lola

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

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Orientation! #LongestPostEver

Finally! (Geez Becca, why’d you leave us hanging for over a week for this post?!)

We had our Adoption Orientation on Saturday morning, June 30th and it was pretty much awesome. I may have been doing research for months (years) and knew a lot of information going into this, but I still learned more.

One thing I learned was that while we are certainly welcome to adopt from out of Florida, we won’t get the FL benefits if we do so. We will follow those state’s benefits and adoption requirements. Not all state’s offer health care, 4 years of public college/university and a subsidy like Florida does – so that needs to be taken into consideration. We definitely plan on making sure our kids take advantage of the college part!

We also need to decide about the Lola and Phoenix. He is a crochety old cat and doesn’t take BS from anyone. Yes, after 8+ years, he still claws me on occasion. I really need to have the vet do a full eval on him bc while I don’t want to accept it, I don’t think he has much longer with us. He’s got so many health issues and is so overweight even with putting him on a diet. So, there’s that to consider.

But anyhow, what we learned/ had reiterated…

  • Children available for adoption have had their parental rights terminated (TPR). They will never be taken away from us bc some random family member came back. Once there is no possible chance at reunification and rights are terminated, they’re available to be legally our children.
  • Judges in South Florida really don’t like waiting the full 6 months once we have a child in our home and tend to push the adoptions through within 30-60 days. This was a major Holy Moly! moment for us. We could be legally mommy and daddy by the New Year.
  • After we complete our classes, we’re turned over to the adoption specialists. They will then complete our Home Study, run more background checks, and ask many more questions to ensure we get the ideal placement.
  • The PRIDE classes are not “parenting” classes, but rather how we will play a role in the kids lives.
  • Most children end up in Foster Care due to abuse, abandonment and neglect
  • If we want to travel outside of FL before the adoption is finalized, we need a court order. To go to Disney, Gainesville, or anywhere else within FL, we just need to notify the team.
  • They would prefer to have one parent stay home with the kids initially, but I will likely use my vacation time for that to get them settled before sending them off to a (likely) new school.
  • If we adopt younger than 5, we do get a day care subsidy for one year for specific preschools – Gold Seal Approved.

Minimum standards for Foster Homes (which we will follow to ensure approval for adoption):

  • Minimum 40 sq.ft. per child and have adequate storage/ closet space.. In a perfect world, we’d have a 3-bedroom place with a room for each child.
  • Max 5 kids per household including biological. No problem here as Lola and Phoenix don’t count. 🙂
  • Kids of opposite sex over age 3 cannot room together. We’re leaning towards 2 boys at this point, so OK there.
  • Minimum $200 residual income after all bills are paid. We’re getting finances in order so this should be A-OK too.
  • 2 years of employment verification checks will be performed. Yep, no problems there.
  • Health history and physicals need to be performed for mental, emotional, physical and any other treatments. Ehh, we should be OK.. My therapy is pretty minimal and I have no problems with Dr. S. telling them all about my sessions.
  • Pets are also checked as I mentioned above. A-OK as I’ve already told the vet to expect the forms.
  • Many children have no prior religious beliefs and we must respect their beliefs if they do have religious beliefs. We need to decide on a religion as he’s Methodist and I’m Jewish and neither of us are particularly religious.
  • We are responsible for transporting them to every appointment, recital, etc in a safe vehicle complete with car seats, seat belts, valid insurance and driver’s license. No problems whatsoever as we never planned on making anyone else drive our kids around.
  • Foster parents need to complete a basic water safety course. We plan on doing that, being CPR certified, and more.
  • All medications, chemicals, cleaning products, alcohol, guns/ammo, and anything else that can harm a child must be locked away. We’ve already begun planning where the meds and chemicals will be housed. Most likely in the outside laundry room or a lockbox atop the closet.
  • Kids must have access to a vehicle and phone at all times. We never plan on leaving them alone, so OK. When they’re at school, they’ll have the phone there.
  • An evacuation plan must be posted in several places and perform fire drills frequently, working and tested fire extinguisher, 2 ways to escape each bedroom, smoke detectors, working battery flashlights in every room, and a first aid kit in the house. OK except for the evacuation plan and the flashlights, we have everything already.
  • There is a list of forbidden and acceptable discipline methods provided that we must obey. OK, we haven’t established discipline yet so having guidelines is great.
  • Criminal and abuse checks ((FBI, FDLE, local and abuse registry) are to be performed prior to PRIDE classes. Done and approved.

We will be an integral part of the team of nurses, social workers, case workers, and others. Even once the adoption is finalized, we can utilize the team.

We have decided that fostering will be too difficult for us to handle. And came to that conclusion separately prior to discussing it after the Orientation. Having a child or children in our home for days, weeks, months or even years then having them taken away would be too hard for us both to bear.

Our initial background screenings went off without a hitch. We had to be checked in both FL and NC since we haven’t lived here for 5 years. Once we passed these, we will have our initial Home Visit – on Friday! – and classes begin on Tuesday.

They have said this is an extremely intrusive journey and they will find everything out about us. And yet, we are still raring to go to become parents.

 +++++

So where have I been? We have so much work to do on our current home to get it ready for our babies. We have been decluttering and cleaning and making our little home kid-friendly. It’s making me realize big time how not kid-friendly it is. We only have 2 bedrooms, a family room, a kitchen and a decent sized back yard. I’d much prefer to have at least a 3-bedroom with a larger family room, updated everything including a dishwasher. But for right now, we shall deal with this little place. *le sigh*

Also, I’ve been off work (though you’d never know it) since Thursday, had an interview for an amazing job, working at my part-time job, and in general trying to get the house ready for le babies.

+++++

/end #LongestPostEver

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Ending 2012 with Some Creativity

This has been a horrible year and I’m so thrilled that it’s almost over. There were way too many deaths, accidents, injuries, hopefully curable diseases/syndromes, and heartbreaks to last a lifetime. Not to mention termites. Never again do I wish to experience this sort of bad luck again. And especially not within a 12 month span. My family has endured so much and we’re still standing. Sort of.

Sorry to start my first entry in many months on a bad note, but it had to be said. There has been some good happen this year. Namely I got a much deserved raise at work, Steve decided to go to law school and took the LSAT (we get the scores in a couple of weeks), and… umm… we have our own place.

Seriously, finding those 3 was like pulling teeth.

Anyhow, tonight I decided to pull my Christmas ornament box out and finish the project that I started last year. Last year I had wrapped all the balls with yarn. I thought there was a color scheme, but it turns out to be blues and greens and other random colors of leftover yarn. Tonight I glued them all down and stuck the ornaments around. I also burned the hell out of my arms and hands in several places. And Lola learned what a hot glue gun was… with her nose.

So without further ado, my adorable wreath!

As far as law school is concerned, we aren’t 100% certain where we will be other then not in Miami. With me supporting us at least his first year, this over the top expensive city just isn’t possible.

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Lola Loves Steak Bones


When mommy and daddy go to a new BBQ joint and daddy orders the massive rib platter, Lola get this, [and finally managed to pick it up]….

I am currently watching her try to fit it through the door in her crate so she can better hide it from the cat. Too bad it now makes her head 3 times as wide.

And she’ll be enjoying it for weeks. Or until the cat goes near it and she snaps at him. Then it’ll get thrown to the Jake the shepherd outside.

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Snow in Chapel Hill

I have lived in North Carolina since July 2006 and this is the worse snow I’ve seen. Not that it was bad, but it’d definitely the most accumulated snow. It’s kinda like a hurricane category 5 warning when only a category 1 or 2 shows up. Since I’ve lived here, we’ve gotten 1-2″ at most each time it’s snowed. Not this time! When we went to sleep last night, we already had a couple inches. Around 8am when I went outside, there was about 5-6″ already and it snowed on and off all day.

Work was closed today and reports are already in for tomorrow closings. At this rate, we might not even be open on Monday either! That’s just crazy to me, but I totally love it.

Even spraining my ankle on a rogue covered up hole can’t dampen my mood. I love this white flaky prettiness!

Beautiful night time snowfall, Friday evening.

 
My new car is already covered!

This was around 8am Saturday morning on top of my car. Roughly 6″ of snow.

4″ of snow and 8-9″ of puppy… you do the math. 🙂

Lola with one of her BFFs, Tobin. Yes, he’s an Irish Setter & she’s a Miniature Pinscher.

One of her other BFFs, Brindle. Lola was totally body slammed but got right back up to play.

She was walking in my footprints to sink less. By this point it was about 5-6″ on the ground.
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Vote for Lola!

OK, so it’s not wedding related, but it’s my fur-baby!

She’s #51 in the poll, so please go vote for her! The poll is in the left sidebar at the bottom. You can vote for more than one, but make sure you vote for Lola! #51!

Thanks 🙂

Cutest Baby Contest for March of Dimes

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Booking the Wedding and a Lola Picture


I was just checking out SLVW as I do… frequently.. and noticed a little disclaimer on their front page. All package prices will be increasing as of September 1, 2009. However, wedding booked prior to September 1 are not affected. Guess what I’ll be doing as soon as I get my student loan excess funds in 2 weeks? That’s right… booking the wedding and paying the deposit!

Yes, I have the “go ahead” to do so. Not for the above reason, but for other reasons, but I’m sure mentioning the rise in prices will only help push it along. =) We’re pressed for funds as is, hence Vegas in the first place, and with a total trip budget of $1500, we’re not taking chances on going over said budget.

In amusing.. news.. I am taking an Illustrator class this summer.

<---- This is my latest project. I had to use the pencil tool to write my name, or in this case, Lola's name. Then outline a subject from a photo and colorize it however we wanted. I picked our poochie, cuz she's the cutest little thing. No reason for posting this other than I wanted to show off my lack of Illustrator skills. Gotta get up to speed since I’m designing all the invites, favor labels, etc for us.

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Lola

I help mama knit socks

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Lola, Brindle & Tobin BFFs :)

Our little puppy, Lola, is a Miniature Pinscher. She’s the little blur below – haha. She adores all our neighbor dogs. There’s Brindle, left, and Tobin, right, and also Kiki and Amy and Dexter and Davey and Dude and and and. Yeah, we live in doggie heaven! There are so many dogs here and it is simply awesome. BTW, I grew up with tons of dogs, all beagles, so I simply love being around dogs.

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