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.