Monday, August 26, 2013

Chapter Sixteen

Time marched on...we did have a few short term foster placements but for a number of years we just kept working on, trying to get somewhere with Paul and Ben's cases. Unfortunately, it was not going very well and foster parents have absolutely no say in the matter. Ben had weekly visits with his birth father...who was also developmentally delayed.....after Ben came to live with us full time , his birth father set up housekeeping in a of those kind where people live there by the month....or the hour. His father really didn't know what he was doing and poor little Ben suffered. When he would come back from weekend visits he would just sit at the dinner table and cry...he was so hungry but also so very tired that he didn't know what he wanted to do or sleep. I complained to the worker but there was little they could do. It really started to bother me to have to drive him to this motel and leave him there. I finally said the worker that I could no longer do it. When she asked why, ....I told her. At this time I knew that this worker had three kids of her own and her youngest named Judith was about the same age as Ben. I told her about the conditions of the hotel room, the condition that Ben was in when he came home, how sometimes the father would give him bad food and Ben's digestive system would suffer for days afterwards. I just said to her...'Bonita, you couldn't take Judith there and leave her, and I can no longer do this.'

So, a volunteer driver started taking him and picking him up. Then Ben started coming home with an unusual rash in his genital area. It only happened at a visit and after he was home a couple of days it would go away. He also started showing sexually suggestive behaviour towards Maya....obviously mimicking behaviour he had either observed or watched on television while with the father. When it started to escalate and even though I had reported it to the worker each time , they did nothing. Don and I finally set up a meeting with all workers involved....there's always a lot of workers for every case. We told them that this had to stop or they'd have to find a new home for Ben....we really didn't want this to happen. We loved Ben and didn't want him to go but we had to think of Maya too. What we were trying to do was force them to do something about this deplorable situation. It was taken to the courts and it was decided that Ben could only be involved in supervised visits with the birth father. That meant that Ben wouldn't have to go to the hotel room and the visits would have to take place at the agency under the watchful eye if a worker.

The father was furious......he did attend visits for about a year but then the visits started to decline....more and more , the father just didn't show up......

We didn't hear anything more from the birth father until Ben was a teenager and at that time the birth father said he was going to get Ben back. Everyone was put on high alert and the school was notified not to give out any information on Ben or allow him to leave the school with anybody except Don and I. The birth father went to court but it was quickly thrown out.....he had pulled himself out of Ben's life years previously and they were not going to hand him over now.

The birth mother didn't see the boys very often either, before she moved from the area , she had become pregnant again and while living in a city a few hours away, gave birth to another little boy. She also went on to have two more girls in the following years. The boy she called Daniel and after a year of visits she did the same that she did with Maya.....announced after the visit one day that they were done. She didn't want to be part of his life anymore. He was given up for adoption and to this day we really don't where he is. Then she gave birth to two girls a couple of years apart. Unfortunately, the first girl , whom she named Tamara, was born with a very serious heart condition.....Transposition of the Great Arteries. Since this little babe required three surgeries in her first year, the first being when she was was a couple of days old, the CAS in that city apprehended her and she was in care for her first year. It was when that year was nearly up that the birth father, of this girl, petitioned the court, and even though he himself had some delays....the court decided that he should have the opportunity to parent. So she was placed back in their care. Less than a year later, the birth mom had the other girl, whom she called Kaitlyn.

After that, after having six children the birth mother did not have any more.

The girls were apprehended by the agency when Tamara was six and Kaitlyn was four. The agency was called because authorities had found the younger child crossing a busy highway, on her own while leading her older sister. An investigation was made and the girls came into care.

It was too late though, and much damage had been done.

Back at our house, we started having thoughts of adopting again....oh no ...really? Yes..but this time was different, this time we actually went looking, instead of the agency bringing the child to us first!

I told you we were crazy!

~ Marie

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chapter Fifteen

Goodness! When I started this I never dreamt that it would take me so many chapters to get through everyone!

When Kyle first started coming around our house, he was a cute little guy who couldn't talk. Everything he wanted, he just pointed to and made a sound. He was about two at this time so I knew he should be making some sounds......there was also no extra weight on this little guy....I used to call his legs his Kermit the Frog legs because they were so skinny, and had such poor muscle tone, they kind of just flopped everywhere! Most two year olds try to undress themselves or even try to put their shoes or maybe their jacket on,....not Kyle! He would just sit there and wait for you to do it for him. At first, when he started regularly coming to our house, I noticed he showed signs of being delayed, but I had hoped that he was just like Justin, just needed some positive stimulation in his life.....but after a number of weeks without any change, I realized that that wasn't how it was. Kyle definitely had some major delays as well as not saying any words . The one thing about Kyle though, and still to this day, he still has this problem....he 'looks' normal. Now, you might be saying...'what? What do you mean? That's great if he looks normal....well, one way, the obvious way, yes....but, when people expect him to act and do things at the age he is now, which is 22,then he runs into a problem. His comprehension is that of a nine year old. It reminds me of the time that I was in a waiting room , at the hospital and I observed this very big kid, acting very immaturely for what I thought was his age. In conversation with his mom, I didn't comment my observations but she spoke of why they were there. Apparently, he was very large, ...for his age...she explained how often people would become annoyed with her because they thought he should be acting like an eight year old when he was in actuality half that age! I understood what she was saying because we ran into that very thing with people trying to interact with Kyle, all the time.

I will say this about him though...unless you really know him he can act like he understands you quite well....but he isn't....many a time after he has been chatting with another person and he comes to me,...I'll say...'what did they want?' And with a little grin on his face he usually says , 'I have no idea mom!'

By the time Kyle was officially taken into care, we had been working on a few things to try and help him. One was speech therapy ....and the other was his teeth.

With the speech therapy he started a program at the hospital in the city...him and I would have to go several times a week for a number of weeks, then you would go. 'Off block' for a few weeks. Then the cycle would start over....this went on for almost two years until he turned five. Then we were informed that to continue any kind of speech therapy, he would have to go to school. Their program didn't go past age five. I had decide that Kyle was too immature to start school but when I was informed that this was the only way to get speech therapy....well, I had to enroll him.

As for his teeth, ...not long after he came to live with us, and I was brushing his teeth, I noticed that his teeth, especially the molars were in deplorable condition...they were actually rotting. The agency advised us to take him to a pediadontist . When he saw Kyle's mouth and teeth he recommended surgery! The dentist said his rotting teeth was due to the birth mothers poor prenatal nutrition that caused him to be born without enamel on his teeth! Kyle had many molars covered with silver caps and two root canals done.....and he was three! Thankfully, he was put under general surgery but he wasn't a happy camper on the drive home with a little bucket on his lap! Fortunately , his dentist, Dr McIsaac, was wonderful. Over the years he did an amazing job on Kyle's tiny little mouth, strategically, moving the right amount of teeth at the right time, so that he would never have to wear braces. Now, his teeth are beautiful.

At the same time that all this was going on, Lauren seemed to be having some difficulty ....she was just finishing up grade one and there wasn't a night go by, as I was tucking her in that she didn't complain about her head or stomach hurting and it was determined that it all had to do with school! It was causing her a lot of anxiety. It really upset me to see her so upset....she was already dreading grade two and she wasn't even finished grade one! I knew some friends who homeschooled and after talking with them , Don and I decided that this might be the ticket for Lauren!

Corey was also having some problems to the point that they put him in a special learning class, in another school for a year! I didn't agree with a lot of the things the Special Ed teacher did with Corey, and after a year, our school said that he had brought his grades up enough to come back. He wasn't keen on going back to his friends to be made fun of, so we decided that we'd homeschool him also.

We didn't go into this with any idea of how long we'd do it for but we thought we needed to try. It was very difficult, kids that have experienced regular school have a harder time adjusting to being at home....they think they're missing out on stuff like parties and recess....they did enjoy the more relaxed timetable and we did have them involved with a homeschooling group that met regularly for gym time and music. We even hired an off duty fireman to tutor Corey in his French !

We did this for two years. Unfortunately, we were not able to continue....for a few reasons....
One was the have to purchase all the curriculum and some subjects that were distinctly Canadian, like our math, and history.....I had to find out what text book they were using at school and purchase our own copy.

Two....Justin still had to continue going to the local school...since he wasn't adopted and still a foster child, we were not allowed to homeschool him.....sometimes that caused a problem between him and the other two.

Three.....since Kyle needed so much help with general learning skills and speech therapy, I had to juggle that, plus homeschooling, plus working with Maya and keeping a household for seven kids!

We made the decision that because Corey was going into grade seven and needed to be prepared for highschool that this was the time to put them back into the school system. Lauren seemed to be handling it better, but she did have difficulty upon re-entering. Her teacher wasn't in favour of homeschooling and felt that we had done something of a terrible disservice to her. She made her feelings and attitude known to Lauren and to this day Lauren still speaks derogatorily about her homeschool years. I still feel that it was the right thing to do for Lauren at the time though, I still feel it helped her with her self confidence and stress level. There wasn't any more talk of stomach and head aches.

For years after that , Kyle got some speech therapy at school and every summer went to a speech camp...which I had to call school so the other kids didn't become jealous over Kyle going to camp and they couldn't!

I should also mention here about an amazing educational assistant that Kyle had from kindergarten through to grade eight ( except for one year when the education board insisted that Kyle had to attend a special class in another school....that wasn't a good year, and when they said he'd be moving to a school in the city that would involve being on the bus four hours a day....well, I refused and insisted that he come back to the local school and he was thrilled to be with Mrs Rae and his best friend Nicholas again.)

Marlene Rae was his E.A. and I've never met a person in the school system that went the extra mile and more for a student. She devised her own curriculum for Ben and Nicholas that ran parallel with the curriculum the rest of the class was using. Every summer Mr and Mrs Rae took Kyle and Nicholas on a day outing, the boys were treated like royalty! They and we loved Mrs Rae......she was definitely someone that made an amazing positive difference in a child's life!

A long about the time that Justin was 8 years old, I remember it was summertime. He and I were sitting at the kitchen table and the subject turned to adoption....we were all very frustrated over how long it was taking for the agency to get the boys cleared for adoption , including Justin. He was aware that Corey, Lauren and Maya's names had been changed when they were adopted but Justin wasn't a toddler....I really didn't think he'd want his name changed, so I was very surprised when he brought the subject up.

'Mom', he said.....'yes',.....'if you guys adopted me would you change my name?'....I replied,...'well, you're kind of older, we really didn't think you'd want your name to be changed.' ' Well,' says he....' If you did, what would you change it to?' 'Well,' I quickly thought, ' you have three names right now....Justin Paul William.....we thought we could just change them around.....change them to Paul William Justin' just hung there a moment as he thought. 'Okay,' says he...'I'd like that'. ' Okay,' says I,....'we'll keep that in mind'.

A few days later, we were driving in the van, and Justin pipes up....'mom......when are you and dad going to start calling me Paul?'......obviously he had been thinking this over for sometime...I looked in my rear view mirror at him and said....'well, when would you like us to?' 'Now', said he....'okay, but you'll have to be patient with us because it might take awhile for us to get it straight'.......'okay', said he.....and he looked quite satisfied with himself.

I wasn't sure if he'd stick to it but he did....a week or so later I signed them up for a local Vacation Bible school and I carefully watched as he signed Paul as his name....I guess he was serious. When he started school in September, I went into the school and told them that he wanted to change his legal names around....since they were his legal names they didn't have a problem with him going with Paul instead of Justin.

As for Kyle, even though he had speech therapy constantly, he still spoke with a significant stutter and mispronunciation of beginning sounds. One sound he had difficulty with was the hard 'K' sound...which of course his first name began with....I searched through names , looking for a short name, that he could came down to Jack or Ben....we chose Ben....

So, long before we were able to officially adopt the boys , their names were already changed in our family.....
Justin became Paul William Justin
Kyle became Benjamin Spencer Kyle...( but he prefers Ben!)

As I have been writing this it has indeed been strange to call them Justin and us it always seems like they've been Paul and Ben , right from the beginning!

~ Marie

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chapter Fourteen

The day I met Natasha was a very stressful and embarrassing day! Let me remind you that she is the half sister of Justin and Kyle, and so her mother was the developmentally delayed mom that I spoke of in the last chapter.

First thing on the Monday morning after Palm Sunday, the baby worker called. The babe had been born and the plan of action was to apprehend her on Wednesday. They required an apprehension because the mother wasn't willingly going to place her into care. It would be all very cloak and daggerish, the police would be there, I was instructed to wait out in the stairwell of the ward, at the hospital and the two workers would bring her to me.

I arrived at the hospital and was able to get a parking spot right beside the exit door from the floor that she was on. Bonus, I thought ....this should make things easier !


As per planned, they brought the baby out and we took her to the van. This was before air bags so the seat was placed in the front passenger seat and buckled in.....I then tossed my keys onto the drivers seat and locked and closed the passenger door....the only problem was......I HADN'T UNLOCKED THE DRIVERS DOOR BEFORE I DID THIS!!!!!!

As soon as I closed the passenger door , I realized what I had done......fortunately the baby was sleeping and the only witnesses to my terror and shear panic were the two, who was the primary worker, I had never met before! Great, just great I thought...they're going to think that I'm an idiot that can't take care of this child! ........the only other person with a key was my husband who worked about forty minutes away!!! Since this was also before cell phones, ( I know , can you believe cell phones!) I had to race back into the hospital to use a pay phone to call him....frantically telling him what happened and conveying that I needed him there as quickly as now! All the while, the two workers stood by the van, looking disapprovingly ..

I ran back and was relieved to see that the baby was still sleeping...I paced and prayed, praying that she'd stay asleep because I had no idea what I'd do or how I'd handle it if she woke and started crying...I watched and watched the road leading up to the parking garage and THIRTY minutes later, my husbands little car came racing up....he had made a forty minute trip in hero! 😊

After he unlocked the door, looked at the baby and grinned ( he loves the babies) gave me a quick hug ( which I desperately needed at this point) , he was off, back to work. I assured the workers that after such a rocky start that I would take good care of the baby, and we all left the parking garage and the intense drama behind!

When we arrived home, the other kids were excited to see her.....since Leslie was older , about 17 years old, she became quite attached to Maya....many people even thought that Leslie was the mother and I was the, I didn't look that old, but Leslie was always carrying her and looking out for her. The other kids were also quite taken with their little sister ...I believe Lauren and her shared a bedroom.....somebody was always sharing in our little house!

It was almost immediately, that we started having feeding difficulties with Natasha...who we started to just call Tasha....the first six weeks were a nightmare....very little sleep...the baby worker kept suggesting different formulas....none of them seemed to seemed like five minutes into the feed , she'd stop drinking and started screaming, in pain. One morning, very early, just after six, I met our doctor at the emergency of our local hospital....after examining her, he decided that she needed a soy formula,....just liked Lauren needed.....we put her on that and she thrived.....the only other problem that we had, in regards to feeding , were after visits with the birth mother.....she insisted on nursing the baby, when the babe would come back , she had difficulties with her feeds and would become very agitated.....once again, a trip to the doctor...he concluded that she was suffering from something called nipple confusion and sent a letter to the agency to insist that the nursing be stopped! The mom was very angry but they made sure that she complied.

Tasha exhibited a lot of unusual behaviour in her first year. She startled very easily and at the oddest times..her body was quite often very rigid, when you tried to sit her up to burp her, she'd end up standing!.....she would go from a laughing, happy baby to an angry, screaming baby with a snap of the fingers. From the time of being just a few days old she could lift her head and upper chest off the mattress....she was amazingly strong! I had never had a baby like this before and started to do some investigating. When I questioned the baby worker she gave me the name of another foster parent that had a babe with similar tendencies......unfortunately, this foster mom had specialty care...she looked after 'crack' babies.

After lengthy conversations with her and my doctor, it was concluded that Tasha had been exposed to cocaine while in utero, and probably alcohol. There wasn't very much known about Fetal Alcohol syndrome at this point.....nobody really knew it existed or the detrimental affects of pregnant women drinking alcohol during her pregnancy.....oh, if we only knew,,,,,, For the first year, Tasha showed signs of 'flash backs'. It was a difficult year but she was a beautiful little girl and we all fell in love with her. When she got the normal ear infections that a lot of kids get when teething, we found out that not only was she allergic to penicillin, but also sulpha drugs. When she became a teen ager and had a wisdom tooth removed , we found out she was allergic to another antibiotic! Fortunately, physically she's remained fairly healthy and hasn't required many antibiotics!

During the first year she also developed eczema, which would come out after visits with the birth mom. The doctors determined that it was stress related.

When Tasha was a year old, I took her for her usual visit with the birth mom and , when the visit was done, the mom said that there wouldn't be any more visits...I was confused...I said, oh, there was one set for two days from now...she said no, that was it. Then she gave me a small lap afghan, about 24" square and said to give it to her when she was older....'something to remember her by' she said.

I was in shock as I drove away, but very happy....Don and I had already decided that we wanted to try and adopt Tasha, if she became available,......we had been her mommy and daddy since she was three days old and we couldn't imagine her going to another family.

This is where Corey being 'non Caucasian ' comes into the story.....because of that we were already tagged a multi racial family and because we had Tasha's older brother living with us, probably long term, at this point.....we did receive permission to adopt her.....we all, as a family were excited....although Justin was somewhat upset because he too expressed the desire to be adopted. There wasn't anything we could do at this point about his request.....he was the birth mom's first born and she did have an attachment to him and refused to give him up. It would be many years before that changed.....and even then she didn't do it willingly.

We did adopt Tasha and legally changed her name to Maya Nicole Tasha. I chose Maya because I was a great admirer of an author named Maya Angelo....a strong, but gentle black woman. I wanted this association for Maya and I thought the name was perfect for her!

Since Maya was now legally our child, that meant there was 'room' for another foster child! That was a good thing because another child needed to come and live with us!

Kyle had regularly been coming for visits every month.....the agency had some concerns about his birth fathers' parenting capabilities. Kyle wasn't growing very well and showed signs of being developmentally delayed.

Kyle was thirteen months older than Maya but acted the same as her, it was like having twins!

The March that Kyle turned three, he came for a few days during March break....and he stayed...and stayed....and the August the agency did an official apprehension and he came into care.......although he'd been living with us since March!

Kyle is the next chapter.....he was the cutest little guy.....we also started something else we'll talk about.....homeschooling!

~ Marie

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chapter Thirteen

It was a sunny day the day that Justin arrived. As I stood at the open front door , I observed him walking up to the steps, holding the workers' hand....he was very unsure of what was going on. He had been taken out of his mothers home about a month previously and put into foster care. The foster home that he was in had to be closed because the foster father was a semi invalid and his health declined.

Justin's home life had been quite difficult. He and his younger brother Kyle, lived with their birth mom. Unfortunately, their mom was developmentally delayed....physically nothing hindered her from procreating but cognitively she was unable to parent. CAS worked with her for a number of years but the woman was unable to retain the instruction.

Just a side note at this point......we have had to make the very uncomfortable decision to have preventative means implemented with two of our adult delayed children just for this very reason. The end result....what happened with Justin and his younger siblings, wasn't fair to them or to their birth mom. We didn't want this to happen to our children and possible grandchildren too.

At this time , Justin's younger brother Kyle was living with his biological father, who no longer lived with their mother. Kylie's father also had some delays but not as severe as his mother. This is mentioned only to clarify why Justin was in care and Kyle was not.

Back to Justin......after the worker left, he started to cry....poor little guy didn't know what was going on, who he was being left with....he was quite upset and I didn't blame him. When you're a foster mom, you learn how to cope with these situations, but it doesn't make them easier. As I cuddled him and dried his tears, he was introduced to the rest of the kids...Leslie, Ryan, Corey and Lauren....Lauren and Justin were very close in age, with Lauren just being eight months older. Corey tried to reassure him that he'd like it here.....'mom is a good cook, you'll like the food'......with Corey it was all about the food!

Before the worker left, she told me some observations that the previous foster parents had seen about being that they thought he was delayed. This was my first experience with a delayed older child.....of course our very first child Joey and then Adam were delayed but that was more from neglect. The worker inferred that this was genetically from the birth mom.

I decided from the outset just to treat Justin as I would the a normal child with normal functions and abilities....all the things that I knew interested the others were offered to Justin. The others treated him just like he was their little wasn't long before we saw some positive changes in was like watching a flower unfurling....(forgive me my son for the feminine type comparison but I couldn't think of another example) ...Justin loved doing puzzles, Lego (especially Lego) , colouring, playing outside.....we still had a few cold days and Justin loved being outdoors.

Within six weeks, he was a different child. Who knew, that with normal stimulation and proper food , rest and security ( security is huge with any child) , that there was absolutely nothing wrong with this child! The workers didn't, and they were quite amazed when they did their follow up visits.

Two other significant happenings occurred in the following weeks.....the first were visits at the agency with the birth mom.....when I took Justin in, I also saw Kyle...he was a tiny little guy, small for his age as he had just turned one years old.

The second one was a visit from the baby worker....apparently Justin's birth mother was pregnant, due in the next few weeks with number three.....would we be interested in taking this babe.....sure we would, I said.....the worker said, the baby might be bi racial, ...we won't know til it's born......I said...So, ...that's not a problem.

We waited.

Less than a month after Justin came, the birth mom delivered a good size, over eight pounds, little girl .....and she was bi racial.....and she was beautiful.

So, in less than four years we had gone from parenting two kids to six!

Unfortunately , that was to change.....again....and not for the better.

Justin's birthday was in May (still is).... We had just celebrated this when the agency dropped one of their famous bombshells.....Kyle's birth father had made his intentions known that he wanted Justin to come and live with them....he claimed that he had established a relationship with Justin and that he considered him his son, and he his father. Since, he did have Justin's half brother (Kyle), and the agency is all about keeping families together ( well, most times) they decided that Justin would leave our home and go and live with the Kyle's father and Kyle.

We were very sad to see him go...he liked living with all of us....Corey and him got along, at this point.....Lauren and him played well, he was just happy with us. I remember going out and buying a knapsack and then I went and bought another set of all the things he enjoyed doing at our house to send with him. I wanted him to have his favourite things. It was difficult to say good bye, but unfortunately , when you're a foster family, you have to say good don't have a choice.

That was not the end of Justin and our family though.

During the summer, we had a couple of short term was a little guy, also named Justin! The agency found this little guy, he was about three years old, in a motel room...neglected. He wasn't fed fact, when he sat at our dinner table, we had to stop him because he not only ate his food but would reach for the food on other people's plates.....this Justin only stayed for a week, until the agency found grand parents living nearby who were willing to have their grandson come and stay with them. As per usual, I never did hear anything more about Justin King....I'm hoping that he stayed with his grandparents though.

We also did some respite cases throughout the summer...other foster families going on vacation and not able to take foster kids....not that they didn't want to but because of visits with their birth families they must stay close by.

September came....the kids were all back in school. I received another phone call......

Justin was in care and he was asking to come back to our home...would we take him?......of course!

We were all excited that Justin came back....I remember saying to him, on the first day back, that we should go and meet Corey and Lauren coming home from school...they had no idea he was coming back, I thought it would be a nice surprise. We started walking up the road when Lauren turned the corner and started walking towards soon as she saw Justin, she let out a holler and started running.....Justin started running towards her and when they met, gave each other big hugs! It brought tears to your eyes. Justin was home.

Things had not gone well with Kyle's father....Justin was neglected and became Kyle's parent....there was one night, apparently, when the father went out to the bar and left Justin and Kyle locked in a bedroom....that night there was a terrible thunderstorm....Kyle was very scared( and was, for years after that) .....Justin tried to get out of the room, to get the father to come and help but the door was locked....when Justin was telling me this, I what did you do.....'I climbed up into his crib and I held him til the storm went away' I tell this to you I can still feel the impact I felt inside me when I heard those words. Such a brave boy, so much responsibility for such a little guy but he rose to the occasion....I was saddened but very proud of him.

There was one thing that always bothered Justin. Since his birth mom and Kyle's birth father really didn't know how to parent, Justin became the parent when he lived with them. At the young age of four, this little guy felt this responsibility keenly. Many time , after a visit with birth mom and Kyle, Justin would be depressed and often cried......repeating Kyle's name, over and over.

Don and I talked it over and approached the agency with a plan, we had our quota of foster kids that we were approved for but maybe the agency would allow visits....a plan where the boys could be together more often....we asked if Kyle could come and stay here one weekend a spend time with his brother and sister.....the agency agreed, the birth father agreed. Justin was happy, his little brother was here, in his little world......little did we realize but in hindsight we should have known.....this was only the beginning.

So, at this point we had Leslie, Ryan, Corey , Lauren, Justin and baby Natasha. Yes, it was crowded, but by this time we had built a couple of bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs. Leslie and Ryan lived there, and the younger kids were upstairs with us.

It was a full household.

~ Marie

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chapter Twelve

I had an interesting conversation with Corey when we were adopting him...because he was older, but not quite old enough to figure what was going day i sat him down and talked to him about was a brief conversation....went something like this.....
Me: Corey, dad and I were thinking about adopting you.....would you like that?
Corey: what does adoption mean?
Me: well, adoption means that you stay with one family forever and not have to go to another one. Dad and I would be your mom and dad, forever. What do you think of that?
Corey: what would change?
Me: nothing, nothing would change, everything would stay the same as it is now.
Corey: okay, I'll be adopted.
And that was that!
It was quite sometime before we had any other foster children in our home.....for one thing they have this rule about an adoption probation time...that's a time when they figure you need to get to know your new child and shouldn't have any foster children to take your attention....with us, obviously, that wasn't the case...but CAS sticks to their rules....also, there was the whole black balling/listing thing when we refused to play by the rules with Lauren's case.
Lauren and Corey's adoptions went through in the August and early September and we really didn't receive our next call until the following May!
That was when little Tiffany came......Tiffy, as we ended up calling her most of the time....was a sweet little five month old, who had sleep apnea. This condition opened up another world for me because Tiffy needed to be hooked up to a machine whenever she slept! I was scared silly.....good heavens, what would I do if something happened! A technician brought this machine to the house to give me a was very intimidating.....sticking these electrodes onto her little body, every time she slept...I lived in fear that the monitor would go off!
Tiffy's mom, really couldn't look after her and had indicated that she wouldn't use the monitor....well, of course that's all CAS needed to take the child into care....she did live , for a short time , with her grandparents who lived outside of London, (about two hours drive away) but when CAS moved in the mother had her rights to visitation, and since the mother lived close to us ,the child had to be in this area for that to be accomplished.
Tiffy was brought to our home by her grandmother, who of course found it very difficult to leave her...I really didn't blame her. The agency also set up weekend visits with them so every other weekend this faithful grandmother would drive to our home and took Tiffy back with her for the weekend.
Tiffy never did have an apnea episode while in our care but the little monkey quickly learned how to set off the alarm! When she was a toddler , we'd put her to bed at night and be summoned by the alarm going off! We'd race in there and there would Tiffy be, sitting in her crib, holding the electrode wires and grinning! She knew exactly what she was doing! It got so that I had to put footless sleepers on her backwards at night so that she couldn't access the electrodes! She was a smart one!
Tiffany stayed with us from five months old til just after her second birthday. It was then the grandparents were granted full custody of her and she moved back to the London area. Everyone in the family, including extended family , loved Tiffy and we all grieved when she left.
I've had many people say to me....' I could never do what you do, I couldn't let them go, it would kill me' .......I would think to think we don't hurt, that we don't grieve...what, do you think my heart is carved in stone?
People would also say.....I couldn't do what you're doing ....I would look at what they were doing, some were full time teachers and some were full time day care providers.....I'd think ...well, I couldn't do what you're doing...I couldn't just look after and teach the child for a few hours and then send them home.....
I guess it's a good thing that we're all created differently since we're all needed to do different, they couldn't do my job and I couldn't do their job, and so be it.
When Tiffy left we grieved for a long time....I couldn't even look at her crib and made Don take it down and put it away.....we weren't allowed to see her for three months, so she would not be confused and get used to the idea that her grandparents home was now her forever was a very long three months.
I remember it was around the time of March break and I was doing a Vacation Bible School at our was a huge undertaking, running a program for a hundred kids for the was during this week that I received a call.
There was a little boy in need of a home....he was about two months shy of his fourth birthday and had been in another foster home for about a month but the foster parents were having some medical issues and their home was being closed.
Would we take this little guy? Of course we would!
~ Marie

Chapter Eleven

While all this was going on with Lauren, things were also happening with Corey. Back in the spring , when we were going through all the court goings on, Corey's case was also coming to an end. Corey was born to two people who originated from that end I was informed by a worker that that meant he was identified as non, Corey's skin colour was that of a good tan, put him together beside my eldest daughter, at the end of summer and they looked about the same....but, this identification would help out down the road with another adoption. All the time that we fostered Corey, he didn't have one visit with anyone from his birth family. In fact, he had to undergo blood work so that his paternity could be clarified. Since his birth father was questioning this, he quite often told his biological siblings to have nothing to do with him, not even to play with him! He was ostracized by his family and he was only three years old.

Although we were positive about adopting Lauren, when we considered Corey we were definitely I mentioned before, he was an extremely difficult child to parent, and Don and I weren't convinced that we were the right parents to do this job. We knew that all the emotional and psychological damage that had been done to Corey in his first three years would have a lasting effect, that for sure when he hit puberty ,the whole mess would 'hit the fan'.

That summer, as we normally had been doing, we went camping at a place just south of Orillia called Fair Havens Bible Conference grounds . We would borrow Don's parents' trailer and have our annual vacation. Our eldest daughter Leslie, was almost twelve years old and an accomplished swimmer, by this point having taken many levels of swimming and C.P.R., so when she wanted to go down to canal to go swimming with her friends we didn't have a problem with her going and even taking Corey with her. Don and I were back at the trailer with our eldest son Ryan and Lauren , who was napping, when a Fair Havens staff person came to the trailer asking us to come down to the water , that there had been a swimming accident! Don stayed with Lauren and I quickly got down there. There was quite a crowd which I was surprised at and when I got to the centre of it, there was Corey, lying on the ground. He was conscious, but his colouring was quite off, and he had seaweed and sand stuck to him. I was quickly informed as to what happened. Apparently, Leslie had left Corey happily playing in the sand, and she swam out to the raft to be with her friends. The distance was about twenty- twenty five feet. When she got out there and turned back to check on Corey, she couldn't see him. He told us later that he had decided to go in the water, not too far but a few waves, caused by a boat passing by had knocked him over ( he was a tiny little guy) and he couldn't regain his footing. Panicked, Leslie dove back into the water and swam back to find him....what she finally found was Corey, lying face down in the water, his arms and legs in the spread eagle position. Fortunately, her life saving skills that she had learned came into play as she got him out of the water and started performing CPR. By this time, someone had run to the pool, not far away, and summoned a life guard to come and help. As she arrived , Corey started to regain consciousness and vomit, the lifeguard quickly rolled him on his side.

By the time I got there, an ambulance had been called, and off Corey and I went to Orillia hospital to get checked out. All the way there the attendants insisted that he wear an oxygen mask, which he was scared of but I remember comparing it to a Halloween mask and that seem to satisfying him!

After the doctor checked him out, the impact of the situation hit me when the doctor came out and told me that he was a very fortunate little boy, that if Leslie had not immediately done the CPR that Corey would have died. I remember my mom and dad, who had also been at Fair Havens at the time, showed up at the hospital and I can still see my dad gently carrying Corey out to their car for the car ride back to the camp grounds.

It was a stressful time, there was an investigation, by the camp and by Children's Aid but it was all determined to be an unfortunate accident with a positive ending. It was not to be the first time that Corey had a brush with death......

When the baby worker was out visiting the subject of adopting both Corey and Lauren came up. I remember vividly the worker saying that 'well, maybe you would be able to adopt one of the children but certainly not two'! Little did she know.

An interesting side note about Corey's name. His legal name was actually Karim but when he came to us, they were calling him Corey. We always assumed that this was a nick name from the birth family, but to our surprise we found out differently. When we were at a foster parent dinner , that fall, Corey was about four at this time....I was approached by another foster parent. Apparently, she was the one that had him before us, that couldn't handle him. She asked how he was and during the course of the conversation she mentioned about the name....I was horrified to find out , in her words, that they thought his name was 'just too weird' so they decided to call him Corey instead! The next day, I did sit him down and ask him which name he would prefer and he did say Corey, so we left it at that.

The agency asked if we were going to adopt him as his case was coming to an end. We thought and prayed...heck, we didn't know....we had no idea if we'd be the right parents for him. The agency said that since his family was Muslim that they'd have to look for a Muslim family first. That was fine with us because we were still unsure, so, while they looked , we prayed...we prayed that if there were parents out there that were better parents for Corey that the door would open to them adopting him. Apparently, as we were told, the agency even searched as far as Toronto, but to no avail. Muslim people are very strong about 'the blood', the blood connection,....they just don't adopt other children that are not of there own blood connection.
Oh yes, the paternity test did turn out positive but by that time Corey had been in care for fourteen months with out any birth family contact and the agency said it was too long a time for him to move back in with them. The parents had divorced by this time and the agency had been involved with the other children in that family so they just closed that door.

So, a few weeks after Lauren's adoption went through, Corey's did also. We tried to think of a name for Corey that perhaps when he was a grown man he might prefer to Corey. At that point, we had no idea what he would become but you always have great aspirations for your children. Little did we know, at the time , that we needn't have been concerned.

We chose Cordell (Corey) Jonathan Karim, once again giving his birth name as his third. Unfortunately , the only time the name Cordell is used as an adult is when he is arrested and incarcerated....but I get ahead of myself.

~ Marie

Friday, August 16, 2013

Chapter Ten

We were about to enter a world we had never ventured into before. Up until this moment, the only lawyer we knew was from when we bought our house....we had never been in a court room.....all that was about to change.

I contacted the CAS lawyer...back then, they just had they have a whole team! The lawyer was very understanding. She advised us to get our own lawyer. I said to her that we didn't know any....would she recommend someone....well, she says....that's really against protocol, to recommend just one so I'll recommend three and you'll have to choose. Alright then, I wrote down the three names, then I turned to Don and told him what she said....'three names?', said he...'how are we going to choose?' 'well', I said....'I figure that the one she thought would be best would be the one that she mentioned would have been the first one to come to her mind....I think we should go with that one'.....and so we did.

We went and saw this lawyer....he was not encouraging....he said, never, in history has a foster parent ever won a case over a biological parent....but I'm willing to give it a try. I was on cloud nine....til he dropped the bombshell.....'I'll need a retainer...$2000 should do it' heart husband looked at him and said 'okay'....I looked at him like he had two heads. We left the office.

When we got out to the car, I turned to him and said 'Donald....we don't have $2000, where the Pete are we going to get that kind of money?' 'A loan , said my husband..'we'll stop at the bank in the way home and arrange a loan'....I was unsure, scared....$2000 was a lot of money back in the 1980's....I questioned him more...he turned to me and said ' in years to come I'm not going to kick myself around the block because we didn't do this because of money' . So, we stopped at the bank, on the way home.....we got the loan.

To say that agency wasn't pleased about our actions would be putting it mildly. In fact, we got 'called on the carpet' of the higher ups called us into his office....he didn't believe that we had done this with the help of other workers and the agency lawyer....he showed us the contract we had signed saying that we would support any action that CAS would do in regards to the foster kids we looked after. We thought they were going to dismiss us as foster parents, or at least take Lauren from our home. They didn't but we were 'blackballed' for a long time was months after our adoption probation time that they called us to take another child.

A court day was set and there was even a lawyer appointed for Lauren called an Official Guardian.

We were scared to death.

Our court time lasted several days, the birth father was supposed to come from British Columbia. He never came...instead, his girlfriend came....when she took the stand, the judge wasn't impressed. She sat there and cried, she said she didn't know anything about court, she thought she was just suppose to come and pick up the little girl. The judge was extremely annoyed. He proclaimed that he'd give the father a time limit to show up and if he didn't then he'd have to pay the court costs. Once again, the birth father didn't come.

At that point our lawyer advised us to drop our suit and trust the agency to follow through and allow us to adopt Lauren. We were pretty frightened to trust them but the lawyer pointed out that the judge had already given his endorsement for us to adopt.....we took a big breath and agreed.

They did keep their word and we did adopt her. We officially and legally changed her name from Victoria to Lauren Kristie Victoria.....we thought it was important to keep her original birth name as her third name....we actually continued to do that with all the children we adopted. We thought it was important that they have it, after all it was part of them from the moment they were born, and it should continue to be so.

Lauren was the start of a long that we never would have believed would happen to our family......and it all started with one tiny wee girl.

~ Marie

Chapter Nine

Her name was Victoria......such a big name for such a wee babe.....we took to calling her anything but Victoria.....didn't seem to quite suit her....oh, I'm not saying we changed the name....( well, not at the beginning anyways) ....I had read a lot of books and one author i enjoyed was Torey, sometimes I'd call her that but most often I just called her Lovey....because thats what she was...a little lovey....Unfortunately, it didn't take us long to figure out that our new little baby had some problems.

Feeding was the biggest....she couldn't seem to latch on to a bottle nipple very well, just kind of lolly gagged around in her mouth......I brought home every different nipple I could find....I remember thinking that if any baby needed breastfeeding that she was the one! I talked it over with the baby worker...showed her how she did well with her Nuk soother but other bottle nipples were not working....Barb said that she had just heard that they came out with Nuk bottle, I immediately searched them out and brought them home! They worked....although she was......very......slow.....taking at least an hour and a half to drink 1-2 ounces. I made the nipple holes bigger and that worked a bit better. She really didn't have the muscle strength to suck very well. She also couldn't tolerate the formula the hospital put her on, and had to be switched to a soy formula.

When she was six weeks old, poor little lovey had a very traumatic experience. The birth mother wanted a visit. There needs to be a little background about the birth mom here.....the birth mom had some psychological issues and when she was pregnant with the babe, abused the babe in the uterus. Whenever the babe kicked or pushed as they are want to do, the mother would hit and punch her belly and scream at the unborn child. She was convinced that the babe was annoying and hurting her on purpose....little did anyone know what an effect this would have on the baby.

I arrived at the agency and sat in the waiting area with the babe in her car seat. I observed a petite woman with chestnut brown hair a little past her shoulders, come up to to receptionist desk.....I overheard her say her name and immediately realized that this was the birth mom. Fortunately, she was taken to another room and she didn't see me, sitting with the babe. At the same time that this visit was to take place, I was to attend a support group meeting for foster parents. So, I handed the babe over to the worker and I went to my meeting.....I wasn't in my meeting for very long before I was called out. The worker said...' The baby is extremely upset and we can't calm her, please come'. As we walked to the visitation room I asked what had happened.....the worker explained that the mom was already in the room when they took the baby in....the mother spoke,....from the other side of the soon as the baby heard her voice, her tiny body went rigid and she started to scream hysterically. As we got to the office , where they had taken the baby to, I could still hear was a terrible scream....I took the baby and went back to my meeting.....she was still sobbing at this point...I sat in the meeting, holding her as close to my body as possible, rocking her, holding the soother in her mouth and singing Jesus Loves Me...over and over and over.....she calmed down and went to sleep........
Over the years we noticed that this fear the baby showed back at six weeks would resurface....when she was about three years old, she had the most beautiful long hair, silky and gentle curls.....she was standing in front of me as I brushed it and as I worked through some tangles she cried out and wrapped her little arms around my legs....not in pain but questioning me if I still loved her, asking me 'mommy , do you still love me?' I reassured her that I did, that I just had to get the tangles out.....I was saddened that the damage was so deep that something as simple as hair brushing would bring it out.
When Lauren ( we ended up changing her name, more on that later) was three months old, she became very ill, she couldn't keep her bottles down, we would just get partly through the bottle feed and she would vomit everything....I took her to the doctor but they couldn't find anything wrong. This went on for a couple of weeks! Finally, on Christmas Day, Don and I took her into emergency where, after an exray, they found out that she had pneumonia ! There were many weeks of recovery....I remember having to put her on a slant, head down, on her tummy and tap her little back to loosen the evening, Don and I were watching tv, Lauren was sleeping, on her tummy ( once again there wasn't any rules against that back then) ...she had her face turned away from us, and we heard this funny( weird ) noise coming from her....I quickly got up to check and her face was blue! I put my finger in her mouth and pulled out a 'gob' of phlegm that was in her throat and cutting off her airway....she quickly pinked up and we breathed a sigh of relief. The next night, we were to go and visit friends and we had a babysitter come in but you can bet that Lauren went with us...I wasn't going to take another chance!

As time passed, we became attached to Lauren and her to us.....we were the only family that she knew. She did have follow up visits with the birth mom....they went okay but we're sporadic. I remember that she had about six at the YWCA, where the mom was staying. The mother insisted that she wanted the baby back and went to court. When the judge asked her how she was going to provide for her, what her plan was, I'm afraid the mothers answer wasn't very good. It really didn't make sense....she said something about making sure she went to Brownies and waiting til she was ten before she let her wear lipstick. Needless to say, with that kind of 'plan' the judge didn't grant custody!

By the time Lauren was about fourteen months old, we were convinced that she belonged to us, that she was part of our family...her older brother and sister doted on her and she had Don wrapped around her little finger. Even Corey didn't mind playing with her! We wanted to adopt her and approached the agency about it. Around that time, the birth mother finally mentioned the name of the birth father to a worker. The agency was under legal authority to search for him before she could be cleared for adoption. They sent notifications in newspapers across Canada. It was seen, way out in British Columbia by a friend of the birth father.

He contacted the agency and found out that he had another daughter, apparently the mother had left this abusive man without telling him that she was pregnant. She also left Lauren's older sister in the care of this man. Another tragedy but that is another story.

The agency contacted the CAS in B.C. And asked a worker to go and interview and check out the accommodations of the birth father. Don and I were beyond stressed. To lose our little girl after all of this was heartbreaking. The interview went well. The father and his live in partner answered all the questions appropriately. The report came back to our agency, and even though the father only worked seasonally, lived with someone else and her child, and had a substance abuse and alcohol problem.....our agency said they would bring her out...we actually heard that a worker was quite excited over flying out to British Columbia!

Don and I were desperate....we didn't know what to do....I spoke to the baby worker...she suggested speaking to the agency lawyer.

So we did.

~ Marie

Chapter Eight

On one of those late summer evenings, Don and I came to the conclusion that yes, we did have room for one this day I have no idea just why or how we did, but it just felt right....but.....when it came to contacting the agency, well that was a whole different ball game......

It's like when we are making plans to fly away on some holiday and I'm always thrilled to be flying anywhere,but... the morning of our flight, when the nerves take over my digestion system, I always berate myself and tell myself just what a stupid idea it other words....great ideas sound and feel great at the time, but when I get down to the nitty gritty I usually chicken out....yes, I'm a huge to speak...obviously not covered in feathers, but you get the idea.

Even though we made the decision sometime in August , every time I tried to call Children's Aid, I chickened out. Finally, after several failed attempts, I actually put the call through on September 22. It was a Monday, and I finally made the call. I spoke with 'the baby worker' , a woman by the name of Barb Davis. She informed me that it would be fine to open our home to a second foster child, BUT she'd have to come out, check our home....again.....make sure we had enough room. Which, really, in retrospect is kind of humorous.....we live in a small bungalow and before we put on our addition a few years ago, it was less than 1000 sq feet......ya, small. Now a days , people wouldn't dream of putting two children, together, in the small bedrooms we had...but that's how Don and I grew up with our siblings and we actually didn't think that was a problem!

Barb said that her week was full and she wouldn't be able to come til the following week....that was okay to me, I was just pleased that I finally got the courage to call, on the 22nd of September, which turned out to be a very significant date!

I got off the phone, I remember, to this day, thinking...I did it! I really did it....oh no, what have I done! The week progressed and then Friday came.....the phone rang was Barb, the baby worker.....there was this baby, a little girl, a new born......she was in need of a home.....could she bring her out on Monday.....MONDAY!!! WHAT!.....'but...Barb, we haven't been checked out for a second child yet', I say.....'I know, I'll have to do that later' says she.
It was a whirl wind weekend, setting up the crib, getting baby supplies, washing up sleepers and Monday, we were all excited and very nervous......

When Barb arrived, she carried this wee little babe, wrapped up tightly in a blanket, ( like they do it in the hospital nursery) tucked in her left arm....I hardly took in all the information, and before I knew it, Barb was gone and we had this new born babe in our house. She was sleeping, as I gently laid her in her crib. In the next few hours, I kept checking, and she kept sleeping....I had an eye doctor appointment and my good friend Sue had agreed to take Corey and the babe while I went to it....the time came to go and the babe was still sleeping so I bundled her up and took them to Sue's.....believe it or not, I hadn't even unwrapped her as I didn't want to disturb her sleep....Sue was delighted to be looking after this new babe....and I went off to my appointment. When I returned, the babe was awake, she had been fed and changed and Sue handed me her identification bracelet that had been around her tiny ankle and had exclaimed to me that they (the person that had dressed her at the hospital) had put a sleeper on her that was way too big....I found out that I didn't have sleepers that small either. This little babe was soooooo tiny, she was just over five pounds! We took her home and started getting used to being a family of six and of having a newborn in the house again!

Oh, and the most important part of this story.....the wee babe was born on September 22...... The very day that I finally got my courage up to call....imagine that!

~ Marie

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chapter Seven

One could never be prepared for a child like Corey. The first time I saw him, he was walking down a long hall, holding the hand of a social worker . This tiny wee boy, with big chocolate brown eyes, dark hair that was partly covered by a red baseball cap and the fattest little cheeks you ever did see. Corey was 2-1/2 years old when he came to us.....we were the fifth foster home that he'd been in since he was born....his birth parents were separated/divorced and every time there was a problem , Corey came into care. He wasn't treated very well in his birth family, there was some question over his paternity and because of that the father even told his other children not to play with him . He was scared of the police siren and whenever he saw a police man , because his father threatened to leave him at the police station when Corey disobeyed. Unfortunately, 28 years later he no longer has this fear!

Corey came to live with us in the June, just before summer holidays. The first night he started calling us mom and dad. Some foster parents didn't encourage this but we did primarily because we took kids in the age group of newborn to 2 years old. These little ones didn't understand and they really needed the security of a loving parent in their lives. Plus, they'd hear our older kids calling us mom and dad and it just made them feel part of the family.

Corey had some unusual habits.....he could vomit whenever he chose to...a little time when I was annoyed at him about something he had done and I was getting after him about it, he started retching....without thinking I said, 'No, don't you dare...don't you dare throw up'.....and he stopped...just like that, I could hardly contain my surprise....I remember looking at him and saying ' you little monkey'......and he just looked at me....calmly.

Most kids might disobey and do something unbelievable once, twice a week.....with Corey it was daily. He would steal food and hide it. He would urinate down the floor register and in his bed...on purpose. He shared a room with our oldest son and was always taking Ryan's things and destroying them. When we went camping , he would go up to complete strangers and ask to go home with them. I was constantly having to go to these people and apologize and try to explain. Corey was with us four months before he showed any sign of attachment to us....a social worker told us that the longer a child takes to show attachment , the more they've been emotionally abused. He also showed signs of being sexually abused. Corey was hyperactive and showed anger quite easily. The agency ended up putting him into nursery school the year before kindergarten so he could learn positive interaction with his peers and learn how to channel his anger. He was a cute little kid, with an annoyingly high voice and extremely tiring to parent. He was a challenge to say the least.

When we decided to become foster parents , it was with much fear and trepidation. We had two kids, a girl and a boy. I never realized how difficult and intimidating it would be to go from being responsible for three children instead of two. Before, when we looked after Tanya, or when I babysat my nephew everyday for sixteen months, it was knew that you didn't have the parental responsibility of another child...well, with Tanya, we really did but then we had to detach ourselves from that situation.....anyways, all this to say going from 2 to 3 was it really didn't make sense when we decided during the summer to open our home to 2 foster kids.....ya, crazy, I know.

We were at our summer camping spot, the same place we've gone for over thirty years, and in the evening Don and I would talk about it.....the pros ...the cons.....going from 2 to 3 was hard....what would 3 to 4 be like? Could we do it....we talked and talked and prayed.

Well, a month later we were to find out.

~ Marie

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chapter Six

After Tanya went back to her mom, there were two others that we had before Corey came. A little boy named Adam came very late one night.....he had been apprehended from his mother, with whom he lived with along with two older sisters. The sisters were about six and eight years old and they were the primary caregivers of Adam, who was eleven months old. The mother was in a wheel chair having had both legs amputated......I can't remember the reason why they were amputated but before you start to feel sorry for her, you should be aware that she beat her children regularly. Adam would be given a bottle before the girls went to school and when they came home for lunch, another bottle and so on....he never left his crib ALL day. The day after he came , I remember sitting him down on the floor with some toys and was very surprised when he didn't leave the spot I put him in.....when he wanted a toy he would just pivot on his bum to get what he wanted! He was so used to being confined to a small space that he didn't venture any further. The agency required that he be checked out by specialists at McMaster Hospital.....I watched with interest as they completely undressed Adam and laid him on the cold tile floor....they explained that a 'normal' child would immediately move and try to get off the cold tile...but if the child just laid there , and didn't move then it was an indicator of the emotional abuse the child had suffered. Adam was placed on the floor.....he didn't move...he didn't fuss...he just laid there.
I worked hard over the next few months with Adam, teaching him how to crawl, teaching him how to walk, teaching him how to chew food.....he was a lovely child who won the hearts of the whole family. It was with many misgivings that I and a worker visited the mother to talk with her about Adam, to tell her what he was doing, to reacquaint her with her child. We had Adam for about nine months, and we never saw him again. We heard via the newspaper that his mother died of cancer, when Adam was sixteen. I contacted the agency to see if they could help him at all, but they said no....he was too old. Adam was on his own....yes, he still had his older sisters but they had left home long ago . I've often wondered what happened to him.

The next call was for a new born!..yes, fresh from the hospital, just a few days old...this would be a short term placement, as we were just the 'waiting' home.....waiting for the required amount of time to pass and the birth mom to sign the papers so this little one could go to adoptive parents who desperately wanted a child of their own. She was a cutie! Don and I and our oldest two kids (well the only kids we had at the time) fell in love..... Looking after a newborn is hard work, and we hadn't had a new born since Tanya, but I recall that she was a good baby, had difficulty with the formula the hospital put her on so we had to find the correct one but other than that, the 5-1/2 weeks we looked after her were delightful. I remember the worker contacting me and saying that the birth mom was requesting a 'good bye' visit....I was very nervous because I thought that she'd take one look at this little girl and want her back! The mom was a young single woman who had made a mistake but she realized that she couldn't look after this little one and courageously gave her up for adoption. What a brave woman...I admired her...she even sent us a lovely note thanking us for looking after her baby. We received the call just barely 24 hours after the waiting time was up that Amber was going to her adoptive was exciting and sad at the same time...this young couple came to our could tell that they were scared but thrilled to be getting their little girl. I still remember taking them into the bedroom where Amber slept, the anticipation could have been cut with a knife....Amber was on her tummy, (this was before the rule of no tummy sleeping) and when I gently rolled her to her back, I heard a small gasp as they saw their daughter for the first time! We chatted with the new mom and dad, explaining all the quirks of this new little baby...many pictures were taken, good byes were said, tears were shed...and then she was gone. It was so very , very hard. I found that I didn't even want to go in the room where the crib was, we all grieved.....even the kids, we sure did miss her.

It was quite some time before we received our next call.....a call that would change our lives! A call , where the worker started out saying.....'I have a 2-1/2 year old boy, he's in a foster home right now and the foster parents can't handle him.....I must tell you that he's hyper active, he talks all the time, he's accident prone, he won't listen, ....will you take him?' ......'yes, we will' I said.

Corey was coming......oh my.

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