Posted in Adoption

A Year

A little over a year ago (October to be exact-ish) we inquired about the boys for the first time. What a year it’s been.

We inquired about them in October. Didn’t hear anything until November when we were told they were “taking us to the HART meeting in December”. But first they had to try to find a family in state. They did a Wednesday child on the kids.  The HART meeting was pushed back to January. We waited. And waited. And waited. FINALLY: WE WERE CHOSEN.  Happiness. Tears. Happiness.

We immediately flew out two weeks later to meet them for the first time. The moment I saw them, I cried. They were so small and cute. We had lunch the first day, then just hung out with them the next couple days (I’m not going to go into details but if you want to read about it, there’s a blog back in Jan or Feb. where I detailed our first trip). Our hotel room was robbed and we went home with no stuff but lots of memories.

We were told the paperwork wouldn’t take long. A couple weeks. But their caseworker put in a request to send them to visit us “just in case”. The paperwork took forever and they came out to visit in March for a week. It was a crazy, wonderful week. Then they went back.

“Paperwork shouldn’t take too much longer.” Yeah, right. 2 1/2 months AFTER they came to visit (so 5 MONTHS after we were chosen) the paperwork finally came through. After a lot of snags, thinking we were going to have to have our fingerprints and home study redone (yeah that really happened)! And what seemed like forever, they were finally coming home.

THEY WERE HERE! And we were over the moon happy. We were overjoyed, overwhelmed, crazy. Every second was new. We jumped in with both feet. We freaked out (mostly me). We cried. We celebrated. We laughed. We gave those kids every thing we could, everything we had. They meet the rest of our family (their new family). Q LOVED GRANDPA. Literally, I have never seen a child connect with someone that quickly. He followed him around everywhere. He listened to everything Grandpa said. He quoted Grandpa when Grandpa wasn’t around. He had just met him and he LOVED him. I literally cannot explain how much he loved him.

We put them in sports camp so they could be around other kids. We went to therapy every week. We taught them how to ride bikes. We played basketball. We played video games. We celebrated my birthday. My first birthday with kids.

It was right after my birthday that things started going downhill fast with D. We’d been struggling with his behavior but after that event it got way worse way fast. He’d already run away once but after my birthday he ran away twice more. He just looked at us and walked out the front door. He refused to go to the dentist and there was nothing we could do about it.

One day he came up to us and said, very calmly,  “Will you buy me a plane ticket? I want to go home.” We were stunned. Our caseworkers told us it was normal but I didn’t believe that. See, when I was ten my parents moved us to Idaho and I was miserable. Hated school, hated living there, begged everyday to go home to Colorado. I NEVER got used to it. I was miserable until we moved back. So, I saw the truth in his statement. I realized that some of his acting out was because he was miserable and he was NEVER going to get used to it out here. He was refusing to put down roots and if he wouldn’t put down roots then it would never work. He would never be happy out here. (This was only PART of our decision. There were behaviors that we couldn’t deal with and there was my mental health we had to consider as well).

Making that decision wasn’t easy but as soon as it was made, the relief washed over us. Relief that we were doing the right thing, relief that God was with us, and relief that we were all going to be all right.

What a year it’s been! You know how people will say “I can’t wait to see 2017 go, 2018’s going to be my year” or something like that? I’ve never been a person who says “Good Riddance” to a year. There’s always something I’ve learned or something that’s been good about that year.

This is the first year I can ever remember saying to myself “I’ll be glad to see this year go.” Mostly because it didn’t turn out how I wanted. This was SO NOT the way I saw this year going. This was supposed to be my first holidays with kids, FINALLY. And it’s not.

It has been a REALLY long year. I can’t really believe all that we’ve gone through in the last year. It seems like it should be longer than just one year. But nope, just in one short year we’ve been through all the above.

Well, I’ve rambled on long enough and don’t really have a good ending to this blog today.

xoxo

nikki

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Posted in Adoption

Snappy

Do you ever find yourself snapping at people you love for very minor reasons?

The last couple days I’ve found myself having a VERY short temper with my husband. Something as simple as him not taking out the trash has left me moody and upset.

I ALWAYS get like this when something is bothering me subconsciously. I’ve been trying to be better about catching my moods and meditating to figure out what is going on.

Today (of all days) I finally figured it out. Why I’ve been snappy all week. Today is Q’s birthday. Back in August, when he was still here, he and I were already planning his birthday. He was SO EXCITED. We would look at the calendar almost every day to see when his birthday was. He wanted a Spider-Man cake, and when I asked him what flavor, his answer was always Spider-Man! He also wanted web shooters and would come up to you at any random time and tell you about what he was going to do with the web shooters he was getting for his birthday!

I had a Pinterest board (deleted now) dedicated to his birthday. I was really, really excited (probably as much as him) to plan my first children’s birthday party!

It hurts. I know that time heals things and some things take A LOT of time. For the most part, I am doing well. But there are times like this where I feel the loss. Those boys were part of a future that I had planned out.

And I know, I know we did what was best for everyone. But, man, if things had been different. If attitudes and behaviors had been different. If we had been told about certain things. I can’t change the past. And yeah, there’s no use thinking or focusing on it. But there are just certain times when it hits me. And I can’t not think about it.

It’s only been two and a half months! It feels so much longer. They were here longer than they’ve been gone!

I hope. I hope that Q is having a wonderful birthday. I hope that he is being celebrated. I hope that D is not overshadowing him, as he always does. I hope that his foster family has done something for his birthday. I wish I could be there for him. I wish I could make sure he gets those web shooters he wants so badly.

If the state would have split them up, we would have kept Q. And honestly, he needs to be separated. D overshadows and bosses him around WAY TOO MUCH. Q would have done so much better on his own. But what the state says, goes and there’s no point to fighting.

All I can do is pray that Q is taken care of, happy, and standing up to D.

And I pray for strength for myself and my husband.

xoxo

nikki

Posted in Adoption

Not the Bad Guys

When you say “oh, we disrupted our adoption”, people of course automatically judge you. “You gave up on those kids.” “You should have held out.” “Don’t you know what those kids have gone through?” “How could you do that to them?” “Didn’t you know what you were getting yourself into?” “Parenting isn’t easy.” “Parenting biological children is just as difficult.” And so on and so on.

Call me the bad guy if it makes you feel better. We are 1000% positive that we did the right thing. It was a bad, negative situation for all involved. I could share our story over and over again but I’ve come to realize that unless you were living it with us, you’ll never 100% understand.

But, just because we disrupted DOES NOT MEAN that we don’t love those kids anymore. We do love them. We would love to know that they are okay. We would love to know what they are doing. We would have loved to keep in touch with them. See, here’s the thing that gets missed: THEY WERE HAPPY TO GO BACK TO THEIR HOME STATE. THEY WANTED TO GO BACK. You should have seen this kid do cartwheels when we told him.

But, alas, we are the bad guys. We are the ones who “gave up on them”. We are the ones who sent them back because “we couldn’t handle it” (not because it was WHAT THEY WANTED FOR CRYING OUT LOUD).

But, truly what makes me the most upset, or the reason why I’m writing this is because we sent an email to their caseworker just asking how they were doing and got NO response back. Why do they think we are the bad guys? Why will they not understand that this was what the kids wanted? Why are they so angry that they have to do their jobs?

If anything, they are the bad guys. They are robbing these kids of having any communication/relationship with us. We NEVER stopped loving them. It breaks my heart to think that these kids think we don’t want anything to do with them. Their caseworkers won’t let us have communication with them but yet I’m sure they are telling the kids that we didn’t want them and that we don’t want any communication with them. It hurts my heart and makes me angry. I want these kids to know that we gave them what they wanted, WE were the ones who listened to them when no one else would. WE LOVED THEM.  We want only good, wonderful things for them. I hate that their picture of us is tainted by caseworkers who won’t listen and only see the worst in people.

Why do caseworkers think we don’t deserve to, at least, know that these kids are doing alright? (Honestly, I don’t think they’re telling us because the kids are doing well and they refuse to admit that they were wrong.) We are NOT just a home, we are people with FEELINGS and we loved those kids. We lived with them for 3 months. We care about them. We just want to know how they are doing.

Am I angry-sounding? Because, honestly, I am really trying to let this anger go but it just makes me SO MAD when I think about the fact that they are telling the boys that we didn’t want them because IT’S NOT TRUE. We wanted them and we tried everything to make them happy here but they weren’t and I wasn’t going to be the one who kept them somewhere they were unhappy. I am not a caseworker. I actually listen to kids.

I don’t know how long it will take me to get past this anger at the caseworkers, system and adoption agencies. I don’t think about it a lot. I try to not let it affect my day. But I just don’t know how to let this anger go.

Any tips would be helpful.

xoxo

nikki

Posted in Adoption

Halloween 2017

I have never truly cared for Halloween. (And I own a party store, so I really shouldn’t be saying that!!).

But this year was different. It was the first BIG holiday since our adoption disruption. (It was the second holiday we would have spent together as a family, July 4th was the first). I remembered one kid’s LOVE for Spider-Man and how he would have loved to be Spider-Man for Halloween. I would have LOVED dressing him up. I would have loved to see his face as he went door to door. Then there’s the other one, who would have been complaining the whole night about dressing up, the cold, and how he didn’t want to be here.

For the first time EVER, I actually WANTED to hand out candy. Usually I let my husband do that part because I just don’t feel like going to the door over and over again. But not this year. This year, I just felt like handing out the candy. And there were some CUTE kiddos. I actually had a good time.

I think part of the reason I wanted to hand out the candy was so that I wouldn’t just sit on the couch and think about “what could have/should have been”. We own a party store so they really could have picked out any costume they wanted. I would have loved to flip through the catalog with him, picking out options. All I could do was hope that wherever they are, he was able to dress up as Spider-Man and go trick or treating.

All in all, it wasn’t an awful day. There was, of course, a little sadness and a small case of the “what could have been”. It was the first holiday that I thought (at the time) they would be here for. It was going to be our FIRST Halloween with kids. Luckily, it wasn’t as heart-breaking as I thought it might be. It was just like every other year.

At the end of the day, I’m just feeling really, really thankful that my family chose to not listen to me and they will all be out here to spend Christmas with us this year. (Right after the disruption, I had told them all they no longer needed to come out here for Christmas and they all ignored me, thankfully.)

xoxo

nikki

Posted in Adoption

Holding On

Going through an adoption disruption is like sailing the sea. You’re up, you’re down, sometimes you’re barely holding on. Your emotions are waves. You have good days, you have bad days. Sometimes you don’t know if you can hold on anymore. When that feeling hits you, there’s one person you need to lean on: God.

Maybe you’re not religious, you don’t go to church (I don’t), maybe you don’t even read the bible. It doesn’t matter to Him. He is always there, waiting for you to bring your troubles to Him.

Knowing God has a plan is one of the only things that has gotten me through this process. (The other is my amazing hubby). I have fallen to my knees A LOT. I know that one day all of this will be explained to me but right now I just have to TRUST & HAVE FAITH.

This adoption disruption was part of God’s plan. He has a bigger, better plan for the boys & for us. We weren’t meant to be a family. Yes, that hurts. Yes, I wish we could have been. The one thing I think people over look is that WE DID LOVE THOSE BOYS. But love does not make a family. We couldn’t love their bad behavior away. We couldn’t love their trauma & their loss away. It takes so much more than that. We tried our best and it wasn’t enough.

We are better for knowing the boys. They are better for knowing us. But God has a bigger plan for all of us. I believe it with all my heart.

If you’re going through the same thing, just know that God’s plan is bigger and better than you can ever dream. He is there, He will always be there. He never leaves us.

xoxo

nikki

Posted in Adoption

Don’t

The other day I saw a tweet from someone I follow (who is a foster care worker, & was on married at first sight) that said something about how she can’t believe that foster parents would just “return” children and they need to stick it out for the children. I immediately unfollowed her.  Could I have tweeted back at her? Sure. But what’s the point? People like that don’t understand.

Here’s the bottom line:

IF YOU HAVEN’T SPENT 2+ MONTHS WITH THE BOYS WE DID, THEN DON’T JUDGE/TALK TO ME ABOUT HOW DISRUPTING WAS WRONG.

I don’t post a lot on social media. That’s more because I just don’t feel like getting into it with a lot of people. But this space, this blog WILL ALWAYS be a safe place to talk about Adoption Disruption.

I know that I can’t change anyone’s mind. ESPECIALLY not caseworkers. They only see you as a home to place children. They do not care about you. (I was on the verge of checking into a mental hospital before the boys left, told my caseworker this and after the boys left she NEVER called to check on me. I could be in a hospital for all she knows.)

Everyone is entitled to their opinions. But don’t try to tell me my decision was wrong when you weren’t in my shoes. EVERY adoption is different. Just because you stuck it out through the running away, doesn’t mean I should have. I know my limitations. There was more than just the running away, so, so much more but that was one of the major things.

I remember when our caseworker told us “it will get better, it just might take years”. I was stunned. She expected me to live like this for YEARS? She expected us to be on a first name basis with the police. She expected us to “just deal with it”.

I realized that these boys had suffered loss & trauma. I know that they needed a lot more help than we could give them. We absolutely tried everything we could, everything we were told to do.

And here’s the kicker, while our caseworker was telling us to stick it out, our THERAPIST told us that the best thing we could do was disrupt. SHE told us it wasn’t working and we had tried everything we could. SHE spent more time with us & the boys than our caseworker had & she was telling us disrupting was OK!

So if you are thinking about disrupting, if that thought makes you happy, then do it. Life is short. And while the boys deserve happiness, my husband & I also deserve happiness. And none of us were happy together. We wanted to be. But we just weren’t.

Do not stay in a hard situation just because your caseworker is pressuring you. Do not let them guilt you. If you are not happy, then just know that those kids WILL BE happy somewhere else.

Adoption Disruption is OKAY. There’s a reason why they make you foster for 6 months before adopting, it’s so you can make sure these kids are a good fit. If they aren’t, THAT’S OKAY. Fostering is HARD. Not every kid/kids will be a fit for your family. You may even realize, like we did, that you are not made to parent someone else’s child. AND THAT IS OKAY.

Live your life and be happy. That’s all that matters.

xoxo

nikki

Posted in Adoption

Life After Disruption

People are still asking me “How Are You Doing?”

It’s SUCH a loaded question. I LOVE the support that we have. I LOVE that people care about ME so much.

But it’s tough to answer. On one hand, I am doing fine. I have slid right back into our old routine. I feel sometimes like people don’t want to hear that answer. They want me to be sad, be miserable, be in mourning. And some days I am. There are days where I miss them so much it hurts. I miss how life was when they were here. But there are more days where I am fine. I am happy. I am going on with life how it is. Because there is no use to wondering. Wondering what life would be like if they were here. Wondering where they are, what they are doing, are they happy, are they okay. I will never know. So I can’t sit here and pause my life. I have to keep going.

I am happy. I am healthy. I am keeping busy. My depression levels are wayyyy down. My stress levels are wayyy down. It is hard to believe it has already been a month. It feels like so much longer.

I’ve been asked if we are going to adopt again. The answer right now is no. I don’t know if that answer will ever change. We went through a really really hard case. These boys need more help and therapy than their caseworkers are willing to admit. Their caseworkers are not willing to listen to us in order to help the boys. They have changed nothing in their profile. They have not addressed the running away. I don’t believe they ever will, which sucks. If they are not willing to address the problems that the boys have, they will only get worse.

Honestly, seeing how caseworkers and agencies treat you as a home and not as people has really turned me off of the whole adoption thing. Neither our caseworker nor our agency has checked in with us to make sure we are doing okay after this ordeal. It has been both disappointing and eye opening.

I can’t see ever going through this process again. I loved the boys, absolutely, with my whole heart. I didn’t go into this half-heartedly. I went into this with my whole heart. And my whole heart was hurt when it didn’t work. I honestly couldn’t go through that again. I have to protect my heart and my husband’s heart.

And I’m okay with that. If we never have children, I know that we will be fine. If you made me choose between being with my husband and having no kids or being with someone else and having kids, I’d choose my husband EVERY TIME. I can’t go through life without him. But we have built a life without children and if we don’t have any, I know we’ll be fine.

xoxo

nikki