Friday, July 2, 2010

Waiting and Wishing

It has taken a few days since meeting with K's caseworker to absorb and process the info we received. Plus, my boys, who live with their dad full time, have been up visiting this week and I've been trying to spend quality time with them in the evenings after work. So posting the update was put on hold for a bit.

It turns out it was a good thing my boys were up when the caseworker showed up because she got an opportunity to talk to them a bit about K, her needs, and their feelings about it. Dweezil, at this point in time, seems to be indifferent. I guess it's hard to know how to feel about it when you don't know the person who is going to move into your parents' home, co-op their time, and become your adopted sibling. Adopted step-sibling? Is there such a thing? I guess so and I guess it would be weird. Moon Unit and Frank seem to be a bit more enthusiastic. Moon Unit has wanted a younger sister and I think she likes the idea of K because I think she hopes to be able to make a good connection with her. Moon Unit doesn't really have any friends, offline, anyway, which is understandable since she's a recluse. And K is going to need a lot of attention. I just hope that Moon Unit is able to maintain enthusiasm over time because we expect there to be some hard times with K to start with.

Frank is a really active little guy (okay, so he's not so little, he is almost 11) and he likes to be busy, going outside to play, swim, etc. Unfortunately for him, he can't get Dweezil or Moon Unit outside with him very often, and they haven't made any effort to make friends in our neighborhood so he gets really bored. I shouldn't complain too much about them not making friends. It can't be easy when they don't go to school or church in our neighborhood. I guess it's the sort of thing that's easier for very young children than older children. Anyway, I think he likes the possibility of having a playmate in K, particularly since they are close in age. She also is pretty active and likes to be outside. We are really hoping that K and Frank get along well. There is great potential for them to have a good relationship.

So, I'm a bit unclear still on the next steps for us. Seems we have to go to another committee to get our petition approved. Then I think there must be some sort of legal thing that takes place. I'm not sure what that would be, maybe transfer of guardianship? I don't know, they said they would contact a lawyer, but we are a few months out still from bringing K home so I'm not sure about that. I asked the caseworker if there was anything that would cause us to not be approved and all she said was that we would have to meet again to go over safety plans.

The biggest concern is that her bio family lives in the same general area we live in. Although they are in a neighboring town, there is still the possibility of running into them at the store or movies, etc, because it's a rather small county we live in and there are not a lot of shopping choices. K is particularly afraid of her uncle. She had lived with him for a little while and he severely abused her, the bastard! So our biggest task is going to be to provide K with a strong sense of safety. Which means that for any activites that we want to indulge in outside of our neighborhood, we'll have to take her to another town, which will be farther away. But she needs to know that we'll take care of her, that we do care about her and her fears, and that we won't let anything bad happen to her. She also needs to know that no matter what, we'll always be there for her.

To me, that's the biggest factor in helping her feel feel good about us. We have to make the decision, not just in our heads but in our hearts, that we are her permanent family, no matter what comes. Because if we have made that decision deep in our hearts, we can convince her that we will always be there for her. She's had no stability in her life, she's bounced around between relatives, between foster homes, all her attachments have been broken. She was neglected and abused and no one seemed to be able to handle her for long until she moved into foster care. Even then, she bounced around between group homes and the hospital. She just needs to know that someone out there cares about her, wants her to be a part of their lives. She needs a real family. That's what we need to provide for her.

Anyway, we need to get licensed as foster care providers to have her placed in our home until the adoption becomes finalized. This surprised us. We had checked around and had been operating under the belief that we did not need to be licensed. But it seems that because of K's specific needs, we need to be. Kinda wish I'd known that a while ago, we could have been licensed by now. We've had the last 6 months we've been waiting to be chosen for a child that we could have taken care of that already. But apparently not all children being adopted need to be placed in licensed foster care. After that, we will get training specific to K's needs. Then after the licensing and other training is done, we'll finally get to meet K. When I asked about the timeline, we were told maybe by Christmas. Christmas??? Seriously?!? Ugh! That's so far away! Here we are, all enthusiastic to bring K home and now it might take us another 5 months til we can bring her home. I totally understand the need to make sure we are as prepared as possible for her but that is so long.

Brad wants to try to see if we can expedite this process in some way. He says that since we are her chosen family at this point that we should be busting our butts trying to bring her home. I agree with that but also realize that our training is going to have to take place on others' schedules. We might be ready to do 8 hours of training a week but that doesn't mean we're going to be able to do that. We might not be able to do more than 1 class a month. That's my impression at this point, anyway. We won't know until we meet with the caseworker again.

In the meantime, I have put the only picture I have of K as the background on my cell phone. I need to have a daily reminder of what we're going to be working so hard for over the coming months. It's going to be a long wait. Wish it wasn't.


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