Tortuga pined for his birth mother and blamed us for keeping him from her. He was adament that he did not want to be adopted because she would be "back" for him. Other days he swore we really didn't want him even though he really "wanted" us to adopt him. In the meantime we couldn't get her to agree to a visit. She was missing court dates and having a range of issues. We had already decided that an open adoption would make sense and had drafted an agreement which was taken to court in the hopes that she might want that. (All of her prior children had been taken away without open adoption agreements.) About two months after placement, her parental rights were terminated without an agreement in place because she didn't show up. We began the waiting time until we could file the adoption petition.
C.'s pregnancy progressed nicely and I can honestly say she was the happiest pregnant woman I had every seen. She really did glow! Even with the health complications (she got gestational diabetes in month #4) and the regular insulin shots I had to give her there were no complaints. The kids seemed thrilled about a new baby and made all kinds of plans to welcome her home in late August. In the meantime, we started to try and update our homestudy and encounted some bizarre challenges from people who weren't directly involved in our lives but who had some decision-making power and who were trying to make C. take the parenting classes anyway. When she was 8 months pregnant C. proposed to me and we got married 5 days later at city hall in what had to be a wonderfully touching but very unusual "wedding day". We didn't even tell the kids (it's complicated) and went about making sure all our i's were dotted and t's were crossed for social services. After some initial humps our homestudy was updated and then updated again when Milagro was born in late August.
Milagro's birth pulled so many pieces together especially for Tortuga. He began to see the care an infant needs and what he didn't get from his birth mother. He began to feel more invested in caring for someone's needs. He and Pollito were both thrilled to have a baby sister. Pollito regressed a little but that was to be expected. He continued to make dramatic progress in all areas (except potty training :-) Tortuga still had tremendous challenges--behavior, language, learning, etc. but he was adjusting pretty well to our routines and structure. The most important shift for Tortuga at this time was that he decided he really wanted to be adopted and started practicing writing his "new" last name, talking about adoption at school, etc. Initially he wanted to change his name to something that wasn't "Spanish-sounding" and something that was "easy to write." So he chose names like Cody, Sam, Bob, Bill, and Bo. Of course, being the difficult parent that I am I agreed to all of them and translated them to Spanish names (e.g. Bill=Guillermo.) Neither boy had a middle name. We wanted to keep their names and add a middle name. Ultimately we agreed to a different Spanish name for Tortuga's first name and kept his birth name for his middle name. We kept Pollito's first name and added a middle name. Tortuga was thrilled when he realized his new first name was the Spanish equivalent for his grandfather's (C.'s dad) and that increased his sense of connection to our family.
Once he bought into the idea of adoption it couldn't happen fast enough but of course, social services proceeds at a snail's pace. There continued to be delays with paperwork, a lost homestudy and a last minute questioning by a supervisor of whether we could adopt since C. hadn't done the parenting classes. It was a bit nerve-wracking and a bit distressing but given what I had been through with Corazon's adoption this was still a pretty smooth process. We were also delayed because once October arrived everyone involved with adoption was busily working towards National Adoption Day. I had been clear that I did not want to adopt on that day so our paperwork wasn't as great a priority as those for the families who did wish to finalize then. As a result we ended up waiting quite a bit longer. A couple of days before Christmas 2007 we finalized the boys' adoption and began the next phase of our journey as a family.