Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011...

I cannot believe it's New Years Eve. I'm not sure where 2011 went. I guess all my elders are right (once again), the years go faster and faster each year we get older. I feel like I just blinked and we went from having an HSG (tube blow out) in January to waiting for our homestudy to be written now.

This time last year I was so determined to have a baby I walked around gritting my teeth. If you would have asked me then how far I would go I would have told you that I would max out every credit card, and take out every loan possible to knock myself up. Now, I'm in a much more calm, non teeth gritting state.

I am so grateful that finding out first birthmom opened my eyes to the world of adoption. I have met so many amazing people along the way that have given me their time, and opened up their homes and families to me so that I could see the miracle that adoption is. I am at peace with the losses I've endured, grateful that I could be a part of giving a young girl the option to be a parent to her unborn baby. I've supported friends through their struggles to get pregnant, one through her miscarriage and another amazing lady who finally became a mother by adoption just over a week ago.

Thought I have nerves about what is to come. I know that what ever happens, the child that I end up with whether s/he is born from my own body, or comes to my life through adoption, they are meant to be mine.

I can promise one thing, and one thing only: I will love them. And, when I finally reach the other side of this treacherous mountain, everything will make sense.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Now All We Do Is Wait....

The home visit is done.

Can I say it again? The home visit is done.

It was really anticlimactic. All the millions of little things that we did to prepare based on the list we were given paid off. Because obviously being over prepared assured us a social worker that literally peeked into every room, asked to see where we keep our cleaners and our medications, where our fire extinguisher was and about our smoke detectors. That was it.

Of course there was one small snag, because lets face it there always is. She asked us to test our main smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector and the battery was dead. Luckily I am a battery hoarder and I had an extra nine volt in the garage. Whew, close one.

Oh and the other cake topper, our black lab puppy decided to show off to our social worker by humping our smaller dog and biting her neck. Thanks Buddy, you really convinced her that you are safe around kids. Jeeeez! She just laughed, and we have a dog pen so she cannot really hold that against us. I guess kids say the darndest things but dogs do the darndest things. I could have slapped him. Oh, but that is corporal punishment and isn't allowed in social worker land. Good thing I held back.

The best part of our visit was sitting in our living room with her and discussing what type of child we are interested in. It was difficult to consider the many scenarios she presented hypothetically, but it gave us some good talking points over the next six weeks or so while she compiles our homestudy.

What we know:
  • We will be going into both the fos-adopt program AND the relinquishment program. This means we could either be matched with a child in the foster care system OR we could be chosen by a birth mom and develop an adoption plan with her for her unborn child. More info on how we made that decision in a later post.
  • If our little one comes to us from the foster care system he/she (we didn't specify a gender preference) will be under 3 years of age. This was increased a year after a lot of discussion between us and our social worker.
  • We are open to a sibling set of two if they are close in age or are twins.
  • We are open to all races.
  • We are open to minor, treatable medical conditions. Such as a baby that wears oxygen because he/she was born prematurely. Or perhaps some malnutrition because of neglect.
We haven't gotten much feedback from our letter that we sent to family and friends this holiday. We got a few, "best of luck to you with starting your family." And we got some ignorant comments such as, "you won't really have to adopt, you'll get pregnant before then." Or another horrible comment that makes me literally bite my tongue, "what if the kid is damaged from their birth family."
In response to the first statement: I've been trying to get pregnant for the past almost three years, and it didn't happen. This is how we are starting our family. If a pregnancy happened somehow, we would be grateful, but we'd still adopt.
In response to the second, horrible statement: I know plenty of people with biological kids who are pretty "damaged" too. If I was pregnant you wouldn't say that to me, so don't say it now. Thanks a-hole.

It's all in time. Adoption is not a very well known topic to many of the people in our lives, so we have to be patient with our loved ones and educate them on adoption.

So now, we wait while our social worker writes our homestudy. Then it goes to the agency director for editing. We've been given the time frame of mid-February before our profile "goes live." This should be the next phone call we get.

We are almost there.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Word Is Out

We've been thinking a lot about how we're going to move forward in our adoption journey once our homestudy is written. And, we've pretty much decided to stick with our current agency. This means that we will likely be adopting a baby from foster care. The program is called "fos-adopt" which I spoke about in my prior post about different types of adoption. Again, this is a program where children in the foster care system are placed with us solely for adoption. That means we don't take foster placements. We will take a foster child who is being placed up for adoption because his/her parental rights have been, or are going to be terminated.

What's the legal risk? If you are in to percentages? Like 2% chance of something happening that could result in the little one being taken away from us once we're placed with him or her.

We have also been asked if we'd like to be in the agency's relinquishment program. This means that if a birth mom contacted the agency looking to create an adoption plan for her unborn child our profile would be show to her along with a few other families. This would be a rarity, as our agency doesn't seek out birth moms, but they don't turn them away if they call in and want our agency to help them. If we were chosen they would facilitate and manage our adoption. But, they said they only get a handful of birthmom's each year so it is a long shot, but an option.

We can do both programs, but we are on the fence about the relinquishment because of our last situation. Part of me wants to do it, a newborn would be amazing, but another part of me is scared that she'll change her mind once again, I'll of waited out some length of a pregnancy and then be - once again- empty handed.


Anyway, the title of this post implies that an announcement has been made. And, it has. We sent out letters with our Christmas cards announcing to our extended family, and some friends who didn't know yet that we'll be adopting a baby in 2012.

Here's how the letter read (the letter starts with updates about my husband and I and moves on to:

Now for the big news: as many of you may know, we have wanted to start our family for a couple of years now. Unfortunately it hasn’t been a simple plan. But we believe we are right where we belong. That being said, we hope to adopt our first child in 2012. We have finished the “home study” process and are waiting for our social worker to write our final document, so we can begin searching for our child.

We plan to adopt a child under the age of two. This decision is one that we have always spoken about, even since before being married. We hope that you can share in our joy and excitement as we wait for our social worker to find and bring this little one home.

Once we have met our kiddo, we promise to let everyone know. Until then, please keep us in your prayers.

 I hope you all will agree that this was simple, and to the point. The letter should of reached most everyone by today. Friends that already knew didn't get one...cause I was trying to save paper!

I'm going to be "off-line" for a long weekend as we're flying to the midwest for an early Christmas with my family.

I'm sure I'll have something to update on after our home visit on Wednesday.

Until then....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Recollectng our thoughts...

Ok. So now that I've "recovered" from the intense interviews this last week, I am ready for the final step of all of this: Our Home Visit.

Our home visit is scheduled for December 21st at 1100. Plenty of time, right? Sorta. We leave on vacation this Friday and come home Tuesday at we will have limited time to "primp" the house when we get back before our SW shows up. I think the home visit will be fine. We have gone through the 5 page list of requirements and the assured everything is up to the state's standard. If we miss something, she'll have to come back once we've fixed it.

We are so close to the end. Luckily, I have found a great group of adoptive momma's to-be online and they agreed that the individual interviews were very intense and made them feel like crap too. So, at least I'm not alone.

Just to recap, once the SW visits our house, there is nothing more for us to do. She has to write our home study up for us. Then someone else reads and edits it. Then it goes to the third person who looks at our autobiographies that we wrote against the social workers document and checks facts.

The date we got for the homestudy to be all done (editing and everything) is Mid February. No, I am not thrilled about this date AT ALL. But, as are many things within adoption, it's not in my control.

I'm off to have a filled day of Christmas prep. I haven't finished my shopping yet, I need to finish addressing Christmas cards, and have some pictures printed to larger sizes...lots to do!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Emotionally Circling the Drain

Today was tough. It's not that I thought it would be easy, I didn't. It is never easy to rehash your entire life focusing on any and all the negative things in it. And then have someone who doesn't really know you question you about how you've coped with, um, everything.

I thought I was strong, and I thought I had moved forward from a lot of things that have happened in my life, but today brought them all up, and me, being the strong, stubborn, and scared woman I was during this interview, not only kept a straight face but didn't shed one single tear. Not one.

This is good right? Not really. Now I'm home and I cannot cry. I need to let it out, I feel tense, and defeated in a way, but I cannot release it. Not yet anyway.

When we first went to our "information session" with this agency, the guy flat out told us that there would be moments where we felt like shitty people. I think we both feel that right now. I also think we're tense that we didn't do well, and they aren't going to let us adopt a baby. That's obviously a ridiculous worry because our social worker scheduled our home visit, and made us a list of a few more things that she needs. It is the most random dang list I have ever seen, but whatever, we'll talk about that later.

For now, a glass of wine, a piece of pie a la mode, and the love of my life by my side. And hopefully tears, I'll feel better when the tears come out.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

More things for our little one....

Since there isn't a lot going on in our homestudy process while we wait for our appointment Thursday, I thought I'd share a few more things I've found that I love:

There is an amazing adoption website where you can buy all kinds of things for adoptive families, and even gifts for birth mom's and things. I found this, which I love. I haven't purchased it yet, cause it's a bit pricey, but I haven't found anything like it, what do you think?:

A memory book, or a "life book" is a must have for adoptive children as they get older. It's similar to a baby book, but instead of looking at pictures of mommy's ever growing baby bump they get to look at pictures from the first day we met, and "coming home." There are also removeable pages for birth mom and birth dad information. So those can be used if we have that information, or can be put together and added in later when our little one is older.

Also, I ordered this fabric last week. A family friend of ours is making me a valance with it for the nursery. Super cute right?

Not much else going on. I've been power housing my Christmas shopping. We leave to be with my family in less than two weeks, and once we get back only a couple more days til Christmas! We absolutely love this time of year. There are lights in the yard, often something baking in the oven (good for the soul but not the waistline), Christmas tree in the corner....and Christmas carols, I love my Christmas carols.