Friday, February 27, 2009


Today was my last RE appointment and I have officially graduated :) I can't believe that this has FINALLY come. After all the stuff from last year, I am so lucky to start the new year off right.

Today's scan looked great, still measuring fine and the heartrate was 160 - I am trying not to google it, my doc said it was great.

He will also be slowly gettting me off the prometrium. Which makes me nervous. And here is a confession. When I first found out I was pregnant, I increased my dose of the prometrium without my doctor's knowledge. I was supossed to take one pill in the morning and one at night. But, I was taking 1 in the morning and TWO at night. I knew it was not something that could hurt the pregancy, and since all my other pregnancies I had very low P4, even with the supps, I figured I would self medicate.

And, now, I am not sure if that is what kept me pregnant???? I mean it is totally possible that everything would have been fine with the standard dose, but I did not want to take any chance.

So, I will follow the directions and slowly wean off, but just at a different pace than he suggests. It just makes me really nervous to not be on the progesterone. But, from what I have read, and what he has told me, the placenta takes over very soon, so I really should not have any worries.

I also had to have TONS of OB bloodwork done today at a regular lab. The tech said to me, "Oh, you are expecting" That one word nearly sent me over the edge. Imagine, ME - expecting a baby. Not just pregnant, but expecting!!

And more news, I hate my Motherhood Maternity Store.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yes, we are still moving forward with our adoption plans..

This seems to be a big question when we tell people that I am pregnant is if we are still going forward with the fost/adopt.

The short answer is YES!

The long answer is, we have be trying to have children for a long time time. Ever since before we were even married, we both knew we wanted to have a big family. So, when we decided to go forward with fost/adopt, we really jumped in feet first.

We learned so much about the process, so much about the kids, so much about everything. It became something that was very important to our whole family. I am not just talking about my husband and my son, I am talking about everyone.

Plus, this pregnancy may just be a fluke. What if I am never able to get pregnant on my own. Then we would have to do the whole process over again. No thank you.

The only thing that is changing is the number of children that we will accept. We really never wanted more than 3 MAX. So, now, we are going to do a max of 2. As indicated in our final home inspection, our 3rd bedroom is large enough for 3 children. So, that wil really be our max.

We will just figure things out - that is what we just have to do. I am honestly not worried about it at all.

But, I will NEED a new car; probably a mini van. With the possiblity of 4 kids and 2 grown ups, we will never fit in a sedan. I am sure it will be a used van, but I really don't care :)

So, I just wanted to let everyone know what the plan is.

Monday, February 23, 2009


It was nail bitting at times, but we PASSED our final inspection. So excited. There were so many things that I was worried about for nothing.

I did point out certain things like the first aid kit, mattress pads, safety locks on the knife drawer, the safety gates, etc. But, for the most part, she looked for smoke detectors, that the cleaners were out of reach, that the meds were out of reach, etc.

She did measure the room and we will be licensed for THREE!. We are only to take 2 MAX though. We would have been licensed for more, but I told her we would not put a child in Colin's room. She therefore did not even measure it.

We just have to fax a form tomorrow to the inspector. She is not back in the office until Thursday, but she said he would be no more than a week after that that we will be officially licensed.

Oh - this is the funniest thing ever... When she was measuring the room, I see this HUGE bug crawling up the curtain. I was praying that she did not see it. I think my main worker saw it, but the inspector did not. I was dying!

So yay for us!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Letting the cat out of the bag


I was waiting until we told our families because I have some family members that read my blog. I would hate for them to read it here before I had a chance to tell them myself.

Anyway, we found out about a month ago - totally unexpected. In Jan, I said to myself that I would not chart, would not track ovulation using OPK, just would not worry. I also vowed not to test unless I was late, because I really could not take the stress of yet another loss (even a really early one).

I did just that. In fact - because of travel and busy schedules, and sickness, my husband and I only had relations ONCE that cycle. Yup, once.

So, when my period was late, I became suspicious. I did not test until I was 3 days late and within 2 seconds, it was positive! You can say I was shocked!

But, with my history, I knew a positive test really did not mean to much. I went to the RE on the Monday after my positive test, they were happy for me and said that they would monitor me and the pregnancy.

My betas were great and doubled perfectly. I did have some bleeding issues early on, but the u/s showed no problems.

We have had several ultrasounds and have seen the heartbeat several times. Plus, the growth has been right on schedule. This pregnancy is so far my longest pregnancy...and the RE seems really confident that this will last for a very long term (full term).

It has been really hard not to post this on here, but now that my family knows, I can add this info here.

Currently, I am 8 1/2 weeks and go back on Friday for another U/S. My first OB appointment is when I am exactly 10 weeks.

I will of course keep this blog updated. :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fost/Adopt Q&A

This is part 2 of the previous post. Here are some questions that I have gotten as a response to my answer below. Please rememeber that these answers are from experience, and from my state. Each state may be different.

I really feel as though when you go through things in life (Infertility, miscarriage, adoption), you really should be as educated as possible and then pass that info to others.

Again, it is pretty long.

1. How did you get all of this info? Like who did you contact to get all of this going? Is it DYFS? Or some other social services agency? Foster Care was something that I was already kind of familar with - my neighbor growing up took in over a 100 foster kids over the years. That, and my current neighbor actually works for DYFS. Once we decided that it was something worth considering, I spoke to her. And then there was a month long class that we had to take, that filled in a lot of the blanks. I also ask a lot of questions at class.

But, in general, you would contact your local DYFS office and tell them you are interested in fost/adopt. You should be able to find the number in your local phone book, but I would be happy to give you the number of my worker, she might be able to get you in touch with someone in your county. There is usually a info seminar every once in a while (depending on county), and at that time you would decide if you want to fill out an application.

It can work a few different ways, you can fill out a basic app and then get a worker assigned to you. Or, the worker may come to your house first to talk about some questions and general info, and then you fill out an app.

Either way, once the intial apps are completed, the fun begins. You are assigned a worker (called a resource worker) who comes to your house several times. The first is for a "couple" interview and general inspection of your home. I say general because they are really looking for major violations at this point, and to make sure that you have a space for a child.

At this point, you will probably be given lots more paperwork, which will have all the authorizations for all your reference checks - there are a lot. You need 3 personal references (a friend of over 10 years, a neighbor, and a reference from an organization - like a church, or club, or even a doc). Then you have employment references, medical references, police checks from all towns that you have lived in for the past 5 years, federal finger print request....I am sure there are more, but that is all I can think of right now.

You will also have to complete a full financial disclosure, which details all your income, debt, financial responsibilities, etc - they just want to make sure you make enough to support yourself (not the child)

There will be other paperwork also - like a full 20something page questionaire that you and your husband have to fill out. It get VERY personal and sometimes asks very detailed questions. Just be honest and it should not be an issue

After lots more paperwork, there will be separate interviews - one for each of you. Colin had to have a separate one as well. Again, no big deal.

At some time, you will be given the dates of training class - it only happens a few times per year in each county, so if you are lucky, you will get right in - we got lucky in this regards. You can always go out of county, if a date suits you better.

Our worker came to our house one last time (in addition to the above) to really go through the house. She wanted to make sure that we would pass when the state licensing dept came to do the final inspection. So, I guess it was a total of 4 or 5 visits

2. As you mentioned...what are the costs involved? To be totally honest, the cost is ZERO. Yup, that is right. There is no cost at all to become licensed. The only thing we had to pay for so far was our physicals - $100 a piece because our doc would not code it as a regular physical. I submitted the receipt to my insurance and just waiting for reimbursment. Even if the case moves towards adoption, there is no required cost. Yes, you can CHOOSE to hire your own attorney, but unless you have a super unique case, most of the times it would not be necessary. The child is assigned their own attorney through the "system"

Now - remember, these kids are foster kids and therefore the state pays you for their care (Totally not why we are doing it, but it is an added bonus). Currently, the stipend for a child in the range of 0-5 is $$$$ a month plus about $ for clothes. So, about $$$ a month, per child. This is the standard rate for "standard" children. If the child has minor special needs, then the rate is increased. And the older the child, the higher the rate. I don't know the whole amount, becasue I am only open for up to 5 years old.

In addition to this payment, the child is enrolled in Medicad (no cost to you), is eligible for WIC (formula, milk, certain grocery items) which is no cost to you. And DYFS will pay for childcare if both of you work.

One thing we did NOT realize is that certain children are eligible to receive the stipend even after an adoption takes place. This happens if the child is considered special needs. Don't let special needs scare you - is is VERY loose defination. But, all african american children are considered special needs. All sibling groups are considered special needs. Sometimes even a child that has asthma or alergies are considered special needs. The stipend would continue until they are 18 years old.

And an added bonus - each foster child that resides in your home for more than 6 months and 1 day can be claimed as a dependent on your taxes. This then comes with deductions and tax credits.

Also, if you adopt, and that child is considered special needs (aka receives the stipend), they you are eligible for the FULL adoption tax credit of about $11,000. Yes, you are eligible for the full credit even if you did not pay a penny. Again, this is only the case if your child falls into the state defination of "special needs", but like I stated before, this is very loosely defined.

3. Does DYFS or some social worker do a home study of us? Kinda answered this one under #1 - I did not read all the questions first LOL. Again, there is no cost to the homestudy. What most people don't realize is the home study includes all the background stuff and the home inspection.

4. What do you think the odds are of getting placement with a child under two? Well, you can request that you only get kids this young. Does it happen, yes, all the time. Is it a high possibility, there is really no way to know. Now, this is just for fost/adopt I am talking about right now. Kids can be removed starting from birth - for many reasons. If the mom already has kids in care, there is a good chance that her newborn baby will be removed as well. Of course you do get some babies that have drugs in their system at birth - that is usually an automatic removal. But, also remember - NJ is a safe haven state. Which means that a mom can turn over her baby (less than 30 days old) no questions asked to a hospital. These babies are put into foster care. And to be totally honest, I am hoping for one of these. The mom does have some rights - but only for 30 days. If she does not come back in those 30 days, the rights are terminated. So obvioulsly a much shorter time line.

Now, if you are looking at straight adopt, no, there will probably not be an under 2 year old - UNLESS they come as a pair with an older sibling. A lot of times if a mom already has kids in care, and then has another baby, sometimes the baby is added to the case of the older sibling and rights are term at the same time, which means that for the baby, the timeline was much shorter. Again , this has to do with the fact that it can take 18-24 months to have the parental rights terminated

5. Once you're licensed, are you expected to take other kids over time? No - you can be licensed and then receive a placement and then have your file put on "don't call me for any more kids". But, from what I have been told, they still may call you if they are desperate. Plus in some cases they are REQUIRED to call all open homes in order to get certain state grants for special cases (like the pregnant 15 year old that now needs to go to a special home for pregnant girls). You can also request to only be licensed for 1 child (or 2 whatever you want). But, for the most part, they will license you for as many kids will fit in your house. A child only needs 50 square feet of bedroom space, and a baby only about 30. So, I know for a fact that we will probably be licensed for 4 or 5!!!! The spare room is 163 sq feet (3 kids), our room can be a baby (1) and then Colin's room can have another kid (we will NOT do that though). So, even though we will be licensed for that many, we ONLY want 2.

It is a good idea to mantain your license though - you never know when you might decide to add to your family. Even if your file is inactive, you can alway call you worker and tell them that you would like another child.

6. What do they say are the risks to taking in a kid whose parents have involvement with drugs or is incarerated? Again, totally situational. Every case is so different. Not sure if I said it in my last e-mail. But, by law, the state is required to provide a minimum of a one hour visit each week. This is supervised, and generally at the DYFS office. The child's worker (called the case worker) can pick up the child at your home and bring to the DYFS office. Parents who have more visits than once a week, well, that is a good indication that they might go home.

The Case worker will cancel a visit if they feel that the parent is a danger to the child (drunk, on drugs, etc). Plus parents are subject to random and scheduled drug tests. So, to the child - there really are not too many risks.

I don't think (in most cases) there will be any visits in jail. But, who know for sure.

As far as a risk to you - the bio family is not given any info about you or your family. They will not be given your last name, your address, the town that you live in, your phone number, nothing. In fact - you never have to have any contact with them at all.

As far as a risk to the placement - again it depends on so so much. 12 -15 months is totally enough time to go to rehab and stay clean, or do minor jail time. Some parents are allowed to work their plan while in rehab or in jail (like parenting classes, rehab, etc). And it will also depend on the crime. If they are in jail for a crime against the child, I can almost guarantee that they will not be allowed to work their plan while in jail.

All kids in care are damaged in some way - I mean they were actually removed for a reason. But, younger kids bounce back real quick.

It is a lot to think about. To be honest, in the very begining I was not liking the fact that these kids could go back. It is hard to write how my feelings changed. But, I figured that if the kids do go back, they will go back better kids and even for a short time, they will have been 100% loved by me and my family. It is hard to explain.

I have asked my worker about percentages. And, statewide, about 40% of kids are returned to parents. Yes, that seems like a lot. But, that means that 60% stay in care.

Plus, out of the kids that go back, usually about 1/4 of those return to care. So, you are looking at about about 70% of kids in care make it to adoption.

I am sorry that I went on and on is a lot of info.

If you have any other questions, please DO NOT hesitate to ask :) You wind up learning so much in the process, plus, I am like you - I like to ask questions.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

General Foster Care Information

I got a request for some general information regarding foster care / adoption from foster care. The answer is pretty long, but I am always looking for great way to spread education on the subject, so I am going to C&P my answer here. There will be a follow-up tomorrow with a Q&A.

The person that requested the information was open to fost/adopt. But, not too comfortable with having a child returned after bonding with them.

Here is my response, some of it may be a repeat of things already on my blog - warning, it is long:

The first thing I have to say is that if you are really worried about kids going back, then foster to adopt might not be the best option.

Any placement within foster or fost/adopt, the goal is reunification with parents. There is straight adoption, which I will get to that later.

The way that fost/adopt works is that you are licensed for foster care and adoption. A child is placed in your home that the social worker (sw) on the case thinks that there is a HIGH possibility that the child will not go back to family. There can be a million reasons why a sw does not think a child would go back.

Here are some reasons why a sw might THINK a child will not be returned:

= other kids in care. This usually means there is a history of removal and termination of rights.
= the removal was due to a crime against that child by the main caretaker of the child.
= the removal was due to another crime, and that crime required a very very long jail sentence
= the child is born in jail and the mom has a long sentence (and dad is nowhere around)

Now, these are just some reasons, there can be a million reasons why the sw thinks these kids are not going back.

Fost/Adopt basically means that a child is a foster child and IF the rights are terminated, you are making a commitment to adopt the child.

Now, remember, the goal is always reunification. And this is even the case for major drug addicts, and major offenses against a child. You also have to remember, in most cases, DYFS has already been working with the parents to correct situations.

So, by the time a child is removed, a mom has already not been doing her "plan" - you can take that info as you like. But, I see it as a good indicator that there is a chance that the parents will NOT do their plan.

At the time of removal, the mom (sorry to say, but usually the dad has no interaction with the child), is given a "plan" to get her kids back. Again, it totally depends on why the kids were removed. But - it can include things like going to rehab, getting a job, getting an apartment, going to parenting classes, showing up at visits, etc.

Once a child is removed, the DYFS office will start calling area families to see if they can take the child. For the most part, they kind of know in advance who they might call, because like I said, they have already been working with the mom and the removal is planned. Yes, there are cases where the children were removed on the spot.

Here is the timeline for possible adoption. Since reunification is the plan, there are timelines that have to be followed before termination is filed.

A mom has 12-15 months to work her plan. Yup, even if they think that the mom is a crazy drug addicted really bad person - and even if they think that there is no possibility that the child will go home.

At any time during the plan, the mom can decide that she will terminate her rights, she would then be given counseling, but she can in fact do it.

OK - anyway, we will be given updates on the plan at about 30-45 days after placement. Plus we would kinda know if the mom is not showing up for visits (I will get into visits at another time). At about 60-90 days, we will be given a pretty clear answer about the possibility of adoption. But since the mom has that 12-15 months to do her stuff, the sw could be totally wrong.

And, yes - even if the mom does not do a damn thing for months and months, she could start doing her plan at say 9 months after placement. So, even if for 9 months we thought that the child would be adopted, that might change very quickly.

If the mom does not do her plan, the judge will look at the case at the 12-15 mark. At that point, the plan would be changed to termination of rights (instead of reunification). It really does not mean much, but in rare cases, the mom is still given a chance to work her plan, even though the plan is now termination of rights.

It takes about 6 months for the judge to actually terminate the rights. At that time, we have to file a formal request to adopt the child. It is another approx 6 months for the court date to finalize adoption. Yep, do the math - that is 2 years.

Things can go faster. And the time is collective. Which means that if a child is removed prior to your placement, then that time counts - even if it is years later.

So - as you can see, there is always the possibility that a child could go back, even though the sw thought all along that the child would NOT be returned.

So - like I said, if you are worried about getting attached and then a child going back, then fost/adopt might not be right for you.

With adoption - the kids are the kids that already went through the above, and are "free and clear" basically, parental rights have already been terminated. Now, yes, it is possible that there are still young kids available, but if you look at the timeline above - this is not likely.

Now, you ask, why wouldn't the current foster family adopt the child??? Well, it could be for a few reasons. The family might be older and not really able to give a long term commitment for adoption - the family might only want to do foster, preparing the child for adoption - the family just might not want to adopt. These kids stay in their foster homes until a pre-adoptive placement can be made.

So, those kids would be placed in your home as a pre-adoptive placement. Then months later, the adoption will be final.

We will be licensed for both, and will probably take the first placement that we get.

Well, since I wrote a novel - I will write more later, including things like costs involved, the types of kids in care, stipend, etc.

If you have specific questions, please let me know

Friday, February 13, 2009

We have a final inspection date!!!

In what seemed like forever, we finally have our final state inspection scheduled for 2-23 - Frank's b-day! What a great birthday present.

This is the last step before we are licensed for foster care / adoption.

And ------- once this inspection is done, it should only take a few days to actually be licensed.

We can get a placement anytime after we are licensed. So, this is really happening.

OMG, I am super excited!!!!!

This last inspection will be very detailed, but I know we are ready for it. The inspector seems like a great woman, super nice on the phone. But, I am sure I will be a nervous wreck until then. Our house is always tidy (AKA - home inspection ready lol); but I will make sure it is super tidy. A bunch of people have suggested to not make your house perfect - because the inspector will see that as an issue. I guess they think you might freak out if there are messy kids in the house.

It is not like I will not clean my house, or leave things out on purpose, but I am not gonna stress out if my house is not super clean. Guess what, people live here, so if there is mail on the counter, or clothes in the laundry room, it is really not a big deal.

Probably the ONE thing I will do that I would not normally do is make my bed. Yup, you read that right - on most days, the bed is unmade....could I fail for that, probably not, but I know she will be in my room, so the bed will be made lol

I of course will keep this blog updated, but, PLEASE send "good final inspection" vibes my way!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Totally got my dates wrong

Again, I am pretty boring. But, I knew today was the 12th of Feb. And, this whole week, I thought to myself - "well, maybe on the 12th I can write a post about my IUI one year ago" Sounds like a good idea, right.

Yeah, well until I just went through my blog from last year and saw that my IUI was on Feb 6th, not the 12th. I have no idea why I thought it was the 12th. Maybe I did weird math in my head.

Anyway - let's go with "My first IUI was a year ago" just for the sake of this post.

I can't believe that my first IUI was over a year ago. I remember how totally nervous I was to even make the first RE appointment. I seriously kept thinking, "it will happen for us, it will". By the time I made the first appointment, we had been trying for 1 yr 2.5 months. For me it seemed like an eternity.

We always knew that we wanted kids in our house, lots of them. We never thought it would be an issue. We were in the group that thought, Go off the pill, get pregnant. Like so many people I know actually do just that.

Of course it did not happen like that - and that is fine. When I finally made that appointment, I was relieved, thought, yes, this is our chance. Little did I know what the next year would hold for us.

2008 was quite a year for us. Lots of joy, and lots of heartache. I KNOW 2009 will be a better year for us - it just HAS to be.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wow - I am boring

It is amazing how boring my life really is when I am not going through IF treatments. It is like pulling teeth to come up with something to write on here.

I still have not heard from the investigator to set up the appointment for the state inspection. But, I know that she might be busy and she does have until the end of the month. Heck, I could hear from her on Feb 26th. Well, I am sure it will not go that late. Why, do I know this? Well, because I will call my worker probably 1 week before the 27th if something is not scheduled by then. Yes, I am that annoying person.

It is nice to finally have a specific deadline that I can look forward to. I know there is no guarantee that we will get placement right away, but I am hopeful that we will have a placement by Easter (April 12). That give a month and a half after the latest inspection date of 2-27. Licensing should happen asap after the final state inspection. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Adopt Update!

Ok - way back over two months ago, all of our paperwork was submitted. Most everything came back quickly. It is a lot (personal references, fingerprints, medical references, education references (for my son), employment references, financial references, police checks, etc, etc, etc)

Before moving to my current state, I lived in New York City. They were sent the request for a police check 4 times since the end of Nov. The request was sent to several addresses, and even was faxed twice.

It was the only thing that was still pending. About a month ago, we were notified that everything else was submitted, and the ONLY thing holding us up was this local police check.

I called about 2 weeks ago to the actual police dept and got the total run around. Informed my worker of this jjust to give her a heads up. Well apparently, they thought enough was enough.

I was just informed that they filed an exception and we are moving forward without this check!

I guess they figured that 1) anything major would have come up under the federal fingerprint check; 2) anything on there was a minimum of 4 years ago and they only do local checks for the last 5 years; and 3) everything else came back squeeky clean.

The state only has 30 days (from Jan 27th) to do the final state inspection. Once that inspection is done, it only takes a few days to get our license!!!!!

I am just so so excited, it is a step in the right direction!
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