08 January, 2012

We've Moved

I decided that I wanted to take things over to Wordpress. I know a lot of people have really liked it...so we're going to give it a shot. I'll still have my blogspot blog up and running, and may migrate back, but for now, I'm up and running over at Wordpress.

We've Moved

click the linky link! Hope to see you all over there!!

29 December, 2011

Court Is Done....

We had our last court date today.

I haven't really been talking about it. I was angry after our last court date and it wouldn't really be nice of me to just sit there and shit talk all over the place. And trust me, I was pissed enough to just talk about any and everything, including name calling, which...quite frankly would have been completely unnecessary on my part and I don't need to resort to that.  (If you can't say somethin' nice....) (Also, my poor husband got to hear the majority of my complaining...)

But I cooled down and today, when we went to court, we thought it was going to be difficult.

Right before our last court date, Reilly's natural father wrote a letter to the courts contesting the adoption, stating that he wanted to be more involved in her life, not less, and that while Brad was a good father, he was "just her step-father". He stated that he has tried to contact her and always willing to pay child support, etc...etc...etc....

Well, nothing happened. There was not a phone call or anything to be had. Personally, I find it incredibly hard to believe that someone wants a relationship with their child when they don't even try. Even if he didn't want to deal with ME, that is for sure not a reason not to try to have a relationship with your child. I will be her mother, that has to be "dealt with", for the next 13 years regardless. But I digress.

I know that Brett and I do have some mutual friends and that's okay. I know most of, if not all of, our mutual friends have known him longer. And that's okay too. And some people may not agree with my decision to go forward with the adoption, however, that is not anyone's choice but mine and my husbands...and it's mostly mine at that. As her mother, I feel like this was the best possible choice for my daughter and honestly, I would be surprised if anyone in my position made a different choice. I could go on and on about why we made this choice...but ultimately, what it comes down to is that I gave ample opportunity and never discouraged a relationship. And in all honesty, had there been more of an effort, this wouldn't have been the road we went down. I am the first person to think that a father should have a relationship with their child and Brad agrees with me. However, at the end of the day, no contact for an entire year other than a birthday card is not considered a relationship. At all.

This road was costly and time consuming, and I would have much rather spent those thousands of dollars somewhere else. But my daughter having the best father she could have was more important.

So court today went surprisingly well, and for what it's worth, I give Brett kudos for stepping up and consenting to the adoption. I can't imagine making that decision...though, I haven't ever put myself into a position where that would even come close to being a decision I would have to make. But anyway. The adoption will be finalized and will be back dated to 11 August 2011. Reilly is officially an Oberklaus now. I imagine sometime down the road, she'll have questions...and we will do our best to answer them. I'm not a fan of shit talking (or at least, not generally and most definitely not in this situation), but I am going to be honest with my daughter. And if later on down the road, she wants a relationship with him, then we will support her. But at the moment, she has all she needs...a mother and father who care about her, support her and would do anything for her.

Now we just wait for the paperwork and everything to get done and that's it. We are so happy. Obviously, Reilly would be loved by Brad regardless of a piece of paper. He's been acting like her biological father for over four years now, and if the judges decision had swayed the other way, we would have gotten over the loss and continued being the same family that we are. This just makes it all legal.

I know that this is a hard thing for some people. I know people are going through this, that or the other thing when it comes to their own children. And I think jumping the gun on taking parental rights away is unnecessary. But this has been four years in the making. And what is best for Reilly.

I know some people can't even imagine needing to take this step. But most parents would try harder. This isn't to say that he never did or doesn't love Reilly...because that's not my call to make nor do I believe that. However, what is blatantly apparent to me is the obvious lack of relationship. And that is not okay. Reilly hasn't even mentioned him since her birthday (in March) when she got a birthday card from him. When you have access to the tools to have a relationship with someone, especially your child, but make a decision not to, I can't feel sorry for you. I am not even talking about monetary support. I'm not a cold hearted bitch. I'm not a gold digger. I'm realistic. Brad and I have always been able to take care of our kids, put a roof over their heads, keep the lights on and food in our fridge and in their bellies. We've never needed the support. Reilly didn't need that support. She surely would have benefited from having an actual relationship though.

So there's that! We'll be going out to dinner tonight to celebrate and this is just one less thing we need to worry about now. Until we get all the paperwork for the adoption back and have to deal with health and social services for the birth certificate and then the social security office, the military and then her school. But other than that, we are done and have nothing else to do other than continue being the family that we always have been.

In all honesty, I hope that he understands that he did make the best choice for Reilly. And as I said earlier, if she wants to have a relationship with him later on down the road when she is older, she is more than welcome to...Brad and I won't be offended and we will fully support her decision to have that relationship. But it needs to be known that it is HER choice, not anyone elses. We will not pressure her to have a relationship that she does not want and we will not allow anyone else to try to pressure her into a relationship. I also hope that he takes this time to consider the chain of events leading up to this and he can decide to have an amazing relationship with his other children. They are both amazing kids and they deserve it.

All in all, we are very happy. It feels kind of different...even though nothing has really changed. Reilly is still loved. Very much. She just has another name now. :)

09 December, 2011

Tis the season

I haven't written for awhile, so this is gonna be quick...I actually have loads of things to do today (like run to the bank...which...blehhhh) and get some stuff done around the house.

As far as the pregnancy is going...well it's going. I'm miserable and tired. I'm not sure how women in their 30's and 40's have babies because...well this is tiring. Of course, I understand that I do have a 5 year old and a toddler who keep me busy all day long and that makes it a little more tiring, but still. But aside from just being exhausted, I'm doing really well. I went to a midwife appointment just a couple weeks ago and I was measuring two weeks ahead, which apparently is normal? Did not realize that! But good to know. So I was measuring a couple weeks ahead, but Bachman is doing wonderfully. He's moving around like crazy -- much more than I remember either of the girls doing. Though the last couple days he's calmed down a little bit...which I think is more about the room he has inside. He's definitely starting to run out. And with less than 10 weeks till my due date, that's expected.

I've started working on my birth plan, which will be short, sweet and to the point this time (about a page long, bulleted.). It's including the treatment of the placenta since we're planning on taking that home (which, I might write about later, if I have the time) to encapsulate it. So I want to get that all taken care of. We finally bought Bachman a car seat (Thanks mom and dad!) so we are technically ready for him whenever he wants to come, though I'm hoping he'll stay in until at least my due date, and if he wants to stay in there a little longer, he is more than welcome to. Also, in talking to my husband, I really notice how much he actually listens to me when I talk about birth and what I want for me and our babies...and how amazingly supportive he is when it comes to what I want.

I have my next doctors appointment coming up in about a week and a half for my 32 weeks. I just can't believe it's going SO FAST. The holidays make it go buy much faster.

Speaking of holidays, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our friends this year. Pretty small, but it was fun. We cooked a pretty traditional dinner...I made homemade pie for the first time ever, which was delicious if I say so myself. It was just nice and fun. I sure did miss my family and Thanksgiving always reminds me of my Grandma (who passed away in October) and Grandpa (who passed away in 2004) so it was a little difficult this year. But we had a great time anyway.

Up next is Christmas and I have almost all of my Christmas shopping done! YAY! I just have a few more things I want to get the girls and I actually have a family of kids that I'm going to be shopping for. A blog that I read made a post right here called Operation WANA (We Are Not Assholes) in regards to another post that she made a couple days ago. Anyway, long story short, every one of the comments on the blog is asking for or offering to help someone this holiday season...so after reading and reading and doing a lot of thinking, I'm planning on getting some things together for a family for Christmas. They have 4 kids, including a 6 month old daughter with some birth defects. So I'll be shopping around for some things for the family. It won't be much...I wish I could do more for a family in need...but we'll do what we can. We have been very lucky that even though we aren't perfect financially, we are still able to afford a place to live and cars with gas and put food in our tummies...our kids never feel like they don't have anything and we aren't behind in our bills....so wihle we may not have thousands of dollars saved up in our bank account and yea, we sometimes live from paycheck to paycheck, we are definitely not hurting like a lot of other people are. Reading some of the stories just made my heart hurt...to know that so many people are just waiting for the banks to come take their houses and that no matter how much they've tried, they still cannot find work...it's just heartbreaking. Especially when kids are involved. I can't imagine not being able to give my kids just the basics. So it's what I can do to help out a family and help them have a better Christmas. I've emailed the mom a little bit and she just seems so sweet and I feel for her. I really do. Not to mention, this is something I really enjoy doing. And we probably won't be able to do it every year, and it may not be that much money, but at least it's something. And this is probably the most stressful time of year for most families so it makes me feel awesome. :)

So that's that. I'll be posting again soon...I've just been so busy...and it'll be even busier in the next couple weeks. Brad starts a new job soon, we have Christmas, and doctors appointments and Reilly's school break. We have court just a few days after Christmas too, which we are gearing up for. I just sent a whole bunch of stuff off to my lawyer and have actually more to print and send off. Just getting ready for that. I'm excited for everything we have going on in the next couple weeks.

But for now, I must sign off...it is nap time at my house and the we have errands to run.

More later. I promise.

17 November, 2011

All Kids Are Liars

Today, I stumbled upon this blog, Adventures in Mommyhood and her blog post entitled My Little Terrorist.

This post (the story, not the updates) made me angry. I was angry for this mom and her boy. I was angry at the school. What irritated me the most about the entire situation was that we recently had to go through an incident where Reilly's teacher basically called her a liar...

Here's the run down of what happened.

Back in October, a note was sent home from school saying that they were going to have a field trip to the zoo the first Friday in November. Awesome! Reilly loves going on field trips, and the zoo is super awesome. They were asking for chaperones. Now, I couldn't go because I have Ophelia during the day, and siblings aren't allowed on field trips...but Brad was going to be on leave after his surgery, and had said something about wanting to go. So I ticked the little box saying "Yes! If you need the help, I am available" and waited to hear back from the school.

A week or so later, Reilly comes home with a bright orange piece of paper saying "We've selected you to be a chaperone, please send us your $$."

Yay! Reilly was really excited that Brad would get to go on the field trip with her. She loves that he can do stuff like that with her. It's good bonding time for both of them since he works all day and she's at school all day. But he had the day off already and was excited to get to go!

Fast forward to THE DAY BEFORE the field trip. Reilly comes home from school a little distraught. Of course, I ask her whats wrong and she gives me the run around. So we just start talking about her day and I ask her if she's excited for daddy to go with her on her field trip the next day.

"Mrs. T says that daddy isn't coming with me on the field trip."

What....what?! I heard that right didn't I? I mean, we turned in the paper, we got that bright orange paper back, I sent money to school to cover Brad...sooooo what's the deal?

"Reilly, Mrs. T sent us home a paper that said daddy was going on the field trip with you tomorrow...what do you mean she said he isn't coming?"

"I was saying how I was happy that my daddy was coming with me to the field trip tomorrow and Mrs. T said that my daddy wasn't coming....I kept telling her he was, but she just kept saying no!!"

I was seriously taken aback. She just kept repeating over, and over "Mrs. T said I'm not right." and "Mrs. T says my daddy isn't coming."

We had the damn paper posted on our fridge saying that "Yes, a parent of Reilly was going to chaperone."

I told her not to worry about it, that her daddy WAS INDEED going on the field trip with her and that daddy and I would deal with it.

We waited for Brad to come home (I'm not sure where he was at the time, but he wasn't at home) and we talked. He had tried to call the school but Mrs. T was gone for the day. We didn't know what was going on but we decided to just go about our business like he was going on the field trip, all the time reassuring Reilly, who was devastated, that we would deal with it in the morning and that daddy would go on the field trip with her.

So the next morning, we all piled in the van (I was just going to drop off Brad and Reilly and then pick them up after school) and drove to school. We got there early, so Brad and Reilly hoped on out of the car after a bit to go sit in front of the class and wait for Mrs. T, bright orange piece of paper in hand stating that yes, they did say he was going to chaperone.

I was sitting in the car with Ophelia when all this went down, but I could see them. I saw Mrs. T walk up and I saw Reilly say something to her. I saw Brad stand up and pull the piece of paper out of his pocket and Mrs. T take it, say something, and then walk away.

While the field trip ended up being canceled and rescheduled (which, I'll get back to that in a minute) here is what happened...

Mrs. T walked up and Reilly said "See Mrs. T! My daddy IS coming on the field trip."
And Mrs. T said "No Reilly, he's not." Right to her face, with her daddy sitting RIGHT NEXT TO HER, she called my kid out as a liar -- in my mind --. when she was CLEARLY right.


That's when Brad stood up and pulled the piece of paper out of his pocket and had to point out that THEY SAID he was going. When Mrs. T saw that, she said that she was going to go see what happened, but made mention that the field trip might be canceled.

Turns out it was...there was a lot of rain downtown and it was really gross and not a good day to go on a field trip. But I just felt so horrible that my kid was basically called a liar. When the school approved it.

Sadly, they rescheduled the field trip and Brad won't be able to go now since the trip is on a training day. I'm not sure if Reilly was ever apologized too, but she dropped it, and so did we. But she's five...why would she have any reason to lie about something like that? And what good does it do to her self esteem to tell her that she's wrong? Is your pride as a kindergarten teacher THAT fragile that you HAVE TO be right?

Are all teachers like this? Aren't they supposed to be helping the kids to build their self esteem up and help teach them good values? Maybe instead of telling her "NO!" you can, oh, I don't know, DO SOME RESEARCH and figure out that YOU SAID that her daddy was going to be a chaperone.

I'm still irritateed about the whole thing. My daughter lies about brushing her teeth and putting her toys away...ya know...KID stuff. Why would she have ANY reason to lie about other stuff?

Luckily, she has parents who believe her and encourage her when she IS right. Of course, we talk to her about it when she's wrong too, but in this case, she had nothing to be worried about and was right.


What would you have done in the situation? I'm not sure if we should have demanded an apology or what we should have done...but now that it's done and over with, we just have to deal with Reilly being upset that Brad can't actually go on her field trip (it's a training day for him...and he's been on leave for a month...sad face.) and I can't go because I have Ophelia.

Maybe another day he can go...

And hopefully her teacher won't be a dip shit.

27 October, 2011

24 Weeks Already....*sigh*

Today, I went to my 24 week appointment at the OB/GYN clinic. I'm technically seeing midwives...however, I believe that they are truly more "med-wives" than the traditional midwife. The woman I saw today has been doing midwifery since 1982...so longer than I've been alive. She's seen many a birth. She told me today that I am "her type" of patient...because I'm informed and want to take control of my birth.

I didn't like her one bit.

Since I actually gave birth to Ophelia pretty quickly (labored at home until I felt I needed to go to the hospital, got to the hospital at 5cm, but pretty much as soon as my water broke, she was outta there), I asked what would be good to have on hand just in case we got stuck in traffic or something. Ya know...because it COULD HAPPEN.

Her response?

"Oh. Talk to the hospital and let them know what happened last time. Then just go in at the first sign of labor."



You want me...the woman who doesn't even want an IV stuck in her hand to go into a hospital at the FIRST SIGN OF LABOR?! If you haven't read my birth story, I started having contractions at 3:30pm. They were noticeable and semi-regular. They weren't painful, just irritating. But it was the beginning of labor. My delivery was super quick. It took 9 hours for my contractions to get bad enough that I thought "hey, maaayyyybbbeee I should go to the hospital"...it was just once I got there that things went really fast. But I can't understand why a midwife would suggest going into the hospital at the very first sign of labor, especially when my delivery is what is quick, not my labor (which, she didn't even ask about...and I'm sure I won't ever see her again so she'll never get a chance to ask).

Maybe I'm more irritated about it than I should be. But should I really have to rely on going to the hospital instead of just being prepared? I have had uncomplicated pregnancies and uncomplicated deliveries. My babies have both been born healthy and there is nothing that is pointing towards Bachman's birth being any different. Instead of telling me to do something that will ensure I get all the interventions I don't want (EFM, IV, etc) why not suggest a few supplies that I could easily get on hand that would be useful in helping my husband delivering a baby before we get to the hospital?

I'm really frustrated. I don't want to go to the hospital at all...but there are no birth centers (that I've found) on the island. My options are deliver at Tripler again...which, my birth experience with Ophelia wasn't horrible...I want to make that clear. My problem was the lack of personal care, the fact that I was just another person in a bed...the fact that if I had been admitted, I would have been forced to follow certain procedures...the fact that I gave birth to my daughter in a brightly lit triage room with close to a dozen nurses that were unnecessary.

I don't want any of that...Not this time. Not with my last baby.

My other options include a UC birth (unassisted childbirth) or a home birth with a non-certified nurse midwife, which my insurance will not pay for. According to Tricare, they will only cover CNM's for home birth, even though CNM's rarely do home births.

While I believe that we (Brad and I) could have a baby at home, all by ourselves, on purpose, it honestly isn't my first choice. The "what-ifs" for me are almost too great. Would we do it if we had to? Absolutely...my births have not been high risk and the girls have been fine...however, I do like the knowledge that someone will be there who knows exactly what to do in case of an emergency.

So after digging around and doing some research, I found Sacred Healing Arts. Its a group of women who practice Naturopathic Medicine, Oriental Medicine and Midwifery. I had run across them before when I was pregnant with Ophelia, but nothing ever came of it. So I sent them an email (I've been sick and talking on the phone is not really in....well...anyone's best interest really. I sound all gross and raspy). I'll be interested to see what they say...and then try to figure out what I'm going to do about it. I haven't decided. Its not going to be cheap and going to the hospital is free for us because of our insurance.

We'll see how it all works out. I've just been so upset all day after talking to the CNM...I don't feel listened to...I don't feel like anyone is standing behind me....I don't feel comfortable. I'm there at the office for 15 minutes. They take my temperature and blood pressure. Measure my belly. Listen to the heartbeat...tell me when to show up for my next appointment. Any questions are just answered quickly. My cold magically turned into allergies as soon as I started to ask about it.

It's sad to me when I feel like I can do better on my own....on the internet or through friends or books....than I can sitting in my doctors office for 15 minutes.

Like I said...maybe I'm being too emotional about this...maybe I'm logical in my own right...but I'll figure this all out. I just want this to be the best birth. This IS my last baby.

I'll keep you all updated when I figure it all out.

11 October, 2011

Court is Today

So today is the day. Court day. If you've been paying attention to the ongoing court situation (part 1 and part 2) today is the day of our hearing. We are actually going to go to court, sit in front of a judge, have him/her look over our case and decide what would be the best course of action in petitioning for Brad to legally adopt Reilly.

We haven't heard anything from Reilly's natural father (no text messages, phone calls, Facebook messages, emails, etc) or from anyone who could possibly be representing him...though I've gotten a hint from his facebook (a mutual friend...well...a friend of mine really...pointed out his current status that asks his friends to cross their fingers for him) that he may be at least calling in. I don't believe there is any chance that he will actually show up...but there's a chance that he'll be present. Though, I can't imagine why....he hasn't spoken to her in 10 months.

Yes...I keep reiterating that. I keep saying that he doesn't talk to her or he doesn't email her or ask to talk to her. I have to. While I've said that I completely understand if people want to take sides, I need the people who take HIS side to understand that I didn't wake up one morning and think "hmm! How can I fuck him over today?!" -- it's not like that. This hasn't been a problem for days or weeks, this has been a problem for years. This isn't that I'm just being mean. I'm trying to protect MY child from disappointment. I want people...especially people who know him...to understand that this isn't some fucking pitty party that needs to be thrown. I expect good, quality people to want to be involved in their child's life, regardless of where that child is. I live thousands and thousands of miles away from my parents and I still keep in contact with them. Even when I was a bitter, angsty teenager I had a better relationship with my parents (who I "hated") than he does with his daughter. And there are so many things out there now -- she has her own laptop with a webcam on it that I would be more than happy to download Skype on so she could sit in the play room and have a conversation with her natural father. But instead, he chooses not to.

I woke up this morning excited. My friend informed me of his status (remember, the one asking for fingers to be crossed). I got nervous...well...more nervous than I was previously. Court is always nerve wracking. But the more I think about it, the less nervous I decided I was...I know that Brad and I have done everything we possibly can for Reilly -- emotionally, mentally, physically and monetarily....but I'm angry. I'm angry at Brett for thinking he deserves some kind of sympathy from his friends and family when it's his fault that he doesn't have s relationship with his daughter. I'm angry that he thinks he deserves to even have a relationship with her now.

People say that DNA doesn't make a daddy. My husband is proof of that. Will he ever be biologically related to Reilly? No. But, he doesn't need to have the same DNA as her to be her dad. He has proven time and time and time again that he is up for the responsibility (in every single way) of taking care of her for....well....basically ever! Because of Brett's disability, he is at home almost all the time. He continually has access to a computer with a webcam and Skype. He also has access to a phone. He has the time. But instead of taking 20 minutes of out his day to talk to his daughter...to ask how school was...or what she's learning...or ask her what she can read all by herself...or who her friends are......he plays facebook games or WoW, or reads comic books.

You know what Brad does when Reilly gets home from school? He helps her with her homework. We all talk about what happened during the day.

So that's my pre-court "rant" of sorts. I'm not nervous. I'm confident that Brad and I are the best parents for Reilly. I am confident that her natural father doesn't have a leg to stand on. I'm confident that today will go in our favor. But I'm still nervous as hell.

And for everyone who thinks they are doing anyone a favor by feeling sorry for him...the only person you are doing a favor for is him. He needs someone to feel sorry for him. But this court hearing isn't about HIM. It's not about ME or BRAD or any one else. The only person it is about, is REILLY. And what is going to benefit HER in the long run. And what she's been through. And who has been there for her. And who WILL be there for her in the next weeks, months and years. Not who's DNA she's made out of.

I'll update everyone later about how it went.

Okay...now I'm nervous.


10 October, 2011

My Take on the Minimalist Baby

With BB's (Baby Bachman's -- and oh, it's a boy!! I don't think I've blogged since we found out!) due date fast approaching, we obviously are going to be in need of baby items.

I've taken somewhat different approaches to baby gear with the last two.

With Reilly, I wanted awesomeness in any way possible. Baby gear out the ass. Did I get it all? No. Of course not. (I'm not THAT spoiled) but I got what I needed and THEN SOME.

With Ophelia, we were so close to moving by the time I had my baby shower that I really only asked for the basics....but I still ended up with stuff that I didn't need or really utilize.

So with BB, I've decided that I don't need anything else other than the basics. I have a lot of stuff left over from Ophelia that I can use -- breast pump, boppy, pack and play (to use as a make shift crib until we can get one that isn't ridiculously expensive OR just a crib...convertible all the way!) a couple of bottles and some "entertain small baby" toys. I also have an entire bin full of blankets (wtf?) and my Moby Wrap. We have the little things too...baby nail clippers? Check. I think we have two sets even. Burp cloths and wash clothswe also have! In abundance (thanks mama!

So I have baby things. I'm not planning on buying a ton for BB. I don't really *need* a whole lot! There are some things though...like almost every baby, you do need some things.

My minimalist list for BB:
-convertible (not infant) car seat. Ophelia hated her infant car seat and we'll be buying a convertible car seat in the not too distant future, so we're opting to invest in one from the get-go.
-double stroller for Ophelia and Bachman. We actually use our stroller a decent amount of the time right now...especially when I walk Reilly down to the bus stop. It will be nice once Bachman gets older too and it isn't comfortable for me to wear him in the Moby wrap.
-cloth diapers. This one I'm a little worried about...I haven't been CDing Ophelia for 2 months or so now. We hit a snag that I needed to take care of (maybe worth a blog post later) and we switched to disposables for Ophelia's sake. I've had a hard time getting back to CDing for a variety of reasons, but I plan on hopefully finding a way to make it work for our family again.
-an acceptable amount of clothing for a BB At least enough clothing for two changes/day if necessary for a week plus a couple outfits for laundry days. Including some jammies. But we live in Hawaii...he doesn't need an abundance of pants or socks or jackets or anything like that.

There will be a couple more things here and there I'm sure...but mostly, this is the list I'm going off of. He'll be a newborn, what the hell else will he need?? Sure, a couple of months after he's born, we might get him an exersaucer (not Ophelia's...because...well...hers is bright pink). It'll probably be nice to have a little play mat at some point too...Ophelia seemed to dig hers for quite some time. But I think instead of buying mostly new (Ophelia's exersaucer was found on Craigs List), we're going to go for mostly used this time around. There are some things that I do want to buy new because both Ophelia and BB will get use out of them. A nice new baby monitor. If our house was one level, I probably wouldn't bother....but its not. And since Ophelia will be moving into her own room before BB comes along, we'll need one for her. Then, when BB moves into his own room. Baby gates are a must. We have one crappy one...I'd like two not so crappy ones. But honestly, that's about it.

Of course, as he (and Ophelia) gets older, he'll need more things. More clothes...or rather, different kinds of clothing (tshirts and shorts instead of onsies), shoes and socks, pants and jackets when we move back to the mainland. But in the first year, Ophelia didn't really need a whole lot. She didn't need a new outfit for every single day. I actually liked just letting her hang out in stained clothes if we were just gonna be at home...why not? The likelihood of her getting MORE stains on them was pretty huge...so instead of ruining new clothes, she can just ruin old, already ruined clothes! With the abundance of toys Ophelia has collected over the last year, I won't need to buy much. I don't need twenty million binkies hanging around my house -- unless BB turns out to be a binky baby, which Ophelia wasn't. Then maybe we'll have like, five. I'll be breastfeeding 99% of the time again, so we won't need an entire stash of bottles...just a couple for here and there times....like when my parents and inlaws come to visit and maybe the husband and I can have date night.

Plus, I'm on this minimalist kick anyway. I look around my house and I get irritated. I don't want to clean up the house because it'll be cluttered again in 20 minutes (not an exaggeration either). I have a list of things to start minimizing and BB's stuff will be an on-going project until he's born....and then after -- along with the girls.

If I can actually take the time to sit down and blog...which...I seem to keep promising...and failing miserably at...I might write about my new minimalist obsession and what I plan on doing about it. I have lists and plans...and they might get done in a timely manner. Especially with Christmas around the corner. Yeesh.

So that's my plan for BB.

Are you a minimalist mom or do you need all the awesome gadgets for a new baby? And yes some of them are pretty awesome. Someone them....not so much. Like the "baby keurig"...that makes a bottle of formula for you. Seems like a waste of counter space to me. Though...maybe that's why I (now) consider myself a minimalist mom...I don't need that kinda stuff.

07 October, 2011

Lawyer Meeting

So a couple weeks ago I blogged about what we were doing and our super secret news...and WHY exactly we were going down the road that we chose to go down.

Well, we are less than a week away from our court date and I'm getting more nervous and excited the closer it comes to the court date. Court is next Tuesday. Yesterday, we went to meet with the lawyer who will be representing us at the hearing.

For the last month or so, I've been nervous as hell. The what-ifs have been flowing. But today, when we met with our lawyer most of that changed. I'm still nervous...but not as nervous as I was before.

We went over what was basically going to happen...apparently adoption cases are pretty cut and dry. Which is pretty understandable, especially since it is looking pretty doubtful that Reilly's natural father will be in attendance in any way.

She's expecting this to go pretty quick...and really, the only thing that may take some time would be waiting until our names are called.

So if all goes well, it could be finalized as soon as Tuesday.

We also discussed after the adoption is finalized...I was under the assumption for some reason that this would be a closed adoption -- meaning that Reilly's natural father would not be able to have any contact with her legally. But I found out today that that isn't the case. There is nothing *legally* keeping him from trying to contact her, except for Brad and I...which is fine...and I think beneficial in the long run. If, a couple years down the line, she decides she wants to know about him or what happened, I will have no problem telling her, and with all the social media and google, she'd have no problem finding him...though I think right now, it is better left as a "closed" thing on our end...not that he seems to want any contact with her to begin with.  I mean...I didn't stay friends with her biological father AND his mother on facebook just because it's fun. I kept that line of communication open specifically for Reilly. I let them catch glimpses into my life for my daughter.

This whole situation makes me happy for our family. For Reilly, who will legally have an amazing father. Not that she hasn't the last 4 years...Brad has been there for her when she's needed a father. He's been there for her for 4 years.And making it legal will just be the icing on the cake.

But it makes me sad too. It makes me sad that I believed Reilly's natural father when he said that he loved her. That he'd take care of her. That he'd never let anything hurt her. And he lied. He lied to me. And ultimately, he lied to Reilly. He let HIS issues/problems/entertainment/well being/LIFE come before his child. And do you know why that is wrong? When you become a parent...to one child, three children, or ten children...your life is no longer yours. Your needs and comfort and entertainment no longer come first 100% of the time. Sometimes, it's okay to take time to yourself...to have alone time or a date night. To go out with friends. But when you put yourself first...before your children...any chance you get...that's not right. And it's not being a *real* parent.

Reilly has stopped asking...she's stopped caring....she's stopped questioning. She might do it all again one day...but as of right now, she doesn't even know that they are on the same planet, let alone related by blood. And I'm more than okay with that. She has everything and everyone she absolutely needs, right here in our house.

I'm so ready for Tuesday.

24 September, 2011

Serious Update

Lots and lots has been going on lately. So, we'll start!

Last week, Brad and I got some horrible news...a friend of ours...well, mostly his, but I knew him, was killed in Afghanistan last weekend. Very, very sad and super tragic...especially shortly after the year anniversary of our other friend, Aj, being killed in Afghanistan. Needless to say, it was a pretty somber weekend at our house.

However, with that sad news, I'm very happy to say that Brad's friends and family have been so generous and have donated money to him so he can make the trip to Alabama for the funeral...which I think is fantastic. So Brad leaves for Alabama this upcoming Monday for Mike's funeral and will be back on Thursday. I'm happy he gets to go....especially since he wasn't able to get back for Aj's funeral last year.  So he'll be getting into Alabama on Tuesday morning, with the funeral on Wednesday morning. His brother is awesome and is taking some time off on Wednesday and Thursday and driving down from Kentucky to grab dinner and hang out for a couple hours.

I have my 20 week baby appointment on Wednesday! Which means, it's time to *hopefully* find out if we're having a boy or a girl! I'm pretty bummed that Brad won't be here (he'll be in Alabama and all) but we've decided not to share the sex of the baby -- if we can even see it -- until after he gets back from Alabama. It'll be nice to have a little secret just for us for a day or so. I'm sure there will be a little disappointment with that...because I know so many people are looking forward to knowing if Baby O #3 will be the long awaited boy or another girl. (Btw, Reilly keeps telling me she wants another girl.) I'm going to try to see if I can call him during the ultrasound, but who knows if they'll let me or if I'll even have signal...I have horrid signal at the clinic. But he'll find out one way or another. :)

Then let's see....after Brad comes home from Alabama, Reilly starts her fall break from school. I can't believe they are already having their first break. Back in the beginning of September, I got to go to the Student of the Month assembly because Reilly got student of the month in August! Her first month in school and she got student of the month! For taking care of her responsibilities and her personal area (I assume that means her desk or something...?)

Look at my big girl!!
We also got her school pictures back! She looks like such a big girl instead of a little kid...it's hard to believe that in about 6 months she's going to be 6! She'll be closer to 10 than she will be 1! It just seems so impossible...I don't know why...part of one of those things that comes with being a mom I guess...?

Next! Ophelia had her FIRST BIRTHDAY a couple weeks ago! FIRST! Which means she has successfully been alive for a year and no one has died, broken anything or ended up in the hospital! Which is fabulous! We didn't really do much for her birthday...we bought her some gifts...Nannie and Opa also mailed some money (which she got some pretty awesome stuff with) and Grandma and Grandpa sent some gifts her way as well...we had pizza and I made cake in a jar (which color wise, looked really sad). She made a disgusting mess and had not one, but two baths. But all in all it was a pretty decent birthday! No parties, no other kids, no huge mess to clean up...just Ophelia, Sissy, Mama and Daddy (And Mocha!) celebrating with our little toddler. (WHA?! TODDLER??!!)

So that was fun.

Happy Birthday Ophelia!!
I posted last week (I think) about taking Reilly's biological dad to court -- we're petitioning the courts to let Brad legally adopt Reilly. It's seeming like it's going to go our way, but the closer we get to the court date, the more nervous I get. I'm not sure why...especially since bother her bio-father and her bio-grandmother have both defriended me on Facebook...which was a line of communication I was keeping open, even though I didn't really want to, so that they would have access to any pictures I post of Reilly, any fun things that she was doing, or just to get in contact with me to skype or what-have-you with her. And since I keep my profile private (to keep other people out of my business) they no long have access to any of that. Which is their loss really. Reilly is an amazing girl...and they are just missing whatever time they have left being in her life. I say that, only because with the backing of friends and family (and Brad of course) I am very confident that this hearing will go in mine and Brad's favor. Though I'm still nervous, so what's that say? Haha. Just me worrying I guess....like I do. So we have court. I'm looking forward to that being done and over with.

Just a couple days after court, Brad is having surgery on his neck to replace a disc...or something. I don't really know what's going on....all I know is that he'll be in the hospital overnight and then he'll have a month of recovery time...which means he'll be home for a month. Should be all well and good and hopefully that helps with his neck problems that he's been having.

So that's that. I'll try to post more often....things have been so busy with Ophelia being a toddler, me being pregnant, and Reilly in school....then Brad just doing all his normal work stuff, that I haven't really gotten a chance to sit down and write something. But since the girls have been nicely playing in the playroom for the last 45 minutes or so, I've gotten some time to write. Woo!


15 September, 2011

Background Story -- Adoption Journey

I've sat down and written this blog post before. I have gone over and over word choices, length, etc, etc, in my head. I've thought a lot about it because of the position that I'm in. And I'll get into the secret, and why I had to keep it a secret shortly, but real quick, a little bit of a back story...

Firstly, for those of you who don't know me personally, my husband is not Reilly's biological dad. I got pregnant with Reilly in 2005. It was a big surprise, as I was planning on getting back on birth control and not even bothering with the trying to make a baby for awhile. I was fine with that. But, turns out I was pregnant. No biggie. Pregnancy was easy enough. No complications. I ended up with a happy, healthy little girl born in March of 2006.

My relationship with her dad wasn't the greatest...we had our good times, but over all, it wasn't that great. I actually think it was pretty doomed from the start, but whatever...it was what it was. When I met my now husband in 2007, things just clicked. I was still "together" with Reilly's dad, but we were just going through the motions of life...at least I was. I had mentally "checked out" of the relationship and was pretty much sticking around just for the benefit of the kids (Reilly and her half siblings) so when I met my husband and we just clicked, I was outta there. I took Reilly and moved back in my parents and I started a relationship with my husband. Less than two months later, we were married and moving into our own little place for us to start a family.

Reilly and Brad took to each other like white on rice. They adored each other like crazy and it was like all the little pieces of the puzzle fit together. Reilly was happy and thriving and had someone who showed he cared about her in her life. Brad did things for Reilly that he didn't have to do, but did anyway. For instance, he added her to his health and dental insurance. And though that doesn't sound like a big deal, it really is....before, she was on the state health insurance and that was it.

Since I left her biological dad, things have gone down hill with their relationship. For awhile, she was seeing him on a regular basis and even spending the night there a couple times. But that didn't last very long...soon, other things became much too "important"....instead of spending time with his ever growing daughter, who was learning new things every day, he was out drinking with his friends and doing this or that. So Reilly spent the majority of her time with Brad and I, or "daddy" as she called him by then....which was fine with us. We went and did all the fun stuff that families did and enjoyed each others company. And Reilly and Brad had more and more time to bond.

So ever since the beginning of 2008, Reilly hasn't really had a relationship with her biological dad. After a couple months of being married, she stopped staying the night over there...then she stopped visiting every other weekend. Then it went to once a month...then MAYBE once a month. Then every couple months...there was one point in time where her bio-dad didn't actually SEE her for four months. That was made worse by the fact that in late 2009 he was in a accident that left him in a wheel chair. He was in the hospital for quite some time up in Seattle and while I brought her up there, it wasn't something I could do on a regular basis. When he got out of the hospital back home, I was certain that things were going to be different.  I thought deep down that a near death experience would make him appreciate all that he had, including his three kids. I thought he was going to ask to see her more often so he could spend more time with her and get to know her a little bit better. He didn't know how smart she was...he best knew the 1 1/2 - 2  year old Reilly...not the 3 year old Reilly...and certainly not the 4 year old Reilly. He had no idea who she was as a person....what she liked or didn't like...what her favorite songs or movies were, or her favorite books. That didn't happen.

So then, we moved to Hawaii. Which we all knew would be a little more difficult....there's a two-three hour time difference, depending on the time of the year, thousands of miles -- which means we couldn't go back to visit whenever we wanted...our schedules changing...a new baby, Reilly starting school...there were so many things happening. I knew that it wouldn't be the same, but I thought that with at least that much space between Reilly and her biological dad, he would at least make the effort to talk to his daughter every couple of weeks or once a month.

Unfortunately, I was sadly mistaken. We moved to Hawaii in July 2010. I can count the number of times Reilly has physically talked to her biological dad on one hand. I can count the number of correspondences total in less than two. In a year. Would you like to know when the last time Reilly sat in front of a computer and Skyped with her biological dad was? December 15, 2010. Yes, you are doing your math right.  It's been over 9 months since she said a word to him. Her birthday was the last time any contact was made at all (a birthday card was sent...no birthday phone call, nothing) which was at the end of March...which was 5 months ago. For comparisons sake...would you like to know the last time she talked to her Grandma on the phone? Yesterday. The last time they talked via webcam? A couple weeks ago. My mom has made two trips out here to see her...and while I know that isn't exactly possible for her dad, my mom also sends Reilly and Ophelia care packages on a pretty frequent basis. Brad's mom has also made a trip out here to visit, all the way from Ohio. Do we talk on the phone as often? No, but there's also a 6 hour time difference and Brad's mom and dad work all week. Reilly stills gets a chance to talk to them whenever she can.

Could you please tell me that you could go 5 months without even sending a card to your kid? Could you really go 8 months without telling your child "I love you"...or even a simple "hello"??

I've never asked for a penny from Reilly's biological dad. Brad and I have footed the bill for everything for her...new toys, new clothes, food, a place to live. We take her to the movies and the park and zoo. Just recently, we went school supplies shopping and we paid for her to ride the bus (which yes, it costs money here in Hawaii for her to ride the bus less than 5 miles a day.) We take care of her health and dental needs. I never asked for any money because: 1) I knew I wouldn't get it. 2) I didn't want to go to court to TRY to get it. 3) We didn't need it. Sure...more money always helps, but we weren't and aren't struggling to provide for our family. After his accident, Social Security was set up for Reilly because according to the state, she is entitled to it. And what exactly does the state deem her entitled to? $33 a month. Wanna know what THAT buys in Hawaii? Not much, let me tell you that. So every once in awhile we'll take the money out and spend it on this or that for Reilly, usually a new toy or a special treat for her...but that isn't going to cover a dental bill. That wouldn't even cover half of what it costs for her to ride the school bus for ONE quarter.

It's all very tiring for me as a mother. Reilly used to ask me questions about "when will my dad Brett talk to me"....but those questions have long since faded...I haven't heard her mention her biological dad in months. When she comes home from school, she wants to share her news with me and her daddy. Sometimes her Grandma and Grandpa or Nannie and Opa. Sometimes her Auntie Brooke and Uncle Steve. But never her dad Brett. I don't blame her. I wouldn't want to talk to someone who didn't want to talk to me either.

Reilly has told me many things over the months and years that would lead you to believe that even she doesn't consider her "dad Brett" her real dad. Firstly, she calls him "dad Brett"....not dad, not daddy, but "dad Brett". She's said this to me before: "my dad Brett is just pretending to be my dad". She also says that her daddy (Brad) helped make her like he helped make Ophelia. If that doesn't speak volumes as to how she feels about her dad Brett and her daddy, I don't know what does.

The reason I take the time to write all of this down is because of the super secret news. A couple months back, Brad and I hired a lawyer to petition the courts to allow Brad to legally adopt Reilly.  We had been keeping it a secret because Reilly's biological dad was a friend of mine on Facebook, as was his mom (Reilly's grandma) and I didn't want the information to leak out prematurely. However, as of August 16th, we had an official court date with the state of Hawaii and as of August 30th, Reilly's bio-dad was served with the same paperwork informing him of the court date. He has the choice to hire a lawyer, fly to Hawaii himself or call in during the hearing and testifying by phone.

Court will be held in Hawaii in the beginning of October. I am excited about this. Everything works out in our favor and we only have to hope that the judge feels the same way.

I know a lot of people probably have tons of questions...like "why didn't you force him to talk to her?" That's not my job. I can't FORCE someone to have a relationship with their child. I'm not in the business of making someone take responsibility for their children....I am in the business of being responsible for my kids and my family. And I am. I take care of Reilly, Ophelia and the little bebe. I take care of my house, cook everyone dinner, go grocery shopping, etc. Brad takes care of Reilly, Ophelia and me. He goes to work every day and brings home a paycheck. We take responsibility for ourselves and our kids. Reilly's biological dad just doesn't see the need to do that.

Some people might think I'm being mean...and that's okay. That's part of why I wrote out this novel of a blog post...so that I could put into words how the relationship between Reilly and her biological dad has been over the past five and a half years....so that people can see and try to understand why I am doing this.

I am basically just trying to do what is best for my kid. I am trying to give Reilly a stable household, with a real dad who cares about her. If Brad was allowed to adopt Reilly, what would change? Well, she would have his last name instead of Brett's for one. The way that the adoption would work is that it would be considered a "closed" adoption...he would not be able to have contact with Reilly until she was 18...a legal adult...and wanted to have contact with him. He would not get any information from me or Brad...pictures, emails, letters, etc about her. When we visit Washington, he would not be able to see her. This would also go for his mother and other family members (not like they give a shit anyway...99% of them have never even met Reilly). Of course, Brad and I would be open and honest with Reilly about everything...we would never blatantly lie to her. But I doubt we'll offer up the information without her wanting to know. She's a smart girl and she can tell when someone doesn't want to talk to her or be in her life.

I do feel lucky that while she is 5 and a smart girl, that's she's been so young through most of this. She hasn't really had to deal with her biological dad not talking to her. She doesn't ask questions anymore. She's kind of oblivious to the entire thing.

So there's that. I'll be trying to keep everyone updated as court goes along...I'm hoping it's short and sweet and not a hassle...

Oh. As an added fun time bonus. Reilly's biological dad and his mother both deleted me as their Facebook friend shortly after he was served with the court documents. So much for staying in contact for the kid huh? I wouldn't have had either of them on my friends list had it not been for Reilly, but chose to keep them around in case they wanted to easily get a hold of me.