Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

A year ago we went public with our announcement that we were hoping to expand our family via adoption during 2014 and that happened.  The best start to the new year though has been junior's warming up to us.   Over the last 3 months he has slowly moved from calling us by our first names to mom and dad.   We told him he could call us what he was comfortable with when he first moved in.  There has really been no rhyme or reason to when we were mom and dad and when we were Dawn and Dave until about a week ago.

We noticed at Christmas that whenever he wanted something or needed help we were mom and dad.  In normal conversation, or if he was angry with us we were Dawn and Dave.  For example:

  • "Mom can you help me take these Legos apart?"
  • "Dad will you come upstairs with me."
  • "Dawn look at this."  
It was interesting to see the distinction in the use.   I'm not sure if he thought calling us mom and dad would make us say yes or if it was something else.  

This quickly lead to a shift in a 50/50 split to being mom and dad the majority of the time.   While on vacation this week we have been almost 100% mom and dad.   This is such a huge step and has made this vacation even more special.   

On a related note the morning we were leaving on vacation during breakfast junior asked when he would be able to live with us.  I was a bit confused by this and told him he is already living with us.  His response made my heart melt.   He said "No, when do we go see the judge so that I can stay with you forever."   He had been asking questions about what the adoption would be like so this was the next logical step for him.  He knows a judge needs to make the final decision, but him asking for the date means a lot.   Sadly we don't know when this will be.  I wish I had a date to give him but that will come with time.  

All in all if things continue along these lines 2015 will be a great year.  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Highs and Lows of 2014

Here is an overview of the highs and lows for us in 2014 - not really in any particular order.

  • Having junior join our family was definitely one of the highs but the paperwork and waiting and classes probably would not be considered one of the highs.   
  • Visiting two more states on my list.  I am now down to only 5 states before I have been to all 50.  
  • Great trips to Boston, NYC, Washington DC, Estes Park, Seattle and Santa Fe. 
  • Junior's first airplane ride (not just with us but ever).  
  • Not making gold on United this year.  I will miss the perks but that means I traveled less this year so that's good. 
  • Dave &  I both had friends pass away.   That was tough we still think about them often.  
  • New job for me.   It was not easy to leave a company where I had made many friends and had spent 9 years, I have no regrets.  I do love my new job and hope to get more settled there over the year. 
  • Remodeling the master bathroom.  So happy it is done but it was such a long process.  And I think we are crazy for remodeling two other bathrooms in the  house next year but it has to be done. 
  • I lost 20 pounds but in the last few months I haven't had the time to work out and it has slowly crept back on.   Need to figure out  how to get workouts into my daily routine once again.   
  • Getting diagnosed with anxiety.  It seems to be under control now so that is definitely good, not knowing what was wrong was not pleasant.   I'm not surprised with everything going on that I got this diagnosis.  
  • Watching junior get more comfortable with us.  Over the last 3 months he has slowly started calling us mom and dad more and more.  He has decided he likes the same football teams we do (well the Seahawks and the Steelers.  And he has learned the foods that we like, it is very cute to watch him hand me a bottle of hot sauce when we go out to eat.  
I'm sure there are many little things that I am forgetting but memory loss comes with age and I am getting older.   

Sunday, December 28, 2014


All parents worry about their children, or I assume they do.   Some may seem like minor worries and some major but they are still valid.   I find myself worrying about things that other parents may not worry about.

What events could be a potential trigger for  a meltdown,tantrum or some other event?  We don't know what junior's past was and we will never know all the details.  

Is he going to sabotage a big event?  That may seem strange to some but it isn't uncommon for kids to un-intentionally or intentionally to sabotage a big event like a holiday or vacation.  This is partially tied to the first item as there may be memories tied to a holiday or they don't know what to expect from a vacation.

I have been on pins and needles leading up to Christmas and our vacation.   We decided to wait until Christmas Eve to tell junior we were going on vacation.  Partially to minimize the waiting and partially because we didn't know how he would react.   Without knowing we were travelling, he has been saying every time I talk about my travels that he is afraid of flying.    I was expecting the worst for the flight but everything went smoothly.   We got through the airport and to San Diego with no issues.   Junior seems to be enjoying it and wants to stay here until next Christmas, so maybe the worries were for nothing.  The vacation isn't over yet and we still have 2 big events planned so there is still time for things to go wrong but I am optimistic that it will all go smoothly.

Why is he worried about us dying?  This is a relatively new thing with junior asking us if we will still be alive when he is a teenager and what will happen to him if we die.  For me this is a tough thing to answer as I don't necessarily want to make promises that we can't keep.  Last night I asked him why he was worried about this.  His answer "because I want to stay with you forever."  

What are other people thinking? There is often some event that results in junior running away or screaming at us in public.   Typically when it is time to leave some place there is frequently shouts of 'I'm not going' and 'You can't make me' followed by him actually running away, screaming kicking,and crying.   I always wonder if other people are thinking "What is wrong with those parents that they can't control their child."

I know we are doing the best we can but I don't think the worries will ever diminish we will just start worrying about larger problems.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

The holidays are always a busy time, but it seems like this year with junior it was even busier.   I wasn't sure what to expect leading up to Christmas.  Junior did not seem to be excited for Christmas part of me wasn't surprised as we have no idea what Christmas was like for him in the past.   He had no interest in going to see Santa.  I asked on many occasions if he wanted to but the answer was always "not today."

I didn't want to push things and just tried to come up with other things to get him in the Christmas spirit.  We were visited by Claus the kindness elf with suggestions to do good things for others.   Claus had us:

  • Make gifts for his team.
  • Make gifts for the grandparents and great grandparents. 
  • Donate toys and household items we no longer use.
  • Donate food and toys to the animal shelter.
  • Buy presents for the kids at Children's hospital 
Junior really looked forward to these tasks or maybe he just looked forward to the treats that were left after they were completed.  

We kept preparing him for what to expect on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Last night we had to ask him if he wanted to leave treats or a note for Santa.   I was expecting him to be more excited and he wasn't.  Today went mostly as expected.   He came into our room when he woke up and got into bed like he does every morning to cuddle.  After a few minutes he asked if Santa had come and he went to look, he then ran back to bed to report that he had come but he didn't rush downstairs.   

After he had opened about half of the presents he said "Now I'm excited for Christmas."   He seemed honestly happy with all of the gifts he received from us, Santa and family members.   His comment after he opened everything was "Santa did perfect." He has been quietly playing with his presents all day, except when we forced him to go to the movies.   

I do wonder how Christmas has been celebrated in his past and if he has been let down.   Hopefully we have established some things that will become family traditions in the future and next year he will be more excited.  It has to be hard not knowing what to expect and wondering if you will be let down like you have in the past.  

Saturday, November 29, 2014


You try to read as much as possible prior to adopting from foster care but no matter how many books you read or people you talk to you will never be prepared for the challenges that you face.  

Not knowing your child's history.   There will be stories that sound true or some that sound impossible to be true but you will likely not know for sure where the truth actually lies.

Not having baby pictures.  There are no pictures from junior's first 3 years of life.   I find this sad but also wonder how it will impact him when he has to bring in a baby picture for a school project.

Having children ask why your child sometimes calls you by your first name.  

Correcting stories that have been told to him in the past.   I finally found out why junior hates the doctor.  "Kids that don't behave get sent to the hospital."

Not having the words to comfort your child when he cries that he misses his mommy and it is sad that he can't speak to her anymore.

Seeing somebody in public that looks like bio mom and wondering if it is her or if your child will think it is her.

Not knowing what words, actions or behaviors will trigger a bad memory.

All we can do is take things a day at a time, learn from our mistakes and celebrate the small victories.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What I am Thankful For

There is much to be thankful for this year.  Here is a short list of the things I am thankful for.

  1. The tremendous support we have gotten from friends and family both near and far.  This means the world to us.  
  2. Spending the holidays with family. 
  3. Bedtime rituals.
  4. Two amazing days at school for junior.
  5. Kisses & hugs.
  6. Becoming a family. 
  7. Shrimp cocktail. 
  8. Wine.
  9. Chocolate.
  10. A husband that cooks. 
  11. My car. 
  12. A job I love.  (OK I've had 2 jobs I have loved this year.  It was hard leaving the first but I am thankful that I did).
  13. The dog - she is a horrible beggar dog but I still love her.
  14. The cat - her cuddles at night keep me warm. 
  15. Financial security. 
  16. Free travel.
  17. Being called mommy. 
  18. House cleaners.  
  19. Being able to help and inspire others on their journey to adoption.   This has been a tremendous surprise to me and has touched me in so many ways.  I never thought of myself as being an inspiration to others.  
  20. This sign we received from a friend pretty much sums up everything

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Some reasons we chose foster to adopt

There are a number of reasons we chose foster to adopt.   It is sometimes hard for me to put it into words. Stumbled across this video on the Adoption Exchange's foster to adopt Facebook page.  It really hit home for me:

I found this infographic a while ago on the Adoption Journey website.  It is no longer available so I am glad I downloaded it at that time.

There are so many waiting kids out there and I am so happy that we are able to give one of them a home.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Progress at the most unexpected time

We had a rough week here but it also resulted in a bit of a turn around so I'll take it.  Junior has a serious negative reaction when we go to the doctor.  We tried talking to him prior to the doctor about what to expect and he knew what the reward would be if he was good.   Didn't matter, it was a horrible experience,until shortly after the doctor walked in.  For some reason when he saw that the doctor was a male it caused him to turn around and the behaviors improved drastically.  

We talked about his behavior and what the consequences would be.  I was clear that he wasn't a bad boy and I didn't hate him, I just didn't like his behavior.   We try to use logical consequences with him:

  • He takes off his seatbelt while we are driving he is fined just like I would have been if the police stopped us.
  • He throws a football in my face he loses the football for a week. 
It was decided that he would do 3 good deeds.  This included him doing the dishes one night, emptying the kitty litter and today he helped me with shoveling the driveway and a bunch of other cleaning.    All of this was done with no complaints which is great.  

The biggest change since then has been in his affection levels.   Since Wednesday he has been super cuddly, he calls me mommy much more often, he has said "I love you" multiple times, and he gives spontaneous kisses. Tonight when I was doing the laundry we had the following conversation:

Jr:  I love you mommy
Me:  I love  you too Jr.
Jr:  You don't need to call me by my name anymore
Me:  If I don't call you by your name what would I call you. 
Jr:  Son

It is so funny how kids think.  

There has also been a great deal of progress this week with him playing on his own.   He is now able to sit down and play by himself and in another room which is huge.    

I know we still have a long road ahead and this may not seem like progress to some, but I think it is huge.   

Monday, November 10, 2014

Terminology of Foster to Adopt

I throw around a lot of terms and I know what they mean but I am guessing some of you may not.  So here is a handy glossary

Foster to Adopt - the process of adopting a child from the social welfare system.   These kids may be in the system for many different reasons.

Reunificiation -  when a child is first removed from the home the primary goal is for them to return to their parents.   In some instances this is possible in others it is not.

Legal risk - a child who is not legally free for adoption.  They may still be working towards reunificiation.  In some instances the court and case workers will know that reuinification will not happen but the court process still needs to be followed.

Legally free -  a child who's goal is to fine an adoptive home as reunification is no longer an option. The child is a ward of the state.

Termination of Parental Rights -  in many instances the courts will terminate the rights of a parent, at this point the child is legally free.  In some instances the family may still have contact but in other instances there will be no contact. This is an involuntary termination.

Relinquishment of Parental Rights - voluntary decision by a parent to give up rights to make decisions about the child.  At this point the child is legally free.  As above familial contact may be maintained based on the best interest of the child.  This is a voluntary termination.

Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) - the lawyer that is appointed to a child when they enter the child welfare system.  The GAL is responsible for making legal decisions on what is best for the child.

Social Worker - The individual appointed to the child to assist in finding foster and adoptive placements.   When a child becomes legally free his or her social worker may change to

Case Worker -  The individual working with potential adoptive families to find a child for placement.

Our Team - I use this term to refer to the GAL, social worker and our case worker.   This team also includes a family therapist and an individual therapist.

Respite -  Temporary care-giving relief provided by an individual or couple certified to provide foster care.  This typically is in the 24 hour range.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

It's been 1 month

My how time flies.   I can't believe 1 month ago at this time I was leaving work and headed out to move junior into our house.  It has been quite the month filled with ups and downs, sickness, injuries and adjustments.  We are still working on getting into a routine but that is easier said than done.   Between delays with enrollment school holidays, staff development days, and sickness - junior hasn't been in school for a full week this entire month.

This week he started at the before school program 3 days a week.  I am trying to adjust my schedule to start by 7 AM and be out of work by 3:30 on most days so I can pick him up from school.   I am an early riser but I typically would get up and exercise before work, I need to figure out how to work that into the schedule.  

Dave & I have our first date night coming up on Saturday.  Junior is going to respite and we are going to see a movie and out to dinner.   I thought about just staying home and sleeping but what's the fun in that.  

Yesterday the team came over for our first monthly visit - his caseworker, our caseworker and the lawyer.    They stressed the importance of us taking time out for ourselves and date nights.   We will be getting introduced to some other families in the area that are also adopting for play dates and respite.   In addition we need to find a regular babysitter for monthly or bi-monthly date nights.  

One super positive thing from the meeting yesterday was junior's caseworker commented on how happy he seemed.  The last few times she saw him he wasn't very happy.   I am taking that as good news.  


Sunday, November 2, 2014

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month.   During the month I will try and post more often about our lives as future adoptive parents as well as general information about adoption.

To kick it off I will share some of the milestones we have experienced over the past month.  When we told people that we were looking to adopt an older child a few responded that we would miss out on so many milestones.  Yes we won't see his first steps or hear his first words but there are plenty of other milestones we are celebrating and experiencing.

  • The first Halloween as a family
  • The first time he called me Momma - it still doesn't happen a lot but it happens once in a while. 
  • His first fever
  • Sleepless nights - yes we have had many of these so those that thought we were missing out you can rest assured that we have been exhausted this last month
  • First temper tantrum 
  • Getting hit in the face by a football
  • First movie seen as a family - Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good Very Bad Day
  • First family vacation to Estes Park
There will be many more milestones in the coming months - some positive, some negative, but they are still milestones that we will remember.   Coming up this month will be my first business trip, first house guest, first hockey game and our first Thanksgiving.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Welcome to Parenthood

I am starting to feel like less of an imposter when it comes to being a mom.  It has been hard that junior has been off school, Dave has been on FMLA and I have been at work.  Trying to leave by  4 so I can get home and spend some time with junior and give Dave a much needed break.  

Yesterday was his first full day of school, he should have started on Monday but the school had questions and we had to have an interim/emergency IEP meeting.   Meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday we had a plan that everybody was happy with and we re-convene in 60 days after they have a chance to observe.   The teacher reported when I picked junior up that the day was perfect - which was great to hear.

We were looking forward to today but instead we are home sick.  I was woken up at 3 am because junior had a nightmare, he then started complaining that his head hurt and I realized he was burning up.   Temperature over 100, it has since dropped but not back to normal so rest and relaxation it is.

I guess this is part of parenthood.   Other welcome to parenthood moments of the past few weeks:

  • Temper tantrum when trying to get up and out the door. 
  • Being accidentally elbowed in the face when trying to put him down to bed.
  • Pee, poop and vomit in the bathtub.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lessons Learned

I have been a mom for 9 days and have learned quite a bit in that time.  Here is just a sampling:

  • Bathtime is hard.  Baths are generally too short, I use the wrong shampoo, or sometimes even the wrong tub.   
  • Bedtime is harder.    Every night he wants to sleep in our bed.  This is not an option. 
  • Paddy is finally learning to play fetch by watching us play football in the back yard.   
  • It is hard playing football with my son and fetch with Paddy at the same time. 
  • Band aids make everything better. 
  • Junior is super smart.  He quickly learned that we write down things we need to buy at the store on a chalk board.  He has written down a Lego batmobile and washcloths as apparently we do not have enough of these.  
  • I need to figure out more creative ways to say no. 
  • It is very difficult to hear some of the things he has to say.   I imagine this is only going to get harder as he learns to trust us more and shares more.
  • I'm a little jealous that he seems to be calling Dave "dad" periodically but I'm still not mom.   
  • Spontaneous hugs are awesome.  We don't get them frequently but when we do they rock.  
  • He takes after me in that he loves photography. Here is a photo he took on our first family vacation.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

4 days In

We have had a small child living in the house with us since Monday evening.  The move-in went very smoothly.  Three cars and we had bunk beds, a dresser and all of juniors belongings.  If we didn't buy the bed from the previous family we likely could have managed in 1 car but the bedroom set is great.  

Day one the top bunk was requested but since then he has used the bottom bunk.  Mostly because when he is on the bottom bunk I can get into bed with him and cuddle as he goes to sleep.   Some of the most touching conversations have occurred as he falls asleep.  He shares his fears and hopes with me.   This little boy definitely has my heart.  

Tuesday was junior's 6th birthday, I took the day off and we spent the day together as a family.  A visit to Build-A-Bear resulted in a Batman bear that now lives with us.   We had pizza twice and the day ended with a vanilla and strawberry cake.  

We have all been adjusting to life as a family.  There is lots of learning to do and we are setting up routines.   We are learning what he likes and what he doesn't.   He is learning to trust us and feel safe. We are trying to explain the difference between needs and wants.  Junior needs fall and winter clothes, he says he needs a lego batmobile.   We feel that is more of want - but we have ordered it anyways.   This kid loves legos and we thought he had a bunch but he doesn't.   He does have a lot of remote control cars but those only entertain him for so long.  

Dave & I have been touched by the numerous messages and gifts from friends and family near and far; old and new. This has been such an emotional time and getting the words of encouragement, texts, phone calls, well wishes, etc are simply amazing.  We have definitely felt the love from all of you and words really can't express how thankful and appreciative we are.

Junior wants me to say:  "Batman teddy bear I love you."   jufdhtrtefrtrerter\bfbvvgvcffftfgfgfdtdrdfdes

Friday, October 3, 2014


When junior asked for a gold Spiderman room I was at a loss.   Spiderman is blue and red how on earth is this going to work.  The more I thought about it  plan started to come together.  Sometimes the ideas in my head don't work out the way I envision them but in this case it did.  Thanks to the wonders of Etsy I was able to make his dream a reality.  Well we won't know until Monday if it matches what he wants but I sure hope so.  

A few weeks ago this was my office.  

Over the span of a week I slowly moved everything out 

We had the room painted gold with red trim

Wall decals from Etsy complete the transformation.

Funny story about the large personalized spidey decal.   I ordered it in the morning and then that afternoon we realized that we had been spelling junior's name wrong.   Oops.   Luckily I was able to contact the seller just in time to make the correction.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Random Drunk Musings From An Airport

OK I'm not really drunk but I am drinking at the airport.  I am curious it this will result in more random Google search hits.  

  • Today I am completing my last business trip before junior moves in.    And this may be the last trip of the year.   The sad part is that this means I won't hit gold on United this year.   Yeah, I know first world problems.    I will likely end the year with a little over 40K miles which is still a whole lot of miles.    
  • Conversation between Dave & I this week
    • Dave:  I have a dentist appointment on Thursday at 9, should we leave the door open for the handyman. 
    • Me:  Um   what are you going to do with junior?  Is he going to sit in the waiting room.  
    • Dave:   Oh good point, maybe I should reschedule.   
    • Life is clearly going to be changing for us. 
  • Why don't all schools offer full day K?   The idea of half day perplexes me.    We are trying to figure out if we can get junior into the closed full day program at our school.    Luckily we have others advocating on his behalf.  
  • This is our last weekend as DINKS (dual income no kids).   We are spending it by visiting my 45th state - Oklahoma!   Isn't that what everybody does before they become parents. 
  • Why don't family therapists return phone calls?
  • MMMM margaritas are tasty. Do I have to stop drinking margaritas when I become a mom? 
  • OMG I'm gonna be a mom next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (those added exclamations points are for Dave as he really likes lots of !!!!!!!!! in sentences).    

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Overwhelmed by Emotions

The last few days I have been on the verge of tears over simple things.   Oh and I should say they are mostly happy tears.   I read an article that a friend posted to Facebook about siblings that were adopted and then reconnected after decades - queue the tears.   I hear a song on the radio and I get choked up - maybe I should stop listening to sad country songs.

The outpouring of messages via all formats have been very moving and touching.   Offers to help and questions about what we need are coming in from every direction.   At this point I have no idea what we need.  Until we know what junior has we won't know what we need.   We have been told he has a ton of stuff but we don't know what it is.   We may be buying a bedroom set from the current foster family if it can fit in a car, if not we need to make a trip to American Furniture Warehouse to buy furniture.   We don't know if he has a winter coat or boots  that fit him.  While I am touched by all the offers to help I don't know what to say.  

And the biggest emotional trigger has come directly from junior.   We haven't been sure how he would take the news, if he liked us and wants to live with us.   Well all that was answered this week.  Junior asked his current foster family if he could call us as he wanted to ask us if we would be his mom and dad.   Hearing this broke my heart.  Not only did he ask once but 4 times.    We are meeting him for lunch on Sunday so he can ask us.   Not sure I will make it through that lunch without crying.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

I love it when a plan comes together

The weekend with junior was a huge success.   He biked, learned how to throw a spiral, went swimming, and met some of his future cousins.    It was exhausting for us, he seems to have endless amounts of energy.  

On Friday I went to a work event while Dave picked him up.   I  was told as I was heading home that junior had a surprise for me.   Dave had told him my birthday was earlier in the week so he planned a surprise party for me.   I came in and the house was dark and quiet except for a candle burning in the living room.  As I entered the room they jumped up and shouted "Happy Birthday!"   I then was told to sit down and he was going to make me a snack.    I had a salad with ranch dressing,  yogurt and apple slices with peanut butter.  

It was very sweet but at the same time I was thinking that he has learned that he needs to take care of adults and not the other way around.   He is very self reliant and wants to do everything on his own versus wanting to be taken care of.   This is very common with kids in foster care.  

Given the success of the last 2 visits, we had  a phone call with his team today to figure out a move-in date.  That date has been set for 2 weeks from today.  This is also the day before his birthday.  It is exciting and a little scary all at the same time.  

We now have 2 weeks to turn this into a gold and red Spiderman room.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How our match happened

Going into this process we were given a rough outline of how things happen but were also told that no two instances were the same and there are no guarantees.   Since June we have been inquiring on kids with profiles on two of the main adoption sites and were also getting leads directly from our case worker.   We had an open inquiry on a 7 year old boy, when our case worker followed up with his social worker we found out about junior.  

The social worker thought that we would be a much better match for a 5 year old boy that she was working with.   On Thursday we were given brief backgrounds about both boys and we agreed that the 5 year old sounded like a better fit for us.   We set up a call with our CW and his SW for Monday afternoon.  Additional information was shared, we asked questions, they asked questions and the meeting ended with our being told they were having a staffing on Wednesday morning to determine next steps.  

I was about to walk into a meeting at work that Wednesday morning when my phone rang and it was an unknown number.   I stepped into a conference room my heart beating a mile a minute to be told that they thought we would be a great fit for junior and they had a strange proposition for us.   Due to circumstances they were working on a tight time frame to find a home for the kid.   They were looking for somebody to do respite for him the following weekend.   For kids in foster care if parents need a night off for work or other reasons only another licensed foster family can be used this is called respite.    We agreed.

This is not normally how things happen.  The process normally goes from a phone call that you have been selected to having a formal presentation after which you decided if you want to move forward, then a transition plan is put in place.  The first meeting usually takes place for a couple of hours at a park or ice cream shop and you slowly work up to overnights.  We were going straight to spending 24 hours with him.  Yikes!

Thankfully that meeting went very well and yesterday we had the formal presentation.   He comes for 2 nights this weekend and hopefully get a more finalized date early next week.    So yeah this was a bit backwards and not at all what we were expecting but hey that's what life always seems to throw at us.  

Oh and for legal and privacy reasons we will not be sharing the kid's name on public forums like here or Facebook.  He may continue to go by junior or we may come up with another alias for him.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Guess What Happened Today?

We haven't played a game on here in a very long time, I think we should.   Can you guess from these pictures what happened today (there is a common thread)?

Yup that's right, we are officially matched!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As luck would have it we actually found out about this little guy the day I quit my job 3 weeks ago.  So it has been a crazy emotional roller coaster the last couple of weeks.  We had the official meeting today and are working out a transition plan.   It is all very exciting and about the best birthday present ever!  

I will post more details later just needed to share this exciting update.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Emotional Roller Coaster

I realize it has been a while since I've posted and when two people mentioned that to me I decided it was time to provide a little update.   The last 6 weeks have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me and this has very little to do with the adoption.    Things have been pretty status quo there and I have learned to be patient and not let it get to me, at least I thought I was, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Over the last couple of months I decided it was time for me to move on from the company I have worked at for almost a decade.  I knew when we moved to Colorado that my career advancement opportunities were limited and after a lot of discussions with Dave we decided not to wait until things moved forward on the adoption front and to start searching for a new job.  Searching for a new job is stressful.   I am very fortunate that the right job came along.  It is a step up career wise which is great and very close to home which is better.

I have enjoyed working from home but I find myself getting lonely.  Days will go by and I haven't left the house or spoken to other people aside from Dave, and he doesn't always want to hear me babble.   I miss the social aspect of working in an office.  The downside of working in an office is I won't have these two to keep me company.

I am sure they will adjust.  

The other big development over the last couple of weeks is having to deal with medical issues.   At the beginning of the month I attended our annual customer and partner conference where I had to present.  This is fairly normal for me and this trip marked the end of about 3 weeks of business trips. On the day last day when I was presenting I wasn't feeling well and just chalked it up to exhaustion.  As I was finishing my last session things got considerably worse and the only thing going through my mind was there is only 5 minutes left in the presentation - DON'T PASS OUT.   There is nothing worse than presenting while you are experiencing chest pains, sweating, and shortness of breath.

I thought sitting down after my sessions would make things better - it didn't.  In the end I called a coworker over and was rushed to the ER.  Not the way I wanted the conference to end.   Good news I didn't have a heart attack - which is what I thought was happening.  Bad news I missed my flight home, and a Cubs game with the family.

Over the next couple of weeks I was back and forth to the doctor and cardiologist trying to figure out what went was wrong with me.   During this time I did very little but sleep and work.   Everything was A-OK with my heart in the end they gave me a diagnosis of anxiety and I  have been on Celexa for the last two weeks.

While I thought I was handling all the uncertainty around the adoption and the job search well I guess my body thought otherwise.  It appears you can have anxiety without actually feeling anxious or panicky.   I am happy to say that I once again feel normal and am starting to get back into a normal schedule.  Of course all this changes in 11 days when I start my new job.

In the meantime, next week I have a week of "Dawn Time" to relax and unwind.  Dave is off on a business trip so this may be the last week I get all to myself.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Patience is a Virtue

My apologies for not posting in a while.    I know you have all been eagerly awaiting an update on how things are going and having to wait weeks for a post must be killing you.    Well now you know how we feel during this endless waiting game of when will we get updates.  We have no news on anything.  Over the last 2 months our home study has been submitted on 5 children/sibling sets and what have we heard back - nothing, nada, zilch.  That's right - we have no idea if the case workers have made a decision on any of the kids we have inquired on.   In 1 instance we know that the case worker is meeting at the end of the month to review case studies, that will be approximately 2 months since we submitted our home study for consideration.     This is apparently a very slow process.

 My intention when I started this was to post something at least once a week,  in the beginning that was easy but now we  are just in a holding pattern and I find that I don't have much to say unless I post every week that there is no news.   I am frustrated by the lack of communication and updates during this process.  I don't want to nag people but I do want to know what is going on - there has to be some balance.   I'm not sure if this is normal or not.   I would think they would want to place the kids quickly but that doesn't appear to be the case.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fierce Competition

Nothing can prepare you for the competition to obtain a match.  Maybe  I shouldn't look at it like a competition but that is what it feels like.   It seems very much like applying for jobs.   You see a listing it sounds good, you do a little bit of research, send in your resume and then you wait for the recruiter to decide whether or not you are considered a potential candidate.    As with job hunting some listings will generate hundreds of candidates and others only a few will apply.

We have sent off a couple of inquiries on kids and some our case worker advised against after finding out more information.  There are certain behaviors we aren't able to consider such as cruelty to animals.    On Friday we inquired on a boy and yesterday I didn't see his profile listed.   I logged into our account and see a message that his profile can only be viewed through our account as there are over 15 outstanding inquiries that the case worker has not responded to.   Once there are that many inquiries waiting for responses the child is removed from the site until the case worker responds to the open inquiries.      I guess that is a good thing to prevent hundreds of open inquiries.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Weekend Project

I finally got around to working on the photo book project.    To help with the transition I thought it would be good to make a little photo book about us and our family.  This is something we can give to the kid(s) early in the process to help familiarize themselves with what we look like, what the house and neighborhood is like and who is in the family.  

I wouldn't have been able to complete this project without the help of all the family members that sent us photos.   The link to the book will be available for a limited time only.

The new way to make a photo album: photo books by Shutterfly.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

You've Got Mail

I have never been so excited to open an envelope - I don't think I was even this excited when I opened my acceptance letter to college.    

We got a redacted piece of paper in the mail yesterday!

This makes it officially official we are licensed and waiting.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

6 Month Check-In

Writing that it seems so strange, it can't possibly be 6 months since we started on this adoption journey but yup the calendar says June so it must be true.  So much has happened at that initial meeting seems so long ago but we still have a long road ahead of us.   I would like to say the hard part is behind us, but I don't think that's the case at all.   What is behind us is:

  • The paperwork - oh wait no we still have paperwork ahead of us in terms of tracking visits, medications, and countless other stuff. 
  • The presence of strangers in our home ensuring we will be good parents - nope that continues as well.  We will likely have more people through our home to ensure we are doing a good job.
  • The training - ugh not that either, we have continuing education to do over the course of the year and for every year that we are foster parents. 
  • The waiting - yeah right - longer rights are ahead of us. 
  • The uncertainty - will this happen, when will this happen, how will the kid(s) react.  Yeah lots of uncertainty ahead.
Sheesh it seems like we haven't done anything in the last 6 months.   That clearly isn't true here's what we have done:
  • Attended informational meetings
  • Selected an agency
  • Completed 2 rounds of paperwork 
  • Attended first aid and CPR training
  • Attended foster parent training
  • Completed 3 home study visits/interviews
  • Child proofed our home - purchased fire escape ladders, fire extinguishers, safety locks for cabinets, covers for electrical outlets, fixed our back deck. 
  • Got fingerprinted
  • Passed federal and state background checks
  • Physicals for me & Dave
  • Got certificates of health for Paddy and Koda and made sure they were up to date on shots
  • Prepared information and collected photos for our profile

 and this just goes to show that this is a continually evolving process with no end in sight.      

What does keep me going these days is we officially have a profile completed that is being sent out to social workers and we can now submit inquiries on available children.  I'm anxious to see where this goes and a little nervous to actually send off our first inquiries.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Our First Purchase

When you're pregnant it's easy to compile a list of all of the things you need for a baby, have a shower and start buying things.   I guess if we were adopting an infant the same process would apply.  But we have a very broad age range and we want the kid(s) to  be able to pick out their furnishings so that makes it a lot harder.   Instead I have been mentally compiling a list of all the things we are going to need:

  • Furniture
  • Linens
  • Books
  • Games & toys
  • Bike & helmet
  • Swing set
  • X-box 
OK not all of these are necessities but many of these items are going to be needed quickly.  We have been putting money aside each month to cover the cost of the big items that will be needed since we have to wait. This waiting is hard so I was super excited this weekend when we were in Santa Fe and made the first purchase for our future child(ren).    We plan on putting a photo of us/our house in this and giving it to them prior to placement to prepare with the transition.   

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

We're Licensed!

Well, we don't officially have the license in our hands but we got word on Monday that the missing piece of paperwork was received and we are good to be licensed.   This is HUGE!   It means we are onto the next step of the process; the searching and networking.  

I took a gander at AdoptUsKids this afternoon, it is a website that lists kids available for adoption.  This is only one avenue of the networking but I was curious to see if there were any listings that jumped out at me.   Do you believe in signs?  I normally don't believe in signs but I found this listing and immediately thought - yup these are the kids for us.   Dave said he could deal with sharing his name with a child but having a child share a name with our cat is a bit much.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

For as long as I can remember I've known I wanted to be a mom.  Did I think I would become a mom for the first time in my 40's absolutely not.   I watched my sisters become mom's and as happy as I was for them I was a tiny bit jealous.   When they were becoming moms I was at a place where I  was giving up on my dream of motherhood for a guy that didn't want kids. After that relationship ended I figured I would end up a single mom by choice and started researching adoption, then I met Dave and I put those plans on hold again.

Now here I am within arms reach of my goal of becoming a mom.   It's weird knowing that our kids are out there somewhere and next year at this time we will hopefully be celebrating mother's day as a family.   Do I know what kind of mom I'm going to be no - but I hope that  learning from the examples of my grandmother, mom and sisters I will be a good listener and somebody that my children will look up to.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Home Study Approved

We reached a huge milestone yesterday, we are officially home study approved!   What does this mean exactly?  We have completed all the training requirements, passed criminal background checks, completed the psycho-social evaluation, and are home is safe for children.    The next step is the licensing.  We are still waiting on 1 form from a state agency to come in and then we will be officially licensed.  

It is weird seeing your life and relationship distilled into 12 pages.  Our caseworker said ours was easy and that some people end up with 30 page home studies.  I guess we're boring.

So, what comes next.   We have to pull together photos for our profile showing our house, family, the animals, and the neighborhood.  This will be used for marketing and networking purposes.  We can't officially present our home study until the missing background check comes in but we can start unofficially inquiring once the profile is completed.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

Boob Jobs and Adoption

No I am not getting a boob job.   I stumbled across this video on an adoption message board that I frequent.  It is a humorous way to educate people about appropriate adoption language and questions.  Adoption is an unknown for many people and there are lots of questions, sometimes the questions people ask or the words they choose are offensive.  

I have been fortunate that we haven't been asked these questions.  The one thing we have been asked that does fall in this category is a variation of " Aren't you afraid the child will be unhealthy/damaged/emotionally unstable?"  While it hasn't been these exact words it is the idea that adopting a child from foster care means we are getting damaged goods.   Yes these kids have had a hard life and have experienced trauma but that doesn't mean they are any less of a person and don't need a loving family.   There would be no guarantees even if we had a biological child that they would be perfectly healthy.

Questions are natural, and I am happy to answer them, but first ask yourself "would I ask this about a boob job?"

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Not much new on the adoption front these days, we've been in a holding pattern waiting for our home study to be finalized.   After finishing our training and our last home study visit our case worker went off to prepare our profile and present it to the team for approval.   Hopefully it will be presented this week and then we get to review it.  There isn't much that we can do until we hear from her.   Waiting is hard.

Once our profile is approved we move onto the exciting part - networking and reviewing profiles of our potential child(ren).   Of course there will be more waiting during these times but we can at least take an active role in things then of viewing profiles and submitting our homestudy for our potential children.   There is no saying how long this process will take.   I know many people can wait upwards of a year but for some reason I think it will be quicker than that for us, but maybe that is wishful thinking.   We did just buy 2 tickets for our vacation to the east coast this summer, part of me thinks that is a sure fire way to ensure that we will need be placed by then and will scramble to purchase additional seat(s) on our flights.  

Dave leaves on a business trip tomorrow ( a little role reversal)  I fly out on Friday to meet him and spend a weekend in NYC.   I wonder if this will be the last flight we take without kids (well I have plenty of trips for work but those don't count).  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What a Difference a Year Makes

Last year at this time Dave had just returned from a trip to Denver to visit family and I was in a tough place at work and very stressed.  This prompted us to start talking about whether we wanted to raise our hypothetical family in Seattle or if we wanted to move elsewhere.  Seattle is great and we loved it but we were very far away from family there.  Flights to see my family required between 6-9 hours of travelling, flights to see Dave's family 3-6 hours.   IF we were going to move we were moving someplace with family and with a lower cost of living.   We looked at the cities and towns our family lived in and  narrowed the list down to Denver.

Denver gave us a number of benefits

  • Family a quick car ride away.
  • Travel to see my family dropped to 4-6 hours.
  • Travel to see Dave's family dropped to no more than 4 hours with the closet trip being 20 minutes.  
  • Lower cost of living.
  • Mountains. 
  • Red Rocks.
  • A great craft beer scene. 
  • 300 days of sunshine. 
We knew it wouldn't be easy, but this wasn't the first big move for either of us.   If we were going to move we needed to move first and then start the adoption process.  We figured it would take about a year or so for the move to become a reality.  Imagine our surprise when a few weeks later Dave learned of a job opportunity, it seemed like a sign.   2.5 months after "thinking" about moving to Denver we were packing up our house and saying good bye to Seattle.   

Here we are a year later, getting settled into our new home and approaching the time when we are home study approved.  The move happened much quicker than we anticipated and there have been definite adjustments, but it was definitely the right decision for our family.  I have mostly adjusted to working from home and am in a much better place career wise, we are making friends, we are exploring our new home state and most of all we've enjoyed spending more time with family.   

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Two Big Checkmarks

This week we were able to check off two huge items off of our to-do list.  Our final home study visit including the home safety check and our final classes.   On Thursday our case worker came over and we finished our home study and she toured the house to make sure it was safe for children.

During this home study we had to talk about our relationship and describe one another.  Being put on the spot to describe me is apparently not one of Dave's strong points.   He described me as analytical and nice to our animals (I hope this translates to mean I will make a good mom).   Our home safety inspection passed without any issues.  We actually got bonus points for having the kid(s) room be relatively empty as our plan is to have them pick out what they want so it will be theirs.   Our case worker said she really likes it when rooms are a blank slate as picking out furniture, bedding and paint helps the kids fell like the room is their own and isn't somebody else's.  

This weekend also marked the end of our training classes.  The training is normally held over 6 weeks but they condensed it to 3 weekends which was great, I don't think I could have handled driving in rush hour traffic like that for another week.  Friday rush hour traffic is brutal.   I have to admit I did not find the classes and reading material to be helpful.  It was very negative and focused on all the issues that can arise.   We read about 90 pages of procedures, effects of drug use on development, how to detect sexual abuse, etc.  The section on strategies on how to deal with these items 2 pages!   I realize that these kid(s) will have traumatic backgrounds but spending so much time on the negative and not being provided a whole lot of resources on how to handle it was very depressing.  Luckily we've been doing some reading outside of class that is helping to give us tools on how to handle this.   My favorite article so far has been one my coworker shared with me from The New Yorker.

Now that these two major milestones are completed what happens next?   We wait.   Our case worker will write up our profile and case study to be presented to the team for licensing.  This should be completed in about 2 weeks and then we get to review the document.  Once the document is finalized we will be fully licensed and can begin the networking and search for our future child(ren).  We anticipate this happening in early May.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Out of our Element

One of the homework assignments for our training is to attend a cultural event and then discuss it with the group at our final meeting.   We tossed around a couple of ideas and then Dave finally came up with the winning idea... we would attend a gun show.

No Dave, not those types of guns.  

This is definitely not something we would ordinarily attend.  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect at the show but we assumed it would be mostly attended by white men.  This was in fact the case I saw a few women there and some kids as well.  Sunday was billed as "family day" but there did not seem to be anything kid specific there like face painting or clowns.  

A few things I didn't expect or was surprised by at the show:
  • Lots of jewelry vendors.   The more I thought about it the more sense this made.   The target audience is men.  Men can earn brownie points with their significant other by bringing home a piece of jewelry after spending the afternoon at a gun show. 
  • I've never looked into purchasing a gun but was a little surprised that prices started at around $200.    For some reason I thought entry prices would be higher. 
  • Guns with pink grips.  Really, is this the way to attract female buyers.
  • A coin dealer.   This was actually good for me as I have been meaning to find somebody to appraise the various coin sets I have.  He said he attends quite a few of the gun shows that take place in the area.  I am puzzled as to what about the target demographic is also interested in coins, but it clearly makes sense 
  • A woman selling home made honey and dried foods.  The honey was delicious and we bought a couple of jars.   It wasn't until we left that we realized why this made sense at the show.  The honey was advertised as never going bad; along with the dried beans and such appeals to the survivalist.  
  • The vendors with cash or check only, nobody seemed to take credit cards.   With services like Square I have just gotten used to everybody even vendors and fairs taking credit cards.   
  • A group raffling off tickets for a quilt.   This one still puzzles me. 
A couple of things that didn't surprise me.
  • The demographics.
  • Lots of anti-Obama merchandise including toilet paper.  (OK the toilet paper surprised me but not the anti-Obama aspect of it).  
It was definitely an interesting experience but I can't say I will ever go to  show again.  I didn't feel uncomfortable, we had some interesting conversations, and bought some delicious honey; but I just don't have a need for a gun.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Child-proofing our house

Our home safety inspection is next week, we have been busy getting everything in place that we need to ensure the house is child-proofed.   This has included purchasing the following items:
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Fire escape ladder
  • Locks for cabinets
  • Plugs for electrical outlets
  • A handrail and stairs for our back patio 
The largest item we purchased was a bit of splurge.  We probably could have done something less elaborate but I've been wanting this for a couple of months, and figured this was a good excuse to buy it, plus I bought it on sale and via ebates which reduced the price a bit.   We have a rather large adult beverage collection and all alcohol needs to be locked up so we invested in a chilled wine credenza that holds both beer and wine.  Each cabinet can be set to a different temperature which is great, what is a little annoying is that each cabinet has a different lock.  In case you're wondering this is stocked with over 100 wine and beer bottles.  

Dave also suggested this week that we get rid of this sign.   
We never hung it up and I thought he was just trying to purge items we haven't hung.   He then explained that it is highly probable that the kid(s) will be in therapy and this doesn't send a very good message to them.  When he phrased it that way I had to agree with him.  Before we put this in the donation pile I am offering this to one of you lucky readers.  If you are interested in this lovely sign please let me know.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Media & Language of Adoption

People look to the media to get information and form opinions on a number of items, sadly sometimes the way the media portrays certain topics isn't always helpful.     I read this article last week on how the media portrays and discusses adoption.   On one hand it seems shocking that people feel a need to add the fact that a child was adopted even if it has nothing to do with what is being reported on.   While it is great that adoption is not a taboo subject used constantly mentioning that a child was adopted doesn't seem necessary to story lines.  The use of positive adoption language being used is a great but there is still a lot of room for improvement.   

Speaking of positive adoption language, there is still a lot of negative terminology around adoption.   When talking about adoption people will sometimes say things like "but don't you want your own child?" (nobody has ever asked me this, I have seen comments like this on message boards and in other reading).  An adopted child is your own child the same as a biological child is.  There is no difference.   There is a good resource on positive adoption language here.   

Part of the negative language and concept around adoption is perpetuated by the media.   Yesterday I heard Carrie Underwood's "Temporary Home" for the first time and it got to me.   The first verse and chorus are:  

"Little boy, six years old
A little too used to being alone
Another new mom and dad
Another school, another house that will never be home
When people ask him how he likes this place
He looks up and says with a smile upon his face

This is my temporary home, it's not where I belong
Windows and rooms that I'm passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where I'm going
I'm not afraid because I know
This is my temporary home"

To me this points out the negative aspects of adoption "another new mom and dad", "another house that will never be home."   My first thoughts on hearing this was I really hope this isn't how our child(ren) will feel.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Emotions Get to Me

I always knew that this process would be emotional, and this week being in Seattle has kicked that into high gear.   I've seen a lot of friends and coworkers that I haven't seen since this process has started and every one has taken the time to ask me how things are going, ask questions, provide advice or just tell me that they enjoy reading this blog.  The overwhelming sense of support I feel is indescribable.

When I decided to blog about this, it was mostly for me and Dave said that people probably won't read it anyways.  Knowing that people are reading it and want to know more warms my heart.  I do see some analytics via blogger on the number of page views and visitors but I don't know who the people are.  Being told first hand that people are enjoying reading about this journey provides validation that I don't need, but it sure is good to hear.

The oddest feeling for me though came on Monday evening.  My friend called to tell me that she received the package of paperwork to provide a reference, it was great talking to her but the emotional outpouring came later that night when I read her blog.  I never really thought about what friends would think when we asked them to be a reference but reading how it made her feel made me want to cry, but not in a bad way.  I knew there were likely going to times I felt like crying on this journey, I just didn't think that this would trigger the first time I felt this way.  

I know that this is only the beginning and we may have a long road ahead, it is very reassuring to know we have so much support.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll

Not the sort of title you would expect to see on a blog about our adoption journey, I'm just trying to keep things exciting here.   Actually, this is how our case worker refers to the second home study visit.   We each had to fill out a questionnaire about our experiences with drugs, alcohol, mental disorders and the like.  While we answered the questions we had to sit in the same room but couldn't speak to one another.   Then we were separated and interviewed individually about our answers, our families and what we want out of life.  

We were warned going into this meeting to make sure we had discussed any potential skeletons in our closets with each other, as if there were any surprises the meeting would have to end to give us a chance to talk to one another.   Thankfully we are both very boring people and there weren't any surprises.  

It was rather strange reliving events from my childhood and adolescence and trying to describe what life was like when I was 8.   Luckily the next meeting is about easy, modern topics like our relationship and the safety inspection of our house.  This appointment needs to wait though until our house is no longer a construction zone, hopefully this milestone is reached by mid-March.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Book Review

I've been doing a lot of reading lately on adoption.  There are so many books out there some are good and some are not so good, which is the case for any subject.   Since there are so many different types of adoption finding good relevant books can be a bit challenging.  Sadly it doesn't seem like there are as many books dedicated on adopting older children or adopting through foster care.  Many seem to focus on international and newborn adoption.   While there are some similarities attaching to a newborn is very different than forming attachment with a 6 year old.

Here is a brief overview of the books I have read so far and my thoughts on them.

In on It:  What Adoptive Parents Would like you to Know About Adoption
This book is intended for family and friends of adoptive parents yet I found it a very useful starting point.  There was lots of helpful advice and anecdotes on what can be expected throughout the process and the first few years.  It was a very short easy to read book and I would definitely recommend that both adoptive parents and their extended families read this book.

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew
I purchased this as it was recommended by Amazon as a book that is bought along with In On It.  I should have done more research before purchasing this.  I wasn't able to get through the book.   The overall tone was very negative to me and it seemed like the author said that any negative or positive behavior exhibited by an adopted child is because they are adopted.   There are some behaviors that are a normal part of child development whether a child is adopted or not, this book seemed to ignore that aspect.   I am not delusional and I do realize there will be negative points along the way but focusing only on the negative aspects of adoption is not something I am willing to do, I want to look at the positive side of thing as well.  

The Connected Child
Targeted toward the behavioral and emotional issues that can arise, especially in an older child adoption.   At times I found the advice applicable for all parents and not just parents of adopted children   This book provided great techniques on connecting to a child in appropriate ways based on their age and developmental level.  Many of the techniques are probably best suited to children under 8, which was perfect for us.   While there were some negative scenarios I did not find it nearly as negative as 20 things.  

I have a pile of additional books to read, as I read them I will post additional reviews.   Next on my list are Scream Free Parenting and Adopting Through Foster Care.  If you have suggestions for books on adoption or parenting in general please share them.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Home Study Kicked Off

We had our first meeting with our social worker today which officially kicked off the home study.  This was the easiest of the meetings lasting only about an hour.  We received and reviewed all the documents in this giant binder.
 This includes about 25 forms that we need to fill our and/ or sign as well as a bunch of articles we may find helpful.   Some items need to be completed now and some are needed after a child is placed with us.  A sampling of the items we need to fill out and sign:
  • House rules - yes we have to create rules for the house.  
  • A plan drawing out the emergency evacuation route.
  • A worksheet documenting every time a child is given medicine.
  • Documentation that we are a tobacco free home.
  • Consent that we will install an appropriate car seat/child carrier if needed.  
In the packet was also a checklist of all the things we need to do to the house to pass the home inspection
  • All alcohol has to be stored in a locked cabinet
  • All medicine (even over the counter) has to be in a locked cabinet
  • An escape ladder needs to be available on the second floor (not installed but available in case of an emergency)
  • Emergency numbers and poison control information is posted by the phone.  
  • 5 pound fire extinguisher installed in a visible location. 
There is lots to do to prepare the house for the inspection. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Planning Challenges

I'm a planner,I like to research and plan ahead as much as possible.  Don't get me wrong, I like spontaneity as well but generally speaking I like to know what is happening.   Heading into the adoption process there are so many unknowns and this makes it difficult to plan.

Lately we have been planning our summer vacation to Boston and Washington, DC, as well as a trip to
Coors Field to see the Cubs play the Rockies.  By July or August it is possible that we will be matched and have our kid(s) placed with us so how do we plan for this.  We have decided to buy 2 extra tickets to the Cubs vs Rockies game, if we haven't been matched then we will sell the tickets.   Boston is a little more complicated as we have an entire day planned at Fenway park - tour of the park, lunch, batting practice, and a Cubs meet and greet.   Buying 1 or 2 extra tickets that we may not need now is a little crazy so we are holding off on that for now.  After we are approach the end of the home study process we may re-evaluate and purchase extra tickets for that as well.  

In addition to travel we are stumped on how to plan for the arrival of the kid(s).  When you are pregnant or adopting an infant, showers usually get thrown for the expectant parents and many items are purchased in advance - cribs, car seats, clothes, toys etc.  You know that these items are needed so it is easy to purchase them in advance.  We don't know what age our child(ren) will be, what they will need or even what gender they will be.  This makes it difficult to start to purchase items in advance.   All we can do is start saving money to be prepared to go on a massive shopping spree once we are matched.   Part of me thinks it will be fun for to go shopping with our kid(s) to pick out a paint color or furniture for their room, but part of me thinks so much will be happening that it would be nice to have things set up ahead of time.

I know that everything will work out and all this worry may be for nothing.  I have to learn to embrace the unknown and unexpected throughout this process.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Frequent Questions

There always seem to be lots of questions when people find out we are adopting.  I am happy to answer any question that people have.  I might not have the answer or I might choose to say that is a private matter but if you have questions feel free to ask.  

Some of the common questions we have received so far.

Are you adopting through the state or an agency?
We selected a private agency.  In November we went to an informational night for our county and were told they were not taking applications for people wanting to adopt children under the age of 10.  The main goal for children under 10 is reunification.  We were directed to look into a private agency for adoption in the age range we wanted.   While there are many private agencies many specialize in infant or international adoptions, we found one that has a program dedicated to foster to adopt.  Thankfully at the orientation we both really like the social worker and program director, this made it an easy decision to pick the agency.  

One of the added benefits of a private agency is they can work with every county in CO as well as other states, opening up more doors for us.

Why aren't you adopting an infant, you will miss all the important milestones like first steps, first words, etc?
It seems like there are so many children in need of a home, we did not feel a burning need to raise a child from infancy.   While there are developmental milestones we will have missed there will be so many firsts to celebrate.   Another consideration was my age, I would prefer not to have a child still in college when I retire.

Do you want a boy or girl?
I have no preference, Dave wants at least one boy as he is currently surrounded by girls (me, Paddy and Koda).  If we only adopt 1 child it will be a boy, if we end up adopting a sibling pair (yes we are considering this) it will either be 2 boys or a boy and a girl.

How long will the process take?
Who knows.   Based on the training we need to take and other factors we likely will not be licensed until the end of May at the earliest.   After that point it could be a couple of weeks or over a year to be matched.  It will all depend.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Adventures of a New Kind

This blog has served many purposes from chronicling my expat adventures, to an outlet for my photography (which has been neglected lately) and now it will serve yet another purpose - documenting our adoption journey.  I started thinking about adopting about 4 years ago when I was single and wasn't dating.  When I met Dave he agreed to come along for the ride.

This process is going to be anything but easy, if everybody that wanted to be a parent had to go through this process many people would change their mind.  We are doing foster to adopt, I am not sure how different the process is for other types of adoptions.   Here's what we have done and what we will be doing over the coming months.  

Already Completed
Initial application, with this we had to provide 3 references, our tax returns from last year, and our employment history.

The second round of paperwork was much more involved.  With this we needed to complete

  • Fingerprints for federal background checks.
  • State background check.
  • Family medical background as well as a results from a current physical.   The physical also required results from an HIV test.  
  • We each had to fill out a questionnaire about our childhood, relationship with our families, and our relationships with each other.  
  • A 60 question form about what characteristics we want or would accept form a child.  Questions included questions such as would accept a child with learning disabilities, a child that harms animals, has nightmares or smokes.  
  • A notarized document indicating we understand and accept the fee structure.  
The characteristics questionnaire was the strangest component for me.  It makes it feel like we are shopping for a child like you would for a house or a car -creating a list of must haves, nice to haves and deal breakers. We kept thinking that some of the items didn't really apply giving the age range of 3-8 that we are looking for.  I would really hope there aren't a lot of children in that age range that would smoke, drink or do drugs.  

What's Next
Now that the second round of paperwork is being put in the mail this week the next steps will include
  • Completing a first aid and CPR course
  • A 6 week training course
  • The home study
Once these are completed we will be officially licensed and can then begin the matching process.   This by no means is going to be a quick and easy process, but it in the end it will be worth it.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Europe: The Food and Drink Edition

As people saw the few pictures I posted to Facebook during our Europe trip I was asked "Are you just eating and drinking?"   We did plenty besides that but I definitely enjoyed the food and beverages in Europe.

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I was very excited to spend some time in London for curry, Nando's and cider (specifically Bulmers Pear cider).   We treated ourselves one evening to dinner at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.  The service was great and I was surprised that all of the servers in the restaurant were male.   I thoroughly enjoyed a pint of London Pride at my old local.  

Dave was not as thrilled with the beers in the majority of pubs we visited so we took a trip to Camden to go to Brew Dogs.   They have amazing craft beers and are known for brewing one of the strongest beers, Tactical Nuclear Penguin.  It was so good we bought 2 bottles to bring home with us.

Nasty tasting sour beer
The best beer ever.
So many good beers here and I was surprised how good the food was as well.   I had my favorite beer of the trip here - Cookie Beer.  This is made with speculous, absolutely delicious.  I need to figure out how to find it here.  I also learned that no matter how many times I drink one I just do not like sour beers.  They are nasty, I don't know how people drink these.

Fries at the Fry Museum
One of the specialties in Belgium
Mid Morning Snack

France - Paris & Marseilles

We had the best meal of the trip and possibly of the year in Paris, and we almost missed it.   We got a little disoriented walking around and went the wrong direction looking for Les Cocottes, once we corrected the mistake and headed in the right direction all was good.   Dave was ready to give up and go elsewhere convinced we would not be able to get in.   We were there 15 minutes after they opened and within 15 minutes of our arrival the place was packed.   We were incredibly lucky to get a seat and enjoy some amazing food.   I am going to try to go back here when I go to Paris next week.

We splurged once again in Marseilles with a visit to Passedat Petit Nice a Michelin starred restaurant.  The restaurant is located in a turn of the century building, built into a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean.   We arrived a little early and were seated outside to enjoy aperitifs and some yummy appetizers. This was thoroughly enjoyable.  Sadly after we moved inside we were less than impressed with the food.  .  

 Random Drinks



 Random Food