Monday, December 23, 2013


“Well that was easy!”

After four and a half years of frustration, tears, and prayer, the actual day of adoption went by like a warm summer breeze.  Forgive me if I get a little poetic with this, but it was an exciting, energizing, climatic day and we’re still basking in the joy of Adoption Day (or as we began calling it, "A-Day").

December 19th couldn't have been a nicer day.  Winter has been odd and unpredictable so far.  We’ve had snow flurries, ice, and 70-degree weather.  It’s actually what we’ve come to expect from Chattanooga.  So on the morning of December 19th, we weren’t sure what to expect.  We laid out our clothes and planned for colder weather.   We wore our jackets and coats and sweaters, but we really didn’t need them.  The air was crisp and the sky was blue.

I had the day off and so had the joy of spending the morning with Amelia.  After breakfast we took a shower and got dressed.  We both were wearing new clothes.  Her in a red plaid dress Kelly’s mom had found and me in a bluey-greeny plaid shirt I had found but Kelly had bought for me for our anniversary.

Our appointment was at 1:30, so we decided to do lunch first.  Kelly, Amelia, and I met Kelly’s parents, Kelly’s sister, met my parents at The Universal Joint, a fantastic little restaurant that used to be gas station.  After lunch, we walked across the street to the courthouse.

We didn’t really know what to expect.  Our lawyer said it was going to be super easy and quick.  We were to meet the judge in his chambers where he would ask us a few questions and then sign the paper, sealing the deal and making Amelia ours.  And in a nutshell, that’s what happened.  But what we weren’t expecting was such an emotional, joyous proceeding.

This was clearly the judge’s favorite part of the day.  He smiled with us, joked with us, and showed us pictures of his grandchildren.  Kelly and I were sworn in and made to tell the story of how Amelia came into our lives.  We told the judge our story and he listened with a wondrous smile on his face.  He asked us a few questions, alternating between Kelly and I.  “What’s her name going to be?  By doing this, it will be – legally – as if she were your biological child.  She have all the rights that comes with.  Should the two of you ever divorce, you both would still be responsible for her.  Are you aware and okay with that?”

We answered his questions with choked-up throats and beaming smiles on our face.  One grandfather, who shall remain nameless, said he had to focus on Amelia during the meeting otherwise he would have started to cry.

It was the easiest, most wonderful way to end one journey and begin another.  The judge signed the paper, shook our hands, and then posed for pictures.  The judge and his staff were amused by our entourage.  We had our entire families plus two photographers all crammed into his chambers.

After the ceremony (which was very much like a wedding in a lot of ways), we went with our lawyer to sign a few more papers . . . and then it was done.

Kelly and I laughed about it afterward.  Considering how hard these years have been at times, it was almost absurd how easy it was in the end.

“You’re a mama now,” I said to her, squeezing her tight and giving her a kiss.  “Officially.”

“I’ve always been a mama.”  She said with a teary smile.

“I know.”  I said, remembering when we first met.  

She was sixteen and the camp we worked at had trusted her with children.  She had laughed about it.  "I can't believe they trust me," she would say.  And I would smile.  Because I saw in her what, clearly, the managers of the saw:  She was a mama.  She had no experience and she was way too young, but she was a mama.  She was firm but forgiving, encouraging and funny.  She would deny it, but she had one of the biggest, most loving hearts I had yet encountered.  I saw it, even when she didn’t.  Seeing her today, then, crying over finally being declared a mama, came as absolutely no surprise to me.

Kelly laughed again, wiping a tear from her eye.  “Well that was easy!”

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Next Chapter: The Podcast!

Having blogged about our family's journey for over two years, we decided it was time for a reboot!  The blog has become a podcast!

The first couple of episodes will cover some of the same material we've covered in the blog, but with both of us chiming in at the same time (while trying not to talk over one another), hopefully we'll be able to cover the subjects more completely.  Each episode will begin with an update on our how family is doing now and then will move into a particular subject and book reviews and, really, a lot of what we've been doing here on this blog.  This is just our first episode, so I fully expect the structure of the podcast to evolve.

It is currently available to download and streaming at  It has been submitted to iTunes and should be available there shortly.  It is our belief we will be able to reach more people through the podcast medium and keep some of these important conversations going -- though if all we accomplish is letting people they are not alone, then the podcast and the blog has done its job.

Also, for you readers out there, we don't plan on retiring the blog any time soon.  We'll still post things here, though I suspect the majority of our content is going to move to the podcast.


We are now on iTunes!  Subscribe!  Share!  Rate!

Monday, July 29, 2013

What Day Zero Means

I think everyone who follows this blog is also friends with us on Facebook, but for those who aren't, here's a quick catch-up:

Previously, on The Foggs . . .

Scott and Kelly really wanted a family.  They tried all sorts of things:  Natural solutions, unnatural solutions, the foster care system and lots and lots of prayer.  Just when the light was fading at the end of the tunnel, they received a call from a nurse practitioner friend of theirs who had just found out one of her patients (a giggling, cooing, totes adorbs ten month-old) was about to be put up for adoption.  Their friend stepped out on a limb and gave the girl's custodian Scott and Kelly's number, we got in touch and a few short (despite how long they felt) weeks later, little baby Amelia was living with them.

All caught up?  Good.  Feel free to ask questions.  We're more than happy to go further into detail.

About a week or so after Amelia came to live with us, I started posting a countdown.  It started at 30.  And every day, I posted the next.  29.  People started asking, "what's all this about?"  28.  And I explained, as succinctly and as informatively as I could (on Facebook) that it was our countdown until Amelia was ours.  27.  That wasn't the whole truth, but it was the easiest, best way to explain it from my iPhone while I was eating lunch in my car in the parking lot at work.

Eagle-eyed observers noticed that on July 26, 2013, we reached zero.  0.  Lot of amazing congratulations and cheers came rolling in over our phones and on Facebook and in real life.  Followed with either a "so she's yours now" or "what happens next?"

So.  This is what happened on Day Zero.  Our attorney went to court on our behalf and we became Amelia's legal guardians.  I very much like the idea of creating a business card that says


But it's a position that I shouldn't have to hold very long due to the nature of the countdown.  The countdown started on the day that the biological parents were served papers that said their rights as parents were being terminated (TPR for short, "Termination of Parental Rights").  They had thirty days to contest this termination.  If they did not contest it during those thirty days, their rights would be terminated and we would be granted custody of Amelia.

The thirty days came and went without a peep from either parent -- well, not completely without peep.  The father contacted the attorney to sign over his rights even faster.  He was effectively out of the equation a few short days into The Thirty.  We never heard from the mom.  The reason we are guardians right now, and don't have full custody, is because the next step is the person who served mom and dad the termination of parental rights papers need to file an affidavit saying "I served them these papers on this date."  Once that is notarized and filed, we will have full custody of Amelia.

The step after that is we have to wait about four months for Tennessee to let us adopt her.  The state of Tennessee insists that a child live with a family for six months before the family can adopt her (I think that's a number that's different for every state).  That should happen in December and we cannot imagine anything preventing Tennessee from letting us adopt her.

So that is where we are!  It's exciting and delightful and wonderful and just a little bit exhausting -- but, as I was trying to explain to a friend, even when it's exhausting it's so exciting that you barely notice it.  And then you see her smile or hear her and you forget about any complaint you ever had about anything.


Thursday, May 9, 2013


We are TINKs again. Not the Disney fairy in green or any other green fairy for that matter. WE are back to being Two Incomes, No Kids people. This is the story of how we have returned to being TINKs. After 6 months of being in our home London moved out in March. It was a much quieter event than we imaged. There were few tears, but no yelling, no questions, no pleading – just silence.


We did a pretty good job considering we had never been parents. Considering we were only twice her age. Considering we were not told the whole back story or even the entire current situation. Considering she had more than 13 YEARS of inadequate programming. We did a great job setting boundaries. We did a pretty good job explaining those boundaries and why they existed. We even steadfastly held London to the consequences of her actions even when she whined or complained that they were unfair.

When we said yes to 14 year old London coming into our home we knew we would be challenged and we knew we were getting in over our heads. MANY people were kind enough to tell us that.  The first couple months lulled us into false hope. It was actually not too hard. Yeah rearranging our work schedules and making the daily drive to and from school was not super fun, but a lot of other times were. We said over and over again that teenagers might just be better than babies – they sleep through the night, they can take care of their own hygiene (well maybe with some reminding), and hey, this one could even prepare a simple meal. This child was even old enough to share the responsibilities of some chores – like the much disliked kitty-litter-box-clean-out task.

Other than the drama that naturally surrounded court dates and visits with the bio-mom and the surprising number of doctors visits for a healthy 14 year old, the first three months were pretty easy. London did ballet and soccer, we went on a family vacation to Disney World, and we successfully navigated Christmases with all three of our families. We were really starting to enjoy this whole family thing. At Disney World Kelly rocked the mom bag complete with park maps, bottled water, hair ties, and snacks. Scott was honing his ability to embarrass London with loud embarrassing statements or questions. And it felt like things were starting to gel.

Starting second semester of her eighth grade year, London reached the point where she had been in this school longer than she had been in any of her previous 13 schools. A couple weeks into school she was suspended for fighting. There were consequences laid down and we lived through 3 days of suspension and 2 weeks of grounding. Then a few weeks later, after being reprimanded at school for being disrespectful to a teacher, London skipped class with a couple other kids. She was suspended from school for a week. London was back to school for 2 weeks exactly when she was found taking drugs on school grounds. This earned her expulsion from the public school system entirely.

We thought we handled the fight pretty well. We were told we handled the skipping school drama with aplomb. We talked a lot with London about her choices and what they communicated to us. With her actions she was communicating that she could not function within our family. That she could not hold up her end of our growing relationship. After all, you cannot have a healthy relationship with someone you can’t trust. After she ran away one Saturday we found that we could not trust her out of our sight, even at home. We were learning that she could not be trusted at school unless she was under the direct supervision of an adult, even then she was disruptive and rude. Ultimately our talking was just air and the consequences we laid down were not doing their job. London was escalating her acting out and becoming more and more disrespectful at home and school.

We ultimately decided that she did not respect us and would probably never follow our rules. We came to the conclusion that London was very good at adapting to meet a situation and was able to match the tone of the people around her when she wanted. That’s why our first 3 months went so smoothly. She was a very good apologizer and when she was in a good mood she was really fun to be with. These are skills that help her survive the foster care system, but make her extremely difficult to actually live with, because she used them as tools to get her way.

 After much prayer and many tears we decided that it was time for London to move on to a more experienced home. We even suggested something like a group home that would insulate her from the pressures of normal life and remove her from some of the drama of cute boys, mean girls, and tempting drugs.

In the end, the foster agency did not take our suggestion. London was moved from our home to another foster home, but with more experienced foster parents. Or so we were told. Since we are no longer her foster parents we have no reason to receive updates about her or how she is doing.


It’s been about 2 months now and we have returned to being just Scott and Kelly again: TINK. The first couple weeks were pretty quiet around our house. We didn’t realize how much of our thoughts had been filled with London – what to feed her, what could we teach her, how could we let her know she was loved, how could we help her feel normal? We have now returned to our own lives again. We have taken a getaway weekend and we watch rated-R movies again. We have enjoyed being kid free, but we still talk about her fairly often. We still find things she would think are funny or things we want to show her.

People ask how we are; they seem to expect us to be depressed. In some ways we feel relieved. In some ways disappointed that we could not be what this kid needed.

We’ve taken a break for a while from the foster care system. We haven’t decided yet if we will give it another try. We’ll let you know.