Aspen is thrilled to back! She and her little brother Jude sleep through the night. I wake up feeling so happy, and determined to find out what delays, disorders, or problems these two beautiful children have. I immediately make several Dr. appointments for the coming weeks for both of them. During the next few days, I continue to play constantly with Aspen to see if I can get her to communicate with me. She only seems to know the word "doggy." She is not remotely interested in potty training, and seems like it will be a very long time until she can understand the concept. She starts to want attention from me. She wants me to play stacking games with her. It is such a basic concept, but I laugh with her as she knocks the blocks down when we finish making a tower. She is starting to let me hold her, and she is smiling, touching, and hitting my face which seems like a bad thing, but for her is a sign of affection. She starts something new! She is trying to sing. I can't understand a word she is trying to say, but I love it! we also are enjoying chasing each other around the house. We are definitely bonding more and more, but she doesn't seem to care about Steve yet.
The Dr. Appt.s start. Both Aspen, and Jude qualify for Physical Therapy, Occupational therapy, Speech therapy, and Aspen also for behavioral feeding therapy. Can you imagine? At three years old she can't hold a fork or a spoon. She stuffs food in her mouth, chews it forever, and then spits it out ,throwing it everywhere. She puts everything in her mouth in her mouth that is not supposed to be there. This is one sensory little girl. Jude also has his many share of problems. He doesn't drink from a bottle well at all. He drools so much of his milk as he is drinking. He has not begun to start any solid food until we get him in our home. he is very jumpy as well. he is 10 months old now and not sitting up, or trying to scoot around. he is barely starting to roll over, and push up onto his hands. During all of the evaluations we are doing not only me, but everyone we meet thinks that Aspen is severely autistic. After having her tested for any spectrum disorders, we still cant rule out autism, or PDD. the Dr.'s want to see her back in 3 months for further testing.
Over the next 3 months I see miracles happening with these two. Aspen in now calling me mom, and has bonded to our family. Jude is laughing, drinking from a bottle, and loves to eat solids. We even begin to potty train, but it's a process. It takes her a couple of months, and a trip to flaming gorge for her to get the hang of it. She really didn't like it when I took her in a cold lake to wash her off when she had an accident. Not only is she potty trained now, but she decided she can stay dry at night too! Whoo hoo! This is a huge step, and her OT is in absolute amazement. Jude and Aspen have made what all of there Dr.'s call tremendous progress. Aspen has defied all odds, and is learning so quickly! We rule out Autism, because she's accomplished so much in so little time. Dr.'s say" these behaviors she has are completely because of physical, and environmental neglect. these two kids didn't have a prayer of of developing the way the should have.
Jude is now involved in Early intervention, and Aspen gets to go to a preschool with special ed teachers as well as the normal preschool teachers. She will receive therapies here as well. I am attending 8 Dr. appt.s a week, and that doesn't include E.I. or the preschool. not to mention taking them to 2 visits with their mom a week. Their Biological mom is missing at least half of her visits. I am a little overwhelmed, but I am doing this! I tell the caseworker that 2 days a week for visits it too much for me. Abby decides to make it once a week for 2 hours instead to help lighten my load. We are so blessed to have a wonderful caseworker!
There is little to no progress with Aspen and Jude's Biological mother. She is still testing positive for drugs, and alcohol. She misses her visits, and doesn't bother to show for some of her U.A's. Abby our caseworker asks me how Steve and I are feeling." Do you want to keep them, and would you be willing to adopt?" I blurt out"definitely", but Steve is a different story. He still wants this to temporary. remembering this i tell the caseworker that i will have to work on my husband, but that I don't want them going to another home. I am going to follow this case through no matter what.I have completely fallen in love with the two of them. How could not? I have spent almost every moment of my day working with these angels, trying to get them caught up.
We head to court on September 17th. Abby asks for termination of their mother's rights, but now we have another hick-up. The babies dad is out of prison, and wants to be able to be a candidate for reunification. The judge decides to give Dori, and Chris more time. We have to come back to court Nov.18th
Two months seems like forever to wait to find out what is going to happen. The parents are attending all of their visits, but U.A.'a are still coming up positive, and Dori still hasn't completed any of her services. Again, Abby has no choice but to recommend termination. That what she does, but the parents are going to fight this recommendation. Now we have mediation on the 6th of December, and then on the 9th we go back to court. This seems like such a waste of time though, because with the parents fighting the decision, we will have to go to trial. This dang case is dragging on forever!
Abby calls me a week later, and says ," I have some news for you" the dad is ready to relinquish his rights. I am shocked to hear this because he was the one fighting so hard. Chris asks to meet with me. He says that he sees how much the kids love me, and how much I love them. He didn't realize before, but he now understands that his kids will stay together and that Steve and I would be the ones adopting them. It was an emotional meeting, and I find much compassion towards him. This changes things. He really is not being selfish, he wants what's best for his kids, and know that he, or his soon to be ex-wife are not capable of caring for their children. He at this point doesn't want Dori to get them back. he tells the caseworker and I that" we really don't know the half of it". He agrees to testify against her if she doesn't relinquish her rights.
Over the past couple months Steve has come to the reality that I can't willingly give up these children. I love them, and I want to keep them. He feel so conflicted, but realizes there is no alternative. He tells me " life is so easy and good with our own 3, 5 is alot." I reassure him that we will have a more hectic family, but a life with them that is full of joy, and memories. W e never have a guarantee that each and everyone of our children will float through life, and make all the right choices, even our biological 3 we have. He sees my point, but is still scared. What a huge sacrifice he is making for not only our family, but for the kids, and me imparticular. I do notice him getting very protective over them though. He loves them, and wants what is best for them.
The next step is mediation. Chris is hoping to make his wife realize that giving them up is the best decision. HE DID IT! Both parents have agreed to relinquish their rights. We go to court that Thursday, and just as planned they voluntarily give up their rights, which opens the door for adoption. Wow, this is very emotional for me. I am struggling watching these parents have to do a very hard thing. I feel very sympathetic towards them. Chris is choking back his tears, and Dori, is too I think, but neverless she says to me "sometimes things happen for a reason". She walks out of the court room waving goodbye to me and smiling. I think she feels comfort in knowing she has done the right thing. I talked to her a couple of days ago, and she made another remarkable comment. She handed Jude to me, and says" he wants his mommy" Uh, how can they give up on these two? I can't understand it, but I am so glad at the same time that they are doing what is right for them. I now have some respect for them. At the same time I am ecstatic. They are ours!!! The Lord sure let me know that I had one more little girl, but I had no idea about another baby boy. The Lord sure knows what he wants, and what we need. I can't imagine it any other way. I didn't expect 2, and I didn't expect a boy, but I love it!
The adoption will be finalized on February 17th. We are planning to be sealed to them for time and all eternity in April when Steve's parents come home off of their mission. Word's cannot express how thankful I am to be lucky enough to call Aspen and Jude my own. Their names are now, Jude Daniel Morgan, and Aspen (Azzie) Hope Morgan. Both Steve and I are excited. Yes, we live what Steve calls a nut house, but it is a wonderful, joyous, happy nut house. Tyler, River and Randilynn are sooooo excited. I am so lucky to have them, and for their wonderfully compassionate hearts. We couldn't do this without them. I am so happy, so blessed, and so excited that our family is definitely complete now. The "SSMORGAN5" Ship is full, and is starting it's wonderful journey.