Thursday, May 24, 2012

Following PATH

So we completed the PATH classes this month, and we completed a ginormous stack of paperwork.  Yay!  We've bothered our friends, family, and even coworkers for reference forms (and special thanks to them!).  We've bought fire extinguishers and a carbon monoxide detector (and put the batteries back in the smoke detector over the stove).  Our Spare 'Oom is ready for a tiny occupant.  But the most exciting exciting step was yesterday.  It was out first chance to sit down with our adoption coordinator, Darla (not her real name).

She came to visit us at home and spent two and a half hours with us.  We worked through a questionnaire about our parenting skills.  What we are comfortable parenting, what we feel we might need help with, and things we feel are beyond our capacity.  It was a helpful exercise that gave her a chance to get to know us.  It was a pretty casual conversation and it gave us a chance to ask the questions we've been amassing:

  • How long does this take?  Another 6-8 weeks. During that time we may have two more meetings with her and she may call to speak with both of us individually. She will prepare a home study report and then we will do fingerprinting and background checks. She will pull all of that together and send to the state for approval. We will complete CPR and first aid training in early June.  We should be approved possible as early as sometime mid June.
  • After a placement what kind of support do we have if we have questions/problems?  A team is available 24/7 for questions and brainstorming. Support with practical issues of transportation and doctors appointments is available as well. They offer respite care if we need a break.
  • How long until we can adopt?  A placement may come quickly, but the child will be in our home for 6 months before we can complete the adoption.
  • What does this cost us?  Nothing. They cover the costs of the home study, background check, and legal fees. We would be paid a stipend monthly after a child is placed with us, even AFTER the adoption is completed.
  • Can our parents and friends help with occasional childcare?  Yes. They do not need to also go through a background check or home study. Omni trusts our judgment on who to leave our children with.
  • Can we travel with the children?  Yes, but we need to communicate those plans to Omni. We would need to get approval for overnight stays out of state.

What is hard to explain is the feeling we got from the meeting. We came away from the conversation very positive. Darla seems as excited to be working with us as we are to be working with her.  She said that she would talk to the other Omni adoption coordinator and they will be looking out for a child who would be a good fit for our family.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

A new PATH

After more than a year of waiting we are now starting on the home study process! It is good to feel like we are taking steps forward.

If you have been keeping up, for the past 14 months we have listed our profile with a local attorney and have been networking with anyone we come in contact with. We have been hesitant to work with an adoption agency for several reasons. We won't go into that here, except to say that cost is a factor. But after thoughtfully and tearfully considering a surrogate pregnancy we have again reassessed our plans of how to grow our family.

We are now connected with a local foster-to-adopt agency, Omni Visions, Inc. We have completed the 4-week PATH (Parents as Tender Healers) training class. We are almost, maybe, hopefully, nearly done with a two-inch stack of paperwork. We are collecting references and are scheduling a CPR class. All this will allow us to be approved resource parents in the state of Tennessee. Once approved we can be part of Omni’s foster-to-adopt program.

We are looking to provide a permanent and stable home for child under the age of five. It is a simultaneously exciting and scary process. We just keep reminding ourselves that we are doing this to serve a child, who is probably more scared that we are. We are not sure what to expect but glad to be taking a step forward on this journey.

The home study requires the house to be baby-/child-proofed. We have spent the past 3 weeks collecting a fire extinguisher, rearranging our cleaning supply storage, and developing a system to double lock our medications (prescription and OTC). We were asked to provide pictures of the inside and outside of our house as well as our pets. The house is the cleanest and most organized it has been since we moved in 5 years ago. Here are a couple our those pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Scott's Hero themed office.

Spare 'oom -  this is the future home of our little one. It is a woodland Narnia theme.

We will share more on this process as we learn more.

We found a new podcast on the foster-to-adopt process from a California couple - here. The process will be different state to state, but the feelings are the same no matter where you are.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Tot New Mobile

Kelly just took my Justice League tots that I collected from Sonic and turned them into the coolest mobile ever.  I had to share.