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.