Saturday, May 2, 2009
This question is addressing two different sets of people:
Can I ask how other adoptive moms in this circumstance, whether currently or at any time in the past, dealt with Mother’s Day when they were pretty close to a placement but had no guarantee yet? I guess whether adopting through foster care or any other way doesn’t really matter.
For those friends of mine who haven’t been in this type of situation, but do have a thought on it, how do you feel it should be for those who are, or if it were you one day?
Please let me know your opinions on this. Thanks!
Monday, April 13, 2009
I just got a reminder from one of my friends that I needed to do a follow-up on how my first home study meeting went. I'm sorry it didn't cross my mind. This entire last week has been utter chaos for me and, since the home study ended last Thursday, I've been so relieved to have it behind me, for now, that it just completely slipped my mind.
I ended up going over to DHHR's office last Monday (April 6th) with several questions. It'd been five weeks since I'd finished the PRIDE classes and I hadn't heard anything at all back from them. When I got there I was finally able to learn that I had been assigned a regional homefinder and that I was actually the next one on the list and she had planned on calling me later that afternoon to schedule my first of two home study visits and that it would probably be scheduled for next week sometime. About three hours later, she called and asked me if Thursday afternoon would work. I told her that'd be fine (I didn't dare turn it down) and then began my three day madness of trying to finish turning a one bedroom apartment into a home for up to possibly three (since I'm open for up to a sibling group of two).
They tell us not to stress out on this too much, that it's not going to be some kind of white glove test on how spotless we can make a home, but I did anyways even down to cleaning up litter from all over the apartment building's parking lot to dusting the bannister railings leading up from the street level. I got three hours of sleep by the time I gave in and conked out early the morning of the visit. Monday and Tuesday nights had been somewhat better than that but not by much. It's probably the most stressed out I've ever been in my life.
Pam Pomeroy is my regional home finder and everything I've seen out of her seems absolutely great! She helped me out a lot, by her manner, in being able to relax more during her visit and we spent right at three hours in talking through forms that I'd had to fill out; giving her opportunity to learn about me, aspects of my childhood and upbringing, some about my personal beliefs and convictions, what kinds of things I'm interested in and participate in, why I want a child, how I plan to bring up a child as one of my own, and a number of other items. We also did a walk-through of my apartment and, outside of installing cabinet safety latches and drawing up a fire escape safety layout for the child(ren), I passed in all the safety issues and other requirements that needed to be met. Yesterday, Easter Sunday, I had my fifth and final reference form filled out and today one of references had a face-to-face interview.
As for what's next:
Because of things that were shared about the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse that I endured as a child, Pam told me that anytime a potential foster/adopt parent has "suffered from a traumatic childhood" (as she put it), they do prefer to have a psychological exam performed on the potential foster/adopt parent. I agreed with having such a test done but have requested that it be done by another woman since it's a lot easier for me to open up that way. I'm not sure when that's going to be scheduled for yet but I'm guessing soon.
I have to do up the fire escape plan and install the cabinet safety latches in the kitchen. There's also about five questions left I need to answer on my "Personal Information" packet and write up an autobiography, both of which I don't anticipate taking much time. There will be one more face-to-face interview with a second reference and then all of that (with the references) will be completely finished.
DHHR was thrilled that I was wanting to parent enough that I was willing to give up my own personal privacy by giving the only bedroom up to a child, stating that most parents wouldn't even consider the idea. However, they really would prefer for me to have my own room as well. Pam told me she had met with her supervisor about the situation just that morning (of the home study visit) about the living situation and they decided they wanted to do what she referred to as a "tentative placement." Basically, it would be doing up all the paperwork required as part of the process to select a child to place with me and stopping just shy of actually bringing the child to my home. DHHR had hoped it would be enough to get HUD to move me up to a two-bedroom voucher, let me move and get settled in, and then with all the paperwork already previously completed, the only step left would be actually bringing the child to the new home. HUD, however, is STUBBORN! They will not budge on this issue. So.........
On Tuesday (next week); April 21st, at 1pm, I have the second of the home study visits. On that day, the last of the safety issues will be checked off, the last of the paper work turned in, and the last of the two reference interviews should be completed. I believe then that Pam gets to type up her report and submit it to the powers up above her for final approval. She has already stated that she thinks I'm going to be great at this but she doesn't get to make the final decision, though I'm guessing her recommendation will probably hold a tremendous amount of weight. She's already made the comment about being able to move soon and she's spoken with the landlord about how much time he thinks it would take to find me an available two-bedroom since I really would prefer to keep with the same landlord. He has already done so many things on helping me pass this home study that I really don't think he was required to do and I've been blessed by that! Josh told her he didn't think it would be difficult or take much time at all!I'm still tied in here with HUD until June 1st, when my HUD contract becomes a month-to-month basis, but considering a 30-day notice has to be put in, that could be done as early as the last day of this month! HUD has agreed that just as soon as a child has been physically placed into my home, I will immediately qualify for a two-bedroom voucher and can put in the 30-day notice and DHHR is seeming eager to hurry up and get me moved to a larger place (having already asked my landlord how quickly he'd be able to work on this), so I'm hoping it won't be much longer before I have a child and moving, possibly around the first of the summer. I'm so excited!
Monday, April 6, 2009
And moderate fear
And, OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just got the phone call from the regional homefinder that’s been assigned to me and the first out of my three, I think?, home study visits is in just over 70 hours from right now! I am about to become the queen of clean (hard to believe, I know). I’d write more but there’s plenty I need to be busy around here with. That, coupled with the idea that I have my first level two training class tonight at 6pm for “Using Discipline to Protect, Nurture, and Meet Developmental Needs.”
Please pray for my emotions right now because they are a COMPLETE MESS!
Home study visit Thursday; April 9th at 1pm
Monday, March 30, 2009
Today makes exactly four weeks since I finished up the PRIDE pre-training service and four weeks that I’ve been waiting for a phone call to come any day to let me know when the first at-home interview will be taking place. I’ll admit I’m feeling a little impatient right now. I keep reminding myself about what we were told about anyone with a court date automatically being placed ahead of us and how 90% or so of the group seemed to have court dates for children who are relatives and so I’ve refrained from pestering the home-finders for my county. But it’s hard and the last four weeks have felt so long for me. I have decided that if I still haven’t heard anything by a week from now, I’m going to call and just try to see how things are moving along and if they can give me any kind of an estimate on time. Another friend of mine reminded me that the squeaky wheel gets the grease; I just prefer to be squeaky in moderation though
In the meantime, I’m pre-registered to begin my first in-service level two training class on April 6th. The only way it won’t be happening is if less than three people pre-register for it. So far, I haven’t been notified of that, so that’s the next step for now. The class is titled Using Discipline to Protect, Nurture, and Meet Developmental Needs. It seems like an excellent choice to start out with, especially since we won’t be allowed to use any form of physical punishment for misbehavior and that was the only way I was taught growing up. It’ll also get me started on meeting the yearly requirements of an additional minimum of 12 hours of in-service that all foster parents have to have to remain certified until they’ve either finalized the adoption or, if not foster-to-adopt, simply decide to stop fostering. I’m hoping it’ll also help me in feeling like I’m still moving forward rather than sitting still.
Stormy and Little Bit (my cats) were both vaccinated last week and will now pass the home study with flying colors! Three of the five references have been turned in and my landlord is providing the fire escape ladder that’s required for my second floor apartment. All the other requirements, and plenty of extra goodies, have been either purchased, given as gifts, or donated to me. Beckley Freecycle has been awesome for me on this!
I don’t know about those reading this, because I don’t know who all does, but I struggle with faith. Maybe it’s not that unusual of a thing to struggle with but sometimes it feels like it when so many around me seem to have so much confidence and assurance in how things are going in their day to day lives. That, or they’re as good at trying to appear that way as I try. I also struggle with trust and love as well and I know that has A LOT to do with my background.
It’s faith that submitted an adoption interest request last November. It’s faith that purchased a booster car seat, a potty chair, and numerous other items; investing my entire savings into preparing for, and the hopes of, a child that I’ve never seen and have no guarantee of. Purchases that are now past the date to ever possibly return them and get the money back.
Faith and trust are so intermingled that I’m having trouble trying to separate them.
Faith leads, trust sustains, love carries us on…
Is it possible to love a child you’ve never met? How do you deal with the urge to want to pull a child into your arms, snuggle with them, and let them know they mean the world to you, when there’s no child there? Every little upturned face brings a smile to me and makes me wonder, ‘does my child look anything like you?’ I wonder where she is today and what she’s doing. I pray she’s feeling loved by someone and someone is there to ease her hurts until I can. I wonder about what’s already happened to her to bring her to where she’s at now in the foster care system and how long will it take her to be able to trust me and trust in my love for her.
Over the last few days I’ve gotten a couple e-mails from people keeping up on my foster adopt blog wanting to know what the latest news is, so I guess maybe it really is time for an update even though it feels like my days have become pretty repetitive lately (hence, my not blogging very much).
Last Saturday we had Orientation in which we received about another inch’s thick of more papers, everything from a Foster Home Compliance Checklist to a Provider Policy to how to handle court situations to a gazillion forms to fill out; my references will be getting the easy ones compared to the ones us foster adopt parents have to fill out. I guess in one sense I knew this would be a lot of paper work but I don’t think I ever imagined this much. I’m up to around 3 to 4 inches thick at this point and suspecting I’ve not seen the last of it! We also got our finger prints taken and submitted two forms for both a state and a federal criminal investigation to be completed on us. I’m betting this ends up being the easiest thing ever asked of us!
Tonight we’re supposed to have our 9th and final session of the PRIDE training series. It was originally scheduled for a week ago but we had several inches of snow and school was called off for the day which also meant no class either. Today the schools are having a two hour delay which I’m pretty sure still means class, though I’m double checking before going out in the weather tonight. I’ll be glad to have these classes over with, though we’re still required to complete at least 12 more hours of in-service training every year that we need to be recertified for.
After tonight’s final session, I have several things to gradually get checked off my to-do list: completing all the forms (over a good half-inch thick of them), distributing the reference forms (I already have the references lined up, I just need to get the forms to them), getting both cats vaccinated, registering for both first aid and CPR courses, finishing preparing the apartment for inspection, and scheduling the first at-home interview.
To be honest, emotionally, last Saturday a part of me felt like throwing in the towel when I thought about how tired I’ve been feeling lately and looking ahead at how much I still have left to do. Right now, I’m watching the squirrels struggling as they’re crawling upside-down along the telephone wires outside my bedroom window because the wind is blowing them off-balance; knowing that they can’t stop where they are and if they let go, they’re history! As funny looking as they are, I feel for them! As tired as I feel, and as discouraged as I felt being handed a half-inch thick of forms to fill out and being told I still need roughly another $100’s worth of stuff to complete my home study requirements (between a two-story fire escape ladder - about $80 - and two plastic mattress covers - about $20), and not knowing where on earth it’s going to be coming from, if I quit I am probably never going to see my daughter and that is a priceless dream for me.