We had two social worker visits yesterday--further proof that finding the balance of the new norm will not quite be as easy as it was when we added to our family via birth.
Oliver comes to us 3/4 of the way through his wait for TPR (termination of parental rights). His placement is also through a private agency whose standards for worker involvement are much higher than the state's. Overall, both of these are very, very good things; we are blessed to be able to know and bond with Oliver now--without waiting months for his termination hearings. We are also blessed to have caring Christians holding our hands through the process and serving as our go-betweens with DSHS.
BUT--we also have weekly social worker visits to look forward to for at least the next month. I have set up the schedule for those visits already, and have tried to arrange them as best I can so that the lifestyle of learning my family has come to embrace can go on with as little disruptions as possible. Still, the fact remains that we will be hosting our friendly social worker N. each Tuesday afternoon for a couple of hours. I am a miserbale hostess, so a standing date is something akin to torture for me.
I've also waded into scheduling the evaluations that Oliver needs. He definitely needs weekly PT sessions, but I'm asking for OT assessments and a couple of other early intervention evals. The services are in place for children who need them, and if Oliver qualifies for any of them, we plan on taking full advantage. We are doing all of this through private providers thus far; we are blessed to live within driving distance to several wonderful children's centers that accept med coupons and therefore allow us to stay as separate from the local school district as possible. Granted, this means more time spent on our behalf (the school district would offer in-home services) but I really don't want anyone making mental notes of how our homeschool is or is not working in their eyes based on a an hour or two a week of observation.
After meeting with Oliver's state worker yesterday, we got more information on potential visitation, and advice on how much time to leave time available for that should it become a reality. Though to date his bio parents have been disinterested in having access to him, they are still legally entitled to two visits per week, and should they decide to take that, we need to have two set aside days that we can transport Oliver to a DSHS office for that. (DSHS contracts with people to do transport for you if you wish, but I neither dh nor I have a bit of interest in a stranger driving any of our kids anywhere.)
So that's three solid days--at least--that need to be set aside for the time being just to address Oliver's needs. Three days of no other plans, of no other obligations and no set in stone requirements.
Which leaves exactly two days set aside just for school here at home.
I'm going to admit that I'm not very good at having blocked out time that often. I'm a homebody by nature, and while I will most likely spend those potential visitation days just homeschooling my kids, the idea that I might have three days worth of appointments is enough to make me feel very, very tired indeed.
It's funny; I didn't expect that adopting--especially foster-adopting--would be the same as giving birth. But I guess I really did expect that life would just mold around the new child as it always has, scooping that child up and continuing to flow with the same ease that I've always experienced. And while that may well still happen somewhere down the road, it isn't as close as I thought. There are still quite a few hurdles to jump over before we regain a sense of the old routines.
Thankfully, Jo, Atticus and Logan are so happy to have a new little brother that they could care less that their normal fluidity of planning is being suspended. They actually much prefer staying home, too--it seems to make outings that much more exciting. They seem especially delighted to have skipped right over the whole boring sleeping newborn phase and straight into the smiley, into-everything crawling baby phase. I guess that's a fair trade for being scheduled meet-ups with friends for right now.
This journey has been nothing like I expected, and I keep wondering what each new day will bring. Jo seems to have gotten through the worst of her tonsillectomy recovery. Oliver's got an ear infection. "Did you flush?" Atticus wants to know when baseball is starting. Call to check on OT eval. How quickly my baby girl is growing. Logan is entering a Lego drawing contest. "Mom, I'm out of lemon popsicles." Cute big boy grins. The phone is ringing off the hook. Beloved friends are bringing by food and gifts. Physical Therapist on the phone! "Mommy, can I play with clay?" Atticus has a new joke. Is that my adorable baby crawling around? The dog is tracking mud on the rug again. "Honey, I'm running really late at work." Did I send out that email?
Ah, life. I am blessed. Drink it in.