I’m getting the urge again. Even after dealing with kid mental breakdowns all weekend (see last post – the password is newlife if you don’t already have it), I’m starting to think about adoption again. Even after the last attempt blew my life to smithereens I never lost the urge to adopt.
I started out wanting to do international. The ex wasn’t willing so we were working on domestic. Now a year later I’m not sure that I’d want to do the domestic route again. In order to be up for adoption in the US through the foster system there needs to be such severe abuse that it scares me. I don’t know that I’m ready for that. I’m not under the impression that kids from other countries aren’t traumatized by abandonment or being orphaned but for the most part they haven’t been sexually and physically abused to the extent that kids here are. There are also so many rules here because the children are considered to be foster kids for 6 months after placement. The foster system rules, at least in this state, were restrictive enough that I was going to have to quit my job in order to follow them all. They are not designed for 2 working parents. Since I’m not in a place now where quitting is an option, I don’t know that US adoption is feasible for me.
International adoption has always been my first passion anyway. I know it will be awhile but I’m starting to get twitchy again. I find myself surfing the adoption sites looking at country requirements to see what countries I qualify for…
The clinic that I work at several days a week has opened a satellite clinic. I started working there today. This week I’m going to be there today, tomorrow afternoon, and Saturday morning. There are hardly any appointments since it is a new clinic. I’ll be looking for things to do to kill the boredom. (There’s no internet access. I’m at the library right now.)
This morning I watched the movieTalk To Me. I’ve had that from Netflex for a while but never got around to watching it. Loved it.
I came to the library to get more movies. This is a good library but it turns out that the movie selection is pathetic. I got HOLES. I’ve never seen that. I was hoping to get a stack of movies to get me through the next several days but that’s not happening.
When we went to my parents’ this weekend we spent the drive up listening to the audiobook version of The Millionaire Next Door. It was interesting. If you haven’t read it it is a study of American millionaires that shows that most of them are middle class people who were able to save a lot of money by living frugally. It has a lot of case studies about high earners who squander their money (think my ex) and people on lower incomes working to save (what I want to be). It took forever to listen to because it would play for a few minutes then the SO would turn it off and we’d discuss. One of the big things that it talked about was wealthy parents giving their adult children Economic Outpatient Care (EOC). To sum it up the authors are totally against it for a variety of reasons. Before we leave the parents my mother hands me $200 because she wanted to contribute to Spirit’s cremation. The SO managed to hold it together until we got back in the car. He went off about how we listened to all this stuff and agreed on it and then I go and take money from my parents. I told him that I told her that it was already paid for but she wanted to contribute both in his memory and because they think that I’m flat broke no matter what I tell them. There is no turning the money down. Those people are sneaky. It would show up in the mail next. We decided to take the money and open an account to save for adoption. Any EOC from either side of the family will go in here. That will serve the dual purpose of giving us something useful to do with the money and not offending the parent people by turning it down. I’ll be running to the bank later to open up the account – yet another boredom filler.
I also picked up a copy of Millionaire Women Next Door by the same authors. I basically know all the general ideas for saving money but reading these kind of thing inspire me. So far, I’ve rearranged my financial life to decrease the amount of money that I spend on things like insurance (by shopping around better) and am applying the savings to my car loan so I will pay that off quickly. Once that’s paid off then all the money goes to my student loan. After that’s paid off then I’m debt free. I’ve also started a retirement savings plan. I had one when I started working but when I got married the ex didn’t believe in saving money. He was a spender and there wasn’t enough extra to save (I thought) and he got angry anytime I brought up savings. So I’ve started a new plan and rolled over the old one into it. The SO is freaked out by the lack of savings that I have. But what he can’t fully realize is that a year ago when the ex walked out I had about $300 to my name and I had just pretty much quit my jobs in anticipation of adopting in a few weeks. To be able to get this much accomplished in a year is pretty amazing.
I had a bit of embarrassment today. I had wanted to see the movie Juno but I wasn’t sure if I really should go see it. I knew that if I did I should see it alone. If you don’t know about it, it is a movie about a teenage girl who gets pregnant and then decides to place the baby for adoption. I figured it should be ok because it was a private baby adoption which was far removed from my situation but just in case I grabbed a few extra napkins. Besides, my sister in law saw it and highly recommended it to me.
I don’t cry in movies. The only other movies that can really get to me are the ending of Roman Holiday and the coonhound cemetery scene in Sweet Home Alabama when she apologizes for not being there when her dog got sick. So, I’m watching Juno and I was a bit bored but otherwise just fine until when a month before the baby is due the adoptive father decides to walk out on his wife. From there on it was an almost word-for-word replay of the crashing end of my marriage. It was enough fun the first time, thank you very much, I don’t want to watch it again. I was crying hysterically but pulled myself together until he announces that he’s not staying at a hotel because he found an apartment. I figured if he said proudly that they were throwing in a washer and dryer free I was going to get violent and then demand a writer’s credit, so I left.
I called my mom and told her that she was deputized to cuff my SIL upside the head next time she saw her. I told her about the movie and when I repeated some of the lines she gasped. Thank you Mom. I feel vindicated. Later I called the SIL and told her that I left. She couldn’t figure out why. I repeated some of the scenes. She said that once she heard the lines in my voice she remembered hearing them from me before. Now she is horrified. I felt like saying, “Maybe if you get kidnapped and tortured I can recommend some horror films that you’ll really identify with.” Really, it is almost no fun yelling at her because it is too easy. She still needs cuffed though.
Deirdre asked how the blocks were coming for the Storm at Sea quilt. Uh, slowly. The bridal shower is on the 23rd (yes, of September) so if I sew like the wind it can still happen.
I had my quilt group this morning. We sewed for about 3 hours and then I had to kick them out because I had a fake home study appointment. The state in its wisdom decreed that our home study was too comprehensive for their needs so it needed to be redone with less info. Take a moment and try to absorb the absurdity of that. They also waffled on this for 27 days. How do I know that? Because they have 30 days to respond to Utah about our fitness to be parents. They decided on Tuesday afternoon that they want a local social worker to redo it all. When is it due? Friday morning. Today is Thursday and it is my only day off. The husband is tied up at a conference. He’s giving presentations and can’t be here. So the social worker said that she would come visit and then just copy what our home study already had to say about us. She thinks this is way stupid also because it gives her a bunch of work for no reason.
Then I got a beginner belly dance buns workout from Netflix. I started trying to do it and it was crazy hard. I couldn’t figure out what this workout had to do with belly dance for a while until I realized that the workout that had my legs shaking was just the warm-up for the dancing. I couldn’t even try the dance stuff because I was beat. I just stayed in one place and tried to master the hip stuff without confusing myself by adding arm moves. Hopefully, I’ll get more coordinated. The worst part was climbing the stairs afterwards. I was thinking that I may just have to wait down there until someone shows up and could throw down a rope to pull me out.
My quilting group is coming back tonight. No one has to work today so they decided that they could just leave their machines here and come back later to sew more. I know I’ll be having to sew my little heart out so having people keeping me on track is good.
I met with the lady from the county Job and Family Services place this morning. She took one look at my homestudy and said that it all seemed fine to her. Then she wondered out loud why Utah wants all this done over. I said that Utah was implying to me that Ohio wanted it all done over. She said that was crazy because it just makes more work for her. I said that everyone should just say that they don’t want anything and be happy about it.
She’s calling the state level Ohio guy tomorrow to say that she’s happy with what we have and that she doesn’t want anything else. (He’s out of the office today.)
I put a call in to B’s social worker and told her that my local person was satisfied with our paperwork. She hasn’t heard back on the last official ruling from the Attorney General there about permanent termination of parental rights but it was scheduled to be made by the end of August. She was sending an email to the Attorney General to see if she could get an answer.
Someday everyone is going to get all their paperwork done. Hopefully it will be before B’s sixteenth birthday.
We finished this weekend’s portion of the foster/adopt classes and we are still married. The class was actually very informative and very entertaining at the same time. I learned that the husband is definitely ADHD. We were going over the signs and he raised his hand and said, “I have every one of those signs and I’m ok.” The whole class laughed. When we talked about caffeine calming down hyperactive kids we looked at the three cans of Starbucks double shot espresso lined up in front of the husband so he could sit quietly in class and nodded.
The husband has also decided that if he made the decision he wouldn’t let anyone in the front row be a foster parent. He’s says they are too weird. He’s one to talk.
I have to honestly report that it wasn’t as bad as I expected. The lady running the training is energetic, enthusiastic, and funny. The information is fairly interesting and is presented as a combination of lecture, discussion, and group activities. The husband has had the opportunity to argue debate points with other people which always makes him happy.
We did 9 hours of class time today and it really seemed to go quick. We have 9 more tomorrow and 5 on Sunday and then 9 more next Saturday. We’ll see how I feel about it after all that.
I talked to B’s social worker today. She has no clue what is going on. She said that she has no idea what her legal status is right now but she might find out on Thursday. She says that the attorney and the guardian ad litem are fighting over if she should visit with us. Then she said that Utah wanted us to do an “adoption homestudy.” I pointed out that we do have a homestudy. She said that it had to be an “adoption” one. I said that it didn’t get any more “adoption” than ours. She’s going to try to figure out what the higher ups mean by that. After that she said that she wanted us to come out and visit.
I just wrote her an email that basically said no. I said that we wanted a time line of what needed to happen next in order to proceed or else we would be forced to look elsewhere. I don’t want to do that but they are clueless. Every time I talk to them they are more clueless than they were before. But they want us to develop a relationship with her. I think that is a really bad idea since they don’t seem to know if this is going to move forward. We’ll see if we get a response to that.
I just got off the phone with B. again. She called 1.5 hours late with a rehearsed “Sorry I’m late” line. Yeah, well, don’t be trying that as a teenager. It won’t be ok like it is when you are four.
I asked what she did today and she said that she was in outer space so that may explain the lateness. Tomorrow she is off hunting pink dinosaurs. Busy kid. But she thinks that Pete’s Dragon is too scary because the dragon roars. I hope the dinosaurs don’t roar at her.
She’s remembering things like the fact that the dog sleeps in the closet. (By her own choice – she could sleep in the bed if she wanted to. Don’t be calling animal control.) I had B. on speakerphone and she was meowing. This perplexed Powder. I said that Powder thought that she was a cat. She made me explain to Powder that she wasn’t really a cat. It reminded me that I don’t know how to break the news to the animals that there will be a loud, energetic small person here soon. Snowball once threw up on a kid that hugged her. I have mockingly told Spirit that there was a kid coming and that he was going to give pony rides. He did not seem amused. I thought that he’d give a token ride and then Prize would take over pony rides. That was before B. got all excited about a horse named Spirit. He may be pressed into service. He might get brushed and have his mane braided and cuddled … Won’t he be horrified!
We’ve set up a schedule to talk to B. twice a week. I’ve talked to her briefly twice before with her therapist on the line to translate. She’s hard to understand since she talks really fast and I don’t think she’s mastered holding the phone steady by her mouth yet. She also asks questions but starts talking again while you are answering so I miss a lot of what she says.
In the past she’s asked about the names of all the animals. She was thrilled about us having a horse named Spirit. She must have seen the movie. If you are going to pick one fact about me to remember, remembering Spirit is the way to my heart. Should I be worried that this kid seems to instinctively know my weak points?
Today we talked for about 15 minutes. Working the phone was a bit of a problem. She hung up on me twice. After that she kept asking, “Did I hang up on you?” She can’t say my name. It comes out “Head-do.” Very cute.
With a bit of fear and trepidation I asked her what food she likes. (Please don’t say hot dogs, please don’t say hot dogs.)
“Carrots” Thank god!
“Really? Those are good. My horses love them too.”
“SPIRIT!!!!!!” She remembered him from the last conversation. Way to suck up kid.
It turns out that her second favorite is strawberries. And she said that she loves healthy food because it makes you big and healthy. Thank you, thank you to the residential care facility for brainwashing her in such a good way.
She told me that I’m funny and cute and she’s my friend now. She also said that she’s falling in love with me. I don’t know that she has any idea what that means. Then we had to get off the phone. She needs her rest. Apparently she is going to outer space tomorrow.
We knew it was going to happen someday. We’ve discussed it in vague ways. But yesterday we finally acknowledged that we had to do something concrete about it. In preparation for adoption we need to start coordinating our schedules.
Now we work on a system where one of us comes home and announces that we will be out of town at a certain time. The other one looks at the first and says that he/she will be gone that weekend too. A call is made to the pet sitters and off we go.
It happened yesterday. We were both going to be gone next weekend. The husband’s plans changed so he will be gone a different weekend when it turns out that I will also be gone. He also announced that he has been invited to speak at two conferences this fall. I whispered the dreaded words, “We need to start writing this down.”
Luddite that I apparently am, I actually meant write it down. But I am married to a technogeek so that is not the solution. Not only is it too low tech but he needs to access it at home and work. I have a PDA but he’d lose one of those. We are now the proud owners of a Google calendar where we can hash out our schedules so someone can be home all the time. I think it should definitely be first-come, first-serve since I plan ahead and he’s more of a spur of the moment kind of guy.
I’m going to claim everything I can think of for the next year before he even thinks that far ahead!
I emailed B’s social worker today to see if there was any update. She said that they were starting the official placement paperwork today. That’s expected to take about a month. A month from now is really bad timing for us since we have a weekend and a half of foster parent training to do, then a week off, and then I’m out of town for a business trip for 5 days. We would need to postpone anything until the second week of September when things settle down. I don’t really believe that anything that is planned to take one month will take less than six weeks anyway in AdoptionWorld.
I emailed her back about B’s legal status and haven’t heard back yet. That makes me wonder what we aren’t being told…
I’m feeling slightly famous today. It is odd. I did a phone interview this morning with a lady from a large local newspaper about local food. I didn’t feel like I could help her much since she was looking for someone doing a strict 100 mile diet and that is certainly not me.
Also Joanne at Forever Parents is doing a series of interviews with adoptive parents and hope-to-be adoptive parents. My interview is posted here.
Our application for adoption was presented today to the powers that be. They think we will be a good home for B. We did have an AAAAARGH!!!! moment though. They want us to take the foster training. Two weeks ago this was discussed as a possibility. I found out that there were classes starting last week and called to ask if this was something we should start taking. I was told at that time that we would not need to take the course. Now I’m going to have to find another course. I don’t know how easy that will be since the course we found was being given in a neighboring county. I don’t get the impression that they run very often so the counties just take turns holding the course. But they will not place her until we finish the course.
They also want us to come out and visit whenever our schedule permits. Officially, our schedule doesn’t permit. We are just going to have to skip work and go. I about had a heart attack while researching prices on flights out west too. Oh well, everyone always says that kids are expensive.
Once you get past all that it is all good. I think I’m going to start making a small photo album of us and the animals and the house to take out to her. I’m also thinking of hitting Build-a-Bear just cause it looks like fun and she really needs a stuffed animal.
I got a message from the potential kid’s therapist today. They have a session this afternoon and want to talk to me on the phone during it. What do you say in this situation? “Hi. I’m a potential family for you but don’t get your hopes up too high because who knows what governmental hangups are likely to happen???” I’m sure Miss Manners never covered this.
I need a better blog pseudonym than “the potential kid”. From now on we’ll go with B. since I don’t know her enough to give her a descriptive nickname.
I just got off the phone with her. Her therapist told her that I was a friend of hers that she had to make a quick call to and then asked if B. wanted to say hi. The girl can talk. She asked if she could come over to my house. I told her that I lived far away but maybe someday. She said that that was ok because her therapist is allowed to take her far away so she could bring her over. Then she asked if I had animals. I gave her the run down of species and there was a pause. Then she said definatively, “I like you.” I’m writing that down to show her when she turns into a mouthy teenager.
Her therapist said that B. has been bugging her to take her to Hawaii. Girl after my own heart there.
I just got a call from a social worker representing a four year old girl. The social worker loves us. I think maybe the social worker wants to come live with us too.
This is a bit strange because a week ago we got a letter from this agency saying that out of state families need to have their homestudy done by one of two in-state agencies. I asked the social worker about that and she said that she had never heard of that. She also said it was odd because this girl is not supposed to go to anyone in-state. They want her as far away from her birth family as possible.
The other thing that is odd is that she isn’t on the websites anymore. This is horrible to have to admit but I don’t remember her. They are supposed to be sending some pictures to me today. (They just came in.)
She is cute! I do remember her now. After this whole thing about wanting to adopt internationally and then changing to domestic and fighting with social workers about being eligible transracial adoption, I’m sitting here looking at pictures of a blond-haired, blue-eyed, white girl.
She has a pretty horrific history of abuse which is why they are sending her out of state. She’s been in residential treatment for a year and is supposed to be doing great. She’s excited about getting a new mom and she likes animals. They are going to set up a time for her to call me and chat. Apparently she likes to talk. She’ll get along just great with the husband.
One of the people who wrote a reference for our home study gave us the name of a friend who is a local adoption attorney. I pulled it out today and googled the lawyer with every intention of contacting her since she came recommended. What came up on the search? The records of the state supreme court suspending her license for repeatedly defrauding clients. Huh, I think I’ll skip making that call….
We got the amended last page of our homestudy very quickly. A person might think my worker was sick of hearing from me on the phone.
The husband and I read through it together last night and laughed hysterically. We sound so wonderful! Between the two of us we don’t have a single fault. We also started yelling, “LIE!” enthusiastically whenever we came to a total untruth – there are only a few and were more a matter of the worker assuming things. The husband decided that we sound so wonderful that people will be besieging us with kids – “Here, take 3. They’re small.” I reminded him that we are sending to urban agencies. They may think the lovely description of life in the rural Midwest represents the lowest circle of Hell.
We have faxed our homestudy to two agencies. Each of them have sisters in foster care. One set is 3 and 6 and the other is 2 and 7. So, fingers crossed everybody.
My homestudy came in the mail today! I was all excited and read it through until I got to the last page. There it states…
“as they have requested, have been approved for the adoption of two children, Caucasian, either sex, between the ages of three to six years old”
WTF? I remember specifically stating that we were NOT looking for only a Caucasian kid. I remember specifically stating that we only wanted a girl. I remember saying that we would go as young as three but wanted the option to go older if we met the right kid.
The part that really bugs me is the “as they have requested….Caucasian.” It makes us look like rascists. In fact none of the kids I have seen who I would be interested in learning more about are Caucasian. I called the agency and they are supposed to write a correction. I can’t even imagine how long that is going to take. The social worker hated the idea of us adopting from the foster care system and tried to convince us to go with a private infant adoption or international. I think this is her own bias coming out as supposedly what we requested.
Ok, now it is April. There are supposed to be showers in order to bring May flowers and all that. That means rain and not snow showers.
Look at this..
While you can’t actually see the snow in the picture, those are horses bundled up in their winter blankets on April 6. See their tails blowing up under their bellies? High winds blowing snow flurries. It can stop any time.
We went to see the new Disney movie Meet the Robinsons today. Yeah, we’re weird but it turns out it was in 3D and that excited the husband even more. Anyway, it has an adoption theme. The main character is a 12 year old in an orphanage. He’s had over 150 interviews with potential adoptive parents and no one has chosen him. He has a whole speech about the odds of his adoption dropping even more when he turns 13 because no one wants to adopt teenagers. He decides that he doesn’t want to meet anyone anymore because he can’t take the rejection. It goes through searching for his birth mother and finding a family that this a good match for him. I didn’t know how well the adoption angle was going to be done. It was Disney-fied but not that bad.