Parenting Classes in Palm Beach

For those not reading on the blog itself, please check it out as there is a new blog design! I’ve moved from an owl family to a penguin family and they’re so darn sweet! And this time they all match – same colors as we will be a family unit no matter what we look like.

To the many friends (and fangirls!) I have made since our last attempt at adoption from foster care, there are literally hundreds of posts detailing, venting, and reviewing that time in our life. I welcome you to skim it if you are interested, but be forewarned that it will likely both make you cry and piss you off and will certainly tug at your heartstrings. I mean, I’m a good writer.. 😉 But seriously, it was 3-4 years from sheer joy to pure heartbreak and every emotion in between. Clearly, it did not result in a child in our home..

For this go around, I will have a different tag so as not to confuse the two. Miami was simply “adoption” since I literally never expected it would fall apart. Everything for our Palm Beach adoption process will be tagged as “PB-adopt.”

Last night, September 19th, we had our first PIP (Partners in Parenting) class. Like PRIDE before, this is a 7 week class during which we will learn about children in care, our roles, our goals, and so much more. In this class, there are a total of 26 students, us included.

Here is what we know so far…

  • CHS in Palm Beach is strictly an adoption only agency. To foster, parents must go through a different agency entirely. I have never heard of this before! In Miami, all agencies did both.
  • We broke out into groups to do strengths/ needs for specific scenarios.
  • We were later all given cards – half as foster/ adoptive kids and half as foster/ adoptive parents – and had to find our match.. or not. Not everyone had a match. Deep.
  • Our 2 teachers (who split the class based on our home’s location) are responsible for completing our home studies. We will not be assigned to another case worker or languish in the system waiting on anyone. We have 7 weeks to get to know each other, build our books/ profiles, then go from there for the home visit and finalization.
  • We should have our home studies in hand within 6 months. I am not being optimistic or getting my hopes up. (I know, I know.. you’ve heard this before.)

The Matching Process

  • WE are responsible for finding our child via the multitude of Heart Galleries, online profile listings, and state and national adoption websites.
  • Once we find a child we are interested in learning more about, we send the ID and their name to our case worker. She will then reach out to their case worker and see if we are a match.
  • If so, we move forward with learning about them by reviewing their profiles and asking any questions we have about behaviors, education, whatever.
  • From there, if both case workers feel we are still a good match, a meeting is arranged.
  • Blah blah blah.. we have visits of all lengths and locations. If all goes well, we do sleepovers as well.
  • Eventually the child moves in for a minimum of 90 days before finalization.
  • And then… finalization! We are parents!

Yes, this is extremely generalized. I know this. You know this. Everyone knows this.

Every week we will have an in-class quiz (group shouting out the answers type thing) and homework to complete which all builds up to completing our official signed home study document. Homework seems to be repeats of last time like our life stories, feelings on certain situations, photos of ourselves, Lola, and our home, and other stuff about who we are.

I am already enjoying this class and the teachers. It is great, in my opinion, to get to know our case worker throughout the entire class as opposed to a random assignment. They will be much more vested in our finding our perfect match this way.

…Until next week…

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A Twist of Fate

We have been hesitant about restarting the adoption process after the utter disaster we had in Miami.

This week, I am in Boynton Beach for my new job. I’ve been staying in an Airbnb alone with hubby at home with Lola and all the packing. All day yesterday I was thinking about Friday’s for dinner. All. Freakin. Day.

Well on a whim, I went to Alehouse instead where I happened to hear a couple across the restaurant mention that they’re adopting. I so so badly want to go over and drill them about how, their timeline, and which agency. I felt like a total creeper, but I did it anyway. Hey, at least I waited until after they paid their check and were leaving.

Thank you:  https://favim.com/hopeful/

I approached them outside and she was apprehensive when a total stranger said “I happened to overhear, but are you guys adopting?” So I quickly added that we’d been trying in Miami for several years with no luck and are moving here next week. They both opened up pretty quickly afterwards. And showed me a photo of their future daughter plus gave me names of a handful of other children they’d met along the way.

It took them under a year from their classes, 2 weeks to complete their home study, and their overnight visits start next weekend. They are straight adoption as well and have had ZERO problems and are not required to have a foster license. (Miami agencies refused to consider us for adoption unless we got our foster license.) She said they do a ton of mixers up here to be able to meet the adoptable kids (which we kept asking for in Miami!) and positively raved over the woman I’ve already been in touch with at ChildNet. Their future little one is 4 years old and they’re accelerating the visitation schedule due to her age. She will be living with them within a few weeks. We exchanged info and they said to contact them anytime with questions.

THEY GAVE ME SO MUCH HOPE YOU GUYS!! I called husband to tell him what happened and even he was getting a little bit excited. We so badly want to parent and this may be the solution! Pregnancy may not happen with all the medical issues I’ve been having, but it’s also not being ruled out.

Thank you: https://orlandoespinosa.wordpress.com

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Moving North & Revisiting Adoption

Hello!

Thought I’d pop back in and share an updated photo. I’ve now lost over 165lbs. Also, this handsome little nugget is my amazing 16 month old nephew. The photo on the right was taken at his mama’s baby shower for baby brother due in 2 months.

Also ready for a crazy life update… Ready?
* I ran my first 10K in Disney World for the Princess Weekend. It was amazingly fun except that I got violently ill and spent 2 days seemingly on death’s door..
* We ran the Star Wars 10K also in Disney World for my 2nd 10K and his 1st. I shaved 10 minutes off my time from Princess and he finished about 40 minutes before me.
* We are moving! Getting out of Miami and heading about 80 miles north to Boynton Beach as I have accepted a position in Boca Raton.
* We have been trying (unsuccessfully) to get pregnant for a few months now since my body seems to be working for the first time in.. ever? This was definitely a result of my losing so much weight. Apparently my RE knew what he was talking about with weight and PCOS.
* There’s a lot more, but at this point, does it matter?
* As an offshoot of our moving away from Miami, we will be attempting to adopt again. We are both hoping that Palm Beach County has their shit together unlike Miami.
*Tonight I contacted the lead agency in Palm Beach and started looking again at the available children on AdoptFlorida.org. I am beyond disgusted that I recognized several children with updated photos from 3-4 years ago still listed and still looking for families. Children that we requested information about.

I’m not entirely certain if we are ready for this heartbreak again, but we want a family. We want a child or 2. We don’t know if I will be able to get pregnant and don’t want to miss out on being parents. We agree we’d love any child we bring into our family by any means. I always said if we didn’t get pregnant in X years, we would revisit adoption. Apparently it was more of, “if we get out of Miami, we will revisit adoption.”

So here we go again… adoption.

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Hi

My life has taken a major change and blogging is the last thing on my mind. I don’t foresee many more posts on here, but please keep me in your feeds bc you never know when I’ll feel like writing. =)

I am on a major health journey and have lost 80lbs since February and feel like a whole new person! I have more to lose, but am thoroughly enjoying how I feel these days. A huge plus to losing so much weight is the possibility of getting pregnant without drugs. So we’ll see how that works out. I bought running shoes and an awesome bike and signed up for 2 Disney 10K races in February and April plus some local 5K races. I may have an obsession with virtual races and complete all my miles on the treadmill at the gym.

My handsome nephew is now 7 months old. I don’t get to see him very much, but cherish every moment when I do and love all the photos I get of him. He is such a sweet baby!

We (yes, collectively) have given up on the foster system in Miami. I have zero faith in it and have quit the Board of the association effective September 30th. We aren’t even getting into this anymore. I’m so fed up. Just am thankful for the amazing handful of friends we met along our 3+ year journey with nothing to show for it.

We spent a week in San Diego for Comic Con and it was the single greatest week I’ve had in a long time. Our wedding week in Vegas is the only thing to compete.

I got a new job! And I freakin love it. I still work on Miami Beach, but in a position of considerable power in an organization that will help me with my future political career.

Still in MPA classes – 4th semester. Graduation is next summer. I will then be able to rule the world.

My 40th birthday is on Friday.

Forty and Fabulous 40

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The Changing Tides…

So I had this great post lined up talking about my new nephew, WEB. He is beautiful and perfect and I couldn’t wait to hold and snuggle him. But for various reasons, this is a different kind of post.

Now, this will just be a normal update.

San Diego Comic ConFor starters, we – husband and I – are ridiculously fortunate to have scored badges to San Diego Comic Con this year!!!! (Every single type of badge sold out in under 60 minutes…) Y’all know just how much we love our cons as we’ve been attending Megacon and Supercon for the last 5 years and this year we attended Magic City for the first time. Seeing as SDCC is clear across the country, we are making a vacation out of it and spending a few days before and after to really soak everything in. The OMG feeling still hasn’t disappeared 3 days later.

School is good. I met a lot of great contacts at an ASPA conference last week.

Work is work… you know how that goes.

I currently have a super mild case of strep that I caught from 1 of 2 sources, both at work.

We attended WordCamp Miami this weekend and it was fantastic! Of course it pumped me up again to incorporate and push my design business again. It happens every year, and every year I do nothing.

Adoption? Nothing really. As you know I am on the Board of SFFAPA and very involved in the foster and adoption world. Will our child come to us this way? I honestly don’t know anymore. We have begun to explore both international-ish adoption and private newborn adoption. Of course, there is an extremely high cost associated with both of these and the benefits of a foster adoption aren’t part of either option. For example, international and private adoptions don’t provide free college tuition which would suck! That was a huge thing for us as we want our children to attend some sort of college of vo-tech school.

For those wondering, WEB was born on the 9th and had initial troubles but finally went home on the 15th. He was preemie so they are under self-imposed quarantine for a few more weeks.

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It’s Been A While….

Hey friends!

I am still around. Things are crazy busy between my MPA (I ended my first semester with 2 A’s!!), working 2 jobs, freelancing, volunteering with my board and trying to keep my head above water. Husband graduated with his MBA in December and started his Doctorate this month. Needless to say, we’ve been keeping very busy since we have no children still.

To be fair, we did stop the foster license process back in August when I was beginning my Master’s classes. We do have a contingency plan in the instance of getting the opportunity to parent.

What we’ve been up to since the last post (I know, I always do these..)

  • We celebrated 5 years married on 10-10-10!
  • We found out we are having a NEPHEW(!!) in February from my baby brother and his girlfriend. For our longtime readers, they came to Vegas with us for our wedding.
  • I got a new laptop – only a big deal to my techies, but it’s lighter and smaller which means I can throw it in my bag and carry it with me everywhere to do homework and freelance work.
  • My Foster association created a petition to help foster children and within the 1st day we got over 1,000 signatures! We have surpassed 5,600 to date.
  • I became active in the Miami Geek Girls Brunch chapter and made awesome new geeky friends.
  • Puppykins developed a horrible ulcer in her eye and had to wear a cone for a month. She hated it and slept the best in her life the day we removed the cone.
  • Met. Richelle. Mead. Only one of my all time authors on the planet!
  • Decided to leave Miami. Like for real this time. There may be a slight bump in the plans, but I can’t discuss it at the moment.
  • Met Peter Davidson.
  • Met Jenna Coleman.
  • Met Billie Piper.
  • Meeting Matt Smith tonight!

I feel bad saying I’ll post more and then not. But I will try

 

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Hello!

helloCan we just ignore that I promised to update more and haven’t? Seriously, I am sorry about that. Life is, as expected, crazy.

In the last 2.5 months, we (I) made the decision to pause our foster application due to all the insanity in our lives. Between my starting grad school, the 4-5 hour round trip commute to work each day (it’s gotten worse 🙁 ), being Communications Chair for the South Florida Foster and Adoptive Parent Association and my constant house hunting (I really want to own a home!)… PLUS Husband’s finishing his MBA and applying for a Doctorate and his work, we barely have time to sleep. Also, I have been actively job hunting and made it to the final rounds with 2 jobs but things happened and, wibbly wobbly, both fell through.

Then I turned 39! And we went to Painting With A Twist with a small group of friends. Husband, SIL, and I went off book and made our paintings our very own by not really following directions all that well…

And on October 10th is our 5th wedding anniversary!

Since we do, in fact, have the ability to time this avenue of bringing a child into our home, we are taking advantage. Also, in the last few weeks, I have been really drawn to changing our age range to teens or at least an older age range. Right now we are approved to adopt 3-8 year old children. I’ve been thinking about upping it to 12 or 13. The older kids are more rewarding from what I am getting from my friends that foster teens as you can speak to and reason with them. While I would love the cuddles of a little one, well I have plenty of friends with little ones plus, a new baby in my family is coming soon!!

Now, frequent visitors will have noticed that there is finally a new blog design. I changed my hosting, rearranged a few domains and hopefully it will speed everything up. Also, I plan on using FletcherFam.com as a family focused website as opposed to just this blog which is very child-focused. I will post here when that goes live.

From last post, my MPA classes are going well so far. This semester I am in an “intro” to Public Administration and a Human Resources course. I promised more info last time. With all the heartaches and hardship we’ve gone through with the adoption process in the last 2 years, I finally decided that something needed to be done. My ultimate “grown up” goal is to be the COO or CEO of a foster care agency or government entity working towards the protection of children. In 5 years, I hope to have graduated and be working in the industry. This MPA will supplement the knowledge I gained from my MBA to focus on non-profits and government agencies.

I hope you’re all well!

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Foster Licensing Progress! Plus Everything Else…

I wrote this in May and never hit post for some reason. Since then, I totally dropped off the blog grid. In the last 3+ months,  a lot has happened. The most important thing (to me) is that I applied for and was accepted into the Master of Public Administration program at Florida International University! This is a highly competitive program with only 25 applicants each year. To say I am over the moon excited in an understatement.

There has been more, but if I write it all in 1 post then it could easily be 3 more months without a post. Along the MPA lines, I need to write more. This will become clearer as I post more about current events in future posts.

Other notable things that happened…

  • I got a NEW CAR in April! She is a Hyundai Elantra in a glittery dark blue (which works for both my Doctor Who obsession and Gator blue) that I’ve named Eva which is short for Evangeline Lily.
  • We went to Megacon for the 5th year and it was as amazing as ever. While we were there, I got a new tattoo (#10) which is a TARDIS with text inside that reads “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.”

  • I also got tattoo #9 3 weeks before that – the outline of a lotus flower
  • April 23rd was the 1 year anniversary since we received our home study
  • We spent a week in West Virgina 98% off the grid – no wifi! 🙁 -visiting Husband’s family. Bonfires, house hunting, bbq, and lots of friends and family time. We did, in fact, look at 3 houses to buy. However, unless we get truly amazing jobs, we aren’t moving there.

So, in May we had our 1st foster home visit. And rather than rewrite the following to bring current…

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Last Tuesday, I took the day off work as we were finally able to schedule the home visit with Z for the mid-afternoon. It worked out perfectly. We had just finished lunch when she arrived after we had spent the morning doing some last minute tidying up.

The visit lasted about 90 minutes during which we went over the rather extensive packet of papers, did the walkaround tour of our house, the fire inspection, health inspection, then she took pictures. The outcome is that we were left with a list of 15 items to purchase or fill out/complete. Since then, I have done all of them including traipsing all over the place looking for the right fire extinguisher – 2A10BC.

We’ve also decided against getting licensed for 2 for the time being, so no bunk beds for us! The kid’s bedroom is huge with a full wall closet and private bathroom. If we ever decided that 1 child is easy peasy and we want a 2nd, we will revisit the bed situation.
Affidavits (2)
References (3)
Husband’s auto insurance card
Fire extinguisher
Fridge thermometer
His medical records
My medical records
My employment verification (2)
Vaccination records (2)

In 100% completely new news, I have made a crazy life decision and decided to get a second Master’s degree, this time in Public Administration. Yes, I might be crazy. In fact, I’m fairly sure that I am crazy since it will begin this August providing I am accepted into the program. It is an online program through FIU which is local to us so I can attend all the networking socials and whatnot. I will be able to take 1-4 classes each semester. With my first Master’s, I took 2 classes and worked full time. I’m actually super excited about it even if I think I’m crazy for taking it on at this point in my life.

Let’s recap, shall we?
Grad school – starting in 5 weeks
2 part-time jobs (oh yeah, I’m back to that…) with 90 minute one way commute
Foster license
Pursuing adoption
Everything else I do in my life on a daily basis

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Foster and Life Update

ty-elephant

I am so amazed and grateful for all the folks that have found my blog and FB page – WELCOME to each and every one of you and thank you for reading.

Since my last post in our Facebook page about our upcoming home visit on April 2nd, we had to reschedule as our entire neighborhood lost power just hours before her visit! But of course, it’s not that easy and we still haven’t set a new time. Not only that, but the original license person (Z) has been in touch and will be helping/ completing our foster license. We received the foster license packet a few days ago to start combing through prior to her visit. There is a long list of items to have ready for the first visit – half of which will take at least a month to obtain. Erg.

Another avenue has possibly opened up for us with a phone call from my aunt. She knows someone that works with children from Colombia who I am now playing phone tag with. I have no idea if it’s considered a private adoption or international adoption or what, but we’ll see. I’ll keep everyone posted especially once I find out the name of the charity/ company/ ministry. I’m not terribly thrilled about this option as it seems like it would be religious. We might not even be considered seeing as we have no religion in our home even though I work for a Jewish institution.

In 100% completely new news, I have made a crazy life decision and decided to get a second Master’s degree, this time in Public Administration. Yes, I might be crazy. In fact, I’m fairly sure that I am crazy since it will begin this August providing I am accepted into the program. It is an online program through FIU which is local to us so I can attend all the networking socials and whatnot. I will be able to take 1-4 classes each semester. With my first Master’s, I took 2 classes and worked full time. I’m actually super excited about it even if I think I’m crazy for taking it on at this point in my life.

Let’s recap, shall we?
Grad school – all application pieces have been submitted except the 3-5 page essay about my career goals
2 part-time jobs (oh yeah, I’m back to that…) with 90 minute one way commute
Foster license
Pursuing adoption
Everything else I do in my life on a daily basis

An update on Babycakes.. she had her surgery and is the proud recipient of a new liver! The surgery was 3 weeks ago and so far so good. She still isn’t alert and aware as they’ve kept her in a coma, but at least her body has accepted the new liver.

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Foster License and TWO Kids? Madness!

Sorry loves,

When there isn’t much to discuss, the posts are few and far between. Since last time, quite a few things have happened, just not terribly much in the adoption world.

Foster license: 2 weeks ago, we submitted our paperwork for our foster license. We are still waiting to be assigned a licensing person to complete the license and schedule home visits.

WHAT?! We’re finally getting our foster license? What madness is this, you ask?

How about some backstory, hmm?

A little over a month ago, I was called about a child fairly close to being legally free. The problem is that once she is legally free, she will be going to a pre-adoptive home. We are not currently one of those as we don’t have a foster license.

So a month ago, I called Our Kids and spoke to Donald about getting the paperwork for said foster license. I’ve been told repeatedly for months that we need to get it but have shied away for several reasons. It would appear now that the only way we will actually get a child in our home is to be licensed.

It took about 2 weeks to get our acts together and fill out all the paperwork.

2 weeks ago, we submitted our paperwork for our foster license. We are still waiting to be assigned a licensing person to complete the license and schedule home visits.

elephantChild 1: In mid-December, we met a beautiful little baby (Babycakes) and I fell very much in love with her. She is my friends foster child and in need of major surgery. She is far from legally free for adoption, but that didn’t stop me from cuddling and snuggling with her on multiple occasions. Fast forward the next several weeks of visiting, snuggling and generally loving on Babycakes. She is ridiculously cuddly and such a little love. And then her foster mom was told how large the family was and that they hadn’t been ruled out to adopt her. Then the family started visiting.

At that point, we realized our journey with her was futile and we’d be better off just loving on her but not in a potential adoptive parent type of way.

littleladysifChild 2: About a month ago, a 3 year old child (SIF) was brought to our attention by someone at Our Kids. I contacted her case worker to get more information. We texted and called back and forth frequently and then on Tuesday, CW called me to ask if we were still interested in SIF. If we were, would we be willing to go to court on Thursday (yesterday) to appear before the judge in order to get a court order for visitation. This was needed due to SIF not being legally free for adoption.

So we made our arrangements and went to court. I was a bundle of nerves and Husband was, as expected, calm and collected. We took the train downtown, found the courthouse, and met the GAL and CW’s supervisor. The both told us a little bit about what was going to happen and to basically stay quiet unless the judge speaks to us. Great. I can be quiet.

Court began late, but just sitting and watching everything unfold was very interesting! Mom and grandma were there which apparently threw a wrench in the plans. SIF has been in foster care since August and mom hasn’t done much for her case plan so this was supposed to be a TPR and request for visitation for us from what I understood. Things didn’t quite go that way.

Mom decided that she wanted to parent and take care of what she was supposed to do 6 months ago. Dad is still missing and everyone is trying to track him down. Everyone agreed to allow her. But they also scheduled mediation and a trial. We’re debating attending those as well.

In the meantime, we will follow her case and stay in touch with CW. Our contact at Our Kids will keep us updated on her as well.

And we work on our foster license, keep cleaning out the kids room-turned-storage room and prepare to be parents.

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Digging through drafts

ballerinaI found this as I was digging through my email drafts this morning. Apparently I started several emails to Ballerina that was going to be sent to the email address she would read later.

So much emotion and promise wrapped up in just a few paragraphs here. Maybe something like this is exactly what I needed to do to finally push past. In therapy, a lot of times you’re told to write a letter to whomever is causing you trauma whether alive or dead and whether you send it or not. I actually started a blog a while back writing letters/ blog posts to my very dear friend that had passed away. It was cathartic. I could write about anything and it felt like I was talking to her. Hopefully getting this out will be the closure I need for Ballerina.

Bc as it is, every time we go to an association meeting, I hope to see her. We watched an adoption special on TV bc my friends were all being interviewed and my heart leapt when her photo showed up. It’s bad.

So please, heart, let this be the closure we all need to move on.

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May 23, 2014
Dear S,

We met you for the first time on Saturday for a play date and hung out again on Sunday. We both adore you and hope like hell that you like us too. I already feel super protective of you and wish we could fast forward the whole process.

To be fair, we have a lot of information about you from your therapists and case workers. We know what happened to you in your young life to bring you into care and the rough journey you’ve had since you’ve been there. We know what happened to both your parents, why you have the relationship you have with your brother and why you despise living in a group home so much. We know your family history, previous placement history, likes, dislikes, and more.

And we still want you in our lives.

And we hope, really hope, that you understand what that means.

We want you – YOU – to be our daughter.

One day you, my little tech savvy child, might find and read my blog. You will read about everything [Husband] and I went through from very early on in our relationship all the way until today. Our adoption journey was fraught with difficulties and frustrations and we pushed through. We prevailed. We might’ve gotten people in trouble along the way, but they weren’t doing their jobs properly. Yes, you will read the glossy version of it all. I don’t mention real names if I can help it.

You, my beautiful girl, are referred to as Ballerina in my blog. Feel free to do a search for yourself.

 

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