Baptism MIRACLE “An epiphany”

My husband, son and I became a legal family December, 2013 and celebrated our son’s baptism May, 2014.  So now that we have done the baptism I have some time to breath and write a short story.  I love my younger sister, she is so organized and such a pro at decorating and having great party ideas that of course she helped me with the preparations for our son’s baptism.  One of the days before the baptism I went to visit my sister, her and her daughter open up the door and smiled as they welcome me into their house.  As I crossed the doorway I get this lovely smell of roses, the smell is so intense I look for the fresh flowers.  Somehow today, she did not have fresh-cut roses in the base that sits on top her dining room table.  I did not think much of it and thought the smell was coming from her rose bushes.  We started talking about the baptism,the decorations, the baptism favors.  I told her this week I have worked on the rosaries and after much trial and error I got it.  I showed her a sampled I brought with me and she loved it.  I didn’t tell my sister that while I am sitting in my little office making these rosaries I keep thinking of my grandma, she past away in ’97 and I miss her.  We continued talking as her daughter, now 1-year-old, walks around the house grabbing everything in her path.  We just make sure to keep an eye on her between the two of us.  Well the little one got to my sister’s bible and pull out a little piece of paper and brought it to me.  I open the small piece of paper and it was my grandmother’s handwriting, until this moment I did not know my sister had my grandma’s bible.  I said look at this is grandma’s handwriting, it says Ephesians 4: 5-6.  Look it up, our grandma is trying to tell us something.  My sister with disbelieve gets the bible and starts to read just to please me.  That is why I love her.  “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, One god and Father of all”.  Wow! my skin just got goosebumps.  I said Grandma knows we are baptizing our children and she is happy about it.  Now I know that my grandma was really with me while I was making those rosaries, that she knows my son and she is with us in spirit.

I had an epiphany as I am writing this blog, I guess I was being very self-centered with my son’s baptism and with my spiritual relationship with my grandma that I missed the big picture.  I am glad I am doing this post now.  I am now for another time re-reading “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all”, wow! Can you believe that? We just have to keep on working on our faith, God is here, God is real!  This message that I still believe my grandma sent us, is amazing.  To think that so many years ago she wrote that piece of paper while studying the bible so that it could there ready for her to guide my nice to deliver the message to us.  This is all God’s doing, I have to keep on working on my family’s spiritual journey and mine.  Gotta love it!  The big guy never seizes to amaze me, that was a lot of work and planning for this little person. I love you.

Keep on believing… Adoption rocks!

My Mom reminded me to keep blogging.  She said you wont remember those magical moments that happen every day.  So here I am, back again trying to inspire you to be patient, to wait whatever you have to wait, to endure whatever you have to endure.  Just think that your child is also waiting.  Remember that it has already been determined that he will be yours, but you have to keep on trying, preparing and waiting.  Remember that this child has been probably waiting for a longer time for a family, that has endured some hard situations and probably has had to deal with loss at a very young age.  Doesn’t that make your wait, sadness and anxiety almost nothing?  I know that it is really easy to say it, then to live it and to be in that moment.  Just believe me, it is all worth it!  and if you are still waiting for your child your wait will soon be over.

My husband and I went to a lot of the adoption training classes provided by our county and I still was so naive and clueless about attachment/bonding.  I made a lot of mistakes, but worked hard at bonding with my child.  I have to say that as a family we worked on it a LOT, our little one too.  We are at a stable place now but this relationships is something we will work on forever.  Sometimes he calls me Mama and that makes my day.  I love him and want to give him a stable family, lots of love, and fun.  We are all so happy for our immediate summer break!  Gotta love it.

Name change during adoption

So I though I got the message when I went to the PRIDE classes and we talked about think twice before changing the child’s first name. Well, at least that was what I thought. I was surprise when Spidey did not agree to changing his last name.  He said he did not like ours and he wanted to keep his.  Somehow in our classes, I understood that his name was what defined him and that was why changes are difficult.  When I went to my class I completely connected with the fact about your name defining you  as I was also challenge to change my name when I became a citizen and when I got married.  Somehow I did not translate that to the attachment my son had to his full name, his first, middle and last name.  Yes, now that I think about it I ask my self, didn’t you go to school? didn’t you said you could relate? didn’t you said you had a problem changing your last name? Well, good for you for relating to it now relate to your son and to him having another loss, his last name.  Do you think he will suffer another loss, now his identity? how would you feel about it? I know how I will feel about it! I cried as an adult woman when some official wanted to change my name during my citizenship and I felt helpless, cornered and I didn’t like that name.  Wow!! that is the reason you had to live those moments little girl, that is the reason you had to fight for it, now go ahead and defend your son from this situation.

What can I can say now?  We did changed my sons last name but we talked to him for months and prepared him to accept his new family name.  We explained to him that it is a way for us to celebrate becoming a family, becoming a unity, a forever family.  Well what I did was to get my son as involved as possible and as informed as he could be.  Our adoption finalized in December 2013 and he was just baptize last month.  Our son decided if he wanted to keep his first and middle name and he picked his new name.  His new name is lovely and is meant for him.  I know I love it.  At the end it was our son’s decision and it will have a great story to go with it.

We love our son, he has made us grow and learn in ways I would have never imagine.  We always try to prepare as much as we can but Spidey turns our world upside down in a second defying all the rules and for that we love him, without that we would still be the same.  Gotta love it.

5 great things

After almost three weeks living together, I have to say it has been a roller-coaster ride. Today I feel wonderful, content, at peace, and definitely where I should be.

This is my top 5 great things that we have accomplished:
1. Spidey stopped sitting at the teacher’s desk, he is now sitting with other kids during the class.
2. Spidey got the bath, brush your teeth, go to bed, read, and go to sleep routine down.
3. Spidey has gotten green cards from school almost everyday.
4. Spidey colored at school using colors, before he will only use black.
5. Spidey is having less trouble finishing his homework.

I have to admire my husbands patience and thank him for being my rock.

Waiting Game … … tic toc tic toc

On her last visit, the social worker PROMISED that we should be approved today, for the past weeks I kept checking the mail expecting to find a letter from CPS telling us that we are approved as adoptive parents and that we are going into the Parents Pool.  We have not received this letter!  The waiting continues…  We can’t wait to swim in the pool with all the other fortunate Parents, please let it be tomorrow.

I feel that we are as ready as we will ever be!  Event though after we get approved the average waiting time for a placement is 6 months,  I still can’t wait to know that we have officially become part of the pool.  This will be such a big milestone.

The six month wait means that; we have six months to:

1.Go to the movies every Friday after work,

2. Work late every workday,

3. Get out bed late on the weekends,

4. Go to school after working all day,

5. Not cook/prepare breakfast every morning,

6. Go out-of-town on a last-minute trip (like Las Vegas),

7. Commute to work everyday,

8. Go to bed later every school night,

9. Watch what we want on TV

10. Get all of my husbands attention

So even when more waiting is in our future, there a lot of things I can enjoy end cherish until then.

Adoption Movies!!

If there is something my husband and I enjoy, that is going to the movies. Lately there have been a couple of movies we watch that surprise us due to their adoption content. “I loved them”.  If you feel you are going through the adoption process and need some inspiration to give you patience and strength I recommend these movies.

Kung Fu Panda 2:

Po (the Panda) is The Dragon Warrior and keeps protecting the Valley of Peace with his friends, The Fabulous Five.  There is a new villain that plans to use an unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu.  Po looks to his past and wonders why he looks so different from his Dad, wants to know the story of his of his adoption, and learns that there is no secret powers or recipe.  The secret is belive in yourself and how great you are. I enjoyed this movie, you also get understand the sacrifice of the Panda mother and difficulty of her decision for Po’s safety.  Jack Black is the voice of Po.

Paul Giamatti is “Mike Flaherty” a middle class attorney and part-time wrestling coach at the local highschool.  In order to keep his practice from going under he acts as the legal caretaker of an elderly client, little does he knows the impact this decision will have in his near future.  He wants to use this caretaker business as a loophole to keep his practice.  A highschool student ask him for a place to stay, this kid turns is his client’s troubled grandson.  Mike forms a strong bond with the teenager due to their love of wrestling, the Mom is always loving and understanding.  You see the teenage boy changing before your eyes, of course there is conflict and arguments Mike and his wife give him a real family.  After a while the kids mother shows up.  She wants to get her son back and brings up to the surface all the issues with regards to her father’s housing and money situation.  This movie feels like a “real life” story, I truly enjoyed Paul Giamatti’s acting.

Martian Child

John Cusack is a widow science fiction writer who is introduce this special kid by a friend that is the social worker at the childcare facility.  The writer believes the child acts strangely, the child believes he is from the Red Planet, to live with all his hardship.  John Cusack character understands the child and instantly connect.  He is able to get him to come out of the box by getting to down to his level and not question his story.  Through the movie you see how the child and writer bond and connect, not perfect all the time but one that lasts and brings stability and love to both.

Home Study visit

After taking a long break from all the adoption paperwork we are finally back on-track.  During the month of October we had our last home visit and if everything goes according to schedule we  are on track for approval by the end of November.  Two weeks earlier I had a 2.5 hrs interview with our adoption social worker, a week later my husband had his interview.  Now we have this form we need to fill out before our home visit.  To fill out this form we had to sit down a couple of times and do some research on the different topics before our home visit.  The topics of this form are Health, Behavioral, Developmental and Background issues, prenatal drug exposure and adoption openness.

The questionnaire brings really interesting topics to light, the biological parents drugs use, mental health, and the child’s behavior, health and disabilities.  Believe me going through the  list was difficult and we tried to make the most informed decision while also thinking of what we are able handle.  This is hard, we will be completely new to parenthood and having to decide what we THINK we might be able to handle was a difficult task.  Once the social worker went over the form with us we made a couple of changes with her help, knowledge and explanations.

Now we await, we should go into the potential parents pool in December and then the average wait time is between six to four months.  Now we have to prepare and have a plan for the placement process, we also have to check our benefits.

Results of our first social worker visit

Not that bad!

While everything is supposed to be clean and in its place….. well this morning Buddy’s stomach is acting up (our pet rabbit).  We had to give him a quick bath and clean up the rug, cage and litter box.  We took advantage of it and went ahead and cut Buddy’s and Chloe’s nails, I can’t believe they grow so fast.  Then we started looking at the bedrooms and removed some blankets and comforters from the closet to have empty space available for the visit.  Then I went into the laundry room and noticed that we had the bleach and laundry soap within the reach of a child, so we started moving everything to the top shelf. We also moved all the cleaning solutions we keep under the bathroom sink to the same top shelf.  Actually, at the end it look so nice that I will keep using the top shelf.  Then checked the kitchen area and moved all the medication to the cabinet on top of the fridge.

One hour and a half before the social worker was schedule to arrive at our home you could see Joel at the computer and me with my laptop finishing the long questionnaire.  We still had like 40 questions to complete (each).  There I am towards the end of the questionnaire calling my sister and asking what is middle school that applies to us? and the high school? Of course she helped us again.  Once the questionnaires were completed we printed and had them ready for our social worker.  A few minutes later she arrived, I can’t believed it took us almost and hour and a half to go through those last 40 questions.

The social worker knocked on the from door, I open the door and she just walked right in walking towards the dinning room table.  She said as she walked to the dinning room, “I just need a table for now”.  Joel and me walked to the dinning room and sat on one side of the table next to her.  She started asking for our questionnaire, and a form where we state that we do not have firearms.  She also stated that she will only be working with us until we get the foster care license, and that the estate allows them to take 120 days for each case.  This means we have to complete all the documentation and requirements before April, she also mention that she will be out the last week of march, so we should plan to have everything in place before the last week of march.  By the end of the visit we got a report with all the things we need to modify and complete.  Once she handed the report she left as fast as she had walked in.  Our next visit is schedule for February 4th.

Here is the list of all the things we have to do:

1. First Aid Kit

2. Outlet covers, door knob and stove knob covers.  We also need to move the knifes to an area where they are out of reach.

3. A Gate for the stairs, window locks for all the windows in the 2nd floor.

4. Two car seats

5. Buy a crib if we want a child between 0-2 year old, not sure we will do this

6. Move the liquor from the pantry to the magic room (our storage closet).

7. Buy storage cabinet with a lock for all the paint buckets we have in the garage

8. Remove all the cleaning solutions from under the sink in the kitchen (that we forgot to do before she came in) or put some type of lock ( she mentioned a magnet lock).

9. The roses in the back yard…. we have to put a guard or something to prevent child injuries.

10. Physical exam for both of us, and 27 hour training.

Adoption – Preparing for our first social worker visit

What happens in the first home visit?

The social worker meets with us in our home to talk about our personal history, family relationships, reasons for wanting to adopt, and question if we have any support systems available.  I understand that this process has to be very meticulous so the social worker can determine whether our home is safe and has sufficient space for an adopted child to live.  At this time we will also determine the characteristics of the children that will be the best match for us.

Things we have to do before Friday’s visit:

1. We need to complete an assessment with more than 70 questions.

This questionnaire was provided in copies during the orientation.  I kept hearing the lady presenting, you can type it if you want and I was wondering why is she saying that.  Well it turns out that the questionnaire is not meant to be filled out by hand or electronically.  Is not if you want to, you have to type in questions and then type in your responses and your husband/partner has to do another one.  The questionnaire is divided into the following sections (for California):  Childhood, family composition and relationships, Marriage/Relationships, Children, Parenting Approach, Lifestyle, Health issues, and resource family questions, puf…puf… I’m already tired just from reading all of it.  Well, whether I wanted or not, I happily typed all the questions in and gave an ecopy to my husband (Joel) and I started answering the questions.  As I go through the questions some are pretty easy I talk about my childhood, my parents, my siblings, so far so good.  Then we get into “what do you have conflicts about” hmm hmm conflicts, I don’t think we have conflicts!  I think we get along very well and we have a strong relationship, this is why we are starting the adoption process.  I’m stuck, and have not made more progress with my answers, I will just continue to the next questions.  Hopefully it will get done tonight.

2. We need to clean and organize the house

Today we are still at work, but I got to thank my sister for setting up for someone to come and help us with that shore.  Thank you Nonito, we love you.  However, we still need to move the medications to one specific area “top of the fridge” and lock the cabinets with cleaning solutions.  We have no pool and no guns so we don’t have to worry about that.  Ah the rabbits, we have to clean up their area.  They basically leave on the main hallway of the second floor, they will have to go in the condo for the visit.

Buddy and Chloe's Condo

I’m nervous, stressed, excited and I have no idea what is going to happen. 

Adoption – Baby steps!

The weekend before Thanksgiving we spent sometime at a bookstore in Seaport Village “Upstart Crow Bookstore“, while having a delicious cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee I wondered around the aisles looking for an interesting read.  I found a wonderful book, that seem perfect for me, my husband and for our moment in time.  The book title is “Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir“, at first glance it got my attention because of the exotic blue cover with a picture of a latino girl in the center.  I took the book to one the reading areas and started reading.  I immediately got into the story and started reading fragments out loud to my husband.  The book caught my attention and I decided to purchase it, I kept reading for rest of the weekend until the end.  It changed my point of view about adoption.  Until the moment before I started reading the book I felt that parents looking to adopt where victims of a complicated system.  I felt that the system had become a business and that you had to be very careful of people who will try to take advantage of you.  I felt like when I was planning our wedding and all those vendors tried to take advantage of us, and we had to haggle.  Somehow this felt worst, we were talking about a child (life).  I felt that as potential adoptive parents we were doing a great thing and that people working in adoption should take that into consideration.  While some of the things I mention before I still feel are truth, my eye opener was the other side of the story, the mothers that give up their children to adoption.  This part of the story in the book no longer made me feel as a victim.  My feelings started shifting from unfortunate to blessed.  Now I feel grateful to have the opportunity to help someone, to impact a child’s life in a positive way.  My husband and I are thinking about having an open adoption.  After I finish reading Mamalita we went to the book reading on December 4th at the Santee Public Library.  That same day we started our adoption process with San Diego county, we went to the offices to fill out paperwork, gave our references and got our fingerprints done.  Within a week we got a letter in the mail from the county advising us to make an appointment as soon as possible.  Next Friday is our first home visit, we are really looking forward to it.