Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Little Less Freaky

Saturday was my first "FAKT" class. FAKT stands for Foster Adopt Kinship Training. I was dreading the time away from the kids and pretty much dreading the class. I mean, I've adopted and parented two children for quite some time now. I really didn't think they had much to teach me.

And maybe they didn't really. Most of the information I've heard before. But there was one really neat bonus.

Adoption is a very solitary process. I did the paperwork alone, the homestudy alone and for the most part, the waiting alone. My family tried to be supportive, but they really couldn't understand what I was going through. Especially the first time, I made friends on line to share the horrible wait. I went on my first trip for Sophie alone and both trips for Max were by myself.

It was cool to be with a group of people all wanting the same help children. There were folks there who wanted only to foster, but most of the people there are hoping to adopt. Most in the same age range as I am. That doesn't bode well for my chances of being placed with a newborn with all of those couples, but instead of filling me with dread, I'm okay with it. For today, I'm just going to enjoy the company.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Today I received the first criminal clearance back for foster care. One hurdle down and hundreds more to go. I'm not good at this part of the process...the hurry up and wait part.

I'm GREAT at completing paperwork. Give me a task to do and I'm happy. Make me feel like I'm accomplishing something or getting closer to my child and I'm ecstatic.

Wasted time, wasted efforts = waiting longer and my child waiting longer and I'm grumpy.

People always say how "lucky" I was to get to pick up my kids when they were only 8 months old. That is almost unheard of when you're adopting from Russia. Now, it's not even legal as the kids need to stay on the registry far longer. And I was lucky, but I was also determined. I never wasted a moment or an opportunity. I had my friend become a notary, purchased a fax machine and opened a FedEx account. I could have any document completed and appostiled at the Secretary of States office in two days, one if I drove it there.

I took the paperwork WITH me on trip one that most people came home and spent a month or more working on after their return. That meant I picked my son up when he was eight months and one day old. The couple I traveled with one trip one waited six months longer because they got caught up in a reorganization.

There is so little any Adoptive Parent can control in the process of adoption. For us control freaks, that's a challenge. I have a very funny story about control and what I learned about it on the way to pick up my son. I'll tell you about it tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Competition for Children

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, thinking about a third child. I decided on Foster Care and I still feel good about that so far. I feel like there is another child our there for's just a matter of finding him or her.

But even in foster care there is competition. These children are placed in your home expressly because there is not a parent or family member to properly care for them. It seems crazy to me that it is so cutthroat. The truth is, the younger, the healthier and the whiter a child is, the more they are in demand. Fees are high and the competition is fierce for a healthy caucasian newborn. Frankly, ranking high in any one of this seemingly "golden triad" is going to cost you. Only the creme de la creme of adoptive parents are going to even get a shot.

That's not a pretty statement. I recoil as I type it, but in my opinion, it happens to be true. I'm caucasian and have mostly caucasian children. Most people would think I went to Russia because that was important to me. Truth be told, Russia was not my first choice, but my third and I went there because I'm single and they said yes.

But I'd be lying if I didn't admit the fact my children and I look alike didn't make our lives easier. My children and I are very proud they are adopted and proud of their Russian heritage. But I have to admit that sometimes you want your life to just be your life. Sometimes you just want to get groceries without some nice Grandma lady asking you if you know who their "real" mother is.

Theres a lot of people who have a lot to say about cross-cultural adoption and I admit I can see all sides of the arguement. I have never cared about the race of my children. They could have been pink and purple polka dot for all I cared. BUT there's more than just what I want, to consider. My children were given up at birth, lived in an orphanage before moving half way around the world to be raised by a single mother. Would it have been fair to me to throw the race card in there as well? I don't know.

While race and gender are still non-issues to me, what is important to me this time around, is their age. Most parents want younger children and I understand. I do too. But of course in my head my reasons are better. I'm more justified. Just as, I'm sure, every other prospective parent feels like their reasons are more important.

Being a single mom, I feel it is only fair to the children I have and the child I may add to our family keep within some parameters. As much as I wish there weren't any. I wish I could parent any child--every child, but I know that's not possible as much as I'd like to. One of the hardest parts of being a parent, I have learned, is to know your limitations.

At this point in my life, I think any new child should be a young as possible. I don't want to upset the birth order of my kids and at 4 and 7, they're still young. They are still too vulnerable to a child who's tragically been forced to grow up too quickly.

My Case Worker literally rolled her eyes when I answered the question of age. I don't care about gender, race, religion etc. etc. I'm willing to consider many special needs and medical conditions. But I really don't feel like I can budge on age. I realize she probably hears a lot of that.

Many parents want infants and toddlers and I found myself apologizing for my choices. But I don't think I should have to. I know what's right for my family. I will stick to my guns on that because it's important. My first and foremost responsibility is to the children I have already promised to care for.

I fear in the end the placement of a child in this family will come down to a fight and I dread it. I still don't know if I'll go a few rounds or walk away. It's not that I wouldn't fight to the ends of the earth for my kids, I just wish there was a system where I didn't have to. Maybe it's naive to think we could all work together and make this world a better place for children, but I can still pray for it. As my Dad used to say, I always want "sunshine and roses on rainy day." But why not? Don't we parents who long for children deserve that? Moreover, don't the CHILDREN deserve it?

I know I don't get out much and the only movies I've seen in years in an actual theatre have been rated G. But I love movies made for children. My favorite quote lately is from Katie, in Horton Hears a Who.

Katie says: "In my world everyone is a pony, and they all eat rainbows, and poop butterflies."

That sounds good to me too.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Good things come in threes...

Today I got the best news, but first a bit of back ground.

I grew up in a small town with family everywhere. In particular, I grew up with two cousins, both girls and we were all born within a year of each other. We were all close growing up and they were both in my wedding.

We grew up and our lives have taken us in different directions, but I still love them both dearly.

Today I found out they are both expecting! Here's to hoping I am, too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. There's a reason they say good things come in threes.