Saturday, December 31, 2011

A new start for a new year

Isaiah 1:17 New Revised Standard Version
"learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow"

Our adoption home study was completed December 21 and December 22 we got a call to begin visitation for two little boys on December 28. It was two crazy days to prepare for the trip and for Christmas. We traveled two days after Christmas with high hopes, all excited to meet our potential future children. We didn't quite know what to expect.

After an 8 hour drive, we settled into our hotel room then prepared for our meeting with DSHS and with the boys the next day. This led to the first fight that my dear husband and I had in several years; it was a doozy, but we came to an understanding to be open minded during the rest of the week.

The next morning we met with the caseworker for about 45 minutes then met the boys with their foster mom. Our nine-hour visit extended across several situations - DSHS visitation room, a walk outside, lunch at a fast food restaurant and many hours at the foster parents' home. We experienced firsthand the joys and needs of the boys. The day was special, educational and eye-opening. That evening, my husband and I had a long conversation late into the night about the needs of the children, our ability to meet their needs and our expectations of parenthood.

The second morning there was a family team decision meeting. On the way to this meeting, we finally decided what our answer would be if we were asked if we would parent the boys. These boys are distant relatives of mine so other family members were present at the meeting who did not know our decision. My husband and I made a very difficult and heartbreaking decision that we could not provide for the long term needs of the boys.

We know our decision is extremely painful and difficult for my relatives to accept, but we had to do what we thought was in the best interest of the boys. They are currently in a good home, having their needs well met and are loved by many. I will continue to pray for the boys as their case is still to be decided.

Today we are emotionally recovering from this past week. We have learned a lot about ourselves and the type of child we are comfortable parenting. We have decided a single older child would be more suitable for us. With the new year, we will prayerfully search for the child God has chosen for our family.

Our adoption journey continues, but we are wiser from our experiences of 2011. Our marriage is still strong and united. We will continue to pray, discern, and learn during 2012.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another Step Forward

We have made progress in our adoption home study. After Thanksgiving, we met with our adoption caseworker. The first meeting we reviewed our basic history - education, family, jobs, and our current relationships with our parents and siblings. We discussed why we wanted to adopt, our foster licensing process and the training classes we have taken so far. Our second meeting we discussed our views on adoption, discipline, adoption issues and had our home inspection. The home study has been written and should be approved by our caseworker's supervisor before Christmas. This is just another step forward in our adoption process. We will see what 2012 reveals in our adventure.

Monday, November 21, 2011


With Thanksgiving this week, I want to reflect on my blessings through a process that has been frustrating and heartbreaking. We are still dealing with frustrations, but there is hope of some additional progress in the next few weeks.

Psalm 9:1
"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."

Thanksgiving 2011 Blessings:
  • a wonderful husband who loves me very much
  • supportive family
  • State Representative's Senior Aid helping with our adoption
  • some progress with our adoption
  • a lovely home ready for our future child(ren)
  • prayers of many believers that our child(ren) will come home soon
  • improved health
  • I know God is looking over our future child(ren)
  • I have been a blessing to others who are embarking on their adoption journey

Genesis 12:2

"I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing"

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Finding grace

November is National Adoption Month and today is Adoption Sunday. There are stories of so many families created through adoption. During these celebrations, what is not discussed are the years of waiting, the mounds of paperwork and the frustrations each family experiences to bring their precious children home. In the past ten years, the adoption process - domestic and international - has become longer and there is more scrutiny about the potential adoptive parents.

The past three weeks, I have made contact with about four different people at DSHS trying to see if we can move our process along. At this point it looks like we will not be moving our foster-adopt process along any faster. Our adoption caseworker is overloaded and we just have to wait until she can find time to meet with us. Then I have to make a call to the foster care Placement Coordinator later this month to find out if she can found out if she can help us with getting a suitable placement. Being told that these two women are the only two people in the entire state who might be able to help us create our family is, in a way, frustrating and disheartening.

At this point, I have to find the grace to allow DSHS to go through their process even if I think they are moving too slowly. I have to find the grace to deal with the state workers who tell me I must continue to wait patiently for weeks and possibly months. I have to find the grace to find ways to make changes in the foster care system that benefit children while I hear of teens aging out of the system without permanent families.

I pray for grace, patience and forgiveness as we move through our adoption process and wait for our child to come home. As we get closer to the holiday season, it will be harder for me to not lose faith that we will have our precious child in our home come this time next year. I had this wish last year and this will be my wish until we have a child in our home.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Navigating Foster Care

Over the last month, I have attempted to make as many contacts as possible at DSHS to see who might be best able to help us with our foster-adopt process. Most of the people I have spoken to have been unhelpful. One woman who may be of assistance will not be in the office until mid-November. So I have to wait to contact the Placement Coordinator who might be able to match us to a child waiting for a forever family or who is moving from reunification to adoption placement. I have talked to different people in the Shelton office, in Thurston County and in Benton County. I feel like I am running out of people to talk to at this point. We should be meeting with our caseworker in November, finally. I am beyond frustration at this point; I am just about resigned to just go along for the ride, but I have not given up to fight for out child and for the rest of the children in foster care. I have spoken to:
  • foster licensor
  • assigned caseworker
  • caseworker in another county
  • foster licensor supervisor
  • interim foster Placement Coordinator
  • fingerprinting center
  • part time adoption caseworker
  • DSHS workers at HQ
  • Sr Aide to State Representative
  • other foster families
We are into this process 12 months already. From my communications with other foster-adopt families throughout the country, some had placements within a year of starting their process while others endure years of slow processing. It looks like we will be going through a multi-year process.

While we wait for DSHS to go through their steps, a child is waiting for their forever family which we could provide. There is a child hoping, wishing, wondering when he/she will have a forever family. Each night I pray for our child, our child continues to live in uncertainty. I pray his/her foster family is loving, caring, protective, secure, therapeutic and supportive. One day, we will work together to transition the child to our home.

I still have the fire inside me to keep fighting for the children waiting in foster care for permanency. It will be a long process just to make changes in my local DSHS office, let alone changes further up the chain of command. While our process may be long and unpredictable, I hope to make the path better for future foster-adopt families.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Romans 8:25

Romans 8:25 New Revised Standard
"But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience"
As we progress through the adoption process, I have been hoping and praying and asking the Lord for patience. I do not know how our journey will end, what turns our path will take or what adventures we may experience along the way.
It has seemed like a very slow process. I am trying to contact all people I can in DSHS throughout Washington State to determine who may be the best people to help us get a child placed in our home. I have found a caseworker in another county to be very helpful. I have a lead on a Foster Child Placement Coordinator who returns in November who might be able to help match us with a child who is either legally free or nearly legally free. We are waiting for our fingerprints to be processed so our caseworker will make set our first meeting. She has been willing to meet with other families before their prints have been completed, but she has not wanted to meet with us until our prints are processed.
Perseverance, patience and passion will get us through this process. And I hope to be able to identify some changes that need to be made in our local foster care system to better serve the children in care. I came across a 2002 study that children spend on average 43 months in foster care. Nearly four years of a child's life is a long time for any child, but especially a child who has experienced chaos, abuse, and/or neglect before experience temporary family life in foster care. Children deserve permanency sooner - either with their original family or with an adoptive family. Every child deserves to have a family that cares about their milestones - first loose tooth, sporting events, school events, birthdays, dances, holidays, first date, driver license, graduation, first job, first house, significant relationship/marriage, and children of their own. Even teens who are not adopted need a permanent family to call their own willing to remain family for the rest of their lives.
With God's strength, I will persevere through this process. With His strength, I will have the grace and patience to deal with the bureaucracy of the adoption process. The child God has chosen for us is out there waiting for a forever family just as we are waiting for the child. I know in my heart all good happens in God's time, but waiting can be extremely difficult, especially when one sees injustice occurring to children. While we wait, I will do what I can to help children waiting in Washington State.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

We are moving forward!

Our foster-adopt process has quickly moved forward. Now that we are licensed foster parents (the license will be in the mail this week), the adoption section of DSHS has mailed us the adoption paperwork. The paperwork was mailed on September 12, we picked up our mail September 14. The "Welcome" letter stated we were to get all our paperwork, in by September 30. After I have been asking to speak with an adoption caseworker or at least get the paperwork for months, they give us 17 calendar days to submit our paperwork? Or what? There was no explanation of what happens if this deadline is not met. As organized as I am, I got our portion of the paperwork completed and mailed back to DSHS on September 16. The four references will be mailed this week and my husband's medical form will be mailed this week, also. I luckily had a doctor's appointment already scheduled for September 15 and took mine in and got it filled out that day. I also sent an email to the caseworker asking for clarification on statements in the letter. The letter says we have to go through the fingerprinting process all over again. I will do this if need be, but is this really necessary if WSP and DSHS already has our prints and just has to run them through the system? It would save time and effort on our part and save tax payer dollars which are stretched very thin already.

Thursday I met with my State Representative's Senior Aide about our case and discussed the good and the bad about our process. We agree there are communication and process issues that need to be addressed in the local DSHS office. Since July 2010 the Foster Licensors have told us we do not need to be licensed to pursue adoption, but the Adoption Caseworkers have told us they will not talk to us until we are licensed foster parents - message disconnect. Getting phone calls returned from DSHS is nearly impossible unless I call three times in one week. The office did not re-assign us a licensor when ours retired even after I got the Representative's office involved. I had to call and demand the contact information for a licensor so we could proceed. I have been refused the supervisor information when I ask for the name and phone number of the Adoption Supervisor. I only got this information when we became licensed foster parents. Then they give us this 17-day deadline which does not make any sense. Not everyone can get their doctor to respond within 15 days; luckily I already had an appointment and our doctors are really easy to work with and know we are working through the adoption process.

Once ALL the paperwork is in, I wonder how long it will take the caseworker to set up our first meeting. The letter stated we will have several 2-hour meetings. Much of the Caseworker's (CW) concern is our lifetime commitment to adoption, parental training we have received and resources we may utilize after placement and adoption. We have gone through all this with our previous two home studies so we will review what we know and plan to do after placement - counseling, discipline techniques, family integration, educational services, etc. I know very little about this CW, just name and contact information. I do not know of any local families that have dealt with the person and have not heard his name before this month so he may be new. This adoption home study process could go quickly or it could drag on for another year as some families locally have said it is taking 9-12 months for the adoption home study.

Patience. This is a practice in patience, hope and faith. I pray for the child waiting for a home who will be eventually placed in our home. We are adopting a child who is available for adoption and has been in care for an unknown amount of time. It makes my soul ache to know this child lingers in foster care wishing, hoping, praying for a family while we are wishing, hoping, praying for a child. All the child and we can do at this moment is wait for the system. One day that child will be set free from the system and achieve permanence as our child. Permanence. That is a good topic for my next blog post. As the verse below states, I will come to you. We just do not know when that day will be; the timing is in God's hands who watches over us and protects us.

John 14:18 (New King James Version)
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

Monday, September 5, 2011

To the Birth Family of My Child

I have been thinking about who our adopted child may be while we wait for a match and it has me thinking about the birth family of that child. Our child may or may not know his or her birth family. A child from Jamaica has a very high chance of not knowing his/her birth family. A foster child may have some contact with his/her birth family. So I am taking this time to write a letter to the birth family of any child that may become ours. Once we are matched and know more about our child, I will write a more personal birth family letter. I have been praying daily for the birth family and the caretakers of our future children for awhile now so the birth family is in the back of my mind constantly.

Dear Birth Family,

At this time, I do not know what the circumstances are that have led to your child being placed in care outside of your home. As I write this, my husband and I are waiting to be matched as the adoptive parents of your child. We promise to love, nurture, guide and teach your child. We - you, us and the child - are now a family. We may have little or no contact, but we still influence who the child is and who the child will become. We will teach this child that you love the child and wanted to care for him/her, but for whatever the circumstances, we were chosen as the forever family for your child.

If at all possible and if in the best interest of the child, we would like you to be involved in the child's life. This could mean some annual visits or just letters, emails, phone calls or Skype. The child needs to know that there are many people who are involved in raising him/her - birth, adoptive, foster, immediate, extended and those who are like family. We strongly believe "it takes a village to raise a child". While we want you to have contact with us and the child, please understand that during the first year, contact may be limited while we work on bonding with the child to re-assure the child we are a safe, stable and permanent home.

Our goal is to be a stable, safe home for your child. We hope some day you can come to see the child as "ours", not yours, not mine, but ours. The child has your genetics and your traits. The child will develop the values and some learned traits of my husband and myself. Some day, the child will become, hopefully and God willing, an independent adult with individual ideas and goals that honor both you and us, the family that gave the child a strong beginning.

I do know you have experienced a variety of emotions during this process including anger, disbelief and sadness at losing custody of your child. I, too, have experienced emotions during our own process including frustration, anger, joy and peace. The child has experienced a wide range of emotions that are very confusing, especially if the child is young. It will take time for all of us to process through these emotions singularly and together. My husband and I have accessed counseling services since we began our adoption journey and will continue family counseling once your child is placed in our home. For us, counseling is not a sign of weakness, but just another resource to tap to deal with complex issues involved in the adoption process. I do not know what your circumstances are, but I hope you have others you can talk with to help you through this difficult time. Also, I hope you realize that your thoughts and emotions regarding the adoption of your child by us will vary through the years to come and I hope you will come to peace with us being the forever family of your child.

While we have prayed for years for a child to become ours through adoption, we understand our joy does result in loss for you and the child. We extend our empathy to you and the rest of the birth family. We have learned through the years that sorrow must be experienced in order for joy to be experienced. I have not experienced your form of loss, but I have experienced loss in my own personal ways. Each person experiences life differently; we hope we have the empathy to better understand your circumstances.

We are here to care for your child. And we hope we can continue to keep you involved in your child's life. We are just more family to help your child to adulthood.

Your Child's Forever Family

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Glimmer of Hope

Friday morning, August 26 I made my second major contact with Jamaica this month. They are working on a potential match. It will be some time before we have additional details, but it appears our first child is waiting for us in Jamaica. So, I guess we can say we are expecting. I am hoping we have a definite match by Christmas and maybe even more details to celebrate. We are unsure of how long it will take for Jamaica to finalize the match and to get us information about our child, it could be weeks or months.

I do not feel comfortable yet saying I am a mom until the match is finalized and I can personalize the the child. I know I will love any child who is matched to us, but I do not want to attach, yet, to a child until we have a name. I hope, I pray that one day soon we will be able to say, "We are parents!"

There are many questions. Who is our child? What is the name of our child? What is the background history of our child? Why is our child available for adoption? How old is our child? What does our child like: food, color, clothes, animal, toy, story?

I have an inner peace that one of our adoption processes is still moving forward. At this point, I have a glimmer of hope.

Psalm 119:114
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

by Tom Fisher© July 19, 2005

I stepped into her room today
Knowing she's not there
This waiting for referral
Is more than one can bear
But taking in the moment

I sit down on the floor
And dream of her here with me
When waiting is no more.

A little giggle fills the air
As I rub her feet
I place my hand upon her heart
To feel its every beat.
A song is sung so very soft

Her eyes begin to close
She’s meeting me in dream land
A place where love still grows.

My vision now is very blurred
The tears stream down my cheeks
I’ve dreamed of her quite often
Throughout these past few weeks.

Suddenly a sound is heard
The phone rings in the hall
Waking up I quickly pray
Please let it be "The Call."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adoption Update and Sponsorship

Looks like our foster home study is approved, just have to have the background check done, again, since it has been more than 3 months. Then our license will be issued, hopefully next week! Once I get word the licensed is issued, I can call the adoption worker at DSHS to set up a meeting. I want to start working on the paperwork. We are making progress, allbeit, slowly.

I feel like I need to do some babysitting to get a child fix. I have been a bit child-shy the past several months, but I now feel it is time to spend time with one or two.

Thursday I call Jamaica again to see if we can get matched to a child.

Only God knows who my child is and where the child is currently located. I can just pray my child is being loved, protected and cared for by caretakers.

As I write this, I have the most current photo of the 10 year old girl I sponsor. She lives in Guatemala with her parents and sisters. I have been her sponsor since 2008 and have enjoyed watching her blossom with health care, new clothes and education. She smiles now and has a look of hope. I started sponsoring her before we decided to adopt and before my sister became pregnant, but I felt a need to be involved with a child's life. It helps to know this young girl has an opportunity for an education through the sponsorship of Children International. My latest letter to her explores career options she might consider. As she grows, it gives me a glimpse into the potential life of my own future child. She is the beauty in the photo.

Proverbs 2:9-11:

Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Jamaican Contact

I started calling Jamaica on Wednesday to find out if there was a match possible for us. Wednesday I was given another number to call either Thursday or Friday. I called the new number on Thursday and was told my contact was out all day, try again Friday. I called again today (Friday) and was able to speak to my contact! I confirmed we are interested in a child age 2 to 8, no older than 8, we have no preference on gender and that my email address was in our Pre-Approval Application. She said she will look into our case then email me if there is a potential match. I figure I will still need to call weekly until we do get a match as the matching process can take months. Only God knows who our child is and when we will find out about him/her.

One of my co-workers had a dream we adopted a tiny Jamaican infant which I brought to work every day and we all took turns caring for it for an hour. Ha! Ha! Mike and I agree - no babies. There may be some truth, though, in that dream. Our child may be a small Jamaican baby now, but we may not be matched until the child is older. Our child may be a petite Jamaican child. We do not know. We will not know until we are matched either through Jamaica or through DSHS.

I am contemplating buying some school supplies this month now that they are on sale just because all elementary school-aged children need a backpack, paper, pencils, crayons, erasors, tissues, lunch box, pencil box, calculator and peechees/folders. These can be stored until needed next year or the year after or the year after and we can purchase some a little at a time. I will be attending the school's back-to-school BBQ the day before school begins to meet other parents and some of the teachers. I want to become a familiar face before we even have children.

I am working to touch bases with more adoptive mothers to get information, find support, laugh, cry and find commraderie. Parenthood is not easy, but adoption tends to through some extra twists into the crazy ride and it helps to have others who know how to survive those twists.

The coming twelve months is going to be full of surprises, frustrations, joys and sorrows; just as the past twelves months contained all these.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Foster Care vs International Adoption

As we slowly trudge through the foster-adopt gazillion step process, I wonder which is going to place a child in our home first - foster-adopt or Jamaican adoption. As slow as international adoption can be - 4+ years - it is beginning to seem like adopting from the US foster care system is just as slow. I am finding it is a multi-year process just to be able to begin looking for a child from foster care. Below is the process we have followed so far for both adoption processes. Many people do not realize the years of work needed that lead up to a match; much of the training, meetings and paperwork are done behind the scenes.


  • October 2010 began foster care classes

  • December 2010 finished foster care classes and began paperwork

  • January 2011 began fingerprints and background check process

  • February 2011 had prints redone

  • March 2011 fingerprints lost in system then finally found, completed paperwork

  • April 2011 background checks completed/passed and foster licensor retires

  • May 2011 a different licensor re-assigned; first home study review with licensor

  • June 2011 second interview with licensor

  • July 2011 counselor talks with licensor, home study on hold while licensor is on vacation

  • August 2011 plan to have foster home study completed and have license approved

  • September 2011 begin adoption home study which could take more than 6 months

Jamaican Adoption:

  • November 2009 contacted home study agency

  • December 2009 began paperwork for international adoption

  • March 2010 met with home study caseworker, home inspection and began classes

  • April 2010 physical exams for home study

  • September 2010 home study completed

  • October 2010 two copies of home study sent to Jamaica and one sent to USCIS

  • January 2011 fingerprints for USCIS taken and processed

  • February 2011 approval from USCIS to adopt from Jamaica and home study forwarded to US Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica

  • Now we just wait for a match

  • Once we get a match, it is 2-3 years before we get to bring the child home

If it seems people are getting through their adoptions quickly, remember they most likely have been working behind the scenes for years. Some families do not announce they are adopting until they have a match so the public process is truncated. No one "just adopts"; you have to consciously decide to adopt, proceed through the grueling process and wait years.

Finding peace and patience with the adoption process is all I can do to keep moving towards the dream of expanding our family.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Frustrations

I checked in with our caseworker today. We have to have another interview because her supervisor has additional questions we need to answer. I have no idea what type of questions are unanswered at this point. We have covered our own childhoods, medical histories, education, work history, financial status, discipline plans, home inspection, relationship between us, relationships with family members and our experiences with children.

As I talk with families who have been getting licensed this year for foster care and foster-adopt I am observing families who already have children being processed faster than families who do not have children. This is just my observation. I understand that people who have children are proven parents - good or bad. BUT, people who do not children may or may not be better, as good as or worse parents.

We passed the process with the US Homeland Security, but it feels like the State of Washington is unwilling to allow us to become parents for whatever their preconceived notions of good parents. It is frustrating while we wait for our first child. If all goes well in next Thursday's interview, our home study should be complete by July 10.

Surprisingly, my patience is holding up. A young girl we have been praying for since January has found a family. It is not us as we wait for paperwork, but she has found a family. I pray her transition goes well. I am casually reading about children on the online photolistings, but I am not allowing myself to get attached until our paperwork is done and we can contact caseworkers of children.

For now, I just pray for:

  • our future child

  • our home study

  • the 8 year girl who found a family

  • our life as we wait

Thursday, June 2, 2011

May Milestones

After the frustruations of April, flowers began to bloom in May. Late April I contacted my state representatives involved in our case. Rep. Finn was most responsive to our case. His staff contacted DSHS HQ who then called me immediately promising a call from the local DSHS office by the end of that week. Well, I never got taht call. I gave the local office until the following Wednesday to call, which they did not. I called the office and the Supervisor did not seem to know I was expecting a call from him, but he did provide me with the phone number of the licensor who would complete our home study. I immediately called Elaine and we set up a time to meet. She would interview Mike one day and me the next. After getting lost on her way to the house, she interviewed Mike May 19. He was not talkative about the questions asked or how he thought the interview went so I entered my interview the next day not know what to expect. Elaine is a wonderful lady who made me comfortable like I was talking to a close friend. Besides the interview, she inspected the house and was impressed with the amount of room we have and the character it has - lots of storage, three floors, nooks for playing and a quiet neighborhood. She has two other home studies before ours, but she planned to have ours done by June 26, no later than July 10. Once our home study is complete, our case will be turned over to a new licensor.

Elaine told us we could contact a child's caseworker before we receive our license approval letter. We just send a child's casework Elaine's information which she will feed them until the report is finalized and complete. I emphasized to Elaine we are interested in adopting from the foster care system. Our license with be for ages 5 to 10 as we have our eye on a child who is currently 8 years old and we do not know who long it will be before she can be placed with our family.

The hope is to have a child by the end of the year. As we may get a child during the school year I will be meeting with the elementary school counselor this month to get ready for a school-aged child in our home. We are now back on track with the foster-adopt.

The Jamaican adoption, we just wait. We might get a match later this year or it might be next year. I did get to meet Mrs. Edie, CEO of the Child Development Agency in Jamaica. My god brother had a fundraiser for Embracing Orphans in Walla Walla and made arrangements for Mrs. Edie and one of her orphans to be speakers at the event. Samantha had the audience in tears telling the story of her abuse and her dreams for the future. I had the opportunity to talk with Mrs. Edie and let her know my husband and I were one of her prospective parents. She asked when our application was submitted and I stated October 2010. Who knows, maybe the meeting will move our case a little faster.

Only God knows from where our child will come and when. I have to take actions to feel proactive and to deal with my anxiety as we wait for a child. While April was frustrating, several milestones occurred in May and June is hopeful as we continue on our adoption journey.......

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Anger to Actions

I have spent several evenings wallowing in despair and anger while our foster-adopt process stalls and we wait for the next step in the Jamaican adoption. Yesterday reminded me there are worse things in life. A friend's 20-year old sister was told her cancer has returned after being a 2-year survivor. There is no fairness in this wonderful young woman having to battle cancer again. She was just beginning to feel healthy, was working and she is in her last quarter of junior college. She has such dreams to pursue! This week she will find out what the plan of attack will be this time around.

It angers me greatly that this young woman has to fight for her life while drug runners are living off the lives of others. It angers me that we have been told by the state they really need foster parents, but our process is taking many more months than others who began the process with us. It angers me that orphan teens in Jamaica do not have a proper boundary around their facility to protect them from sexual predators.

While I cannot fix any of these problems, with God's help and motivation, I can make small differences. I can support my friend and her family while her sister fights cancer. I can support legislators who support cancer research. I can help other parents wanting to become foster parents and I can help children in the foster care system. I can support Embracing Orphans as they improve the lives of Jamaica's orphaned. I can support the concrete wall to be built at Windsor Girls' Home in Jamaica. Support is through advocation, prayer and financial giving. Through the anger and actions, the Lord provides me with patience to deal with the unfairness of life. At times the the actions overwhlem the anger, but other times the anger overwhelms the patience and actions. When the anger is overwhelming, my punching bag is quite useful.

If there is a situation that angers you, I ask you to take action to correct the situation in any small way.
If cancer angers you - raise funds for the cancer society Relay For Life, comfort a cancer patient and their family, volunteer in a cnacer ward.
If the foster care system angers you - become a foster parent, become a guardian ad litum, mentor and support a foster child, advocate for changes in the law and funding to get children out of foster care sooner.
If orphans in substandard living conditions or being preyed upon - support an organization like Embracing Orphans that support orphans, sponsor an orphan, volunteer in another country to help orphans, provide financial support for the wall around Windsor Girls' Home.

Embracing Orphans and Windsor's Girls' Home Wall:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Licensed Parenting

We finally got our letter from DSHS stating they have received our foster home license application and that they hope to have us licensed within 90 days. But - there could be a delay with the licensor's retirement as of April 20. No mention of how they plan to re-assign our case or contact information for someone once the licensor leaves the office. Luckily, I do have the phone number of his supervisor, but this leaves me hurt and frustrated.
The pain in my heart is overshadowing the sunshine we are experiencing amidst the winter like weather. I cannot focus on anything, but my desire to have a child. The foster care system still has many flaws. The focus of Washington State is to reunite children with their families which is ideal if those families can provide shelter, food, education and safety. There are many children in foster care who have been in state care for years, but parental rights are still not terminated while children wait for stability and a permanent home. It angers me to know there are thousands of children who need homes and we are a home needing children, but the hoops we have to jump through seem outrages while there are women out there still having children who have had them all removed from her custody.

Our lives have been exposed every aspect of our lives on paper - medical, financial, upbringing, personal, professional, educational, friendships, pets, home, spiritual - to prove we will be good parents. We still have to discuss all these aspects with the licensor and have our home inspected to make sure it complies with the foster home laws and will be a safe place for our child. Once we do all that, we then submit our paperwork to another state hoping they decide we are the ideal parents for a child legally free and waiting for a permanent home. It is during all this that I am in favor of all prospective parents (biological or adoptive) being required to attend parenting classes and receive a license prior to being allowed to have a child in the home. I know many biological parents oppose this idea, but those of us who have to go through this process in order to adopt, we would like to share the exposure.

Intellectually I understand the reasons for the scrutiny of adoptive parents, but when the heart aches for a child, intellect is overruled by emotions. My husband has found that logic is even overruled by my emotions. Getting angry at the delays of our home study are not logical as the home study will most likely be completed by the end of summer. At this time, I do not care about logic or intellect, we are dealing with matters of a mother's heart. I have a fully equipped child's room waiting for a child. I have toys, books, games, movies and music waiting for a child. I have arms aching for a child.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Frustrating Delays

Got a phone call I did not want to receive. Our contact at DSHS is retiring as of April 20 and the State does not know who will fill his spot. Our home study is delayed until the State decides if they will wait for the replacement to get up to speed or have a contract licensor do our home study. We will be lucky to start our home study in May. I was told we will only have one interview on the day of our inspection with the whole appointment lasting 3.5 hours. If any type of delay exists, it seems to happen to us. There are other foster parents who began the process with us in October, had their background checks processed in January and February and already have their licenses. So we wait nad have to be patient. I am doubting at this time we will have a child placed with us by the end of the year. Mother's Day will be difficult this year. Just hearing that strangers are pregnant upsets me. A dear friend begins fertility treatments this month. While I will be happy for her if she becomes pregnant, it will not be easy for me while I wait for my child. We have shared the tears and pain of infertility together and this is the year we hope to fulfill our dreams of becoming mothers. We continue to pray and wait. There will be more tears, more anger and more frustration to come, all with the hope that our dreams will come true.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Most people do not think about the little grooves on the tips of each finger and thumb. It has been an important topic of mine since November. In November I got my first appointment for the USCIS fingerprinting and had problems getting the appointment changed so Mike and I could get ours done. We finally got an appointment in Seattle for January 10, 2011. Then in December we got our DSHS fingerprinting scheduled for January 7, 2011. We both went in January 7th to Olympia; Mike's were scanned by the machine okay and mine were rejected by the machine. The following Monday (January 10) we went up to Seattle to the USCIS office. The machine said it rejected my prints.

January 19 Mike got his DSHS letter saying his prints were processed and he had not findings in the background check. Shortly afterwards, I got a letter saying my prints were rejected so my background check could not be processed for DSHS. I was able to get back in for a second scan on January 28. Again, the machine did not initially like my prints, but the final screen said all the prints were accepted. Then I waited.

Mid-February, we received our letter from USCIS saying our FBI background check did not reveal any findings. Then we received a letter from USCIS that we were approved by the US government to adopt an orphan from Jamaica.

I continued to wait for word about my DSHS fingerprints. Finally February 28 I called the Background Check Central Unit about the status of my prints. I spoke with a gentleman who told me my prints were received by Washington State Patrol on February 10 and they were just getting processed February 28. He said a letter should be sent later in the week. I received nothing in the mail so I called again March 11. After talking to two people at the Central Unit, they verified the original notice was faxed to DSHS on March 1, but they went ahead and faxed the notice again March 11. Then I spoke with two people at DSHS. I found out that my background check was processed in the computer, showing no findings, but the paperwork was missing. I lost my emotional control at that point; I was then told that some people's prints take five months to process. It was frustrating to have my prints approved for USCIS, but having the DSHS prints take so long and still not know the full outcome after two months.

Today, I finally got word this evening that the paperwork was found.

Little ridges and grooves. Who would have thought they can cause so much anxiety and tears? There were days that my fingerprints were all that I could think about; watching the mail for any letter telling my the status of my prints.

Now that this stage of the process is completed, we get to progress through the next stage whatever that may look like. I am expecting to begin scheduling appointments with the caseworker and progressing through our homestudy. This could take several months based on the caseworker's load. We have two for the entire county and several hundred children in fostercare.

Our journey continues......

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


It has been one month since I last wrote and I am STILL waiting for my background clearance for DSHS. I called Monday and they got my fingerprints February 10; they were taken January 28! They did not process them until February 28 so I am suppose to get my letter later this week. Mike got his letter two weeks after his fingerprints were taken. Frustrating!

Once I get my letter I can submit it to DSHS and we can begin our interviews with the caseworker. Worker with his/her schedule will be more difficult as there are only two for the entire county. I can take time off work for meetings if needed.

Now that we are settling into our new home, I have been able to begin the nesting phase of adoption. The child's room is set up with two twin beds, a dresser, a bookshelf and a closet full of toys, games, books, movies and music for any child between ages 5 and 9. We are working on the bathroom dedicated to our future child - fixed the toilet, need to install the vanity, hung the shower curtain and got the fan working.

I am finding myself wanting to be home instead of at work just so I have time to nest. By the time I get home in the evenings, I am too tired and stressed to continue unpacking boxes and hanging up photos and pictures. It does not help I currently do not enjoy going to work and my stress at work is affecting my health negatively. I try not to bring work home emotionally, but even when I do not think about work, I dream awful dreams about work. I need to learn to balance work and life because it will just get more complicated when we add a child to our family. I pray I find joy in coming home once we have a child. Now, I enjoy coming home to my husband, sharing dinner with him and spending the evening talking or watching television together. I need to remember that a clean house is not required for a happy family. Chores may have to wait until the child is in bed so we can spend time as a family when I get home from work. I am decreasing my volunteer work at church, but we will begin a garden plot at the community garden so we can grow our own fresh vegetables. The garden will require at least semi-weekly attention.

Our adventure continues......

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chaos Without Children

Our adoption adventure is turning into a roller coaster mainly due to unexpected conditions regarding our move to the "new" house. We got the keys Monday night after two trips to the house and a few phone calls. Once my husband went in today he discovered problems with the electrical system and missing plumbing. Turns out the house was vandalized some time in January and we just found out about it tonight! The thieves took copper wiring and a few inches of copper plumbing, probably someone looking for quick cash for a drug hit. The seller had a contractor check the house - he only noticed the electrical problem and redid the wiring and changed all the locks. He forgot to reconnect the furnace to the thermostat so it currently cannot be controlled. He did not look upstairs so he was not aware there were missing coppering tubing in the upstairs bathroom. The water got turned on yesterday and water flowed from the hole in the wall as the plumbing was not connected to the sink. We have a bit of a mess in the bathroom to clean up. The seller is suppose to send an electrician and a plumber to correct the problems. Then we will change the locks again and get dead bolts.

We began moving furniture into the house today. Wednesday we get our fridge and cable installed. We pick up our new furniture later this week and hope to be living in the house by Friday night. Thursday night and Saturday will be big move times.

I am anxious to begin nesting - preparing our child's bedroom, setting up the living room and making a study area for our child. We need to get unpacked in order for me to begin the nesting process.

We got our background clearance from USCIS/Homeland Security for the international adoption. I am still waiting for my State Patrol clearance letter, should arrive in a week or two. Once the background checks are completed we can begin the interview process with the DSHS caseworker then the house inspection. Once the paperwork is all done for this stage, we will then submit to the child's caseworker.

I am trying to not get attached to a particular child, but there is one young girl who seems destined to be "my child". It is the same feeling I got when I realized God had chosen Mike to be my husband even when I was not looking for a spouse (I was 16 years old). For now, I pray, prepare and wait. All will be done in God's time.

I found this prayer online the other night. It is a prayer for all children in our lives and in the world. It pulled my heartstrings and filled my mind with thoughts of the children in foster care and the orphans in Jamaica and the Congo. Love the children in your life, comfort children you encounter and pray for the children with no one.

A Prayer for Children
by Ina J Hughs

We pray for children
who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those
who stare at photographers behind barbed wire,
who can’t bound down the street in a pair of new sneakers,
who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead,
who never go to the circus who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
who sleep with the dog and bury the goldfish
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.

And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can’t find any bread to steal,
who don’t have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse out the tub,
who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and
whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren’t spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children who want to be carried
and for those who must,
for those we never give up on and
for those who don’t get a second chance.
For those we smother...
and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who Is My God-Chosen Child?

I have been keeping track of a beautiful girl who is a child in the foster care system out of state. Her photo and story spark my heart and soul and I have prayed for her daily. I do not know if this is a child God has chosen to be mine. If not, she will remain in my prayers. I am not particular of the gender of the child as I hope to adopt more children in the future. Mike really wants a daughter for our first child. This beauty may be the one, I do not know.

Every mother wonders what their child will be like even before the mother is pregnant. There are only two things I know about my child - he/she is already in existence experiencing life and he/she is a child of God. As a mother-to-be, I have fallen in love with whomever that child may be - the good, the bad; the beautiful, the ugly - just as God loved us before we were born. I know our transition may not be smooth, especially for a child over age six with set ways and many past experiences. I do not expect the child to love me or even like me for a while. I have read it could take a year or more for a child to trust then begin to love. Mentally I am okay with that; not sure how my heart will hand it, wanting to be a mother so strongly, but with discipline, structure, routine, caring, counseling, support, prayer and faith we will become the family God wants us to become.

If this child I have found is to be my daughter, I pray we will meet soon so we can begin trusting each other and some day love each other. I do not know the day or year I will meet any of my children or from where they come. All is part of God's plan. I do not believe in predestination, but I do believe in God's master design. He will let me know when I have discovered "my child".

Heavenly Creator,
I pray you watch over this child while she waits for her forever family. Gentle her heart and give her hope that she will find a family, if not ours. I pray for whomever you have chosen as my children wherever they may be at this hour. Provide comfort to all children needing love, safety, and a place to belong whether orphaned, abandoned or abused.

Strengthen the hearts of others who work for the orphaned and the oppressed. Guide Carl as he changes the lives of so many Jamaican orphans and stirs the hearts of those who are able to help improve their lives.

I pray for all orphans, foster children, children in relative care, children in institutions, children on the street. Wrap your loving arms around all the children who are in need of love, safety, stability, food, shelter and education. Thy will be done, not mine.

Psalm 10:17-18 NRSV:
"O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Waiting and Preparing

We are in a waiting stage right now. We are living in temporary housing while we wait to close on our new home. We have been waiting for the results of our fingerprinting - I get to go back in for the state because the scans for my fingerprints were not good enough. I do not know what happens if the second set do not scan well. I am still waiting to hear about the national fingerprinting, we had problems with my fingerprints that day. Once I get my fingerprints accepted we can begin our interviews with the state caseworker.

Once we move, we have some repairs on the house to complete - plumbing, wiring, getting windows to open. Then we set up the child's room and get ready for the foster-adopt inspection (hopefully in April).

We continue to wait and prepare. Prepare our lives for a child, prepare our new home, prepare my employer for some time off by me with little notice, prepare family and friends for the changes in our lives, prepare our hearts and souls to have the patience and strength provided by the Lord to help a hurting child. Prepare for moving. Prepare for fixing. Prepare child's room and rest of home and veehicles. Prepare for interviews and inspection. Prepare for accepting a child.

While we prepare, we wait. Wait for the paperwork to close on the house. Wait to have the paperwork recorded so we can get the keys and move in. Wait for additional fingerprinting processing. Wait for the interviews. Wait for the inspection. Wait for placement of a child.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, Many Changes

This new year of 2011 is bringing many changes for us. The sale of our home is progressing quickly and we will be moving to temporary housing for two weeks. Then we will close and move to our new home. We will unpack in a matter of weeks including unpacking the many toys we received at Christmas for our future children.

We got word just before Christmas that our references received their 2-page questionnaires about us from DSHS. Mom has warned there may be a 15-page questionnaire on their way to our references. Mom has filled out the questionnaires for her neighbors for their foster-adopt license and that was only a few years ago. Mom says the questions are redundant after the first two or three pages.

We go in for DSHS fingerprinting this Friday then up to immigation in SeaTac on Monday for USCIS fingerprinting. DSHS fingerprints and background check are for the foster-adopt. The USCIS fingerprints and background check are for the Jamaican adoption. The next step after moving and unpacking is getting the house ready for the foster-adopt inspection in either March or April, whenever the needed repairs are complete. The anticipation is building as we get closer to becoming parents.

The anticipation of moving and adopting is sapping my concentration at work. There are many pressing things at work to attend to these next several months. With the building anticipation my nesting is increasing and will be in full swing once we get settled in our new home. One day we will get a call to take a child that fits God's plan for us and may only have an hour or two to make a decision about taking the child. One day we will be waiting for a child and the next day we will be parents. You can only plan so much and God always throws out our plans. He's laughing right now at the plans we have been making to become good parents. Along the way He has provided us with some extraordinary people and special supporters during our planning and nesting time. Blessings 'til next time.