Passport Attempt #1 – The Phone Call

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In case  you haven’t been following along on our passport drama for kid two here’s the skinny:

  • We move and misplace original birth certificate for our daughter.
  • We ask adoption worker for another copy of birth certificate and she says no.
  • Adoption worker says we can get a passport without a birth certificate.
  • We finalize the adoption.
  • We apply for passport with birth records.
  • We go on staycation and place mail on hold. We get an email saying that we were receiving a letter from the passport folks. We return and get no letter. We tell USPS and no one cares. We end up calling the passport folks.
  • We speak with a customer service rep who tells us he can’t tell us what was in the letter but he’ll have someone from the office call us to chat.
  • We miss the call.
  • We return the call and no one picks up. We leave a message.
  • A woman returns the call and tells us that 1) the laws have changed and you do need a birth certificate to get a passport and 2) we need to sign a declaration saying that she doesn’t have a social yet.
  • We’re waiting on the letter to arrive in our inbox so we can get the birth certificate in the mail.

Ugh …..

 

 

Adoption Birth Certificate Arrived Today

Birth certificate sample NY

We finalized our daughter’s adoption June 2nd. Her amended birth certificate arrived today in the mail (about 42 days). We applied for her passport with her birth records and adoption paperwork and so far …  nada.

If I had known the amended birth certificate was going to arrive so quickly (the letter with the adoption paperwork said it could take up to 12 months. Eek!) I would have just waited to apply for her passport. Oh well ….

We were hoping to get down to Mexico before the summer is over. We’ll see …

Managing Foster Care Trauma in Infants

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Grilling up some bubbles at beach during our staycation.

We met our daughter when she was eight months old (she was in foster care). We were told that she had one rather large medical problem (that could be worked through with years of physical therapy) and a few social emotional issues that caused her to scream in public and have to be carried all the time, yes even when in the house.

None of the information was accurate. Our pediatrician thinks she was manifesting her unhappiness with the family she lived with before (we are her third family).

In adoption class, a social worker told us that it would take twice as long as the trauma to be able to navigate the trauma and behave differently. Since she experienced 8 months of trauma (more if you throw on whatever may have happened during the nine to ten months while she was baking) it will take her around 16 months to be able to behave differently. My plans was give her until her second birthday before I really expected her behaviors to change.

She surprises me every day.

Right now, she’s 20 months old and she’s so different from how she was when we met her. She’s amazing! She’s never had any physical challenges (with us) and her behavior was different from the moment she got her out of that house. This week, we had a staycation and went around visiting touristy places in our city. She’s been smiling and waving to people and wandering around. Strangers in public have ever referred to her as a happy baby! Last night she slept in her own bed all night. She plays with her cousins (running around the house screaming and laughing) and is like any other little kid.

I look at her now and I can’t imagine our lives without her. I’m glad that her record didn’t scare us off. The paperwork does not tell the whole story. Both our kids had some challenges on paper. Both of our kids are perfect. They are absolutely perfect. I’m thrilled every day that I get to help raise such wonderful beings.

Most kids in foster care have experienced trauma but it happened to them, it doesn’t define them. With someone to love on them (we use attachment parenting and gentle parenting) and support them these kids will blossom. Managing foster care trauma in infants is easy: just love them.

Second Adoption: Finalization Date

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This is why folks don’t like working with the county: no one knows what anyone else is doing.

We received an email from our daughter’s social worker saying that she needed to come by the house for May’s visit. At the finalization paperwork signing, our adoption worker told us that there would be no more visits from the social worker and that we’d be dealing with her from here on out. In the email, she mentioned that finalization was “around the corner” but we didn’t have a date yet. Huh?

I forwarded the email to our adoption worker. Her reply was that finalization was scheduled and the social worker needed to visit again. My guess is because she’ll be on vacation?

Anyhoo … in a round about way, we found out our finalization date, that she won’t be able to attend (again) and the social worker that I wanted to punch in the face will be there. Ah …  friggin’ … some!

 

 

5 Reasons I Thought We wouldn’t Be Chosen to Adopt

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This is our second time adopting from foster care and if you’d have asked me 5 years ago if we’d pass muster even one time I’d have told you no. When we started on this journey, we had no experience with adoption and didn’t know anyone who had adopted. If you’re wondering if you would be able to adopt, here are some things we thought might stop us …  but didn’t:

#1 We don’t believe in any gods.

Like many people, we were both raised Christian. We both wandered off into Islamic studies and one us of valued the wisdom of the 5 percenters. Eventually, we both ended up realizing that all religion is a sham and became atheists. Many adoption organizations are religious and many adopters seem to be motivated by pleasing some kind of god.

There is a line on the adoption application that asks about religion. We wrote “none” and waited for the questions to start …  they never did.

#2 I am not fond of social workers.

I entered foster care at 13 and “aged out” at 17 (I graduated from high school). Some social workers were cool …  some …  not so cool. I don’t trust them to do what they say they are going to do. I also tend to think that they are always looking for a reason to remove children from the home. That being said …  we dealt with six different folks (1 emergency care worker, 4 social workers, and 1 adoption worker) over the course of the two adoptions. We had two that obviously didn’t care (but weren’t bad, evil, or vindictive) and two that I couldn’t get a bead on (they did the bare minimum the job required). The last two were very involved (though not annoying) and cared a lot about their charges. Overall, it hasn’t been bad.

#3 I’m not fond of people making me do things.

I don’t like being forced to do anything. Any. Thing.

The whole process of adopting is people you don’t know forcing you to do things you think have little merit. You fill out the same information on multiple forms (each set goes to a different agency). You have to have a doctor sign off on your health (we could get hit by a bus tomorrow). You have to let random people into your home to judge how clean your fridge is and how safely your fireplace is covered.

Amazingly, it wasn’t that bad. There were a few times I wanted to quit, but overall …  it really wasn’t that bad.

#4 We don’t own a home.

I used to own a home but I don’t right now. I wasn’t sure if that would automatically disqualify us. We’ve lived in three different rental homes over the five years that it took us to adopt our two children (the bulk being 3 years in one spot and we just moved to a larger place now that we needed another bedroom) and it’s never been a problem. They want loving parents in safe homes. It doesn’t matter if that home is owned or leased.

#5 Our house is rarely tidy.

When it was just us and a 100 lb. pup, our home had a chance of sometimes being clean …  Lol As our family has grown, our home’s cleanliness had steadily gone down. With two toddlers and a pup, our house is “dirty enough to be happy and clean enough to be healthy” as my grandma used to say. Lol

When social workers from the county come over, they don’t seem too worried about our mess. One even told me, “If you have toddlers and you’re house isn’t dirty, I wonder why”. We have to remember that they often have kids too. They understand what normal mess looks like. Lol

I often hear people talking about how hard it was to adopt from foster care, and though I’m sure their stories are true, our story is also true. We were chosen to adopt infants from the county, not once …  but twice …  and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Finalization Paperwork Complete!

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We drove down to our adoption worker’s office (this is our second adoption from foster care) and signed the paperwork. She matched us with both kids and has been around for the last five years. We enjoy her personality and it’s always a pleasure to see her.

We took both the babies. There are rooms that you go into that have tables and chairs, a couch, and toys. I think the rooms might also be used for visitation. Anyhoo … the rooms mean that we don’t have to leave the kids at home when we need to meet with the foster care or adoption people.

At the first signing, we got lots of information about our kid’s family. It was all medical, but we found out how many siblings be had and a little about his mother and grandmother. I was looking forward to learning a bit about our daughter’s family because we know next to nothing.

Disappointment.

There was a huge stack of papers, just like last time but ….  all the slots on the paper said, “unknown”. We did find out that there are siblings, but we don’t know the birthdates or ages. There was no medical information other than her mother has a history of back pain. Most of the pages were from our daughter’s birth and had stuff about her birth. It’s good information to have but ….  I’m a little sad that there wasn’t more.

As usual they asked if our daughter’s mother was to have another baby that came into care, would we want to know about it/be asked to match ….  the adoption worker reminded us that her mother is still young and another baby could be born and placed. We looked at each other …….  we checked “yes”. It doesn’t mean we’d automatically match but we at least have the option. Knowing our child had a siblings out there that she could possibly grow up with ….  whoo …  that’s powerful. I don’t see how we could say that we didn’t at least want the opportunity to see if our home would be a good fit.

Anyhoo …  the paperwork is signed and now we’re just waiting on a finalization date.

=)

Date for Signing Placement Paperwork Set

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This morning we got a call from our adoption worker saying that we have a date to sign our placement paperwork! I was hoping it was going to be this week but it turns out that it’s a few weeks away.

If you’ve adopted from foster care then you know that this is the last thing that has to happen before we can finalize the adoption. Last time, we got a finalization date a few weeks after our signing. We’re hoping that the same thing happens this time.

=)