Friday, April 18, 2014

Plan B

You know what the great thing is about life? There are always choices. Even when you think your path has closed, with enough faith and hope, new roads emerge.

I'll be honest. Getting over the sting of our foster-adopt debacle was not easy. J and I both needed time to grieve. We both grieved at different times and in diverse ways; but we've moved on. And as most bumps in the road tend to do, it has made us even stronger.

We were left with two decisions. Pretty simple ones in fact. We could not have children and still live a great life. We could travel a lot and not be tied down to a child's schedule and needs and both live a happy life. Through this process, the one thing I did learn is that if we didn't have kids, I would be okay. And I think that was a very important place to get to.

But, we knew in our hearts that we wanted to be parents. So, we found a new road and looked into private adoption. After some serious soul searching and research (especially about the cost,) I am very happy to say that we are going with 
Plan B

We recently signed on with Independent Adoption Center (IAC) and will adopt a newborn baby hopefully within the next year and a half! IAC does open adoption and we are so thrilled. They are a wonderful agency and we know they are the right route to building our family. 

We are already deep into our home study and although it's a lengthy process, it's okay. It just means that our baby is not ready yet. It's so hard not to get caught up in "why did this happen," but the truth is, it doesn't matter. I don't know the answer to one does. What does matter is that things will happen when they are supposed to. 

So, when you're ready Baby G, Mommy and Daddy will be right here waiting for you!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Foster-Adopt Fail

This is something I never thought I'd say, but we've been kicked out of our Foster-Adoption agency. They put it a little more diplomatically, but bottom line = Foster-Adopt Fail!

It is a long, convoluted, and twisted story. Short version is that we were matched with two little boys, ages two and four, a little before Christmas. We spent about six days off and on with them, and they were so sweet, but in the end, in our hearts, we just didn't feel it was a right match for us. Per our understanding and training with the agency, we thought we should feel something to make this life-long commitment, but the feeling wasn't there and being that unsure, it wasn't something we could say yes to. This is forever and we are not going to gamble on that. 

There are a lot more factors involved that were out of our control, but it's not important to bring those in. Because of our uncertainty and the fact that we kept meeting them each time, the agency feels that we would be better off as just foster parents. Apparently, if we were unsure at ALL, we should not have agreed to keep meeting with the boys past the initial phase. This was sure news to us, because one, it's not what we learned in our nine-week training program, and how are we supposed to be sure after just one meeting?

I could go on and on and on about the injustices we felt happened, and how it's unfair, but what does it matter? They made their decision and that was that we will not be foster-adopt parents with their agency. We don't have interest in being just foster parents; if we did, we would have signed up for that to begin with.

We are devastated, heartbroken, pissed off, confused, and lost. We have spent the last two years with them and now, it's over. Just like that. Two years of paperwork, trainings, and so much waiting. I have shed SO many tears over this, and we aren't sure what our next step is. It's pretty obvious that foster-adopt is not the right path for us. So, given my age, our only realistic two choices are private adoption or live a childless life. 

I don't understand why it's so hard for us to have a child. We are good people, we have so much love in our hearts, and it's something we both want so much. I'm just really starting to question whether a child is meant to be, because through our struggles with infertility, now this, it doesn't seem like it. But, we are not ready to totally throw in the towel, so we will let the dust settle and give our hearts time to heal, then decide what to do.

As most of you know, J and I have a very strong and special relationship. I will say that this heartache has brought us even closer together and my love and respect has grown for him more than I thought possible. While I may not have a child, I have a husband, who after our god awful meeting with the agency hugged me so close on the corner of a busy street while I cried my eyes out, and who kisses away my tears when I wake up crying in the middle of the night. A husband who always tells me we'll work it out and who is ALWAYS there for me. 

We want to thank all of our family and friends for their support during our journey. We are so lucky to have an abundance of love surrounding us. For the first time in a very long time, we have no plan to extend our family and that is a scary place to be. As much as we want a child, it's hard living in constant limbo, wondering if you are ever going to get one. So, whatever our next step is, it's going to be the final one. Because with or without a child, we need to throw away this limbo pole and move forward. 

And perhaps, most importantly, we need to trust that...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Exciting News!

We received some exciting news! 

The search for our child has begun! After 18 long months, we're FINALLY in the Lilliput system as an available family! Our homestudy process is complete and we've done everything necessary to become certified foster and adoptive parents. For those not caught up on our journey to this point, I'll post our entire process soon.

We are beyond thrilled to have reached this juncture. It's here that the wait really begins. In a nutshell, if our social worker sees a potential child match, she'll send their social worker our homestudy. However, she will not tell us each time she sends our homestudy, as often, it may not lead anywhere and may only get our hopes up. We have certain parameters of the child we are looking for and if she finds one that falls a bit outside of these, she will present them to us. If there is a good match (and both sides agree,) we will likely meet with the child's social worker and go from there.

Many people ask me the timeframe on this process. And I honestly have NO idea. That is a little disheartening, but it's part of the package. It could be two months, nine months, a year, or even longer. 

 We have no control over this situation and while that's hard, I'm just so happy that we've finished the homestudy process. It was a long road and a big hurdle in our foster-to-adopt process. As before, we will (patiently) wait and live our lives as normal, enjoying our flexible schedule. It's hard waiting for something you really want, but don't know when it'll come. Experience has taught me that things happen when there supposed to. And, when it's our time, we'll be ready.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hopefully Waiting

It has been a long time since I've posted. We are STILL waiting for baby g. It has been 18 months since we first signed up with Lilliput. We knew this would be a lesson in patience, but...

The real kicker is that we're still trying to get into the system as an available family. Once we are approved as certified foster-to-adopt parents, our social worker will begin searching for us, and the real waiting begins. She (our social worker) emailed our homestudy for our review a few days ago. We have made all the necessary edits/additions and she is going to make them, then audit our file for any missing items. So, we should be ready imminently, but I've learned to be cautious about the timing.

It was a little disconcerting reading our homestudy. Not because there is anything negative in it, it's just hard having our entire lives, including personal and family issues, neatly typed on paper. For most people, having a child does not include having to reveal your skeletons. While J and I are for the most part, open people, seeing our lives displayed in ink was a little rough.

I'll be honest. Through this period of relentless waiting, I have wondered if this is all worth it. Maybe J and I should just get a dog, move away from the suburbs, and come to terms with not extending our family. But, at the end of the day, we both still very much want a child. Our hearts are missing their last piece, baby g. With that said, I have realized that if this process doesn't work out, I (and J) will be okay. And before, I don't know if I felt that. I thought I needed a baby to validate my worth. This waiting has allowed me to grow as a person, and while a life without baby g is not what I want, I am confident that J and I will nonetheless lead a happy and fulfilling life.

Don't get me wrong. We haven't lost sight of becoming parents. It's still our dream to build a family together. Even in hope, timing is everything. I guess our child is not ready for us yet.

But, we are ready. We are waiting. And we still have hope.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November - Adoption Awareness

November is National Adoption Month!

Since we are in the process of trying to adopt a child through foster-adoption, this month is especially important to us. So, throughout November, I will post on various topics about adoption, in hopes of raising awareness for those children in need.

I was personally curious how November became National Adoption Month, so I did some research. 

It has been celebrated for 34 years, starting in 1976 when former Governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, declared an adoption week to promote awareness for the need of adoptive families for those children in the foster care system. 

Then, in 1984, former President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week, under Proclamation 5280. This full week of awareness was formed largely from the Adoption and Welfare Act of 1980.  This federal law, enacted on June 17, 1980, directly targeted the growing issue of foster children placements in multiple foster homes. This act promoted the idea that a permanent placement with a foster family (if reunification with the birth family is not possible,) is in the best interests of the foster child. Funding for foster/adoptive families is also included in this act. Prior to 1980, it was left to the individual state's discretion to provide funding to foster/adoptive families; yet, with this act, all states were mandated to offer subsidies (in the form of financial assistance) to adoptive families.

In 1995, under former President Clinton's leadership, Proclamation 6846 was passed, expanding adoption week to the entire month of November. In celebrating National Adoption Month, Clinton said that while recognizing the achievements of raising adoption awareness, it is also vital to look at how much work still needs to be done. In 1998, Clinton directed the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a unique and targeted plan to utilize the Internet as a key tool in finding homes for foster children.

Each year, in early November, the President issues an official proclamation to announce National Adoption Month. Last year, included in President Obama's proclamation, was the reminder that over 100,000 children are still without the basic need; that need of a family. In 2010, President Obama signed the International Adoption Simplification Act, which removed unnecessary barriers in international adoption. This Simplification Act, in conjunction with the Adoption Tax Credit (expanded as part of the Affordable Care Act,) makes adoption more affordable to families.

Many state governors also issue state proclamations in November to help raise adoption awareness and encourage citizens to become involved in helping children in the foster care system.

Although adoption may not affect you directly, chances are, it is important to someone you know. If anything this November, at least become aware of the importance of finding forever families for the children in need. Finding families for children in foster care is not an issue that will ever go away. The need for awareness is constant and two-fold. While we raise awareness for the children in need, it is important to remember that many families (like ours) would not be able to build our family tree without adoption. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Frolic in Apple Hill

One of our favorite fall traditions is to spend a weekend day in Apple Hill

Some of you may not be familiar with Apple Hill, so here is a brief background. Apple Hill is a group of ranches; not one ranch, nor just a geographic area. It consists of over 50 ranches, that are collectively referred to as Apple Hill and are part of the Apple Hill Growers Association. I could not find a decent size full map of the area, but below you can see it in its entirety, split into east and west sections.

The ranches are east of Placerville, west of Pollock Pines and about half way between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe, on the north side of Highway 50. The ranches differ in size and varietals, producing everything from apples and other fruit, pumpkins, Christmas trees, livestock, beer, and wine. The sweet delicacies that come from these ranches are literally mouthwatering. Depending on their production crop, some ranches are open year-round, while other ranches, especially those producing apples and pumpkins, open after Labor Day. They stay open as long as their fruits last; this is unfortunately, left up to Mother Nature. The Christmas tree farms generally open the day after Thanksgiving, although, some do open the weekend before.

With all this fun that Apple Hill offers, during peak season (late September through October,) it does tend to get crowded. We have our usual route that we follow and tend to keep away from the most popular ranches, closer to the highway. Apple Ridge Farms is always our first stop and this year, a good friend of mine, was having her son's third birthday party there. It was a perfect way to start the day. Apple Ridge has a petting farm, where you can feed their many goats, sheep, chickens, and rabbits. They also have one of our favorite pumpkin patches and offer a fun Hay Maze for the kids. This year was extra special because we got to do all of our favorite things there, and spend a short time with the birthday boy. 
The birthday boy helping me pick out our pumpkin
A ranch resident
J feeding the goats. Boy, do they love to eat!
J in the stocks
Scarecrow Shan
After Apple Ridge, sometimes we hit other pumpkin farms, depending on if we found the "perfect" one. Luckily, this year, our pumpkin was already tucked in our backseat, so we headed to the local hot spot, Jack Russell Brewery. It is the perfect spot to have a picnic and sample some delicious beer. They do offer wine and cider, but we are partial to their beer, While J goes for their Red, my favorite is the India Pale Ale (IPA.) It is an ideal place to people watch and spend a couple hours. On busy weekends, they always have a little craft fair. J bought me a gorgeous butterscotch amber (I love amber and never knew there was a butterscotch version!) If you like amber as much as I do, check out Ocean Amber

My butterscotch amber pendant
Entrance to Jack Russell Brewing Co.
Pick your poison!

The next stop on our Frolic trail was definitely the most delicious. Rainbow Orchards (they don't currently have a website, but are listed as #10 on the map.) Open since 1977 and situated on more than 300 acres, Rainbow Orchards offers a wide variety of fruit, but they are most known for their homemade, warm-from-the-oven, Apple Cider Donuts. While there is always a wait for these true delicacies, you won't be disappointed when they hand you a warm bag full of these donuts. They literally melt in your mouth. It's a good thing we only get these once a year. Although they are made with apples, I don't think they are on the healthy list.

After Rainbow, we hit a few local wineries, then headed home. If you are in that area, Crystal Basin Cellars offers some good red varietals. 

It was a wonderful day and our official start to fall. Because the area is so vast, there are so many places we didn't visit. Perhaps a trip up after Thanksgiving is in order...after all, nothing smells better than Christmas tree farms. 

And hopefully next year when we go, we can introduce Baby g to one of our favorite fall traditions.

Happy Fall!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Haunted Disco

One of the most important things we can do while waiting for Baby g, is to keep busy. How? 

By hosting a Haunted Disco Bunco!

I have been in a Bunco group for the past year and a half and it's been so much fun. We have a phenomenal group of ladies, who, through this silly game, have become very good friends. There are 12 ladies so each of us has to host once a year. It's a couple hours once a month to let loose, chat, eat good food, have some cocktails and of course, roll the dice looking for that coveted Bunco.

Since my month was October this year, I combined two of my favorite things; Halloween and Disco, thus creating the Haunted Disco. The gals had to wear either Disco or 70's attire and they all looked fabulous!! I kept my menu in the Halloween/70's theme:

Warm Ear Wax - Cheese Fondue
Brain Souffles - Mini Quiche

Vampire's Kiss - Red Wine Sangria
Wormified Sludge - Jello Shots

Zombie Upchuck - Chicken Tortilla Casserole
Monster Mash - Macaroni and Cheese

Bird Droppings Mix - Salad with Ranch
Frog Eyes Salad - Ambrosia

Coagulated Blood Flow - Chocolate Fountain
Crunchy Bones - Rice Krispie Treats

The Halloween decorations were easy. I had all of them and they are up every year, regardless of an event. I found some great Disco Decorations online at Oriental Trading Company (a stellar site to get inexpensive decorations or tableware.) I even got crafty with a Disco Ball by gluing tinfoil over a child's ball and then adding some small, square mirrored tiles to it. 

While you were not able to join us at the Haunted Disco (you had to be on the VIP list,) I invite you to check out the photos from opening night.

Welcome to the Haunted Disco...

Disco Wall Deco
Pass these guys as you enter...
Stayin' Alive, Stayin' Alive...
Mantle Deco
More Haunted Fun
My lava lamp from high school
Notice the foil Disco Ball
The Haunted Cuisine...
Wine/Spirits Station
The Disco Divas!
The Bunco Roll-Off. J was our "ghost" player
Did I mention I have the best husband in the world? Thanks for all your help J! 

One of the Disco Divas did a groovy post on the Haunted Bunco...check it out at Then I Got to Thinking

We had to shut down the club after this one crazy night, but who knows, maybe we'll open again someday. After all, like any true Diva knows, Disco will never die.