Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Offbeat Awesomeness

Another guest post on Offbeat Families and more lovely, supportive comments. There are many beautiful people in the world and I am honoured to be able to share this journey with some of them.
Nesting for Adoption - Offbeat Families

Monday, 3 June 2013

You gotta have faith... faith... faith

Actually, you don't have to have faith.
I do. It's the way I'm wired. I didn't grow up in church. I grew up with pretty liberal parents who created two pretty liberal kids. We didn't memorise bible verses or say grace at the dinner table. My mum was religious but we didn't really practice religion as a family.

The funny thing is, I can't remember a time that I didn't talk with God. I don't mean formal prayer. I just mean chatting and conversing. I think that it is because of this relationship with God that I eventually found more "formal" religion. Religious tradition didn't limit my engagement with the world, it became a way for me to express my relationship with God within a community.

I think a lot about the role that my faith has played in my decision to adopt. Sure, there are biblical teachings about caring for widows and orphans. I hold fast to the teaching that helping "the least" of God's children is a direct link to God. These are the reasons I continue to believe in universal health care, compassionate criminal justice programmes and rights and freedoms for all people regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. But these aren't the reasons that I decided to adopt.

I decided to adopt because I had some really important feelings about how our family should be created and  I felt our home would be the right one for a child already here, on this planet. I decided to adopt because when I talked to my husband about it, he acted like it was what we'd always planned. It was like he had the same feelings, we just hadn't discussed them yet.

I decided to adopt because God and I have been talking about adoption for a long time, I just didn't always realise it. When I opened myself up to the idea, God continued to lead me in that direction and continues to lead the way.

Now, I hope the title of this post has given you all a George Michael ear worm for the rest of the day:
Look at all that sexy chest hair...

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Where do I fit?

I tried to find the cheesiest stock image of "the internet"- this will have to do.
The title of the post is "Where do I fit?" Get it? Hilarious...
The internet is a funny place. There are so many people. There is so much information. You would think that the internet would mean that no one ever gets lonely or feels out of place. But that is exactly how I feel when it comes to reading about other people's adoptions. When it comes to foster-adoption/public adoption there seems to be two distinct camps who do a large portion of the blogging/posting/website-ing.

There are those who have adopted children with a severe RAD (reactive attachment disorder) diagnoses or FAS/FASD (and often a combination) who post a lot on a forum that I sometimes read. These parents post about excrement being smeared all over the walls by 9 year olds, children who throw up at the dinner table every night, kids who light the family pet on fire at least once a day. They seem to try to 'one up' each other on the forum. Now these parents are amazing for taking this on. They are strong, loving people with strong stomachs! I am not one of these parents. I'm just not. I still plan to adopt because I know that not every child in the system has RAD or even FASD and not every adoption situation is like this.

The problem is that this forum seems to have been commandeered by one particular group of parents. If you were searching for information on public adoption and came across this info first, you might not continue to lean more.

When I look at blogs about adoption, I often see a different group of parents. There seem to be a lot of conservative, Christian adoptive families with profiles that mention their five children through "the miracle of birth" and their five children through "the miracle of adoption". They usually live on spacious property in an all American suburb or on a sprawling farm. Again, these have got to be some strong and loving people to raise such huge families.But again, they're just not me.

We're city dwellers living in an awesome, rented apartment. I am an ordained Presbyterian elder and we attend church every Sunday but politically we are very liberal. We are planning on adopting a foster child who will have some special needs but we can't handle every kind of special need. We are ourselves and we are not reflected perfectly in everyone's situation.

Big surprise, eh?

Now that I've written all that, I'll let you know that I have found some awesome blogs, websites and resources through sheer determination and luck. I have also found "diamond in the rough" posts on blogs that otherwise don't help me much. There is also great value in reading about different kinds of families and situations even if you disagree about stuff. The information that you need to help you learn and prepare is out there. You just might have to be patient in order to find it. A lot of this adoption preparation seems to be about patience...

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


When I turned 5 I had the only co-ed birthday party I would have until I turned 16 (worth the wait because my 16th was a 70's themed fondue party in the basement). If I remember correctly, my fifth birthday was at a bowling alley. I don't remember much of it. What I do remember is that a kid named Dillon gave me a strange and awesome gift. He gave me my first diary.

I guess Dillon and his mom had some idea that all girls, regardless of age, needed a place to put their secrets. Or they had no idea what to get me and watched too much Full House (that Stephanie was always worried about her diary!). This diary was great. It had a puffy plastic cover (like one of those toilet seats that old people have) and it had a lock that could be opened with the two little keys that it came with. At five years old, I already shared a room with my baby sister, had very protective parents and had never seen anything quite as thrilling as a private book with a lock on it!

So what did I do? I locked it and unlocked it every day. I wouldn't dare write in it. A book that special would require some kind of special secrets. I couldn't think of any secrets special enough. One day I bit the bullet and wrote a sentence about picking wild strawberries. After that, the diary lost some of it's appeal. It was like I had tainted it with my crappy story about strawberries.

It was years later before I would have a diary again. This one was filled with boys. A lot of boys. It was basically my record of every time a boy that I liked talked to me, hugged me or said something funny. Kind of like those notebooks that they find in the apartments of stalkers and serial killers.

After those scary years, I stopped writing in a diary. I went to college to try to be a writer but quit when my scholarship money ran out. This is the closest thing to a diary that I've had as an adult and the hilarious thing is that over 1700 people have read it. Not amazing by blog standards but pretty weird none the less.

So I'm going to keep rambling because this helps me organize my thoughts and helps me communicate with lots of family and friends all at once. I also hope that if you're out there and thinking about starting a family in any non-traditional way, you might learn something or laugh at something or just feel a little less alone.

It's hard for me to to feel alone when hundreds of people have snooped through my diary! Thank you!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


I'm going along, enjoying being young and awesome. Stuff like going to the museum whenever I want, going out for wings and a pint whenever I want, playing Harvest Moon 2 on the Gameboy Colour emulator on my smart phone, making super healthy juice to offset mojitos and nachos for dinner. You get the picture. Awesomeness. Some of this is awesomeness that will probably have to change when I become a parent. Not that I won't still be awesome, I'll just be different awesome.

So I'm going along minding my own business when whammy, every month I get hit with a big truckload of hormones. Hormones that make me think I'm a biological anomaly for not being pregnant, hormones that make me read all the adoption blogs in the world, hormones that make me go back and read all the materials from the AEP, hormones that make me facebook stalk all my friends and acquaintances who have adorable families.

And these hormones are awesome because they help me get stuff done. They help me learn more about adoption and parenting, they help me remember to fill out that form about my mental health (ha!), they help me want to organise the apartment (or at least complain to AH that the apartment needs to be organised).

It's not that I don't want a family every day of the month but I'm glad for those hormones that give me a little kick in the pants.

PS- It's been a year since we took our AEP and well over a year since we applied to adopt. In the last provincial election, funding for the provincial adoption program wasn't in any party's agenda (not that I could see, anyway). The province has re-elected the same government so we're not expecting the situation to change. Our advice? Don't wait to get started if you want to adopt within the next 3-5 years!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Questionnaire

 We have been sent the questionnaire to end all questionnaires. This reminds me of those email questionnaires that used to go around when I was a teenager (do kids still do those things?) but on steroids!

We're back to more forms where we tick off boxes but this time we're describing our past and current relationships with our parents, describing our parents past and current relationships with each other, describing our childhood memories, how we were disciplined and so much more!

At this time I would like to ask our parents to take a deep breath and remember that we love you all. And just in case you think that you're being singled out, I'll let you know about a few of the questions we have to answer about ourselves.

What were we like as children? Well, that's not so bad. Happy, anxious, nervous, awkward and funny seem to be a good place to start.

How did we behave as teenagers? We get choices like: rebellious, curious, immature, responsible, kind, moody and more. Umm, how about all of the above (sometimes all of the above within the course of an hour...)

But it gets worse. Describe your early sexual experiences with choices like: awkward (duh), loving, shameful, romantic, hurtful, curious, limited and more.

And then it gets even more personal when we get to describe our current "sexual compatibility": Very compatible? Compatible? Sometimes compatible? Not compatible (I have a headache?)...

So we're going to each sit down (with a glass of wine?) and fill out our forms separately and then compare, which should make for a few laughs and some good conversation. Please, don't think that because we are laughing that we're not taking this seriously. This is an important step towards our social worker learning more about us and what kind of people we are/ what kind of parents we'll be.

Luckily we're pretty open and honest folks who talk openly and honestly with each other and those around us so this process doesn't feel scary or too intrusive. If nothing else, it is a great chance to get anything on the table that needs to be dealt with before we become parents.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Soooooo Sloooooowwwwwww

We finally met with a social worker. The same one who taught our Adoption Education Program. After a year (A YEAR!) of waiting to change our adoptable age range, discuss special needs and 'clean up' our application we have finally completed another step towards starting a homestudy.

There is still no telling how long we will wait for a homestudy. We have been told that we seem like great people, that our application looks good and that we'd probably make good parents. So it's not like they have concerns that are holding up the process.

Something really frustrating that we've learned is that any time someone is willing to adopt an older child, they get put ahead of us on the homestudy wait list. It could be that no matter how long our file has been gathering dust, any time someone says, "maybe I'd adopt a 14 year old" they get moved up the line and we get pushed back.

Now, I'm all for teen adoption. But this system seems a little counter intuitive. Wouldn't it make sense to get some of those 6 and 7 year olds adopted before they reach their teenage years and become harder to place? Would it not be prudent to have some workers who specialise in teen adoption and some who specialise in school age adoption?

But alas, we are not in charge of the system (nor would we want to be!). So we wait.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Thank you offbeat families!

The awesome "offbeat" empire published an article that I wrote. The comments on the article have brought me to tears with their warmth and positivity! Check out the link if you want to read it.

Offbeat - choosing adoption

Thanks a lot, newspaper

Most of the time I'm pretty cool with the fact that this process takes a long time. Adam and I eat Thai take-out when we want and go to bed early when we want. We can choose to lay in bed eating chips (crisps, not french fries) and watching Arrested Development on netflix for hours. And we do do this more often then we'd like to admit. We enjoy being a family of two.

Then there are those moments when it just hits me like a truck. Today I clicked on a link to a restaurant review that lead me to the website of our city's largest newspaper. Right there on the homepage is the headline "Adoptions build families, make a house a home". Ok, grammar issues aside, this just kills me. The article is all about adopting older children from foster care. THAT IS WHAT I'M TRYING TO DO! Of course it's great that adoption is in the news. It's great if there are more families out who learn about adoption. But I was told in September that we'd get a home visit (that never happened) and in October I was told we should hear from someone by Christmas (that never happened). I'm not angry. I'm just sad. Some days I get a little sad. But the sadness makes me glad too. I'm glad that my heart and my mind are both edging me on towards the goal of bringing our kids home. I'm glad that this process that is so clinical makes me emotional sometimes. I'm glad that my sadness will make me call and ask where we are on the wait list for a homestudy.

Tonight we will enjoy the bittersweet companionship of netflix and chips and a glass of wine or two. Because we're grown-ups without kids and we can console ourselves with the fact that we can choose the most awesome of pastimes without interruption. Not that the interruption won't be welcome when the time comes.