Waiting on Approval… Continued

Waiting on Approval - Foster Adoption Process - Momma Meesh Blog

My two week wait turned into a two month wait… and is now looking closer to a two year wait by the time I will get my first placement.

I talked to my Home Study worker today as I wanted more information about future adoption (I plan to Foster first, but my five year plan includes being open to adoption). She informed me she has not started my write up yet about my Home Study for her Supervisor to approve. She is going on vacation for two weeks and said she will not be starting my write up until mid to late September. Due to vacations in her department, and kinship and child specific Home Studies she has had to complete, she had to push back my write up.

My heart broke.

Mid to late September?? That is four months after my final Home Study appointment!

I am blessed to have two bio children who I can focus on while I wait, so I will focus on that. My heart breaks for the others who are also waiting along me for such a long time who are waiting for their first child to come home!

New timeline:

  • Mid to Late September – Home Study Worker prepares Home Study Report
    • She will send the report to me to review and comment/mark up
    • Once I approve her write up (to be sure everything is correct) she sends it to her Supervisor to review
    • Depending on her Supervisor’s workload it could take days to weeks to receive final approval (although my worker has stated it is usually pretty quick…)
  • Mid to Late October – Final Approval Received (hopefully)
  • Within 7 Days of Approval a Social Worker will be assigned to me (end of October?)
  • Within 30 days, my Social Worker must set up a meeting with me (could bring me to late November?)
  • December?… open to placement calls.

Based on the new information I think it is more likely that I will be waiting until January for my first placement calls, but am praying things run smoother come Fall when there are less people on vacation.


 

The Process of Waiting… and then waiting some more

Waiting_Foster Parenting_Becoming a Foster Parent Blog

I started the process of becoming a Foster Parent about 10 months ago. It was May 2015 when I first contacted the Children’s Aid Society in my area for more information. It is looking like it will be at least May before I am officially approved to accept placements, making it a full year (or more) in the process. It has actually been a number of years in the making as I have wanted to be a Foster Parent for a long time, but for the actual official process, it has been 10 months so far.

I am eager to get the process complete and welcome children into my home, but am trying to learn patience and to accept the timing. It will all come together… eventually. Right now I am currently waiting for my second appointment in the Assessment Phase. The first appointment was the Home Study to go over the SAFE Checklist in January. The second appointment (coming April 7) is a personal interview. My final appointment is on April 21 and is another personal interview and to go over any outstanding items from the SAFE Checklist. Some people have 5 or more assessment appointments but for my situation, I am able to complete it in three (partially because I am single, and also because I do not have a past which included abuse or significant events that would affect my fostering).

I want to be clear and say I know there are some who have had a longer wait than me and a much harder wait as well, I completely get that! I am blessed to have two bio children at home already and recognize my wait is eased to some extent because of that. This is just an expression of what I am feeling and how I am working through it right now.

Emotions

I had my second appointment set up for last week (March 2) but due to bad weather it had to be postponed. The earliest she could fit me in was April 7. I cried… okay, that isn’t the right word… I completely broke; it was a big, long, ugly cry that you feel tired  after sort of cry. I had been so excited to move forward with the second appointment and was emotionally ready for whatever she may ask (this is an interview appointment where we go into more about my relationships, my past, my parenting style, etc.). I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I was ready for it.

To get it postponed took the wind out of my sails. I started to wonder if that was a sign. I wondered if I was really ready, or if maybe I shouldn’t be doing this at all. I’ll be honest… I may have overreacted to the news of the canceled appointment.

I did rebound from that, but it was hard. I had a few days of feeling completely lost about what was going to happen.  I am a bit of a control freak, so having it postponed and not go as planned threw me off (which I know is something I am going to have to work on… since this is bound to happen once I actually start fostering as well!). I found out just how important having a support system is too!  Without a significant other going through the same thing I felt very alone. I had to reach out and share what I was feeling with friends/family because I didn’t have anyone at home going through the experience with me that could see it. That made me think about how I will handle things when I am having a hard day as a single foster parent. There will be hard days with information I can’t share with my support network of friends/family since they aren’t in it with me as a significant other (and can’t know details of cases). I think that experience helped me think more about what will  happen down the road when I need support and how important it will be to take advantage of the Foster Parent Mentoring program through the Children’s Aid Society.

Staying Positive

After a few days of being miserable, I thought more about the coming month. I am going to be able to get some more renovations done around the house and get more things organized before my next assessment.I started to feel excitement about organizing more things and setting up more to do lists (yes, I get excited over to do lists!) I started to regain my enthusiasm and see how waiting another month may be exactly what I need in order to fully prepare my house for new children and more workers to come to. Maybe I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was. Maybe what I needed was some extra time to not only prepare my house more, but maybe prepare myself and my kids more as well!

What Now?

I am back on track and more accepting of the longer timeline. I have taken it as a positive and have developed new to do lists to keep me busy. See below for some of the items on my lists…

Finish Getting the House Ready

I had the basics done that I needed to wrap up for my Home Study Checklist. My TV was mounted on the wall, my water heater turned down, etc. Now, it’s time to add finishing touches and do the little renos I have been putting off.

  • Organize the basement — I keep saying I am going to do it and actually make a space for the kids down there but I still haven’t done it. Now I have time to!  I think I will make a game room and a hockey room. It is an unfinished basement so I plan to make it an unfinished, finished space… not a full basement redo, just enough to make it usable and clean down there.
  • Update trim around the house
  • Update the bedroom doors
  • Hang more pictures
  • Put trampoline back up with netting (Spring is coming!)

Finish my Welcome Baskets for New Placements

I had started a Welcome Basket for when I bring in placements. I have switched though from a basket to a duffle bag so they can have a bag for their stuff to keep. This consists of some necessities such as a new toothbrush, their own toothpaste, hairbrush, a body puff and body wash, etc., etc. It also includes some small snacks and non necessities as well so they can have some things that are their own. I plan to add in some small play items and colouring kits, a teddy bear (or other stuffed item), a blanket, maybe a book or two and other items like that. I want to have a couple made up so I am ready for when a new placement comes, then as I use them I will make more and always have 2 down in storage so I am ready. If you have ideas for what is good to include, please let me know!

I was thinking of putting a little welcome letter in there as well to introduce our family and have a couple pictures of us and the house for reference and a keepsake if they want it.

Once I have one complete I will post more about it to share.

Finish my Welcome Packages for Me

This is different from the item above… these are items that I may need on hand as extra items for welcoming placements. This includes GoodNites Bed Mats for the first few nights in case of bed wetting (which will be on the beds under the cover and not visible to the kids), GoodNites Underwear for the younger children who need them, lice treatment kits (just in case), extra bedding, blankets and pillows, etc. that are reserved for placements.

I also have a bunch of containers with my children’s old clothes so I need to sort them by size and plan to create a tub for each size, labelled and stored in the basement storage so they are easy to pull out when needed… they are all sort of just jammed into a couple of big Rubbermaid containers right now. I also want to pick up some more to fill in gaps so I have a few outfits for the ages I am open to accepting. I want to have enough on hand that I don’t have to drag the kids out to the store right away. I shop the 50% Off days at a local Second Hand store and will typically purchase a whole season’s worth of clothes for $50, so this will be the fun part.

Let me know what you keep on hand that I haven’t thought of 🙂

Book in Family Appointments, Now

I want to get our own family appointments out of the way before bringing in more children, for example, my son is due to go to the dentist, so I should book that now. Obviously there will always be appointments, even when we have placements, but I will get what I can done now to ease the first few months of fostering since it will all be new to me and I will have lots on my plate.

Learn to Knit

I am completely serious… right now I need something to keep me busy, so I plan to learn how to knit! I run to clear my mind and have “me time” but I think it would be fun to just sit on the couch, watch the kids play and knit something useful! Or maybe crochet… I am not completely sure what the difference is… but I will learn!


 

I’d love to hear about what you are doing while you wait, or maybe you are done waiting and have some tips that helped you get through the process! Once I am done waiting for these last two appointments in April I will have up to two months of waiting for my official approval to come through… then waiting for a placement! So I need all the advice I can get!

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Revised Checklist – Home Study Review from Worker

Revised Home Study SAFE Assessment Inspection foster parenting adoption application

Today I received the list of items to review from my home study worker based on last week’s SAFE Assessment (home inspection).

The green highlighted sections are things from the checklist that were found to need fix ups or double checking. The purple wasn’t on the SAFE Assessment checklist, but are things I plan to complete before our March 2 appointment.

Home Study 2 checklist - from Home Study 1 list - foster adoption home inspection

Items to review (detail):

  • TV – I forgot about my TV in my last post! It is a flat panel TV and not mounted to the wall. It is against the wall, but needs to be anchored to something (either the wall of the furniture it is on)
  • Water Temperature – As mentioned in my last post my water was 2 degrees too hot when it was ran to its hottest temperature. I thought it  had been on the lowest setting, but it isn’t, so I have to find out how to lower it 
  • Door locks
    • my patio door handle doesn’t lock well right now, so I need to get a new lock or handle for it (my wonderful son decided to lock his sister out one day and broke part of the handle where it locks)
    • the garage and basement both need to be locked at all times since they are only used for storage
  • Blinds – the cords for the blinds were out of reach but I need to pull the cords down and make sure there aren’t loops. We didn’t pull them down at this appointment, she liked that they were out of reach, but I need to check the loop thing since it specifically says that on the list. Also, in the laundry room I had the cord wrapped in a cord holder along the side of the window, but an older child would be able to unwind it, so I have to move it higher.
  • Cleaning Supplies – the cleaning closet I had mentioned in my last post; the supplies are in a closet in my laundry room (on a shelf about the height of my shoulders) but they need to be moved higher to be sure an older child can’t reach them. I am just going to add a lock to the closet door so I can use the whole closet and not be limited in my space for supplies 
    • This item I think depends on the worker as well… I talked to people I had training with and some had the supplies at the same height as me and they were fine (or their worker didn’t even check if they were in a closet and not out in the open – as long as they weren’t under your sink)
  • She didn’t include the vitamins in her email of items, but I have to remember to lock the vitamins away as well in the medicine lock box (they were in the cupboard beside the lock box, inaccessible to children, just not locked up)
  • General organizing of my storage spaces is on my Spring to do list – I might also tackle more basement renos to make it more of a usable space.

Other items on the list – that either don’t apply or I can’t complete right now:

  • Trampoline netting once put back up – I can’t complete this until Spring when we get the trampoline back up. She just noted it to be sure I remember the netting is necessary (probably won’t be put back up until April due to snow)
  • If the gas fireplace in the basement gets used in the future the guard and screening requirements need to be checked. She didn’t look at it since it isn’t used, but noted it in case I finish the basement and start using it.

I am a  bit disappointed about the number of items that are listed, but at the same time, some things I could not have known she would wanted like locking the basement and garage doors at all times since they are only used for storage and the cleaning supplies I thought were at a good height. The vitamins were just an oversight on my part from that morning after giving my kids their vitamins (and she didn’t include that on the official list). The cords I hadn’t worried about since they were out of reach (and out of site).

So now I just have those items to look at and wait for our next interview on March 2 (which isn’t a Home Assessment or Inspection, it is just a personal interview session).

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Becoming a Healthier Me: Quick Update

Becoming a Healthier Me - Quick Update - mommameesh.wordpress.com

This week I am feeling motivated in my “Healthier Me” journey. I have started to eat better and be more conscience of my food choices. I didn’t start a “diet” but rather just looked at what I was eating and asked if it would help me or hurt me and really if I needed it at all (was I just bored?).

Here is a quick update on my “Areas of Improvement” I mentioned in an earlier post.

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Becoming a Healthier Me

Becoming a Healthier Me - mommameesh.wordpress.com

It’s fall. Back to School, fall weather and our local fall fairs are quickly approaching. I love fall!  That also means getting the pants from last winter out…not always fun.

I was lucky to not have “baby weight”  when my children were young. I was at my ideal weight when my children were babies – about 30 lbs lighter than I am now. But since then I have gained “Mom Weight.” I tend to grab packaged snacks, eat more chicken nuggets than I should and am less active as my kids get more active. The pants I have pulled out for fall are pretty snug.

I am committing to become healthier and get down to where I feel comfortable again. I will have more energy and I will save money since I won’t need to go out and buy bigger clothes… it is getting dangerously close to that right now!

I have set my deadline to get set in a healthier lifestyle by December 1, which is my last night of P.R.I.D.E. training (to become a Foster Parent). That is approximately 13 weeks away.

In order for this to work, I have come up with five areas I need to focus on.


Becoming a Healthier Me - 5 Steps - mommameesh.wordpress.com

Eat Real Food

I don’t want to restrict myself to a specific diet, but rather be more mindful of what I am eating. Making more meals from scratch, with real ingredients is going to be key. Cutting out the convenience foods that are prepackaged will make a difference.

Meal Prep

I plan to not only eat better food, but prep ahead of time to avoid the mad dash to find something to eat, resulting in a bad choice. Making a variety of things ahead of time will make it so I don’t have to stick to a specific menu, but have healthy options available.

Get Active

I am not able to get out road running that I used to love doing, so instead, I am going to be more active by walking our dog and playing with the kids outside. Also, I may do some workouts at home from the BodyRock website. I have done this in the past and it is great because you don’t need equipment and can do it in your living room. To make it work it has to be activities I can do with the kids, or something done at home after they go to bed.

Drink More Water… and Less Coffee

I really need to focus on this one. I hate drinking water. I am picky when it comes to what I will and won’t drink. Putting frozen fruit in my water usually helps with this but this is definitely something I struggle with. I know the benefits, I just hate water. Coffee is my go to. And on that note… I also need to drink less coffee.  If I drank black coffee it wouldn’t so bad… but I don’t. I drink nice and creamy cups of heaven. Cutting down on coffee and replacing it with tea (which I enjoy black) will help me.

Think Positive – Pray – Relax

My thoughts have an impact on my overall lifestyle. If I am positive and not stressed, I am healthier. When I am stressed or things are out of balance I tend to eat more and live more of an unhealthy lifestyle. Thinking positively about what I am trying to do and stopping my “this is too hard” thoughts is important. Praying and looking to the Bible for inspiration is also a helpful tool for me.


Who else is going through this “I need to lose my Mom/Baby Weight” feeling? Do you have tips for me?  Do you want to join me? 

Every time I post about my Healthier Me journey, I will post it to the Category “Becoming a Healthier Me” for easy reference. Feel free to click on that Category in the menu to the right to see all posts about the journey.

*Edited to add:  Anyone who would like to join in simply blog about it and add the tag “Healthier Me” to your post (like I have now added). We can all support each other easy if we all use the tag.


Thank you Mom1978 for getting this topic on my mind (well, even more so) with this blog post.


PS – I know this doesn’t have really anything to do with my journey to become a Foster Parent – but right now overhauling my house to get ready has put me in a “I need to take charge of my life” mood… which has resulted in me wanting to get healthy before I fully enter the foster parenting world since I assume I will have more things to focus on then — and is also why I have the last day of training as my deadline to make it happen. 

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A Parent’s Name

Mommameesh.wordpress.com

Unicorn

That is what my children call me when I am not responding to “Mom” fast enough, or they are in a silly mood. I give them credit, calling me Unicorn gets my attention and we have a laugh, so it works.

How exactly does one get the name Unicorn you may ask? Well, one day I was exhausted and had heard “Mom” one too many times (it happens). I jokingly said I was going to change my name and then my son decided he would give me a new name, it became a game. He chose Unicorn, so we rolled with it.  He likes to name things. A stuffed bunny he sleeps with is named President Snoozefield, so I am kind of glad he chose Unicorn for me, it could have been much worse!

Whenever they call me Unicorn I wonder what my future foster children will call me. Mom, Michelle… Unicorn? I plan to foster school-aged children so I think I may leave it up to them to decide what to call me and decide what they are comfortable with.

What do your children call you?


Our First Family Camping Trip

First family camping trip

When I was young we didn’t go camping, it just wasn’t something we did. I never felt like I missed out on it, but wanted to try it one day with my kids to see what all the fuss was about.

My kids LOVED it. We only booked two nights at a local Ontario Park to try it out and ended up leaving the second evening due to a thunder storm rolling in, but the kids can’t wait to do it again! They are already planning next year’s trip – which they wanted to be for the whole summer. (sorry kids, Momma has to work so she can afford these little trips!)

Can’t help but imagine how I could have one, maybe two more kids with us next year!

Here are some things I have learned from our first camping trip that I will bring forward to next year’s trip:

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