Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Our Adoption & Foster Care Timeline

Today is the 3rd anniversary of starting our adoption process!
I always knew that adoption processes can be long and drawn out, but when we started 3 years ago with an adoption consultant, we expected ours to take under a year. Little did we know the plans God had for our family. Here is our journey through the adoption, then foster care, then adoption through foster care process! I'll bold the parts about our now sons so you can see how our journey was unfolding simultaneously.

September 26, 2014- Hire adoption consultant and announce to the world that we are adopting!

November 2014- First and Second home study meetings

January 8, 2015- Home study approved! We can officially present our profiles to expectant parents.

January 21, 2015- Our profile is finished and mailed off to the first  mother. 

January 23, 2015- Our profile is presented to that mother. 

January 23, 2015- Our sons are born! (of course we'll have no idea for almost another year!) 

January 30, 2015- We were given our first "no" as that mom chose another family to parent her baby. 

February-May, 2015-We present our profile to 6 or 7 more expectant mothers during this time and waited not so patiently. The anxiety was strong, and the weeks were very emotional and trying. 

March 2015- Our sons were released from the NICU and into a foster home a few miles away from us. 

May 2015- We decide to take a short break from presenting our profile to expectant mothers. We had been pretty much constantly presenting and it was taking over our lives. We prayed a lot during this time. Foster care kept coming up in different ways, something we thought we'd NEVER do. Strangers kept mentioning it, we kept hearing random stories from friends of friends, etc. We started to consider the possibility. 

June 2015- Attended an informational meeting for foster care, had our background checks done and sat on the idea of foster care for awhile. 

July 2015- Our backgrounds were checked and passed, and we were given opportunities for class dates. We chose a class starting in November 2015. 

August 2015- We received a call from the agency asking if we would like to join a class starting that week, where they had a family back out. Yes! 

August-October 2015- 10 weeks of foster care classes, home studies and licensing. Meanwhile, we are still receiving situations from our adoption consultant to consider. 

November 2015- Last foster care home study visit. 

December 26, 2015- Receive our foster care license in the mail! 

December 30-January 1- Do respite care for 2 different sets of foster children to get our feet in the door.

January 6, 2016- We go "on hold" with our adoption consultant for 18 months while we see what happens with foster care. 

(hours later) January 6, 2016- Receive a call about 11 month old twin boys needing a new foster home. Call my husband to talk it over. Say yes! 

January 7, 2016- Talk to their social worker and current foster mother for the first time. See my boys' faces for the first time!

January 9, 2016- Our sons come to live with us! 

Late January, 2016- Court date scheduling termination of parental rights (TPR) trial for March.

March, 2016- TPR trial is postponed due to the county attorney having a family emergency.

May 2016- TPR trial finally occurs. Judge says she will give a written ruling.

May 2016-September 2016- Waiting on judge's ruling. Never receive one. Birth family visits occur 3x/week.

September 2016- Court. Judge says she will make a decision soon.

January 2017- Court. Judge rules from the bench. Birth parent's rights are terminated.

March 2017- Case moves to the adoption unit after 45 day "hold".

April 2017-We meet with adoption worker for the first time. She tells us she may move the boys and their half brother to a new home.

May 2017- Meeting with higher ups, fighting every which way we can.

May 2017- Court.

Rest of May 2017- Fighting, waiting, praying.

June 2017- Fighting, waiting, praying.

June 9, 2017- Our "on hold" status with our adoption consultant is expiring and we decide to close our contract.

June 27, 2017- We go in to human services for our adoption interview, which goes very well.

July 2017- Fighting, waiting, praying.

July 19, 2017- We receive the call that the boys are ours forever! Rejoicing and in complete disbelief. <<This is NOT the way we thought things would end up going based on the few months prior.

July 20, 2017- Sign papers with intent to adopt.

July 26, 2017- We hire our lawyer, sign papers, and apply for the boys new birth certificates.

July 27, 2017- Papers are submitted and we receive our adoption date!

August, 2017- Waiting and celebrating!

September 13, 2017- Adoption Day! 

Friday, September 15, 2017

The First Day of the Rest of Our Lives

This week, we legally became a family of 6! 
The boys we have considered our sons for the last 20 months gained our last name and we promised to love them for the rest of their lives in front of a courtroom packed with family and friends. 
We are forever thankful. 
Day to day life won't change much, but we are relieved and thrilled that our boys are staying forever! 
Thank you to all of those who supported us over the last 3 years of our adoption and foster care process! It is complete! 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

First Day Of Kindergarten!

All of my kids started school this past Wednesday! 

My little guys are heading to a mother's day out type program a couple mornings a week, and their first day was Wednesday! They did great and the teacher said they didn't cry or fuss at all. They had fun and were great helpers. I think they will continue loving it there!
After we dropped off the boys, we stopped for a little first day of school treat (I mean, we drove right past a coffee shop, so we pretty much HAD to stop...) and then got home and started on school. Since we stayed a little longer at the boys school and stopped for treats, we didn't get started until about 10:30.
The girls were eager to get started! They both enjoy learning and think school is really fun. So do I ;) 
We started with Math. We are using Math U See and there are sections A-G for each lesson. I assume this is meant to be broken up by day, or maybe a few per day to get each lesson done in a week, but since it was basically just counting and my girls have already mastered that, they just kept going and ended up doing all of the pages A-G in about 10 minutes. I just hope they don't expect math to always be that easy and fast ;) 
Then we moved onto Bible, which took the longest. The actual material isn't very long, but my girls are really into details while coloring and so on the lesson part (Joseph right now) it would tell part of the story and then say "color Joseph's coat" or whatever, so it took them awhile. I found out over the following days that they really retained the information, so apparently its working and I don't mind it taking awhile if they're learning it! 
I had decided to do Bible in the middle, right before Read Aloud because I knew my girls would want to color the main picture in each Bible lesson, and then they could color it while I read aloud to them from our book, and that ended up being a very wise decision because that's EXACTLY what they wanted to do! We started Pippi Longstocking and are loving it.
After Read Aloud we did language arts. They did very well with this, but man, learning and teaching handwriting is hard and frustrating for everyone! Later on in the week we switched up our schedule and started doing it first and math 3rd and that kept their frustration down a bit since they were just getting started for the day. Hopefully that will keep working! 
After language arts, we started on our Oceans unit. We won't do this every day, and I'm going to try to squeeze it in on days when the boys are at school since we have more quiet and focused time and can get things done a little faster. We made a chart labeling the ocean zones and will keep learning about the zones this coming week before we start on sea creatures. 

It took us right about 2 hours for the first day which seemed about right to me! 
Tomorrow our resource teacher from the school district is coming over to work with my daughters and so we can get to know her. I am looking forward to that! Then later this week, my oldest is going to her first day of enrichment classes at school. I am going to cry all day, but she is so excited (or "nervousited" as she says...so cute) so I can't help but be excited for her. I will miss her so much all day, and let's be real-I'll probably be the first parent in the pick up line ;) We went to visit on Friday and meet her teachers and see her classrooms, locker and lunchroom.
We'll just be getting into the swing of our routine over the next few weeks! I was thinking about possibly doing a "day in the life" type insta story in a week or two to show what a morning of homeschooling is like. If you're interested in seeing that (whenever it happens) follow me @thenataliecook 
Here's to another great week! 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Summer 2017 Part 2

So, when I left off, we had just celebrated the fourth of July. Here's what we've been up to since then!

Playing at the lake...
Lots more park days...
Target trips with mom...
Haircuts for my straight haired babes...

2 more movie nights on the river (girls night to Sing with Mom in July, and Moana with Mom & Dad in August)
Swimming in the wading pool...
Entertaining babies during the girls' piano class...
The girls' first VBS...

Another girl's morning to the free summer movie & lunch at Noodles & Co...

Sweet Corn Festival with Grandma & Gramps (you know you live in the Midwest when....)
(Its a bummer I had to cover up the faces that were actually smiling!)
Feeding animals at the circus...

Watching Daddy's crossfit comp...
The girls' first piano recital...

Visit from the cousins! (Trampoline park, petting zoo, lots of time playing outside, first pedicures, sleepover, and more!) 

And that wraps up our summer! School and activities start this week and we're ready for fall and routine! Summer 2017, you were very good to us! 
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