Just Passing Time…

One year and one week ago, we made the decision to adopt from foster care. As much as I wish everything had gone according to [our] plan and we’d had a child in our home by Christmas, that didn’t happen. We’re still waiting for the approval.

During the year, we have cleaned out our 2nd bedroom/ office and furnished it completely for our Fletchling. We got rid of a lot of clutter. We moved husband’s huge desk into our bedroom leaving the 2nd bedroom useless for 8 months. OK not entirely useless, the cat lives in there. I installed shelving to keep the cleaners and chemicals far out of a child’s (and almost my) reach. We bought new couches and they’re almost totally paid off. We made a lot of mental changes to adapting to being a family of 3. We discussed lowering our age range. I have attended countless adoption and foster support meetings and conferences and made invaluable friendships of other parents going through the same thing we’re dealing with and more. We made several other changes, but we still have a long way to go.

I am still hoping that we’ll get our results and approval this week, but I’m not holding my breath.

Also, I’ve been working on a pretty comprehensive Timeline.

I might’ve also become addicted to doing my nails. Being a thumb sucker for 5+ years then a nail biter for 30+ years, my nails were always crappy and ragged bc I bit them. Keeping polish on them has actually made me stop chewing on them! I joined the Julep Maven program and got my first box for FREE. Clicking that link or the icon in the sidebar – and using the code FREEBOX – will get you a free box as well. No, I’m not being compensated for this post (or any for that matter) to talk about them. I’ve also been using Sally Hansen, Rimmel and Wet N Wild polishes. I just happen to like the Julep ones the best.

Filed under adoption, bedroom, child safety, Foster Adoption, kid's room, support group, Timeline | Leave a comment

ARC Meeting Recap

This morning we had our Adoption Review Committee meeting!

Husband took off Wednesday night from work since we had to be downtown in the morning. We had yummy dinner last night and relaxed watching TV and playing video games.

This morning, we woke up early and were ready to leave the house by 8:20am. The ARC was set for 10:30am. We drove to the metrorail station, parked on the roof of the garage, then got on the train heading for Government Center. We arrived so early that we found breakfast at GC and hung out taking our time eating.  I wasn’t sure exactly how to get to Our Kids, so after walking outside twice, I asked a police officer to point us in the right direction. My GPS isn’t that accurate on the walking setting.

We went on our way and it was only about 3 blocks away. The walk was super easy and really nice. He talked about trying to find a job in the GC area so we could ride the train together. I see couples doing that and even taking their kids to school on the train. We found the correct building,located the gate to walk in and then I fell.

Yup – I faceplanted right outside the building. I twisted my right ankle and ripped up my left knee. By some miracle, even though I landed flat on the ground, I didn’t skin my hands, rip any clothes, break my sunglasses or my phone. I was holding my phone, texting and walking and was sure it – or at least the case – was going to break. Nope, it was perfect. But oy was I in a lot of pain. He said I cried out as I fell. In my mind I yelled the F word really loudly as I hit the ground. Note to self, texting and walking is just as bad as texting and driving when you’re a klutz like me.

I sat for a few minutes then he helped me stand. I wobbled for about a minute to catch my breath and stop shaking then started walking since we were getting close to the time we had to be there. We checked in with security and went upstairs. We had to wait for about 40 minutes, but our ACW’s supervisor came out to let us know is was going to be a little while since they were running a little bit behind schedule. Great, no problem. I sat there with my foot propped up on my laptop bag. I saw 1 person I know that I was introduced to via email and then met at several events.

When we were taken back to the conference room, we met the panel: Paula, Allyson and Becky (via phone call). Paula explained about the review process based on both our background and on the state of things these days. She asked us questions if we had any concerns. Then asked why we decided to adopt and a little bit of our background.

She said the reason we were there was 2-fold:

  1. bc husband had a blip from the FBI on his background check. He explained what it was from and that it happened 22 years ago. He elaborated where I’m not going to in this blog.
  2. bc I was in therapy for anxiety. I told her the reasons behind my therapy, which I won’t go into detail here as there are people that could get hurt if I write about it. I told her about my learned coping strategies, that I’m still in touch with my therapist, and that the last year was spent doing a lot of pre-adoption and parenting type therapy.

After we answered the questions, she told us what happens next. We don’t get the results today. (I actually knew this coming into the ARC since I asked a friend what to expect.) They will write up a report, hopefully by tomorrow afternoon, and submit it to the administration. The administration will read the report, check out our file and then give us the approval or denial. They couldn’t tell us if we were approved, but it seemed like we were. However, we’re waiting for the actual official approval before I jump for joy.

She did recommend, though not mandate, that due to our backgrounds, we look into parenting class at either FRC or one of the other agencies. It would help us to make new parenting choices and not fall back on what we grew up with.

After the meeting and we said our good-byes, husband and I were leaving when Paula came out to catch us. She said from the sound of things, her family and upbringing were a lot like mine. We chatted for about 15-20 more minutes about different things like getting firmly entrenched in the local foster/adoption community (that I am and just A-D-O-R-E!), finding friends with parenting strategies we want to emulate and asking them about it, and reading up on as much as we can to learn about foster kids problems, attachments, etc. Regardless of how prepared we think we are, we’re not. And rather than fall back on not ideal parenting strategies, we should start now forming behaviors, etc for our children.

She’s amazing. Seriously. She’s one more amazing person that I’ve met along the way in the past year.

Filed under adoption, Foster Adoption, infertility, Other Agencies, paperwork, pre-placement needs, Timeline | 3 Comments

October

You know when things are meant to be the universe makes sure you know it? Well I was working on our Timeline and digging for when we met and other key dates in my Livejournal. It turns out that Husband and I spoke for the very first time on the phone (after chatting online for 2+ months) on October 10, 2007.

We were married exactly 3 years later on October 10, 2010.

Thanks universe. You rock.

I wouldn’t be all that surprised if we finalize our adoption this October since it seems to be our lucky month.

Filed under anniversary, steve, Timeline, wedding | Leave a comment

Next Step…

I was informed yesterday by the psychologist that Steve’s evaluation will be sent to our agency today.

HUZZAH!

This was the only thing in the way of getting before the Review Board. Once it’s turned in, they will schedule a date for us to present our case for why we want to adopt. At least I’m guessing that’s what they’ll ask. I really don’t know.

After going before the ARB, we should be approved for adoption. There will be nothing else in our way… I *think* but honestly who knows as things have a way of popping up after we’re told we’re finished.

I understand that the actual matching process is a PITA, but it will all be worth it in the end. We will be matched to a child, not a child to us. Meaning, whichever of the 6 agencies has a child within our parameters will review our home study to see if we fit into the kind of parents and family that would be best.

We’ve had #Fletchling’s bedroom furnished and ready for occupancy since October. October! And have not been able to use half of our apartment since then. Yes, that is, in fact, 5 months. This weekend we decided to empty out our storage unit and bring everything back home to either keep, donate or trash. It’s going to go right back into this huge empty bedroom for us to work on until we’re at the sleepover stage with the hypothetical child.

We decided to adopt April 2013. Tomorrow this process has taken an entire year and we’re still awaiting a completed home study.

Filed under ACW, adoption, bedroom, Foster Adoption, kid's room, My child, paperwork, pre-placement needs, Timeline | Leave a comment

A Real Update!

It Takes a Village to Adopt a ChildFrom every single amazing foster parent, adoptive parent, child advocate, guardian ad litem, volunteer, and the many others I have met since we began this journey in mid-April, I have truly learned that it really does take a village. And along the way, I have made some great people that I happily call friends! (And future sitters maybe… *grin*)

I feel like I’m on a whirlwind journey with all that I’ve learned lately about the foster care system in Florida – or at least Miami-Dade county – lately. A few weeks ago I attended the Our Kids Town Hall meeting and was able to meet some of the judges and a magistrate that rules over the foster care and adoption courts. Also, the CEOs of most local agencies were there for a Q&A session which got a little heated in my opinion. Today I attended my first association meeting and it was, in short, AMAZING! Magistrate Steve Lieberman was there and spoke for the better part of 2 hours. He asked us questions, we asked him questions, and we all learned a little more about wading through the legal system.

I came home super amped up to join the legislative committee to change the laws and statutes and talked nonstop for about 20 minutes telling Steve everything that I learned. To become a Guardian Ad Litem. To volunteer to redo SFFAPA‘s website. To basically do anything that I can possibly do to advocate for kids lingering in the foster care system.

The update you’ve been waiting for is that we’re still stumbling over all the roadblocks they’re putting in front of us. It really feels sometimes like they want us to fail. The latest is having our back up caregiver (essentially the person we would leave our child alone with) had to all of a sudden get background checked and fingerprinted. Um, we gave our ACW her name and contact info in October. On January 30 I received an email stating they needed her to do everything. Even though her job makes her infinitely qualified in the eyes on the FBI and court system, they required her to come in and get fingerprinted. After talking about our entire process with her, she wasn’t even going to argue her background. She went in and got it done on February 7. I must have asked them like 3 times for the results which took until February 25. Ours took about 3 days.

I must have emailed our ACW and her boss a dozen times asking if they needed anything else and was assured that they had everything. In this case, I’m actually glad they refuse to pick up the phone since there’s a paper trail.

On February 6 we were told that Steve needed a psychological evaluation based on a few things in his history. We expected this and weren’t worried. On February 10, at my email prodding, we were told they would refer him to a psychologist and await the recommendation. The same day they requested a letter from my psychologist detailing my therapy and information about my discharge from her care. She revised the letter she submitted IN OCTOBER with a sentence about ending my therapy. On February 20, we were finally told to find a psychologist on our own, tell them why the eval was needed and that, OH YEAH, we needed to pay for it.

Now, have you ever gone to a psychologist without insurance? Do you know how much they cost? We didn’t either and neither did my friend Bree at Our Kids. I called both numbers our ACW gave me, bitched on my FB page, and gave the quotes to Bree. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing group of supporters as someone I’ve known a long time but never met Steve said she could help. Within days, everything was arranged. Right now we’re awaiting for her to submit the report to FRC but know it can take some time as he had to fill out a ton of forms after speaking with her.

By the way, the quotes from FRC’s recommended psychologists were upwards of $2,000 and $450.

Oddly enough, having things in our own hands right now make me feel better since we aren’t waiting on FRC to grace us with an email likely requesting more crap from us. Once the evaluation report is complete, we will have the date to go before the Adoption Review Committee set.

All in all, I am still hoping to get before the ARC by the end of March. Hoping. Who knows how long these people will take.

As of tomorrow, our home study has taken exactly 6 months and isn’t completed yet.

Filed under ACW, adoption, Foster Adoption, My child, paperwork, pre-placement needs, support group, Timeline | 4 Comments

Fletchling’s Email

Hello my darling readers and friends! I know it’s been quite a long time since you had a substantial update from me. Unfortunately I don’t have much to write about now.

Adoption news? None really. We keep hitting and stumbling over and into the roadblocks our agency puts in our way. We are awaiting our back-ups background check and fingerprint results to come back. We are also awaiting the date to be set for us to meet with the Adoption Review Board.

I saw this on a friend’s Facebook page – and have seen it several other times – and decided to finally do something about it:



I couldn’t resist. Even though I have this blog and Facebook page, I don’t think I’ll really be posting every single thing about his/her life online. I do feel like I would be more likely to write letters and send tons of photos, videos, and tons of other things to the email. I also plan on letting friends and family use it to send notes, birthday wishes, and more to the little one.

I know there are a lot of folks here that I don’t personally know, so I won’t be openly sharing the email, but if you want it, by all means, ask!

My first email:

Dear Fletchling,

I set up this email account to send you anything and everything that I/ we want to give you one day. I planned on giving you the password on your 18th birthday, so…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my love!

In my next emails, I will tell you how daddy and I met and about our lives before you joined our family.

Much more later. I only just set up this account and need bed.

Love,
Mum

Apparently I’m channeling being a British mommy… mum. *giggles*

Have any of you done anything like this in any format? Someone suggested using a thumb drive or maybe creating a Livejournal or a private blog.

Filed under ACW, adoption, family, Foster Adoption, Kid-Friendly, My child, Timeline | Leave a comment

DIY Crafty Project

Sure, this is normally an adoption blog, but this sorta relates. There’s been a lot of movement on the adoption front in the last month, but that’s fodder for a whole other post!

My new job starts officially full time today. I’ve been working there a few hours a week freelance since October. Since I start tomorrow, I wanted to decorate my office and be sure my creativity is not only apparent, but organized. I will be doing marketing of all kinds and need to ensure it is kept track of properly. Instead of purchasing a corkboard or dry erase board, I came up with this idea while wandering around Staples Saturday night.
What, you don’t wander office supply stores for fun?

I purchased a large black foamcore board which initially would mean using metallic and light ink pens on. Nope, this idea is better. I bought 3 coordinating roll of mini duck tape and started searching on Pinterest for memory board tutorials for the tape placement.

diyboard

My supplies:
20″x30″ black foamcore board | 3 rolls of 15mm duck tape | scissors

diyboard4

Since my board is 30″ wide, I marked off every 5″ and went on to taping it off. There are 5 aqua blue vertical stripes.
diyboard3

As it is 20″ tall, there are 3 lime green horizontal stripes at 5″ intervals.
diyboard2

I got creative with the diagonal stripes. There are 5 on 1 diagonal and 4 on the other.
This is totally up to you how to tape it off.
diyboard1

To hang this, use nails that are at least 1/2″ longer than your board.

I purchased clear push pins and will use them to secure papers to my message board. Normally ribbons are used, but that also means it’s a fabric board with some sort of batting. Maybe I’ll make one of those for the Fletchling, but for now, he or she will have one of these. Now to pick some generic colors and get to it.

Filed under crafty, diy, job hunt | Leave a comment

Possibly Wanting a Younger Child

Husband and I have been discussing the age of our adopted child and seem to both be wanting to go younger after all. Nothing is set in stone and, of course, we don’t even have a finalized home study yet. Supposedly, on the home study front, we will have that done in January. We finally heard from our case worker and she is coming back for the final photos and documentation on January 4th. We’re a little leery of believing it’s going to happen due to the lack of communication from her for so long and everything else. But anyhow, hopefully January.

Incidentally, January is a HUGE month for me as I will be leaving my current job officially on January 31st and starting my new job full time during my few weeks off during the month. I am going to miss a handful of my co-workers SO much, but really excited about moving on to my new job. So yay!

It Takes a Village to Adopt a ChildWhen we were out shopping Saturday night, we met a super cute 3 year old little boy and his mom while standing in line checking out and both thought it was the perfect age. He was bright and precocious and patient and sweet and just a good kid. You know, for the 10 minutes we were chatting with them. It seems our 5-11 years old age range may be changing to 3-8 or 9 year old range after all.

From what *I* remember, we will get tuition for a Gold Star pre-school until he or she is old enough for kindergarten/ elementary school. I’ve asked the amazing MPC but she’s likely on vacation so not sure when I will hear. We probably won’t tell our ACW we’re even considering it until we’re totally sure. Still lots to discuss and think about. Plus, when we bought all the bedroom furniture, it was with a 5-11 year old in mind.

Time will tell what we do, but this is really exciting to think about. I even bought a super cute floppy knit elephant last week for our little Fletchling.

Filed under ACW, adoption, Foster Adoption, home visit, My child, paperwork, Timeline | Leave a comment

I’m still here…

Untitled-1I know it’s been well over a month since my last entry, but there is literally nothing to report. We are completely stalled and haven’t had a response to the many emails I have sent to our case worker. It would appear that we are not unique in this either. Of the other classmates from our PRIDE class, only 1 couple has a completed home study and only bc they had extenuating circumstances and already had a child identified. All the others, from the informal survey myself and another classmate completed, no one else is even close. Not even the potential foster parents which surprised me.

We graduated on September 10th and were told they had to be completed by December 10th. Hi, it’s December 16th. We haven’t heard a peep since November 20th when I received an email about an adoption picnic event. From the get go, it’s been very difficult to get in contact with almost anyone from our agency. We’ve actually looked into switching agencies in the hopes of completing our home study faster, but it seems like they are all pretty slow. Joining and attending the association meeting is pretty eye opening. We’ve learned a lot about the process talking to other families.

I’ve had so much more luck talking to my friends at Our Kids than hearing a peep from our own agency. No, I take that back. I was called a couple weeks back by one of our awesome PRIDE instructors asking about placing a child with us. Unfortunately, he was way far out of our criteria and also not having a home study, we couldn’t have accepted him no matter what.

This whole process is just extremely frustrating and painful. I know that one day we will have our little one in our family. But until then, I am struggling. And with every new post about my friend’s pregnancies, my heart breaks a little bit more. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited for every single one of them, but it still breaks my heart that they will all likely have their babes before I have mine we have ours. Even the ones that just announced in the past week.

Having an inordinate amount of stress at work isn’t helping either. I am currently wrapping up the largest event of the year that we’ve been working on for months. And come January, I am taking a new job. In being fair, I’ve given my boss the opportunity to meet the salary of my new job, but it has an expiration date on it.

Plus, we were really really hoping to have a child in our home – or at least going through the visits – by Christmas/ New Year’s.

To the person/people that read every single post in my blog on December 5-6, I am in awe. There is so much that I’ve written over the years that I’ve even forgotten most of it. Hope you enjoyed it!

Filed under ACW, adoption, Foster Adoption, My child, Other Agencies, paperwork, PRIDE Class, Timeline | 2 Comments

Can’t Wait for Carseats

I might be totally strange, but I cannot wait to have a carseat in the back of my car.

When I purchased my Luna nearly 4 years ago, I intentionally purchased a car large enough for rear facing car seats and lots of cargo space for when my kids grow up and have lots of sporting equipment to haul around. Apparently I was expecting hockey/football playing boys or whatever sports girls typically play that involves large equipment.. I traded in a car I still very much miss, but just plain wasn’t large enough for the gaggle of babies I pictured in the backseat.

Well, not gaggle. Just 2 or 3.

Little did I know that I could have kept my beautiful sparkly red Moxie as there will never be rear facing carseats in my car.

During our process of furniture shopping for the Fletchling (a name Steve really doesn’t like!) I have also been looking at booster seats thinking we’d pre-purchase them so we’d be prepared. We haven’t bought anything except for furniture at this point.

boosterseat

Image Source: TheCarSeatLady on Facebook

And then, I saw the above graphic on a friend’s Facebook page and learned something. The maturity component is a new one to me. I always thought age and weight was the only thing determining when to go from 5 point harness to booster seat. Since we don’t know what age child we’ll be adopting, we certainly don’t know his/her height, weight or maturity level. We will definitely be waiting until we meet and are matched to purchase car seats for our cars.

In very fun news… I am participating in a blog crawl for National Adoption Month. Check out all the possible entry avenues below. There is a wealth of information on the entire adoption process from all angles.. and not just foster care adoption like we’re doing

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Filed under adoption, child safety, Kid-Friendly, luna, My child | 1 Comment




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