We were enjoying being parents, and were learning new things every day. Cassidy was an intelligent little girl and was always inquisitive and asking questions. I would sit with her each night and work on numbers and letters. We would read stories constantly and she LOVED Dora the Explorer. One negative? The kid got up at 5am every day. It didn’t matter what time she went to bed, she would be up at the crack of dawn! My husband and I took turns getting up with her. We would go downstairs turn on Dora and snuggle on the couch for a while… usually Dad would sneak a bit of a snooze while doing so! A positive? Cassidy is an amazing eater. She LOVED (still does) broccoli, pea, beans, carrots, escargo, brussel sprouts, and so on. Having two picky eaters now, I can say we were definitely lucky not to have to fight with her over meal time!
(The three of us on our first family vacation the week before her adoption – OBX, NC)
We left off with Cassidy having moved in with us. This was such a joyous, but amazingly busy time. We had very short notice and had to find a daycare for her to attend while I was at work and school. Luckily, my younger sister was attending a daycare that had an opening so we were able to get her in there. My husband and I also had to start attending the fostering classes, which were three hours long, two nights a week! We were lucky enough to have his mother come over to babysit Cassidy those nights, which provided them a chance to bond. One of those nights I had a college class until 7, so I would rush the hour drive from school to the fostering class and would arrive about an hour and a half late, which they gave me permission to have happen.
We began to settle into life as parents and started bonding with Cassidy. At first she called us Kim and Jake and then slowly transitioned to Mommy Kim and Daddy Jake until she dropped our names altogether. During this time we also saw an attachment specialist to help Cassidy, and us, transition.
In February my family hosted a “Welcome to the Family” party for Cassidy. It was basically a baby shower where Cass and I received gifts of clothing, toys and other necessities, such as children’s cups and plates. Cassidy felt so special and loved that day and my heart swelled.
Cassidy’s birth mother had been TPR’d (terminated parental rights) and was not safe to be around. Prior to the TPR order, Cassidy had had a “last goodbye” with her birth mom. Her birth father is unknown, so we did not have the trials and tribulations of having a birth family involved. But we did want her to know where she came from. Her foster family prior to us had started her “life book” so we continued to add to it. It had a picture of her birth mom and other relatives, a few pictures of her at about 1 year old. We included some pictures of her foster family, and then started filling it with pictures of us, her forever family.
Cassidy settled in quite nicely, which is not always the case. She has always been a very easy going person, and took lots of things in stride. Of course it wasn’t without bumps, how could it not be? I was her third mom in three years. But we continued to be open and honest (as possible with a three year old) and just showered her with love and tried our best to earn her trust.
Finally, after a long 8 months, we received the phone call we had been waiting for! Her adoption hearing was set for September 1st, 2004! We had made family vacation plans to go to North Carolina the last week of August and were driving home on the 31st, so it was the perfect date!
To be continued…