Friday, September 5, 2014

Squished with Gratitude

I don't know what to say.  I went to bed wednesday and my indigogo had over $1,000 dollars.  I cried.  overwhelmed.  relief.  I have never been so humbled.  The campaign has been shared by so many people.  We were even asked to be the highlight campaign for the week.  I declined.  I don't want Js dad to find us, or to know what is going on.  As of today the campaign has over $2,000 dollars.  This means we only have to figure out the other $1,000.  I am super amazed.  I had no idea so many people loved us.  This was the first time I have ever asked for help in my entire life.  It was terrifying, and my friends made it the most amazing experience of my life.  I can't express what it is like to face all we are facing; a move, the not quite adopted saga, and now my health issues, and have so many people say, "I love you".  In so many different ways.  I didn't realize how many wonderful people are in the world, and how lucky they are all in my life.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

He IS my son.

We arranged for Casey's mom to come stay with the boys.  I have already done lesson plans for them for 2 weeks.  If I need to do more that will not be a problem.  Baby boy has 3 appointments next week.  She was going to take him to them.  Yesterday was spent figuring out logistics like, should we drive?  should we fly?  What will insurance cover?  What should we do with the Kids?  I was on the phone all day with insurance, the hospital, and called and emailed our social workers several times to figure out what was going on with J. No one answered, and no one picked up.

Our insurance has a $1,000 cap that we will have to pay out of pocket, period.  Last year, during Casey's deployment I asked to get my mom, and Casey's mom approved to stay with J after his open heart surgery, so that when they were here helping out I could leave the house.  My mom wanted to stay in Chicago with me, so we asked Casey's mom to stay with the kids.  We thought about driving us all up there, except that the boys have so much going on next week that it wasn't possible.  It didn't seem fair to put their whole life on hold, they are already so upset and stressed out.

My brother and sister in law volunteered to buy plane tickets for casey and I.  The total was over $1,000.  On top of that we are staying in their apartment.  I don't know what I would do without them.  Everything seemed to be falling into place and I fell asleep and slept hard for the first time since the 28th.

This afternoon I get a call from our agency (not state DSS), saying that we cannot leave J with my mother in law because she was never approved to watch him.  They also never approved our friend, Mark's, wife, so he can't stay with them either.  I tell them that Mark and his wife just had a baby 3 weeks ago, and then they proceed to ask me if Mark can come stay at our house alone?!  When I say "no" I am told our only option is put J in respite care, or fly him too.  I had to borrow 1,000 dollars to fly us, where am I going to get 546 more dollars to fly J?  I have 598 dollars to my name for the next 2 weeks.   We are only allowed 7 days of respite care a year.  Beside's the fact that baby boy who has finally over come his fear of abandonment would be with strangers, which would quite likely cause him to relapse in to that fear, I don't know if I will be able to retrieve him from respite care in 7 days.  If I don't, we could quite likely lose him.  Not only that, but if it were your kid, and you were facing either cancer treatment or major surgery, would you want to leave them with complete strangers?  No, you wouldn't, you would want them with family.

I frantically call his CASA worker.  Her advice, "take him with you." as the only way to ensure he isn't removed.  I am beside myself.  I have to get the travel approved by the state and in hand by the day after tomorrow, and I have to come up with the money.  I vent to my private INFJ group, my close friends.  They are desperate to help and beg me to start an indigogo account they can donate to, so I do.  I know it won't be there by the time I need it, because I need the money today.  So I call my mother in law and ask her to buy the ticket with the promise of repayment.  She says yes, but I can't buy it until I have approval to take him with me.  I am terrified the flights will sell out before we can buy a ticket.  I proceed to call J's state worker and legal guardian.  She still isn't answering.  I wait 45 minutes for her to return an email, or phone call, and then panic. Finally, I remember that I have the cell phone number for his mother's worker, and she is still assigned to his case!  I text her to please have Js worker call ASAP.  Instead she calls.

I tell her what is going on.  She immediately gets the information from me, and promises she will orchestrate this for me.  I doubt it will happen in time.  She and I talk on the phone several times in the next 45 minutes.  She filled out the paperwork, sent it to the agency, the agency sent it back, she got it signed by the supervisor, and back to the agency in 45 minutes.  She called me to let me know it was all complete, and that the agency had it.  This was sweet.  It was her way of ensuring the agency didn't have anyway out of letting us take him.  Our worker at the agency is a good worker.  The problem is above her paygrade.

At this time the Indigogo has about 300 dollars in it.  That is wonderful.  It will help us repay our tickets.  Any bit helps.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Where to go

So, I went to the asthma specialist today. My breathing difficulties are not caused my asthma.  My tumor is 5cm lx4cm w x1cm t.  It is pretty big.  He said he didn't know of a single doctor in our area that could treat me.  I would have to travel 4 to 7 hours minimum and rent a hotel room to receive treatment. We have family and friends in Chicago that we can stay with, thus cutting our costs significantly.

The boys need to stay here, they all three have appointments they HAVE to go to.   I am terrified this is going to disrupt baby boys placement.  I am more worried about him being separated from us or removed, than I am about surgery or cancer treatment.

August 28, 2014

We were going to Lowes go pick up things to get the house ready to sell.  The Army says they are moving us.  In the car on the ride there I started to labor quite a bit to get breaths in to my tired lungs.  This problem had been present for nearly 8 months and had been getting progessively worse.  I just chalked it up to my asthma.

I had a similar episode the week before, but my husband was gone on a TDY and I couldn't go the ER and leave my kids alone.  This time he happened to be driving.  It was an unexpected return home that allowed him to be here with me. He went into Lowes alone as I lay in the car trying to capture my breath.  He came back out and things had not improved.  The ER was only a mile away, so he drove me there.  I had a very short loss of conciousness.

The ER dr. didnt hear any wheezing so she felt it couldnt be asthma.  She then proceeded to order an XRay and a ct scan.  A couple of hours later she comes and and asks me I have had fevers, sweats or chills lately. I answered that, "yes, actually I have had shirt soaking night sweats for over a year, and now I am sweating while I am sedentary.."  She left and entered a few minutes later and announced, "Your blood work is normal, but we did find an Anterior Mediastinal mass on your Ct Scan."  and she left abruptly.  My husband and I just exchanged a look of, "what the heck just happened."

We came home and he took the boys outside as I looked up the definition of Anterior Mediastinal mass. It looked as though the choices were surgery via sternumectomy (like in open heart surgery), or cancer treatment depending on whether the tumor was benign or not.  I was numb at either prospect.  My husband is gone most of the year.  How was I going to recover from a surgery, or go through a cancer treatment?  We have a TPR appeal hearing in October, are moving near Christmas, I homeschool our 11 and 14 year olds, and have been working on getting a diagnosis to explain why our 2 year old cant speak, though he tries his hardest.  Who would home school our kids, and take our 2 year old to his 2 weekly speech therapy appointments.  Soccer starts next week for the two older boys.  I was bogged down by all the reasons I couldn't be sick.  This was supposed be caused by my asthma.  I don't have the time or money to deal with this.

So I cried.  I cried hard.  I screamed at the sky.  "you have to fix this.  I cant fix this."  And we told the boys of what was to come, and my heart ripped in two at the thought of putting them through my recovery of either scenario.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

First Letter to you

A letter to my son's mother,

The life you made is beautiful.  He is the gleam in my eye.  He bows my mouth into broad smiles.  He dances for me, just for me.  He lights up when I clap for him.  His chest puffs out, he is proud to know he has pleased his audience.  I am the mother who puffs his chest out.  I am the lucky receiver of his hug attacks.  I will be the witness of his life.  I am lucky that you have given this to me.   I am keenly aware of the magnitude of what you have done for me, and saddened by what it means for you.  It means your gift of him will be missed by you.  I see you in him.  He looks just like you.   I see you looking at me through his eyes begging to be loved.  I promise to love you both.

He is so happy, so full of joy, so full of love.  I feel guilty that it is for my family and not you.  My greatest hope for him is that he can be reunited with you in heaven.  I would love see the joy that might bring to both of you.  This is what I pray for, for both of you.  I am guardian, caretaker, and mother of his soul brought to me through you, to be given back to you some day.

Thank you.  Thank you for giving him life when ending your pregnancy made more sense.  You had nothing for him but love.  I know you tried.  I know you wanted what was best for him, you proved this in the most courageous way.  I admire you.  He is lucky to have two mothers that love him; one in heaven and one on earth.

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Gains and Losses

"I feel so bad for him."
"Really?  Why do you feel bad for him.  The judge did the right thing."
"I know he did.  I just feel so sad.  J's dad was so upset."
"Oh, you know that was for show, right?"

But what if it wasn't.  What if this man's angst, and anger were real?  I know for sure that they were real to him at that moment.  Js dad took the stand to defend himself.  He really couldn't.  In fact he took accountability, in many ways, and I admired that.  He said some very painful things aimed at us while he was up there, but I couldn't be angry with him.  He was trying, desperately, to remain the father of his son.  J doesn't know him.  He wouldn't be able to pick J out in a crowd, but this doesn't make his pain any less real.  He may not know his son, but he knows what it feels like to lose him.  A feeling I hope to never feel.  This is why I feel for him. As he talked I studied him.  I committed myself to absorbing every detail about him so I might one day tell his son everything I could about who his father was and what his father looked like.

-Son, you have your father's deep, soulful, throaty voice.  A voice like Louis Armstrong.  You have his sturdy, well muscled frame, and broad shoulders.  He fought for you.  He wasn't ready to care for you, he admitted this, but he still fought for you.  Otherwise, my dear, you look exactly like your mother, and you have her sweet demeanor.-

So, Js dad's rights were terminated.  I should be happy, and I am, but I also mourn.  I mourn for the loss, yet another loss, that J doesn't know he has suffered yet.  When J realizes this loss, he will surely mourn.  I mourn for the loss Js dad has experienced, a loss he felt acutely.  Whether it was a show or not, he felt loss.  I have to think that even if what he felt was a mirage of a true feeling, he knew, intellectually, the implication of the ruling.  Otherwise he wouldn't have been able to put on a show in the first place.

Even if the permanent separation of a family is in the best interest of the child, as it is in this case, the situation is still a tragedy.  Children are meant to be raised by their parents.  If they can't be raised by both biological parents, it is best for them to be raised by one of them.  Every child yearns for this.  It is only in extreme cases that a child cannot be reunited with their parents.  In these cases both child and parent suffer such great loss, the death of a primal relationship.

I can say this to Js mom, "you got your wish my dear. Rest peacefully.  He will know how much you loved him."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

His mother

The full moon stared at me through my bedroom window keeping me awake wondering if you were looking at it too.  I wonder if you are cold tonight.  I wonder if you are hungry.  I wonder if you miss your baby sleeping upstairs.  I wonder how the same moon can mean such different things to us.  I wonder why your family couldn't love you, you seem loveable to me.  I wonder a lot of things about you.  I wish I could love you back to life the way I have your son.  I wish I could have been there when for you more.  I wish someone would have told you that you could be a wonderful mother.  I wonder if your defeat is what kept you from getting the help you needed.  I wonder if you know I do love you.  I wonder if you know that when I look into your son's eyes I see you, or if you know that when he is difficult I try to handle him with the patience and love you'd want for him even if you couldn't do it yourself.  I wish you did.  I wish a lot of things.