are still bad. So, what is the right answer? Should she see her birth mom? Is that in her best interest? Or is it harmful to her at this point because of Donald’s transition? Does it make things more complicated for OUR family? Does that matter? I ask myself these questions all the time and I just don;t have an honest answer. Sometimes I wish deep down that there was no birth mom option so I wouldn’t have to deal with that alongside all the other issues….. but there is also a part of me that wants the connection to remain because I simply can’t believe that we will survive another 2400+ days until she turns 18. I can see her “running away” in her teens and at least with a birth mom connection, it would be somewhere relatively safe. Ahhhh, who I am kidding? Birth Mom’s home will NEVER be safe for Daffy with Donald living there. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

I’ve been typing for 2 hours now. Goofy and Pluto just came home from school and we were discussing the cancelled appointment and Goofy said, and I quote “We have two options here. Either everybody is going to kill themselves or one of us has to kill her.” Yep, you read that right. THIS IS MY LIFE! I live in fear of Daffy, but I also live in fear FOR Daffy as well.While I know Goofy is just saying this out of frustration, the fear is still very real. If Daffy hurts Andy or anyone else, her life is in jeopardy. We are a family in CRISIS.¬†How did it get this bad? Will it ever get better? WE STILL NEED HELP!

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Depression Sucks

Depression SucksI have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. My first diagnosis came during my teen years, but I had been in therapy long before that. My depression has been well managed for more than a decade with anti-depressant medications. Each year at my¬†physical, the doctor has suggested that maybe I come off them. I have tried. It doesn’t work. If my prescription runs out and I go a few days without them, I feel it… and so does my family.

I’m coming back from a bad place.¬†In the past month, I spiraled down as low as I have ever been. Like not-leaving-the-house-can’t-get-out-of-bed-cutting-myself-suicidal low. I couldn’t stand myself, let alone anyone around me. Especially Daffy. Once I realized that and started to accept it for what it was is the exact moment when I was able to start the long journey back from this dark place.

I’m no expert and I have not seen a doctor for this particular bout with depression, but my money is on Post Adoption Depression.

It makes me sick to even write those words. How could my depression be triggered by the very thing that brought me so much joy? I feel an incredible amount of guilt for even admitting that. Even more than that, I HATE sharing this in such a public way, but my goal of this blog is to be transparent about our adoption process. I would be doing myself and my readers a disservice to only post the rosy parts of adoption, keeping the dark parts a secret.

I have spent hours contemplating how I got to my lowest point. Sure, there were the stressors of this thing we call “open adoption“…. and it’s been very clear to me (and everyone else) that Donald’s case has caused an¬†exorbitant¬†amount of stress in my life over the past year. Is that it? Is that all? How could I jump from my anger toward’s Daffy’s birth family and the state to anger towards by beautiful daughter? My best guess is that I resent her denial of what they have done to her. I know, I know…. its her birth family. OF COURSE she loves them. I’m adopted myself. I get that. I really do. But somewhere deep inside myself, my rage boils for what happened to my sweet little girl. I have spent a year ignoring how I felt. I spent a year focusing on moving FORWARD for Daffy. I need to process my anger. I need to process the neglect, the abuse. And somehow, I need to accept it. For my sake. For Daffy’s sake.

My battle is not over. I still don’t feel entirely like myself, but I do see glimmers of the person I was. I am going to keep working hard, and being honest, to get through this. Depression will NOT rob me of my happily ever after.

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2013 Family Resolutions

family resolutionsAs I created my personal resolutions for 2013, I realized many were family related, so we sat down to come up with our first ever set of family resolutions! We decided that 3 resolutions would be a good starting point.

  • Family Game Night We have committed to participate monthly in a family game night. Weather permitting, some of our family game nights will include outdoor activities. We plan to purchase the board games Apples to Apples and HedBandz for sure. We also plan to get the Wii hooked up again and do at least one video game night this year!
  • Races We will be running our first race as a family on New Year’s Day. We have decided to set a goal of running 3 races as a family in 2013. We are really hoping to run The Color Run as one of our races, depending on the cost. (Anything times 5 is always a lot.)
  • Soup Kitchen Our goal is to volunteer at least once in 2013 at a local soup kitchen. Mickey is, by trade, a chef so this seems an appropriate way for us to volunteer our time and talent.

Daffy was quite worried that since we set only 3 resolutions that we would not be doing the “usual” things we do as a family. I reassured her that all traditions will¬†continue¬†and that these are NEW goals for our family to achieve. Honestly, I can’t wait to get started!

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Top 10 Posts of 2012

top 10The end of the year is not only a time to set goals and look forward to the future but also a time of reflection. It’s a time to look back on the many changes and events of the past year! Here are my top ten most viewed posts in 2012 (along with my thoughts now) which tell at least part of the story of our journey to adopt:

  1. 7 Practical Ways To Foster Attachment in Adopted Children
    The ideas I shared back in August are things I am still implementing more than 4 months later. Attachment isn’t one simple series of events but rather an ongoing process built over time. As I learned after Daisy and April were placed here in November, attachment with a foster or adopted child is fragile and there can be setbacks if their place is threatened. Our attachment journey with Daffy will be ongoing for years to come as she progresses through the different stages of her life and challenges, defines and finally accepts¬†her role within our family.
  2. Ideas Needed for Party & Gifts
    The numbers of views this post got shows me that I definitely was not the only one in need of party supplies/ideas for adoption themed parties (especially non-baby). Hopefully Hallmark  or American Greetings are reading this, LOL
  3. Respite. Will it be enough?
    This question answered itself. No, respite was not enough. I really believed that our time with him would be something like remembering labor. I believed that we would look back on that time and the anxiety and fear would be dulled. Not so. It’s been more than 11 months since he left and I still get the same sick feeling in my stomach when I think about it.
  4. Connecting Through Humor (Lunch Note Jokes)
    I still believe that laughter is the best medicine and do my best to laugh every day!
  5. My Adoption Story, Part I: My Adoption
    When I started this blog, my intention was only to document our journey with Donald and Daffy, but quickly I discovered that the past is just as much a part of our journey as the now. It’s been wonderful to connect not only with other foster and adoptive parents, but also with fellow adoptees.
  6. My Adoption Story, Part II: The Search
  7. Fulfilling My Childhood Dream
    I love looking back on this post as a reminder of how much I have achieved in my life. I may not be a rich executive with a beach house, but I have much more than I ever could have dreamed of!
  8. Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before We Started The Foster Adoption Process
    This is still solid advice. That said, I would remind you again that THIS IS WORTH IT. Go into it with your eyes open and prepared for challenges, but GO INTO IT. Do not let horror stories scare you away from your happily ever after. A child’s happiness depends on it!
  9. My Adoption Story, Part III: The Reunion
    *sigh* This was hard to write. And Part IV is turning out to be even harder. I know it’s worth it, though. Writing helps me process and sharing helps me know that I am not an island. Thank you to all the fellow adoptees who have offered support and uplifting messages on my blog and on Twitter as i have shared my story. I truly appreciate it.
  10. Where to begin?
    Ahhhhh, one of the most challenging times in our adoption journey. I remember those days like they were yesterday, laying in my bed for hours at a time unable to stop crying. I was SO fearful of the power of the state. I was helpless to do anything to protect Daffy… or my heart. I couldn’t be happier that just a little over 8 months after writing this post we adopted Daffy to forever be our daughter.

Wishing you all the best in 2013!

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Snowflakes for Sandy Hook

snowflakes for sandy hookThe tragedy in Sandy Hook has left us reeling here in the northeast. I have started several blog posts about the events of that day, but have been unable to finish them as the right words never seem to come to express my incredible sorrow for those affected in Newtown.

Last week, I stumbled on a call for Snowflakes from the Connecticut PTSA:

Please help the students of Sandy Hook have a winter wonderland at their new school! Get Creative!!  Make and send snowflakes to Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT  06514, by January 12, 2013.

This is a very tangible way for kids to be able to feel like they are helping their peers at Sandy Hook while taking some time to process the events of 12/14/12 and empathize with the children and families who lost so much. Our family decided to make 26 snowflakes, one for each victim at the school. Our family would like to challenge you to contribute Snowflakes for Sandy Hook as well!

I would also encourage you to talk to your children about the events of Sandy Hook. Sadly, the world we live in includes violence and evil. How we acknowledge that evil and what we do to make the world better is what will count in the end. Use this opportunity to have frank discussions with your children. I am certainly no expert on children dealing with grief, but as a parent, foster parent and adoptive parent, I have certainly had my share of dealing with grief with my children.  I would recommend reading any of these articles for more specific pointers:

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

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Its finally starting to feel like Christmas around here! My friend, Abuggleslife on Twitter, came over with Kibee and Lilbug yesterday and we spent the afternoon crafting and baking for the holidays! Today, Mickey and my in-laws are making homemade perogies for Christmas Eve!

The past several weeks have been one stressor after another. Between Daffy’s explosive behavior, April’s selective mutism and Daisy’s defiance, I was at my wit’s end on more than one¬†occasion. I have mixed feelings about Daisy and April having moved. There is a part of me that misses them, misses what could have been. On the other hand, though, I am very focused on Daffy’s well being and eager to see her get back to a place of confidence within our family. I’m sad that Daffy’s first adopted holiday turned out to be such a stressful time for her.

April’s last night here culminated with Daffy packing her bag and trying to run away. I chased her down the stairs and slammed the door shut just as she opened it (thank God her fingers weren’t in the door!) Definitely not a fun night. ūüė¶

Not only has Daffy had the stress of the 2 foster girls, but also 2 visits with her birth mom (one alone and one with Donald for his birthday last week). She is clearly trying to process the visits and what role her birth mom will play in her life. I can tell that she feels very conflicted and it’s something I plan to mention to her therapist in hopes that she can help Daffy work through the grief and guilt. It breaks my heart that adoption is the happiest yet saddest thing a person can experience.

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So, Is She Like Breaking Up With Our Family?

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that our family has faced some challenges in the past month. Towards the end of September I tweeted about a conflict that we were experiencing with Mickey’s oldest daughter, Belle. Before I get into the thick of it, though, let me back track a little.

Mickey and I met in August of 1993. His daughter, Belle, was not quite four years old at that time. Belle and I have had an interesting step-parent/step-child relationship over the years. Initially, we were very close. Mickey and I even considered fighting for custody at one point when Belle was about 6 years old… when we went to court, his ex-wife made up crazy allegations of abuse against me which spawned an¬†investigation¬†of appropriateness and safety. A GAL was assigned to our case and was supposed to complete this review within 6 months. Two years later, the GAL finally wrapped up her report with glowing statements about the model parent that I was and how I should absolutely be a part of Belle’s life. The damage was done, though. Being kept apart from Belle in such formative years put a huge strain on my relationship with her. Though I wanted to parent her equally with my biological children, I never did. I was afraid to upset her in any way for fear her mother would again make up lies preventing our relationship at all. We saw Belle weekly over the years and always included her in all aspects of our lives. In fact, there were many things we missed out on as a family because we wouldn’t do “family things” unless she was included. The teen years were fairly typical. Belle struggled with friendships and her mother was extremely over protective. Belle would often complain to me, more as if I were her friend than a parent figure, though. During her junior year, Belle invited me to see her off to a formal school dance. I was extremely apprehensive to attend as I hadn’t seen or spoken to her mother in YEARS. Despite my desire to ignore the whole thing, I decided to go in support of Belle.

Surprising, things went very well that night. Despite the fact that Belle’s mom was taking us to court just 2 days later (to increase child support), we got along very well. It was the beginning of a friendship that lasted nearly a half decade. As Belle prepared to go into the armed forces, her mom & I got closer and closer. While Belle was at boot camp, her Mom & I spoke every single day. It’s been four years since the summer Belle went away. I thought we had beat the odds… that we were the model for how ex wives and new wives should interact.

All of that ended last month. Mickey & I learned that Belle is not his biological daughter. Belle’s mom knew that from the time she conceived. She never gave Mickey’s medical history at the doctor’s when she took Belle because she knew it had no bearing. When Belle was 15, ¬†her mom tricked Mickey into giving a hair sample saying that it would help match Belle should something happen while in the military. In fact, she was using it to confirm (or rather, deny) paternity with a DNA test. She never said a word when she received the test results confirming that Mickey was not Belle’s biological father. In fact, she continued to accept child suport payments and even took us to court for an increase. She allowed me into her life and built a friendship with me, all based on lies.

As much as learning that biologically Mickey and Belle are not related was a punch in the gut, it really wouldn’t have changed anything for Mickey or I. Mickey has always considered Belle his daughter. I have considered her my family for 19 years. Biology could never change that….. but Belle could.

Belle called Mickey from oversees and confirmed the entire story. She then called me and left a nasty voicemail making threats and telling me that come January she will no longer share our last name. She had decided to end her relationship with our family.

There we were just a few weeks away from adopting Daffy, telling Daffy how we would be her FOREVER family, yet facing the very idea that families are NOT always forever. I met with our sw and discussed how I could share this with Daffy. I am a very honest person and knew that Daffy was feeling the stress in our family. I like to deal with things head on. Our sw suggested that we explain that OUR love for Belle will never change and that she will always be welcome in our family, but that Belle is old enough to make different choices. As I explained to Daffy about Belle’s choices she innocently asked “So, is she like breaking up with our family?” *sigh* I suppose she is, Daffy, I suppose she is.

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….