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.