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Waiting for Inspection

Paperwork-mountain

We have been contacted by our foster care licensing specialists and completed our mounds of paperwork required to transition into fostering.

We have an added household member who now needs to get fingerprinted, etc… in preparation for children coming into the home.

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We have completed our household preparation checklist, which includes safeguarding medications, adult beverages, weapons, or anything else needed to be out of the reach of kiddos.  We have put locks on cabinets and outlet covers are in place.  We have created and posted our emergency evacuation plan.

It is really ironic how much you do to become a foster or adoptive parent, beyond what people do who have children naturally.  I can’t imagine any of our parents or friends creating a emergency evacuation plan and posting it in the house.  I understand the purpose for great need for safety and the trust that will be put in us caring for others children if and when we are approved as foster parents.

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Now we are waiting our the state inspection of our home, which will include checking for all of the safeguarding, checking our water temperature, making sure there are no hazards and we have indeed appropriately prepared our home for children.

Our new foster licensing specialist will be coming to the house to inspect and meet us as well as all our communication so far has been via phone or email.

Not sure how long the process will take with the holidays approaching.  Hoping everything goes smoothly.

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The NEW Game Plan!?!?!?

What's the plan? Funny.  I haven’t posted in a year and now 2 posts in two days???  WOW!!!  I wanted the update and the new plan to be two different posts because one was kind of where we’ve been and the other is where we are going.  This one is kind of a long one but well worth the read!

Decision

When we originally started towards the process of adopting through the foster care system in October 2010.  We were discussing with our licensing specialist about fostering, foster to adopt, and adopting, what the differences were, and how we should move forward. ask-question

Placement Types

Fostering:  Bringing children into your home with the purpose of caring and loving the them, while their family has the opportunity to meet certain requirements for the them to return home.  The initial goal is always for the kids to return home or be placed with a family member if unable to go back to birth parents.  If family is unable to take the child, the foster parents have first option to adopt the child.  If the foster parents do not choose to adopt, the child is placed on the adoption registry.  This type of placement has a lot of unknowns and there is a high likelihood for reunification and having a multitude of placements before we might be able to adopt.

Foster to Adopt:  In this stage, the foster parents are not planning on adopting the child and the case plan for the child is moving for adoption.  The parental rights have not been severed yet, but reunification is unlikely.  CPS will work through the process of red file staffing and choosing an adoptive family for the child to be placed with.  With this placement type, there is less chance of the child returning home, however it is still an option.  Also, family members could be located who will take the child and you still might lose the placement and not get to adopt this child.

Adoption:  This type of placement occurs when the parental rights are already severed and the case plan is adoption.  The foster parents are not adopting, an adoptive family is selected and the child is placed with them.  This is the safest route with the smallest chance of not being able to adopt the child.

Initially, we were planning on fostering with the hopes of adopting children one day who came into our home and were unable to reunite with their birth family.  Being supportive of our ultimate goal of adoption, our licensing specialist encouraged us to start with adoption or foster to adopt.  We really wanted to add to our family as soon as possible and were willing to take the extra risk and chose Foster to Adopt as the placement type we would accept.

Foster to Adopt

From the Decision to Now: The Process & Events

We have been on the adoption registry for two and a half years now and do not have children in our home yet.  We have had a potential foster to adopt and a private adoption fall through in this timeframe.  We have also had one little girl we were contacted about but not chosen for the red file staffing.  And another child we were contacted about that we were chosen for the red file staffing but we felt the needs were beyond what we were capable of and the child needed a true stay at home parent who didn’t work.

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Goal

When preparing to decide if we were going to renew our adoption certificate this year, we had many lengthy discussions about our future and plans, being in limbo, frustration, and discouragement.  We have love to give and want to experience the joy of parenting.  After previous disappointments we weren’t sure how much more we can handle.

Limbo is an awful place in between setting out on a mission and achieving the desired result. When reaching your goal is out of your control and your life is in someone else’s hands, it can be maddening!  I have been taught lesson after lesson through the process of infertility, pregnancy loss, feeling like my body is failing me and I am failing my husband, and potential adoptions not working out.

Patience is something I have been tested with over and over again, as well as releasing things, trusting in God and believing there is a plan for my life even when it seems impossible. Sometimes I would really love a flashing neon sign showing me the plan and explaining why the road has to be so rough, however I do believe everything happens for a reason.  Ultimately we have learned we are an amazing, strong people and our relationship has grown and blossomed. In August, our plan became not to renew our certificate, to let our current one run out and that would be it.  We were disappointed and did not feel we would receive an adoption placement for our preferred age range but didn’t feel changing our parameters was the right thing to do.  We have aired on the side of the cautious one, not pushing each other into anything.  I was very unsettled with this decision.  I was crying every day and not ready to accept I would never be a parent.

For quite some time I have felt called to fostering but have been resistant because I wanted less risk and more certainty.  I was feeling particularly distraught one day and while online I searched for a church I had been to a long time ago.  I found the website and I watched some sermons online.  I was having a crisis of faith and truly was seeking help, guidance, or comfort with our decision and decided to go to church the next day.  A friendly woman sat next to me. After the service she talked with me, said God told her she was to sit next to me, she asked questions, I cried, and she prayed with me.  Later she introduced me to a member who is currently fostering.  Both ladies offered support and encouragement and I felt comfortable and loved (even after crying in front of strangers).  When I got home, we had another difficult conversation where I expressed I was not done or ready to accept I would not be a parent and believed we were called to foster.  We decided to renew our adoption certificate at this time but could not come to agreement on fostering.

The unknown’s of fostering when you are hoping to adopt can be challenging.  In the process we could have the opportunity to bless multiple children and enjoy parenting even if it is for a short time.  But also know we may be faced with reunifying multiple children and not have the opportunity to adopt arise.  When we went notarize our adoption paperwork, the notary who signed our paper last year  talked to us about how he is fostering and now adopting a foster child.  He discussed his experiences, providing encouragement and answered questions.  It multiple ways, God was leading us towards what I already felt called to do.

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We have decided to move towards fostering at this time.  We have completed the classes we needed but still have additional paperwork and an inspection to pass before approved.  We are both excited and nervous about our new path, and are hopeful it will lead to adoption one day. We know our family and friends share in the roller coaster ride of building our family and hope to receive the continued support of our loved ones on this new journey.

With Love,

J & M

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and the winner is….US!!!

Today was the Red File Staffing for three precious children.  Two other couples and us were being represented at the meeting where they decided who would be the best fit, best choice to be their parents.

We are very happy to announce we were chosen to be the parents to these children!  We will be the parents to a 39 month old boy, a 20 month old boy, and a 9 month old girl. We will be going from a couple to a instant family of five!

Tomorrow we go to the Paper File.  This is a meeting where we go with our licensing specialist to meet the case manager and foster parents and anyone else whom they have asked to join us.  We will get to ask all of our questions and hear more about the kids.

At the end of the meeting we will get to see a picture of the kids!

The process is going to move very quickly and we know we will be very busy.  I am sure we will need everyone’s love, support, and understanding as we start this new journey in our lives.

Thank you to everyone who has been encouraging, helping, and loving us through this process!

a little bit of action going on

A week ago we were contacted by our licensing specialist.  Another county was looking for families who would want their files looked at for a child who would have some special needs. Our licensing specialist gave us some information and asked if we would like to have our file put on the case managers desk to be considered for baby A.  After reviewing the information we had received we let her know we did want our file passed on and wanted to be considered for the Red File Staffing for baby A.

We were nervous to tell anyone about the call because this was a weird preliminary call and we had not yet been selected for the Red File Staffing, we only knew our file would be looked at.  We didn’t want to jinx our chances by telling everyone.  Silly, I know.

We can’t say much but here is what we can tell you.  Baby A was a 13 month old girl who had already been faced with a lot in life and at this point there was a lot of unknowns regarding how lasting her special needs would be.

We were secretly really confident we would at least make it to the Red File Staffing and probably even get selected.  We thought this because I am an ICU nurse, baby A’s special needs, and since J and I work opposite shifts, we are considered a stay at home parent.  These were two BIG things in our favor.

We thought and considered the special needs and the challenges we may face but were excited and confident we were ready to take on this challenge.

While waiting to hear if we were selected to be in the Red File Staffing, I was praying for God’s will.  If baby A was the right baby for us, we would be selected.  If baby A was not the child he wanted us to have, I wanted the decision to be made for us.  I didn’t want us to be faced with the decision of not choosing her if we felt the challenges would be too much upon learning more information.  I know being in that situation would be really hard for us because we are so ready to be parents.

Tuesday we were contacted by our specialist, letting us know we were not chosen to be in the Red File Staffing.  We were all shocked based on the particular special needs and my nursing background that we weren’t selected to be in the staffing.  At this point in the game, they don’t tell you why you weren’t selected.  Normally you wouldn’t even know they were looking at your file until you were asked to be in the Red File Staffing.

I guess we are encouraged our file has been looked at and considered.  Surprised we didn’t make the Red File Staffing on this one.  And trying to believe the reason we weren’t chosen is because my prayer was answered that we wouldn’t have to choose not to take her because her medical needs were too great.

It is amazing how attached you can get and how easily your heart can start loving this little being that isn’t in your life yet.

waiting for a call

All is quiet on the home front. We are waiting for a call…….

This waiting process reminds me of the Mervyn’s commercial where the girl is in the window saying,  “Open, Open, Open”… we are looking at the phone saying, “Ring, Ring, Ring!”

the dream

My hubby had a dream this weekend we got a call for a placement and got a girl.

It would be nice if this was a premonition! 🙂

Of course we will let you all know if we hear anything.

Have a great week!!

curiosity vs. confidentiality

We all know the saying “curiosity killed the cat”.  I am sure everyone in our lives will be wondering so many things about the children we are privileged to bring home and adopt.

In adoption, probably specifically foster care adoption, there is a confidentiality clause. This is a rule to protect the children who come into our homes.

Although I am sure everyone will be curious what their story is, why they are in the foster care system, what they have been through, this is their story.  When they are older and when they are ready they can choose to share this information with whomever they choose.

J and I will know whatever information we are told but we are not allowed, nor do we feel it would be the right thing to share this information with anyone. If something specific needs to be shared with a doctor or therapist for them to treat the child they we will have to share the information but other than that we can not.

This isn’t because we don’t love you or know you would love and support our child regardless, it is to protect them and their private information.  It will give them a fresh start where everyone “doesn’t know their name”.

the last childless weekend getaway???

California – no doubt about it, a beautiful wonderful place to visit!  The weather was cool and divine, a fabulous get away from the AZ heat.

We visited the Santa Monica Pier, one of our favorite places in California.  We also saw Hotel California.  Being an Eagles fan I have heard the song but didn’t know there was actually a hotel named “Hotel California” but there is! 

Our hotel was about a mile from Disneyland.  Every time I thought about how close we were to Disneyland, I was excited and overjoyed thinking… I can’t wait to come back with our kids, which we hope will be joining our family really soon.  I had no negative or envious feelings at all when seeing all of the children with their families. Only excitement and anticipation for us!

I have ALWAYS wanted to be a mother.  I have prayed for my children for as long as I can remember.  Although things have not worked out as I have planned, HE has a plan for us and I know our children are out there, waiting for us as we are waiting for them. I can’t wait to meet them!

We visited a restaurant, El Cholo, which my friend claims to be the best mexican food in Los Angeles.  It was yummy and J could eat the salsa, definitely a benefit.  For those of you who don’t know my husband well, he is not the biggest fan of mexican food (my favorite) and he finds Taco Bell Mild Sauce to be “spicy”.  So finding a place he and I can both enjoy is awesome!

The had pretty darn good Margaritas too!!  One of my favorite occasional treats is having a Margarita, they are like a refreshing lemonade with a kick! 😉

I am really starting to consider myself a connoisseur of salsa and margaritas.  Two of my favorite things.  I now have my favorite places is multiples cities, states, and in three countries.

We also visited Desert Hills Premium Outlets and Cabazon Outlets.  We both found some summer clothes and I got a couple new purses with my fabulous 30% off coupon. 🙂

We have been told by our licensing specialist to keep living our lives, not planning it around our children to be because we don’t know when they will arrive.  But this weekend we sure found ourselves wondering if this was our last childless weekend getaway???  What will happen with our planned September vacation?  Will we have another childless getaway?  Will we be bringing children along?  Will we be canceling because we have just been placed and feel it is too soon to be traveling as a family?

Not really sure what the future holds right now but feeling optimistic and excited today.