Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cutest baby in the WORLD!

My sister calls me paparazzi - but I get some cute pictures.

These were taken with my sister's permission - not like last week when I did a little sneaky photoshoot when she was in the shower lol. She was sad that even though last week was christmas, she had no christmas pics of her little girl.

I said, "strip her down and let's do it now - she won't know it is "too late"

Got some great shots ........ and got the FIRST recorded smile. Oh - and I threw one in there from Christmas - two cousins!










Sunday, December 28, 2008

Baby Items for sale or for Free

I created a new yahoo group which will be used so that NJ moms (moms to be) can trade, sell, or give away baby items. A great place for baby gear, clothes, books, toys, etc.

I am a member of an on-line chat room for NJ women and there are so many moms on the board. I thought it would be a great way for moms to make some money, and for other moms to get some great deals on baby/kid stuff.

Baby stuff - well, all kid stuff - is expensive. At least this way you can clean out closets and either give the stuff away or sell it for some cash.

I guess it is a combo of freecycle and craigslist. I was made with NJ in mind, but anyone could really join.

I am really hoping it is a success - it is like a win win for everyone.

Basic Rules:
= All items must be gently used or in like new condition
= Baby gear must not be under any known recal

Anyone can join - but just remember that most items will be sold by someone in NJ.

Here is the group site: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nestbaby/

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Yup - still waiting

I am planning on calling our resource worker on Monday just to get a status update. You know, find out what has come in and what is still pending.

I am sure the Holiday is not helping our timeline. For a while, I really thought we would be licensed by year end, that does not look it is going to happen. Not unless this coming week our worker works like a rock star lol.

Our worker told us that once everything is returned, then she needs to do one last home inspection and then the state comes to do their inspection. I guess it is possible that it could happen this week. But, another holiday, another delay.

Everywhere we go, I look at the kids. Especially when I am somewhere during the school day. I look at this kids and think, "the kid(s) that is placed in our home could be around this age" It is kind of cool.

I really want to decorate the room. But since we don't know the age or the sex, this is kind of hard. A 4 year old would not want a room decorated the same way that a newborn would.

Right now the room is a neutral green, which will not change. But, I do no want to buy bedding sets until we get placement. We have basic sheets and always have blankets in the house. But the actual stuff that will be in the room has not been purchased.

We got a $100 gift card as a "reward" from a points credit card - it is actually a debit card that we use for EVERYTHING.

We will use that gift card when we get placement. We have been collecting most of the big stuff - crib, stroller, car seats, etc. Basically just enough to get by when we get placement. I am sure there will be a huge trip to the store within a few days of placement. But, at least having the gift card will offset some of the expenses.

We are also working on getting some beds, I hope it works out because it is a great deal.

Just a random post

For some reason, I did not want the previous post on the very top of this blog. It is just like a slap in the face.

Instead, there is really no point to this post. We did some shopping today. We got lots of gift cards (mainly amex ones - yay, we can use them anywhere) and we had some store credit from when we returned some things a few weeks ago.

We bought end tables for the living room. We were using snack tables, so these are a huge step up. They were on sale for 50% off in Lowes of all places. They look nice and they really match the wood details that are on our couches.

We also bought shelving units for the downstairs closet. This closet was actuall 2 closets so the space is kind of awkward. We are using it as a multi-purpose closet. It will be a food pantry, a kitchen (small) applicance storage area, a coat closet, and general storage closet. Needless to say, figuring out where we wanted everything took a huge chunk of time in Lowes.

I think it will work out well. It will be nice to get some of this stuff out of the kitchen cabinets. We have plenty of room, but never enough if that makes sense.

With these two purchases, I can cross some things off our "list". The list is just stuff that I would like, plus I crossed a bunch off with gifts from christmas. I realized that most of my gifts were housewares - which is fine by me, all stuff I really wanted. I did also get lots of craft things, also things I wanted.

We still have some little things to do before our final home inspection. But that could still be a while. I really can't wait to decorate the room. But I guess that will have to wait.

Yup - still waiting

I am planning on calling our resource worker on Monday just to get a status update. You know, find out what has come in and what is still pending.

I am sure the Holiday is not helping our timeline. For a while, I really thought we would be licensed by year end, that does not look it is going to happen. Not unless this coming week our worker works like a rock star lol.

Our worker told us that once everything is returned, then she needs to do one last home inspection and then the state comes to do their inspection. I guess it is possible that it could happen this week. But, another holiday, another delay.

Everywhere we go, I look at the kids. Especially when I am somewhere during the school day. I look at this kids and think, "the kid(s) that is placed in our home could be around this age" It is kind of cool.

I really want to decorate the room. But since we don't know the age or the sex, this is kind of hard. A 4 year old would not want a room decorated the same way that a newborn would.

Right now the room is a neutral green, which will not change. But, I do no want to buy bedding sets until we get placement. We have basic sheets and always have blankets in the house. But the actual stuff that will be in the room has not been purchased.

We got a $100 gift card as a "reward" from a points credit card - it is actually a debit card that we use for EVERYTHING.

We will use that gift card when we get placement. We have been collecting most of the big stuff - crib, stroller, car seats, etc. Basically just enough to get by when we get placement. I am sure there will be a huge trip to the store within a few days of placement. But, at least having the gift card will offset some of the expenses.

We are also working on getting some beds, I hope it works out because it is a great deal.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A story with pictures

Short Story:

I am not pregnant.

Long Story:




























Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bye Bye Braces

Colin got his braces off today! Couple things to note in these pics:

1 - yes, that is the start of a mustache!!! Not sure if I am ready for that
2 - it is really cold here in NJ, he is NOT wearing makeup!

It is like she is smiling....

I went to see my new neice yesterday. It was my BIL first day back at work - so I figured I would go and help my sister out.

I told her to take a shower since I was there - and as soon as she turned the water on, I took off all the baby's clothes and took some pictures. I knew she would not had let me do it if she was in the room - lol. I got some cute ones - was hoping to find a santa hat laying around, but no suck luck.

In this picture, she looks like she is smiling - she is not, just caught her at the end of a yawn.

She is getting cuter and cuter by the second. Can't wait to see her all dressed up for Christmas!


Friday, December 19, 2008

The thing that makes me go "hmmm"

I never knew so many people cared lol

Anyway, there have been a few things in the last few days or so that makes me really think that I will get a great christmas gift!

Who knows though - I thought the same things last month though and we know how that turned out.

Every time I have been pregnant - even this early where I can not even test for a while - I have had this strange chicken thing.

On Wednesday and yesterday I could not even put it in my mouth. Well, I did put it in my mouth and had to spit it right out.

Plus there is a way TMI thing that I will not share (you're welcome).

And, the sore boob things.

Plus the fact that about 7 days ago I felt like I might actually be getting ready to ovulate - so I took an OPK and it was positive! I took another one a few days later (just for kicks) and it was negative, so I am sure the first one was correct.

To keep it clean, we were frisky during the "prime" time.

This could all be in my head - you know like mind over matter.

I will be testing on Christmas Eve. which will be 12 dpo and again on Christmas. In the past I have tested negative at 12 dpo (AM) and then tested postive in the PM.

How long will I be obsessed with this?

I know we are adopting - and I am thrilled - but there is a small part of me that still wants to be pregnant. We will probably not ever do medical treatments again. But, we will never prevent and not do anything to permanantly prevent pregnancy. I wonder how long I will subject myself (mentally) to thinking that it will happen on it's own.

So - I guess I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wait and then wait some more

Right now we are in a holding pattern. Our stuff has been done - but we are waiting for some of the police checks to come back. We were contacted yesterday for some little things - I faxed them today.

And now we wait. But I also got confirmation that my neighbor FINALLY submitted her references. Yeah, it only took her 3 weeks.

I really hope I do not have to deal with her anymore. She is a big slacker!

Things that make you go Hmmmm

There are just some things that make you go, "Hmmm"

The End.

Wait and then wait some more

Right now we are in a holding pattern. Our stuff has been done - but we are waiting for some of the police checks to come back. We were contacted yesterday for some little things - I faxed them today.

And now we wait. But I also got confirmation that my neighbor FINALLY submitted her references. Yeah, it only took her 3 weeks.

I really hope I do not have to deal with her anymore. She is a big slacker!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A whole week without a post???

How the heck did I go a week without posting on this blog - I have no idea. I guess I was just super busy this week.

With Christmas right around the corner, I have been baking, wrapping, shopping, visiting, etc. I can't believe Christmas is right around the corner.

This year has been a real crappy year for me, I can only hope that next year is better.

I still have to wrap all of Colin's gits - I must admit, I kind of went overboard (and over budget) this year. Shhh - don't tell my husband. It is not like I went hundreds of dollars over, maybe about $25 or so. But, I also spent on the high end of my range. So, I guess you can say that I actually spent about $75 over what I was thinking. Oh, well. We are still under budget for the total.

I like to buys things that come in big boxes, I did not even give those items on the lists that I gave to other people lol.

But, in the spirt of Chirstmas, here are some pictures.










Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Individual Interviews are DONE!

Frank had his individual interview yesterday. Colin and I had ours today.

It went fine. I think it helps that our worker is about my age (a little younger) and super nice. I think it would be a lot harder if it was some old guy just drilling me with questions.

It took a little over 2 hours - a lot of what we talked about was stuff on the questionaire that we submitted last week. Which I answered honestly so there were some things that needed discusion. Nothing major - but things like how strict my dad was, and old very emotionally abusive boyfriend, a cousin who had domestic violence issue, stuff like that.

She also asked about Colin's father and what kind of relationship he had with him.

She asked how Frank and I met, what things we do together, things we have in common, what things make him a good guy, etc.

She also asked about our roles in the family - like who does what.

Like I said, I was honest on the questionaire, so I had no problem talking about stuff. Besides, everthing was such a long long time ago so it does not enter my mind on a daily basis.

My three m/c did come up - they just wanted to make sure that we are not using adoption as a replacement for that. And, that it is not something that we had not coped with. I guess if I broke down crying over it, they would suggest conseling or something.

Colin's was fine - super quick. She asked things about what he likes to do, how he would feel if someone went into his room, does he like you play with younger kids, how he is punished, how our relationship is, etc.

Oh - and most of our paperwork is coming in yay!
So far, this is what has been submited (and/or returned)
  • Application
  • Financial Forms
  • Privacy Forms
  • Preference Forms (what type of child we would accept placement of)
  • Fingerprints done - results not yet returned
  • Reference returned for a friend
  • Reference returned for person from an agency (used my church)
  • Medical Reference
  • Work Reference (Frank's Job)
  • School Reference (Colin)
  • Background Police Check for Frank (Town #1)
  • Family questionaire

Still waiting on:

  • Police Checks for several towns (amy and frank)
  • Reference from neighbor (what a surprise)
  • Fingerprint results

I am sure there is more that has been submited, there is so much I kind of lost track.

Our worker will call us soon to make another (final) appointment with us at which time our house will be looked at with a fine tooth comb. This visit has to be within a certain time frame before licensing comes to do the final home inspection. And with Christmas right around the corner - it might be after Christmas that she comes back. Since we are waiting on other stuff to come back anyway.

But, she told me that if that other stuff comes back asap, then she will try to make her last appointment with me asap.

And - it is out of my control how long it takes for the paperwork comes back - so who know. I am just hoping it is sooner than later :)

Individual Interviews are DONE!

Frank had his individual interview yesterday. Colin and I had ours today.

It went fine. I think it helps that our worker is about my age (a little younger) and super nice. I think it would be a lot harder if it was some old guy just drilling me with questions.

It took a little over 2 hours - a lot of what we talked about was stuff on the questionaire that we submitted last week. Which I answered honestly so there were some things that needed discusion. Nothing major - but things like how strict my dad was, and old very emotionally abusive boyfriend, a cousin who had domestic violence issue, stuff like that.

She also asked about Colin's father and what kind of relationship he had with him.

She asked how Frank and I met, what things we do together, things we have in common, what things make him a good guy, etc.

She also asked about our roles in the family - like who does what.

Like I said, I was honest on the questionaire, so I had no problem talking about stuff. Besides, everthing was such a long long time ago so it does not enter my mind on a daily basis.

My three m/c did come up - they just wanted to make sure that we are not using adoption as a replacement for that. And, that it is not something that we had not coped with. I guess if I broke down crying over it, they would suggest conseling or something.

Colin's was fine - super quick. She asked things about what he likes to do, how he would feel if someone went into his room, does he like you play with younger kids, how he is punished, how our relationship is, etc.

Oh - and most of our paperwork is coming in yay!
So far, this is what has been submited (and/or returned)
  • Application
  • Financial Forms
  • Privacy Forms
  • Preference Forms (what type of child we would accept placement of)
  • Fingerprints done - results not yet returned
  • Reference returned for a friend
  • Reference returned for person from an agency (used my church)
  • Medical Reference
  • Work Reference (Frank's Job)
  • School Reference (Colin)
  • Background Police Check for Frank (Town #1)
  • Family questionaire

Still waiting on:

  • Police Checks for several towns (amy and frank)
  • Reference from neighbor (what a surprise)
  • Fingerprint results

I am sure there is more that has been submited, there is so much I kind of lost track.

Our worker will call us soon to make another (final) appointment with us at which time our house will be looked at with a fine tooth comb. This visit has to be within a certain time frame before licensing comes to do the final home inspection. And with Christmas right around the corner - it might be after Christmas that she comes back. Since we are waiting on other stuff to come back anyway.

But, she told me that if that other stuff comes back asap, then she will try to make her last appointment with me asap.

And - it is out of my control how long it takes for the paperwork comes back - so who know. I am just hoping it is sooner than later :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Um, should I hold it hostage?

I have posted my frustration with my neighbor. She has issues with sticking to a reasonable timeline.

When I first spoke to her, she advised me to use her as a reference. We needed on for a neighbor anyway, so thought this was a great idea.

The reference packages were mailed over a week ago and I got confirmation that one was mailed to her. I will not get confirmation that the package has been returned until I speak to my worker tomorrow.

Anyway, the husband of said neighbor just came up to me and asked if I can sign for a package tomorrow. He won't be around and well, I will.

Should I hold the package hostage???? I am just kidding - but I really should.

Maybe I will get lucky and she felt bad about holding up the paperwork and she returned everything already.

My husband has his individual interview tomorrow, and I have mine (along with my son as well) on Wednesday. i just have to remind my husband not to overshare. He has a habit of going off on tangents.

I am hoping that we can schedule our last appointment with our worker early next week. Then we fall into christmas week, and I am sure lots of people will be on vacation, etc.

Hoping we are done by year end - but I guess we will wait and see. Things like fingerprints and background checks may take a while.

Um, should I hold it hostage?

I have posted my frustration with my neighbor. She has issues with sticking to a reasonable timeline.

When I first spoke to her, she advised me to use her as a reference. We needed on for a neighbor anyway, so thought this was a great idea.

The reference packages were mailed over a week ago and I got confirmation that one was mailed to her. I will not get confirmation that the package has been returned until I speak to my worker tomorrow.

Anyway, the husband of said neighbor just came up to me and asked if I can sign for a package tomorrow. He won't be around and well, I will.

Should I hold the package hostage???? I am just kidding - but I really should.

Maybe I will get lucky and she felt bad about holding up the paperwork and she returned everything already.

My husband has his individual interview tomorrow, and I have mine (along with my son as well) on Wednesday. i just have to remind my husband not to overshare. He has a habit of going off on tangents.

I am hoping that we can schedule our last appointment with our worker early next week. Then we fall into christmas week, and I am sure lots of people will be on vacation, etc.

Hoping we are done by year end - but I guess we will wait and see. Things like fingerprints and background checks may take a while.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

How we take pictures

I guess we should ask others to take our picture - we have tons like this!!!!




Saturday, December 6, 2008

The funniest toy ever....

I am going to a birthday party for a one year old today. I know he likes Cookie Monster. When I went shopping, I saw this cute little doll. I did not know how cute it would be until I picked it up.

My husband and I were laughing our butts off in the store. I just hope I did not wear the batteries out lol.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fost/Adopt and Adoption Timeline and other info

I just wanted to put up a post that goes over some important things. I know some people think that once we get a placement that that child is "our". Now, while we will always treat all children in our house as ours, they actually won't be. And, yes - this can take a long time.

Note: I have no idea what things are like in other states, this will be info for my state (NJ).

We will be licenesed for two types of services offered through the state: Adoption and Fost/Adopt.

First definations. Adoption allows us to adopt children that have already had their parental rights terminated. These children are probably living in a foster home with foster parents that for whatever reason do not want to adopt these kids.

Now, before you start thinking "well, they don't want to adopt these kids because they are the "bad" ones" - that is usually NOT the case. There are lots of parents that only want to foster. Parents that only want to prepare kids for a prem family. Parents that are older and really can not make the long term commitment to adopt.

So, there are lots and lots of kids that are readily available. Why don't we just do this you might ask? Well, the majority of these kids are much older than we are looking to place in our home. But, there still may be some situations that fall into our preferances. And yes, we could get younger children - but as I will explain in a moment, because of the timelines, a child will probably be older.

Since rights are already terminated, this process will be quicker than fost/adopt.

Fost/Adopt: With Fost/Adopt you will receive placment into your home of a child that was removed from the birth parents. Children can be removed for several reasons, I won't get into that now though. With Fost/Adopt, you are commiting yourself to adopting the child if the child becomes available. But, just because you say you will adopt, does not always mean that the child will become available.

Once children are removed, the bio parents have 12-15 months to clean up their act and do what the judge orders to get their children back. Again, I won't go into detail about what the parents have to do. But, during that time, the bios can do nothing or everything. Note: the 12-15 months is a total time. So, if kids were removed previously, that time still counts towards the total.

That said, statistics show that if bios do not do what the judge orders in the first 90 days, they probably won't. This is just statistics, not opinion. But, just because they don't do anything in the first 90 days, does not mean that they still don't get the full 12-15 months. This is always a possibility.

During the first 90 days, we will probably be told the opinion of our case worker if they think there is a possibility of termination of rights. And at that time, they will again ask if we would adopt if they children became available.

Even though the bios have 12-15 months, any parent can decide themselves to terminate their rights.

At about the 12-15 month mark, all case workers will meet with the family court judge. They will all have their own documentation on the case. At that time, the judge could change the case plan to termination or rights. Up until that point, reuinification is always the actual plan.

If the plan is changed to termination, it takes about 6-7 months for rights to actually be terminated. Again during that time the bios have a chance to appeal this decision - and again get a chance to do what the judge orders.

After the 6-7 months, the rights are then terminated. At this point, the bios can never get their kids back. Now, for us - these kids would be in our home, but for others children, it is at this point that they become free and clear for adoption and if the foster parents decide not to adopt, we could. At this point, it could be a min of 1.5 years from placement (assuming 1st removal) - 12 months + 6 months.

But, just becasue rights are teminated does not mean that the adoption is final. Nope, more waiting.

After rights are terminated, it can take another 6-7 months for the adoption to be final. Again, during this time the bios can not get their kids back.

Now, remember - the 12-15 months is total of all removals. So, if a child is removed from bios and then after 6 months goes back. But it then these same kids are removed again, they only have a max of 9 months left to do the judges orders. It is possible that we receive placement with a child that is a second time removal, this would speed up our process of course.

There may also be times when rights are terminated in less time than the 12-15 months. Situations like if a bio is in jail for a crime against the child - they will never get their kids back. Also, if a bio is in jail for other offenses and have a long sentence, they may have rights terminated sooner. I am sure there are lots and lots of other situations too.

So, assuming we are the first placement, we could have a child in our home for about 2.5 years before finalization. Here is the math.

Least amount of time:
12 months + 6 months + 6 months = 2 years

Longest amount of time:
15 months + 7 months + 7 months = 29 months = almost 2.5 years.

It could be a very long time. And, there will always be the possibility that these kids will go home. That is something we are not looking forward to at all. But, I will voice my opinion on that another time.

Sorry, this turned out so long. But, I just wanted to put this info out there.

Fost/Adopt and Adoption Timeline and other info

I just wanted to put up a post that goes over some important things. I know some people think that once we get a placement that that child is "our". Now, while we will always treat all children in our house as ours, they actually won't be. And, yes - this can take a long time.

Note: I have no idea what things are like in other states, this will be info for my state (NJ).

We will be licenesed for two types of services offered through the state: Adoption and Fost/Adopt.

First definations. Adoption allows us to adopt children that have already had their parental rights terminated. These children are probably living in a foster home with foster parents that for whatever reason do not want to adopt these kids.

Now, before you start thinking "well, they don't want to adopt these kids because they are the "bad" ones" - that is usually NOT the case. There are lots of parents that only want to foster. Parents that only want to prepare kids for a prem family. Parents that are older and really can not make the long term commitment to adopt.

So, there are lots and lots of kids that are readily available. Why don't we just do this you might ask? Well, the majority of these kids are much older than we are looking to place in our home. But, there still may be some situations that fall into our preferances. And yes, we could get younger children - but as I will explain in a moment, because of the timelines, a child will probably be older.

Since rights are already terminated, this process will be quicker than fost/adopt.

Fost/Adopt: With Fost/Adopt you will receive placment into your home of a child that was removed from the birth parents. Children can be removed for several reasons, I won't get into that now though. With Fost/Adopt, you are commiting yourself to adopting the child if the child becomes available. But, just because you say you will adopt, does not always mean that the child will become available.

Once children are removed, the bio parents have 12-15 months to clean up their act and do what the judge orders to get their children back. Again, I won't go into detail about what the parents have to do. But, during that time, the bios can do nothing or everything. Note: the 12-15 months is a total time. So, if kids were removed previously, that time still counts towards the total.

That said, statistics show that if bios do not do what the judge orders in the first 90 days, they probably won't. This is just statistics, not opinion. But, just because they don't do anything in the first 90 days, does not mean that they still don't get the full 12-15 months. This is always a possibility.

During the first 90 days, we will probably be told the opinion of our case worker if they think there is a possibility of termination of rights. And at that time, they will again ask if we would adopt if they children became available.

Even though the bios have 12-15 months, any parent can decide themselves to terminate their rights.

At about the 12-15 month mark, all case workers will meet with the family court judge. They will all have their own documentation on the case. At that time, the judge could change the case plan to termination or rights. Up until that point, reuinification is always the actual plan.

If the plan is changed to termination, it takes about 6-7 months for rights to actually be terminated. Again during that time the bios have a chance to appeal this decision - and again get a chance to do what the judge orders.

After the 6-7 months, the rights are then terminated. At this point, the bios can never get their kids back. Now, for us - these kids would be in our home, but for others children, it is at this point that they become free and clear for adoption and if the foster parents decide not to adopt, we could. At this point, it could be a min of 1.5 years from placement (assuming 1st removal) - 12 months + 6 months.

But, just becasue rights are teminated does not mean that the adoption is final. Nope, more waiting.

After rights are terminated, it can take another 6-7 months for the adoption to be final. Again, during this time the bios can not get their kids back.

Now, remember - the 12-15 months is total of all removals. So, if a child is removed from bios and then after 6 months goes back. But it then these same kids are removed again, they only have a max of 9 months left to do the judges orders. It is possible that we receive placement with a child that is a second time removal, this would speed up our process of course.

There may also be times when rights are terminated in less time than the 12-15 months. Situations like if a bio is in jail for a crime against the child - they will never get their kids back. Also, if a bio is in jail for other offenses and have a long sentence, they may have rights terminated sooner. I am sure there are lots and lots of other situations too.

So, assuming we are the first placement, we could have a child in our home for about 2.5 years before finalization. Here is the math.

Least amount of time:
12 months + 6 months + 6 months = 2 years

Longest amount of time:
15 months + 7 months + 7 months = 29 months = almost 2.5 years.

It could be a very long time. And, there will always be the possibility that these kids will go home. That is something we are not looking forward to at all. But, I will voice my opinion on that another time.

Sorry, this turned out so long. But, I just wanted to put this info out there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Anniversary to us!!!

We got married 3 years ago today, here are some of my favorite pictures from that day - obviously in a mod podge of an order....






























































Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First home Visit - Check!

Yesterday was our first home visit. It was more of a fill-out-this-paperwork visit than it was a home inspection, which is fine.

We filled out lots and lots of paperwork. Things like what kind of child (race, age, gender), what types of medical problems, what type of behavior problems, etc.

We also had to provide copies of our drivers licenses, registration, car insurance, birth certificates, & marriage certificate.

We also did a lot of talking, we spoke about what was in the area (yay - we live across from a park), the work we did on our house, how supportive our family is, what Colin thinks about everything, why we are going this route, etc. Lots and lots of talking.

We also got a 10 page questionaire that has to be filled out with each of us in separate rooms. It asks things about our childhood, sexual experiences, relationship with our parents, how we were disciplines, traits of our spouse, how much we drink, how often we argue, what we argue about, how many siblings, which ones you are close to, when you moved out from your parents house, etc.

I did mine last night and it took a while. But, it is now done. I don't think I look too bad :)

We also had our physicals done last night and today we go for our fingerprints. We have our individual visits next week. Our worker has to interview Frank, myself and Colin at separate times, I guess to make sure we tell the same story and that we are all on the same page.

I heard from one of my references that she received her reference forms over the weekend - so I am assuming that the others received theirs yesterday or today.

Our worker has also told us that the police checks have been submitted and also the letter to Colin's school.

Wow - that's a lot. Makes me wonder how quickly things would have gotten done if our paperwork was submitted correctly. I asked our worker about timeline (hinting about the delay), and she said she always works this quickly. She said that if she does not start right away, it is real easy to get backed up. Plus, she said she wants everthing done before the holidays - which is great for us.

We have the appointments next week, at which time we will make another (final) appointment for the following week. At this appointment, she will really go through the house with a fine tooth comb, going over what licensing will really look for. She wants to make sure we pass on the first time. So, after that home visit, they will schedule the home inspection from the licensing dept. After that visit, everything gets sent to licensing and hopefully gets approved - yay!

We kind of lose some days because of the holiday season, but if it moves nicely, we could be licensed before we know it.

Of course, I will keep this blog posted

First Home Visit Completed

Yesterday was our first Home Visit in the foster/adoption process, we are actually getting stuff done. We also told Frank's family all about it - we really had to. We wanted to say something on Thanksgiving, but that never really happened. The reaction was very different than my family's reaction, but good non the less.

Anyway, you can read all about the home visit on my adoption blog.

First home Visit - Check!

Yesterday was our first home visit. It was more of a fill-out-this-paperwork visit than it was a home inspection, which is fine.

We filled out lots and lots of paperwork. Things like what kind of child (race, age, gender), what types of medical problems, what type of behavior problems, etc.

We also had to provide copies of our drivers licenses, registration, car insurance, birth certificates, & marriage certificate.

We also did a lot of talking, we spoke about what was in the area (yay - we live across from a park), the work we did on our house, how supportive our family is, what Colin thinks about everything, why we are going this route, etc. Lots and lots of talking.

We also got a 10 page questionaire that has to be filled out with each of us in separate rooms. It asks things about our childhood, sexual experiences, relationship with our parents, how we were disciplines, traits of our spouse, how much we drink, how often we argue, what we argue about, how many siblings, which ones you are close to, when you moved out from your parents house, etc.

I did mine last night and it took a while. But, it is now done. I don't think I look too bad :)

We also had our physicals done last night and today we go for our fingerprints. We have our individual visits next week. Our worker has to interview Frank, myself and Colin at separate times, I guess to make sure we tell the same story and that we are all on the same page.

I heard from one of my references that she received her reference forms over the weekend - so I am assuming that the others received theirs yesterday or today.

Our worker has also told us that the police checks have been submitted and also the letter to Colin's school.

Wow - that's a lot. Makes me wonder how quickly things would have gotten done if our paperwork was submitted correctly. I asked our worker about timeline (hinting about the delay), and she said she always works this quickly. She said that if she does not start right away, it is real easy to get backed up. Plus, she said she wants everthing done before the holidays - which is great for us.

We have the appointments next week, at which time we will make another (final) appointment for the following week. At this appointment, she will really go through the house with a fine tooth comb, going over what licensing will really look for. She wants to make sure we pass on the first time. So, after that home visit, they will schedule the home inspection from the licensing dept. After that visit, everything gets sent to licensing and hopefully gets approved - yay!

We kind of lose some days because of the holiday season, but if it moves nicely, we could be licensed before we know it.

Of course, I will keep this blog posted

Friday, November 28, 2008

Digital = not pregnant

Note to self - when using a digital hpt, pee in a cup.

So, yesterday I got a total definite positive on a $tree hpt. I have actually been testing since the other day when I had the evap line craziness. Each time, I tested negative. There were some that after a few hours I saw a shadow of a line - evap lines or just crazy Amy lines. Who knows.

But, yesterday - I did the hpt and within 30 seconds there was nothing. So, I jumped in the shower and when I got out of the shower, there is was, clear as day. And before you even say anything, I do not take long showers, and I totally checked it within the testing window.

Of course I told my husband, and of course he was super happy. He even had a smirk on his face. I thought I was pregnant all day yesterday. I never thought it would happen to me.

I even started thinking about how I would word in on my blog and on the message boards. I finally thought I would write something like "after ttc for over 2 years, 6 medicated cycles (3 of which were IUI), 3 m/c, and moving forward with adoption.......I got pregnant on my own"

But, I guess I will have to use that announcement for another time.

Last night I had the plan that I would take another hpt this morning and then head to the RE for a beta. I wanted to go today because I would not be able to go again until Monday.

We were happy for a whole day. This morning I took the hpt and it could not have been more NEGATIVE!

I know what a negative test looks like, and I probably even know what an evap line looks like. I know what I saw yesterday.

I did in fact go to the RE, but I guess my local office is not open today, and the main office is an additional 45 minutes away. So, instead, I went to Walmart and bought a digital. Well, a 2 pack of digitals.

After about 3 hours from my first pee, I POAS. But - when I wiped, I realized that I started my period. It would not take a genius to know that the digital would say "not pregnant". So, I wasted the test by actually peeing on it as opposed to peeing in a cup.

Yup, not pregnant. I am just going with a faulty test yesterday. I really don't even want to think about the fact that it could have be a legit test which would mean yet another m/c - or as the medical field likes to call a chemical pregnancy. It is really just too much to handle.

So, I am going with the "I am so excited, this cycle was 30 days, yay" Can you sense the sarcasm!

Yes, we are adopting. And I could not be happier. But, IF is not something that you can just shut off a switch about. It is still upsetting that I can't get pregnant - and that I THOUGHT I was pregnant - without intervention - but that feeling lasted less than 24 hours.

And just because I like to post pics of my pee sticks, here is the hpt from yesterday. The line is pretty clear - no squinting needed.



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Finished Class and got assigned!!!!

First, today was the last day of our class. YAY! The month went really fast.

Second, I got my resource worker assigned. I wonder if they felt bad that my paperwork was held up for a MONTH.

Anyway, we have our worker and she will do our homestudy (inspection, backgrounds, references, fingerprints, etc). We have scheduled our fingerprints for next Tuesday.

I hope the rest of the paperwork goes smoothly.

yay for one thing crossed off the list.

Finished Class and got assigned!!!!

First, today was the last day of our class. YAY! The month went really fast.

Second, I got my resource worker assigned. I wonder if they felt bad that my paperwork was held up for a MONTH.

Anyway, we have our worker and she will do our homestudy (inspection, backgrounds, references, fingerprints, etc). We have scheduled our fingerprints for next Tuesday.

I hope the rest of the paperwork goes smoothly.

yay for one thing crossed off the list.

Monday, November 24, 2008

UGH!!!

So totally annoyed! We had class tonight. For the past few sessions, I have asked our trainer if he could check to see if our paperwork was received in the main office. He has been really busy training so he has not been in the main office

The paperwork was given to my neighbor about a month ago and she was going to forward it to the main office. This was suposed to speed up the process.

Since we have not gotten a call, I was concerned that the paperwork never made it to the main office.

Well, I found out tonight why we have not received a call. Our neighbor "lost" the paperwork and it was not until our trainer asked about it was the paperwork located.

Apparently, it was found under several stacks of paperwork on my neighbor's desk. OMG, so frustrated.

Plus, I do not know if all the paperwork was found, or just parts. When we filled out the paperwork, we completed more than the usual person fills out in the begining. A lot of times, you will fill out one set and then when that is returned, you get more, etc etc.

I did keep copies of most of the documents, mainly the ones that would take forever to duplicate.

This is when it is NOT good to know someone. I am really losing confidence in my neighbor - first it took a month to get the apps, and now it took a month to get the apps to the main office.

If I knew this would be a problem, I would never have given it to her. I could have sent it myself.

So, UGH is the best way to express how I feel right now.

My trainer told me he personally saw that his supervisor has possession of the paperwork. And since this week is a holiday, I am sure I will not be contacted this week. I am giving it until the 1st week of Dec. If I do not hear by them, I will call myself. That is basically gives them a little over a week.

UGH!!!

So totally annoyed! We had class tonight. For the past few sessions, I have asked our trainer if he could check to see if our paperwork was received in the main office. He has been really busy training so he has not been in the main office

The paperwork was given to my neighbor about a month ago and she was going to forward it to the main office. This was suposed to speed up the process.

Since we have not gotten a call, I was concerned that the paperwork never made it to the main office.

Well, I found out tonight why we have not received a call. Our neighbor "lost" the paperwork and it was not until our trainer asked about it was the paperwork located.

Apparently, it was found under several stacks of paperwork on my neighbor's desk. OMG, so frustrated.

Plus, I do not know if all the paperwork was found, or just parts. When we filled out the paperwork, we completed more than the usual person fills out in the begining. A lot of times, you will fill out one set and then when that is returned, you get more, etc etc.

I did keep copies of most of the documents, mainly the ones that would take forever to duplicate.

This is when it is NOT good to know someone. I am really losing confidence in my neighbor - first it took a month to get the apps, and now it took a month to get the apps to the main office.

If I knew this would be a problem, I would never have given it to her. I could have sent it myself.

So, UGH is the best way to express how I feel right now.

My trainer told me he personally saw that his supervisor has possession of the paperwork. And since this week is a holiday, I am sure I will not be contacted this week. I am giving it until the 1st week of Dec. If I do not hear by them, I will call myself. That is basically gives them a little over a week.

Nothing but evap lines

Yes - I kept the old hpt from yesterday. Anyway, by last night (obviuosly WAY after the testing window), I saw what I can only assume is an evap line. There is totally a second pink line there. But, it was never there earlier in the day. Oh, and yes - I took apart both tests.

In the first picture, it is kind of hard to see. But, I think you can see it in the second picture.

However, when I POAS this morning, the only thing I got was a dent of a line. You can actually see this in both pictures. The dent is in the exact same spot as the evap? line. So, if you are having trouble seeing the evap line, just look at the same spot at the dent.

I have not had any spotting other than that first inital time. So, who knows.

Oh - and I am totally aware of the fact that I could have ovulated at any time, and the spotting could be for a nummber of reasons. I will probably test again in a few days if I do not get full period flow.



Sunday, November 23, 2008

What is this? Spotting/period??

OK, I got my period on Oct 29. This was my first period after my last m/c. Ok, fine. Now, the past year, I have basically been on medicated (or pg) cycles. Before that, I had very different cycle lengths.

So, according to my math training in college (LOL), today is CD26. I am spotting or it may be the start of my period.

What the hell?? If this is my period, then this cycle was a 25 day cycle? I had cycles of 110 days last year.

Oh - and because I am a convinced that I will be one of the 5% of women who get pregnant after they decide to adopt, I took a pregnancy test.

I did not keep track of ovulation - it is really just a waste of money, because in the past, I have not ovulated without meds. yes, I know I can track ovulation with other means than an OPK, but have always hated temping. Plus, I hit snooze many times before I get up. Many times I hit snooze and never even know the alarm went off.

But, if you think that I may have ovulated like a "regular" woman, I would be about 12 DPO.

The last time I was pregnant, I started spotting on 12 dpo. That obviously ended badly.

I bought a 2 pack of tests, I took one mid day, negative. I will probably take the other one tomorrow - talk about a waste of money.

But, I guess I would just want to know if I am having yet another m/c.

Oh, and if you ask about other "symptoms" - well, I made a comment to my husband the other day that my boobs have been killing me since last week. Just like the last 3 times. But, that could also just be pms/getting your period.

When does it end? When will I fully "give up" on getting pregnant. Yes, we are moving forward. And, we are VERY excited about it. But, I don't think IF is something that will just go away. I know it will be something that I am always thinking about - even though we are not "trying" anymore. I know it sounds like jibberish, I don't think I am explaining it well.

So, I guess I will keep everyone updated. I am sure I will get the same results tomorrow.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Sister had her baby!

My sister had her baby yesterday.

Sofia Hope was born on November 20th weighing in at 7 lbs 10 oz. Mom and baby are great!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Can't leave the guys out!!!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Our Chirstmas Card - LOL

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Colin's B-Day present

For your viewing pleasure - here is Colin and a friend rocking out to his b-day present:


Monday, November 17, 2008

Gift Card for Sale

I know this is very unconventional - but, heck I know a bunch of people read my blog - so I will give it a shot.

Short story: I am selling a $200 Gift Card to Toys R Us / Babies R Us for only $190

Long Story:
Colin wanted the newest and coolest video game system (aka a game) and it cost $200. I told him I would buy it for Christmas, but he had to understand that he would really get just that.

His Birthday was a couple of weeks ago and all my sisters and my mother chipped in and got him a $200 gift card to Toys R Us - specifically so he could buy this one item. They did not buy it themselves because it was only released yesterday. I could not pre-order.

So, yesterday I get up at the crack of dawn (Ok, 7am) and drive to the closest Toys R Us. They never got the game in and have no idea when it will come in. OK, I will just buy it on-line.

Nope - it is sold out online. But, Walmart has tons of them. So, I buy it from Walmart in the hopes that someone will buy the gift card from me.

I am willing to knock $10 bucks off, just to get rid of it.

I am basically done with my christmas shopping, otherwise I would just use it myself.

So, if you, or someone you know, is interested in this, please leave me a comment.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Missed class #4

My husband went without me to Class #4. And it was a class that I really wanted to go to. There was going to be a nurse visiting and I had a bunch of questions.

Anyway, the trainer said that I could either make up the class by just reading the chapter, or could go over the stuff when our home inspection is done. Both ways are easy.

I missed because I had to take my son to the ER - you can read about all the details on my main blog.

And, I am starting to reconsider the types of children we will accept for placement. We have always said that we would consider age 0-5, this is staying the same. We said we would take a sibling group of 2, this is staying the same. We have said that we would probably only want a Caucasian child. This may be changing.

When I say "we" - I really mean me. my husband keeps saying that he does not care. I know, I know - I should not care either. After all we want a child in our home. Does it really matter what race?

Before I get totally flamed about this post, please let me assure you that I am not a racist person at all. But I thought it might be easier to raise a child that more resembles my husband and I.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that not even my biological child looks like me. Both my husband and I are about as fair as they come. We get a sunburn in the shade. My son always has a great tan, has brown hair and brown eyes. My husband and are blonde (ish) and both have light eyes.

In fact, besides that fact that I look young, many people think I am a babysitter.

Again, the more I think about it, the more I think that we should consider all races. And no, I am not settling. I am just realizing that there are more important things in a family than race.

How are you sleeping??

Sounds like a pretty straight forward question - but I guess not to a 14 year old.

When we were at the docs the other day, the PA asked Colin, "so, how are you sleeping"

Colin so innocently answered, "well, sometimes on my stomach, then I might switch in the middle of the night to my side, or to my back. So, I really can't say for sure how I am sleeping"

Both me and the PA laughed so hard.

Missed class #4

My husband went without me to Class #4. And it was a class that I really wanted to go to. There was going to be a nurse visiting and I had a bunch of questions.

Anyway, the trainer said that I could either make up the class by just reading the chapter, or could go over the stuff when our home inspection is done. Both ways are easy.

I missed because I had to take my son to the ER - you can read about all the details on my main blog.

And, I am starting to reconsider the types of children we will accept for placement. We have always said that we would consider age 0-5, this is staying the same. We said we would take a sibling group of 2, this is staying the same. We have said that we would probably only want a Caucasian child. This may be changing.

When I say "we" - I really mean me. my husband keeps saying that he does not care. I know, I know - I should not care either. After all we want a child in our home. Does it really matter what race?

Before I get totally flamed about this post, please let me assure you that I am not a racist person at all. But I thought it might be easier to raise a child that more resembles my husband and I.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that not even my biological child looks like me. Both my husband and I are about as fair as they come. We get a sunburn in the shade. My son always has a great tan, has brown hair and brown eyes. My husband and are blonde (ish) and both have light eyes.

In fact, besides that fact that I look young, many people think I am a babysitter.

Again, the more I think about it, the more I think that we should consider all races. And no, I am not settling. I am just realizing that there are more important things in a family than race.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Comment from Doc - WTF!!!!!

OK, I have to get this out - will probably be long. I plan on writing a formal complaint and I want to make sure I type it all out while it is fresh in my mind.

Read the post below for more details. Basically, I was at the doc's and then the ER yesterday. Given tons of info, but in the end everything is fine. The doc yesterday made it seem like I had to RUSH to the ER. The ER docs made it seem like I had to RUSH to a follow-up with the doc.

We go to a walk in place as our primary doc. Today we were there for the followup and waited for 2 hours before being seen.

As soon as the doc showed up in our room I went on and on about the results of the labs and my questions and concerns. Mind you - I did not see this doc yesterday.

He keeps on saying that the labs were wrong (2 different labs? - both wrong??), and that he still has to examine him.

I asked again what could cause (insert results here). And that I am getting conflicting info. i confess that I this point I was probably getting a little snotty - he was treating me like an idiot for asking questions. I also expressed my annoyance that everyone seemed to rush rush when it could be nothing.

This is the resulting conversation:

Doc - "It is like talking about a child of a barren woman"

Me- "Um, excuse me?!?!?!"

Doc - "It is like talking about a child of a barren woman"

Me - "do you know how insensitive that is" (insert crying here)

Doc - "it is not insensitive, it is true"

Me - "how is that not insensitive, what does that mean anyway"

Doc - "basically we should not talk about something that might never need to be talked about" aka - barren women don't ahve children

Me - "you should never say that to anyone, it is rude, unprofessional and insensitive" "I mean is that that even a medical phrase???"

Doc - "fine - I just won't say it to YOU anymore"

Me - "it should never be said to ANYONE"

Doc (basically screaming at me) "I am NOT treating you!! I am treating HIM"

I swear, if COlin was not in the room, I would have punched him.

But - I will be filling a formal complaint with the office and maybe even the state's medical board.

Who says that!!!????? And when I tell you flat out that it is RUDE, you keep going. It got me SO FREAKING upset

Just love trips to the ER

So, yesterday we spent the majority of the day (and into the night) in the ER with Colin. It started out as a normal ped visit because of high fevers.

He had a stomachache as well. They tested his urine and it came back as extremely high bilirubin in his urine. Just an FYI - you should have ZERO bilirubin in your urine. They also said that his (urobilin or urobilinogen or something like that) was elevated as well.

So, they sent us to the ER thinking something wrong with his appendix or gall bladder. Did additional urine test and bloodwork as well.

A CT Scan was done and showed no problems with the appendix or other organs. The only thing they saw was enlarged or swollen lymph nodes in the groin area (mesenteric adenitis). This was said to be from a virus of some kind - OK, fine.

But, the doc said this virus has nothing to do with the bilirubin in the urine. There is no bilirubin in his blood. We have to follow-up with our doc who will probably send us to a urologist.

Oh, and I did not have a good experience with the hospital. We are newer to the area so we never used this hospital before. Things were not explained to me, only saw a PA and he gave me incorrect info, and I had to specifically ASK to see an actual doctor. Once I spoke to a doc, he gave totally different info than the PA (PA left out A LOT!). Kind of annoying.

We left the house at 2PM to go to the doctors and did not get home until 9:15 at night.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some things we learned so far...

We have had 3 classes so far. Again, the trainer is just all over the place - but a super nice guy. We are actually hoping he is the one assigned to our case.

Yesterday's class was about attachment and the issues with attachment disorders. There was a new guy in the class and he was a big jerk. He obviously has kids in his care, so I am not sure why he is at class. Maybe the class is a new requirement since his last placement.

We got off topic (what a surprise) and he made a comment that made me upset. In fact, the whole class was emotional in one way or another for a lot of the class.

We were talking about when kids go back, how sometimes, according to the foster parents, is not in the best interest of the child.

This guy has a child in his house and the mom has been doing everything she was told to do. She has showed up to all visits, got a job, got an apartment, went to treatment and is clean, etc. The guy was BITCHING that the mom works but her job has an 11-8 shift. The kid must be school age. He was saying that this mom was not being a good mom to this kid because she would only see him for about an hour in the moring and an hour at night (maybe). She was also a single mom.

Well, this hit a nerve with me. So much so that when I raised my hand to comment, I started to cry. I was a single mom for 11 years before I got married. A lot of the early years I probably only saw my son a few hours a day. I was a full time student and worked full time at night. I did what I had to do to provide the best for my son. If that meant he was in daycare while I worked, well that is what it was. My son is a great kid.

The past few weeks I started thinking about these moms that have their kids taken away. When doing foster care (or fost/adopt), we need to remember that the goal of Children's Services is to return the children to their parents. To educate the parents how to be a better parent. To help the parent receive services she is intitled to.

Everyone talks about wanting to keep a child - and of course any child that is placed with us we would want to become a permanant member of our family. But, the best situation for us means that a mother loses her child. And, I don't care how bad you have it, I think a mother ALWAYS loves her child.

So, if a mom (or dad) does what she is asked, turns her life around, really loves and wants her kids, how can I be upset about it. The children are her children.

I would prefer any placements be those that have a good chance of staying with us, but I will also pray for that mom - she lost a very precious gift. I know I will be distrought if a placement has to be returned.

Some satistics - according to our trainer, he said about 40% of children are returned to their parents (or a relative). Out of those returned, about 20% will be removed again. Once children are removed again, the original time in the "system" counts toward the manadated timeline to start the termination of parental rights.

Timeline - A parent has a max of 12-15 months to work with Children's Sevices to "clean up their act". At the end of that time (or before in certain situations), there will 2 main decisions.

1 - the parents are not doing what they are supposed to and the goal is Termination of Parental Rights ("TPR")

2 - the parents ARE doing what they are supposed to and the goal is reunification.

12-15 months does not sound like that long. BUT.........after the 12-15 months, that is when the PLAN to terminate is in place. It takes another 5-7 months to have the court date to actually terminate. And after TPR, there is ANOTHER approx 6 months before the adoption is final.

So, we are looking at a possible 2+ years from placement to adoption.

But, like I said before, the clock does not start at zero if a child is removed, returned to parent, and then re-removed.

Example: I will use a removal at birth so the math is easier.

A child is removed at birth and is placed in a foster or fost/adopt home. The mom decides right away that she will go into treatment, but takes her 2 months to get into a place. Her treatment is 4 months. She stays clean for an additonal 3 months and does everything else that the judge says. The judge returns her child to her when the child is 11 months old (11 months in the system).

The mom has the child for 3 months and relapsed. The child is removed again. That mom now only has a max of 6 months to follow the court orders until a plan is determined (TPR or reunitication). However, once a plan for TPR is made, the parent still has that 5-7 months to get her kids back.

This was new info to me, I thought that at the 12-15 month mark, it was then that the rights were terminated. I did not know about the additional year before a child could be adopted.

Sorry this turned out so long, but it does help to get is all down on "paper"

The story of Adoption

I figured that since I have a story of me (IF & m/c), the story of my son, and the story of my house, that I should also have the story of why we are adopting. I know you can figure it out if you read "The story of Me", but here it is in it's own blog entry.

I have a son who is 14 yrs old, got pregnant as a teen with him (I was 19). So, when I got married when my son was 11, we knew we would add additional children to the mix.

What we did not expect was to have trouble trying to get pregnant.

We tried on our own for over a year before seeing a specialist. From Jan - Aug we did 3 IUI cycles. All of those IUIs resulted in pregnancy. Sadly, all ended in M/C.

After the second m/c, we spoke about adoption. We talked for a long time about why we wanted children. After a while, we realized that none of them had anything to do with giving birth to a child. My husband thought is was a little pre-mature to think about adoption at this point. Afterall, I did get pregnant twice.

After m/c #3, we were given the news that our only option was IVF with PGD (they test the embryos before they are transfered back to make sure they have a correct chromosome make-up). And since one m/c for sure was due to chromosome problems and the likehood that the other 2 were as well, there is a HIGH chance that we would have no good embryos at all.

Plus, this procedure would cost us almost $10K, that is after the insurance. We live on a modest income, in a modest house, and live a modest lifestyle. We do not have tens of thousands of dollars just laying around.

So, we spoke about everything and we agreed that we would start the process of adoption (through foster care). But, we also said that IVF is not totally out of the question. But, the more we got into the process, the less I felt the need to do the IVF.

At first I felt horrible because my husband would probably never have a bio child and I already have one. He has assured me that it does not bother him. My son is not his and he treats him like his own.

I have positive experience with the foster care system, so I always knew that if it ever came to that, adoption through foster care would be our first option. Plus, if we don't have $10K for IVF, we would never have the $$ for private/agency/international adoption. Adoption through foster care cost little or no money.

We submitted our application on October 27, 2008 and we started our required training on November 3, 2008. The class will be done before Thanksgiving. In addition to the class, there is background checks, financial checks, home inspection, reference checks, etc, etc, etc.

So, in a nutshell, that is the Story of why we are adopting. I might add to this post as time passes and updates are needed

Some things we learned so far...

We have had 3 classes so far. Again, the trainer is just all over the place - but a super nice guy. We are actually hoping he is the one assigned to our case.

Yesterday's class was about attachment and the issues with attachment disorders. There was a new guy in the class and he was a big jerk. He obviously has kids in his care, so I am not sure why he is at class. Maybe the class is a new requirement since his last placement.

We got off topic (what a surprise) and he made a comment that made me upset. In fact, the whole class was emotional in one way or another for a lot of the class.

We were talking about when kids go back, how sometimes, according to the foster parents, is not in the best interest of the child.

This guy has a child in his house and the mom has been doing everything she was told to do. She has showed up to all visits, got a job, got an apartment, went to treatment and is clean, etc. The guy was BITCHING that the mom works but her job has an 11-8 shift. The kid must be school age. He was saying that this mom was not being a good mom to this kid because she would only see him for about an hour in the moring and an hour at night (maybe). She was also a single mom.

Well, this hit a nerve with me. So much so that when I raised my hand to comment, I started to cry. I was a single mom for 11 years before I got married. A lot of the early years I probably only saw my son a few hours a day. I was a full time student and worked full time at night. I did what I had to do to provide the best for my son. If that meant he was in daycare while I worked, well that is what it was. My son is a great kid.

The past few weeks I started thinking about these moms that have their kids taken away. When doing foster care (or fost/adopt), we need to remember that the goal of Children's Services is to return the children to their parents. To educate the parents how to be a better parent. To help the parent receive services she is intitled to.

Everyone talks about wanting to keep a child - and of course any child that is placed with us we would want to become a permanant member of our family. But, the best situation for us means that a mother loses her child. And, I don't care how bad you have it, I think a mother ALWAYS loves her child.

So, if a mom (or dad) does what she is asked, turns her life around, really loves and wants her kids, how can I be upset about it. The children are her children.

I would prefer any placements be those that have a good chance of staying with us, but I will also pray for that mom - she lost a very precious gift. I know I will be distrought if a placement has to be returned.

Some satistics - according to our trainer, he said about 40% of children are returned to their parents (or a relative). Out of those returned, about 20% will be removed again. Once children are removed again, the original time in the "system" counts toward the manadated timeline to start the termination of parental rights.

Timeline - A parent has a max of 12-15 months to work with Children's Sevices to "clean up their act". At the end of that time (or before in certain situations), there will 2 main decisions.

1 - the parents are not doing what they are supposed to and the goal is Termination of Parental Rights ("TPR")

2 - the parents ARE doing what they are supposed to and the goal is reunification.

12-15 months does not sound like that long. BUT.........after the 12-15 months, that is when the PLAN to terminate is in place. It takes another 5-7 months to have the court date to actually terminate. And after TPR, there is ANOTHER approx 6 months before the adoption is final.

So, we are looking at a possible 2+ years from placement to adoption.

But, like I said before, the clock does not start at zero if a child is removed, returned to parent, and then re-removed.

Example: I will use a removal at birth so the math is easier.

A child is removed at birth and is placed in a foster or fost/adopt home. The mom decides right away that she will go into treatment, but takes her 2 months to get into a place. Her treatment is 4 months. She stays clean for an additonal 3 months and does everything else that the judge says. The judge returns her child to her when the child is 11 months old (11 months in the system).

The mom has the child for 3 months and relapsed. The child is removed again. That mom now only has a max of 6 months to follow the court orders until a plan is determined (TPR or reunitication). However, once a plan for TPR is made, the parent still has that 5-7 months to get her kids back.

This was new info to me, I thought that at the 12-15 month mark, it was then that the rights were terminated. I did not know about the additional year before a child could be adopted.

Sorry this turned out so long, but it does help to get is all down on "paper"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Going away this weekend!

I am super excited. There is a GTG this weekend with wonderful ladies that I met through a national message board. The board is for people who are having a hard time concieiving. I have become close to some of these ladies, even though we have never met.

The GTG is in Chicago, which is cool because I have never been there. There is a bunch of stuff planned for the weekend. But, best of all, I get to meet lots and lots of cool ladies - yay!

I am trying to convience my husband that I need all new clothes for the trip, I don't think he is buying it.

Colin will also be away, be he is going to Williamsburg, VA with the Boy Scouts. Poor hubby will be home all alone for the whole weekend. Although, I doubt he sees it as a bad thing :)

I have been looking forward to this GTG for over a month, and now it is finally here.

1st Class - Check

First Class was yesterday. Very long. it turns out that there are 2 classes a week. And, the last two lessons are on the same day. What does that mean? It means that instead of 8/9 weeks of classes, it is only 4 weeks of class.

Our classes will be over before Thanksgiving.

The class had 8 families - many different situations. We went around the room and had to say what type of care we were doing and our names, etc.

1 - Us. It was totally totally strange to say, "hello, we are ...., we can't have our own children" I guess saying it out loud makes it even more true.

2 - trying to get legal custody of a niece's infant. Placement in their house since 2 weeks old. Goal is reunification.

3 - doing foster care only. I guess they "sponsor" international kids and want to help kids here. Unsure if they would adopt if situation presented itself. Children up to 12 yrs old.

4 - doing foster care only. Have 6 kids between the two of them, but most have left the house. Miss children in the home. Not looking to adopt - only foster. Children up to 10 years old.

5 - trying to get legal custody of cousin's 2 kids. Placement in their house for a few days. Will adopt if cousin does not shape up.

6 - looking to get her 2 grandchildren out of foster care. Children removed 2 months ago, but are not with her now. Goal is permanent placement with her.

7 - looking to get legal custody of her grandchildren. Don't know the rest of her story.

8 - Adoption. She also can not have children. Adopted a child 8 years ago through the system (but was considered a private adoption - I guess it is a long story), then a few years later got a call about a sibling. Private adoption of that one also. A week ago, she got a call from another state's child agency. There is now another sibling that was removed. She is going to adopt this sibling but must go through all the training, since in the past she was not officially licensed through the state.

We do not have a resource worker yet, but the trainer said that by the end of classes we should have one assigned to us. I am trying not to stress over that.

The class was fine, the guy jumped around a lot though. Seemed like he lost his train of thought through out the whole class. We watched a foster care / adoption video that was (no joke) from about 1990.

You know it is bad when the statistics are from the 80's. The situations were pretty unlikely and the acting was BAD!

After the video, we talked about different things and had open discussions.

During a break I asked one of the staff about our situation. Meaning that our goal is adoption and asked if there were kids whose were already "free" for adoption. Of course there are, but 99% of them are older kids. So, it looks like we will be doing fost/adopt. Which of course is fine, but that comes with the legal risk that the children may return to the parents. I guess that is a the chance we will have to take.

But, the trainer also was giving us realistic expectations that a lot of these kids do NOT go back. I guess we will just have to look at each situation as it is presented to us and make a decision based on the info.

1st Class - Check

First Class was yesterday. Very long. it turns out that there are 2 classes a week. And, the last two lessons are on the same day. What does that mean? It means that instead of 8/9 weeks of classes, it is only 4 weeks of class.

Our classes will be over before Thanksgiving.

The class had 8 families - many different situations. We went around the room and had to say what type of care we were doing and our names, etc.

1 - Us. It was totally totally strange to say, "hello, we are ...., we can't have our own children" I guess saying it out loud makes it even more true.

2 - trying to get legal custody of a niece's infant. Placement in their house since 2 weeks old. Goal is reunification.

3 - doing foster care only. I guess they "sponsor" international kids and want to help kids here. Unsure if they would adopt if situation presented itself. Children up to 12 yrs old.

4 - doing foster care only. Have 6 kids between the two of them, but most have left the house. Miss children in the home. Not looking to adopt - only foster. Children up to 10 years old.

5 - trying to get legal custody of cousin's 2 kids. Placement in their house for a few days. Will adopt if cousin does not shape up.

6 - looking to get her 2 grandchildren out of foster care. Children removed 2 months ago, but are not with her now. Goal is permanent placement with her.

7 - looking to get legal custody of her grandchildren. Don't know the rest of her story.

8 - Adoption. She also can not have children. Adopted a child 8 years ago through the system (but was considered a private adoption - I guess it is a long story), then a few years later got a call about a sibling. Private adoption of that one also. A week ago, she got a call from another state's child agency. There is now another sibling that was removed. She is going to adopt this sibling but must go through all the training, since in the past she was not officially licensed through the state.

We do not have a resource worker yet, but the trainer said that by the end of classes we should have one assigned to us. I am trying not to stress over that.

The class was fine, the guy jumped around a lot though. Seemed like he lost his train of thought through out the whole class. We watched a foster care / adoption video that was (no joke) from about 1990.

You know it is bad when the statistics are from the 80's. The situations were pretty unlikely and the acting was BAD!

After the video, we talked about different things and had open discussions.

During a break I asked one of the staff about our situation. Meaning that our goal is adoption and asked if there were kids whose were already "free" for adoption. Of course there are, but 99% of them are older kids. So, it looks like we will be doing fost/adopt. Which of course is fine, but that comes with the legal risk that the children may return to the parents. I guess that is a the chance we will have to take.

But, the trainer also was giving us realistic expectations that a lot of these kids do NOT go back. I guess we will just have to look at each situation as it is presented to us and make a decision based on the info.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Classes Start Today!

When you adopt from the foster care system (at least in our state), it comes with required training. The classes are nine 3-hour classes for a total of 27 hours.

Our first class is today! We were only given the info that the class starts today - so I am not sure if they are once a week, or more than that in a week. So, the classes could be up to 9 weeks long.

But, we are excited. Even more exciting was that my family came over on Sat for my son's b-day and all of us had great conversations about us adopting. A lot of it was like a Q&A session - but it was good to give them the info that we have.

And it is great because the class is actually in my town, so I will probably meet other families that are local to me.

Yay!

Classes Start Today!

When you adopt from the foster care system (at least in our state), it comes with required training. The classes are nine 3-hour classes for a total of 27 hours.

Our first class is today! We were only given the info that the class starts today - so I am not sure if they are once a week, or more than that in a week. So, the classes could be up to 9 weeks long.

But, we are excited. Even more exciting was that my family came over on Sat for my son's b-day and all of us had great conversations about us adopting. A lot of it was like a Q&A session - but it was good to give them the info that we have.

And it is great because the class is actually in my town, so I will probably meet other families that are local to me.

Yay!

Friday, October 31, 2008

One of my favorite posts

Colin will turn 14 years old tomorrow. I can't believe where the time has gone. We will be doing birthday stuff all day, so I wanted to share one of my favorites blog posts, in honor of Colin's birthday.

My First Roomate:
I got this roomate when I was a junior in college. The request was very unexpected, but I could never turn him away. I knew him for 9 months before he was my roomate. In those 9 months, I felt like I knew him. I created a bond with him that I knew would last a lifetime. We would listen to music together and we would talk about his future. He really made me think about my own future as well.

He was a very short man, kind of funny looking. But, the second I saw him I thought he was the cutest. From the moment I met him, I knew we would be lifelong friends. I always hoped he would feel the same.

When he first moved in, it was quite the adjustment. I am still not sure how I managed it. Living with him was nothing like I ever expected. I had to constantly clean up his crap, he would be up in all my business, and I had to do all the cooking and cleaning. I put up with it though. In fact, I kind of liked it.

We lived together for a while and then all of a sudden, he started talking back to me. And, most of the time it was just jibberish, I could not even understand what he was saying. We would talk but I was never even sure he understood me. We had our ups and downs, but our relationship grew over the years.

In no time, all of his stuff was all over the place. It was like he owned the place. In every corner of every room were his "toys". I must admit, I bought some of these things, I knew he just "had to have them". I guess in a way, I thought the more I gave him, the more he would give to me - love that is, not gifts.

It did not take long before I was in total love with him. I always knew that we would have a life-long friendship. In my eyes, he could do no wrong.

Over the next few years, he became more and more dependent on me. I had to drive him everywhere, as he does not have a license. I also had to buy everything for him, he did not have a job. I had to cook for him, he was not mature enough to do it himself. I had to pick out his clothes, he had NO fashion sense. I loved him anyway. More and more each day. And I realized how lucky I was that I did not have him to live somewhere else.

We were always together, then things changed. He started hanging out with his buddies...all the time. It seemed like he was never home. I really missed my guy and always thought about the time we shared just the two of us. I knew he was maturing and didn't want to hang around with "just some girl". So, I let him go and did not complain much, I mean, he was free to do what he wanted. I loved him anyway.

When I met my husband, my roomate was so great to him. They hung out all the time and soon became buddies. I loved seeing them hang out together. What could be better than my two favorite guys together. My husband (then boyfriend) never even questioned the fact that I had a roomate. He knew we shared a special bond. One he knew he could never break. He knew a lot of times when we would hang out, my roomate would be along for the ride. He embraced the chance to get to know him even better.

Soon, my roomate figured out that I would marry my husband and he welcomed him with open arms. I knew that not only would I be his longtime friend, but my husband would be his friend for life as well.

We got married and my roomate stood right by my side. I needed him there. In fact, he walked me down the aisle!

My new husband never questioned bringing my roomate into our new married home. He would not have it any other way. Now, the three of us live as a family.

My first roomate: my son, Colin. Happy Birthday.
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