Monday, March 26, 2018

Where we are now: Respite and waiting

Hi friends!

A quick update. We were certified February 14 as foster parents! At this point, we have told the county we are "on" for respite care, but not for our own placement yet. We switched social workers from the one who approved our home study to a more permanent social worker who will see us through respite and placement(s).

We have ongoing training requirements - 20 hours annually that can come from support groups, online training, "independent study" (aka reading parenting books), and some other options. We have to do a fire drill soon and take an emergency preparedness quiz. We have a big big file folder organizer thing full of all the papers we will need now and once a baby is with us.

Our new social worker has warned us that they will call us if they have a child who needs foster parents, whether we think we are ready or not. I told her we are a hard "no" through tax season, but after that... who knows? I have a hard time imagining saying no if they call with a baby.

For the time being, we are getting through tax season and doing respite care! We have our first respite gig Friday night, caring for three kids, one of which is in the age range we hope to have placed with us! Fingers crossed that it goes amazingly!

I'm wishing for a faster pace than Pat is - If I could have a baby tomorrow (ignoring tax season, for a moment), I totally would. But my logical brain knows that taking in a new baby when Pat is working 10+ hours a day would be an awful decision.

My logical brain also wants to wait until I feel confident in my still new-ish job, until after my father in law's wedding in June, until Pat knows he is ready.

Does anyone ever feel ready?

So we are waiting and babysitting and I'm daydreaming and my puppy is still my baby. For now.

More updates to come! Remember you can ask me a question or see a run down of the full process here.

<3 Abbey

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Home study is underway!

We are actively in the home study phase!

Pat and I mailed in our application a couple weeks before Christmas. The week before Christmas, a social worker called me and we scheduled a meeting for Thursday night. Pat and I each rushed home from work. I beat him home and found that Hagrid had shown his excitement by pooping all over our white carpet.

I cleaned up the mess with about 15 minutes to spare, opened a window, and lit some candles.

Our first home study meeting lasted about an hour. We answered basic questions - where are we from, what do we do, what did we study, where did we go to school, what do our parents do, etc. Our social worker covered the timeline and process and requirements.

Our second home study meeting lasted about two hours. In between the meetings, we filled out surveys describing our childhood, our relationship with each other, our relationship with our families, our relationship to drugs and alcohol, and more. We were separated for individual interviews. Pat's was quick because he doesn't talk much! Mine was a bit longer. These interviews covered the same topics as the survey, more in depth, and she asked about any trauma we've been through.

We'll have one more interview - about marriage and parenting styles - and we have to get our house physically ready. The biggest challenge there is installing a baby gate at the top of our stairs, as the stairs don't end next to a wall and the end of the railing isn't straight across. Pat is going to try to work some magic to get the gate installed.

We have to take an online parenting course and complete CPR/First aid training, and we'll both submit fingerprints to have our criminal records checked, and we have a sheepton of paperwork to do.

Nala, one of our kitties, is also throwing a wrench into the process. We took her to the vet Dec. 29 and she should have gotten a rabies vaccination, but her records show they didn't give it! So we've got to get that straightened out too.

If everything goes smoothly, we'll be certified on Valentine's day. If not, we'll be certified on a Wednesday in between V-day and March 14th!

It's exciting and scary to finally have things happening. It's been in process so long - and on my mind for even longer - so everything feels really, really fast now that it's happening. Will keep this blog updated as there is new news! So thankful for everyone who reads and cares and supports us. We are lucky to have our community cheering for us!

<3 Abbey

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A new timeline

The Plan

as of October:

  • Submit foster care application by the 15th
  • Start home study, get approved by January 15th
  • Start helping other foster families care for their kids
  • Get a foster baby in our home summer 2018

The Reality

as of today:

  • Foster care application is sitting on the kitchen table, where it has been for weeks, 95% complete
  • Home study has not begun
  • Therefore can't help other foster families
  • Baby in our home...?

I accepted a new job last week. It's a job in college orientation - meaning summer 2018 is about the worst time in the world for us to try to start parenthood. I know they say you're never ready, but I can. not. take maternity leave in the summer less than a year into a new job.

So all of our timelines are on hold, for that reason and the incomplete application sitting on our kitchen table.

I am sad. I am sad I have no new answers when people ask me where we're at, sad that parenthood will be delayed, sad there are babies who need homes we won't be able to help, and more. But I'm trying to take this all day by day and mentally and emotionally be where we are, not only be focused on who-knows-when, when we actually have a baby in our home.

So my dog and cats get to keep being the babies, for now. I'm on to a different, unexpected new adventure in my new job. It'll all happen in time. Patience is not one of my strengths, but I'm about to get loads of practice.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


The subtitle of this blog may be misleading.

This is an adoption blog, because Pat and I are hoping to adopt. But the goal of foster care is not adoption.

When we get a baby in our home, the goal for that baby is to go home - to be reunited with their family. The goal for the next baby is also reunification. And the next and the next.

Yes, Pat and I hope to build our family through adoption, through foster care. But the county's goal, the parents' goal, and ultimately our goal is to get that baby home. We will be a safe place, a loving home, until their parents or grandparents or aunt or uncle or someone can safely care for the baby themselves. If that doesn't happen, we will have the option of adopting them.

We have our last foster care class tonight - which is actually class one since our registration got screwed up and we started in class two. Then we'll work on getting our home ready and we plan to start our home study in October. The home study could take up to 90 days, and then we'll help other foster families take care of their babies until we are ready to open our home.

This might be a long and windy road. I'm steeling myself - both terrified and so, so ready.

Friday, May 26, 2017

I am bitter. I am lucky.

Last night we had our foster care class, and my dominant emotion was anger. or bitterness. or grief. Or a mix of all three.

I spent the day hanging out with a pregnant co-worker and shopping for my best friend's baby shower. I am THRILLED for both of them.

But I am bitter that I don't get to just make a baby.
I am bitter that we can't have a kid who is biologically both of ours.
I am bitter that I have to go through classes to build a family when it feels like any idiot on the street gets to just accidentally make it happen.
I am bitter that I don't get all the mommy milestones of announcing my pregnancy to my husband, my family, my community; of having a traditional baby shower; of daydreaming about our baby's characteristics taken from our own; of choosing my baby's name.
I am bitter that I don't get to fight off strangers who want to touch my belly.
I am bitter that we have to learn about drug exposure and abuse and insecure attachment styles - I'm bitter that we might need all that info at our disposal when we have our kids because they'll potentially have been through hell before they get to us.
I am bitter that my gain when we do get to adopt is someone else's loss.
I am bitter that a child I care for over the course of a year or more will be returned to a "minimally adequate" home.

All of these are important for me to feel. If someone told me to "choose happy" or look on the bright side, I'd probably bite their heads off. But...

I am lucky.

I am lucky to live in a county with so. much. support for foster families.
I am lucky to have parents who fostered children and know what it's like.
I am lucky to have sisters who are rooting for us and our adopted babes, who will see our kiddos as their nieces and nephews as much as if they were blood relatives.

I am lucky to have Pat. A partner who followed my lead in research; who followed my gut in choosing foster care; who is flexible if we find that this isn't really the path for us. A partner who wants kids; who can tell from my posture that I'm in a piss-poor mood during class before I even tell him that I'm angry; who doesn't question all the chocolate I buy because I'm an emotional eater and it's part of how I'm getting through this; who will be there with me for every step of this; who had a strong mother and knows I can be that too; who recognizes that we are going to parent and run our household as a team, not as a homemaker and a breadwinner.

I am lucky.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

One year down, and our first training class

A year ago today, Pat and I learned that we could not have babies that were biologically both of ours. After we got the call telling us this - definitively, for 100% sure - Pat worked from home, because he is Pat, and I cried on the couch, quietly, trying not to let him hear me.

Then I took a nap. (as one does.)

Then I started my research.

As I mentioned, I landed pretty quickly on the idea of foster-to-adopt. When I thought of our kids, I'd always theorized whether my genes would beat out all of Pat's; with my darker hair and darker eyes. I looked forward to seeing our family resemblances in the kids, figuring out who had whose eyes and nose and singing voice and athletic talent or lack thereof.

But if the kiddos weren't going to be biologically both of ours... I thought adoption would be our next best plan.

By the end of May, I can remember filling in my father-in-law on what I'd learned about adoption and sending him links to articles online. I checked out books from the library and started looking at what local agencies required.

Pat was a little slower; he was leaning toward private adoption.

In August, we attended an orientation for our county's foster care, and Pat agreed: Foster-to-adopt would be our path. About a week later, I signed us up for our Core Training class, months in advance because of Pat's work schedule.

There has been a lot of internal reckoning for me since we landed on this path. There are heartaches already. Our babies will not be mini Patricks running around, as I'd once imagined. They won't have my dad's eyes, as I do, or my mom's everything else, as I do. They will be named by their birth families, and Pat and I will honor those names as gifts from the ones who also gave them their lives. And there may be babies who are ours only for a short time, and then go back to their families of origin.

But we will be their mom and dad, while we have them, for as long as we have them.

Last week, we started our foster care certification classes - Core Training. There was some computer trouble - the computer ate our initial registration, and we didn't get updates we should have. We showed up in the wrong city and a week into the class (as they had changed the dates and the location). We'll do Weeks 2-8 then do Week 1 with the next group. Just more bumps in the road.

Still, it feels good to be taking steps toward finding our family. We are finally doing something, on the path, making it happen.

More to come, when there's more to say. Love to all.