home visit

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…

+++++

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

spacer

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.

spacer

What’s Been Happening…

Nothing.

Well, that’s not true. The only change is that we are currently working on paperwork for our foster license. That’s right, after so much discussion against being foster parents for our own personal reasons, we’ve come to the realization that it’s likely to be the best chance at us getting phone calls and a child.

That said, by the time we were assigned a licensing specialist (Z), Husband and I were both so sick that we kept putting off a home visit and filling out the paperwork. I finally printed the paperwork and started going through it on my own. Meanwhile, Z is using our Home Study to pull other information from.

..

Honestly though, after my first phone call with Z, I was a little more worried about what we are getting ourselves into. Every time I mention the licensing paperwork to the friends we’ve made along the way, I get similar reactions: disbelief. After 16+ months of being 100% certain that we do not want to foster, they’re surprised that we’ve changed our minds.

To a degree.

Our plan is to give Z the same criteria we have for adoption for our licensing, but give further criteria that we are willing to foster children with a very high chance of parental rights termination. She said when Placement starts calling, they don’t always review our criteria as it’s likely for emergency placements or a huge need. We do not want to take in every child that is offered to us. Does that make us selfish? Possibly. Will we end up changing our minds? Maybe. But for now, this is our plan.

We started talking about getting licensed during our visits with Ballerina. Both her CM and TH told us our best bet to push things along would be if we were licensed. That way she could move in with us immediately. It would have been a total immersion into parenting a teenager 24/7. Speaking of Ballerina, we still discuss her quite a lot. I knew it affected me quite a bit, but I didn’t realize how much it affected Husband too. He is the one that brings her up most frequently. I am of the mindset that if she didn’t want to be adopted, we should stop dwelling on her. That… is so much easier said than done.

I still search for kids nationwide, but no luck so far finding a good match.

In the meantime, I am keeping busy researching Doctorate programs for once Husband graduates from his Master’s program and finds a job.

In the meantime, won’t you pretty please help me out? Since it’s been over a month since my last post, my ranking on Top Mommy Blogs has plummeted. (No big surprise there.) Can you please click on this logo to help? The website has so much info on all aspects of parenting, but you don’t have to stick around if you don’t want. Thanks!

Please click! A visit a day boosts my blog ranking at Top Mommy Blogs - The Best Mommy Blog Directory Ever!

spacer

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.

spacer

Short Update

Hiya,

Things are better than the last adoption post. I was overreacting and am well aware. We ended up meeting with our ACW* last Saturday and went over a few more questions. She was at the house for just shy of 2 hours which included walking around the house and seeing all the changes we’ve made. We’ve fully furnished Stormie‘s bedroom and moved Steve’s desk into our bedroom. Thank goodness the rooms are so large bc otherwise, all this furniture wouldn’t fit.

At the foot of the bed are 2 3-shelf bookshelves that he can use as a side table from the bed itself. They fit perfectly under the curve of the footboard.

I hung a shelf in the laundry room for the chemicals and cleaners.

We are going back in today for more questions. Honestly, I don’t know why they’re not all done at once like a couple from our PRIDE training, but c’est la vie. Maybe she’s required to see us a certain number of times. Whatever the case, I’m not sure.

* She made sure we realized that she is not our case worker and merely the person performing our home study. Once she finishes, we won’t be interacting with her again unless she happens to be the CW for our matched child.

spacer

Furniture and Frustrations Galore

Not much is happening on our end..

The new furniture was delivered and it is awesome! I finally feel like we live in a grown ups home. The rug and couches make everything look so much better. The dresser is just amazing and so pretty that even if this adoption doesn’t happen*, we’re moving it into our bedroom. We’ve removed all the cartoon, superhero and Doctor Who artwork from all the walls and are going to hang it in the kids room. Yeah that sucked. I was so used to seeing the Andy Warhol-esque Darth Vader, psychedelic 4th Doctor, the Avengers arm wrestling and tribute to Jim Henson art in the bedroom. (What do you mean we have weird taste in art?? lol) Not to mention all the other art in the living room and kitchen.

Going along with the grown up theme, we took down everything and need to re-frame them all with black frames. Black couch, black frames, yellow walls (not our choice), and a multi-colored rug to tie everything together.

Steve has to re-do his fingerprints for some unknown-to-us reason so he’s going in Friday for that and to meet with our ACW. She wanted me to come down as well but I’m running a 600+ person event Friday at work so that’s not happening. Besides, she’s coming to our house on Saturday for home visit #2.

No, no she’s not. She just emailed to cancel.

I feel like a rock that was rolling along so nicely and gathering momentum that just smashed into a wall with a gap slightly smaller than the width of the rock. Like we have to fight to push through to get this done. Just letting the process work seems to not be working for us. In fact, it is frustrating both of us and normally Steve is pretty unflappable. He’s my rock and even he’s having issues with this whole process.

I know in the end we will have a child and be parents, but… when?

We set our 2nd home visit appointment nearly 3 weeks ago and she just said she had to reschedule due to “an unexpected conflict.” I’m sorry, but that’s not really our problem, is it? If I had a personal issue but had a work thing that was super important, I would have to alter my personal issue or find coverage for the work or personal thing. In fact, I had to email my boss to see if I could leave work early next Tuesday to go deal with this stuff.

This just makes me feel like she’s talking down to us: “Please remember even if the interviews are done in my office, that doesn’t replace that fact that I still need to do a walk thru in your apartment.” Am I over-reacting? Probably. It’s OK, I know this whole process is making me freak out over every little thing.

I really hope my next post has good news in it!

* …anytime soon. We’re getting pretty frustrated with the process, but not nearly as much as my friends M&E in Orlando!

spacer

First of Three ACW Visits

It Takes a Village to Adopt a Child | credit: Becca FletcherWe had our first home visit with our ACW on Saturday!

When I spoke to her last Friday, we set up our appointment for yesterday afternoon and getting our fingerprints done Friday.

One thing she mentioned which we both – actually a few classmates too – questioned was the need to get things done within 90 days and if not, we’ll have to have stuff run again (abuse reports, domestic violence reports and fingerprinting). The reason not being that we won’t have new fingerprints or anything like that, but rather so they can ensure that nothing has changed in our background – criminal or otherwise. OK, explained that way it makes a whole lot more sense!

We sat and answered her questions and she answered ours for about 90 minutes. After that we gave her the tour of our home and yard. I had to hold Phoenix so he wouldn’t bolt out of the middle bathroom so she could take a look at it. She was amazed at how large the child’s bedroom is and that it has a private bathroom and massive closet. We pointed out where the furniture was going and how we were moving the desk currently in there into our bedroom. We then selected the next date she’d come out to ask us more questions and show her the hopefully furnished bedroom.

From the list in my last post, we still need the following items before her next visit:

  • Drivers license’s DONE
  • Social security cards DONE
  • Marriage license DONE
  • Current lease DONE
  • Paystubs to show we’re gainfully employed
  • Tax returns for the last few years
  • Bank statements for all our accounts
  • Lola and Phoenix vaccine records
  • Steve’s divorce decree
  • Physical’s for us both
  • Employment verification for us both
  • A voided check DONE
  • and a few others

She left a huge packet of info for us to begin filling out and signing. There was some informational info in there as well about the process, etc. We also need 5 personal and professional references. We have 3 in mind and need to select the other 2. Oh and also ask everyone if they’d be willing to write a letter for us.

We learned that she won’t actually help us with the placement of our child. Once she completes the home study, it will be passed to her supervisor for final review and approval. If there is anything that needs further explanation, we will be referred to the Adoption Review Panel. If it gets approved, he will pass it along to Our Kids and I will make sure my contacts there have it as well. They will then work on matching us with the best possible child so we can begin the informal setting dates, day visits, and eventual sleepovers.

Aside from these visits with the ACW, there really isn’t much going on. We have to work with the process and let it work for us.

All we can do is cooperate and wait patiently and try not to look at the little munchkins on the photolisting sites.

spacer

Fingerprinting! And other good news..

This afternoon we are venturing to downtown Miami to get our fingerprinting done. For some odd reason – I’m sure it’s been explained but still – we have to go to our agency main office in order to have this done. So yay! We also get to finally meet our case worker as up to this point all our contact has been over the phone and via email.

I’m totally hoping we see our awesome teachers while we’re there! In fact, I emailed them last night to give them the heads up that we’re going to be there and to let them know that on Saturday…

We have our first Home Visit!! Um, with our Adoption Case Worker (ACW) as opposed to the one during our PRIDE training.

Yep, Saturday is our first home visit and she’ll be asking us eleventy billion questions from the Life Stories we turned in. When I mentioned them, she said she preferred to do it this way and then incorporate the written outlines later. Uh, OK. Glad we took the time to write them then.

We have to compile a bunch of documents, not limited to:

  • Our marriage license
  • Current lease
  • Paystubs to show we’re gainfully employed
  • Tax returns for the last few years
  • Bank statements for all our accounts- 3 months worth
  • Lola and Phoenix vaccine records
  • Steve’s divorce decree – the NC court website isn’t very user friendly 🙁
  • A voided check for the monthly stipend

This will be the first of 2-3 visits and will last about 2 hours. She said it is more of an informal meeting and to walk through our house. We don’t need to have everything child-proofed, have the office converted, or all the medication and chemicals locked up. It’s going to give us time to ask her all the questions we both have since up until now, we’ve not been able to ask an adoption person these questions. Well, not exactly. The awesome folks at Our Kids are crazy knowledgeable and we couldn’t have made it this far without their help.

By her next visit in a few weeks, we should have the bedroom furnished with “whatever [we] would buy as parents to furnish [my] child’s bedroom.”

spacer

After the First Home Visit

The post leading up to our first home visit had a crazy amount of views. Y’all are awesome!

So what happened? Great things!

But first, the prep. I do wish I’d taken pictures of the house a week ago bc right now it looks about 100% different. We are… packrats. Not hoarders, packrats. We are aware of it and know it’s a problem. We just like our stuff. Having a deadline of people coming into our home that will change our life and place a child with us was the greatest motivator ever.

Ever.

We rented a storage unit. We created lists of what to do. We decluttered. We cleaned. We cleaned out. We threw out 4 huge bags of garbage. We donated. We organized. Oh boy did we organize.

F and T were prompt and arrived right at 11am. After locking Lola in her crate and Phoenix in the front bathroom, we chatted at first about what we were looking for (age and gender) and we said we preferred a boy and our range remains 5-11 years old. So when I refer to “him” I am making an assumption that we will have a son as our first placement. Yep, we plan to do this a few more times. Thursday night, we finally decided that we wanted a single child instead of siblings. We would rather focus 100% on 1 child then try to scramble and have 2 kids. In the future, I hope to adopt a sibling group still.

We showed them around the house and the back yard. We did the whole “this is what we have now, and these are our plan for safety of our son. The yard is totally fenced in and we do the upkeep (the association takes care of the front yard) so no worries there. They liked the size and we talked about maybe getting a grill and a table with chairs for the yard. In the laundry room, the plan is to install shelves in the empty space over the water heater for chemicals and cleaning supplies. It is outside and has a lock on the door. In the kitchen, we pointed out that we’re replacing the blue cubes that act as a pantry with a cabinet with doors. The wine was on top of the fridge, so OK there. We pointed out the changes we’re going to make in the kid’s room by moving Steve’s desk into our bedroom and totally rearranging the layout. I still want the bunkbeds and furniture from my childhood, but another option is to pass our queen bed down and upgrade to a king bed. We’ll see. They were ok with both options, the huge closet and en suite bathroom. The linen and craft closets – not too much will change except better organization. The family/ dining room we will likely just rearrange the furniture and hang more pictures.

After the tour, we talked for a while asking a ton of questions about school districts (more on that tomorrow), our work schedules, public vs private schools, grants and scholarships for private school, the class schedule, Steve’s work schedule possibly affecting class, safety requirements, the timeline, and so much more. They said they’re going to try to get the adoption paperwork to distribute to the class so we can all be on top of it prior to being transferred to the Adoption case workers and the Home Study being completed.

We also discussed the 2 foster/adoption events we are planning on attending – Heroes for Our Kids Celebration at Miami Children’s Museum and the SFFAPA Summer Fun Picnic at John Pennekamp Park

I know I felt so good afterwards. As we were laying in the bedroom after they left and right before Steve crashed from staying awake way later than normal, we talked some more about what happened during the visit.

I literally couldn’t stop smiling after this visit. It really hit me that I could be a mommy by the end of the year. In fact, when I posted..

“I am going to be a mom. And I can’t stop grinning about it”

..on FB, I received so much love and support from my friends. However, it seemed like some thought I was pregnant, which amuses me to know end since I’m totally transparent about this adoption and my infertility.

+++++

On Sunday, we went to Kmart and looked at booster seats, little boy clothes, bedroom furniture. We also bought plug socket covers. Yeah, I know it likely won’t make a difference, but at least they can’t say we’re not prepared.

Also, I may have just started using a hashtag for all my adoption posts on FB and twitter #CallMeMommy

spacer

First Home Visit

[image source]

Today we have our first Home Visit at 11am.

I’m nervous like The Doctor when he was about to lose Amy and Rory to the Weeping Angels. Yes. I am a Whovian. Oh, and a geek.

We’ve spent the last week decluttering the house. Cleaning up. Sweeping. Mopping. Re-caulking the tub. And about a million other things.

Keep us in your thoughts!

spacer