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!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Long Time, No See..

Okay, I've got a lot to say, but before I begin...this is the look that I've been getting from my Husband for the last couple of months as he's been encouraging me to blog again.
What can I say? We've been busy...hence the new blogpost.

Let's get this party started!!!!!

Late last year, Henry and I found ourselves sitting in a room full of other couples and some singles at an orientation meeting at ChildNet.

ChildNet is the "private, not for profit organization created to manage the child welfare system in Broward County in Florida."

That night last October we got what we considered to be a lot of information on the new possibility of our adopting through the state of Florida. We learned that in order to adopt through the State that we would be required to complete a M.A.P.P.(a 30 hour/ 10 week Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting class that prospective adoptive parents are required to successfully complete). We also learned that the next of these classes was going to be starting at ChildNet in January of 2011.

We wouldn't find out whether we had been fortunate enough to make it into that very next M.A.P.P. class until just after the first of the year.

Have I not mentioned in this blog that my biological clock is TICKING?

Needless to say, we made it in.

I think that I've said it before, but I have this sense that the World moves for Henry and I. Obstacles are no longer obstacles, and the Universe provides a way.

Now, before I get too spiritual, let me say that our admission to this M.A.P.P. class would prove to be one of the coolest experiences that I've ever had.

When January rolled around and this class started, we found ourselves in the first GAY M.A.P.P. class(well, there was one heterosexual couple...) that ChildNet had ever hosted!!!


Let's just remember, friends and followers, that last year this time, there was still an actual Constitutional Ban in the State of Florida that prevented openly gay people from adopting children...just to keep things in perspective.

Every week, we all learned something new. As a group we discussed topics like Helping Children with Attachments, Understanding the Impact of Fostering or Adopting, Helping Children with Birth Family Connections, Helping Children Manage Their Behaviors, and also whether adoption or foster care was the right route for us.

From our two Class Facilitators we learned about the System, and we learned about the children in the care of the System. They shared their own "war stories(having both been working with children and organizations such as ChildNet for many many years)." Class often descended into discussions prompted by individual questions, and I believe that the forum that we all provided one another was a tremendous comfort, both intellectually and on and emotional level, during the course of the class.

If any of your ever get the chance to read this...WE MISS YOU GUYS!!!!!!!

Henry and I made a decision during M.A.P.P.(after much soul searching and discussion) that we were going to opt for foster care as a path to adoption. We had learned that nearly all of the children in the care of the State who are cleared for adoption are older than toddler age. We might find ourselves waiting forever if we hoped for a brand new baby to adopt immediately.

They're like unicorns!!!

Henry and I had talked at length about what we wanted for our family, and about what we thought that we could realistically handle. We discussed at length the issues that could be at play with even a five year old child after having been in the care of the State for years. We also decided that we want to raise a child. We want as "whole" life as possible with a little one. Additionally, we talked about the fact that we share a belief that a child with two fathers might need a little extra confidence building before they get to school age and the world starts to push and pull at them for being different.

Yadda, yadda, we want to be Foster Parents.

That brings us up to March of this year...stay tuned.