13 January, 2006

Our Journey . . . So Far

Well, our adoption journey has taken a few twists and turns the last couple of days. To bring everyone up to date . . .

We started our journey December 2004. And besides doing all the paperwork, home visits, interviews, etc., we hadn't heard much from DYFS. (Maybe one day, with Courtney's help I'll fill you in on all that - especially about the social worker who seemed to be able to pull children out of her desk drawer when pressed.) But that was soon to change.

On November 18, 2005, Courtney is twisting and turning through the city of Newark en route to Newark Airport, since I-280 is backed up with traffice. I'm on my way down to Florida to be with my grandmother, who was admitted to the emergency room the night before and I'm told needs emergency heart surgery that the surgon doesn't think she'll survive.

As we figure our way to the airport, we are also trying to find the phone number to call a social worker back at DYFS. Of course, the number got cut off on our voice mail. I'm on one cell phone talking to Elektra (back at the JCC) who's doing her magic searching on the net to find matches to what numbers we do have. Courtney's on his blackberry trying all the phone number matches that Elektra is feeding me.

Somehow we get the right phone number.

We're almost to the airport as I'm talking to the social worker - we now have a name! Courtney get's more information that weekend and emails it to me in FL. We have the first of the family evaluations and a picture to go with it. Her name is Nazariah (pronouced Nazera) and she is a cutie! (You can see her picture at: http://www.heartgallerynj.com/gallerylive/view.php?gallery_id=2&page=2)

Somehow the next 2 weeks fly by fast as Kaija and I are in Florida. My mom also flew in from Las Vegas. She, my Uncle Greg & Aunt Dee, myself and Kaija spend most of our time waiting in the hospital. Waiting for doctors, waiting for visiting hours, waiting for information. Omi ends up needing open heart surgery for a double bypass and to replace 2 valves. But, she's too weak to do the surgery right away. On November 23, she has the surgery and it's a success! Now it's on to recovering (you can read a little more about that in past posts).

Kaija and I go home in December. Both Courtney and I have read through all the paperwork a million times. We haven't heard from a case worker. We still don't know who our case worker is. Finally, Courtney gets to someone in the thousands of phone calls and messages that he's left.

On December 19 we meet with Nazariah's case worker and her case worker's manager. We talk, answer questions, ask questions and most importantly set the date that we'll get to see Nazariah for the first time. We can't do that until January 12 at 11am.

Courtney and I block out the whole day. I go into work early to try to get some stuff done, Courtney takes Kaija to school. She knows that we are meeting a new friend today and is excited. Somehow, I manage to get work done. Inside, I'm a mess of nerves and energy.

Courtney calls me at 10am. The case worker (Kim) was on the way to Nazariah's house and called to let them know she was almost there. No one answered the phone. The foster family had forgotten; everyone was at work or at daycare. We were both crushed (to say the least). Courtney's given them one hour to find out what was going on and to let us know what will be happening. (He's also calls our state representative and govenor, we're getting a little fed up with the run-arounds and mess-ups that we've got with the DYFS workers.) We tell Kim that we're willing to do it later that day, but it can't happen. The last time Kim had spoken to the foster family was December 28 - no follow-up call, no reminder the day before.

Our next try at a visit is planned for Saturday at 10am. I go around and tell Aunt Alisa (who was to pick up Kaija and take her to our house to play) and Aunt Rebecca, notify all of Kaija's teachers that she isn't leaving at 12, and then go up to my office, shut the door, and cry. I can't belive this is happening this way - evrything was supposed to fall into place and be perfect. Courtney and I meet for lunch - it helps to make us both feel better. He also picks up Kaija early and they go swimming - so she had a special day with Daddy. (The next morning she realizes what happened - or didn't - and told me "We didn't get to meet our new friend last day.") All Courtney and I could say was that we'd meet her soon - we still hadn't gotten a confirmation for Saturday yet.

Thankfully, that confirmation comes - and you can read more about our visit in the post above this!