Friday, December 30, 2011

Foster Diaries: The Return of Baby Boy


Well dear readers, it seems that life is bringing me full circle again. Many of you may also watch us on YouTube, and if so...you know that there is a new addition coming to our home. Way back in February of this year I  blogged about a little boy who was placed with us that I had dubbed "baby boy" since we can not put him in print or video. On the first day he came to be with us he had two ear infections and a whole lot of fear and neglect issues and so he cried every night....for hours. At that time, it made me wonder whether I had the chops to handle being a foster parent. But as time went on, his medical issues cleared up and became the cutest little baby I ever could have imagined. Sadly though, the time came when social services found a family member willing to care for Baby Boy while his mom could go through drug treatment and the family reunification process. We were sad...but we also knew that this would be a part of emergency foster care and we thought it was good that he would be with family......And so Baby Boy left our home to whatever the future would hold for him. All of us shed a few tears as we said our good buys.

Except....that the future that he went to wasn't as bright as we had hoped and it seems that Baby Boy is returning to our home today....


Social services called us just a couple of days ago with Baby Boy in a bay area childrens hospital. The information we got was sketchy and unclear...as it often is when the case if first unfolding and information is being filtered through four or five people who are working in emergency mode. We were told that he had one broken arm and possibly a second...and that he was removed from care because the family member had been making allegations that he was hitting his head against a wall and throwing himself against things. He claimed that Baby Boy had cerebral palsy as a way of explaining why Baby Boy would do this to himself. However, the injuries present did not match the explanation given by family and so Baby Boy was removed from them for suspected abuse and an emergency call was placed to us to see if we could take him back. In the mean time, doctors testing  him for Cerebral Palsy, Brittle Bone syndrome, and Autism among a bunch of other things in order to determine whether  the claims of Baby Boy's family held any truth.

Now...I had really bonded with Baby Boy. He was never far away from me and as time had gone on in his first placement with us, it was getting harder and harder to let him go. So when we got the call and I heard what his family had been doing to him, I had only one immediate thought and that was that if he came back to our home, it would be to stay...for good. I know, that's getting the cart before the horse and there was so much more to consider...but that was my initial gut reaction to the news. After the shock and anger wore off...other thoughts and feelings began to work their way into the mix....

Like.....It's just past Christmas, and we were breathing a sigh of relief that the holidays had passed and perhaps we could relax. Also, we still have the two children placed with us that came right after Baby Boy left. This was our limit and we didn't want to have five kids to manage. And on top of all this, social workers were telling us that he might have two broken arms AND autism......holy cow....just thinking of it all from that perspective was enough to knock me back in my chair.  Can we do this?!.....With two broken arms he will need everything done for him just as if he were a newborn infant. And if I am thinking about possible adoption or guardianship....Is autism something we can take on?.....Are we nuts to be considering this?! And the biggest question...How were Daniel and Selena going to feel about it all?


I admit to feeling a little sick to my stomach remembering every time I handed Baby Boy off to to the family member who did this to him. I went to those visits looking for signs that anything could be amiss and I saw nothing. They had a nice home and three kids of their own that all looked happy and well cared for. There was nothing that would have indicated that this family member was capable of doing something like this to him. And even a veteran social worker who's job it was to investigate the home and determine its suitability saw nothing.  And yet...here we are after a few months of what must have been hell for this little boy.  I know I am not responsible for what his family did to him...but I wish I could have seen this coming. I want to take him back and never let anyone hurt him that way again.  And on top of this...there was also the nagging fact that we had no idea if Baby Boy we still going through reunification with his mom......Crud...this situation just seemed to get more and more complicated the more we thought about it. Here I am thinking adoption thoughts and that may not even be a possibility.

There is so much to be afraid of. So many reasons not to do it. So many boogie men to be afraid of. But when I remember Baby Boy as I knew him this last spring all  I could remember was his bright smile and toddler mischievousness. He was this tiny little package of cute with the eyes of a very old soul that had already seen too much. If he has autism...he had it then too. Yet all I could see were his giggles.

So we sat down with Daniel and Selena and told them the situation. They are old enough now to hear it now without sugar coating it and they both had really fond memories of this little boy. I was mostly concerned from Daniel because he has been my only son. I did not know how he would handle having to share that with another. We always joke with Daniel that he is our favorite son...to which he indignantly replies, "But I'm you're only son!" And yet as we explained the situation both kids hardly let us explain it all before they were getting excited at the prospect of having Baby Boy back with us. Selena whooped with glee and Daniel gave his best "I wan't to be a sullen teen but I'm not really yet" seal of approval.

But then there was still me....I has gotten used to the idea of our family being just the four of us. Why did it make me feel sad to consider adding one more person to that mix? I guess I am the one with sibling issues because I guess I was feeling like I was betraying all that I had promised to Daniel and Selena by bringing in a new child to our home and wanting to make him my son. Silly eh?...love doesn't work that way and I still was not even sure if that kind of situation was a real option yet. Baby Boy's mom could still pull through and he would be out of our hands again to another uncertain future.

So many reasons to be afraid. But In the end...none of them were good enough.

And so...after so much deliberating and wondering about unknowns...Jay and I came to the conclusion that all the what ifs were stonewalling what we already knew...and that was that we would take Baby Boy and see what comes. We may well be crazy, but that's never stopped us in the past. Why let it now? And so....the runway lights have been lit for the stork to make his return trip today. Baby Boy will be coming home today. I hope he gets to stay....but that future is still uncertain.

Until next time dear readers........


23 comments:

  1. You are the most amazing people I know. I am so honored to have you as my friends. You have brought love and safety to these kids. I'm glad Baby Boy is coming back to your family... You can handle it Dad. You are the best. Much love and blessings to you... Mindy

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  2. Again, congratulations on this reunion. I know how much it means to you. You had posted about when he left I think? You and Jay are angels on earth. Bright blessings to your family. Baby Boy is the luckiest kid in the world, even though what he went through is horrific. WIth love, Bob

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  3. Sally Baker WilliamsDecember 30, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Much love, light, and bright blessings to all of you on this next journey and through the new year. Thank you so for sharing with us.

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  4. Do you think if you take in Baby Boy, the government or any related agency could give partial financial support?

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  5. Let's Just hope with your love the memories of the horror he had to live with these past few months will quickly disappear ... he'll have a wonderful life as a Leffew. Hugs guys! Jim

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  6. Just stopped crying. Your awesome parents and your doing a great job raising Daniel and Selena - and your foster kids. I hope your decision works out well. I really do! I appreciate you a lot and you've my full respect for all you do! I hope, Baby Boy is allowed to stay and your family can handle his issues an maybe his disabilities. I was a 'battled child' and when I was young, no one gave a shit on it. So take care of him, he really needs a loving and caring family like yours! I'll be praying!

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  7. You and Jay never fail to amaze and you should be an inspiration to any parents regardless of their orientation. The happiness and giggly-ness you saw from Baby Boy prior to his leaving you is contrary to what I thought autistic children were like emotionally. I was under the (mis)impression that they were characteristically emotionally flat and didn’t attach well to others. Then again, from your post it doesn’t sound like autism is a firm diagnosis just yet. If it becomes one, you’re probably in for a steep learning curve on the subject.

    I noticed in comments on your Depfox video on the subject that some viewers said they too were autistic and welcomed you to seek them out for advice. Another possible advice source could be (another) David who runs the SillyGayBoy channel. He also is autistic and might be in a position to be helpful. I know he thinks very highly of you and Jay—who wouldn’t?—and I can’t imagine him not wanting to help if asked.

    Good luck.

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  8. you're both wonderful dads, i'm more than sure you both can get through with this. You shouldn't blame yourself, no one could possibly see through the future. Rest assured, you and Jay will always find the solution. If i had been in your shoes, i would very much feel the way you're saying right now. After reading a bit more on what the family did and their claims, I just feel more anger towards them. But as i learned, i best never let anger cloud my mind.

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  9. I don't think you'd be letting Selena or Daniel down. Its not that your going to have another child, its that you'd be giving them both a brother. Daniel would get the chance to be a brother to him. Their age difference will make Daniel his super hero.

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  10. Love expands to fill voids. The more you love, the more you have to spread around. I hope that you get to keep baby boy, and that he isnt austic, just withdrawn from the abuse. But you can fix that right up, so no worries!

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  11. Best of luck to you both. I hope it all turns out well and you can adopt the child, who, it is clear, needs you. The world needs more potential parents who love and care for the children that are in need. BTW, I was diagnosed as an adult with Asperger's, which is on the autism spectrum. If he is autistic, with the right care and understanding--which I have no doubt you two would be able to provide--he'll blossom. Brightest Blessings,

    Starshadow

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  12. All I can say is WOW!!! You are the parents I wish I had. (Although at age 53 that would have made the Guinness Book, LOL!)

    Anyway, I am sure that in your heart you already know the answers, but as any "new" parent you are obsessing over things and questioning you ability where in reality you have more than proven you can raise healthy well adjusted children.

    Opening up your heart again with the possibility that it may be broken again is something that I know I could never do, although even if you can help Baby Boy return to somewhat of a normal life if only for a limited time,(hopefully though it will be permanent!), will make an impact on his life later on.

    In so far as the autism is concerned, it really is a "spectrum" disorder that runs from very mild to severe. MOST children seem to fall in the middle. Also there are a multitude of resources (both public and private) that will help in providing educational, moral and medical support. Sometimes however it is hard finding them, but they are there as well as plenty of online resources and groups where you can reach out and always find answers to your questions.

    My niece who is now 13, has been diagnosed with autism since she was 3. Unfortunately she falls into the more severe category, but with the help of social workers, educational consultants and special education programs she is holding her own. She will never be "mainstreamed" but at least she has a better chance than she would have had years ago.

    So, all I can say is look into your heart and you will find your answers as well as the strength to bring another child into a loving SAFE home.

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  13. Wow! All I can do is sit here with a really big smile. Y'all are awesome!!

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  14. Bryan,

    Biki said it best: "Love expands to fill voids. The more you love, the more you have to spread around." Baby Boy will heal and grow as a member of the Leffew family -- no matter how long his time with you turns out to be.

    You and Jay are superheroes in my book. Yet even superheroes don't have to go it alone. Lots of good suggestions for ways to consult and get second opinions and viewpoints on possible autism issues have already been made. Do take advantage of those resource people to save your own energy and add to your peace of mind.

    All the best, Bryan. You and yours are in my continued prayers. Bill

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  15. Wow... I am in awe of you guys. You are amazing, amazing people. All of you.

    My son has autism, if you have any questions, I would love to answer them the best I can. It is challenging, but insanely rewarding.

    Praying and sending good thoughts for your family and baby boy!

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  16. Just and update...Baby Boy is doing fine and made his transition back into our home with flying colors. Aside from having a huge cast on, it's like he never left :)
    bryan

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  17. Just like any child, you never know what the future holds. If this poor baby is under 3, you will be giving him the chance to know what love is, even if he has to go back to his mother. He will carry that with him always...I applaud you guys!

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  18. You two are fantastic parents. You demonstrate on a regular basis that the anti-gay out there are essentially full of crap when it comes to their views about LGBT people.

    Glad that Baby Boy is back in your care again.

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  19. just wow ...

    words simple can not express the sheer amount of admiration i have for you right now.

    just promise me you will not take to much upon yourselves. i worked in the social sector and know how much you want to help others especially kids. dont take on more than you can manage, both of you are to good, to nice and to importand for your family to burn yourselfes out.

    so now i am sitting here, almost brought to tears by the power of your words and feelings, admiring you so much, and being afraid for you at the same time.

    take care,
    lots of love

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  20. Bry
    I am so glad for you & Jay ...... You both make wonderful parents I really hope u get to keep Baby Boy ....

    Bella

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  21. Bry
    Not on topic here but I accidentally discovered the old first ocd post and left a comment you might like.

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  22. Bryan what can I say? You and Jay are such an inspiration to me.

    I have kinda adopted my partner's daughter when she was born. I have no rights to her but that does not stop me from being the pama that I want to be to her.

    She is also mildly retarded and has some schizo attributes but I have never stopped loving her. I am so happy that Baby Boy has made the correct adjustments to being back home.

    I wish you Jay Daniel and Salena all the best!!!

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  23. Please be sure to giveus a follow up on Baby Boyy. Thx

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