Saturday, August 13, 2011

Foster Memories Friday - Alex

As I mentioned last week, we got our next call just a few weeks after James joined our family.  That call came on a Friday afternoon at 4pm, a caucasian newborn baby boy just out of the hospital needing to be picked up from the office (an hour away) by 6pm.  I knew I couldn't get ahold of Mike to ask his opinion but I knew his answer would have been no, he was always the voice of reason and we were overwhelmed at the time with James.  So I said YES (who could say no to a newborn?) and had to listen to him grump all the way up to the office.  The office was closed so I had to bang on the back door to be let in (kinda felt like I was doing something wrong).  I walked out with the most beautiful little peanut, Mike changed his tune once he saw that little face. :)  I had been told that we could and would want to choose one of his 5 (this was narrowed down from the 20 that mom wanted to name him) names (most very weird) to call him by, we chose Alex.

Alex had severe acid reflux but it took us a couple of months and lots of sleepless nights to convince the dr of this.  I remember just a couple of nights after bringing him home I took Alex to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night to get gas drops to see if they would help.  The well meaning cashier gave quite a loud performance at the sight of us thinking that I had just given birth and was out alone in the middle of the night with a screaming baby (Mike's ears had to be burning).  Her face turned red and she apologized profusely when I explained that I was a foster mom and therefore did not give birth meer hours ago.  Thank goodness my job was one that I could go in my office and take small naps throughout the day b/c that was a LONG couple of months!

When Alex was about three months old we were told that his worker (who was the worker from h-e-double hockey sticks) was moving him to be closer to his birthmom who had moved back to her hometown after being released from the mental institute she had been in (schizophrenia).  By this time we had fallen completely head over heels in love with Alex, we were devastated.  As it turned out, the move never happened and we ended up agreeing to transport Alex back and forth once a month for visits with his birthmom.  During this time we got to know birthmom, some family history (Alex has six siblings, five of whom has schizophrenia) and we found out that Alex's great aunt and uncle from CA were completing the paperwork to possibly have Alex moved to them.  We were told early on that these relatives had not passed the homestudy needed previously so we were asked if we would be willing to adopt Alex if that were the case.  We said absolutely yes.

We celebrated so many of Alex's firsts with, coo, word, steps...and then right after we celebrated his first birthday with him we got a call from his maternal grandma saying that she didn't think the great aunt and uncle would be passing the homestudy and would we please adopt Alex.  We assured her that we would love and care for him as our own forever.

A week later I went to court (alone) and got the most devestating news, the great aunt and uncle had passed the homestudy and Alex would be moved immediately.  I was an hour and a half away from home, alone and my world was falling apart.  The worker was SO mean, rude and uncaring after court.  I tried to hold myself together and be professional but I ended up having to excuse myself telling her that she would just have to call and tell us when and how Alex was leaving (she was on the phone with the great aunt and uncle).  I went to my car and cried and cried.  It took me forever to drive home that day through my tears.  Before I even got home the worker had called to tell us that the great aunt and uncle would be picking Alex up from our home in one week.  She also wanted to make sure that we weren't a flight risk...I have to be honest and say that the thought of taking him and moving to another country did cross our minds!

We spent the next week packing and loving on "our son".  I don't think I stopped crying the entire week.  The worst part was having to explain to Brooke (6) what was going to happen :(  The day came for him to leave...the great aunt and uncle came to our house, stayed and talked for a little while (they were very nice), packed their trunk full of all of Alex's belongings, loaded our son into their car and drove away.  Before placing Alex in the car I handed him a book and a lovey that played "you are my sunshine", the song that I sang to him multiple times a day.  I asked if they would call him Alex or his birthname and they said they would be changing his name to Robby.  After they left we went inside and I cried myself to sleep and slept the rest of the afternoon. 

We learned quickly that losing a foster child after this long in your family felt a lot like a death and had to be grieved in that way.  For about a month I didn't leave the house unless absolutely necessary for fear of someone asking about Alex or even how I was doing.  We also asked the school councelor to talk with Brooke and they ended up making a wonderful picture book about Alex.

The great aunt and uncle did send us a few pictures a couple of months later and about a year after he left we got to see Alex/Robby.  They were visiting family nearby and invited us.  Unfortunately Mike wasn't able to go but Brooke and I did.  It made me feel good that they had kept pictures of Brooke in his room so he knew her by name when we saw him and he ran down the hallway to her.  He came to me willingly and played with my keychain and phone (just like he used to) and gave me hugs.  It was definately a feeling of closure for me, he seemed happy and well taken care of and he was no longer "my Alex".

We lost contact after that visit but I did hear that the great uncle has since passed (of cancer that he was battling when they came for Alex) and that they may have moved to our state.  Alex/Robby would now be 9 1/2 (10 in Oct.).

I have to admit that I cried the entire time I wrote this, the pain of losing Alex runs very deep :(

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