The calm before the storm.

    
As we continue to work through this process, there is a reoccurring thought or question.  Do the same traditions or expectations apply to us as someone having their first kid the old fashioned way?  At times it can feel awkward and confusing but, the new tradition of a “baby moon” was easy.  We have spent the last couple of days at the Cabo Surf Hotel.  This is a 36 room hotel just outside of Cabo San Lucas.  It has been a perfect way to take a deep breath before that one phone call that will change our lives. 

If you are thinking, “what have you done for the past couple of days while you are there?”, here is our Google search history for the past 48 hours:

  • Dollars to pesos conversion rate
  • How do waves work
  • Why is it called cold cream
  • Is there a cure for sunburn
  • Cabo real estate prices
  • Weather in NYC

Crazy right?  Tori has got a work trip planned this coming week and there is no doubt in my mind we will get a call for an emergency placement the second she gets on the plane. Emergency placement is the other process in which we could get placed.  This is what it sounds like: CPS is removing kids from their home and trying to place them in a foster setting quickly.  Unlike the broadcasts, emergency placements lead to the kids being reunited with their family roughly 60% of the time.  This is also a much slower moving process to lead to adoption.  The positives here is CPS needs a space quick and the pool of options is dramatically smaller than for broadcasts.  The broadcast could be 200 families across the state interested where emergency placement could be 5 all in Fort Worth.  

We are both very grateful for all the support from family and friends.  If anyone wants to bet, I think we will have our first kid in less than 10 days.  If you do want to bet, all bets will be made using Target gift cards. 

The push present is next on the list of “does it apply?”…

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Word of the day

If you were to flip through a modern dictionary looking for the phrase “shit show”  here is what you would find:

Over the course of the past 5 days we have experienced the following:

Trip to Target, Trip to Ikea, Trip to Hobby Lobby, Trip to Tuesday Morning, Trip to Lowes, and a Trip to Ace Hardware.  No so bad right, just a bunch of trips so far.

On Friday things got intense fast.  We received our first broadcast.  A broadcast is one of two ways we will be notified about kids who need to be placed in a more permanent foster to adopt situation.  These kids have been on the radar at CPS for some time and might be in some kind of temporary situation until CPS can find the right foster home.

Tori text me at 1:45, “Have you checked your email?”. I don’t see the text.  1:50 Tori calls me in tears asking if i have seen my email.  Answer was, no, i had not checked my personal email while at work.  At this point she has read the first broadcast and knows everything about the first two kids we have had a chance to review.  Fast forward to today and this is what we have been presented with over the past couple of days:

Friday 1:35pm – 4 mo. and 18 mo. sisters

Monday 12:27pm – 1 mo old boy

Tuesday 10:13am – 3 yr and 2 yr sisters

Tuesday 3:09pm – 5 yr,3 yr, and 2 yr sisters

Wednesday 9:15am – 5 yr girl and 3 yr brother

Thats right 10 different heart breaking stories to read and decide, based on one picture and a CPS report, if we are the right fit.  There is no question this has been the most terrifying decision making process i have ever had to do.

Amazingly, to this point, Tori and I have been 100% in agreement about submitting our home study for the 4 mo and 18 mo sisters and the 5 yr and 3 yr siblings.  Not sure i can explain why the others didn’t feel right, but, that is where we are.

What happens next?  We will continue to receive broadcasts, daily i am sure, and will continue to have to make the choice on whether or not we want to be submitted as an option.  In each situation, CPS will gather all the cases submitted from around the state and begin working through them for a strong fit.  There could be as many as 200 different cases in the mix for each broadcast.  If you make the final handful, then our case worker is invited to visit with the CPS worker to ask questions on our behalf and allow the CPS worker to ask any questions about us. This could take weeks or months.

By now you can see how the anxiety can build.  Keep in mind, this is only half of the equation. The second piece of the program is emergency placement which i will save for a later post.

Shit show.

Sorry forgot one thing.  Tuesday, March 22nd we officially became a certified foster home in the State of Texas!

 

 

Need a pick me up?

Imagine a young Marcus in 1995 (see below).  The long days of spring break were fueled by bologna sandwiches and black cherry kool-aid.  Parents back then were brave enough to leave kids at home alone to fill their time with Pogs, Sports Illustrated for Kids, magic eye posters or books (I swear I have never been able to see a single image.  It is stuff like the magic eye posters or the white/gold or Blue/black dress debacle that makes me consider if I am living The Truman Show.) If my little sister left her stupid Highlights magazine laying around I might flip through it while knocking back a cold Fruitopia and a paint can of Tongue Splashers.

You now have the context of what I am about to tell you.  The Forbis-Stokes boys next door and I burned through more disposable cameras than girls on prom night.  We went nuts with trying to create the perfect action shots.  We would stage ridiculous situations around any sport that involved someone flying through the air.  I have to give credit to one of my original homies JFS for this gem. #abovetherim #adjustablebackboards

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While the Kool-aid, candy, and play station all helped motivate us for greatness, there was one thing alone that changed our lives forever.

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That’s right, in 1995 ESPN released Jock Jams Volume 1.  I will never forget laying on my water bed and putting in the CD for the first time.  Bell rings three times….Ladies & Gentlemen WELCOME to the main event..(musical pause)  Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!!  OH HELL YEAH!!!!!!  We were flying around the house jumping off and over anything possible.

You might be thinking how is he going to tie this to foster care?  Im not.  We are in No Man’s Land or Groundhog’s Day.  Still a couple weeks away and little to nothing new to report.  Hang in there with us and enjoy your spring break.

Diced & Chunked

At 4 am this morning i woke up from an odd dream, looked over and Tori was not there. I got up thinking, “did she go to the gym?..no way” or “did she go to work early?…no way”.  She was in the front bedroom, and, as soon as i walked in the room, i apparently “startled” her awake. She couldn’t sleep and was trying a different bed.  Now its 4:15 am and we are both wide awake.

We could go to the gym, watch a movie, clean the house, go to work, or…Image

For almost 10 years we have done just about whatever we have wanted, whenever we wanted.  Knowing that will soon change is no different than any other family expecting their first kiddo but, it doesn’t change the level of uncertainty.  Trust me, there is very little i am not willing to give up in order to grow our family.  We do so many awful, boring things.

Once we have little kids, i imagine i will have at least a 5 year window of no: Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, Nordstrom Rack, or Goodwill. So, in the interim, we are trying to finish the most on-point baby room of all time, and spend some time doing our favorite, boring things before we get that phone call.

After we got home from Waffle House one of us said to the other, “What am i going to do for 4 hours before i have to be at work?”…There is always that form.

 

 

Blog Post

After gaining an understanding of the expectations of the blog-reading, stay-at-home-moms, I regret starting this blog.

Feedback to this point: more pictures, add a subscribe option, a good blog like, Little Green Notebook, posts everyday, and you need to update your “about section”.  The best part of knowing nothing about modern blog rules and expectations is… I don’t care.

Let me bring you up to speed since my last post:

I played golf Saturday morning.  Great weather.  Drank a few beers.  Showed my blog to an english professor.  He was not impressed. Went to a diaper shower (all guys).  Great weather. Drank a few beers.  There was a nugget tray.  Drove home.  Went to sleep at 4 pm.

My lovely wife woke me up around 7 to remind me we had plans to go to Top Golf with her friends.  Most of her friends are ok.  Needless to say, I didn’t really want to go.  Since I just woke up, I could not come up with a good reason not to go so, I rode shotgun to Top Golf.

Thank God I went because it was a SURPRISE BABY SHOWER FOR USSSSS!!!

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The highlight of the night for me was the following exchange with our waitress:

Waitress: Your friends are throwing a party for you?

Me: Yeah. We need 5 fireballs and 5 vegas bombs.

Waitress: Oh cool. What are you guys celebrating?

Me: It’s a baby shower

Waitress:  Ok

Me: Oh yeah, my wife needs another Miller Lite too.

Waitress: …….

Seriously we are very grateful for all the support and love we have received from friends and family over the past week.  This process is foreign to most people and a lot of the traditional rules of supporting a pregnant couple don’t apply.  We don’t know what gifts to register for and we don’t know what we need.  Seeing friends and family that are excited for us has been (caution cheesy) needed and encouraging for us. Thank you.

Answers to miscellaneous requests:

  • No the form has not been completed yet.
  • We are less than 30 days out.
  • I don’t know what to tell you to buy us.
  • Subscription option added.

 

 

The FAQs

We have kept our plans to foster to adopt close to the vest as we worked through the training and certification process.  Many of the questions we are getting from family and friends are the same questions we had before we started this process.  At this point we certainly do not have all the answers but we do have some.

When will you know more details about the kid you are adopting?

This is a two part answer.  We will start getting phone calls from our case worker in the next 30 days asking if we are interested in various placements.  The case worker would call with the age, gender, race, and some minor details regarding the kid’s current situation.  If we say “Yes” our home study is thrown in the mix for placement but ultimately decided on by CPS.

Do you have any control or get to pick your kid?

During our home study we have answered questionnaires that outline what characteristics we would be willing to accept.  For us we are targeting 3 years old or younger, any gender, and any race.  We will be certified for up to 3 kids because of some bizarre situations that can come up.  Really we are targeting 1 but are open to 2 if it is a sibling group. In theory our case worker will only call us with placements that meet our profile.

Oh wow, so you really have no idea what to buy or how to plan?

That’s right.

How long before you can adopt the kids?

Every situation is different and entirely out of our hands.  In most cases a judge and CPS will work with the birth parents to determine their willingness and ability to correct the issues that led to their kids being removed from their home. I believe the text book answer is 9 -12 months.

Here are some of the questions from my dumb friends:

What are you going to do if the kid tries to murder you in your sleep?  

Not helpful.

You should get a really hot 17 year old girl!  

Nope.

What if the parents find you and like try to set your car on fire or something?

After these examples my hope is to answer some of the most basic questions and prove to everyone how terrible most of my friends really are.

 

 

Friday Night Lights

IMG_2880After 31 years I am still a complete SAVAGE on Friday nights.  I was able to get the table and chairs turnt up (so I could tighten the allen bolts with my nice multitool).  My new baby bed is fire.

Ok fine, I am tired and its 8:45.  Today was a big day.  This afternoon we had our final home study.  We are less than 30 days from becoming a foster home and the reality is starting to set in.  We have finished everything but one form that one of us told the other one to hurry up and finish it but, the other one of us was too focused on dusting and spraying air freshener everywhere.  One of us will finish it soon I bet.

Consider this a sneak peak of a baby room that will turn Pinterest upside down!  Chip and Jo won’t know what hit them after we shove some french farm house into a shabby boho kids fantasy.  Ok I have no idea what we are doing I just know we have to paint the room soon.

We are getting more excited each day and know our lives will never be the same very soon.

 

Spring Training

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In the summer of 2015, we started reaching out to friends who had added to their families through various forms of adoption.  Each one of them had a different story of adoption from domestic / international, open / closed, and faith based / public.  I still cannot really tell you why, but none of the options felt right for us.

The world has a funny way of turning inside out at times.  Tori’s five year accomplice (1998-2002) of parental nightmares grew up to be a fine citizen and Child Protective Services worker based in Dallas, TX.  She has been a life changing resource and  her parents should forgive all wrong doing from 1998-2002.  She provided us an understanding of the foster to adoption process that made us comfortable enough to take the first step.  This is what led us to Hope Cottage in September of last year.

We attended an open house at Hope Cottage to learn about the various programs offered which includes infant adoption and foster to adopt. During the car ride home from Dallas that night, there was a point we looked at each other (briefly, i was driving) and knew the foster to adopt program was what we wanted to do.

Over the years, Hope Cottage has developed a reputation as an organization whose families are committed to providing permanent placement options for CPS.  While the focus of CPS is always to return kids to their birth parents first, there are cases  which CPS knows early on are more likely to end in permanent placement with a foster family.   That is where we hope to fit in the equation.

Since 12-1-2015, we have had a one on one with our case worker, done a crazy amount of paperwork, attended PRIDE training, read The Connected Child, CPR First Aid, FBI fingerprints, home studies, and formally applied to become a state approved foster home.

We are approaching the end of spring training and are about to jump into the big leagues as parenting rookies.  What could possibly go wrong?

 

Introduction

This will serve as my introductory post to outline what great content you will find in this blog.  After reading 19 Things to Know Before You Start a Blog, I have prepared a blog plan with a very specific theme and short term goals.  I am aware of security threats to my blog and will be focused on my health in order to produce a product that i can one day sell for a large sum of money.

Believe it or not, the focus here is fostering to adopt.

After several years of trying the good ole fashion way, it was still just the two of us and our incredibly high maintenance dogs.  We started toying with the idea of foster care a few years ago, but mostly how “we” could never do that.  It looks so hard and would be terrifying.  Well here we are. About to become Foster Parents.

We got to foster care the hard way.  We tried every option on the table and even a few on the dryer, to blend up our DNA and produce a child that defies all laws of existence.  For now it appears the world is not ready to handle such greatness.

My hope is to provide some insight to folks about what’s going on and what we are freaking out about. We are beyond excited and scared of the next phase of life but like the kids are saying these days….yolo.