Our favorite Big Deal turned one! I had planned to go all out and well, that just didn’t happen because September came and went way too fast for this well-seasoned momma. Even though BD won’t remember it, we hope she will enjoy looking at the pictures of how much mess she made with one orange cake. Thankfully we had a couple of friends (Alyson and Patrick) and Aunt Kim who are kind enough to come hang with us and watch our favorite blue eyed girl tear up some cake. I didn’t plan any silly kid birthday games so Alyson said let’s see if we can get her to walk. That’s what we did for fun and BD obliged. She officially took her first couple of steps at her birthday party. How cool is that? Ever since she has been wearing it out. Our biped can almost make all the way across the room without an uh oh. Our lives are getting more complicated by the minute.
One of the things that we celebrated with this major milestone was PB&J. That my friends is a big deal! True story: Day three of our honeymoon to Banner Elk, NC, after we had blown all the cash we brought with us on the ski slopes, I found out that my former roommate and her boyfriend du jour had stolen my checkbook and wiped out my bank account writing bad checks all over Macon. Actually, I didn’t find that out until after we got home from our honeymoon. What I did find out was that my checking account was over drawn by about a thousand dollars when we stopped by an ATM to get more cash. It was devastating because we had deposited all the wedding money into my account before we left town and figured we could tap into that after a couple of days. Nope. No money and we had less than $40 to make it for the rest of the week and the trip home. No way was that going to happen. I was struggling to understand what had happened and how I had so badly messed up my checking account. After a tearful call home to Mom and Dad and their promise to wire us some cash, we took our remaining dollars, headed to the Piggly Wiggly and purchased two loafs of bread and two jars of peanut butter and a couple of gallons of milk. Peanut butter sandwiches three meals a day for the rest of our honeymoon. It’s true you can’t live on love alone but you can live on peanut butter and love, we know from experience.
Since the ban on peanuts is now lifted from Miss BD’s life, we celebrated her actual birthday dinner with her first PB&J. She loved it, we love that we now have a fast and easy fall back for her when we are having a non-kid friendly dinner. We are also getting a bump to our food budget since we are weaning formula. I can put steaks back on the menu as we have an extra Ben Franklin to burn at Kroger.
That leads me to TPR. Those of you that foster know what it is. For the rest of you uninitiated folks TPR stands for termination of parental rights. This is when DFCS has determined that the parents are not going to get their act together and time has run out for a permanency plan for the children. DFCS changes the case plan from reunification to adoption and petitions the court to terminate the parental rights of the children so that DFCS can find and place the children with an adoptive family. BD’s case worker informed us right before the party that she was beginning the process for TPR.
Now for all my management of expectations – the parents can fight it and if the judge believes it is in the best interest of the child, they will deny the TPR petition or make DFCS extend the period of time given the parent(s) to work the plan. The extended family can also petition for guardianship/adoption of the children. These things can mean a delay to the adoption process or even a change back to reunification and a straight fostering case once again. So lots of things can change but if the TPR is granted, we are moving to an adoption and BD will be ours. Wow.
There was such a mix of emotions when I heard this “good news.” First there were tears of expectation and thankfulness and renewed hope immediately followed by sadness. Sadness that in the five months BD has been in our lives, there have been no family visits, no requests to see this beautiful baby on her first birthday and no extended family knocking on the theoretical door wanting to be a part of her life. I want so badly for this beautiful child to have people in her life that will fight for her and that will have her back. We would fully support an open adoption so that she could grow up knowing who and where she came from and hopefully have multiple people in her life to love her, even if they couldn’t care for her. I can’t imagine the pain of not being able to see a child you carried for nine months smash up her 1st birthday cake, so my heart hurts for her momma who I may never meet, for her grandparents that will never get a text containing a video of her smearing icing all over the place and for a dad who will never hold his little girl’s hand as she takes her first steps. And that brings me back to thankfulness. We are so very blessed to get to do this. To be the ones watching this amazing child conquer her next milestone and take on the world. Thankfulness – sounds like a good word of the year.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Give thanks in all circumstances: for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Thessalonians 5:18