This might move a little faster if I describe what happened in the spring using bullet points. Nitty gritty isn't fun to write about. Shit, nitty gritty isn't fun to live, so that makes sense, right?
* How do you know? (Not quoting a Whitney Houston song here). It's just hard. The system works like this (apologies if I've already explained):
1. Get matched with kids. Sounds easier than it is, well - especially if you have specific parameters. Like we said we can't take kids who have reported sexual abuse. Sadly, that eliminates a good deal of the kids out there. We just didn't feel equipped, as much as that broke our hearts. Lost track of how many times we looked at each other and said SO MANY PEOPLE MESS UP KIDS' LIVES.
2. Visit the kids, create a bond. Doing this with out-of-state kids is tough. We initially were leaning towards international adoption - remember the movie THE GOOD LIE prompted our journey. If we'd gone international, we'd have had to both spend 2 weeks with kids far away and leave our kids at home. Yeah, that sounded impossible, domestic it was.
3. Decide if you want to move forward (all the while, the team is also deciding if this match continues to make sense and if the kids are old enough, they are voicing their opinion, etc).
4. Kids move in for a pre-adoptive trial period. During this time, parents are considered foster parents. The trial period lasts about 6 months, give or take. It gives everyone a chance to decide if this fit is indeed going to work. Young kids DON'T ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND THE TRIAL PERIOD. How could they survive the stress of fearing that their every move was being scrutinized? And worrying that they'd be sent away?
* We were asked in March if we wanted to move forward with the boys. (I need to pause here while I look back and see what the hell I named them here, sheesh - get it together E). The foster mom, Debbie, let the team know that she and her husband were divorcing. The team called and let us know that Debbie had a change of circumstance (they didn't reveal what it was) and that they might need to move the kids to us as early as April.
Did we want them?
* Needing more info. I finally asked if placing the boys quickly was because they were too much for Debbie to handle or if maybe the husband pulled the plug. We knew he worked odd hours, the boys rarely saw him, but when they did - they complained about him not being nice. I was told about the divorce and we felt better that it wasn't because the boys were awful. We'd heard that after they visited our home, they acted up big time for Debbie. Makes sense when you think about it - so much for them to consider. Constant state of WHERE AM I GOING?
* They wanted Debbie to adopt them. This was the first person who ever took care of them. *pause here and consider how sad that is, they are currently in real time 9 and 11* We felt it was great news that they'd bonded with Debbie, who is almost 10 years older than us. Failure to bond is a red flag. If they bonded with her, they could most likely bond with us . . . eventually. Deb explained to them that she was too old to adopt. She'd been fostering for over 10 years. Never considered adoption.
|Coach and boys on a walk with the boys.|
Tank and Mini were on this visit too.
* Paperwork. In order for us to adopt them across state lines, paperwork called ICPC had to be completed. The office that was handling the boys' case didn't have ANY experience with ICPC. THIS IS IMPORTANT.
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a statutory agreement between all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands. The agreement governs the placement of children from one state into another state.
|This was part of the message hanging near a hotel pool where we stayed with the boys. This particular pool was gross. I was like, I THINK YOU HAVE OTHER THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT.|
* We were told the ICPC would take 30 days. It was early March. Until the paperwork was complete, the boys couldn't return to our house for a visit. We could continue to see them in Indiana. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say it: DUMBEST RULE EVER. If we were pre-adoptive and the boys knew us and we planned to have them move in with us and background checks were complete, etc. WHY THE HELL MAKE US WAIT THAT LONG TO HAVE THEM COME BACK TO THEIR POTENTIAL HOME? Some idiot in a suit must've said along the way LET'S JUST MAKE THIS HARDER ON PEOPLE.
I'm posting more tomorrow. I've been a busy writer trying to bring you up to speed.