Monday, June 29, 2009

The Mother of All...

monkey wrenches.

It was set. The transition plan was formed up last Friday. Little N was supposed to spend most of this week with her new concurrent planning family, with the final drop off happening on Thursday, July 2nd at 2 pm.

I put in to have the day off.

We planned some fun things for the weekend and intended to include the new family.

Slugbo called the family first thing Saturday and found out that everything was placed on hold.

Excuse me? Hunh? And we had to find out from them because.... Whatever. Sigh.

It appears that Mom wasn't very smart to bring little N's little sister, T, back into the country with her after her visit to Mexico.

Social Services intended to pull T over the weekend. The new family wasn't sure they wanted two more kids, rather than one. So we were waiting.

We took N to the fair on Saturday (after most of the heat of the day passed). Spent part of Sunday melting at the Pacific Coast Air Museum (she likes planes the little tomboy).

This morning we waited for the phone calls. Little T did get pulled over the weekend and placed in an EFH in Petaluma. The new family decided they don't want two siblings. Everything is on hold.

So we get little N for who knows how long. We aren't approved for 2 yet, but we are trying in the hope that little T can come to us since we think it will be better for both girls.

Yes we know that can come back to bite us and they might pull N and T both and put them in a separate EFH that can take both of them.

I met little T today at lunch time and Slugbo brought N down for a play date with her sister.

This is so hard for N. I watched her go into shut down mode. She wasn't happy when Slug put T on his lap to show her the pictures their mom gave N (she is his shadow). So N climbed in mine (a poor second mind you). Though she said she was glad to see her sister, all the emotion was on T's side and she was VERY happy to see her big sister.

The next few days should be very interesting. I expect a few meltdowns.

Now to learn some Spanish since that is all that Little T speaks.

BTW We get to take Little N camping at the Delta for July 4 weekend. If the original plan had happened, she would have missed it in spite of us pretty much begging that she get to go just for the weekend.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

We Willingly Signed Up for This...

but it still sucks.

Why couldn't we end up with one of the 'temporary' placements that lasts for months and months (or at least long enough to get certified by the state)?

Little N met her concurrent planning placement family today.

They have a 7 year old son (which totally makes me want to scream "THEY ALREADY HAVE ONE! LET US KEEP HER! IT'S NOT FAIR!). Good thing I'm at work.

She was, of course, an absolute angel. Granted she doesn't know yet that she will be moving in with them.

The transition meeting is tomorrow at CPS while she's visiting with her mom.

We probably have less than a week left of having her in our home.

I took her to the fair yesterday.

It was her first time.

She kept coming back to the bubbles. Isn't she just adorable?

She had ice cream and got to listen to Josh Gracin's band practice for that night's concert (I missed it for a very good reason - tune in tomorrow).

She won a couple of toys, which Scrat promptly tried to confiscate after we got home.

Then we went home.

Knowing she's leaving hurts a lot.

But we signed up for it. And we have to deal with it as best we can, because we don't want to stop fostering.

We are strong enough for this. But it's yet another of those situations where you wish being strong wasn't necessary.

Friday, June 19, 2009

To Explain a Few Things

I realize that some of the people that pop in here have no idea how the Foster System in California works. I'm part of it and I don't fully understand it.

It used to be that you could just shuffle kids around the system for years while the parental units tried to get their act together before some judge or other would finally have had enough of the crap on the parents part and let the kid be adopted. Yes I mean years.

This was overhauled a few years ago. The parents get 12 to 18 months to get their act together and the steps are laid out for them at the beginning. During that time the child will be placed into a concurrent planning home, where the child will most likely be adopted by their concurrent planning placement family if the parents don't meet the courts requirement to get the child back. This is basically a fost/adopt home.

Little N came to us in a different situation. She came straight into Emergency Care. We got her because we are an EFH (Emergency Foster Home) . Children that come into the system under extreme circumstances get placed into EFH. These are considered temporary placements until the court decides what the parents are going to have to do to get her back.

They are at the stage with Little N's mom that she is not getting her back right away and therefore they need to start the concurrent planning process for her. She has a Concurrent Planning Social Worker assigned to her who's job it is to find her a possible forever home in the Foster System. We want to be her concurrent planning home.

However, we are only licensed for fostering, so we cannot be a concurrent planning home for any child. We are not certified for adoption because we are not getting anywhere with State Adoptions, more specifically our Adoption Specialist. We haven't even been able to really start the process.

They want me to get grief and loss counseling because I need to come to terms with the fact that I cannot have kids of my own. While I want to tell them exactly what they can do with that particular bit of advice, I am looking up grief and loss counselors right now, so I can say 'See I did it. I wasted a ton of money on therapy and I will probably still cry about the fact that I cannot have more kids.'

I'm a crier. I didn't used to be, but I was lucky enough to finally marry someone that wants me to show emotion. I don't have to lock it all up inside. So SA needs to get over it. I still cry about my brother and that was over 20 years ago. I still cry when I talk about giving my son up for adoption and that was 19 years ago. Give me a stinking break people. But I digressed into a rant and this is not a situation I'm allowed to lose my temper over (though trust me, I want to so very badly because it might be the only way to get through to these people).

So our options are this.

1. Our Adoption Specialist's last day was yesterday. I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am about this. So we will be getting a new AS. But, if the ex-AS was simply following the company line, I'm still screwed. But we could get lucky and the new persn could actually be willing to see that we will make great parents.

2. We go with an outside agency. Uur EFH coordinator has recommended this and little N's concurrent planning SW has recommended this. If we do this, we would probably still lose out on getting to keep little N, but we'd be in shape for the next child that crosses our path. But I have a packet coming in the mail and hubby and I will probably be setting up a meeting with them soon.

Now this needs to be said. I am not vilifying State Adoptions as a whole. I have no intention of doing that. It serves no purpose and they are doing the best that they can. However I do believe that our Adoption Specialist was fairly new to the system and she was given an instruction on how to deal with people that jump straight in after having their own kids has failed and I think she took it farther than necessary.

She's refusing to see that we don't fit the mold that directive was issued for. We contacted them BEFORE we started IVF. We've explained that we still wanted to be fost/adopt even if we managed to have our own children. The foster people had no problem with this and still don't. SA made us wait till we were finished trying the medical route to conception. We waited. That route dead ended and now still, 3 MONTHS later, it's still too soon for them to be willing to start the process with us because they don't think I've come to terms with it because I still cry.

I believe this is wrong.

So I've posted the information for that friend because she and her husband want to write a letter on our behalf. I'm not asking anyone else to do this. But those of you that know me in person maybe if you think you could help, it would be appreciated.

Here is their address:

California State Adoptions
101 Golf Course Drive
Suite 250
MS 28-09
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
C/o Amy VanLeeuwen (this is NOT our AS, this is her supervisor)

As always I will keep ya'll posted. And if we lose little N, we will still try to make sure she's in a home that will care for her the same way we have.

(and yeah I'm crying right now - I know life is unfair but you figure at some point something has to happen to make it all break even)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


If I blink, we will lose little N. They want to place her in a concurrent planning home and we don't qualify because State Adoptions will still not work with us.

We are doing everything we can to try to get around this.

Cross your fingers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

From Wordless to Words

I cannot tell you how excited I was when Claudia was asking for peeps to host her on her blog tour. I’d seen links to her books on the sites of friends. A local friend tried to send them to me so I could read them but the post man ate them.

I told her I hadn’t read it, but I wanted to host it anyway. I certainly am NOT a writer by any stretch of the imagination. But I’ve been reading since I was 2 and it’s the only thing that kept me going after I started to lose my hearing. Books are my escape. They are what keeps me sane.

That said I am a proud host of Claudia for her blog tour for her book 'The Fey’.

This is my kind of book. I cannot wait for the next one. And I have a really great signed copy all my own.

Here goes nothing. My own mix of why, what, and a little science to boot questions.


1. I read A LOT of Iris Johansen and Kay Hooper. They both have strong female leads and do some stuff that seems paranormal. Who are the influences you look to for inspiration in your writing?

Wow, I think the question is ‘Who wasn’t an influence in my writing?’ I learned to read when I was about three years old. I spent most of my childhood buried in one book or another. I don’t know that I could delineate who or what influenced me specifically in the Fey. This is one of the reasons I chose to publish under the Creative Commons license. I stand on the shoulders of masters. I can only hope that my work inspires someone else to do the same.

2. Jesse features a lot in the novel. What made you decide to keep him around in the manner you chose?

Jesse Abreu is Alexandra Hargreaves best-friend. They lived so much life, and death together, that their bond goes way beyond the inconvenience of his murder. When he showed up on the page, I wondered why I hadn’t seen him before – not whether to keep him. He is an integral part of the Alex the Fey thriller series.

3. For being such a strong female character, it struck me as a little odd that one of Alex's colleagues would worry about her being alone for a night or so towards the end. I mean she's been trained to 'deal' with that. What gives?

Most Special Forces officers are trained to work independently. They are sent out alone and return alone. Intelligence officers are not trained that way. Intelligence officers work for the Intelligence Center as well as act as integral parts of individual teams. Many work on large teams in specific intelligence units such as the one Alex is assigned to after she’s wounded.

As for Alex, she is an identical twin. She shared a room with her twin brother most of her life. When forced out of the house in some cockeyed individuation effort, she entered the US Army. She wasn’t alone during her basic training or her tour in Bosnia. During Special Forces training, she was almost never alone, especially at night. She got married right after completing training and moved in with her identical twin brother. Her leave time was spent with her husband and brother. Her work time was spent with her team.

She was alone for the first time in The Fey. She certainly survives, if not thrives, during that experience based on her lifelong training. It’s simply the first time she’d ever been alone.

4. I think I need more back story since I didn't see a compelling reason for Raz to not be called by his given name. Can you give us a little insight?

Elite intelligence operative change their names and have their histories wiped. In fact, it’s not uncommon for undercover police officers to change their names and have their histories wiped.

Raz works for Ben, who is considered to be one of the world’s best intelligence agents. He is an elite intelligence operative.

5. How exactly is it that Alex and Max are identical twins?

Alex and Max Hargreaves are monozygotic twins. The science is that an egg carries an “X” chromosome. Sperm can be an “X” or a “Y”. In their case, the egg was carried duplicate “X” chromosome. Thus when fertilized by a “Y” sperm, the egg became an “XXY”. This type of being is viable, however has vast disabilities. If the egg splits early enough, either X chromosome can replicate. In Alex and Max’s case, they became “XX” and “XY”.

Depending on the geneticist, these types are twins are not considered to be identical because one is XX and the other is XY. They remain monozygotic. Outside of their gender chromosomes, their genetics are identical.

6. Why do so many people share a home with John and Alex? I mean she's a twin, which means there is a need for some individuality there. She came from a big family. All the normal reasons for NOT having that many people actually living in your house, sharing personal space are part of her upbringing.

You’d be surprised how many identical twins live together. I know of three pairs here in Denver. While we see might see a need for individuality, many identical twins don’t necessarily feel that need. Their normal is being together.

Further, Max and Alex grew up in a military family. Siblings in military families tend to be a lot closer because they move so much. Their father was the General who ran the base they lived on. These General’s children don’t tend to socialize with a lot of other kids.

Given the circumstances, these type of living situations are not uncommon.

7. Why a female lead, and particularly a female lead with an extensive military background?

Why not?

I never sat down and decided to write about this person or that person. These characters came to me from the ether. In my mind, they exist as separate beings. The only connection they have to me is that I am their scribe. If they bear any similarities to me, it’s only because I am their scribe.

I didn’t choose to have a female lead. This is simply her story.

I didn’t choose for her to be in the military. That is just where she is and has always been.

I’m working to be a clear reporter for these characters lives and issues.


Claudia, thank you SO much for letting me take part in this.

The Fey is serialized at The novel will run through the end of the year, then will be removed. Learning to Stand will take it’s place in February, 2010. The Fey is also available at Amazon. If you use our store, feel free to use this code: WLKP3C74 for a special Tiny Tyrant ten percent discount.

I chose not to have a give away of the book on my blog so she could donate a copy to Operation Shoebox.

Show your support to this wonderful author and friend and go buy a copy today. You won't regret it.