Monday, November 12, 2012

I know you are wondering, how is Fernando handling the stress?

While in St. Louis, we skyped with jeff's parents, Bob & Jan. Jan lifted our chihuahua mix, Fernando, onto her lap, so Olivia could say hello. Out came a scream that was akin to a freight train applying its brakes. Thank goodness the Schlichtings are animal lovers, so off to the vet he went. Three prescriptions later, one for pain, one muscle relaxer, and one anti-inflammatory, Fernando was one drugged up little dog. When we got to Ft. Collins, my little lap dog, momma's boy, former baby substitute of a dog wouldn't even let me touch him.

He went straight to Dr. Charlie when we got home. An x-ray and blood work was done to rule out the obvious (kind of like ms) and we were asked does he have any beagle in him? Beagle? Not that I know of. Terrier, maybe. Dachshund, definitely. But beagle? He was diagnosed with beagle pain disorder. Yes, that's a thing. Treatable with steroids. But he'd have to be on "kennel rest" until he was feeling better.

So that means no going up and down stairs. If you have ever been to our house, you know you can't even get in without going up a flight of stairs. So picture our sleep deprived heroine with a baby under one arm, a Chihuahua under the other, holding a toddler's hand every time she goes to the basement to attend to the mountains of dirty laundry created by her family.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


On Wednesday (Halloween), we went to court to make it official. The sweet old judge gave Olivia and Jack beanie babies. When he asked what the name of the baby would be changed to, I replied Jackson Gill Schlichting and broke into tears. My little man!

The other woman in the courtroom besides our attorney Debbie and the judge was, I guess, an attorney for the state. Anyway, she commented that she agreed the adoption should be granted because I had jumped on the first flight after getting the call about the birth. This is certainly not something I, or anyone else deserves a medal for. I'm only shy of two years into this whole parenting thing, but isn't this what moms do? Jump on planes when their babies need them? It's like, chapter two in my mom handbook.

After court we took the bm to lunch with her son. Wow. Is he a piece of work. OOC (for those of you who do not teach middle school, that means out of control). Watch him break crayons in half and throw them over his head! Grab the railing and try to walk up the wall! Take off his shoes and crawl around on the floor! Olivia didn't know what to think. Thankfully she didn't think his behavior was cool.

Then off to Washington Park to see the bm's family. If you have ever been to Washington Park, Illinois, you get it. If not, I will explain to you in person. The bgm had thrown out her back earlier in the day and had been to the hospital to get cortisone shots (been there, it sucks). So we were not invited in the house, but chatted with the bgf in the yard. He's a really great guy, he kept talking about how he was lost without his wife, and couldn't even do a load of laundry without her supervision.

Exhausted and emotional, we hit the road for St. Louis. We were invited to a trick-or-treating party at Bill's daughter's house, but we were worn out. Instead Olivia had a supper of mac n' cheese and hot dogs, and put on her dinosaur costume and ran around the house. Perfect.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fussy Baby- Cause Undetermined.

Sitting in the er in Junction city ks. Our baby who never cries became hysterical about two hours ago and has barely stopped crying at all. He's burped many times- is it gas? Colic? Is there really such thing as colic?

Another nurse that looks like Katy Perry. (see post dated 1/28/11). When we finally see the doctor (whom I had to practically awaken from a catatonic state in front of his computer) he is really fat. And slow. There is something about a morbidly obese doctor that just makes him, well, untrustworthy.

By now jack has calmed considerably. Fat doctor gives him the once over and writes on his discharge papers "fussy baby- cause undetermined ". Thanks Fat Doc. Now it's official. We are those parents. You know, the ones who bring their babies to the er for gas. By the time we get back to the holiday inn, its 2 am and jack is sleeping peacefully.

But let's get back to the story, I'm sure it won't be Jack's last trip to the er.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Illinois- the adoption capital of the universe

On Monday, we got a call from our Illinois adoption attorney Debbie. She had spoken to the judge and he decided that we could skip the ICPC process that petitions to allow us to leave the state and transfers legal guardianship from the agency to us. And go straight to the final adoption hearing. You heard me right, sports fans. With Olivia we waited six months and went through two different home studies to become her legal parents. Jack was officially going to become our son in TWO DAYS. We just couldn't believe it. We were told it was because of our amazing reputation as parents through the Colorado agency and attorneys in Colorado and California.

Now a little about Debbie. She, an adoption attorney, her mother, a professor at Washington University in child & family studies, (the Harvard of the Midwest, I've been told) her father, a research scientist who developed the tb test still used on infants today. Her sister Susan is a social worker who used to work for a Lutheran adoption agency that would not work with same sex couples or Jewish couples who wanted to adopt. Being Jewish, this understandably bothered Susan, so with Debbie's help, they opened their own agency. Her mother, needing a retirement project, became executive director.

Amazing miracle workers if you ask me. This is all going down as Susan's 14 year old daughter is at children's hospital undergoing a barrage of tests to identify the cause of her seizure disorder.

Even now, driving down i70 towards home five days later, I can't believe it. Jack is our son!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Big sister Olivia and the most amazing grocery store EVER

After a pretty restful night at the drury inn in belleville, jack and I made a quick stop at the neighborhood babies r us, then off to st Louis to bill and phyllis's beautiful home to await the arrival of the minivan full of my loved ones.

Phone rings. It's the social worker with the agency. The bm AND bf have signed the relinquishment paperwork! Hooray! One step closer to becoming Baby Jack's parents.

Trying to kill time waiting for my family to arrive, I went to the closest grocery store to lay in some supplies for Olivia. How can I describe this horn o plenty? It's beautiful with an entire cheese department. And god love any state that allows the sale of wine in a grocery store. Dierburgs. Upon checkout the overtly friendly gentleman informed me that there was live music on the weekends. And you can enjoy a glass of wine as you shop. What what WHAT? You read correctly, folks. Drink wine while you shop. That's what that drink holder thingie was for on the cart, and here i thought it was for coffee. Hilary, you still with me? It's probably a good thing that I learned of this in my sleep deprived state as I was leaving the store. If I had had a glass of wine then I would have hit the deck and not gotten up. That's okay, I'll be back, dierburgs.

Finally the family arrived and we all got to ooh and aah and kiss on the baby. Olivia was amazed and very gentle. She has become very protective of the baby around bill and phyllis's dog, Dezi.

After some homemade chili and putting Olivia to bed, it was time for jeff, jack, and I to head back to the drury.

One more night in the hospital

Friday, and jeff and Olivia and mom have made plans to leave Colorado tomorrow. Jeff's dad will meet them on I-70 to get the dogs and they will be on the way! As alone as I have felt, I do feel like I have dodged a bullet in missing a two-day road trip with a 21-month old.

I envisioned our new minivan packed to the rafters with snacks and toys for Olivia, compliments of her mimi. My sweet husband is a saint. I'm sure he is looking forward to having another boy in the family.

I met jack's pediatrician and scheduled his circumcision with the ob-gyn. we would be able to leave at 11:00 the next day. Then off to our family friends beautiful home in St. Louis. I would be so relieved to see Phyllis & bill. Phyllis's daughter has also adopted, so this is not her first rodeo.

I was pretty cross-eyed by bedtime. Having nobody to share Jack's feedings
With, I hadn't gotten much sleep. The nurse offered to put jack in the nursery for a couple of hours so I could get some sleep. I awoke at 8:00 Saturday morning!

The birth parents could not sign paperwork to relinquish their rights until 72 hours after the birth. There was some concern as to whether the bf would sign. If he does not, there is a 30 day waiting period where if he does not contest, his rights are automatically terminated. Susan was going to the bm's house on Sunday for her to sign, and we didn't know if the bf would even be there. Was I worried? No. I knew the bm would sign, and even if the bf didn't, I knew he would never contest the adoption.

After visits from our attorney Debbie and the agency rep Susan (fascinating women, more about them later) we were able to leave about 4:00. One complication- I was going to have to sleep in a hotel.

I was not allowed to sleep outside of Illinois with jack until we had gotten permission from the ICPC (interstate compact.) I could take jack for visits to the show me state, just not spend the night.

Off to the drury inn.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Flip Side of the Hospital Coin

As dirty and run down as California Hospital was, where Olivia was born, the birthing center at Memorial Hospital in Belleview is a beautiful, modern facility with- guess what- REAL LIVE DOCTORS!

But let me start where I left off. The nursing staff at Memorial was expecting me, and even had a room ready for me. After getting the bm's groggy permission, they were able to allow the baby to sleep in my room with me. He is so good! (Yes, I know, Tanya, you are cursing me for having two perfect babies.) He rarely opens his eyes, but when he does- WATCH OUT LADIES! He is a handsome devil!

The only problem with him is, well, he's a boy. It's taken me many failed attempts (and many wet pairs of pants) to get his pee pee pointed in the right direction inside his diaper. Otherwise, the tinkle goes anywhere but where it's supposed to.

The next morning I woke up and the nurse told me that the birth father was at the hospital visiting the bm. This nurse was amazing- she was always looking out for me. She said that the bf was holding the baby the day before, and she was really worried because he and the bm were talking about how could they afford to raise the baby themselves. Was I worried?

The truth was, I wasn't. I don't know how to describe this feeling I had, but it was a peaceful, calm inner belief that everything was going to work out. I was all by myself with a newborn that was hopefully going to be my son soon, and my husband and daughter were sick at home, but I knew deep down that everything was going to be okay.

The bm told the nurse that she wanted me to come to her room to meet the birth father but it would probably be better to wait until her mother gets there to mediate. Awesome. Baby Daddy Drama!

I'll tell you a little bit about the bm's mother (let's call her the bgm). She is the mother of 6, including 2 adopted kids from her sister. She is the true matriarch of her family, and takes care of 6 grandchildren in her home every day. When the bm got pregnant the first time at age 17, she would not let her have an epidural during labor because she wanted her to remember the pain so she didn't get pregnant again. Thankfully that didn't work.

That afternoon I spent 3 hours in the bm's room with her, the bf, the bgm & bgf, the bm's son, and nephew. I had a heart to heart with the bf, who is 23. I explained to him that when I was 23, I was skiing every day and partying every night. I never would have been able to take responsibility for one child, much less two. I think the bottom line was he wanted me to know that this decision was hard for him. I told him I wouldn't have much respect for him if it wasn't.

At one point, as I was changing Jack's diaper, I noticed the bf looking over my shoulder.  "C'mon and jump right in."  I told him, hoping he'd want to help me out.  "Unh uh," he said.  Looking back, I realized he probably just wanted to check out his junk.

Illinois has a 72 hour waiting period for relinquishment. What this means is that birth mothers can't be asked to sign away their parental rights until 72 hours after the birth. If the birth father does not sign, and does not contest the adoption, after 30 days his parental rights are automatically terminated. This is what I was convinced would happen.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chapter two- baby boy Schlichting.

Meet Jackson Gill Schlichting. Born October 25, 7lbs 10 oz 19 in. Gestation period: 5 weeks

Olivia had not been to day care in a week. Urine cultures (which are fun with a girl who's not potty trained), throat cultures, flu tests, blood tests, chest x-rays, and 4 visits to three different doctors gave us no info as to what was causing her fever of 101. A virus. Jeff got it too, and I have never seen him so sick.

Being the glass half full kind of gal, I look at the past week as an opportunity to wean my students from Mrs. Schlichting's care. While they got to experience instruction from a panoply of substitute math instructors, I got to catch up on episodes of Barney and read Goodnight Gorilla thirty-seven times.

So I guess it was a good thing that I had requested a sub through the often faulty and generally unreliable SAM automated Subfinder for Thursday morning. Come to think of it, I never checked to see if anyone picked up the job. Because by 7:00, my phone rang. It was our birth grandmother saying our birthmom had gone into labor, and they had just arrived at the hospital.

Book a flight. Repack into a carryon. Worry about Olivia. Worry about Jeff. Worry about Mimi worrying about me. Jump on a van. Get to the airport in plenty of time. Whew. Google viral meningitis. Fly to Memphis. Eat a barbecue sandwich the size of my head. Wait as my flight is delayed 45 minutes. Then another 30. Then another hour. Watch as they bring another aircraft from the hangar Call my friend Phyllis in st. Louis to tell her not to bother picking me up at the airport at midnight. Call jeff to ask him to rent me a car. Board the flight to St. Louis. Fly to St. Louis. Rent my car. Drive 45 minutes across the mighty mississippi into Belleville, Ill. to the hospital. Try to be coherent as I explain to the security guard who I am. Make it to the birthing center and there, behind the nurses' station is the most perfect baby boy I have ever seen.