Introducing… a family of three!

My goodness – sorry about the long absence, but the last two months have been a crazy whirlwind!  I can’t go into a lot of details yet (not until the 6 months residency period is over, and the adoption order has gone through the courts), but I’m so excited to share that we are now a family of three! But I’m getting ahead of myself – my last post talked about our first visit happening, so I should start there.

We all agree, it was super awkward.  We had dinner, and sat around and visited.  Our boy was quite quiet, but you could tell he was listening.

After that first meeting, we were expecting to have some conversations around what we thought, etc.  But a week later, our social worker called, and she had received a full visiting/transition schedule!  Crazy!  She likened the process to waiting for HOURS in a line for a ride at Disneyland.  Then all of a sudden you’re at the gate and you’re gone on this crazy ride.  And she was totally right!

We spent numerous weekends in our boy’s hometown, getting to know him and his foster family (who are amazing people, btw).  We toured around, did some fun family stuff, and had some super good talks.  Then, around the second week of July, we felt a shift.  All of a sudden he was REALLY engaged, excited to see us, and talking about the future more.  His social worker also saw a change.  Such a neat time!

Then we started planning for move-in.  Thank goodness he’s a super open kid and is easy to talk to – that has made this whole process SO much easier than it could have been. He approaches life with a great sense of humour (which I can totally see getting him into trouble in school, ha!)

We are now settling into our new normal.  Our boy is quite active, and likes to be outside. He loves our dogs, and they love him!  He also enjoys playing video games now and then with Jean.  He loves trying new food, and shares my dislike for onions.  And he’s growing like a weed!  We’ve already had to buy him new shoes – he’s in a 10.5!!!  Ha!  The life of parents…

One fun little piece of news – I was asked to write an article for AFABC’s Focus on Adoption magazine.  It comes out next month I think, so check it out!  It’s our funny story (now at least) of our first home study appointment, and some encouragement for prospective adoptive parents.

Think of us as we’re settling in, and thanks for understanding if I don’t post much over the next few weeks!

 

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THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!!!

As you might imagine, I didn’t sleep much last night.

We’re meeting Boy today, and I think I have felt every emotion know to humans!  Last night I shed a few tears – I was just so overwhelmed, and then I thought how he must be filling and that just did it.

But on the positive side of things, I figured out what to wear!  Ha!  An amazing friend called me, then we went through my wardrobe together with cell phone pictures, me standing in front of the mirror holding my phone.  Attractive, ha!  But seriously, our friends and family are just so amazing and have been so supportive.  I want to thank each of you for your messages and kindnesses and funny jokes – we love you!

On one of my rougher days, a friend msgd me: “Just remember that God already has the perfect child picked out for you guys and if this is him then nothing you wear will change that or make a difference:)”.  And my niece posted “Auntie you’re awesome and you’ve got this”.  These and many many more messages and calls and hugs and chats have gotten us through the past years of waiting.

Boy is going to have a wealth of loving and supportive friends and family – he just doesn’t know it yet 🙂

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this evening!!! THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!!!

It’s real!!!

I now view everything I write through a different lens, because I know that Boy could very well be reading this.  And that’s ok – it’s good that he knows we’re just as nervous to meet him as he probably is to meet us!

Oh yeah, we’re meeting him!  Next week to be exact.  There have been some back and forth communications, and Boy was asked if there were any questions he wanted to ask.  His sw then sent those questions to ours, and then on to us.  It was so cool to be able to respond to him, knowing that we were communicating with him already!

We will be having a casual dinner with Boy and his foster family.  But you know what the oddest thing about this is for me?  I can’t stop worrying about what to wear!!  I know, I know… he’s a 14 year old boy and couldn’t care less.  But for some reason it’s important to me that he sees us as cool, but responsible and dependable, but not old – young enough to have fun.  Ha!  So what clothes say all that?!  Oh my, this might take awhile…

In the end all that matters is that everyone is able to make the choice best for themselves – Boy for himself, and us for ourselves.  I hope and pray that this is the match for us, and that Boy feels peace and clarity throughout this process.  It’s a lot to ask of a teenager – to give up everything they know to start life over again.  I can’t imagine what that would be like!  I’m already proud of him…

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers ❤

 

 

One step forward…

IT HAS ARRIVED!!!

To be honest, our formal proposal package arrived a few weeks ago, and we’ve been processing.  We’ve been told that this package is remarkably thorough (a full three-ring binder!), and we’re so grateful for that!  It contains everything from family history to hospital records, school records, and permission slips for field trips!  I don’t even think I could put together such a complete package on myself – ha!

Once we received the proposal, we had to sign a document acknowledging that we had received and read the various components of the package.  We had no questions as the proposal was incredible!

Once we signed the document to move forward, it was time for everyone to agree on how best to do that.  This looks different for every child and family as every individual’s needs are different.

“Our child” knows about us now (as of last week).  He was shown a brief profile that we put together, along with a few photos and tidbits of info.  My heart hurts knowing that his world is about to be shaken up for awhile if he chooses to move forward.  I can’t imagine making a decision like this at this age!  So please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

There is so much I want to share, but am very conscious that this is a public platform – and privacy is of the utmost importance at certain points in the adoption process.  This is not only our story, many people are involved and will become involved in this journey. Most of all, we want to protect the child that will hopefully be choosing us soon – this is his story almost more than it is ours.

We continue to feel so blessed by the people we meet and form relationships with.  The outpouring of love and support we have received by readers of this blog has been shocking (in a good way, of course).  We didn’t expect that this journey would bring so much love and support our way, and feel blessed beyond belief!

I will continue to update as I am able – and one day soon, hopefully, we’ll be able to fill in the gaps.  In the meantime, if you have questions or want to say hello – just shoot me an email (okanaganadoptionstory@yahoo.ca) – I would love to get to know you too!  There are never too many supporters of adoption!

Still waiting…

A brief update as everyone is wondering!  Love all of your questions, it makes us feel supported!!!

We’re trying to be patient.  For the first time in our journey, I’m finding it difficult to be patient!  The formal proposal hasn’t arrived yet…

There are so many clichés to be said here, like “the wait is worth it” and “it’ll happen when it’s supposed to happy” (which I totally believe, by the way) and “when it all comes together, you won’t even remember the wait” – and they’re all true – but my goodness!  I think it’s worse to hear that it will arrive on a particular day than to think it’s arriving a month from now and then being surprised!  Ha!  But maybe not… probably not.

Regardless, we’re waiting.  No news is good news right?  I’ll keep you posted… maybe tomorrow?  Maybe Wednesday?  Maybe… whenever it arrives.  Ha!

Tomorrow…?

We received news today that it might be as early as tomorrow that we receive our formal proposal package.  It was delayed a week as some pieces were proving difficult to gather – but it is now on the way!

We have booked an appointment with our doctor for the middle of next week (for the why of this one, check out my previous post).  I still don’t really know what to expect.  I picture a big file with all sorts of documents – from medical reports, behavioral reports, school records, family info, etc.  Maybe photos are included?

I know enough to know that each formal proposal differs.  Some are huge, and some contain next to nothing.  So much depends on the circumstances of the child, as well as the workers who put the proposal together.  All I know is that I don’t know what to feel!  Isn’t that funny?  My emotions will catch up with me sooner or later – for now I’m just going to enjoy the moment 🙂

For those of you out there who are “praying people”, we’d love your prayers.  For those of you are who are “sending good thoughts people”, we’ll take some good thoughts.  For those that are huggers, and question-askers, and high-fivers – we’ll take those hugs, answer those questions (with pleasure), and return those high fives!  It just feels so good to FINALLY be moving to the next stage of what has been a very long process!  Hopefully this is THE ONE!

We’re Expecting!

I know that many are waiting for an update, and here it is!

God sure does have a sense of humour, that’s for sure!  When Jean and I saw the foster parents of the boy we’ve been discussing, there were smiles and hugs and laughter all around – we have met them before!  In fact, we took our AEP (Adoption Education Program) together many years ago (which is quite something, because we don’t live in the same area). What are the chances?!  How cool is that?!

It was really neat to catch up, and it sure sent a lot of thoughts and concerns flying out the door.  We proceeded to chat for the next hour and a half, nearly losing track of time.  All of our questions were answered, and I hope many of theirs were as well.

Then we waited.  At this point in time the boy’s team (adoption worker, social worker, and foster parents) would be the ones to proceed, as they would need to either pursue another family or send us a formal proposal package.

We got a call last week from our social worker saying that they are happy to send us a formal proposal package by the end of March!  Yikes!  This thing is getting real everyone!  So exciting!!!!!!!!!!

For those that don’t know, a formal proposal package comes from the MCFD, and contains everything on file about the child in question.  It is at this point that a family chooses to commit to this child exclusively.  We will read this package, and then make an appointment with any doctor or counselor that we feel we need to in order to understand everything fully.  Once we are on board with the proposal, we sign it.

Then a plan is made by the child’s team to tell him about us.  The team will have our photo/story book that we put together (which I will update to be specifically written to him), and will tell him just a few days before we meet him for the first time.  They keep the time in between relatively short because longer time leads to a lot of street and worry for everyone involved.

If all goes smoothly, we could potentially be meeting this young man in March or April!

And I gotta say… he sounds like a pretty cool kid!  Obviously I can’t go into much detail in a public blog, but he has a lot of really neat interests and hobbies, and everything we hear about his personality suggests that he has a great sense of humour and is just a special person to be around.  I can’t wait to learn more about him, and him about us.  And to have finally reached this stage in the process feels so AWESOME!

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers… it may not be the “traditional” meaning, but WE’RE EXPECTING!!! 🙂

“Shout out” to AFABC

I just want to share a “shout out” to the AFABC!  For those of you involved with adoption in BC who have not yet connected with anyone at this fantastic organization, you’re missing out!  Let me tell you why…

AFABC stands for “Adoptive Families Association of BC”.  Their website (www.bcadoption.com) states that “AFABC supports the adoption community at all ages and stages through education, counselling, family events, and advocacy” – and they stand by this statement.  We have attended numerous AFABC events, connected with AFABC Coordinators throughout our journey, and belong to some of the Facebook support groups provided through AFABC.  I can’t even share enough about how much this support has meant to us over the last year and a half!

Most recently, our area’s coordinator contacted me to offer support as we move towards the proposal stage of adoption.  She knew that we had received some preliminary paperwork, and wanted to know if we could use assistance in making sense of it – to which I answered YES!

The moral of this little story?  I can’t stress this enough – take advantage of the services and opportunities provided to you!  They are there for a reason, and every little bit of support makes the journey just that much easier!  Educate yourself on the different options available to you and your family.  Be an advocate for yourself and your family – know that there are resources available, no matter your personal situation.  You are not alone in this journey!  It may feel like it sometimes, but there are so many people in BC that are passionate about adoption, and want to make life better for kids and families.

One little update on our journey – we meet the foster family of the boy we’ve been discussing at the end of the month.  We could use your prayers!  If this is the match for us, pray that we’ll be confident in that knowledge – and if it’s not, pray that we’ll be confident in that as well.  I’m not nervous, although that might change as we approach the visit.  I’m calm, knowing that things will work out as they should. Although I can’t figure out what to wear… ha!

We’re baaaack!

Well, here it is – December 15th, 2016.  This year has been so many things, but most of all it’s been about family.

Little man went home with mommy yesterday, full time (if you’re wondering what that’s about, read my previous post from August).  We’re so excited that this little family is back on their feet and doing well!  I had a few sad moments this week, I’ll totally admit that – but because we will still see him often, and will still get to spoil him as Auntie and Uncle, we’re doing pretty good overall.

When we knew that little man was going home soon, we connected with our adoption social worker, and picked up the process where we left off – so here I am again, once again blogging about our adoption journey!  That’s a pretty cool way to end off the year, considering the news I have to share!

So… let’s back up a bit.  Over the last 6 months, we have kept in touch with our social worker to let her know how things have been going.  I attended two events in town related to adoption and teenage adoption, and when we knew that little man would be going home soon, our social worker continued with the process of looking for a good match for our family.

Turns out that one of the boys we were interested in earlier this year is still needing permanence!  Our social worker made some inquiries, and we’re moving forward in the process with this young man.  What’s really cool is that his foster family is actively involved in his life, and they will be involved in the adoption as well – the more family members this young man has in his life, the better!  They (the foster parents and Ministry team) have taken a look at our profile book that we put together, and they saw things that made them think we might be a good match (in particular, our love of hockey and the outdoors, our Christian home). We also received some paperwork to go over, and we also like what we read and hear about this young man.

That means that we are taking the next step.  All adoptions are different, and in our case that means that we will have a conversation with the Ministry team (this young man’s social workers) and the foster parents.  This will most likely happen in mid-January.  Following that meeting, we will all go away and give the matter some serious thought… and then if all agree, we could move to the formal proposal stage.

For those that don’t know, the formal proposal stage is when you stop considering other matches, and put your attention and focus on this one child/children.  Proposals can take months before they come through.  They are quite detailed, and include everything that the Ministry knows about the child.  Sometimes further assessments need to be done.  It all depends on the child.

Realistically, if everything works out with this particular child, we might be meeting them late Spring, and transitioning over the Summer, maybe moving in for Fall.  It’s not a quick process.  It could be sooner than that, or longer – and that’s totally ok.  Things need to move at the speed which best suits the child – and of course, being parents, we want what is best for them!

This is a pretty cool way to head into the holidays!  Last year, we were going through the crazy of the home study process, with rescheduling and shifting of social workers.  We’ve come so far in the last year, and so much has happened, it really does boggle my mind.  But what I am most thankful for are the things I’ve learned.  I’ve learned that when things get really stressful, I need to focus on good self-care.  There were times that Jean would ask me when I ate last, and I couldn’t remember – yikes!  I need to go easier on my expectations of myself – as much as I would love to be, I am not Superwoman (ugh, you should have seen our house some days!).  And I’ve learned how a foster parents feels about many things.  I will definitely be able to better understand and appreciate the sacrifices that foster parents make, and how they will feel when our future child leaves their home.  This knowledge will be so valuable moving forwards!

Our lives don’t often take the paths that we expect them to, but I’ve learned what it’s like to live in the moment and take each day as it comes.  There is peace in that!  So over the Holidays, enjoy each little moment.  I know I will!  And here comes 2017!!!

You just never know…

You might be wondering just why you haven’t heard from me in 5 weeks… I promise the reason is a good one!

The very short version is that Jean and I are temporarily looking after our nephew while some things in his world are being sorted out. This was not expected, but we were able to take on this role because of our approved Home Study and Safe Study, and we’re happy to be able to help in this way! We are not sure of the timeline at this point.

In the meantime, our adoption application has been put on hold.  Once again, thank goodness for an amazing social worker!  She was completely understanding, and talked us through what moving forward with the adoption process would look like.  It is still absolutely our plan!

Let me tell you a little bit about Little Man!  Little man just turned 7 months old (yes, months – definitely not a teenager – ha!)!  He’s such a little bundle of joy, such a character, full of personality and joy.  He is always smiling and laughing – we could learn a lot from him!

Our house suddenly looks very different!  Furniture that was once there has disappeared, and in its place there is baby stuff everywhere!  Ha!  I have received a crash course in family scheduling, as there are more appointments involved in this than you’d expect.

There is also SO MUCH to be thankful for!  Family on both sides have come together to support this little man and his family!  It has been a positive experience, and our family has grown in amazing ways!  In a way, I feel that this has better prepared us for the joys of open adoption (when it functions well), and I am grateful for the experience!

So… while we move through this chapter of our lives, I will not be posting on this blog.  Once we move forward again with adoption, I will pick it up and keep you up-to-date.  In the meantime, if you would like to keep in touch with me, please feel free to email me at okanaganadoptionstory@yahoo.ca.