Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I just turned down a baby

Just got the call - we are approved for fostering. We still need to wait on the next time the board meets to be special needs adoption approved (which means we can't apply for any of the legally free children quite yet, but should be able to in the next few weeks. Assuming nothing else crazy happens. But I think this timeline might actually be for real.)
Anyways, I just got the call that we are approved for foster and really what she was calling me about was, could I take an infant today?
Well shit. No I cannot. I WANT to be able to. But we aren't set up for a baby, we're set up for older kids.

But shit. An infant. A brand new one. It felt so weird to say no. I want to call her back and say YES YES YES.
But I won't.
But I want to.
But I won't.

Edit: And then within two hours she has called me twice more about kids - a weekend respite care, which we said yes to, and two kids who she MAY be moving, one of which is a toddler, so I said no.
It seems like we won't be waiting months for placements at least!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Too late

We FINALLY got our homestudy back! It may have taken six times longer than she said it would, but it is what it is and it is done.

I was starting to worry that she didn't like us or something, but our case manager (who teaches the classes) said she loved us. (The woman that did our homestudy was very nice but hard to read.)
It was weird to read the homestudy - I know it's supposed to give an idea of who we are and what our lives are like and how we would be as parents, but I felt like it was talking about some other couple. Instead of big picture stuff it quoted us on weird little things. I suppose it doesn't matter, since the last line was like "These people are totally recommended for approval because they are super awesome."
I may be paraphrasing a bit there, but you get the idea.

So we got the homestudy, made a few corrections, signed and returned it and now we are ready to...wait, nope, hold up. The director needs to approve it, then it needs to go into the state system for approval. And for the kids we want, we also have to get a special adoption approval from a board that meets once a month. Okay, so it'll be another few weeks and then we'll be applying for the kids that our case manager sent us!

Except. My mom called yesterday wanting to know if I had heard about the weather (fracking snow), when I was picking up the can of gefilte fish I left there (never) and had I seen that our kids were no longer listed on the website?

They are gone, these kids that were never ours.

Our case manager sent me an email that their case manager has placed them in a pre-adoptive home and they they couldn't wait on us. Our case manager said she was upset, but of course understood. I said I understood too. And I do. Other than a little frustration that if we had gotten our stuff back sooner we may have been in the running, I'm not really sad. It feels the same to me as trying to conceive back when we were a few months in but not really aware yet that there was a problem. A little wistful over what could have been ours, based solely on the fantasies of what I imagined our lives could be like with these children. A little jealous that somebody else gets to go before me into parenthood. And vaguely happy that somebody is getting to experience everything I still believe I will have soon.

Of course, those vague and gentle emotions turned sharp and jagged after infertility showed up to rain on my parade. I don't want to go back to that.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Still waiting...

I emailed her (short, light tone, casual, not at all bitchy and overbearing. Really, I am capable of it sometimes...) and she said she was waiting to get it back from her supervisor. So, still nothing.

Had a good weekend though! I'm finally getting over this awful cold. Breathing is such an awesome thing. 

We invited my boss, who I (still) adore, over for dinner along with two neighbors of his who are friends. Their dog comes to my office every day and is best friends with my dog. They have all been really good to us and we hadn't had them over to our new house for a get together yet despite being here for a year. My boss and I stopped at the fancy butcher while he was driving me home Friday and he insisted on buying the meat which kind of negated the hosting but was very nice. The poor cashier wasn't sure whose money to take.
 I bought lots of wine and made a fantastic cake while A made short ribs in Guinness with polenta and some sort of cabbage/apple/bacon thing. It was all really good and it was nice having everyone to dinner. My boss's lady friend was working on a deadline and couldn't come but she enjoyed the leftovers enough to suggest getting investors for a restaurant. A is thinking about hiring out for dinner parties, since my boss already mentioned wanting to have one with A catering. It could be nice for extra money. (In a previous life A was a professional chef, so it's not too out there.)

In other adoption news, we do have our class for adoption (as opposed to foster care) this Saturday. After that we just need to do 15 hours of continuing ed each year to keep our foster license.
We are getting together after class with two couples we met in the foster classes. They are both very nice, slightly younger than me. They are applying for younger kids, so I don't know how much we will have in common later but it's nice to have somebody to talk to who is going through the same process.

Do you know that children's song "I am slowly going crazy, crazy going slowly am I"? Yeah. That's me. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Ugh. Sorry I have been incommunicado. Work was super busy and then the last two weeks I have been battling the cold from hell that has just gotten worse and worse. I'm pretty sure I spent a grand total of maybe five hours not in bed this last weekend and four of those five were on the couch. I gave up pretending to work at noon on Friday and came home and went to bed. Of course the awful thing about colds is that you don't really sleep because you can't breathe. And then I got some sort of weird...pinched nerve maybe? My lower back/upper butt started killing me and my hips were stiff and painful and it radiated down my legs to my knees. Despite getting the good prescription nighttime cough syrup with codeine that calmed my violent coughing, I couldn't sleep because the pain was so bad and nothing I did helped.

Naturally, I assumed I had some sort of degenerative disc disease or something and spent most of the weekend contemplating how we would need to sell the house because I wouldn't be able to walk up stairs and we'd probably need to cancel the whole kid thing because I was going to become one of those people that needs to be doped to the gills with painkillers in order to barely function and would be in no shape to be taking care of anybody but myself.

And then by Monday afternoon the pain was pretty much gone. Which is good, as I would clearly make an insufferable chronic pain sufferer.

So the important stuff:

During the time I have been dying of either coughing or hip pain, we have gotten exactly nowhere on the homestudy front. We had the second home study almost three weeks ago and she (What do I call her, this lady who did our homestudy? I don't know the right terms for these things, or if we are going to be working with her or we keep working with the person who taught our classes or what. Information is definitely a bit spotty) indicated that she planned to get it done by the end of the following week. I waited almost two weeks, then emailed her last Thursday. I hate when I have to do that. I feel like such an impatient rudeass - I know that she is super busy and overworked and probably underpaid and it's not like our (potential, don't fall in love yet, Me!) kids are in a situation they have to get out of tomorrow...but don't tell me it'll take a week! Tell me you're freaking busy and I'm not important and you'll get to it when you damn well please.

So I emailed on Thursday (I also considered the possibility that she had emailed the previous week and entered my somewhat difficult to type email wrong and could possibly be waiting on me to respond and was wondering why I was so slow) and she emailed back and said she was trying to get it done and to her supervisor by the weekend and would let me know if there were any more delays.

Now it's a week later and I haven't heard anything from her.

So. Do I email her again, possibly being the annoying impatient potential foster mother who is going to drive the agency nuts with her constant pestering? Let's face it, I will be that person. I am pushy and loud and when I have kids I am going to be demanding everything I can for them in terms of services. But the homestudy is more about me than about the kids, so do I want to be that person NOW? Before they place kids with me? Because while I am pushy and loud, I also want to be LIKED.And she had a bit of a poker face, so I couldn't tell if she was terribly unimpressed with us and our half-assed answers, or if she thought I was awesome, which of course, I am. Clearly.

Who am I kidding? Of course I am going to email her, like, right now. I just have to hope that she gets my tone. I hear myself in my head when I write (there is clearly no editing going on in this blog, it goes down as I think it) but she might not hear the same thing when she reads it. There is a (fairly large possibility) that not only do I not come off as a compassionate person who understands that she is overloaded with work, but that I come off as slightly unhinged and erratic. I probably talk (write) too much. She doesn't need the explanation of why I was concerned about her having me email address wrong and how I am not trying to be rude and pushy and needy. Or does she? If I don't put it in, then am I just cold and demanding?

This would all be much easier if she would just email me while I am typing this blog post...

Friday, February 21, 2014


Okay, my concerns seem pretty silly now, she seemed totally fine with our house and was very nice. I'm sure we said some stupid things during our interview but hopefully they came off as fixably stupid. (I can't answer questions about discipline where I don't have all the variables! I need all the variables!)
 We have the second homestudy in a week, then we just wait for the next step. 
Also, my house is now super clean. Yay!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homestudy tomorrow

Our homestudy got pushed back to tomorrow because of the weather. I am trying to figure out if I can/should take the day off work tomorrow - it's not like I will be very useful at the office, right? I keep worrying about things in our house being potential roadblocks. My fingers are tap tap tapping and my mind is running through all possible scenarios, including fairly implausible ones, like our gutter falling off and hitting the social worker. She wouldn't want to give us kids after our house attacked her, right? WHAT IF MY HOUSE ATTACKS THE SOCIAL WORKER?
Or my dog starts humping the cat or she hates our political views or our stove ventilation isn't enough and so this house will never ever pass a homestudy. (I am actually worried about the ventilation thing - we have a gas stove and there is no exhaust fan above it in the kitchen. If this is a problem we are looking at a couple grand to install one and who knows how much time.But it's not something I can fix overnight so I just need to cross my fingers and hope it's not a problem.)
We at least have most things in place. We bought locks for chemicals and booze, got fire extinguishers, and my amazing friends came over on Sunday to help clean so my pantry no longer looks like an episode of hoarders. And as they keep reminding me, people are homestudy approved all the time that have way sketchier homes, financials and personalities.
(Yes, there are sketchier people than me. Stop looking skeptical.)

Really I think most of it goes back to that childhood fear of worrying that she won't like me. I remember in seventh grade having my two best friends hand me a note right before I got on the bus that said "We don't want to be your friend anymore." I had no warning that they were going to cut me out completely so I think I always get a little compulsive about checking that my friends aren't quietly annoyed and planning to stop returning my calls. (Which of course I then need to be careful about because nobody appreciates being constantly asked if they like me...but you like me right? You the reader? You think I'm funny and smart and you're not embarrassed to be seen with me just because I sometimes wear questionable color combinations?) And for all that having a random friend not like you can make you feel badly, *this person* has the power to change your potential family if you come off as flaky or too crazy liberal or something, (I mean, really? I don't want to adopt an infant because in my mind there is a tenuous link to coercive anti-abortion practices? Shut up, me. That answer sounds batshit. We went through some potential homestudy questions and discussed them last night. It was...interesting. A and I had some good conversation about how we ended up here and while we both are happy with it, we both recognize that I sort of made a unilateral decision. More on this at a later time.)

There was a discussion over on Jezebel yesterday about the "just adopt" trope.
The process of IVF vs the process of adoption are so different - I can see how some people would find one process easier than the other. For me, adoption has been harder because of that element of feeling judged. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand the necessity of screening potential parents carefully. The hoops aren't there just to drive me batty. But it still brings up those insecurities. We had to provide six or seven people as references, then the agency sent them forms to fill out. I'm fairly certain that most of our friends think we'll be good parents, but what if I was wrong? What if one of them secretly thought - I love Io and A, but they're just not ______ enough to have kids. With IVF if I had the money nobody was question whether I was good enough to have a kid. With adoption, other people get to make that judgement. Even though our caseworker said she got all our references back and that some accompanying letters made her teary, I'm sure there was a section about our faults and weaknesses. I think it's important to consider those, I just don't like that other people are the ones naming them. We don't get to see the letters and forms from references. 
This may be whiney and immature as completely irrational of me. But it still makes me feel like I am back in seventh grade territory.

Monday, February 10, 2014

As usual, getting ahead of myself

Ok, so to back up a bit, since the process is a little (lot, I am a moron) slower than it seemed on Friday...

A year ago we decided that we needed to move. Our tiny house in the ghetto felt too small for even the two of us and the neighborhood was going downhill and we just needed a change. So we bought a new house, which we love. It's in the downtown area and when the weather was nice (Is winter ever going to be over? It just doesn't seem possible right now. I AM OVER THIS COLD COLD HELL.) we were biking to work every day. The new house comes with some fantastic neighbors (mostly without children) and five bedrooms. Even after using bedrooms for us, a guest room, an office and a family room we were left with an extra one. After our old house, which was a tiny bungalow, this seems an embarrassment of riches. (There is more than one bathroom people! I'm like Bill Freaking Gates! Two people can get ready for work AT THE SAME TIME.)

I started researching adoption agencies. I requested information from a few. A lot of them felt squicky to me. Heavy on flowery prose, light on actual information. There is a big law firm in town that does nothing but adoption and they do a lot of recruitment that is very heavy on anti abortion rhetoric. It's a business and it feels like it. Even most of the not for profits seemed the same way. I found one agency that advertised in what seemed like an ethical manner, and seemed diverse and upfront and committed to open adoptions...and then I started looking at the foster adoption pages. 
Coming to adoption, for me, was about letting go of some things I really wanted. I wanted to experience pregnancy, I wanted to have a child that maybe had some of my genetics, flaws and all, to have a shared heritage. But I'm never going to have that.  I am never going to have that. I'm just not. And somehow, in finally coming to peace with the fact that I will never have that, I felt like it opened me up to being okay with some other things. If I was going to miss feeling my child kick in the womb, maybe it was okay to miss their first steps. If I didn't teach them to walk, well, maybe I could teach them to run. Somehow letting go and accepting those first losses made the possibility of other losses a lot easier to imagine. 
After we called and got registered for classes A and I started looking at the children that are legally free here. For the most part, the ones that make it to the states photo listings are older and often part of a sibling group.
And many, even most of them have problems, seen and unseen, but they are all lovely in their own ways. It's like the floodgates have opened and each thing we decide we are okay with makes it easier to be okay with the next thing. If we were okay with a toddler, well, school age would be easier for our schedules, and we love our nieces and nephews that are 6 and 8. And if we are okay with 6 and 8, 10 is still a great age and look at this available girl who couldn't be more like me and is 10! And then our caseworker called and suddenly we are having a serious conversation about teenagers. We have both worked with teenagers and you know what? My college kids are still my kids. They still need advice and mentoring and somebody to help them. So young teenagers? They have years of childhood left.
(And then all this super chill, mature, zen state leaves me and I realize that we'd be teaching kids to drive in a year or two. That, I am not sure I am ready for. Or dating? Not ready. This potential kids are good looking children. We'd need to have some serious conversations with them. And don't even get me started on college costs.)
So, back to the practical side of things...
Our homestudy should be soon, probably within the next week or two. We have taken all our classes (which is a whole 'nother post) but they don't schedule the homestudy until you have all your paperwork in, which we did not. But we were close enough and they thought these kids were a good enough match that they want to submit us for them. So now we are rushing to get everything in place. The pets have gotten their vaccines updated, we went to the doctor (for an hour and a half. Seriously, how long does it take to fill out a form that says "Not close to death, mentally ill, or on drugs"?) and there is now a fire extinguisher on each floor of the house. 

So now we keep cleaning (and locking up alcohol and bleach and oh god, a kid could fall right the hell out of those windows, do we secure them or is that a fire hazard and why the hell would a teenager fall out that window and even if I secure them, a teenager can undo a damn baby lock.) and freaking the fuck out. 
(Oh shit, I need to clean up my language.)