Oh no! Look what my 5-year-old found at the bottom of his toy box! Here we go again! sigh…
Two days before we adopted our LilBit, I received a surprising call that LilBit’s birthmother had a newborn Baby Brother. We were the first family called so siblings could be together. We lamented on the decision of whether to have Baby Brother join our family.
Could we handle THREE rambunctious little boys, especially at our age?
Declining the placement of LilBit’s Baby Brother was the most heart-wrenching decision I’ve ever had to make. That one decision would change not only our lives, but so many other lives too.
We have been blessed in that Baby Brother has an incredible family, and he is their pride and joy! We have an open relationship with Baby Brother’s family and see each other occasionally.
Here are two brothers exhausted from swimming.
Can you figure out which little boy is our LilBit and which is his Baby Brother? Even LilBit can’t tell the difference!
“Spit that out!”
“Give me that!”
“Take that out of your mouth!”
Those are words I am constantly saying with our nearly 3-year-old, Lil Bit. I’ve taken a number of objects out of that kid’s mouth: coins, rocks, paper, small toys, etc. (One might think he would have learned his lesson after grabbing what he thought was a pickle off his dad’s enchilada plate.)
I’ve become quite vigilant about this behavior, especially after his emergency surgery last September. Lil Bit was in surgery prep with a little girl that had a quarter lodged in her esophagus.
But if you are a parent of a little one, you know how difficult it is to keep any and every object out of a child’s reach, especially if they can climb like our Lil Bit.
And our worst fear warranted a trip to the emergency room yesterday afternoon!
When I pulled off our Lil Bit’s Pull-Up after an accident, I was freaked out to see RED –
LOTS OF RED!
The number one cause for rectal bleeding in children is SWALLOWED OBJECTS!!!
We rushed him to the emergency room scared of what he could have swallowed that might be lodged in his intestines causing this bleeding.
Surprisingly, our wait in emergency room to see a doctor was relatively short, considering we arrived during a shift change on the weekend. When the doctor saw what we collected, he was concerned and quickly took a sample to be tested for blood.
The results from the lab showed no signs of blood!
The doctor released Lil Bit, still perplexed at what caused the red stool. Lil Bit had drank Cherry Crystal Light, but so had the rest of us without this reaction.
We will just consider this a medical miracle that can only be performed by the one true God! Hallelujah!
How do you keep your child from putting objects in their mouth?
This past weekend was Cinco de Mayo, a celebration for those of Mexican descent. Although, now a U.S. citizen, our 2-year-old Lil Bit was born in Mexico. During our struggle to keep Lil Bit in our family, we felt pressure from Lil Bit’s CASA worker as she kept saying over and over: “He needs his Mexican culture.” During this ordeal, my thoughts were that we can learn and teach him Spanish, and I do cook Mexican food a couple of times a month — We are in Texas, for Pete’s sake. With a Mexican restaurant on every block, Hispanic culture surrounds us.
However, lately I have internally stressed over learning Spanish and how to “become more Hispanic” for my Mexican child.
I recently finished “reading” Adopted for Life by Dr. Russell Moore, a leading Christian adoption advocate. As I listened to Dr. Moore reading the audiobook to me, I was comforted by his words (paraphrased from Chapter 1):
“We will teach our boys about their cultural heritage…I will teach aspects of Russian culture but not with the same intensity….They eat what we eat…They share our lives and our story…They’re Moores now with all that that entails…”
I began to think about all the families we know with one Mexican spouse – relatives, neighbors, and long-term friends – and how they integrate Mexican culture into their families. Of those, only half actually teach their children to speak Spanish, mainly because the grandparents primarily speak Spanish. However, most do teach a few words of Spanish, as do we. Although, I didn’t have a Hispanic parent or take a Spanish language course, I know a bit of Spanish vocabulary I learned through Mexican friends, roommates, travel, and Sesame Street.
Would I like to learn to speak Spanish? Yes! I would love to one day be able to hold a conversation with someone in Spanish. That is something I plan to do when we eventually homeschool our children. But we will learn Spanish as a family – not only for our Mexican child, but for our entire family.
As Dr. Moore also points out in his book, parents shouldn’t point out their adopted children’s differences. We don’t want Lil Bit to feel different in our family just because he is Hispanic, he is our son and we want to instead point out how much he is like us.
(On a side note, I met a co-worker of FosterDad’s at a local park this week – when she saw Lil Bit, she said, “He looks like your husband.” — Take that Ms. You-can-tell-by-looking-at-him-that-he’s-not-yours CASA worker!!!)
We do want our Mexican child to be proud of his first culture; however, he is now our American son, and we did not celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year. (It’s t-ball season)
What are your thoughts on keeping cultural heritage?
If you follow on Facebook and Twitter, you know that we had the incredible blessing of meeting Lil Bit’s precious 4-month-old baby brother this weekend! Remember him? Remember 2 days before Lil Bit’s adoption, we received a placement call to foster this newborn brother being released from the hospital?
A decision that tore me up inside when we declined. Worry consumed me until we discovered that Baby Brother had been placed in a home anxiously awaiting an infant for adoptive placement.
This weekend, we inadvertently enrolled in the same training class with Baby Brother’s foster mom. Baby Brother looks like his older brother – and just as cuddly and sweet. He is blessed to have a family that loves him.
However, our boys have half-siblings that aren’t as lucky. Those other siblings were placed with a “friend” of the birthmother. Remember the Cons, that were determined to take Lil Bit, since all it would cost them was a “shiny, new cell phone.” Still determined to add to their “family”, they have been wining & dining birthmom at the Golden Corral.
All the previous children have been labeled as “disabled” so that the Cons can demand larger subsidy checks. The children are all encouraged to perform poorly in school. It breaks my heart for these children that can only live up to their “disability”.
During our case, CPS adamantly opposed placement with the Cons; however, they flip-flopped their position in Baby Brother’s case.
The CPS policy of “family first” had them attempting multiple times to remove Baby Brother from a loving home to a placement with his half-siblings. Even though his half-siblings are in an uncaring environment, used only for a check.
The good news is that Baby Brother is staying put – TPR is complete – and adoption is the plan.
And the other big news is…
We were so excited to finally adopt our Lil Bit! Now, over two months later, we are still anxiously awaiting the arrival of his new birth certificate!
Yesterday, while glancing through the mail, I saw a plain white envelope from the state Health and Human Services! I excitedly opened the envelope to find…
Lil Bit’s Medicaid card!
Printed on the card in bold was his new name! Our family name! Lil Bit’s first “official” card with our family’s name!
After our excitement waned, I began going through the rest of the mail. To my surprise, was another envelope from the state Health and Human Services, identical to the first. Could it be his birth certificate?
My curious hands opened the second envelope to find…
another Medicaid card!
Not a duplicate card. Another Medicaid card printed with Lil Bit’s BIRTH name!
So now we have TWO Medicaid cards with both of Lil Bit’s names. (Same Medicaid number, of course)
For those of you whose adopted children receive Medicaid, is this what normally happens?
How much longer until we receive Lil Bit’s birth certificate? Which name will be printed on it?
At the end of this court hearing in March 2010, the State, CASA, and ad litem attorney were ambivalent.
Should our 7-month-old foster child, Lil Bit, stay with us or should he go live with his great-aunt?
None of them expressed concern either way !
CPS Policy: A child should always be placed with family first.
Then, quick as a flash, the State, CASA/GAL, and ad litem attorney ALL adamantly opposed Lil Bit staying with us.
Suddenly, we were being accused of keeping our foster child from his family. Worse than that, we were keeping Lil Bit from his Mexican culture.
For 2 months until our next court hearing in May.
We met with the CASA before court. I wasn’t optimistic.
Then this miracle happened. A strange day in court for our foster baby.
- Birth mom moved back in with her abusive grandmother (her third move in 5 months)
- Caseworker AB turned in her resignation
Is this what changed the mind of CPS toward us?
In June, we attended a meeting to discuss permanency for our foster baby when the State told birth mom that they would be terminating her rights (no matter what she did). The birth mom (and her mother) told the State that they did not want Lil Bit to go live with his great-aunt.
Is this what changed the mind of CPS toward us?
The fact is we don’t know what changed.
In August, we met with CPS and CASA in our home. They told us to work on conditions for an open adoption. Lil Bit would stay with us.
LIL BIT WOULD BE OUR SON!
The fact is we don’t care what changed the mind of CPS toward us. We care that our Lil Bit would be safe. With us. Forever!
A belated Merry Christmas to you! We hope your holiday was merrier than ours. It had to be…
Our 2-year-old, Lil Bit, is in day care – a breeding ground for illness. On Friday, I noticed that, although happy to be playing at home with his family, he was coughing quite a bit. It wasn’t until late afternoon that I realized — he had a fever! A low-grade fever of less than 100 degrees F (For my Aussie readers that’s about 37.7 C). But I knew I had to get him to a doctor FAST!
I glanced at the clock. It’s 5:02 p.m.
“Dog gone it!!!“
I called the doctor’s office anyway.
“Our office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If this is an emergency, call 9-1-1.”
We were praying he didn’t get worse. Ibuprofen controlled the fever through most of the night; however, in the morning, he still had the fever and was coughing incessantly.
We were praying we wouldn’t be spending Christmas Eve in the Emergency Room.
I called our family medical clinic that has Saturday hours. Maybe, just maybe, they will be open on Christmas Eve.
“Good morning, how may I help you?”
Hallelujah! Our family physician was the doctor on duty this Christmas Eve morning.
Dr. Meyer diagnosed our Lil Bit with RSV, prescribed a steroid, prayed for him, and sent us HOME. We are blessed!
What is RSV?
RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. In adults and older children, it’s basically a cold; however, in infants, it is a very serious virus that usually requires hospitalization. The virus causes an overabundance of mucus, which adults and older children can cough up; however, for an infant, it can cause respiratory problems and low oxygen levels. You can read more details about what is RSV and its symptoms at Christian Mama’s Guide.
Our History with RSV
We are not strangers to this virus. This is Lil Bit’s third bout with RSV:
- Our Lil Bit was only 5 months old when he was first hospitalized for RSV. During this hospital stay, we were given the paperwork for Lil Bit’s removal from our home and placement with a distant relative. My heart wept as I was saying my goodbyes for this little angel struggling to breathe. This is when we made that life-changing decision to intervene in the familial placement and fight for custody.
- One year later in February of this year, at 17 months old, our Lil Bit was diagnosed with a common cold on a Friday, and then by Monday, was hospitalized for RSV that had developed into pneumonia. (Lesson: Doctors can misdiagnose RSV with serious consequences)
- At 2-1/2 years old, our Lil Bit still struggled through RSV; however, we are thankful that his breathing wasn’t affected, and that we didn’t have to celebrate our Christmas in the hospital. Thank you, Lord, for your blessings!
And if Lil Bit contracting RSV isn’t bad enough – Now, Stinkpot has a horrible cough, runny nose and fever. And I’m getting a course cough and tightness in my chest…OUCH!
Happy New Year, Everyone!
Have any of your little ones had RSV?
On December 15, 2009, Lil Bit joined our family. On that cool, sunny afternoon, my cell phone rang, as I was compiling a spreadsheet at work.
“Would you accept a 4-month-old placement for foster care?”
My reply was a quick “YES!”
I hurriedly typed to complete the spreadsheet, and rushed down the street to the CPS office.
The investigator was the same from Blondie‘s case. She spoke of how Lil Bit had been in the office all day and didn’t make a peep.
“He’s such a good baby. His birthmom has had numerous children adopted out. Do you want him?”
I couldn’t believe I was hearing that. A call for foster care only could become a son. As I looked into his big, beautiful blue eyes framed with inch-long eyelashes, something happened to me that had never happened before. I fell in love at first sight!
Lil Bit quickly assimilated into our family. Our Christmas was that much more exciting to have a baby in it.
This Lil Bit has been a huge blessing in our lives. He loves his older brother, Stinkpot, and always asks for him when he is picked up from day care. Everyday, Lil Bit runs to hug “Tee-taw”. Their relationship is very close and it warms my heart to know that these two brothers have each other.
Our Lil Bit is growing fast into a Lil Man. Those gorgeous blue eyes have now turned into the most unique, mesmerizing hazel. He is tall and lean running through the house.
After so many hospital visits, he is healthy with not so much as a runny nose. And he is now officially a “terrible two” – throwing fits when he can’t get what he wants. (I’m sorry, but I laugh in these “terrible” moments because it is just so unlike him.)
For 2 years, we have been extremely blessed by our Lil Bit. And we are grateful that he is our forever son.
What are your blessings this Christmas?