Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Adoption on Hold

After much thought and consideration Josh and I have decided to put the adoption on hold. We are not sure when we are going to pick it up again (but we will!) but for right now we feel this is a good decision for us.

We are hoping to get some finances straightened out and hopefully work on the behaviors of our own children and our reactions to them...so hopefully to become better parents in the long run. Hunter is a very difficult child and we are trying to get a grip on that. Not only that but we need to save some money before we go through with this. While we could do it now it puts a lot of pressure on us to have the money in time...We would prefer to have all the money together BEFORE starting the process again.

We are both a bit sad and a bit apprehensive, but we know that for our own children, as well as ourselves, this will be best for now. I am hoping to be able to pick up this process again by this time next year. I will keep everyone updated!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Meeting our Social Worker

I guess our application packet is complete enough to begin the interviews with our social worker (sw)! I am very excited. We meet with her at noon on Friday, May 29th. She will do our individual interviews then. She is going to interview Josh first, then me. We really don't have a ton of stuff to do (aside from the training, of course) until our homestudy is complete.

Of course once that is complete a whole different process starts. I will go into that later though :o) One step at a time, right?

Thursday, May 14, 2009


We have started the application process. When they sent me the packet (which is pretty big) I figured I would fill it out, send it in, someone would come out and talk to us...then write our homestudy, then it would be over. Well, the application packet took HOURS to fill out, and WEEKS to get the materials and paperwork they need. So, we are still "filling out" the application.

We just got our fingerprints taken, and from what I understand that is the longest part of this process...since those take about 2 months to come back.

I used to always wonder why people on TV would be so nervous that their adoption would fall through. I just didn't get it. Why would it fall through? You have a home...this kid needs a home...1+1=2 right? Well, now I understand. Apparently, they can jerk the kid out from under you at any moment. Until the child is 100% legally yours via adoption then the system can take them back if they want. A lot of it is on "technicalities" and such. For instance, I have read about this one family who were matched with a child only to find out that their agency refused to do what the child's state wanted them to. Well, instead of giving the family the chance to switch agencies they just gave the kid to the 2nd family in line.

But anyway, we are currently playing the waiting game. We are signed up for training in June for 7 hours with other adoptive parents and we start PRIDE training in July (hopefully!) - which is for foster parents. It teaches you how to deal with the many issues that foster children have and how to handle the system as well. While we are not doing foster we are adopting a DCFS child so we have to have the training.

We will not be meeting with our worker until all of our paperwork is finished. At this point all of our medical forms are filled out. I need to get the dogs vaccinated and the agency is waiting for all our references to come to them and I think that will be everything. So, right now, we are just waiting. :o)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Update on our Adoption

Josh and I attended an orientation meeting for foster parents just to kind of see what it is all about. The majority of the information we already knew, but we did learn one MAJOR fact that was a deal-breaker for us on foster care. The state of Illinios has issues...did you know that? Well, it's true. Most foster kids are in care about 4-6 months, sometimes less sometimes more. After 18 months if the child's parents have not come up to scratch then the court is supposed to order a TPR (termination of parental rights). At that point the foster parents are given the option to adopt the child or not.

At least that is how it is SUPPOSED to happen.

Not in Illinois.

Our court system is so behind that a child is in care on average 3-5 YEARS - and most of them go back home after that. Very few children in IL actually go up for adoption, which I guess is good for them.

But let's step back and look at this....how much damage is that really doing? A young child is only going to KNOW their foster parents - then get put back with their biological parents after 5 years???? I just don't get it.

Josh and I decided that, because of this little fact, foster care is definitely not for us. There is no way we could care for a child for so long and then just let them go - not to mention how hard it would be for Hunter and Alex to see their "sibling" just leave and never come back.

We have been heavily persuing Adopt-Only, but Illinois doesn't like that. Since Illinois have very few adoptable kids they just need foster parents, so almost all adopt-only programs have been obliterated. AND since Illinois has very few adoptable children Josh and I would like to reserve the right to persue out of state adoption as well. After all, there are TONS of kids in other states who need a family, right?

We have finally found an agency that will work with us on this, but it is a bit costly. We are currently looking at ways to finance this. There are lots of adoption grants and such and I have some paperwork on that. We are also saving what we can.

Now, on to a different rant. The agency that we are working with will help us, but it seems that no one has any idea how to do this. I have been through the wringer with all this run-around. They say they will call me back, but never do. I did manage to get the application (which resembles buying a house) so that I can start on that. I guess I understand that when you are doing foster care the state is paying for it so they will get it done when they get it done. But, since I am PAYING for this myself I kind of expect a certain level of service. Is that too much to ask? Maybe it is - I have no idea. I know these folks are way overworked and way underpaid, but seriously, who isn't? On a daily basis I am returning admin emails to my bosses while trying to change a diaper (and keep Alex's hands out of it) and since I am not paying attention to him Hunter is throwing a fit in the background.

So, since this process appears to be SO difficult I am under no misapprehension as to why these poor kids get the shit end of the stick. No WONDER why the system is so f*cked up. This process seriously resembles a giant group of chickens with their heads cut off running around in a 2 inch wide pen.

Finally, on to my update: We are currently waiting to talk to our social worker - IF she ever calls back.

On a side note: For my fantastic friends that hope to persue adoption one day I urge you to begin saving up your patience now...Lord knows you are going to need it!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Adoption Agency

So, I have been doing LOTS of reasearch on adoption and I had NO IDEA there was so much stuff to learn and that it could be so complicated. No wonder our system is so backed up and there are so many problems. I am going to be contacting an agency that the recruiter referred us to, as they do inter-state adoptions too.

Josh and I are interested in the Adopt Only programs, which means we won't be foster parents, we will only be available for adopting those children that the parents have already been proven unfit to raise and the courts have terminated their parental rights. These children are currently in foster homes or orphanage-like places.

Our biggest issue that we are concerned with is cost. It really could be a deal breaker for us which disappoints us greatly. This type of adoption is not nearly as costly as international ($25,000) or domestic private adoption (6,000-10,000). But if you don't have the money, you don't have the money. I will be finding out a lot of information related directly to Illinois today (hopefully!) so we will be able to know if we can move forward or re-evaluate what we want.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Inspiration comes from strange places

It's been a little while since I have last posted. We are all doing well. Alex turned the big 1 on March 27th and had 2 fantastic birthdays. He loves cake!!! We had a fantastic time with our family in Minnesota, but we miss them!!

On to other news - when we were in MN in Oct 08 Alex got sick. We met the Watters' there
(http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/corinnewatters) check out the link for more info. Long story short, their biological daughter got cancer in her leg when she was 6. While going through treatment, her room was next to a boy about the same age that had the exact same cancer. The family noticed that this little boy was all alone and receiving treatment by himself, without friends or family. His name is Victor. Victor was in foster care. Well, the Watters' just couldn't stand for that, God bless them, so they up and ADOPTED him and he is now gleefully a part of their fantastic family. Unfortunately, Victor's cancer returned (he is now 11ish) and he is undergoing some very experimental clinical trials to remove the cancer (which spread a bit). Deb Watters (the mother) came to our room when Alex was receiving his blood transfusion to just chat a bit. She really is one amazing lady!

Anyway, most of you know how severely Alex's sickness affected me. It was the worst time in my whole life and I have questioned a lot of things that I just took for granted before. I still don't even like to talk about. But, I was just reading an article on the Watter family (Pioneer Press -http://www.twincities.com/rosario) and I had a MAJOR epiphany. This may sound a bit ridiculous, but here it goes.

Josh and I always knew we wanted to adopt one day. We had always been saying that we would have our 2 boys and if we ever wanted more we would adopt. Recently, since Alex got sick Josh and I have been determined to do what we can to help out kids...donate money, time, resources, whatever we were capable of. These families are all suffering so badly and those of us who are lucky enough to be healthy and stable typically take those "normalcies" for granted.

I always believe things happen for a reason, even though they may totally suck at the time and be life altering, it happens for a reason. You meet the people you meet because you are supposed to, things that happen to you happen to teach you or give you that experience for something that will come later, etc. So, my big question, since Oct 08, is WHY did MY baby have to be the one that got this incredibly rare blood virus? It's so rare that they can't even research it, they can't tell you what caused it or when it's going to end. They can't even give you a diagnosis without going through lots of very invasive test and throwing the "C" word in your face a thousand times. WHY? Why us? I guess everyone asks that question in situations like this.

Well, I think I may have had my answer...maybe this happened to not only teach Josh and I a thing or two about life priorities and what is really important and what NOT to take for granted, but maybe I was supposed to meet Deb Watters. I mean, for goodness sakes, we were in MINNESOTA when we got the call....we had to go to MINNESOTA hospitals. On the same day as her son, Victor. Directly across the hall from him.

I have been following both Corrine and Victor's story every since and probably will for the rest of my life...as long as they are blogging. If this family, with 5 biological children, and one child with Cancer can adopt a child who needs a home, why can't we? We are VERY blessed with 2 healthy little boys, a nice large home and a nice large vehicle...we are somewhat financially stable (who is right now? really.) and I work from home. Instead of sending informal money or resources that I will never really know what they do with, why don't I take the bull by the horns and help out a child?

So, in lieu of my above epiphany, Josh and I have decided to adopt a child from foster care. A child that is already here on this earth and has the misfortune to get sucky parents. A child that, yes, will have issues. We can help. We will try our damndest. So, THAT is why I think Alex got sick. THAT is why I met Deb Watters. THAT changed my life. We have been matched with an adoption agency and I will be contacting them Monday morning to start the process of getting licensed. Will keep you all updated!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Toys! Toys Everywhere!

So, here is my question...WHY is it that when you have kids your house (literally overnight) turns into this packed toy museum? WHY do I have 9 million of the same toys? I have toys in every room.

Well, I decided to take this in hand and go through all my toys to chuck the ones they never play with, are missing pieces or are broken. Naturally, when looking at these toys I only found about 8 I could manage to throw away. Alex will be growing into the ones that Hunter is too big for and since we are home a lot they literally play with nearly ALL their toys. Plus, once Alex catches up to Hunter then I will NEED 2 dump trucks, and 2 tractors with trailers, and several trains, right? This, my friends, is called rationalization. It's not at all healthy, but unfortunately it is totally normal.

I haven't even gone through Alex's toybox or my entire downstairs (which has about 3 times as many toys as my upstairs). We are having a yard sale this spring (getting rid of ALL the baby stuff - - no more kids for us!) and I am hoping to have a lot of toys to sell or give to Good Will.

I am so sick of the JUNK that we have. Just THINGS. Bleh. I SO wish I had time to Spring Clean...I would need a whole week without the kids to do it. Not gonna happen, so I will have to make do with my yard sale!