Saturday, July 28, 2007

Our World Gets ROCKED! And you won't believe HOW

There we were, sitting in ATL waiting to get on the next plane flight to my parent's when my phone rang. I didn't answer it, but when I got on the plane I listened to the voicemail. It was Melanie, our R&C worker. The message was simple:

"I need to talk to you and Michael about something very important. I need you to call me back ASAP - today."

The plane was about to take off and the cell-phone police would soon be scouring the isles looking for non-compliant passengers. I figured I could call her 90 minutes later when we landed and see what was up.

Michael and I played a fantasy guessing game about what she might be calling about. It was everything from Ginger's Aunt being arrested, to previous foster children who were back in the system again and needed a place to go, to benign things like our training hours or adoption subsidy. At any rate, we settled in to the flight with a wiggly toddler.

When we landed in FL, as soon as the seat belt sign went off, my phone began ringing again. It was Melanie. This time I answered. Here's how the conversation began:

T: "Hey Melanie!"
M: "Hi Tamara. Well, Cookie has a sibling."
T: (thinking I heard wrong). Huh?
M: Yup. I think she's in jail.
T: OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD...When was the baby born?
M: Actually, as of 8:30 this morning (the 25th), J was in labor, but the baby hasn't come yet.
T: OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD (I obviously loose linguistic creativity here)...
M: Do you want the baby?
T: OF COURSE we want the baby! But we just landed in Florida!

The rest of the conversation that transpired on the plane was Melanie telling me that if we wanted the baby, we had to immediately turn around and come home to get the baby from the hospital. I asked about letting the baby go to a temporary foster home until we got back. She said she could ask, but was certain "they" (I guess the social worker powers that be) would not approve that. She said she was sorry, but we had to decide NOW if we could commit to come back and abandon our vacation.

I said a quick prayer in my head. I looked at Michael sitting next to me holding a crying and exhausted Cookie. I saw flight attendants approaching us on a now vacant airplane. I gulped and gave the hardest answer of my life.

"We want this baby so bad, Melanie. But I'm sorry. Please ask for us if the baby can go elsewhere for now. But we can't come back right now. We just can't. We just landed. We won't even get to my parent's house for another two hours. I'm so sorry. I really am."

Melanie said she understood and would get back to us later.

Shaken to my core, I left the plane with Michael and Cookie.

My mom was waiting for us, worried that even the pilots had come off the plane, but we had not.

Clearly, I was shaken. I told mom the whole story. SHE then began the familiar freak-out. She called my sister-in-law who also freaked out. And we all agreed to at least stop for food before making the 90-minute trip to my parents home.

So there we were, in a fast-food chicken and seafood joint - me, Michael, Cookie, my mom, and later my brother and his wife. And we were all shaken by the story of Cookie's sibling being born. We were all brainstorming ways we could get back home and not ruin the vacation or Cookie's time with her grandparents. phone rang.

It was Melanie.

"Tamara. They sent J. back to jail. Apparently she went into labor too early - at 36 weeks, so they stopped it and sent her back. She's not going to have the baby today, but will within the next 4 weeks. So, I guess you're off the hook!"

I started to tear up.

"Oh Melanie. This is great news. I'll keep the phone nearby, because we WILL get there to get this baby."

Melanie said she would call as soon as she knew anything.

I hung up and wiped away tears. I told my family at the table. We praised God.

HE had handled it all. We thought it was our job, but HE was in control all along.

It's Sat. night, and no news yet. We aren't scheduled to be back home for 2 more weeks, so we need prayer that the baby stays put! If not, we'll change our tickets and hightail it back.

We don't know if it's a boy or a girl. We don't know who the daddy might be (Cookie's biodad is incarcerated.) I imagine this one could take a while, too. I imagine the daddy could check out OK (and pigs might fly), or the family members of said daddy check out (and monkeys...). Well, but God's already working on all that.

As soon as I know, believe me, I'll run to the nearest computer. Meanwhile, please pray for all of us - and J. (who we learned is indeed in jail) and the unborn baby (who was likely exposed to incredible amounts of cocaine).


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Date Night

Last night was "date night" for Michael and I, and it was truly enjoyable in it's simplicity. We went to Olive Garden for dinner as we hadn't been there in at least a year or more. Afterwards, we went across the street to Target for a little browsing as adults.

It's amazing how invigorating time together as adults without your child can be. It's highly underrated. We spend so much energy seeing to Cookie's needs that we put ours on the back burner far too often.

I thought last night about how nice it was to not talk about deep things, how nice a hot meal was uninterrupted by food sailing through the air and a whining child, and how nice my husband is to look at across the table.

We hadn't had a date night in a long, long time. But those 3 hours were so relaxing.

We're going to be leaving soon to spend a little over 2 weeks in Florida at my parent's place. Mom has set up the computer space and office area for Michael to write on some research he's been needing to work on, and mom and dad will be taking Cookie out for regular adventures and photography sessions with Grandpa. While we're there, we're welcome to come and go as we please - taking day excursions, or even short trips to other Florida locales. Last night really hit home how much I'm looking forward to getting help with Cookie and the opportunity to be alone with my husband from time to time.

Oh, and Cookie's personalized luggage arrived today - her little pink and black suitcase with "Mia" embroidered on the front, and her toiletry bag with "Cookie" embroidered on it, and lunch tote with "Cookie" on it (I have to give time to both her name and nickname - especially since my parents only call her "Cookie", and I pretty much call her "Mia Cookie", or just "Mia"). If you're interested in personalized things for your kids, I used Lillian Vernon online. I think everything turned out just great.

I'm now going to go act like I'm being productive today.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Cookie's First Haircut

There were tears, but they were short-lived. I didn't want to cut my child's bangs, but she just couldn't keep hair accouterments IN her hair and it just kept getting in her eyes. So, off we went this past weekend to get her first haircut.

(The rash under her eye is from the general anesthesia mask from her ear-tube surgery on Friday. All went well, and I believe the haircut was far more traumatizing than the surgery the day before!)

Pictures from the Mississippi Trip

After munching on mini-Oreos, she decided she was a chocolate-faced diva:

Cookie and cousin Deuce:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cookie's Little Light

The other day, Cookie was running around the bedroom with her index finger up twirling her little hand around and around. And she was mumbling (or was it singing?) something. And I thought, "Hmm. What in the world is she doing?" And she looked so excited, too.

Finally, it dawned on me. She had been watching the Gerbert videos I had gotten, and was clearly singing and signing one of the songs. To test my theory, I started quietly singing it. And suddenly she started singing LOUDER and twirling her little finger frantically in the air around and around.

You know what she was singing?

"This Little Light of Mine"

She does have such a wonderful little light, and it shines all over the place. She teaches me so much.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Back On Course

First, THANK YOU for your thoughts and prayers during our time of transition. Ginger left our house at 5:00 on Monday, and by 8:00 we were on the road headed to Mississippi! I highly recommend the "getting out of Dodge" technique for coping - especially if the getting out entails sweet tea, biscuits, 4th of July BBQ, and touching "home base" in some way or another.

We were at Michael's parents place until Friday afternoon, when we decided to head back. We ended up cutting the 10-hour trip in half both ways for our sanity and Cookie's comfort. She just can't stand to sit in the car seat that long, and I really can't blame her.

A good time was had by all, and now comes the planning for a 2-week trip to my parents in Florida. We have decided to hold off on accepting another placement until mid-August. That will give us time to vacation properly and get ready for the fall semester of teaching.

I'll post pictures from the Mississippi trip as soon as I can, FIND the camera. :)