Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Adoptions.....Part Two or Living in Neverland

As I've posted before AND people are quick to remind me.....I'm fifty-nine years old and thought I would be a nifty grandmother but never a mother again.  Hmmmm...there's that word "never" again.  AND the twins were just a temporary arrangement...right???

Even though it became apparent Chuck and I were going to be raising the Duo, we still didn't think about adopting them.  A legal guardianship would allow us to take care of any need, especially medical, so we thought we were set.  We also liked to think (back to our fantasy world) that one day our daughter would grow up, get well, have a huge lightbulb moment and want to take care of all three of her children.  Well, it happens in soap operas....  I do spend a lot of time in my own little fantasy world. 

One day, about seven months into this project, I realized we were always going to be living in this limbo, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  She could petition the court, at any time, to drop the guardianship, win and walk out with them.  She could even let someone else adopt them, which she had threatened, and we would never see them again.  It was one thing to whine about all my travel and retirement dreams going capoot but it was another very different thing to be faced with losing these babies forever.  The word, adoption, raised its head and the ball was rolling.  Never is now.

The rest is pretty boring...paperwork....screening.....home inspection...more paperwork and then the big day.

All of our other adoptions were done in the judge's chamber,  pretty casual and lowkey, but this time it was to be held in the court room.  For some reason that made it much more solemn.  At least, at first.  The attorney chose me to answer all the questions then Chuck could just be sworn in and say he agreed.  He was holding Lyssa because she is usually our wild child and I had Kayla, who is our little quiet child.  So here I am, sworn in...solemnly answering these very important questions....and Kayla starts giving me kisses.  Not just one or two, but I'm drowning in them!  We are all trying to keep solemn and straight faces......but she doesn't like to be ignored so she starts biting.  When she gets it in her head to bite, she is a pirahna.   She has me in this death grip and the judge is nearly rolling in the floor.  Somehow I don't think this was the way his court usually went.

The adoption was a momentus occasion.. I have the marks to prove it.... and I'm never doing it again.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Dynamic Duo's First Authentic Photo Op

I'm ashamed to say that the twins are eighteen months old and I have just gotten up my nerve to have their pictures taken.  When they first came home, they were less than five pounds, hooked up to all kinds of wires and very susceptible to germs.....that's my very good excuse.... seventeen months ago.  Okay, anyway, I finally did it and the first thought when I saw the proofs was...wow!  They're little girls, not babies anymore. 

I look forward to every milestone but every step means they are growing up fast.  Of course, I want them to grow but it is bittersweet too.  There is nothing like holding a small baby when she looks at you like you are the only thing in her world.  Enough of the sad maudlin stuff and on to the adventure of the photo adventure!

The photographer thought the park would be a good site and it did make a gorgeous background.    I'm thinking, maybe we should have started with something a little more confining though, like something the size of a small cell.  The thing about two little girls is they insist on going in two different directions....nearly always.  At home, one might be sitting on the other one's head and heaven forbid if one is in my lap without the other.  If Kayla gets up from a nap, she whines until Lyss wakes up to be with her.  Take them out in public and it's a whole different ballgame....they are like herding cats. 

Oh I also had this wonderful fantasy of holding hands and their beautiful bows in their hair.  Well, we might have two pictures before they threw the bows away and they couldn't have been super glued together.

The photographer, in her infinite wisdom, brought her husband with her.  He was in charge of Kayla and I had Lyssa.  We found out, after running after them for at least a mile, that we could count to three....plunk them down...jump back, and voila!  The shot looked so posed!  Kayla ran and ran, away from the photographer of course, then unexpectedly plunked down in a field of dandelions....priceless.  Lyssa wouldn't pose, wouldn't stop, and then turned and gave the camera the sweetest, most winsome smile.....gorgeous.

I just can't understand why I waited so long. 

Friday, April 15, 2011


As I've mentioned before, we had adopted four children before the Duo.  The two boys are biological brothers and the girls are also biological sisters.  These children all came to us "at risk," which means they didn't come from ideal situations.  I loved that wording ....why would any child be adopted if she came from ideal situations???  The first adoption was a two year old boy and we were told that we wouldn't have any problems at all if we just loved him.  hmmm.....That meant, when we started having severe problems, it must be our fault...right??  We blithely adopted his brother five months later, thinking two would be so much easier than an only child.  Okay, so we were dumb, but it gets even better later.  Whenever I voiced our concerns, we were made to feel that we were at fault with these little guys.  Only years later did we find out the abuse...physically and mentally, and the terrible living conditions these babies lived through.  One was punched in the stomach so hard the doctor didn't think he would live.  And the parents got him back......until the mother did it again.  When the police went to arrest her, she had taken off.  That probably saved a life because the parents probably would have gotten them back.  She hurt them  while taking LSD and wound up in the hospital but not prison.  I'm beginning to sound a little bitter here. 
Both were finally diagnosed with ADHD and one could not bond to anyone.  In the two years these people had these children, they did irreparable damage. I could write a book or several books on the years with the boys but I'm kinda like Scarlett in Gone With The Wind  on that.  I'll think about it tomorrow.....or never.

Then we decided we needed girls to make our family complete.  I told you it gets better.

The first time we saw the girls, the littlest asked me if I was her new mommy.  Awwww.....but what that really meant was, "are you my today's mommy?"  These two hadn't gone through the terrible physical abuse but neglect.  Neglect does a terrible thing to a child's self worth.  They didn't know what actual love was and they didn't trust anybody completely.  The question everyday, for at least six months, was when were they going to move again and get a new mommy.  I've really had to do a lot of praying over the years not to hate.

I do want to stop right here and say that we had so much fun with our four kids.  It wasn't all bad just like any other family is not all good.  I never had two extreme crisis going at the same...thank you Lord!  I think the thing that got us through all the hills and mountains was our weird sense of humor.  In the blackest of times we laughed....mostly about the strangest things....and we hung on to each other.

Over the years, Chuck and I had wondered if we had done the right thing by adopting these children.  Would someone else with more patience or some one with more education in children's problems been better?  On the other hand, I often told our younger son, it was a good thing we adopted him......someone else would have beat him to death!  One thing Chuck and I were in total agreement was......never again.

What is that saying about never saying never??

to be continued.........

History of the Dynamic Duo Part 9 (or Butterflies are free)

Kayla's Conk Out Palace......

Once my older kids where gone from home, I found I finally had a guest room that I could decorate all by my self.  This was a heady experience and I loved it.  I finally had my pretty yellow and navy room.  Of course, this was BDD (before Dynamic Duo).  I fought it.  I wanted my room.  Alas it was not to be.  My beautiful handmade yellow and white quilt was put up, the bed moved out and the crib moved in, until that  nefarious "one day."   But wait!  This is all temporary....just a few months maybe.

 I never knew it but a house actually shrinks drastically when a baby comes in.  I'm not sure how it happens but there doesn't seem to be any way to stop it.  These two tiny scraps of humanity come in and take up more room than two adults.  How can that be??  Their "stuff" overflows into every room in a matter of days.
All they consume is formula but the kitchen is magically conformed into baby land.  One bathroom can only be used by tiny people since bath tubs, supplies and diaper genie take up all the room.  Anyone else in dire need better search elsewhere fast.  And then there is the double stroller that takes up one closet all by itself.  Okay, enough whining and back to Kayla's boudoir.

Kayla's bedroom is still a work in process for the simple reason, I hate to shop.  Slowly it is coming together with butterflies and flowers but it is a petal at a time.  By the time she is totally sick of it and wants skull and crossbones, it should be finished. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

History of the Duo part 8 (or Blazing new Territory)

Lyssa's Sanctuary...

Other mothers of twins have told me .....several times.....that their twins had to be touching when they slept, couldn't stand to be out of sight from each other, etc, etc.  Now the Dynamic Duo must not be normal then.  They love to see each other in the morning but there's no sleeping done if they are in the same room.  We went from, both in the same crib, to two cribs in one room.... to the misery of us all.  I finally quit listening to every one  else and moved to Lyssa to her own room.  She loves it.  No one is yelling at her so she can't go to sleep or yelling at her to wake up.  Kayla doesn't believe in being the only child....even for a little while.  If she's up, everybody needs to be up.

At the "before common sense told us we were permanent" time when we thought this is all temporary, I wasn't going to decorate the nursery.  Hey, this was only a few months, right??  I didn't want to be too attached, right??  Especially the room we moved Lyss to, since that was our exercise room, I didn't do anything except make a space for a crib and chair.  Now, a few months behind, I'm decorating nursery rooms. 

While I was gone out of town, the man came to paint Lyssa's room.  Chuck called me and asked me if it was supposed to be pink....and in my vast wisdom, I told him, yes, it was very pale, mother of pearl, pink.  So in his vast wisdom, says, "okay."  I come home to a PINK nearly Pepto Bismol pink room!  Hmmm....this was enough to scare an self respecting bunny or butterfly away.  Since repainting would take an act of congress and as I had 'told' him it was supposed to be pink, I had to put away the pastels and go diva-ish.  Zebra striped curtains, rug and accessories makes it look like it was all planned.  It hasn't given Lyssa nightmares either. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The History of the Duo. (part 7)..or The Dreaded Hogpen

Shortly after we got the Duo home, we started accumulating all the paraphenalia we thought we couldn't make it without.  The only thing we had when we walked throught the door was a borrowed crib.  They both could sleep sideways in it and everyone told us the twins would want to be touching when they slept.  Problem was, no one told the Duo that.  Kayla's monitor was super sensitive and went off when she cried, then Lyss woke up to sympathize with her.  Lyss loved from the very first to poke at Kayla....and not a friendly nudge but a slap or finger poke in the eye.  They liked to be together when awake but sleeping was serious business and they didn't want company.  As long as the monitors were on we needed to keep them in one room but Miss Lyss needed her own territory so we got her another crib. 

In the daytime we would keep them in the living room in a playpen.  Two playpens later, we had to come up with a better plan.  The Duo didn't like to be squeezed together with the monitors in one playpen but they didn't like to be separated
 completely.  Even
after we got rid of the monitors, they just still didn't like those playpens.  Putting them on a pallet was an invitation to roll under the nearest piece of furniture and it was better if they could get good and wedged there.  Lyssa, especially, was our escape artist and before she was crawling she could roll/scoot across the den, into the dining room and under the table, to wait for discovery.   Kayla would scoot on her back until she hit something....then yelled until we turned her around so she could repeat the process.

Leaving them alone to go to the bathroom was an invitation for an adventure.  At least one would be hiding or stuck under something yelling.  We had to corrall them somehow.  Enter the hogpen.

At one time, we had furniture in our den.....now we have the hogpen.  Visitors need to be prepared to either sit on the floor or fight for the few seats available.