Saturday, January 12, 2008

Adoption issues

We were so lucky to have adopted Jamie from the foster care system. When we got her she was 4.5 mos old and she was in her second home and had been in the system since birth. The first home she was in was trying to adopt a baby and they preferred a boy. A baby boy came available (His birth parents were getting their rights terminated - he was already in foster care) and in our county the judge always wants the child to be in a preadoptive home when the parents rights are terminated. The family that had Jamie originally had too many under three, so they 'traded' Jamie for the baby boy they wanted to adopt. So at 3 mos of age Jamie was moved to this other home who didn't want to adopt any others. At that point in the process it looked like the birth mom was working on her case plan. We found out about Jamie at that point because I went to the foster/adoptive parents meetings and met a mentor. A lady who was currently fostering one sibling group of four and another child she was hoping to adopt. This wonderful lady knew about Jamie's situation because of the original foster mom being concerned about Jamie's current home. (The concern came in part because the baby boy that had been there had some issues - the back of his head was flat, and his clothes all smelled of smoke etc.) So we found out about Jamie in April, but our license didn't become official until the end of May. 2 days after our license became official Jamie's current foster mom called the agency and said she wanted to stop fostering - that she wanted the two babies she had removed from the home. Since the agency knew we were interested we were the lucky family they called and picked her up that night!

When we picked her up it was apparent that she was scared...poor baby, can you imagine? Some strangers come to get you and you are carried out to the driveway with all of your possessions in a garbage bag. Everything smelled of smoke and of the 6-7 items of clothing only one fit ok but it was long sleeved and too warm for Florida in late May. The back of her head was completely flat and when she woke up in her crib she didnt cry. She would just lay there and wait on someone discovering she was awake. I had been told that I may just want to let her nap in her swing - that "she just loved it", although no swing was sent with her. Also she didn't come with any 'lovey' or soft toys. She had some blocks and beads and a little mirror. That was it...not even some diapers!

Anyway over the next few months Jamie did begin to cry when she woke up in her crib, but her head remains flat. In the first few months she often avoided eye contact but this doesn't seem to be an issue anymore - I guess she has learned to trust. Poor baby... She does still do some 'mommy shopping' - which is when we are in a group of folks Mike and I are often invisible to her. She is more concerned with getting the attention of other adults.

As Jamie just turned two, it is hard to tell what long term issues we might encounter from her adoption experience. Many experts believe even newborns have abandonment issues and can experience attachment disorder issues. I wish we had been the parents that picked her up from the hospital but things worked out the way they were supposed to, of that I am truly convinced.

We finalized her adoption in August of 2007. Here is Jamie on the first weekend in our home- May of 2006.




6 comments:

Cat, Galloping said...

wow, these tiny babies are more aware of their environments than most of us give them credit for! jamies is awfully lucky to have you guys.

Anonymous said...

A blessing both ways - Jamie to you and you to Jamie. So glad she's in your life so she can also be in our life! Happy Belated Birthday sweet girl!!!

Love,
Cinda

Marthavmuffin said...

I know most of you know this story, but I needed to share how my foster adopt case went as another blog friend is thinking of adopting from the foster care system.

Moneek said...

What a great story. You all found each other. :)

Steph said...

I'm glad it worked out for you. Keep everything crossed we find our family soon, too!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I received twin baby girls in August 2006. They were 7 months old then, sounds like the same age as your Jamie. We are so proud to say we became their legal guardians recently, and the adoption finalization date is set for March 2008. It is a long road, but these precious little girls have always been a permanent part of our family. Thank you for sharing your story...