Monday, November 25, 2013

An Update

The holidays are here and Cameron is on vacation a lot this month and next.  This means little action over here : )  There are a couple of neat things going on though.

We attended a matching event a couple weekends ago.  Basically anyone in the state that is adopting is invited to attend.  These events take place all over the state on different weekends.  This one happened to be in Greenville so we decided to try it out.  There were 5 families that signed up to attend so 5 adoptable kids were brought in from around the state.  Before we went Josh compared it to a used car lot and I thought it would be much like speed dating, which it was.  

Each family was in charge of a station (candy apple making, picture frame decorating, etc.)  We were stationary but the kids rotated stations every 20 minutes or so.  In the end, we spent about 20 minutes with each child.  All of the kids were between 12 & 15.  I didn't like this about the event - wish it were all ages.  Anyhow, this is how it was set up.

We enjoyed spending time with the kids and we realized just how incredibly different each one was.  One boy (13) was extremely quiet and hardly looked up.  We just about had to pull every word from his mouth.  He was polite though and did make an effort to make eye contact at times.  As we talked to him I wondered what pain he had experienced in his short life. The same age as Anna but what a different life he's lived.  There were two sisters who we visited at the same time.  They share little in common besides a love for fashion. One has a boyfriend and the other can't stand him.  They were a hoot.  There was another girl - very outgoing, fun, talkative, seems to enjoy life regardless of her circumstances or history.  She is a beautiful person.  

THEN . . . there was Delton.  Delton is 12, turning 13 this weekend.  He was the last child we spent time with.  From the beginning of the event I couldn't wait to meet him.  His light was shining brightly in that room! He was full of life, talkative (much like Isaac - I could imagine them in their room at night never shutting up!), fun, FUNNY, and he shared so much about himself.  He loves to write and draw.  At one point I joked that I could tell he has a great sense of humor and he replied that he could tell Josh did, too.  Spot on : )  He was the only one that really asked us any questions.  When he found out we have kids and that we have a son he smiled from ear to ear.  The thought of having a brother . . . so simple.  

He doesn't play video games, he doesn't play sports - his fosters haven't signed him up or bought him any games.  That was heart breaking.  What engages him?  Who engages him?  He attended another matching event previous to this one.  They made frames there as well.  He lettered the top of his frame 'My Perfect Family'.   The frame is still empty of course.  He longs for a forever family.  At one point I had to excuse myself from the table and retreat to the restroom.  We had asked him what he wants to be when he grows up.  He's not sure.  He doesn't want to grow up too quickly because adults have a lot of stress and worry and 'I've already dealt with my share of that' he said.  It was absolutely precious and it broke my heart - in HALF!  He has such a simple desire - a family.  A family! A sense of belonging, security, to know someone is there for him forever. He's been in foster care for 10 years - 7 foster homes and 4 therapeutic placements.  According to his worker he has few 'issues'.  I would like to know more about why so many foster homes.  Did they return him or did they have their own issues that prevented them from keeping him?

We have requested our PPA be sent to his worker and she has emailed me a couple of times with some information on Delton.  We really didn't plan on adopting a child this old or even adopting just one child.  Of course, it's still too early to tell if things will work out.  We are confident God will work everything out in the end and we want only His will to be done.  It will be.  No doubt.  If you will pray for this adoption, please pray specifically for us as we endeavor not to try and control any part of this process.  Also, please pray for Delton and for Mia and Fonzie.  We are sure they are not part of our adoption anymore but we still think about them and wonder 'what if'.  I wish I could take in a dozen kids.  Maybe we should open a home.  Hmmmmm . . . 

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Cameron called yesterday.  Jolene finally called back regarding Mia and Fonzie.  Fonzie has really been acting out at school, on the bus, etc.  Because of the nature of his actions Jolene feels very uncomfortable placing him in our home since he would be sharing a room with Isaac.  I immediately thought 'Ok, we'll move him to his own room'.  Anna went outside and sulked for a few minutes.  She was very disappointed to hear that Mia and Fonzie likely won't be in our home at all.  This is frustrating to me because, had they allowed us to meet with Mia and Fonzie weeks and weeks ago, maybe this behavior could have been avoided.  Who knows.  Maybe the possibility of a forever home for Fonzie would have been an encouragement for him.  It makes me wonder . . . why, after 2 1/2 years in a steady foster home, is he just now starting to act out?  He was doing so well there.  Anyway, it seems the door has been closed; however, I'm considering contacting Jolene myself.  I still want to meet them.  Why haven't we been able to at least meet them??

We have received more referrals.  We have asked to be referred (after looking at their information we are able to have our paperwork and info sent to that child's worker to be considered) for a sibling group of a sister (11) and brother (7 or 8).  We have yet to hear if we could be considered.  That was 2 or 3 weeks ago.  I'm beginning to wonder if we are like puppets and if our worker is the puppet master.  I love her and appreciate her, but I truly wonder if she is pulling the strings.  There are two different kids we've asked about that she had forgotten to refer us for.  When she finally did refer us they were already placed or visiting.  How could that be happening that quickly when it seems to take forever for us to hear back from any given kid.  Makes me wonder if she's holding back for some reason?  Again, who knows.

We wait.  I'm ok with the waiting.  I'm not ok with the doubts and questions in my head.  Getting a little anxious.

On a positive . . . we are caring for a foster child this weekend and over Thanksgiving weekend.  We are giving respite for another foster mom.  Flora is 15 months old.  We get her tonight and she stays through Monday.  We're told she is adorable and easy to care for.  The only downside, she wakes at 6 am!    But, I'm glad to be able to offer help while we wait.

That's it for now.  Hopefully, next time we update we will have a prospect!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Not Much to Say

Just a quick update.  We have received a few referrals and I have sent requests about two brothers and a single little boy.  We were denied for both, one because they are only considering African American families and the other didn't specify why.  It could be for any number of reasons like they're looking for a family with no kids or a family with only one child or matching the boy with Isaac wouldn't work . . . who knows.  The referrals Cameron sent us didn't pan out either.

Obviously, I don't know what the future holds for us, but honestly, I have been drawn to Mia and Fonzie since March and until I know more about the possibility of them becoming part of our family I'm not sure I will really ever 'receive' other referrals, especially for sibling groups.  A younger little boy would be easier to be interested in.

I e-mailed Cameron to ask how she would feel about me e-mailing Mia and Fonzie's worker.  I just wanted to touch base with Jolene in a more personal fashion letting her know we are anxious to hear more about them and even meet them.  I'm not sure why on earth it is taking so long to get a conference call rescheduled.  It's been almost 4 weeks since our last call was postponed.  

Cameron's reply was that Jolene had just e-mailed her before I did and wanted some dates and times to reschedule.  Dang!  I told her ANYTIME!  Pick a time.  We'll make it work!!  We're going on vacation next week but we can find a phone and conference with you!  This was Wednesday and I still haven't heard back with a date and time.  So, again, we wait . . . All in good timing.

Friday, August 16, 2013

We're on a ROLL . . . er coaster!

Over a month and a half has passed since our last entry and we are realizing this could be a very slow process.  We have only received 3 referrals and they weren't even for boys between 5 & 8 or a sibling group between those ages (boy and girl).  One was for a 5 year old girl, one for a brother/sister group ages 8 & 12, and I have forgotten what the other was.  We have made some headway though.  Ava's room is complete with a loft and a new twin bed beneath.  Every piece of paperwork is completed and we have met all of the requirements making our home open for kids to come in.

Probably the most exciting development is that Mia and Fonzie's agency approved our family!  I mentioned them I think in the last post. Cameron called me last Friday after semi-hounding their agent earlier in the week to get an answer, approved or disapproved.  She had sent their agency our PPA probably 3 weeks ago.  After two weeks she called them to make sure they received it and within two days of her 'reminder' call they let her know we were approved.  This is exciting because at one point they were only looking at families with no children.

A little more about Mia and Fonzie . . . Cameron referred them to us in March.  This was before we even began classes, before all the paperwork, before anything.  This isn't how it's supposed to go but I saw their picture on the agency's website and immediately adored them.  When I told Cameron she requested all their information and we were able to read all about their past.  Because of privacy laws and common courtesy I cannot share all we know about them.  What I can say is Mia is 10 in September and entering 4th grade (Ava turned 10 last April and is entering 5th grade), and Fonzie (Alphonso) turned 8 in April making him 4 months older than Isaac.  This disappointed Isaac a little bit but he's excited that Fonzie may join our family.  Isaac wanted to have a little brother.  I believe Fonzie will be in 3rd grade like Isaac.

The two had a rough upbringing and their family relinquished their parental rights last summer.  They have been in foster care since February of 2011.  Tooooo long!  Fonzie has had some set backs but Mia seems to be thriving.

We are anxious to meet with their agency in the near future to have several make or break questions answered.  We are waiting to hear from their agency as to whether they want us to come down there or if they want to meet us in our home.  You would think that wouldn't take a week to set up but we still haven't heard from them since they gave Cameron the good news last Friday.  They are in the New Hanover County area (Wilmington).

In prayer I try to keep an open mind but I always insert that I REALLY hope all works out with these two.  When we finally meet with their agency we could find out things that will cause us to say no to them and that breaks my heart.  I feel like I know them and it hurts to read what they've been subjected to.  Obviously our kids come first and this has to be a good fit.  I know God is in control and I know He already knows how this will play out.   I feel like when I look over the new referrals and the website pictures of the kids available for adoption I know immediately which ones we would pursue.  So far, Mia and Fonzie are the only ones I have felt good about pursuing.  I am 'anxious about nothing but, in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, I present my requests to God.'  Time will tell!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Quick Update

We will meet with Cameron for the final time Monday.  She e-mailed us yesterday several times with simple questions to clarify our answers to the myriad of questions the agency gave us early on.  She is finishing up our PPA (Pre Placement Assessment).  I asked her when we could realistically expect to start receiving referrals (candidates for adoption) and this was her answer . . .

Immediately. I can't officially refer you for children until you have an approved PPA. If everything is signed and ready on Monday, all I'll have to wait on is for my supervisor to approve it. This could take a week or so. Then, if any changes have to be made I can go ahead and make them. This will take not more than a day. I will have already given everything to our assistant and will just have to wait for her to put it on the agenda. This should just take a couple of days. Then the committee will review and hopefully approve and I will hopefully hear something in the next week or two. So, I'd say we are about 3 weeks out, but maybe shorter.
You will have to be licensed as foster parents prior to placement in your home. I will have to get my supervisor to sign the application. Hopefully this will take place on Monday. Then I will scan all of your documents in the system, our assistant will review and then I can send. This process is running about 4 weeks.
So, towards the end of July we can start receiving referrals and by the end of July we will be licensed to have children actually placed in our home.  This is exciting to me!  I'm anxious to find out more about the siblings, Mia and Fonzie, we learned about early on so we can then either decide to meet them or continue searching and waiting for the right fit(s).  It's been a long 4 weeks since our classes ended. I feel like we lost a month.  I really thought we'd be licensed by now but I didn't take into account the fact that we aren't Cameron's only family : ) 
Since classes ended we've been busy finishing our requirements.  We bought a medicine box and lock for it.  All meds in the house have to be kept locked up and, because of moisture, we can't keep them in the kitchen or bathroom.  We also have to move our cleaning products into a locked room once kids are placed here.  In order to be licensed for two more kids we had to add a bed.  Josh built a loft in Ava's room (which got a total makeover) and we are in search of a twin bed frame to go under the loft.  Ava had a physical to complete the medical histories on the family and Josh became First Aid/CPR certified.  I guess we needed the last month afterall.  So, now everything is completed on our end and we wait . . .

Monday, June 3, 2013

Now we wait . . .

The waiting game begins.  Our 5-week MAPP (Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting) classes are complete!  Our social worker, Cameron, says she'll call to make the 4th of 4 appointments with us in 2-3 weeks.  At this meeting we will sign our PPA (Pre-Placement Assessment) and our foster care application.  They will then be sent off to her supervisor and a committee hopefully for immediate approval.   Before she can do this Josh has to become First Aid/CPR certified and Ava still has to have a physical.  This is all scheduled for the week of 6/17. We had our fire inspection today.  These things may not actually be required to start receiving referrals but we will have to have them done anyway.  We'll be able to hand in all of our paperwork completed when we meet with her. 

Realistically we could begin receiving referrals (candidates for placement in our home) in July!  Of course, we may not receive any until much later.  We purposely left our profile  a little more open to receive a broader spectrum of candidates.  We are looking for boys 5-8 or a sibling group 5-10, any race.  Hopefully that will lead to more referrals.  We feel that we will just know when the 'right fit' is presented to us.  We are so prayerful about it.  I am incredibly nervous and excited at the same time!  This is going to be a long month : )  Waiting . . .

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bringing Love to My New Sibling

          Adoption.......we all know what it is, but do we ever take the time to really know what it is?  Yeah, sure it is weeks and weeks of classes, stacks and stacks of paper and referrals like you've never seen before, but it's more than that.  Some people may think that adopting nationally is what is right for them, and some people, like us, think that they would prefer to adopt a child locally.  No matter how far or close they may be right now doesn't matter. The truth is that you are bringing home a child that hasn't had the love of a family all of their life.  Change is another thing.  You can adopt one child or you can adopt twenty.  There's a change in the child (or children) you are bringing home no matter how many.

           Mom called me in her room one day and told me to watch a video she had found online.  I watched it without question.  I knew when I saw the tears in her eyes that I was going to be a big sister again.  My exact thoughts were, "Someone please pinch me, I have to be dreaming!"  No, it was true and it was real and all I have to say is "Thank You, Jesus."

          I can't wait to meet my new brother and/or sister and I most definitely cannot wait to see the smile that they will bring with them.  It's all about love and I won't let them forget that.  They will be part of our family forever, no matter the race or gender.  This is to my sibling out there, whoever you are - I love you!