Monday, February 20, 2012

Back in the Saddle...

Hi Friends!

So, life has changed a lot since last we met...

First of all, it's 2012!!! It's been ages since I've posted on this blog(Bad Joel!!!).

As you know from my previous posts, My Henry and I spent the greater part of last year becoming licensed foster parents. It was quite a rollercoaster. The end result of that effort was the placement of our little Foster Guy, Zion(the cutest little 4 month old muffin you ever seen!!!). He came to us in September, the day after we received notification of our licensure. Henry and I spent the next four months giving him all the love we had at a time when he really needed it. For reasons of privacy, I won't say why he came into our care. Some of you, friends that we see on a regular basis, know a bit about his story. To the rest of you, I will only say that he needed a miracle when he came to us, and I hope that We were just that.

Those four months were some of the most magical of my life.

He recently went home to his Grandmother, and the rest of his Family late in January. They were nice people who had only ever been kind to Henry and I. I was a little sad at the time, but I felt good about him going home. He deserved to grow up with his Brother, to know the love of his Grandparents, and the sweet kisses of his Mommy.

The only sadness that I allowed myself was a few tears over the fact that, as I realized one afternoon before he left, he would never be able to tell anyone that he missed Henry or I(since he's not verbal yet).

F.Y.I. Henry and I have heard that he's doing wonderfully now that he's back with his Family thanks to his amazing Guardian Ad Litem!!!

Now again, some of you might know, that this did not leave Henry and I with an empty home...

In addition to becoming Foster Parents last September, We welcomed our Son, Benjamin Juan Amador-Batten to the world late in October!!! I feel like I'm leaving readers with some gaps in information, what with my sometimes infrequent blogposts, but I hope that I'm leaving you all with a sense of happiness that the research, the effort, and even the sadness at times during the course of our journey has paid off.

Life is good.

Ben is almost four months old.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Just a Thought...

I just want to share a thought with you, my little one(s) and with you, my readers...

But first, some of the wonderful things that people have had to say to us since we were placed with our first little guy via Foster Care.

"I'm so happy for you guys!!! Mazel tov!!!"

"Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I don't think a Facebook comment can express how frickin' happy I am for you and Henry and Baby Z. Sending you 1000 hugs. Hooray!!!!!!!!!!"

"Are you referring to Henry or your first Foster Child?"

"What's that new fragrance you're wearing? Regurgitated formula? It's exhausting, messy, and sometimes stressful, but always beautiful."

"Just wanted to say that I work with Special Ed preschoolers, and I see the difference that their Foster Parents make in their lives. So, I thank you and Henry both for being Foster Parents!"

"Welcome to the club! Life, as you know it, will never be the same. I am sooo happy for you both and even happier for Z...he is a lucky little dude! And by the way Joel, The Stroller Does Make You Look Gay! :-) xoxo! Your blog is very guys need your own reality show. I think there is an opening on TLC(Kate just got axed)."

Now, Back to my thought...

I've spent a great deal of time with this blog talking about how, one day, I would "Make My Family." My thought as I was driving home today with a box full of lovely baby things that a friend has given us to make use of was this...I have already begun "Making My Family." The love that has poured out of people for Henry and I during these last few days feels very "Family" to me.

Thank you Everyone for all of your well-wishes and advice. Thanks for being so supportive. Thanks for all of the extra resources you're sending our way in whatever form. And most of all, thank you being "there," whether five miles away, five hundred, or five thousand miles've made our house very "full."

Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 9, 2011

And Awaaaaaaaaaaaaay We Go!!!

I'll bet you thought it was going to be another couple of days before you heard from me, didn't you?


Today September 9, 2011...while we were at work, Henry and I got the call for our first Foster Care Placement!!!!!!!

It was funny and surreal. Not scary at all. I felt very matter-of-fact about it. We've waited and planned for this day, and it was finally here...finally.

The crazy part is running to Target to get some see, when you go pick a little person up for Foster Care, you never know what stuff they'll come with.

I'd never given myself the pleasure of spending much time in the baby department of the store. How the hell do you find anything in there???

It's all so little!!!!

I'd gone by myself because Henry was working, and I found myself on the phone with my Mother every 5 seconds. I didn't even know which baby lotion or soap to pick up.

Diaper size anyone???

I'm laughing now, but I was freaking out a little. I wish there had been a camera...and a mic...Seriously.

We left work today, headed over to the appointed location, and picked up the Cutest Little Muffin you've ever seen. I can't say too much about him or the situation that he came to us from. This is Foster Care, and it maybe be temporary, but it sure is a good start.

Here's to semi-sleepless nights and feeling a little fried in the morning!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Okay...I don't mean to overexcite anyone, but as of today September 8, 2011, Henry and I are officially Licensed Foster Parents!!!!!!!!!!

We have not been called with our first placement yet. I repeat, there is no child in our home yet.

But as of now, it could literally happen at any moment.

We're so happy. If you've been keeping up with my blog at all for the last year, you'll know that we've explored all manner of ways to become parents...some bordering on science fiction.

It feels weird to think that we could get a call tomorrow. We wonder if we're ready. We hope that the house is still in ship shape like it was the day of our Home Study with our licensing agency. We talk about what the hell we're going to do with a kid with both of us working as much as we do.

It's funny.

We'll figure it out...the same way every other parent out there does.

And we'll be great Dads.

I'd love to post more...when there's more to post.

Well, I do have one more thing.

Henry and I are keeping a little secret.

Some of you may know what it is. We've only told a few people out there...just so that we get some extra good thoughts and prayers.

You'll have to stay tuned to find out more...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's Your Name Again?

How the hell do you decide what someone is going to be called for the rest of their life?

No. I mean really...How do you decide?

I think that Henry and I thought that we would be all about using family names.

My name, my Late Grandfather's name, and my Uncle's name is William. I go by Joel. My Grandfather was Willie. My Uncle is Sammy.

Henry's Grandfather's name was Manuel or Manolo.

I though I had it sewed up in my head...William Manolo Amador-Batten.

That was it...when the idea of naming a child was just idea.

But I don't want to call a kid Will, Willie, Bill, or Manny. I just don't.

Who knew that someone, who thought that they'd always be so traditionalist when it came to naming a kid, would throw the idea out the window??? I always imagined it being such a show of respect and love to name a child like this. I still believe that. But, maybe it's just not for us.

So, being obsessive as I am naturally inclined to be, I buy a book of baby names. A giant one!!!

I go crazy looking. I make a short list. I harass Henry into making a list, at first. He slowly gets into it.

Now, we're suggesting names to one another, shooting down each other's ideas, and trying to figure out what the hell to call a kid.

At this point we've moved a little past the initial craziness of the "pregnancy situation" that we are currently involved in. It's a lot to handle on an intellectual and emotional level.

This post probably won't see the light of day until we're a little closer to our due date.

We are, though, letting ourselves have just this little bit of fun, amid the uncertainty we're living with at the moment. We have time.

Your Heartbeat

August 30, 2011

That's the date that heard your heart beat for the very first time.

I was so excited, but nervous. I was might say dazed. I was filled with only on thought at the moment, and for a little while afterwards.

I will do anything for you.

I probably won't publish this blog post for some time.

Henry and I are keeping a secret.

A few weeks ago we met a troubled young woman who is pregnant, and planning to give her baby up for adoption. She's lovely...just not in a position to care for a child at this point in her life. She's done this once before...given a baby up for adoption. She went through an agency the first time.

A few weeks ago, though, she met with us, and she likes us. She said that she wanted to give the baby up to people who couldn't have a baby of their own this time. We certainly fit the bill.

Henry and I have recently met with an adoption attorney who was referred to us by some great friends. All systems are go, it seems. It's all only a matter of contracts and paperwork.

Something that strikes me is that it's funny how dreams seem so organic and natural, but that this making mine and Henry's dream of a family come true is going to be actualized by paperwork.

You've gotta laugh at things like that sometime. The universe works in mysterious ways. We can only be ready when something good comes our way. And this is good!!!

So, that's that. We went to our first doctor's appointment today. It was cool. Very "fly on the wall" feeling. We'll be there at every one of these from now on...through the end of November.

Cross your fingers, Friends...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait...

I'm back! Where were we?

Oh! I know...

Picture it. Fort Lauderdale...Mid/Late-April. Henry and I have only just recently completed our 30 hour/10 week M.A.P.P. class with Childnet.

Not having a 3 hour class every Thursday feels like vacation!!!

But wait! We did take a little vacation after it was over. My first ever visit to NYC.

But anyway...

So, we've made the decision to jump from the idea of just straight adoption to moving forward to become licensed foster parents.

Our file has been transferred from one agency to the other.

After our schedule has been super packed for the first 3 months of the year with work being busy and having our Wednesday nights taken up by being in class until 10pm, I am not mad at the fact that we have to wait until the May to begin the next phase in our plan of action(which includes a Water Safety course, a CPR class, and a couple of other evenings sitting in with the latest graduating class from our future foster care agency, Kids In Distress).

My Mother's here for her yearly visit when suddenly the phone rings...

It's Kids In Distress calling(on a Monday)...

They have had a "drop-out" among the files that they are submitting for approval for the month of April.

They like the look of our file.

Can we be ready to do our State-Required "home study" by the end of the week?

Now, let's back this up for one second. They called us on Monday of the last week in April, and they want to know if we can be ready for our "Home Study," which requires an enormous amount work (painting, decorating, childproofing, the purchase of a bed/crib) on Friday.

Did I mention that we're working this entire work week? While my Mother's here visiting?

Are you kidding me?!!?

Yes. The answer is yes.

The really cool thing about this whirlwind that we found ourselves on for this week is that now we have a little person's room at our house instead of an office...officially!!! My Mom got to go shopping with me for cribs, toddler beds, and bed linens for both. There were paint color decisions to be made, cabinet latches to install, and the fact that we had to lock up all the cleaning supplies and booze in the house!!!

It was crazy.

It was nice.

Don't get me wrong. It was a lot of work.

The "Home Study" went fine. We passed with flying colors, only having to redo a couple of the things that needed a little extra tweaking.

However, we did still have to sit in on few classes with the newest crop of prospective foster parents. We had to arrange to take a private CPR class. We had to do a rush Water Safety course. I had to learn to put new screen in windows so that we would be able to open our windows for ventilation. Henry had to put latches on our back yard gates. Blah, blah, blah...

So we're ready.

But now we're beginning a stretch of life that's making us "slaves" to the Bureaucracy. Since completing our "Home Study," we're kind of at the mercy of the shuffling of papers across desks from here to Tallahassee, Signatures from this or that person at this or that office, e-mails zipping from computer to computer, and the tense laughter (at our impatient jokes) by people who know how anxious/excited we are to GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!!

Your Father making your room look nice...Check!!!

Your own personal guard dog...Check!!!

A place to lay your little head...Check!!!