Foster and Life Update


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.


Religion for an Adopted Child


When we began this adoption process, we discussed what religion we would raise our child(ren) and never really came up with a clear answer. It mostly leaned towards whatever religion they wanted and we are certainly willing to explore other religions that we are all comfortable with.

I was raised Jewish… very lax, barely any Hebrew, public school, became a bat mitzvah at 13, confirmed at 16, worked at the temple in the kindergarten for several years and at a few Jewish summer camps, etc. Steve was raised Methodist by a fairly religious mother.

These days, the only religion we have is that I work at a religious school and get the many holidays off. We don’t attend church or synagogue. We exchange gifts on the gift-giving holidays, but not much more. My family often forgets the holidays, I put up my little Christmas tree and sometimes remember to put the menorah up next to it. Though, to tell the truth, I can’t remember the last time I actually lit candles for 1 night let alone 8.

As I mentioned, I work at a religious school – one of the several Jewish schools in the area. Since it is an Orthodox (the most strict) school, I was curious what would need to be done in the off chance that I actually wanted my child to attend. I don’t. Aside from the exorbitant prices, the education doesn’t seem that wonderful and I would much rather let me kids interact with children from all walks of life – every religion, background, upbringing – rather than just a small select group. The more I think about it, the happier I am with my child in a good public school.

Anyhow, a boy or girl adopted child without a clear-cut parental lineage/ religion would need to be vouched for by an Orthodox Rabbi and given a Jewish name. A girl child needs to be “purified” and dunked in the mikvah – a ceremonial bath. A boy child, however, would need a circumcision if it wasn’t done as an infant. If it was, there would still be a ceremony in which needles and blood was involved.

I’m going to have to go with a h-e-double hockey sticks no! on that one.

So I was tooling around in the Adoption section of and found this

Jewish law does allow for the conversion of babies and children under the assumption that being Jewish is a privilege that the child would want. The caveat is that when the child is 12 or 13 he or she must be presented with the option of renouncing his or her conversion. If, at that point, they choose to accept Judaism or are silent, they are deemed adult converts. (citation)

Basically, we will not be converting our child to any religion until he tells us himself. I will even go to church, temple or other religious building if he wants to explore other religions. There is so much other stuff to think about and I know once he comes to live with us most of this won’t matter anyhow.


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


Religious Thoughts from a Non-Religious Jew Girl

To the person that found me by searching “Jewish girl tattoo craft blog,” I think I love you. Seriously I am greatly amused by that strange mix of keywords.

Hipstamatic [tattoo] love | BeccaBlogs.comI actually believe that my new job will help a lot with my Jewish identity. I don’t really have one, if that makes sense. Sure I was raised, bat mitzvahed, confirmed, and volunteered in my family synagogue, but currently I feel no pull to Judaism. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. It seems many of similar aged friends are not drawn to religion. I have several atheist friends, as well. Religion is a funny thing. Who knows.

It never really mattered to me to marry a Jewish man. In fact, my ex-fiance pretty much turned me off dating Jewish guys, so I guess there’s that. 😉 I always knew that, by definition, my birthed children would be Jewish. Now that we are planning on adoption and he is not Jewish (nor religious), my thoughts are thrown for a loop. We have discussed it, but didn’t come to a definitive conclusion. When you adopt older than infant children, I’m thinking you need to respect their religion. I could be wrong though..

But back to my job helping my Jewish identity. Obviously working for a Hebrew school, I will be exposed to much more religion than I’ve been exposed to in the last decade or so. Even during the trial run working there on my days off, I have noticed a change. I am conscious of the food I bring there (no ham, no cheese on my deli sandwiches), the way I dress (covering all my tattoos to the point of buying boots for my 3 ankle ink and wearing a chunky watch for the above wrist ink), less cursing (OK, well I’m around kids so that’s a given), and, well, I’m sure there is more.

I’m looking forward to the other changes in myself. By the time this posts, I’ll have been at the Hebrew Academy for hours. Don’t I wish I was still warm in my bed? Yep!


Crafty Christmas from a Jew-Girl

Disclaimer: I was raised Jewish, in a synagogue, became a Bat Mitzvah at 13, was confirmed at 16ish, worked at Jewish summer camps, and taught at the synagogue I grew up in. That said…

I love the Christmas season. I mean LOVE it. No, I don’t mean the December holidays season. I mean the Christmas season. Working at the YMCA and for a landscape company with a thriving Christmas tree decorating business certainly didn’t help this obsession. I love the music, decorations, trees, decorating the trees, decorating the house, cookie exchanges, Secret Santa’s, and the weather. OK, that last one is just the time of year and not Christmas specific. I don’t, however, care about the religious aspect of it. Jewish, remember? While I’m not a practicing Jew-girl and haven’t set foot into a synagogue since my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah several years ago, I’m still not quite ready to give up my Jewish identity. And no, having 7 tattoos doesn’t make a difference in that aspect.

Sure, I married a non-Jewish guy who technically celebrates Christmas, it was never important to him growing up. Pretty much how I feel about Chanukkah. I almost always forget to take my menorah out of my Christmas ornaments box (not kidding) and even when I do, I maybe light 3 days of candles maximum. And, my Christian friends usually have to tell me when Chanukkah is. Pretty bad, huh? By the same token, we have discussed our children’s religious upbringing and haven’t decided exactly how it’ll occur, but it will be open for them to choose. I am fascinated by other religions and cultures, why shouldn’t my children be as well?

Anywho… This wasn’t supposed to be a religious post. Back to the pretties…

If you’re one of my Pinterest buddies, you’ve seen the boards I have for Holiday Decor and Holiday Gift Ideas. There are also a few ideas sprinkled into my Crafty Goodness board that I just haven’t edited and moved yet.

So, I found this super cute tree during one of my many searches and decided to re-create it. I actually am quite pleased with how it turned out. via Becca on Pinterest

And here is mine:

I also found some amazing DIY yarn wreaths and this was my choice to emulate. Lots of styrofoam balls of varying sizes, wrapped in scraps of yarn and stuck together. I bought a wire “wreath” and now just need to figure out the best way to attach my yarn covered styrofoam to it.

Source: via Becca on Pinterest

And mine… Any idea on how to attach it? I pinned the yarn even though the directions suggest hot glue. Hot glue and my fingers don’t get along very well… I have 6 large and 12 small styrofoam balls. (I tried so hard to not use the word “balls” bc my 5 year old self is now giggling…) I also have small glass ornaments to use if I need to fill in more space. Ornament box, remember?

* wow, I had a real problem with the fonts and images in this post *