Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Addition...

 Hello Murray Family members, 

We usually don't write, because there usually isn't anything worth mentioning!  That has changed!  As many of you know, we spent time getting approved for adoption through LDS family services.  After being approved for over a year, and not hearing a single thing from them about a potential placement, we decided to look at other avenues!  We got a phone call from Kevin's co worker in March.  She said that a mutual friend of hers and Kevin does emergency foster care and had 2 babies that needed to be adopted.  Kevin called her to get information about the process of getting approved for state and county adoptions.  She said we had to sign up for a mandatory 9 week class at the local JC called "Partnership in Parenting."  She said that the next class started in 4 days!  We signed up immediately and though Kevin is currently doing school for a Doctorate program, we felt it was important to attend the class!  Good thing we did, because the person who heads that class got fired after our class, and now it is not in session until further notice!  During that class they focused primarily on behaviors that the kids could have, and how to deal and cope with those behaviors in a therapeutic way, but Kevin and I do that at work every day, and have done that for years, so we took time in the class to fill out all our adoption paperwork.  In that class was a "foster parent mentor" to answer any questions that we had about how the system works for foster and adoption in the county.  Her name was Natalie, and she was a fountain of information. We befriended her and asked her questions during breaks of all the classes!  She gave us her card and said that in our county she is also the president of the Redwood Empire Foster Parents association!  We kept it and decided she would be a good contact for us!  We ended up having to have an orientation meeting and 3 additional training sessions and several sets of lifescan fingerprints.  Finally we met with social workers one for the county and CPS and one for the state adoptions office!  In June, Kevin had to contact a CPS worker that he has worked with several times through work.  Him and this lady, had a client in common and have worked together several times in the past.  He mentioned at the end of the call that we were trying to adopt and to keep us in mind if anything comes up. She seemed excited and said that she works with teenaged pregnant girls who will have to give up thier babies, and said, there was a baby due in July!  We were excited about having yet another good contact!  In August, we finally we got foster parent licensed!  Our state adoptions worker also took a 3 week vacation around that same time and we asked that no one contact us about placements until she returned.  The county will sometimes try to place kids who are not available for adoption with couples, because they just need more couples, so we asked that all agencies wait to contact us until our state worker returned.  She could turn down the ones that weren't a match for us.  Also around that time, we decided to join the Redwood empire Foster parents association and contacted Natalie for the details!  We ended up going to an Ice cream social event the next week!  We met several amazing foster parents and held lots of babies and got phone numbers from other couples!  We figured it would be nice to have babysitting trades with other licensed people and that they could give us advice on how the process works.  There are some amazing couples doing wonders for these kids!  We also got to see Natalie again, which is always a plus!  She is an extraordinary woman!  So, we were biding our time waiting for August 24th when our social worker would come home from vacation.  

On Tuesday the 23rd, mom and dad left for Utah, and I got a phone call from our state worker saying "we have a baby for you!  its a girl!  But that is all I know!"  Then the next day I was at work, and got a call from our Amy (our worker)  She said, "we have a girl and she is 1 month old, but that is all we know!"  Later that day, I got another call giving us more information!  The baby's mom is 17, and has been a ward of the court since she was 12.  She has been in several group homes, but manages to AWOL from them more than she is actually participating in them!  As a result, she has only completed her first semester of her Freshman year.  She wants to get the baby back, but our worker and her own social worker think it is not even a remote possibility!  She gave a name of who she thought the father was.  The court ordered DNA testing, and it turns out that he is the father, and now he wants to try and get her, but he is barely 18, doesn't have a job, or a way to get up here to have visits.  He met the baby's mom at a group home that they were at together!  Anyway, the social workers don't seem to think that there is a good chance that he can hold it together enough to get the courts to agree to let him have her!  We ended up doing a lot of praying and thinking and talking about it!  We decided we wanted to meet the baby!  they made us wait for 5 days to see her after we told them we wanted to proceed!  It turns out that the baby was place in the home of Natalie!  (the foster parent mentor and president of the redwood empire foster parents association) :P  Natalie picked her up at the hospital when she was 2 days old and had her ever since!  We ended up driving to Natalie's house and falling in love with this beautiful sweet little girl!  We put a transition plan in place!  We met her on a Thursday, but were supposed to go visit her at Natalie's house on Friday.  Natalie has 2 kids of her own and another foster daughter, so when we got there Friday, she said, if you take the baby out, I can take these other kids to the park.  We cant go to the park when I have the baby!  So we took her on an outing!  We went to Costco, and to moms vacant house, (she needed a diaper change) and then the outlet mall to buy a couple new outfits!  We had to take her back to Natalie's that night.  On Saturday, Kevin had a 4 hour visit by himself because I had to go to work, but he spent time with her and took her for her first ride on our stroller.  He said he walked around the same block over and over, because he was afraid to cross the street with her!  :P  On Sunday, Natalie and the baby (Peyton) came to our house and we spent time with her.  On Monday, she got dropped off in the morning and we spent all day with her and took her home that evening.  Same thing on Tuesday.  On Wednesday, I got a call from Natalie while I was at work, saying that Peyton was unsettled and having a rough morning and she thought that if I talked to her, it might help her settle.  She was crying when I called back.  and by the time I was done she was cooing!  Natalie brought her to our house that evening.  The original plan was to have Peyton move in permanently on Friday, but on Wednesday, Natalie said, "we are just torturing this poor baby.  She is ready to transition now!   Why don't we plan on tomorrow after work!"  Thursday was the longest most unproductive day at work for both of us!  It was absolutely brutal!  We ended up meeting at our house and driving up to Natalie's to get our baby girl!  We named her Peyton Marianna (pronounced Mary Anna after both of my grandmas, but we did the I instead of Y because Kevin's grandmother is Marie.  It also covers Lisa, Mom and Kevin's sister!)  She has changed everything in our lives, and she is an absolutely joyful and sweet little spirit with spunk!  She turned 2 months on September 9th, making her 11 weeks old tomorrow!  She is a good night sleeper.  She goes down about 10:00 and wakes up between 3:30 and 4 for a bottle, then goes right back to sleep.  She then wakes up around 6 or 6:30 and wants to cuddle.  Usually I go get her and we snuggle and sleep on the sofa until she totally wakes up.  Also, the CPS worker that Kevin works with, who told him of a baby due in was Peyton!  There have just been too many small things that have happened and connections made to bring her into our lives for us to doubt that she is really ours!  Now its just the waiting game.  The mom has her 6 month court in February where they can either sever her rights as a parent or give her a 6 month extension on getting herself together to try and get Peyton back from us.  The father has to hold down a job and talk with a lawyer about getting his status changed from alleged father to presumed father. He says he wants her, but has not taken that first step yet!  We are ready for an emotional roller coaster ride, but all the waiting and emotions are worth it when we see our little girl!  I will attach some pictures and hopefully Allison can put this up for me with her pictures!  We are totally smitten with this sweet little girl!  She is an absolute treasure!   Please keep us and little Peyton in your prayers and if you go to the Temple add our little family, especially Peyton, that Heavenly Father can have a hand in making sure that she ends up where she is supposed to.  Thanks so much for all the love support and prayers in our behalf!  We really appreciate it and love that she is part of this great and wonderful extended family!  :P  

Love Susannah and Kevin

 First Time Meeting Peyton

First Week Home

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