Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Houston....we have a social worker!


Today, just after hanging up the phone with my husband, where the conversation was all about my frustration that our social worker hadn't called yet this week, and it being Wednesday, my phone rang again. It was only a couple minutes later and there she was! Our social worker (from now on to be written: SW) is a great lady, she taught all of our classes so we already have a rapport with her, which is comforting.

I was already thinking about all the little things she's seen: us play with a fellow adoptive families 2 year-old, us talk about our prior adoption plan, but how we felt that we may be open to other means of adoption in the future. She knows how we feel about little one we hope to have one day, as we spoke about this a lot during those classes.

Exhale. Sigh of relief, this is almost over. Just to recap what we have left:
  • We have to have individual interviews, which we scheduled today for December 8th at 1000. (My husbands day was open, mine is not, but I have an amazing boss so she'll let me move things around)
  • The SW has to come and see our home, there is a five page check of list that has to be completed for her to "certify" our home as safe
  • We have to provide a measured picture (I'm talking graph paper to sqaure feet) of our house and yard (working on that this week)
  • We have to fill out some final forms but our SW helps us with them, the state is VERY specific on how their filled out
  • Then we pray for her to write like it's her job! And hope for NO writers block!
  • Once its written, it's given to another SW to proof read.
Then, its done :) And can you believe that once it's done it's only good for two years. Holy Moly.

The eight week timeline of her writing the homestudy starts today. Of course, many SW's write them more quickly. So, we'll hope with that. I'm a little leary of it all with the holidays, but I know I have to be patient and let her do what she needs to.

Eeeek, I'm super excited about this next step.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


"We say grace and thank the lord, got so much to be thankful for..." - Tim McGraw

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We all have so much more to be thankful for. Probably more than we will ever realize.

For me, its my friends, family, amazing husband, my health, my job that allows me to teach and be a nurse (which I love and am good at), the means to go and hit black Friday sales at midnight with a great friend, witty humor with a dash of sarcasm, and love, I'm surrounded by so much love.

Lastly, I am thankful, yes thankful, that my journey to motherhood has made me a better, more selfless, patient, and appreciative person. As these things will all help me to be the most amazing mom.

With that being said, c'mon little one, your room is done!

My infamous tree with owl (courtesy of Styley Walls @

The crib:

Cute dresser with owl lamp:

My indulgent owl outlet and light switch covers, complete with childproofing :)

I also want to add some wall art, shelves, and of course, the kiddo!

It's an amazing room. I put my "boyfriend" pillow (pillow with arms) in there, and will sit in there and read. The room soothes me, and reminds me that great things are coming.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Time Heals All Wounds, Or Does It Wound All Heals?

Two years ago tomorrow, I found out I was pregnant. I had been sick with the flu, but pulled myself out of bed to go early Christmas shopping with a friend. We bought a test on the way home, and...a few minutes after I peed on it, it clearly read "pregnant."

I will never forget that moment, or the moments following where I got to tell my husband he was going to be a dad.

A few weeks later, December 12th 2009 those happy moments were washed away. There was bleeding, a call to our OB who we hadn't even met yet, and an ultrasound on a Saturday while it was pouring rain outside washing my dreams down to the ground.

I will never forget that day.

I will never forget the emptiness I felt when I realized I was no longer expecting a baby.

No one understands this pain unless they've gone through it, and though there are many analogies that could compare it, the raw emptiness of it is never quite describable.

I feel almost like I'm re-living it lately. A song will play on the radio, and I remember hearing that very song while this horrible loss was happening. The thought of going to Christmas at my husbands grandma's house, just as we did days after my surgery, exhausts me. It's the familiarity in the air, the warmth of my home during this month, the smell of pumpkin and cinnamon that I loved so much during that time.

It was the time of calm before my life turned in to a storm that has lasted for two years. But, I believe the storm is ending. I am at peace with what has happened, and though I don't understand why my life unraveled the way it has, I know that I have to move forward.

I won't use the term "move on" or "get over it" because there are things that we never really leave. We just put them up on a shelf in our hearts, take them down and cry with them in our arms when it's appropriate, but otherwise, we let them be. They are always a part of us and we are better because of the imprint they've had on our lives.

Rest in peace, baby. Rest in peace, my little sister. Rest in peace, my fearless heart. I am better now, stronger, but even the strong shed tears sometimes.

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Well, the buddy family form made it to the agency. The husband of our "buddy couple" emailed me yesterday and let me know.

With that information I emailed the paperwork lady and asked her if the fingerprints were back. Of course, I didn't hear back from her. Hopefully she'll get in touch with me Monday. According to the fingerprinting agency it only takes about a week for them to be finished, so they should be done, as Monday will be two weeks.

There is nothing more that we can do until our social worker calls to set-up our individual interviews. We must wait patiently impatiently.

I am relieved to have all of this paper work beneath us. It has been three months since we began our journey, and I cannot believe its taken this long to get all the paper work together. Wow.

Seeing as how next week is Thanksgiving, I won't hold my breath for the social worker to call, but if s/he does I'll be thankful!

Last night we had a girls night for one of my friends birthdays. I have not laughed, ate or drank that much in a while. My heart feels lighter. I didn't think about the homestudy once. Thank you God for my amazing friends.

Also this past week, a family friend (who used the same agency as us to adopt her now 22 month old daughter) finalized her adoption! Her daughter is forever her's. So amazing. I hope we'll be next.
(photo taken by my sister, who I miss like crazy)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A, B, C, D, Effing Form, G

Our buddy family visit was great. They were amazing, their kids were great, and we had a great talk.

What was not so great was when I emailed our agency the next morning to tell them the visit was done. Paper work lady wrote back, "oh great, please remind them to send in the form they have to fill out because I cannot consider the visit complete until I have that."

My reply "OK, are we good with our caregiver's stuff? And, is there ANYTHING else I need to be working on while we're waiting for that to be completed?"

Paperwork Lady, "no, I'm waiting for the caregiver fingerprints to clear and the buddy family form. Hang in there."

Blindsided once again by something I knew nothing about. Shoot, I'd a had them fill the form out, driven across this large town to the agency at 8pm on a Sunday night and put it in their slot if I knew it existed.

And then she throws in the patronizing, "hang in there." Oh I'm hanging, literally, by a thread lady. You have no idea.

Since my buddy family didn't even remember we were coming when we showed up at their door Sunday night, I felt like I should probably remind them about this infamous form. So, I gave them a couple days, and just emailed them tonight thanking them for their time, and in closing, I threw in a reminder about the form. Since, its basically what is holding us back from getting our golden ticket aka social worker.

When I get the call from a social worker, I will jump up and down. I hope it happens at work. I love it when my office mates look at me like I'm nuts.

I am.....openly.....nuts at this point.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Educational Post: Different Types of Adoption

I haven't spoken too much about what the "adoption options" are for parents interested in having children this way.

There are four types of adoption, with many variations involved.

International Adoption. Just as the name implys, international adoption is adopting a child internationally. Many different countries world wide have programs to facilitation the adoption of children to families in the United States. With this option the risk of the birth parents "changing their minds" is nill because most of these children are in orphanages, or another type of foster care. These children are not newborns. And, paperwork often takes up to 6 months to complete. So, you could received a match to a child and have to wait months to bring him/her home. The other risk, medical information is unknown. And, you don't really know the true situation with the child until you meet them. I met a couple on this journey that went to adopt their little girl in China, and she was severely disabled. So, they did not bring her home due to her extensive medical needs. They were devastated. That's another thing, most often, you have to travel to the country to get your child. The price tag for this type of adoption: 30-50K or more.

Domestic Adoption. More often called "Domestic Newborn Adoption." This is the adoption of (usually) a newborn baby in the United States. This is what we were doing with the birth mom we were working with. The drawback? We lived it. About 1/3 or birth mom's will change their mind during the process and decide to parent their child. The perk? You can often be involved in the prenatal appointments, and get to know the birth mom, or birth parents. This gives the adoptive family medical history, and provides comfort that the birth parent's will know who will be raising their biological child. The wait can be long if the adoptive parents are waiting to be chosen by a birth mom. This means that once the adoptive couple finish their homestudy their profile sits at an agency, or lawyers office and waits for a birth mom to come along that meets their criteria. Also, the adoptive parents situation has to be one that the birth mom has stated she is interested in placing her child in. For example: if a couple is caucasion and has no children they would be presented to a birth mom who wants the same for her child, or something similar.
Cost can be less (4-6K) if you know the birth mom. But, if you're going through an agency or consultant, and are having them do a birth mom search for you, the cost increases to 15-20K. More cost can be added in addition if the adoptive couple are paying any expenses for the birth mom while she is pregnant. I've heard of these situations costing up to 31K.

Fos-Adopt programs are just as the name implys. Adoptive parents adopt a child who is in the foster care system and has biological parents who's rights are either terminated, or about to be terminated. This means that a child was removed from their biological parents care for one of several reasons (a lot of times abuse or violence or neglect are a factor). Then, they are put into foster care and the parents are given guidelines by a court to get their child back. When they fail to meet these guidelines, adoptive placement is sought out for the child. The benefits are that the cost is low: $1500 dollar range for the entire adoption. The legal risk is low because the parents are going to loose their rights based on court judgement. However, again, these children are not newborns. And, they were put into the system for a reason. So something negative was going on that they lived through.
When you adopt through foster care you are given a list of things to consider and you actually check a box that their says "acceptable, not acceptable, or willing to discuss." The wait time in our state can be weeks to one year before a placement. Instead of going into a "birth mom search" you go into a "child search" based on the adoptive parents given criteria.

Lastly, are kinship adoptions. This is where a child is adopted within an extended family. In these scenarios many times the birth parents can sign rights over to the family member. In most states the adoptive parents still need to complete a homestudy. Cost is usually just that of a homestudy and a lawyer, so about 2-4K.

There is a great book that thoroughly explains these different types of adoption, its called You Can Adopt by Susan Caughman and Isolde Motley.

As for our homestudy, we are meeting our buddy family tomorrow night. Hopefully our caregiver's prints will come back this next week and we will FINALLY get our social worker. I think, unless they find something else for us to do! Ha.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The (paperwork) Saga Continues

The word came back: Our caregiver's prints were entered into "Name Search" on October 24th. It takes 30-45 days from that point to get results, and in some cases, they may have to get re-fingerprinted again. Since our caregiver is in her 70's and has already had unreadable prints twice, we aren't going to bank that she'll clear even in this new (ridiculous) time frame.

So, one of my great friends did the caregiver packet for us. She actually got all her required stuff (TB test proof, drivers license copy, licensure form that makes you talk about any arrest history- which she had none (shocker), and fingerprints) to me in two days, which is pretty amazing considering she has a work schedule, a busy husband, AND is buying a house. Thanks to her for being amazing.

Well, my happy lil ass (this is a lie, I'm actually bootylicious and proud) called the agency to let them know that they should be getting a second, and hopefully snag-free caregiver packet in a couple days, so to look out for the fingerprint report. The paper work lady's response was "oh thats great, she should clear within days to a week.....oh but, did you have your buddy family visit yet? That has to be done also before you get your social worker."

Buddy family- a family who has adopted through the agency before. One buddy family visit is required to allow the current adoptive parents to ask questions, and meet adopted children.

My moment of silence into the phone: Count to 10....don't flip out on her or she may think you have an anger problem and then you won't ever get to adopt. 1....2...3...4...5...6......................10.

Me: Well you'd told me a couple weeks ago you were sending me the family's contact info but I haven't gotten it, so no, we've not spoken or met up with our buddy family (because we don't know who the heck they are, Dumbass!).

Paperwork lady: Ok, well the family that I had in mind was just about 25 miles away from you, but since they're not calling me back I'll just set you up with one here (1.5 hrs away). Mind you this is for a 1 hour visit.

Me: Ok, lets definitely get that going since it'll be the final thing we need.

So, I got their number, called them, and they are supposed to email me some dates and times to meet up. This was 24 hours ago,which I realize is not a long time, but c'mon folks. I tried to let the guy know that meeting up with him and his family truly was our last step to getting our social worker without sounding completely neurotic and obsessed.

Why do I feel crazy? Because everytime I think I see the light to all of this paperwork something else gets added, or isn't filled out right, or blah, blah, blah. Just get me a camera crew and follow me around for 48 hours. You will see that I am meant to be a momma. Please just get me to the point where our baby can come home. I have had enough.

Meanwhile Michelle Duggar is knocked up with her 20th kid. Tell me that chick could pass all the crap I've been though. What's that you say? Nothing? Right, because she couldn't pass. In fact, half the pregnant people out there would be deemed unfit if they had to endure the type of screening adoptive parents do.

And for the millionth time I say it: Life is not Fair.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How to be the Village (re in re-tweet)

On this journey, there are so many up's and down's. Some amazing things that have happened are the friendships with women that I have met who are in this boat with me. Us Adoptive Momma's are quite special. We are patient, faithful, and most of all, strong.

A friend of mine recently put me in contact with another friend who is also adopting. She and I have texted and emailed a bit, and she is so amazing because she UNDERSTANDS this crazy journey I'm on more than anyone else can.

We also have another contact who a family member put us in touch with. This person actually used the same agency as we are, so she offers a lot of insight.

This past week, on one of my Adoptive Momma friends blogs, she posted this link. It's amazing, true, and insightful.

Here's the link (just think instead of "before and after the airport" think "before our child comes home" and "after our child comes home"):

"How to be the Village" Blog Post by Jenn Hatmaker

This is such a great title because, it truly does "take a village" to get us through bringing our child home!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Speed Bump

We had a little (but in my mind HUGE) set back this week. Our admin person (paper work collector) said all our paperwork and fingerprint clearances were in two weeks ago before she left for vacation. All we had to finish when she was gone was our self study questionaires. So, our agreement was that we would finish those and when she came back (this past Tuesday) she'd review our file, and then we would get assigned a social worker.
Well, she must not of read the fingerprint reports, because our caregivers prints (my husbands grandma) came back unreadable. This is the second time this has happened, cause lets face it, when you get old and do dishes for 50 years your fingerprints sorta wear off. But, we would have liked to of known immediately so we could have done something about this problem.
So now she's saying its going to be another month because the department of justice main just have to do a "main search" and that takes 30 days. Ugh! I am so frustrated. She is supposed to call me today and let me know if this is the best way to go, or if we should just have another person do the Caregiver packet.

Two steps forward, one step back.

And a BIG glass of wine for me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


My phone rang today, and low and behold, it was our birth mom's- mom. My heart skipped a beat, because I've secretly been waiting for them to call and tell me that they were wrong, and they want us to have the baby. So that this loss I'm feeling could become a side effect of cold feet.

That isn't what happend.

She called to apologize. Turns out, she was pushing her daughter to continue with the adoption in the end. Our birth mom truly does want to keep her baby.

In a way, I'm glad she called. I needed the apology, though I know I'm not "entitled" to it. After all, this is her baby, and at the end of the day, it was closure for this situation. I know I have to be at peace with what has happened. Not only in our adoption, but in our other loss, and in the fact that I am sitting here, two and half years since our journey to parenthood started, childless.

It sounds sappy, and self indulgent. I know I need to be positive. I need to believe that God has a plan for us, and our baby will find their way home soon. But, my heart hurts. I feel beaten and bruised. I feel empty. It's sad, it's self loathing, but dammit, it's how I feel.

"People don't cry because they're weak, they cry because they've been strong for too long."

Lord here my prayer. I am busting at the seams. Please God, send me strength, send me patience, send me hope. It is with a shattered heart that I ask of you to bring us our baby. I know you have a plan but I am hurting. I cannot take this any more. Please God, take this pain away and if you cannot bring me a baby, bring me peace with where I am in life. Amen.