Psychic reading

Do you believe in psychics and their ability to connect with your deceased loved ones or tell you the future? I hope so. I’m kind of a believer.
Yesterday C and I attended a house party where a psychic was present. She was ok. There were a few random things that were very incorrect in relation to my deceased loved ones but I didn’t correct her. She did hit on that there was an older man that I was very close to. That’s my grandfather and I’m named after him. He was Bill and I’m the feminine version, without the e at the end. She kept calling him William though which I found annoying. But she was right on about his illness and called him my spirit protector. She also said he wanted my dad to watch his sugar. My dad is a diabetic and had a heart attack last week. His diabetes is a hindrance to the healing he needs to be doing. Wow!

She then picked up an older woman, Helen, who is my mother’s aunt. I didn’t explain the relationship but she thought Helen was Bill’s sister and went on about the German descent there. Helen’s parents were Native American, definitely not German. So this line of chat was not handful.

She said that I’ll be parenting an older boy and younger girl. I didn’t ask her about kids, only about work and my parents. She professed that I have nothing to fear, she could sense my hesitation in parenting. She also mentioned that we might need a larger house. I surely hope not because I love my house! 

Then we talked about work. She said she saw something legal in the future and asked if I was going to law school. I said no but that I’m considering another degree. I do work in a law firm, though. She also said I’d be at my current position for a long time. And that I’ll be furthering my education and I’ll publish something. We’ll see how that shakes out.

She was a card reader and pegged me as an Earth sign with many water qualities. Maybe it’s because I love water? I dunno. She said C and I have a good marriage but someone (a man) from my past with a name starting with M will come to me for closure. I laugh because I’ve never been in a relationship with a man until C! Bahaha. I have an ex girlfriend that I’m best friends with and her name begins with M. I doubt there is any need for closure there. 

In all I’d rate this psychic 50/50. You win some and you lose some. 

Making lemonade

I can definitely see why so many people give up on being foster parents. The process is really frustrating just to get started. We’ve been dealing with our agency for 6 months now and we still aren’t technically foster parents. What we are is a pre-adoptive home. Our social worker wrote us a few days ago to say we have graduated from her services and our next agency contact person will be the matching coordinator.

Though we have been talking for 2 months about her getting us on the list for foster children, we are still being steered towards pre-adoptive only. Maybe this is a sign. Perhaps they think that we have more to offer a child/ren that need a forever home? I don’t know. I have been holding on to this frustration for months now and yesterday C and I finally talked it out. What do we want to do? Our options are (1) force them to start referring foster children to us or (2) bide our time until we are matched with kids and take it from there.

Option 1 pros: we’d get more familiar with the foster care system, would get to use our parenting skills, offer a refuge for kids in crisis or need of caregivers

Option 1 cons: if we take in fosters and then get matched, we’d likely have to remove the fosters to make room, we might have several kids in and out which would disrupt our adult routines/jobs, we might really get fed up with the agency and quit altogether

Option 2 pros: we’ll have a better chance of being able to offer kids a forever home, less in and out of short term foster kids, less time with daily/weekly agency contact once kids are placed and eventually adopted

Option 2 cons: we could end up matching on paper but not in person and that would disrupt the kids, we might be waiting months or years to be matched, our kid rooms sit empty

Given all the pros and cons that we considered, we decided not to force the agency to place foster children with us for short term stays. If there is a child that needs care long term, we will take that one child. We would like to reserve our other rooms for children that we match with. We don’t want to disrupt a settled foster kid for our pre-adoptive kids. We also don’t want to deal with our employers being difficult about needed time off for various kids if they were coming and going frequently.

So, we wait. We will sit tight and wait for the matching coordinator to call and start the process of pairing us with available children who we might click with. Then we’ll wait some more, probably a long while, to get the call that there are children whose parental requirements match up with who we are. This is not the decision that we started this process with and I’m still sitting on it to be sure that I feel okay with it. I know that I have so much energy for parenting and would love to help children. The truth is that I can’t save them all and I need to take a different perspective on the situation. Waiting for pre-adoptive kids isn’t a bad thing.

I know there is a lot to be said for “foster to adopt” and I understand the intricate issues and delicate nature of the term and people’s feelings about families who build their family this way. I hope that folks won’t be too hard on us for waiting for the right child who doesn’t have parent options on the horizon. I think that any child could benefit from our open and loving home environment, not to mention our cute dogs. We aren’t going to take anyone’s children away from them and if we ended up with a failed match, we are okay with that. Time isn’t that important and though we aren’t getting younger, we aren’t worried about not having time with kids that are in our home.

This was a hard decision for me, harder than for C, I think. I’m going to try not to look into the kids rooms too often so that I don’t get that empty feeling of “why aren’t there kids here.”

When the stars don’t align

Sometimes I think our case worker is an idiot. In my June 16th post “Unofficially Official” I provided false information- that was provided to us by the social worker but I just realized it last weekend. So yea.

We have one more class before we will even be submitted to the agency board for approval. Our social worker had told us in early June that everything was good to go since we approved the profile and it would go to DHS for approval and we should hear in a few weeks. She noted that these July classes would not hold us up since they are adoption specific and we had expressed that we wanted to foster. Yea, lies.

We are in the midst of the 2 part adoption classes now. Last weekend we were there for 6 hours with adoption workers who are coworkers of our assigned person. They laid out very clearly the process. There were 2 other families there who were in the same position as us, everything was completed except this class. The class leaders explained that once you complete this class your profile goes to the agency board and then you meet with the matching specialist., not before Our social worker had told us we’d meet with the specialist prior to our license being approved. Can you see how frustrating all of this is? Grr! So I have a clearer picture now that we are not going to hear from the agency board about approval until some times in August. We had kind of rushed and got a lot of items, put the beds up, etc. thinking that sometime this month we might be getting calls. Little did we know.

Meanwhile we are planning to go to Florida for Thanksgiving to spend time with my dad’s side of the family. My mom also recently relocated to Florida so we’ll get to see her also. We bought our plane tickets and are holding out hope that if we have children they are long term placements that can go with us on this trip. We bought trip insurance just in case we have to cancel or reschedule. Right now we are looking at accommodations and it’s hard not knowing how many beds we’ll need and things like that. I’m geared towards an Airbnb place or VRBO so that we have privacy and the kids don’t feel like we’re hounding them 24/7. Everyone likes to have their own space, ya know. I hadn’t realized how difficult it can be to plan anything in the future without knowing what the children situation will be like. Even making plans with friends for the fall is “it’ll depend on what the kid situation looks like” and luckily people are very understanding.

We attended the Pennsylvania Adoption and Permanency Conference at the end of June and it was really informative. That whole experience deserves its own post though so look for that soon.

Today we celebrate C’s 41st birthday with a pool party with our nearest and dearest! ❤

Sweet memories from vacation

C and I went on vacation last week to the Finger Lakes region of New York. We have friends with a cottage there and we took up their offer to use it any time. This was our first ever week long vacation and it didn’t involve family or other responsibilities! Bonus= the cottage had no cell service or internet. Every evening we were alone with each other and our crafts and had a blast. There’s no other person I’d rather spend a week with in a non air conditioned cottage with well water and bugs galore.

The cottage:

kayaking:

 Susan B Anthony’s house:

Niagara Falls:

This was such an awesome trip, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Hopefully this was our baby moon. We are still waiting to hear if DHS approves our license! 

Officially unofficial

Last week was our last visit with the social worker for a while. It feels weird to not have her name on the calendar but it also feels nice to know the balls are really rolling. We reviewed the family profile that she had written and it was mostly presentable. Considering I write similar profiles for a living I had some feelings about her word choices and structure but oh well. There were some glaring issues like:

  • B read a book and decided she was a lesbian
  • C has always been a lesbian. His sexual identity is now male.
  • B was in “xyz” club. “Xyz” is the name of my high school. 

These things were weird and C changed her words immediately on the profile report. I waited until Monday after giving it a lot of thought and I wrote her the exact thing I wanted her to put in the report regarding when I realized I was a lesbian. The worker is actually really great and when she found out about our LGBT status she was glad to hear it. I think she just didn’t know how to write about gender identity and sexual orientation. 

So, now the report goes to DHS and we wait to be licensed. We expect this to take a few weeks. We are being licensed as adoptive parents not foster. 

This means we’ll get kids they expect are heading for their parents rights being terminated. We are ok with this though I was initially upset they weren’t going to let us care for short term placements. I’ve now wrapped my head around this being ok and we’ll roll with it. There are kids out there somewhere who need us, preferable in the 6-16 age range. We decided while doing the profile that we can’t deal with daycare. It doesn’t work for our wallets, our schedules, or our energy level. So no babies for us- unless they are part of an older sibling set. Our friends have been collecting items for us so we have all the things for an emergency infant placement just in case.

June 28-30 we’ll be in the Pocono mountains at a water park for the annual permanency conference. I’m so looking forward to meeting other LGBT foster parents and people in our area. We are alone in this adventure but I’ve made a few online friends. One woman lives a few miles from us and a lesbian couple used our agency and live in Philly. I’m branching out! We need foster parent friends so this helps. The internet is an amazing resource for meeting people. At the conference we will take several work shops and learn about various parenting methods as well as legal issues to prepare for. This is definitely my domain- the learning part of things.

We also have to take 16 hrs of adoption classes. Those are scheduled in July. That’s our last piece of the puzzle before we get referrals for kids. It seems so close and so far away simultaneously. We bought beds on Facebook Marketplace, way cheaper than getting them new at IKEA and they are the design we want. We need to assemble them and then we’ll be set in the “little kid” room. The teen/tween room is already set up. 

Folks. We are almost there! The finish line is just weeks away. 

Are your pants on fire?

I have this relative that I think most people have one of. She’s a compulsive liar. I think there is something deeper going on because she copies what other people are going through. I had a miscarriage and the next day so did she, allegedly. Her sister had a medical issue that fussed two of her organs, suddenly this person has a similar issue with her uterus. This woman lives off other people’s trauma. I’m glad we don’t live near each other because I’d probably punch her in the face.

So, back to me. On Thursday our relatives received their foster parent announcement cards. We got calls and messages and people are happy for us. Thursday night my lying relative posts on Facebook “we have finished our foster to adopt classes. We will meet our newborn son in 3-5 weeks when he is born. This is a closed foster to adopt.” And she included a sonogram photo. Her language for the situation seems inappropriate if she is closed adopting a newborn. There are so many flaws with this story that I could scream. 

She and her husband live in their car on a beach in Florida. Neither of them have steady jobs and he can’t get a legal job. His visa expired 2 years ago and he can’t renew it without risking deportation because he waited so long. This also means, to me, that they wouldn’t pass the background check. They did some shady illegal things last year and most people think there are warrants for their arrest. In what real world would the government approve them for children? I am so angry at her attempt to high jack my life.

My sister tried to probe her with comments but our relative was ducking her questions. Someone else commented “wow, the wait list for babies is very long in America, I’m surprised you’re jumping to the front of the list.” No response from fake-mom-to-be. The worst part that we all see coming is the explosion. What sob story will she create for why she didn’t get a baby in a few weeks? Will the mom change her mind, will the fake baby be stillborn, will she say she and her husband changed their minds? She’s using this excuse to get money and donations right now. It’s really sad. 

Not one relative posted a congratulations to her. That says something, no one believes the lie. Her friends are buying into it but her parents and siblings know better. She’s burned so many bridges by lying, stealing, and spontaneously moving across the country. No one wants to deal with her scams. Maybe I am too skeptical, maybe she is magically getting a newborn baby to adopt next month. We’ll see.

3 down and 1 to go

It looks like we are done meeting with the family development coordinator until she had our completed profile and is ready for the walk through. This month of sporadic visits was emotionally exhausting. I’m glad we are done with the crying and struggling with our own family trauma.

I am looking forward to seeing what our profile looks like in the end. Everything must be submitted to DHS by July 3rd and I think she’ll be done ahead of that timeline. Then we wait to be approved/licensed and we are on our way! I hope we present as an awesome couple who will give our best selves to help these children in the short or long term. 

Yesterday we sent out “we are foster parents” announcements to our immediate family. We’ll send some to friends who we don’t talk to often later this week when I get more stamps. We included statistics about foster care in Pennsylvania and I think it’ll help people to see the need for foster homes. 

We are going to the  SWAN 2017 Permanency Conference held in the Poconos in June. I’m looking forward to meeting other, hopefully local, foster parents. We need local friends who get it and can be supportive. Plus, it’s at a water park so we’ll be having fun no matter what. Ha ha.

In short: we will meet out case worker one final time before we get licensed. This will be the home inspection which I’m sure week be ok on. Bring on the awesome!

Social media

I recently had one of my clients friend request me on Facebook. This was the first time that had happened. I mean, after 40 years in prison, he gets out and discovered Facebook. He needed friends and who more appropriate than your legal team?! I asked him to respect the professional boundary and he was ok with it. Luckily it’s only happened once.

As we get closer to our foster care license I’m anxious about how accessible I am. This week I changed my privacy settings and Facebook name. Has anyone else done this? Am I being irrational that people (first/bio families) will look for me online? 

Something flipped my switch and I almost deleted Facebook…but I’m in several foster groups that I think are too useful to abandon. Ugh. This is how it starts, right? They suck you in and you can’t leave. Boo. I do feel better knowing my unique name will not be on Facebook. I’ve googled myself several times over the years to be sure there is nothing I don’t want out there. I cleaned up my entire internet identity a few years ago, getting comments on public sites removed, news articles taken down, and long lost profiles deleted. I am vigilant about presenting as a professional and I don’t want anything to stain my identity. Now I have the added concern of having angry people I don’t know possibly being able to find me online. Here is hoping I’ve sufficiently protected myself from stalkers.

How do you feel safe on the internet?

The unexpected trigger

For several years I knew that when someone said “I’m pregnant” I would smile but cringe and once I was alone I’d start to hate myself for not having given birth. I would somehow internalize my loved ones pregnancies as the universe telling me what a failure I was because “everyone else is doing it.” It has only been the last two years that I have been able to take this news and genuinely be happy for people without thinking about myself first.

It is hard initially to not think about the baby I would have had if I hadn’t miscarried, or all the failed IUIs and the huge chunk of change spent on medication and appointments in attempts to bring home a live baby. I feel that losing a pregnancy is not something that you move through in the blink of an eye. It’s been 6 years and I still cry about it, I still feel traumatized by having to wait it out rather than a D & C.

This week one of my good friends found out that they lost their pregnancy, during a routine scan there was no heartbeat. This is her first pregnancy after several IUIs and it’s devastating. We do not live local to one another so I think she felt safe talking to me about being pregnant and now about their loss. I hate that I can’t be there for her as I know what it is like to not have anyone local to you who understands what you’re going through.

I hadn’t expected that finding out someone I know lost a pregnancy would trigger me into feelings of sadness and loss. It’s almost Mother’s Day here in the USA and that’s an awful time to have to deal with a loss like this. I would definitely be feeling some feelings about not being a biological parent regardless but now I feel sucked into the thoughts of the kid that would have been. That loss changed my life. It made it very difficult for me to imagine being pregnant, I was paranoid and terrified. I’d get an anxiety attack whenever we inseminated and I was not prepared to deal with another long wait for a fetus to “expel.” That was when we knew it was over. I couldn’t handle the emotional toll that it took on me and I  was scared to death that I would become despondent if I had to go through another miscarriage.

We moved on. We let ourselves grieve and work through what it meant for us to not to have bio kids. Now we are fully engrossed in becoming foster parents. We are happy with our decision and look forward to welcoming young people into our home. When reading books about foster or adoptive parenting, I learned about addressing your biological kids grief so that you aren’t putting that on the children who you’ll be caring for. The children are not responsible for living up to the ideal child dream we have and cannot be expected to be the kid you thought you’d have. No one can predict what will trigger their feelings of loss but I try to put mine in perspective and not carry that over into parenting future children.

*keep my friend in your thoughts and prayers as she and her wife go through this awful time*