Today is/was the day to wear your jammies to work. Psychiatrist Dr. Douglas LaDier says what you wear to bed reveals your personality.
It’s been a while since I have updated my adoption blog, so here goes. Lots has happened since last I wrote.
For starters I am now extremely close to the finish line. Mounds of paperwork, hours of interviews and class sessions later, I am almost done with the pre-qualification process. Let me tell you, this is a very thorough and transparent process. But in the end, I know it will be well worth it.
As part of the paperwork process I had to write an autobiography. The agency I am working with provided some thought-starter ideas on what to include in the autobiography, everything from talking about how I was raised to what I have achieved in life so far. When I finished writing, I had 13 pages, single spaced. What amazed me the most is how far I have come in my personal journey over the years. I didn’t have the luxury of being born in to a rich family (my family was poor); I didn’t even grow up with a set of parents. For someone who never thought he was that strong of a person, after writing about my life experiences, I did well and I know this after recounting my life story.
If you ever consider taking the foster or adoption journey yourself, you will definitely have your life put under the microscope. As I said, it is a very thorough process that you must go through. But when you think about the life situations that these children come from, you come to appreciate that it is that comprehensive. When I finally hear the words “you have been approved,” it will have significant meaning to me, knowing I was willing to put myself out there, open myself up to review and met with endorsement.
Next up I will be meeting with my case worker, who will bring my Family Profile for me to review. The review was written based on the two in-home interviews I conducted with her (2.5 hours each time), plus information taken from my autobiography. I will have the option of making changes to the Profile before it gets submitted to case workers of children in the foster care system.
Once approval has been given for me as a foster/adoptive parent, I wait. I could get a call at any time from a case worker, asking if I am interested in a particular child or children. It is important that I ask lots of questions to make sure any situation feels like the right situation for me. I always have the option of saying no if I am not comfortable with the information provided.
I have gone through two 7-hour training sessions, with my third and final one scheduled for this Saturday in Fleetwood, PA. These sessions have been very informative and given me a better understanding of what other foster/adoptive parents have encountered. We’ve watched a lot of videos that include former foster/adopted children giving their perspective on going through the system. We’ve done a bunch of group activities and had some very good discussion.
The biggest thing I have learned is that parenting is not a perfect science. Every person has a differing way of parenting kids. I’ve always seen myself as being fairly easy-going but very protective. I know I will make mistakes along the way, but my heart will always be in the right place and I think that is what matters most at the end of the day.
Of course as I get closer to the finish line I’ve experienced a few setbacks along the way. It is required that you undergo a physical examination as part of the pre-qualification. Mine was last week. The doctor discovered that I have a double groin hernia and will require surgery, be off work for a few weeks/unable to drive and have a lift restriction in effect for up to 6 weeks. People have asked how I didn’t know I had it. Easy. If it’s on both sides it doesn’t look abnormal to me. It didn’t hurt (but it does now). Lastly it’s not like I’ve had another set of eyes staring at me down there. But I digress.
I also dealt with one of my cats becoming very sick and the vet being perplexed by what was wrong. It was actually last Saturday, the morning I was preparing for my hour-long drive to parent training class that my cat seemed to be on his deathbed. I am grateful to have a strong support network of friends and that certainly came in to play here. A good friend of mine was able to help out by taking Marshall to the vet. He ended up having emergency surgery and they found an object that he had swallowed, most likely before I even adopted him, which was causing all of the problems. The good news is that he is going to be fine.
This made me think about how to handle life with a child. I am a pretty busy guy and, while I do my best to plan day-to-day, life throws you curveballs regularly. It is reassuring to know I have such a strong network of support to help should I encounter any emergency situations with a child.
My final setback, which is hopefully no longer a setback, was the re-emergence of my radio station stalker. Yes I really have one. It is a woman who used to listen to me while in prison in York County. Apparently she was convinced I was talking directly to her and she fell in love with me. Once released, she started sending me very creepy letters that averaged ten pages, front and back, each. Well she went away for over a year, presumably to jail again, but came back in February and started sending letters again.
I had to disclose this information since the adoption process requires full disclosure. I also had to involve the police. Thankfully I have not heard from the woman since. As a side note, the woman served time in jail for, wait for it…stalking. Apparently she’s not a one man stalking kind of woman.
With these setbacks I actually have to laugh and say “is that all you got?” Considering how tough my life has been through the years, it feels like life is now pitching me softballs.
That’s all for this blog entry. Once I have been approved to continue this life-changing experience, I will update again. Thanks for reading.