Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Changes to LDS Family Services

          You may have already heard on KSL or Deseret News, but LDS Family services is changing what they offer to the families they help. In this letter they outline exactly what will be offered to families from here on out. To sum up; they are still going to offer the counseling they provided before, but they are cutting financial assistance to birth families and adoptive families as well as cutting all legal assistance. Which, to be honest, are the things Mike and I needed most. Anytime a family needs something not under the umbrella of "counseling" they will be referred to another organization. Since the church heavily subsidized the process any organization that families are referred to is going to cost significantly more, and that will decrease the number of families that are able to adopt.

          One of the common solutions I've seen people pushing is adopting through Foster Care. I think this is a fantastic solution! However, for our first child I was hoping for something a little less erratic. With foster care the biological parents have a much bigger window in which they can take the children back. Through LDS Family Services the birth families had about a month, through foster care the parents can have anywhere from a month to a year. If I had a baby for a year, watched him grow, watched him develop, and came to love him with everything that I am only for the parents to come and take that baby away - I would be devastated. That's why we chose LDS Family Services, but I don't think that is going to be an option for us anymore.

           I know that we would provide a safe, loving home for ANY child that came to us. We will find other solutions even if that means (as Mike said) "Pumping ourselves with enough fertility drugs that looking at each other will cause pregnancy".  Wish us luck!

***Edit

           I found another article/video that I feel is a little more honest. The two above say that the decision was based solely on the welfare of the families and that every part of the process will be better. This one cites changing laws and lawsuits as a big part of the discussion and also acknowledges that it will be more expensive.

           The Salt Lake Tribune also has a pretty good article.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Blessings

          On Saturday May 3rd I woke up thinking it was just going to be a normal day. My mom and my sister were going to the Cultural Celebration for the new Ft. Lauderdale Temple, and Mom was really excited since Audrey was in it. I'm not quite sure how excited Audrey was, she usually avoids these kinds of things which is probably why Mom was so happy.

          Mom started feeling sluggish and had some chest pain so a friend she was with called the paramedics and she was taken to the hospital. She had a heart attack. It started off pretty mild, but due to some complications with the stent they were going to put in, she had to have an emergency triple bypass surgery. This was, hands down, the scariest weekend of my life so far (probably would have tied with the miscarriage, but that was during the week). We didn't get to hear about how the surgery went until the next day and every one was really worried. Fortunately the surgery went well. She was released from the hospital to a rehab center on the 14th, and was released home on 5/20. She has been recovering beautifully, but trying to keep on top of those things from so far away has kept me busy. Some of you may have noticed that I have not been around as much and this why. She lives all the way in Florida and the only family members she has there are my sister, who's still in high school, and my brother, who works full time and lives with my dad, so I have had to do a lot of long distance coordinating.

        Mike sold 2 of his guns to my uncle so that I could go! Mike is just the best husband, don't you think? I also got a loan from the bank, and we used most of our saving to get me down there and cover 2 sets of expenses since Mike stayed home. I was able to go see her and I am so grateful that. I think she was happy I was there too. Mom said that she felt more at ease with me there. She didn't worry as much because she knew if something went wrong, she wouldn't be alone. It gave me some peace of mind too for the same reasons.

        I do have to say that I loved this visit! Weston was at work almost every day, and Audrey had school so it was just Mom and me during the day. We would watch movies or sit and talk for a while for most of the day (while she wasn't sleeping) then when Weston and Audrey got home, we'd figure out something else to do. We played A LOT of Uno. Uno is our family tradition. When I was growing up we played about once a week. There was one round that we played where Audrey had to draw an inordinate amount of cards. On one of her moves she slapped down a Draw 2 thinking she was going to be sneaky. We went around the entire circle stacking up Draw 2's. She ended up with Draw 10! She tried to take the move back, but Mom and Weston wouldn't let her so her solution was to take MY card and shove it down her shirt so the Draw pile would land on me instead. Even when you're an adult little sisters can still find ways to annoy you. Hehe.

         And then WESTON!!! He was making stir fry for dinner one of the first nights I was there. He had cut up some steak in the kitchen and brought the plate into Mom's room so she could make sure the size was right. Audrey and I were sitting on the bed with her just talking. He picked up a piece of the steak so Mom could see it better then nonchalantly DROPS IT ON MY FACE! He thought he was so funny. In his defense Mom and Audrey thought it was pretty funny too. So to take my revenge, Audrey and I made cookies especially for him! We made them up and after we had placed them on the cookie sheet we added an extra tablespoon of salt to one of them. Guess who that one went to! He even tried to pretend it tasted good at first because he didn't want to hurt our feelings. It almost made me feel bad for doing it... almost.

        We went back to Plantation to see the surgeon just before my flight left. He was a very nice man. He said Mom was healing up very well and she should be back to normal in no time! What a relief! He also said that she was lucky to be alive, and boy do we all feel lucky. I want my mom to be around when I become a mom.

        Side note: Mom's birthday was earlier this week! So if you know her (or don't and are just feeling friendly) and haven't done so already, please wish her a good one. I'm am so happy and feel so blessed that she was able to be here to celebrate it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mike is Adorable

          Last night we went to our neighbor's house to ask if we could come over on Saturday and bring dinner for all of us. We ended up staying for quite awhile. I don't know what it is about this family, but every time we go over there we end up staying a lot longer than anticipated. We just get sucked in and want to stay forever! Their kids are so much fun to play with and the couple are just the nicest people.

          Anyways...

          They just had a baby. She's about 2-3 months old, and she is stinking CUTE! She woke up just after we walked in and after a few minutes her mommy gave her to me to hold! I had her sitting on my leg and looking out around the living room. She got a little fussy so I handed her back. When she was happy again I got to hold her more. Yay! She got a little fussy again, but this time I told myself "I got this". I put her head up by my shoulder and after a while she fell asleep. So cute! The whole time I was holding her I had my hand across her back making sure that she kept breathing. Her face was pressed up against my shoulder so her mouth was all crinkly and squished. She started squirming again so I moved her down and layed her across my arm. 

          When she woke up, she looked up at me and she was confused. I can only imagine she was thinking, "Who the heck are you? You're not my mom". 

          Mike had just been watching. I tried to get him to take her, but he kept saying no, you'll wake her up (in my defense - she's the youngest of 5, she's not going to wake up).  Now that she was awake, I just handed her to him. Hehe. He held her and was talking to her and it was just so CUTE! He was just the right mix of, "Aww look at her! She's so precious", and , "Be gentile, don't break her. How do you do this?!?". He is so fun to watch during things like this. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Help From Angels

          Today at work everyone was asking me about how our class went. It was kinda fun to talk about it and explain everything! 

          I was talking to one of the ladies I work with and I was telling her that we would probably wait to submit our paperwork until we had saved about half of the projected expense. She looked at me said, "Oh! I have something for you!". I continued my story and she stood up and got her purse. Then she pulled out her wallet. "I keep a $100 bill in my purse. Every so often Heavenly Father tells me who it is that needs it. When you said that's what you were waiting for; I knew that this was for you!"

          "You don't need to do this," 
          
          "I'm not doing it. Heavenly Father told me it was for you." This was definitely not what I was expecting to happen when I showed up at work today. I teared up and all could do was say thank you and give her a big hug. I felt like this was Heavenly Father's way of telling me that this was the right thing to do, and the right time to do it.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Adoption Prep Class

          I woke up this morning and wasn't feeling the best. Today was quite possibly the worst day for that to happen. Fortunately, by the time I left work the thing my tummy felt was butterflies. 

          So I don't know if the class we went to has an official title, but they gave us a lot of really good information. They basically went through the entire process with us and outlined most of the expenses. We have to:

          1. Submit our application
          2. Get out Bishop to send in a referral
          3. Have a meeting with the Caseworker. 

          This is where things get tricky for us. If someone applying for adoption has been voluntarily sterilized they need a manager's approval to proceed. That one doesn't apply to us, but it seems like every other "needs approval" situation does. Mike was married once before so we needed manager approval for that. We were able to get that one cleared up today, and the manager we spoke to said there we two reasons that was a requirement. The first was to make sure IF there were any children in that marriage, they were taken care of; and the second was to make sure that the children could be sealed to the couple that was adopting. Mike and his ex-wife didn't have any kids, and the two of us are already sealed, so that's all taken care of. They also need approval for any addictive behaviors. The examples they used were alcohol, drugs, pornography, and same sex attraction. After Mike got divorced he got really heavy into alcohol. This one we can't get taken care of until after the Bishop sends in his info. Hopefully for my sake, the don't count caffeine as an addictive behavior. 

          4. Pay the application fee. This includes the fees for the home study. 
          5. Pre-Adoption Training. The state of Utah requires 10 hours of this training. It's all online which is really convenient.
          6. Background Checks. Pretty self explanatory. 
          7. Set up our online profile. This is how the birth mothers will choose an adoptive family. 
          8. Placement! This can take a long time. 

          They also talked a lot about open adoptions. The trend is leaning more and more towards those and the social worker wanted to make sure we knew at least a little about them. She mentioned that a lot of birth families lean toward them to help the healing process. It also helps the children know that they are adopted from the beginning so you avoid that cliche movie scene revelation which can hurt the child's self esteem. There was another couple there that had already been through the process once and they have an open adoption. The wife said she tells her daughter Heavenly Father brought her to them in an extra-special way. She calls her birth-mother her tummy-mommy (the little girl is only 2 right now).  

          When we got  home I looked around and started imagining our living room with toys scattered everywhere and Sesame St playing on the TV. Then I 'looked' into the bedroom and there was a crib with a cute little mobile and the rocking chair covered with stuffed animals of every kind. GAH! I can't wait. 

          And can I just say... I have been looking at cribs and strollers all week long. I am going to drive myself nuts with anticipation.