Sunday, March 22, 2015

2 Years In Review: Kayden and Dayton

Some days it seems like it was just yesterday, and other days it seems like it's always been this way, but today, March 22nd, it has been 2 years we have had Kayden and Dayton in our home. What some people don't realize, is that until we adopted them, we weren't able to talk about their story or share pictures of them. It was all considered confidential. Well to mark our anniversary with them, I want to share with everyone an obnoxious amount of pictures of the boys from the point when they came into care until we adopted them, along with some of the story.

On March 22, 2013 at 1:50pm I received a phone call from the Iowa Kids Net, the people that place children in need of a foster home with families. She told me she had two boys, 7 months and 3 1/2 years old that needed picked up from shelter that night. The 7 month old appeared to be fairly healthy and the 3 1/2 year old appeared to be "slightly" autistic. On a side note--- the descriptions that are given of children's needs are never very accurate, so caller beware!

Anyways, we said yes immediately. It was the first placement call we had received and felt like we couldn't say no. I rushed out and got another bed, some clothes, diapers and formula. We inserted car seats into my car and then headed over to the shelter to pick the boys up. We were greeted by the NICEST child protection worker (who also is a major hardass, and I think that's why I love her so much) and then were told that bio mom would be showing up shortly to say good-bye. In my head I was thinking, "What the fuck?! Ok, be nice. She may not be the scum of the earth......" But we met, and all of us survived that awkward moment.

Kayden was all bright blue-eyed and loving anyone that would love on him. Dayton had hair in his eyes that was covering the massive bruise across his forehead from him headbanging, was screaming and trying to steal anyone's food or drink that he could. I was nervous.

Long story short, our first month or two with them, I would compare to the first couple months with a newborn. Kayden would be up 4-10 times a night. He was trying to establish trust that if he cried, someone would respond. So there was no "crying it out" for him, we had to go in and soothe him, doctor's orders. Dayton didn't sleep. 24 hours awake, 30 minute nap and then repeat. This is when we discovered melatonin, and finally got him to sleep, sorta. Jason and I were running on fumes while both still working full-time.

I'm really torn when I talk about how they came into care. Mom and dad both struggled with drug and alcohol use. Dad was trying to give the boys and himself a fresh start, made some poor decisions and the boys were taken away. Part of me is so angry that parents could put their children through the things they did, but part of me is thankful dad made the mistakes he made so that both boys could receive the proper care they both desperately needed.

After only a few weeks of visitations with dad, who was now sober, he told everyone involved in the case that he couldn't provide what the boys, especially Dayton, needed while trying to keep himself sober and working. He consented to having his rights terminated. I have so much respect for him. Some people might see it as a cop-out, but I see him as being completely selfless and giving his children a better life.

We don't know what happened with mom. She sort of fell off the face of the earth  while still dealing with her own demons. And as hard as it might seem to believe, I don't hate her. Her struggles were severe, she had mental health issues which fueled her substance abuse use and then had severe postpartum depression after Kayden. If I wanted to play the blame game I could blame her for why Kayden couldn't hold his head up, roll over or know the feeling of a full tummy or why Dayton never had any services in place until we got him, but I don't. I know the things she wrestled within herself were intense, and deep down she loved the boys the best she could.

So in somewhat chronological order, here are pictures of our first "born" children!

Their first Easter with us. 

Kayden always wanted held while he slept, and considering I was in my first trimester, I didn't mind. 

It took awhile for us to get permission to cut Dayton's hair. 
So I had some fun with it!
Baby food was something Kayden quickly caught onto!

Our first few months were rough. 
Started a bath, went and got towels, only to come back and find this. 
This guy loved his food!

Birth mom attempted a haircut. 

Kayden quickly became mobile. 

Then we FINALLY got permission!
Thought I lost him.....he was just hanging out in the dryer.

Always smiles!
Eye contact and smiles!

Our first family picture......Layne's in it too!

Using his spoon for the first time NOT at therapy.... this made me want to cry at Pizza Ranch!

Kayden's first birthday! The boy loved him some cake!

All about the texture at the school. 

I had great helpers while trying to put Layne's nursery together!

But Dayton just wanted to be in the tub!
This blanket we gave him on the first day we picked him up from shelter, it's still his "blankie".....not so much white as it is a dingy gray now, but he doesn't mind. 

Their first Halloween with us, Little Lion and Mike!

First monster truck outing with dad!

Me- "Let's check on Kayden to make sure his pants are on!" I didn't expect to actually find this!

Valentine's Day 2014!

 What a stud!
First time at Grandma's house and he got new boots!

Kayden's 2nd birthday......truck/tractor themed, imagine that!

October 29, 2014: The day they became ours officially!
Jason and I couldn't imagine our lives without these boys! We love them as if I gave birth to them, and can't wait to see what's to come in our many more years as their parents!

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