Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Settle in for a Neat Story

Unless you've come across this blog by mistake, or you've been under a rock, you know that Chris and I have been diligently pursuing adoption through the Oregon Foster Care System. We started the process way back in April, and we were finally approved in August.

On August 6th, we applied for a sibling group, a boy and a girl, ages 6 (at the time) and 9. And we waited. During this time, we discussed things and always, ALWAYS included J&W in our discussions. We talked about how we would change things around in our home to accommodate the kids. We talked about the trips we would take camping, fishing, skating, etc. I talked about putting J in dance class, and Chris talked about putting W in karate. No matter what we did, and what other children came across, we couldn't get these two out of our minds.

Early morning September 9th, I woke up from a very vivid dream. I dreamt that Chris and I were standing on our deck. Our social worker pulled up in her car, got out, looked up at us and said "Good news! You've been chosen to go to Committee for J & W!" I woke up from that dream and looked at the clock. It was 3:30 a.m. My husband gets up at 4:30 for work, and although I wanted desperately to wake him and tell him, I chose not to.

That morning, I called him when I got into work and told him about my dream. He gave me a good-natured ribbing about it, and I told him I was going to email our social worker and tell her about it, and ask her to call the children's social worker.

I sent off an email to her, and made my way to a board meeting that I had to attend. While in the board meeting, my phone lit up (it was on silent) and a number I didn't recognize came across. I ignored it, and it stopped. Then it almost immediately lit up again, same number. I ignored it again. Several seconds later, my voice mail icon popped up. I was curious, so I excused myself to another conference room and listened to my message. It was our social worker, and her message was "I'm not standing in your driveway, but this is the next best thing. Sometimes dreams DO come true!" I immediately started crying! I couldn't believe that I was hearing this message!

I called her back and learned that we had been selected to go to committee! We didn't have a date yet, but we needed to review some more detailed information about the kids and decide if we wanted to go forward. We got the information, read it over together carefully, and decided we were undeterred. We were going for it!

Then we waited! Oh the state just tests my patience sometimes! Our social worker then went on a missions trip to Thailand and was gone from September 29th until today.

Today I received an email from her that said "I just heard. Your date has been set for November 9th at 1:00." This was quite possibly the best news we've heard so far! We have a date!! We've been putting our lives on hold, not planning anything concrete, waiting for the date.

So NOW what happens? Many of you have already seen this in the email we sent out, but here it is again:

What is Committee? It's a group of people made up of state employees, social workers, foster parents, CASA's (Court Appointed Special Advocates). attorneys, etc. who want to be on that particular committee to decide which family would be best suited for the children in question.

Do you go to Committee? No. The prospective parents never go to committee. The social worker representing the parents go to committee and state our case and present us to them. We've put together a family book with pictures of us and our lives and our social worker will use that along with our home study and letter to the committee to present our family.

How long does it take them to decide? They usually decide within 48 hours.

Then what? Then if we've been chosen, we go through a 7 day 'blackout period' where we get a large binder full of information about the kids. We get time to go through everything, take their medical records to a pediatrician for review (if we so choose), etc. Once we decide we're still going through with it, we let our social worker know, and can start transition. Also, after the blackout period, the kids are told that they have been chosen for adoption!

Then what? Gosh you people with your questions! Then we start visitation and transition. Transition gives the kids time to warm up to us, and gives us time to warm up to them. We haven't had the luxury of having them biologically and the bonding that comes with a pregnancy, so this is the next best thing. The Family Book is also given to them to look through, and get used to seeing us as their parents. Transition can take 2 days or a week, it all depends on the kids. I have a feeling we would have a quick transition!

Once they are transitioned, are they yours? We are then placed into a 'foster-to-adopt' status. We are their new foster parents, and our social worker comes to visit once a month to see how things are progressing. At six months, assuming everything is going well, she can recommend to the state that we finalize the adoption. It can take up to three months from then for the finalization. However, referring to the original question, YES, they are OURS.

What about the kids? Tell us about them!! Oh! Haha. Yes. The kids are a sibling group, a girl and a boy, ages nine and will be seven on Friday. The foster care system has a lot of older children in their care and Chris and I were really drawn to these two! They even look like us!

Can we see a picture? Unfortunately, no. Because of confidentiality reasons, we cannot show their picture until they are in our home.

So that's the latest! Keep praying! And I'll keep updating!


~Just B said...

I will absolutely keep praying.

I am so excited to experience this with you!!!!!

nicole thomas said...

Christina and Chris, we are so excited for you two. We will keep praying, crossing our fingers, legs, arms and anything else we can. We hope you find these two kids whom are so deserving of all the love you have to give in your home very soon. Love you guys. Nicole and Chris.

Kimmywizzie said...

I'm sooo happy for you. This is terrific news.

Jolene Hui said...

Fingers Crossed! Prayers said! :-D