Our Imperfect Lives


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Now a Loving and Officially Legal Family

Shoes

Holy Cow, it’s been over 6 months since we last posted (sorry about that!) and a whole lot has happened with our family. First off, as we said we would in our last post, we finalized the adoption. We also had the kids’ first post adoption visit, birthdays and a slew of other exciting adventures and a few bumps in the road (e.g. ‘big emotions,’ tantrums, tears and the like) for good measure too.

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Well, you’ve probably been waiting with great anticipation to hear about the adoption finalization… It was a grey and rainy day, but we all put on our brand new – bought just for this court appearance – matching outfits and headed to the courthouse. Per usual with us, we were almost late, but we made it on time and we were greeted by the kids’ attorney at the security check point. She was able to tell us where to go and who we needed to talk to, which we were very grateful for since the court house is a pretty big place and we had no idea where we were going. She also told us that she had already ushered in some of our family.

We were very fortunate to have a nice big crowd for the occasion supporting us and our whole family – Marcy’s parents, Meg’s parents, Marcy’s sister, Meg’s sister-in-law and niece, Meg’s aunt and uncle, Meg’s best friend and her husband and son, our adoption worker, our family resource worker and the kids’ attorney. We also met the DCF attorney for the first time, who didn’t necessarily need to be there but was kind enough to make an appearance and introduce herself.

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Before we all packed into the small family courtroom there was still paperwork to be done, so we headed back downstairs to see the clerk (the kids stayed upstairs with our families and were showered with attention). There we went over all the details on the kids’ new birth certificates which would include us as their parents and feature their new legal names – they would now share our last name (since the last name comes from Marcy’s family, the new middle names both were drawn from Marguerite’s family).  The clerk also assured us that if the kids got a little rowdy in the court it was OK; the court proceedings would be very casual.

When the judge was ready and the courtroom was ours, the bailiff showed us all in. The four of us sat at a table normally intended for attorneys and waited for the judge. A few minutes later the bailiff asked us all to rise and announced the judge; in she walked, a blonde slender woman probably in her early 40s wearing the iconic black judge’s robe. She was very pleasant. She read over some legalese about the adoption which only took a few minutes then she asked Sport and Sunshine who was sitting with them at the table –Mommy and Mama.

One of the more endearing parts of the very short process was when the Judge asked Sport and Sunshine if they agreed to adopt Mommy and Mama. They agreed (well mostly Sport as Sunshine was too young) and then were invited up to the Judge’s bench to sit in her giant chair and ‘sign’ a certificate that stated they were adopting Mommy and Mama.

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The certificates were adorable. They were the perfect amount of official and playful; they were covered with little celebratory balloons and confetti, referred to Marguerite and Marcy as Mommy and Mama and yet still included some official sounding language and it was embossed with the official seal.

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Sport and Sunshine couldn’t truly sign the documents but they scribbled a bit and then we took lots of photos standing at the bench under that state seal on the wall. We were official. And we spent more time in the court house taking photos and chatting than during the adoption proceeds. While the finalization hearing may have been short, it was incredibly important to us as a family.

Sunshine really had no idea what transpired that day, we’re surely the only parents she knows since she came to live with us at three and a half months. However, Sport understood a bit more. He knew it was an exciting day. He knew that he was getting special clothes, balloons and books. He knew all eyes were on him. He also knew that he would be taking Mommy and Mama’s last name, just like Mommy took Mama’s last name when we got married and became a family. And he loved all of it.

However, when we climbed in the car and headed off on our 30 minute ride back home for a celebratory lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant (after all it was Cinco de Mayo), it became clear he was feeling what we call ‘big emotions.’ He was very quiet for a while and deep in thought. Then out of the blue he declared he didn’t want to change his name.

We knew what those thoughts meant. We knew he thought in his very smart toddler mind that he was losing his birth parents. He was in part right, his relationship with them was changing, but, and this is a very important but, they will always be his birth parents and we did (and continue to) make sure he knows that. His name changed but his connection remains.

His sad, ‘big emotion’ feelings didn’t hang around long that day. We had a wonderful family dinner with just about everyone who attended the court proceedings, plus or minus a few. The meal of course included a big chocolate cake, much to the delight of our chocolate loving kids.

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The day after, things as a legal family didn’t change much. We still loved each other just as much, we still went to school, daycare and work and we all still had to follow the same house rules. The primary difference was that our children were officially ours and we didn’t have to worry that they would be moved. Well, and of course their middle and last names.

Other notable changes due to the adoption were that we could add them to our dental and healthcare insurance policies. This was particularly important as we had chosen a dentist that didn’t accept the state healthcare insurance, which was the kids’ primary coverage prior the adoption. We’d also stop receiving funds from the state.

While the money we received from the state for the children wasn’t much, it was enough to cover much of the daycare cost. We received the normal daily allowance for a foster child, which is intended to cover room and board costs, as well as a seasonal clothing stipend. We were fortunate enough to receive a small reimbursement for part of Sport’s daycare (which covered a very small fraction of the cost). We also considered ourselves immensely lucky to have received a free, state funded daycare spot for Sunshine.  All of this would now come to an end – or so we thought.

As it turned out, the state allowed us some “transition time.” They just failed to communicate that to us. As a result, Sunshine has been able to continue full-time at her home daycare provider (who we love). Luckily, when the transition period ends, we should be able to move her to a private pay slot at the same daycare. We learned about the transition time from the central office that handles paperwork for the daycare provider we use. We do find it curious that we weren’t notified, but we certainly aren’t complaining. Daycare is expensive and every little bit helps.

As for our exciting adventures this summer, you’ll have to stay tuned. We’ll be sure to get another post up soon! Until then here are some teaser photos to enjoy:


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Winter Wonders

Well, a lot has happened since we last posted – we celebrated Christmas and New Year’s, went hiking and skiing, but not much has happened on the adoption front. However, it’s mostly just a matter of formalities at this point; paperwork that needs to be pushed and legal matters settled to make us a family in the eyes of the law.

The first piece of paperwork is for the subsidy. If a child has a special need of some kind – such as a medical or psychological condition – the state may offer a subsidy to help cover these particular expenses. While pre-adoptive kids may not always qualify for a subsidy at the time of adoption that could change as the child grows, for example a medical condition may be diagnosed sometime after the finalization of the adoption or an early trauma might later manifest as some type of serious behavior problem. If a child is to qualify for the subsidy later, after the adoption, the subsidy must have initially been requested and denied prior to adoption. Then, and only then, may the adoptive family reapply for the subsidy.

Next up is the adoption petition. This document includes some information about us, but mostly information about the kids, verifies they are legally free to be adopted and have lived in our home for at least 6 months. Along with this document is paperwork for both of us to be re-CORIed (have another background check).

It’s not clear when all of this paperwork will be done and ready to be filed with the court, but once it is it could be just weeks after that we’ll have our day in court. Unfortunately, other families we know have been waiting months to hear back regarding the subsidy and we’re told that the DCF paralegal is swamped with paperwork, so it could be weeks before she’s able to review the paperwork and send it to the court. We’re hoping for a March court date, but there’s really no way to know for sure.

So, as always, life continues for us as we wait all of this out. And we’re trying to make life as fun and normal as it can be.

We celebrated Christmas – the kids were absolutely spoiled by our family and friends – and we did our best to begin teaching Sport the real meaning behind Christmas: giving to others. We held a holiday party for our friends where we asked that instead of exchanging gifts everyone bring hats and/or gloves for a child or adult that we could then bring to a local soup kitchen for them to distribute over the holiday. While Sport may not have fully understood what we were doing he had a blast at the party (so didn’t Sunshine), enjoyed picking out mitten and hat sets to donate and was a great help collecting all the donations.

The kids were also able to celebrate Christmas with their bio parents during their December visit (until the adoption is finalized they have a monthly visit with their bio parents, following the adoption it will be quarterly). Unfortunately, they did once again receive a few gifts that were not age appropriate (e.g. clothes not the correct size and toys for older children), but they seemed to have had a positive celebration.

This winter we’ve also done some great hiking – both in spring like conditions the day after Christmas and on snow covered paths on New Year’s Day. Sport also spent his first afternoon on the slopes testing out the skis he got for Christmas. We also hit the science museum a couple of times and a few different indoor play facilities (including our own home where we created an indoor obstacle course!). So far we’re having a great winter (even if we haven’t had that much snow)! Check out photos of our adventures here:


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Almost a Year

It’s hard to believe but we’re getting close to celebrating one full year with the kids. And unfortunately, we still don’t have much of a sense of when, or if, we’ll be able to call them legally ours (emotionally we already see them as ours and nothing will change the bond we’ve created – they are our son and our daughter). The trial continues to drag on and while there is currently a final court date scheduled, there’s no way to know if it will actually be the final date – at least not until that fateful day rolls around.

We recently met with K, the attorney representing the children, and she still couldn’t say for sure if additional court dates would be added. She did, however, say that after this week she’ll have an idea of when she’ll call one of us to testify and if any additional court dates will be necessary.

This week the trial is on the docket twice and hopefully after the first day K will be able to get a better grip on how the rest of the trial will play out. The first day will likely bring the father’s testimony to a close. Following his testimony will be the remaining social workers on the case: the adoption worker and the previous ongoing worker.

Next up: the parents’ attorneys will make their cases and it’s unclear at the moment how long this will take but K theorizes it shouldn’t be too time consuming. The other adoption option, the children’s maternal grandmother, is expected to testify. If she does, then K has already stated she intends to have one of us testify as well. We briefly discussed who would testify, but no decision has been finalized. We’ll make our decision once we have a date to appear and we start preparing. Either way we hope to both take the day off from work and head to the courthouse. Even though we both can’t physically be in the court room at the same time, we can be in the court house and available for support.

As always we’re trying to stay optimistic and yet realistic about this whole process. It’s admittedly frustrating hearing from many of the other couples from our MAPP class as one by one they announce that their foster children are legally free. In their cases the birth parents of their children have had their rights terminated, either by the parents signing an agreement voluntarily, or by the court forcing it upon them. These families can now start the legal adoption process.

We are of course happy for everyone in our class who is making their dream come true by becoming official parents, but we wish we could celebrate too. It’s difficult being the only ones from our class (that we know of) having to experience the headache of a trial. We can’t help but feel a bit jealous.

Needless to say though, no matter how the adoption happens, it’s difficult – one family is being torn apart while another is being built up. One couple from our MAPP class did share some of the heart wrenching emotions that went into the signing of the TPR (terminating parental rights) paperwork. The adoptive parents described how they cried with the biological parents and promised to care for their little girl.

Right now we can’t envision having any such moment as the biological father is fighting to keep the children. While K has discussed an open adoption agreement that would allow a couple of supervised visits each year along with pictures and letters, we’re told he refuses to even consider such an offer. While we sympathize with him not wanting to give up, it’s hard to imagine him being equipped to raise his children. He also risks losing all access to the children. The judge could rule to terminate the biological parents’ rights and to not allow any visitation or communication.

Marcy can’t help but wonder how much the fight is about the love he has for his children and how much it is about losing. Perhaps it is a mixture of both. While she doesn’t question that he does, on some level, love his children, how is it that he can’t make a greater effort to see his children. (He has now missed several consecutive scheduled visits with them.) She admits he faces some very real obstacles to making the visits, but to not be able to make a visit in the last month and a half?

Regardless of the reasons for the legal fights, one thing is very clear – these children are loved. We love Sport and Sunshine as much as any parent can, all while trying to stay positive about their relationships with their biological family, who also love them.

While we know the lives of these two adorable and yet troublesome kiddos aren’t normal and are maybe a bit more turbulent than most children their age, we’re giving them all the opportunities kids should have to have fun! In fact, this summer they may have been a bit spoiled with the amount of trips and fun activities that they took part in. We’ve already shared some of the excitement from this summer in previous posts but in the last month or two there’s been even more! There was the YMCA family camp (a boy’s camp that is opened at the end of the summer for one week for families to come and stay and take part in all sorts of camp activities like swimming, boating, sports, arts and crafts and more), tent camping in the White Mountains National Forest, and a Unitarian Universalist beach weekend retreat!

Check out photos from all the fun:

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Legal Rigmarole

So far there have been a lot of legal steps that have gone into Sport’s and Sunshine’s DCF case and we’re certainly not anywhere close to being done with the courts and the lawyers and the motions and arguments and all the fun legal rigmarole. However, up until this point, none of them had really involved us – but that all changed about two weeks ago.

We received a phone call from our adoption worker who informed us that we needed to speak with the DCF attorney regarding a motion involving the release of our home study. The attorney told us that bio Dad’s attorney wanted to present another adoption option and in order to do so needed to see what other adoption option (us) they would be competing with. We were also told that the other adoption option was to be Sport and Sunshine’s grandmother, so we assumed this was Dad’s Mom and there was a new player in the game. As it turned out, the grandmother referenced in relation to the motion was bio Mom’s mother, who had already been denied by DCF as an appropriate placement. Of course that was little comfort.

After speaking with a few other adoptive parents we learned that it’s pretty common for birth parents to present last minute adoption options either as an attempt to stall the court proceedings or as a hail mary to keep the child or children close and/or in the family.

What was apparently uncommon was the request to have our home study released. No one we’ve talked to about the situation – adoptive parents, foster parents and even our adoption social worker – had any experience with such a request.

Both the DCF attorney and the children’s attorney expressed to us that they would argue against the release of our home study. We don’t know the details of all their arguments, but the children’s attorney argued that any adoption placement proceedings, including the release of our home study, is irrelevant until the termination of the parental rights (TPR).

The TPR arguments were scheduled for the following week.

Now, if the home study was to be released it would be redacted and supposedly never make it into the hands of the bio parents – only their attorneys. Nevertheless the bio parents would find out some of what it says, including that we’re a same sex couple, which we don’t think they knew about prior. And even redacted – it’s a very personal document. The dad’s attorney may not get to see our names, the city we live in or our places of employment but the whole document, all 15 pages of it, is about us. It tells about our coming out stories, our relationships with our families and each other, our decision to start a family through DCF, our thoughts on parenting and more. It’s a pretty deep delve into our lives.

The document is so personal that a couple of the experienced foster/adoptive parents that we asked about this situation were not only surprised, they actually worried that if prospective foster parents knew that their home studies could get released they might reconsider fostering.

The impending release of our home study didn’t change anything for us and while we were far from overjoyed with the idea, we weren’t so distressed that we’d head into court to try and fight it, which was an option. We had nothing to hide. Yes, they would find out we’re a same sex couple, but in our great liberal state of Massachusetts where we lesbians have all the same rights as heterosexuals and legally cannot be discriminated against solely on the premise that we’re lesbians, we’re not too concerned about our “big secret” being let out of the bag. Our only concern with being revealed as a same sex couple was that dad would be distracted by it when visiting with the children or look for petty reasons to complain about the kids’ care simply because he didn’t like us.

A week later the date rolled around for the motion to be heard in front of the judge and the dad’s attorney won. DCF handed over a redacted version of our home study.

The next trip to the court room for the attorneys was on the docket for the following week – at least it was, but the court dates were pushed forward for reasons unknown to us.

We’re not holding our breath for any good news on the legal front. New court dates have been scheduled for Tuesday, June 2Friday, June 19, and Monday, July 8, but time will tell what actually happens on these days. Since it’s in family court the courtroom is closed and we cannot be present. Nor will the kids be present at any time.

We’ll hear about the hearings in the abstract, if we’re lucky. However, if the bio parents agree to relinquish their rights and sign an open adoption agreement, then we’ll be contacted.

As always, we’re trying to keep this from putting too much of a damper on our days. Right now we’re a couple of lucky ladies with two beautiful kiddos living under our roof and while they both drive us a little batty from time to time we love having them in our lives. We’re continuing to show these two nuggets, Sport and Sunshine, what family, love and fun is all about.

The kids joined us for our annual pilgrimage to the cape for Memorial Day weekend and they had a blast! And just in case you don’t believe us, here are a few photos from the beach to give you a glimpse at how awesome the weekend was:

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Legal family or not – boy are we lucky!


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Information, Glorious Information

We went into this knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy and it wasn’t going to be a normal placement. A normal pre-adoptive placement would have included a disclosure (a sit down with social workers who would reveal every scrap of information the department knew about the children) and more preparation time. We had neither. As a result we’ve been a bit lacking on the information front.

Now, please don’t think that we’re second guessing our decision, because that line of reasoning couldn’t be more off the mark. We absolutely adore these kids, even when Sport is throwing a tantrum or Sunshine won’t let us sleep.

Unfortunately, the adoption social worker assigned to Sport and Sunshine is the lone adoption worker in her office and she has a pretty hefty work load. That work load includes a list of disclosures that she needs to conduct and we’re a few down the line, so we wait. And wait.

Until recently, most of the information we had about Sport and Sunshine’s biological parents, aka bio parents, came from clues we found in the children’s medical records, early intervention reports, and even the newspaper. It’s not that the adoption worker was withholding information, she just didn’t know much. She was relatively new to the case when we were selected as the pre-adoptive placement for the kids and she didn’t have the information to conduct a disclosure. She’s been slowly pulling together information on the case and the kids. On occasion she’s actually asked us for information such as the medical paperwork from Sunshine’s birth.

The ongoing case worker who organized and supervised the visits with the bio parents had more information about them and the circumstances that lead to the kids being in state custody. And while we have heard that many ongoing workers tend to share as much as they can with pre-adoptive families without breaking privacy rules, this ongoing worker was extremely cautious about not breaking, or even bending, privacy rules and shared next to nothing with us.

On the one hand we know that DCF workers are overworked and under a lot criticism due to some very upsetting and highly publicized cases, so we try to be sympathetic. However, on the other hand we have this nagging feeling, based in part on our lack of information, that this case has been mishandled along the way. The original social worker assigned to the case seems to be no longer employed by the department and some of the paperwork from when Sport was first brought into care appears to be incomplete or just missing. We’re hoping it turns up.

Thankfully the social workers are not the only individuals with information about the case. After having the kids in our care for over four months, we finally met their attorney. She was a fountain of information! Her role in court is to express what she thinks the kids would say they want – if they were able to communicate it themselves. She told us right away that she thinks the kids would say they want to stay with us.

She has been with the case since it began – making her the longest tenured person with the case that we’re in communication with. She was able to give us information about Sport’s many placements in his short life as well as some additional details about why the kids were so quickly moved from their previous foster home into ours. She also shared information about what’s to come.

We knew that there were court dates scheduled for March 5 and 6 but we were a bit cloudy on the details. We were under the impression that the proceedings on those days were to have Sport’s goal officially changed to adoption in the courts and for the state to get permanent custody of Sunshine. However, the cases were recently combined and the department is suggesting that the biological parents’ rights be terminated.

This means that later this week could be a big milestone in our adoption process. The judge could rule to terminate parental rights. Terminating the parental rights (or TPR) is a critical step in our adoption process, because without it there is no legal adoption. Of course the judge could decide not to terminate their rights, or even to give them a bit more time to get their act together. We’re trying to stay as optimistic as possible while preparing ourselves for the long road ahead, because even if the judge rules to terminate the parental rights they can still appeal.

Their attorney did give us the impression that she’s somewhat confident that the judge will rule to terminate rights. She’s familiar with the judge and informed us that the judge also presided over the case involving Sport and Sunshine’s half brothers. We’re also told that this judge has a reputation for not wanting to drag a case out.

Since this is a family court case, it’s a closed court room, which means we can’t attend. Both the attorney and the adoption worker have graciously offered to keep us updated through text messaging. It will be important for them to be in touch with us during the court dates not just to try and ease our nervous minds, but because we’ve informed them we’d be amenable to an open adoption agreement.

While there will be added stress involved if we agree to make the kids available a couple of times a year for supervised visits with the bio family, there are also several advantages. The most obvious is that it could move things along more quickly. The bio parents might sign the open adoption agreement rather than going to trial – or they might sign it after the trial rather than filing an appeal. If that happens their parental rights would be terminated and we’d be free to adopt Sport and Sunshine.

We also need to remember that adoption is not just a celebration for a child, but also a great loss. The child may be permanently separated from their biological family members. For better or for worse, Sport and Sunshine’s bio family will always be a part of them – in their genes, their ancestry, and obviously their appearance. While the parents have not always made the best choices, it is obvious that they do care about the children. Supervised visits would allow the parents to see that the children are cared for and also allow the children to see how their bio parents are doing.

We would keep our lives private and separate from the bio parents – nothing about our private lives would be revealed, not even the city we live in. In fact, we would have to select a proxy who would be a contact point for the bio parents if we were ever to fail to comply with the adoption agreement. To protect the children, the agreement will have what’s called a sunset clause. This clause would allow for the visits to be terminated if the bio parents didn’t comply with specific requirements or if the visits prove to be detrimental to the children.

With whatever happens on Thursday and Friday, we’re going to continue to do everything we can for Sport and Sunshine. The legal aspect of their futures is completely out of our hands. We’ll just think positively and do our best to be prepared for whatever is to come.

To help with our positive thoughts here are some fun photos that bring a smile to our faces, and hopefully yours too. We took Sport on his first snowshoeing adventure:

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Happy National Adoption Month

November, widely known as Movember or Moustache November, is a month where many men grow facial hair in awareness of men’s health, specifically prostate cancer. Since Marcy’s father kicked prostate cancer’s butt not once but twice, we are all for promoting prostate cancer awareness; but it’s not the only awareness issue that November focuses on – it’s also National Adoption Month.

If you didn’t know it was National Adoption Month, don’t feel too badly because we weren’t aware of it before this year either. Adoption has been an important part of our lives for quite some time, especially Marcy’s life. Marcy’s older sister, Melissa, is adopted. Now, because adoption is such a huge part of our lives and the way Marcy’s parents chose to start theirs, we feel the need to pay a little attention to this celebration.

Our story, which we hope will soon become an adoption story, is just one of many, many adoption stories. Some adoption stories are created through familial adoptions, some international adoptions, others through state care like ours, and an additional route to take is through private agencies, which is what Marcy’s parents did over thirty years ago.

Many families turn to adoption when doctors say conceiving a child is not an option. We never bothered to speak with a doctor regarding one of us trying to conceive because we knew it wasn’t the path we wanted to take. We believed there were children in state custody who were waiting to complete our family. However, Marcy’s parents did speak with a doctor about conceiving a child, and he said it wasn’t possible. Obviously the doctor wasn’t one hundred percent correct in his prognosis, since Marcy is sitting here as we write this blog. Marcy’s parents, eager to start a family, started looking into adoption. Marcy’s parents chose to use Catholic Charities as their adoption agency, even though they are Protestant and not Catholic.

Marcy had always known, since she was old enough to understand, that her sister was adopted. The story was no secret in the family. In fact, Marcy and her siblings joke that Melissa is “The Chosen One” because she was adopted and Marcy is “The Miracle” because she wasn’t supposed to be able to happen. However, even though we previously knew the broad strokes of the story we had not discussed it in much detail until we started on our adoption path. For example, Marcy never knew that her parents didn’t care about the gender or ethnicity of the child they were placed with – they just wanted a child to share their lives with, just like us. Even though they didn’t care if their child looked like them, Marcy’s parents were placed with a baby girl with blond hair and blue eyes, just like Marcy’s mother. Coincidentally enough, even though we were open to children of any race, we were placed with two children who do share similar characteristics with us; Sport has dirty blond hair like Meg while Sunshine has darker, slightly curly hair like Marcy.

Our journey to adoption has also stimulated similar discussions with Melissa on the subject. She has shared her views on open adoptions, molded by her personal experiences. Melissa was born to two teenage parents who recognized that they could not care for a baby girl and gave her up for adoption. However, that is the bulk of the information we knew about Melissa’s parents until recently; she was adopted through a closed adoption. Marcy’s family was a happy family, and from what we know from Marcy’s experiences as a child and from Melissa’s words herself, Melissa had a happy childhood and she loves her parents dearly. Nonetheless, the older she got, the more she yearned to know about her birth parents (as an adult she has been able to unearth a bit more information through extensive research).

A large portion of this yearning came from wanting to know ethnic lineage and medical history. Melissa knew her adoptive family tree, which an aunt had tracked all the way to Governor Bradford and the Mayflower, however, it wasn’t her biological family. Were her health problems related to her family history or just dumb luck? These questions are a large reason why Melissa has encouraged us to have an open adoption if and when the time comes. And we have decided that if the situation is right, we will agree to an open adoption.

We love the adoption stories of real families, families we know personally and the ones we learn about through friends or on the internet. But we also enjoy the fictional story of an adoptive family portrayed on ABC Family’s “The Fosters.” We must note that we were particularly drawn to the show because the family is headed by a lesbian couple. For anyone who’s looking for a feel good, highly dramatized and simplified adoption story we encourage you to check it out.

To learn more about National Adoption Month, visit the National Adoption month website or the Adopt US Kids website.

Finally – here are some photo highlights of our weekend…

Swimming at the YMCA:

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Basketball at the YMCA:

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Hiking at a local wooded preserve:

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Dance party in the living room:

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Holy Cow!

We’ve gone from a slow saunter to a speedy sprint in our journey. We had our home study submitted several weeks ago for a sibling group of two – a two year old boy and a then 3 month old girl – and yesterday we were contacted regarding their placement.

We were told that the children’s worker was looking to move them quickly. They were in respite care while their foster mother had surgery and the ideal situation for the children would be to move them both to a pre-adoptive foster home while the foster mother was still receiving medical care. Of course just because something is ideal doesn’t mean it’s meant to be. The children will return to their foster mother after her surgery. However, the move will still happen soon, very soon – hopefully.

Adoptions through DCF are frequently imperfect ways to create beautiful families and this so far is shaping up to be imperfect or at least a little irregular. Normally, or the prescribed plan anyway, is for a family’s home study to be selected and then for the family to have a disclosure with the worker. At that point the worker will share everything DCF knows about the child or children to the adoptive family. Often the family will even be provided an opportunity to speak with the foster parents, teachers, doctors and other caregivers before making the decision to move forward with the placement. However, this will not happen for us, at least not yet.

Since the worker would like to move the children quickly and due to the fact that the case has recently been handed off to a new worker, the disclosure will happen at a later date. We were amenable to accepting the placement without a disclosure first, but we weren’t going to do it with our eyes closed and just a wish and a prayer (although the wish and a prayer are important no matter what the situation).

After getting as much information about the children as we could from our worker, she then got us in direct contact with the children’s ongoing worker and their adoption worker. After getting enough information to make us feel fairly comfortable with proceeding, we scheduled a meeting with the children.

After a couple meetings with the children, probably a full day and an afternoon visit, and assuming all goes well, they could come to live with us in as little as a week.

Now while the quick pace of this placement makes it unusual, it’s not the only thing. Only one of the children officially has a goal of adoption. The young girl still has a goal of reunification with her family. Now, it is probable that her goal will be switched to adoption in the next month or so, which is why they want to move the children together – but it adds an extra layer of risk to this legal risk placement.

Even with the irregularities of this placement we’re very excited (and a healthy bit of terrified!). When one of the workers joked that as long as we like ball sports and teddy bears we’d be fine with the young boy, we couldn’t help but giggle and feel optimistic – these are things Marcy loves. Marcy has a love for sport, particularly those with balls like soccer, and still has a soft spot for soft teddy bears. In fact, Marcy can’t bring herself to part with the scruffy teddy bears she always had tucked under her arm as a child.

We look forward to meeting this young boy and girl, learning more about them, and keeping pace with this sprint, because holy cow is this journey about to get interesting!