conferences

NFPA/FSFAPA Conference & Ballerina

Untitled-1We had an amazing time this past weekend at the NFPA/ FSFAPA Conference. Between meeting folks from across the nation, to playing in the pool with our friends kids, seeing old friends and family, and all the sessions… And not to mention the pillows. OMW the pillows. My bed had 5 of the softest, fluffiest pillows.

But I digress. We both learned a lot about ourselves, the process, and how we can help to empower our future child/ren. We also had 9-10 hours stuck in a car together plus all the down time to talk and to discuss Ballerina. As an aside, we must’ve gotten the “how are things going” question about a dozen times and asked why we hadn’t brought her with us at least twice. We honestly didn’t know that was a possibility.

We decided that yes, we absolutely want to adopt her. We have so much to offer her to help make her way into adulthood in just a few short years. 54-ish months to be exact. (Why is it that things in months sound so much shorter?) We discussed her school, speculated on the kinds of books she liked to read, how she’s spending the summer, her hobbies, family trips we’d take, high school, colleges, and more. Then we questioned if she even wanted to live with us. Wanted to be our daughter.

That question still plagues me. I hope she does. WE hope.

I know in my past posts, I seemed ambivalent about that. But it’s a yes. We want her in our family. We want her to be our daughter.

But in the end, if this doesn’t work out, we only want the best for her. And I genuinely hope she knows that.

We’re told this process can take months and that she (or we) can decide at any time not to move forward. We’ve been asked repeatedly if we are sure. But in the meantime, we are going to do our best to show her that we do want to be her parents.

People question why I write and why I put my entire life out there. Aside from not having anything to hide, it’s cathartic. Writing about my life and our process really helps me. Getting it all out there helps. Sure, there will always be critics and folks that tell me to close the book, stop oversharing, that no one cares. To those people, I say… then don’t read it. I’m not going to change my life to suit you. Unsubscribe, unfollow, block me. I don’t care.

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3rd Visit with Ballerina

ballerinaIt’s amazing what one week and one extra visit can do.

We were supposed to meet Ballerina and TH on Sunday at 1:30 for a 1:40 movie. I say “supposed to” bc they were 2 hours late, but honestly, that’s not a story for the blog. We’ve reported it through all the channels both as it was happening and after the fact. Let’s just say that it has given us a lot to think on about this whole process.

While we waited, we were able to get a refund on our movie tickets and had lunch at Fridays. We also saw a friend that we haven’t seen in years (omg has it been that long?!) walking around the mall with her new husband and family. We also had plenty of time to figure out what we were going to do. And I don’t just mean on our play date. We questioned – a lot – if she really wanted this. From us.

We assumed that she had to go to church in the morning which is why he didn’t pick her up until 1:30. Come to find out at the end of our play date that she didn’t go to church. We were both beyond pissed bc we tried meeting them at 11am. TH told us they were running errands all day since his agency knew he was working anyhow.

We are beyond frustrated with this whole process and sadly, since our earlier frustrations, it’s only marginally better. If it wasn’t bad enough that the home study process was killing us, this definitely is. And unfortunately we don’t know how much of it was her not wanting to spend time with us and how much of it was him taking a long time running errands.

By the time they arrived, we’d pretty much given up and are planning on moving on to the next child. But then, of course, we had the best play date so far and I think it was because we decided we were going to give up and were more relaxed. I think she felt it because she was laughing right along with us and seemed a little bit more open. “It” being our not trying to force a relationship with her.

For the first maybe :30 I was pissed. So pissed. I wasn’t asking any questions and barely talking. We went to Hot Topic and she got what she needed to buy for her roommate. We love this store and she seems to as well. TH is not a fan of it at all. By the time we left there, I was feeling better. The saleslady asked Ballerina a question and she turned to me so I thought that was a little ask for help. Who knows. Maybe she just doesn’t like strangers.

At the end of our play date, we gave her my business card with Husband’s name and number written on the back. Essentially, we are leaving it up to her if she wants to see us again. It is in her hands. We will be in touch with her CW, but won’t be seeing Ballerina for at least 2 weeks. We are out of town next weekend for the NFPA conference which we told them about so they are aware. What she decides to do in terms of contacting us is up to her. So yes, she very well could be reading this right now and every other post that I have written about her. (Hi Ballerina! I hope you like your nickname.)

I think, as a parent, it’s very important for your children to know what you are feeling towards them. I know that she is not our child yet but I’m still peeved and so is Husband. We’ve had a few days, many conversations and many phone calls to discuss and reflect on our relationship with her to this point. We want to adopt her. We haven’t made a definitive decision bc we truly cannot blame her for what is happening. Could their lateness partly have been her fault? Maybe. But she is a child. Yes, at [REDACTED] years old, she is still a child regardless of what anyone says. She may be a teenager, but hasn’t had parental figures helping to mold and guide her in several years into adulthood. She needs parents to help her make decisions between right and wrong. She needs to know what is and isn’t appropriate. Sure, she is a genius, but book smarts only go so far. Whatever does happen, we only want the best for her be it as our daughter or part of another family.

ETA, 2:35pm, 6/3/14 – It’s been brought to my attention that, based on this post, it looks like we’re deciding whether or not to adopt Ballerina bc they were 2 hours late. That’s not the case at all. Keep in mind that this is a public forum and I cannot and will not post every little thing that’s happened, been done, been said, etc. Any misgivings we’re feeling are for specific reasons based on everything involved with this procedure. One event/ chain of events will not derail us into saying no. Everything about this whole process involves so much emotion, thinking, feelings, etc that putting it in writing is really difficult. Thanks for reading about our story!!

******

So, I was voice posting this while driving to the train station yesterday morning. And when I finished I turned the radio on and this song came on. How appropriate! I mean aside from it being about romantic love…

Not A Bad Thing by Justin Timberlake

I know people make promises all the time
Then they turn right around and break them
When someone cuts your heart open with a knife and you’re bleeding
But I could be that guy to heal it over time
And I won’t stop until you believe it
‘Cause baby you’re worth it

[…]
If I had a pair of wings
I’d pick you up and fly you far away from here
And you’d put your worries upon my shoulders, my dear
Now I know I can’t save you
From the troubles of the world
And this sounds like such a silly thing
But if I could I’d fly you away
On a big old pair of wings

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Mini Checklist

Completed registration for NFPA conference? CHECK
Home study in hand? CHECK
Sent to Our Kids? CHECK
Sent to local agencies? CHECK for the 3 that replied to my email a few days ago

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NFPA Conference

Hello! How are you? I’m still floating from actually having our home study completed. We attended a mini conference last Saturday and I finally got to introduce husband to the many friends and amazing supporters I’ve made in the foster/adoption community. Actually, we were immediately asked about a sibling group but alas, too young and 1 too many.

The day we received our home study, I finally registered for adoptUSkids.org. Finally. I’ve been coveting a membership for over a year. But honestly, it might be more detrimental to my sanity. They send you kids that match the parameters of both our background and what we selected for the children. Do you know how much it hurts to see all the smiling faces that just want homes? If I could inquire on all of them, I would, but we have our limitations.

FSFAPA-2014-Conference-Brochure-r3(1)-1

We have the extreme fortune of being given scholarships to attend a national foster parent conference this summer and I need help selecting the classes. There are seriously so many classes that I want to take that I wish I had a time turner to take them all.

My choices have been narrowed down from 4-5 in each section to these. Of these, which would you take?

Session 1
A: I am a Foster Child, all the World is Watching to see what I will Become. I Know Nothing About this World I Belong to………Teach Me!!! — A workshop based on the importance of positive parenting and experiences and how to create experiences that result in permanent connections. Techniques to make fostering a lighthearted, positive experiences for the caregiver, family and most of all, the child in our care will be discussed.

Or

B: Surviving and Thriving Being Helpful — It seems no matter what we do, we can never get it done. Whether it’s our kid’s disturbing behaviors, our co-workers and/or spouses (and their disturbing behaviors), or the agency and state’s ever-shifting, never-ending demands…someone always wants more than we can give. This pragmatic and inspirational workshop is about breaking our own co-dependence and thoughtfully cultivating the internal resources key to thriving (rather than just surviving) the ongoing chaos inherent in the helping act.

Session 2
A: Childhood Traumatic Grief — Childhood Traumatic Grief is a training that provides audience with an overview of childhood traumatic grief, signs and symptoms as well as recommendations on how to help children who are experiencing traumatic grief. For a child in foster care, loss of a parent due to DFPS removal process can feel as if the parent(s) has died. The emptiness of not belonging or having a family can be interpreted by a child as a permanent loss. With time and support from caring adults, children can adjust to the loss of a loved one. Through understanding these effects and how children grieve differently a caregiver can also promote placement stability.

Or

B: Attachments, Relationships; Parenting from a Whole Brain Perspective — The goal of this workshop is to provide participants with tools and strategies to help youth achieve integrated and healthy brain functioning. The training discusses the neurological relationship between the brain, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive functioning in a format easily understood by all. It further explains how relationships, experiences, and memory can affect a child’s brain development and self-regulation. Strategies are explored to help parents, social works and child welfare professionals work with their youth from a “whole brain perspective.” This training is adapted from innovative research in the field of neuroscience, described for the parent and professional in a straightforward and clear manner.

Or

C: Creating and Nurturing Articulate, Expressive, Cultural Thinkers and Lifetime Learners — Education must be a priority, not an option, for youth in foster care. This workshop will provide the “To Do’s” on how to establish an Education Committee that will provide educational opportunities, enrich the lives of our youth, and enable them to become responsible, resilient and active members of their communities.

Session 3
A: Positive Moments, Permanent Changes — A look into the little moments, actions, gestures that seem to make the biggest impact on foster youth. A compilation, of youth, of all ages sharing what matter the most, both positive and negative while in foster care, will be discussed. Looking into our own behaviors will be explored to create an awareness of the effect on others both positive and negative and how we can change ourselves for the better through the experience.

Or

B: More Than You Ever Wanted to Learn about Maintenance Adoption Subsidies! — This workshop is geared for adoptive parents who have adopted or are contemplating adoption of children from Florida’s foster care system. Although, some federal regulations will be discussed, most information will be related to the statutes and administrative rules of Florida regarding the process for negotiation and approval of maintenance adoption subsidies for children adopted from Florida’s foster care system. The workshop will also present the necessary steps for an adoptive parent to follow when requesting an increase to an existing maintenance adoption subsidy. The workshop will also discuss the important steps all adoptive parents must follow in order to prevent any interruption in the child’s monthly subsidy payments and Medicaid coverage when preparing to move out of the state of Florida. (Italics added are mine.)

Session 4
A: Fostering the Future — What is your role in the life of the precious children in your care – adoption, reunification, emergency/safe family or long term fostering? Knowing your role determines your action and how you will maximize the positive influence you have on the child. You will be equipped to operate in EXCELLENCE, master ORGANIZATION, become their ADVOCATE, be an agent of HEALING and PREPARE these precious children for the next step in their bright future.

Or

B: Post Finalization: Post Adoption Communication or Contact Agreement Regarding Siblings or Birth Family Members — This workshop is geared for adoptive parents who have adopted or are contemplating adoption of children from Florida’s foster care system. The workshop will explain the value of as well as the pros and cons of a post adoption communication or contract agreement. Examples of post adoption communication or contract agreements will be provided. The presentation will also explain how changes can be made, if necessary, after a post adoption communication or contract agreement is signed and approved by all parties. The workshop will discuss the benefits of mediation if all parties cannot agree on changes to an existing agreement.

Husband is taking the following and we want to divide and conquer so we learn the max amount of information.

Session 1: Developmental Trauma: The Connections That Make a Difference of a Lifetime — This workshop will explore the impact that childhood trauma has on brain development, including what research shows us about the differing sizes, activity and composition of the normal brain compared to the brains of children who have been abused and neglected. A brief overview will be given of the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive effects of trauma and explore how changes in the brain can have life-long effects, if new neurological connections are not made. The presentation will conclude with a discussion on the importance of early intervention, consistency, continuity and how healthy relationships and predictability can establish new neurological pathways for connections in the brain that will make a difference of a lifetime.

Session 2: Creative Discipline — Parenting and disciplining children who have experienced trauma takes an entirely different mindset. It takes renewing your mind regarding typical disciplinary actions and creativity to attain a loving outcome. Every family is different and every child is different. Explore Grace-Based Parenting that is centered on God’s way of parenting us as His children. Change the environment in your home and find peace for each member of your family.

Session 3: Picking Up the Pieces after Sexual Abuse — Can my child ever have a healthy relationship? How do I help my child heal & thrive? Can their view of sex change? When should I seek help for my child? What do I do if my child is acting out sexually? As a sexual abuse survivor and adoptive mom of 6, Karla will give you the unique insight of the child and help you to understand their thoughts, actions and behaviors. You and your family can thrive and make it through this.

Session 4: Equipping Your Foster/Adopted Child with the Tools to Find their Success Story — The dreams of tomorrow must be a vision of today. It is our responsibility to help guide our foster/adopted child to their dreams, their goals, and equip them with the tools to get there. But first, we must be in a place of communication with our child. Do you know what your child’s dreams are? We must equip our children with the tools to a better tomorrow, today. Let me help you understand your foster/adopted child and the missing links in the foundation that are key to guiding them to their success story. It all begins with a solid foundation.

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A Perfect Life

Having just spent the last 2 days at Wordcamp Miami, my passion is running super high for working for myself. Not to mention kicking butt. In my perfect life, RS Creative Solutions will run smoothly and earn us enough money for Steve to do law school and me to not have to work in corporate America.

In reality, I don’t have any consistent clients and don’t get paid for the bulk of the work I do… mostly bc I don’t ever bill for it. From now on, I need to set boundaries, create job scope/ specs, get down payments, have contracts signed all before I ever do a drop of design work.

I’ve been doing this long enough (15 years) that I can’t keep calling myself an amateur. I mean really, that doesn’t help with my design-esteem. Yeah, that’s like self-esteem but for my design work.

I found two somewhat mentors willing to help me with my business and was told that I really need to get to more events in the industry. I was also told our URL was too long. So I bought a shorter one: RS Creates

Now to implement my perfect life.

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Cons, Steampunk, and More

Hello my darling blog readers.

Hmmm, are any of you still around?

I know, I know. It’s been far too long between entries.

In the last month, we have fully moved into our new and amazing house, got Phoenix totally cleaned up of his flea infestation (and in similar news, my parents had to flea bomb our last place twice due to the attacks they were subjected to every time they walked into the house), traveled to Orlando for MegaCon 2012 (and took SO MANY PICTURES), met David Anders, did lots of fun work stuff (the new job), planned a tennis tournament, got sick, got Steve sick :(, did a lot of work for my aunt (the old job)… and I’m sure a million other things.

MegaCon – I was already featured on AccidentalSexiness.com with my pictures of Tom Felton and David Anders

We were planning on going in costume, but alas, the actual plans to attend didn’t even get finalized until 3 days before the Con started. Instead, I went dressed in my Doctor Who TARDIS shirt and then Jack and Sally shirt.

It also gave me so many ideas for MegaCon 2013.

Much like at the 2011 Con, I continue to be so fascinated with the gorgeous steampunk outifts. That is a very real possibility for my 2013 costume. Also, we are attending Florida SuperCon in June, so I can see wearing the costume at both FSC and MC.

Don’t know what steampunk is? According to Steampunk.com,

Steampunk has always been first and foremost a literary genre, or least a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy that includes social or technological aspects of the 19th century (the steam) usually with some deconstruction of, reimagining of, or rebellion against parts of it (the punk). Unfortunately, it is a poorly defined subgenre, with plenty of disagreement about what is and is not included.

Still confused? I found some of these online as an example…

Source: bing.com via Ginger on Pinterest

   

And some artwork:

Source: swagbucks.com via Becca on Pinterest

   

So what d’ya think? Can I pull it off? I saw ladies of all shapes and sizes corseted and steampunked out at MegaCon.

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#wcmia – Word Camp Miami Live Feed

OK my friends, as promised for those interested, below is the live feed for all tweets #WCMIA. That’s Word Camp Miami in case you didn’t know. This post will update constantly all day long.


Seeya!

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Gearing up for Word Camp Miami

OMG, I am ridiculously excited about Word Camp Miami tomorrow. Like, I can’t even begin to share with you just how excited. It is my first blogging conference and I’ve already gone through the program picking out which sessions I want to attend.

Every time slot has 3 options for each track: Beginner/Blogger, Marketing/Design, Developer. My choices are a good mix of the 3 tracks, mostly concerned with SEO, monetizing, developing WordPress for business and other similar topics.

Clicky-clicky the image for a full size version

Are you heading there? Let’s meet up! I’m hoping to be there around 7:45am with a huge steaming Starbucks coffee. Coming from Homestead to Coral Gables means waking up around 6am to be on the road by 7am. And this girl loves to sleep until 10-11am on a regular basis!

Recap will follow probably on Sunday. If I can figure out how to live tweet only the #WCMIA tweets into a post, I will.

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Recent Design Stuff, Mild Depression

Hello my friends,

It’s been quite busy lately for me.

Recent creative accomplishments:
* Created the adorable business cards from a few posts back
* Designed the theme for this blog
* Designed/created a business card holder from scrap yarn [pattern forthcoming!]

Upcoming accomplishments:
* Legalizing my companies
* Preparing for Word Camp Miami this Saturday
* Knitting a [test knit pattern] sweater
* Job hunting, primarily in Orlando
* Going back to school (no clue for what though!)

While things are busy, mentally I’m not doing so fabulous. There is everything and nothing going on at the same time. Between not contributing financially and living in a place I despise, I feel out of my mind. I am sorta on the mend – as much as I can. Working through depression without professional assistance is difficult, to say the least.

It was suggested that I buy the book, The Dance of Anger to read and work through my problems. Here’s hoping, yes?

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Welcome to Becca Blogs!

Cute cards, right? This iPhone picture doesn’t do them justice!

I finally got everything completed with the transfer and domain swap. There are still a few glitches here and there like some posts have multiple signatures (I learned to hard code around the dynamic code so I’d stop forgetting to add it.. see below!) and some hard coded links from earlier posts direct back to the other blog. However, seeing as this blog is about 97% complete, I decided to launch!

Those adorable business cards up there? They are obviously meant to look similar to the header on the blog.The back has my name, phone number, Twitter handle and email address. These cards have been in the works for about a week as I tried to find a company to print them with a relatively quick turnaround time. No dice! In the end, I laid them up in InDesign CS4 16 per page and printed them out on our shiny new printer. Oh, but finding a thick enough paper to suit my desires? That was a pain in the tush! Michael’s didn’t have it and ordering it online would’ve taken forever. Someone suggested Pearl’s and they had it! You can’t really tell, but the paper is an ice blue which saved our ink from having to bleed color around the entire card. Win-Win! Oh, and it cost me under $4 for the paper with no shipping costs! Bo-nus!

Anywho, welcome to my much-easier-URL-to-remember blog!

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