Monday, January 30, 2006

How to adopt in the Foster Care System in Kansas Part One

Emailed my friend H. today about adopting through the Foster care system. Asked her if she could guide me through some websites that address it. My friend H. works for Douglas County as a coordinator of volunteers for Citizen Review Board. The website on the front right now is basically adverstising adoption, so I'm going to read through that site first and then see what else H. guides me to.

This is one site I found on Kansas Foster Care This is an old site it seems
This is a website that generally lays out differences between international and domestic. Obviously, the site favors domestic adoption and has services for Birthmothers, which is great if you're in an unplanned pregnancy situation.

Will update more with what I find out tomorrow!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Adoption Insights

I talked with P. yesterday, a social worker in our church that works as a "Home Study" helper. Now, yesterday at this time I had no idea what a "Home Study" was. Basically, it's a form you fill out that summarizes who you and your spouse are, your income, your hobbies, etc. It is a form that adoption agencies use (and governments) to see if you're a match to adopt. I was talking with her after Bible Study yesterday because she and her family adopted Náte from Ethiopia. He came to them after his mother dropped him off at an Aids Clinic to receive treatment. She died shortly after. P. explained that in most African countries the mothers and fathers would starve themselves before they would give up their children, but the AIDS epidemic is causing true orphans. Now, P. said she and her four kids are going to spend a year in Ethiopia, and are hoping they can adopt an older child when they are overseas. I am planning on keeping them in my prayers, what an adventure!

I decided to talk to P. about her opinions on adoption, as she has 3 birth children and 1 legally adopted child (as well as another older child that considers her and her husband mom and dad, though not legally adopted). What P. explained is that there are two different types of adoptions: Domestic and International. Then there are Private Domestic. Good grief.

What's hard about domestic adoption, as she explained, is domestic is centered around the birth mother. The birth mother goes to an agency, flips through all these profiles, and picks one. Now, your profile may sit in this file for years, or the same day you put in your profile (home study) a birth mother might choose it. It's an open adoption: which means the birth mother gets to choose and meet you. In her experience, P. explained that people have to wait a long time to adopt. Some couples to adopt domestically may have to wait five years, which is an eternity if you've already been waiting for a baby. We didn't talk about private domestic adoption too much; I think that's the type you use if you want to spend a lot to get a newborn directly from the hospital. I will have to do some research on that particular one.

International Adoption is different for every country. For example, some countries want you to personally get on a plane to pick up your child. Some countries only allow an escort to get your child and bring them back to you at the airport. Some countries (like South Africa) want to know specifics on your church and church attendance. Some countries (like China) don't want church mentioned in your application at all. She explained typically from the year you fill out your home study, within that year you will be 'matched' with a child. Also, on these applications you can specify what kind of child you want (age range and sex, etc.) These can run $15,000-$20,000 an adoption (including airfare), but there are income tax credits that can be spread out over 4 years. Also, some employers give incentives for adoption. P. said that basically her adoption of Náte was free.

It all seems very strange to me that an agency would charge for a child to get a good home. I suppose they have costs for looking up our records. I would hope that a good portion of that money would go to orphanages. I have told lots of people that it doesn't seem fair; there is no 'surprise' in adoption. You have to fill out a lot of paperwork, pay a lot of money, talk to a lot of people, figure out what to do, figure out what type of infertility treatment you will or won't do. People who can just get pregnant get pregnant, and have a baby! Wham, it shows up. Now, I know that's not as simple as it sounds. I know God is sovereign, and He decides who will and won't be able to have children. He can open or close a womb by His choice, and it is His perfect timing.

However, something weird is going on with me. I am frustrated by the adoption process, but I am excited that God could take a child that is not flesh and blood and make them your child. I think there needs to be an understanding that it wouldn't be the courts, or the governments, or the paperwork you sign. It is God that causes us to be a body, a family, united in Christ.

One of my other friends from church said she and her husband had a heart for China, and that's why they adopted two Chinese girls. If there would be a country or a region that I am passionate about, it would be South America. My ear is just always tuned to the political situation, the issues that effect South America. If it were completely up to me, and I know there are a lot of other factors involved, I would chose to adopt a child from Mexico or South America. However, what P. shared about the AIDS epidemic in Africa really got me thinking. I will have to do some more research on that topic as well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

God is Enough

My husband showed me this free site that is affiliated with John Piper. I think I remember Jamie talking about this program in November.

I have started day one of the Lord's Table study, which deals with eating and gluttony issues. I have been struggling because Thin Within and Weight Watchers, two programs that I think are good, cost money. With the settingcaptivesfree, it is a free site and program run by volunteers. I can go through the program on the web at work if need be.

I didn't used to consider myself a computer person, but it seems lately I am most productive when I can do work on a computer. I am still very upset and low about the way we haven't been very wise with our money this year, but this has been an encouragement to find a free Bible study relating to food issues.

I had tea with S. yesterday, a woman who was unable to have kids. She is now in her early fifties. She and her husband decided to not adopt, either. She tried to explain why: As you look in the Bible about Priscilla and Aquila, the husband and wife who accompanied Paul in the book of Acts, someone at a seminar suggested that maybe Priscilla and Aquila were unable to have children. It appears (if you believe that they never had children) that they poured their lives into the Church instead. She made it clear that she didn't want to sway me one way or the other, she was just talking to me about her experience and her decision. She said that whatever we decide to do if we are unable to give birth to our own children, we have to be at complete peace with each other and with God with what we decide. She also relayed that she had lots of friends that adopted in order to fill a hole left by being infertile. Adopting will not fill that hole. She said "Nothing replaces having your own kids."

She also said she felt so happy when people told her "You would make a great parent." She also said "If you don't have your own kids, you can still invest your life into very special kids around you. Don't isolate yourself from children just because you may not be able to have your own." She told stories of she and her husband being able to watch other people's children, even staying overnight at their homes if need be. She also described how she and her husband are legal guardians to about 10 children in case anything happens to their parents. S. also talked about how she was able to take care of an older woman with cancer, and rather than being a "stay at home mother" she's been using her time to care for and encourage people in the church.

She made it very clear that whenever someone is able to have a child, they need to rejoice, because that child is a great gift. She said that she is content, and she truly knows that God is enough for her. She made it clear that she still gets upset and still cries (even now as women her age are becoming grandparents) but God has shown Himself that He is Enough.

Monday, January 23, 2006

the weirdness

I am starting to feel depressed again. Went to the gym this morning and weighed 279. This is upsetting because I feel as if I've been working out more than I have in a long time. It's a strange cycle because I work out but feel very, very tired after just small bursts of exercise.

Am I fooling myself? Am I really not doing very much? Donald and I met with an introductory group for Crown Financial Ministries to help us with budgeting and our finances. This week the homework is to do a budget of previous spending and then a budget of what we hope for when Donald has a job.

Bob D. warned me not to get too overworked and lose my current job. I would prefer to just work a lot but I know that it's harder to have a balanced life.

I am hopeful about the money thing, my job is starting a weight watchers group that is $144.00 for 12 weeks. The Crown Financial Ministries is $55.00 for 10 weeks.

I feel as if I've thrown so much money at my weight and my health I am really, really sick of it. I am not binge eating any more like I used to, but it's still frustrating that I don't see any results at all. I do feel better, and I've been without my medications for at least 3 or 4 months, but I am just upset that my weight keeps creeping up.

It's a lifelong battle, but I'm finding it very frustrating. I don't struggle with alcohol or drugs, but this food thing is making me very, very angry. I don't want to be at work, I don't want to be at home, and over the past couple weeks I've felt very depressed again. I used to like to go work out, but now I hate it cause it doesn't make me feel just makes me feel tired. I would like to go to the doctor, but we have no money to go to the doctor.

I left my Bible at home. I'm going to look up some scripture on . I'll spare you all any more of my bad attitude.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

beginning running again

Last night I was at work & there are electronic announcement boards. There were 6 new babies born to employees the last couple of weeks.

My friend R. is now a grandma. Her youngest daughter had a baby on January 16th. I didn't even know she was pregnant, and I don't know if she's married. Robin and I haven't talked much lately because R.'s been going to school to become a physician's assistant. She mentioned she had to visit her daughter in January; I didn't realize because she was due with a baby.

I had coffee with the pastor's wife yesterday. We had a very, very good talk. Some of what we talked about was reaching out when you're hurting, because people don't always know to call you. People don't read minds. She suggested I meet with a good friend of hers who is probably 55 and is married, and has never had children. When I called this woman to see if I could meet with her about her struggles with infertility, I felt like such a jerk. Basically I was asking "Hey, can you share your story with me, even though it probably feels like a knife in your heart?" I thanked her for agreeing to meet with me; I didn't know what else to say when she started crying on the phone.

What do these stories have in common? I don't know. Two different things I found out in one day. God had two completely different paths for these women: an unwed mother and a married woman who chose not to adopt when they were unable to have children.

My pastor's wife said something very good: she said all things must force us to throw ourselves at God's feet. All things come into our lives to mold us, to shape us, to build us up. We may petition God, He may not do what we ask, but we must ask Him and admit we are needy of Him.

Where does the running come in? Well, after hearing about R.'s daughter and the 6 new babies at work I just wanted to throw myself out the window. I can't describe it: I'm not mad at people for having children. I guess I'm mad because I'm not the one getting the attention, I'm not the one on maternity leave, I'm not the one getting baby showers, who knows what my deal is. Maybe I'm selfish & jealous.

I was walking out of the restroom at work after reading R.'s email about her daughter and seeing the electronic board flash by another "Congratulations to the newest member of the Farmer's family!" I won't lie, I muttered to myself "F***, I need to start running again. I need something else to do"

I started the beginning runner's program again. I am going to work up to 5k and then a marathon, which has been one of my life's goals.

1. play piano
2. learn to paint oil
3. run a marathon
4. learn to play the organ

I need something else to think about besides babies. It's making me nuts.

Friday, January 13, 2006

needs versus wants

I have been thinking all week about this. Do I need fancy face cleaners from Dermalogica? The reason I buy them is because I get acne fairly easily. I hate acne. I've tried Mary Kay, Neutrogena, Avon, prescription medication....none work as well as this stuff. On average, however, in layman's terms the stuff is about $30 bucks a bottle. You've got your cleaner, your mask, a toner, moisturizer, foundation. Now, foundation is part of skin care. It protects and provides sunblock. The foundation I bought is J.Iradale. It's $40 a container. Should last 6-8 months. I figured all this out...rationalized all this down to a dollar a day.

Now. I love my gym. It's a women's gym. I've been going nearly every day for the passed 3 weeks. Have only lost a few pounds. Do I stop going to the gym because of money? Do I stubbornly keep going?

I try to work overtime whenever I can. I am unable to make our budget work on our own. I am meeting with someone on Saturday at 4pm, well, I should say we, my husband is going with me.

I wonder why I bother with this blog. I probably spit in the face of what a Christian Woman is supposed to be like. I feel pulled in one direction, and pulled in another. I'm supposed to be a good steward of my body, but I can't afford the gym, skin care, all this stuff that I have put down in the need category, that most people look at as wants.

I am going to give these things up because I must, but I am very, very angry.

Friday, January 06, 2006

5 years of marriage

Well, I feel silly, almost forgot to post on this one!

Wedding anniversaries are strange things. They aren't a birthday, though it feels like a birthday. Not a lot of people remember anniversaries, though. Usually Donald's folks and grandparents send us a card or call us, or even just email us.

You don't get gifts for an anniversary, but people usually do something to commemorate the occassion.

I cleaned the bathroom. My husband has been working on selling things on ebay. We watched a bunch of "Firefly" episodes on Sci Fi channel. Nothing terribly exciting.

Donald is still working on ebay, and I'm going to look up some more facts on adoption. I just ended another month of "NOT BEING PREGNANT"

Is there a checklist I need to fill out? I feel as if there is. 1) I'm overweight. can't be pregnant with that problem. I mean, not the usual overweight, but BIG TIME 2) My husband and I struggle with spending too much money, and spending money on things we don't need. Obviously, we've messed up there. The poor kid wouldn't have food or clothes to speak of. 3) Speaking of mess! My husband and I aren't the neatest people in the world. Obviously, no one would place a child in our care 4) My husband and I can't even agree on how long we've been trying. Donald states it's only been a few month. I say it's been 3 years. I've agreed that "trying" to him means keeping track of cycles on a small computer or the rhythm method to track cycles. To me, it's been not using birth control. That's been at least two or three years.

I wonder if my blog is just a bunch of whining. How is God in charge of all this? How can I get my head around the fact that He's sovereign over all this? How do I explain this to people?

Nightmare #2

Somehow, I have been kidnapped with a group of children. These children are not my own. They are my friend's children, or children of acquaintances. Someone has kidnapped us. A man in his mid-sixties. I don't see his face throughout most of it. The children and I plot our survival. What food & water we must ration. How we must behave to keep from being killed. The final scene, The Kidnapper drags us all to this balcony. The balcony is always cement. The weather can vary. Most times, it is sunny. He is wearing some kind of sport jacket, a beard. He is holding a rifle, threatening to kill us. Most times, I imagine that I have worked out a plan with some of the older kids to help rescue them. I cut the kids shirts so that they can rip out of them easier. When The Kidnapper makes his move to grab a child to hold him up to the crowd on display, I command the kid to pull out of the Kidnapper's grib. The child wriggles free. I run, tackle the Kidnapper, pushing him over the edge of the balcony. Sometimes, I live. Sometimes I die. The Kidnapper always dies. It feels so real to wrap my forearm around and choke him. I always kill him on the way falling down to the ground. This dream is especially upsetting to me because The Kidnapper looks like my father. I think I should search and see if anyone has an opinion on what these reoccurring dreams might mean.