Kid-Friendly

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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Questions to Ask

ballerinaSooooooo…. we are meeting Ballerina’s therapist (TH) Thursday morning to ask him questions. So. Many. Questions.

Actually, we have a huge list that I need to better sort by the person being asked. I have questions for Ballerina herself, for TH and for her case worker. I’m not sure if it’s normally done this way, but we’re meeting with the adults in Ballerina’s life before we meet her to ask them all the details and go over any concerns we may have. Honestly, I think doing it this way is genius! I would never want to ask someone in front of a child about their history of abuse, why they’re in care, what their background is, etc. I would think it would cause a bit of a backslide to hear it all again.

We are meeting him Thursday. If we choose to move forward, we will then meet Ballerina’s case worker and the CW’s supervisor. And then, and only once we’re all satisfied with moving forward, we will meet Ballerina.

Here is the list I’ve compiled, in absolutely no order and unsorted. You’ll notice there are several duplicates as all I did was copy and paste all the input into a single file.

Why she came into care?
What trauma did she go through?
Does she have specific triggers?
Past diagnosis?  Current diagnosis?  Medication, Name, what for?  How many mg.?
In regards to treatment what issues is she still struggling with in therapy?
What are her treatment goals?
What challenging behaviors does she exhibit?
What is the most challenging/ inappropriate/ negative behavior(s) she has exhibited if any?
Do they know her likes and dislikes in hobbies, food, etc..
What are her strengths?
What are her social skills
Is she afraid of the dark
What triggers her outbreaks
Any habits does she have?
Is religion important to her? Which denomination does she identify with
Does she have a healthy appetite?
What is her history of abuse?
Does she want to be adopted?
Birth parents- both mother and father present?
Does she want to keep in contact with adult relatives?
What circumstances brought her into care?
What are the most important things you want us to know about you to make you happy and part of our family?
What was she told is the reason shes in care
Does she have a history of stealing, lying, pyromania, etc
What are her medical issues – physical, mental, emotional
How does she feel about adoption
What are her likes and dislikes
Does she have any hobbies
Is she creative
Does she like comics
What are her favorite shows, movies, music
Does she want to go to college
What does she aspire to be when she grows up
How has she been at forming attachments in foster care?
What things are the most important to her
Why did the child come in foster care
Does she have siblings and do they need to maintain contact?
Are there any other relatives that the child would like to maintain contact with
Is there any maternal or paternal history of mental illness, like depression, bi polar disorder, schizophrenia
Does she have a history of sexual abuse? If yes, has there ever been any sexual reactivity?
How many placements has she been in since being in foster care?
What were the circumstances of her failed adoption/ placement?
Is she on an IEP?
Is she developmentally on target?
What are her fears about adoption, if any
Has she ever expressed what she is looking for in a family?
Birth parents. – How long before their rights were revoked or they were TPR’d?
History of foster homes
What happened to end her last placement
Ice skating- How often does she get to go? Would she be interested in lessons?
Is she on any medication? Why? What is her diagnosis?
At school – Does she have friends? Many? Who does she hang out with?
How are her grades?
What does she do after school?
Has she has been in other trouble or is therapy due to foster care?
Does she like dogs? Cats?
Allergies?
Does she have siblings?
How many placements? Why did they fail?
What reasoning or discipline style does she respond to best?
What is her learning style?
What are her challenges at school?
What therapies is she receiving? What are the goals of the therapy?
Is she willing to transfer to a school or does she wish to stay in the same school.
How many different homes has she lived in?
How many potential placements?
How old was she when she was put in care?

Many many thanks to everyone on FB, twitter, at work, via email and, of course, here for giving us a chunk of these questions. You are all my rock stars!

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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.

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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

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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.

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Furnishing the Little One’s Bedroom

A few days ago I thought maybe it was time to check prices for my baby’s bedroom. After all, our very last PRIDE class is in 2 days.

First I checked Rooms To Go, then I posted a question to my FB and got a crazy amount of responses, and finally hit up IKEA at the suggestion of my MPC.

SCORE!

I priced out both twin and full beds and settled on the full. A good point was made that this will work best for older kids and we could have any age from 5 to 11 years old. If only they sold the full on the bottom/ twin on top bunk beds, I would get that in a heartbeat. I saw some at RTG but they are ridiculously expensive. The bed alone was more than the entire room at IKEA. Blerg.

So right now, I have the basics – bed, mattress, desk, dresser and nightstand – picked out. I selected a nice generic (gender neutral) green set of sheets and figure he (or she) could go to town with decorating the rest as they see fit. S/He can pick out the rugs, curtains, lamps, artwork, anything else. Well, mommy might just have to put some fun artwork in there that I create. (*ahem* Thanks, Pinterest!) Plus the blanket I’m busy knitting.

Based on this list below, is there anything I’m missing or don’t need?

kidroom

Now we just need to figure out a time to get up to IKEA and have a spare $550ish in our account. We might have to rent a truck or borrow from a friend bc I’m not sure this will all fit into my car even if it’s totally cleaned out.

This ish is getting real!

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Blankie Progress Post

I previously mentioned my wanting to make a blanket for our child. Well, I totally am! After much discussion with friends, I selected pale grey, deep brown and teal yarn. My pattern was either going to be blocks or a slightly nerdier Fibonacci sequence.

My nerdiness won.

There is even a spreadsheet. It calculates the number of rows and percentages.

I anxiously awaited the arrival of the yarn…

Then cast on and started knitting…

Then realized that I didn’t like the first brown striping, but didn’t feel like ripping back several rows…

And now, here we are, 13.3% completed

With this stitch (knitting every row) this blanket is going to be extremely long. My goal is for it to be at least 24″ wide, but it’s looking like it’ll be wider. The estimated 36″ long is way off. At 22 rows, it was already 6″ unstretched and about 7″ stretched.

This 256 row thing might have to be rethought out… I may cut it off after the last rounds of teal. We’ll see.

This is my project page on Ravelry for the Fletchling’s blanket.

And yeah, want something of your very own?

Sheep2Skein

I happily take on commissioned projects!

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Welcoming an Older Child Home

When couples adopt or have biological babies, they typically have a baby shower. But what to do if you’re adopting an older child? I found this fantastic website with a TON of amazing information for honoring and welcoming adopted children into your family.

After chatting with my friend Jackie a few nights ago, I totally want to have a meet my son/adoption shower for items to build his library of books and kid-friendly movies, show him all the love and support we have, and, most importantly, introduce him to his new family and our friends.

From the above-mentioned website, these are some of my favorites ideas to use. Also,  I really want to find (or make) some awesome wall prints, artwork, creative bookshelves and more to make him feel really at home.

  • Making our own version of a “baby book‘ from the moment he came into our home (including excerpts from this blog)
  • A necklace with the date of their child’s birth, the date the child was placed in their home, and the date the adoption was finalized by the court.
  • Or maybe a plaque with these dates
  • Or a picture frame to display the photo with the judge and entire team on their adoption day.
  • Some families have a fun sense of humor and would enjoy a t-shirt or bumper sticker that says, “Yes, I’m their REAL mom.”
  • Others are more sentimental and like verses such as, “You grew in my heart.”
  • A birth announcement only works after a child is born. What does a family do when they want to announce the addition of an adopted child to their family? Not everyone is handy enough with a computer to make their own invitations and announcements. They may not have time, either.
  • Anything with the child’s new name (almost all children have at least a part of their name changed after adoption) is very exciting and meaningful.

There are a few other sites with great ideas to welcome your new little (or not so little) one into your home and family.

Adoption / Foster Care Gifts and Crafts on About.com

Gifts for a former foster mom

Foster Care Adoption Books

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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.

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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

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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!

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Dreaming of Decorating their Bedrooms

Last week I stopped at Target to pick up 2 items and made the mistake of not going right to the grocery section for said items. You can already see where this is heading, right? First I hit up the clothing section – picked out 2 cute tops that got put back later – then the workout clothing section – a girl needs new yoga pants – then the sock department then as I was heading to the storage container section, I walked into pink and blue heaven. I mean, the children’s room section. Seriously, there’s some cute stuff out there. Sure, I admit that I wanted most of it for myself, but that’s why we decorate kid’s rooms right? Yes, I’m going to allow my child(ren) to decorate their rooms, but don’t think I won’t have some personal mom touches in there.

Holy crap. I’m going to be a mom.

Yep, tears springing into my eyes.

Anyhow, cute stuff. See? OK, so I hit up Pinterest too.

 

My favorite idea!

I’m super peeved bc the Pinterest link-love doesn’t work so these had to be manually linked. If anyone has figured out how to get this to work with WordPress, please let me know!

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