Sunday, April 30, 2006

We're back from Astoria - well, we were actually back the day before yesterday. We had a great lazy Saturday at home after all this traveling and uproar. Today we're back into the swing of things with Dungeons and Dragons happening this afternoon.

First, though, we have a bike ride planned for this morning. Davan will be riding on the back of our family tandem with DH captaining for the first time. She's ridden on the back of a tandem before though - our dearly departed "Black Bomber" which was sadly stolen from in front of our local Winco 6 months ago.

Davan's up and we're off to grab a bite to eat before our bike ride.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I'm back from my visit with Chris. It was great to see her, as usual, but a more stressful than usual trip with twice daily trips to the hospital for her brother, who is on a course on IV antibiotics. We still managed to get in three trips to the gym - one for racquetball, which is a favorite of mine and a new interest for Chris - many card games, some shopping, some eating out and some boyfriend meeting. Mike is a really nice guy whom I enjoyed meeting.

This is a turn around day for me. I'm running errands, doing laundry, unpacking and repacking. Tomorrow Davan and I are off to Astoria for a few days to share my mom's hotel while she's there on a business trip. We were supposed to leave this evening, but it was feeling too rushed, so we're putting it off a day.

It's just as well we're leaving tomorrow because I spoke with Barbara (our case worker) and she wants to meet tomorrow to give updates on some kids and hand over some paper work. We should hear more about Alexis, which is exciting!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Another topic I touched on earlier is the adoption selection committee process here in Oregon. Perhaps an overview of the entire process might be interesting.

When a person/couple decides that they are interested in adopting, they have some choices about what route to go. For us, we specifically wanted to adopt an older (3+) child from foster care. We checked into going through the state and private companies. We opted to go through the state. Sometimes I wonder if this was the right decision, as it seems like things move more quickly for people who go through private companies. However, this is what we decided and, at this point, we're planning on seeing it through.

So, we contacted the state at their foster/adopt information line. We were sent some written information and signed up for an informational class about adopting. At this first class, we learned about the process and a little bit about what to expect of the kids who are available.

Having decided to proceed, we started classes. These classes are designed for both foster and adoptive parents. There were 10 classes over 10 weeks - for us it was every Wednesday evening. This was when we started telling people what we were doing because we needed places for Davan to go on these Wednesday evenings. The classes were surprisingly interesting. I say surprisingly because I felt well read on the subject of adoption. Being a reader, I'd read everything I could get my hands on. In addition, I feel well educated about parenting, having read much on this topic, as well, not to mention having hands on experience here.

This said, I didn't learn a lot that was new in the classes, but I thought they did a really good job of presenting basic information to prospective adopters/foster parents. There was a class on positive parenting, a class on development (and how kids who've been neglected and/or abused differ in their development), a class on the effects of alcohol on fetus (worse and longer lasting than most illegal drugs) and so forth.

Meanwhile, as we were taking the classes, we were also filling out our homestudy questionnaire. My questionnaire ended up being over 40 pages when it was all printed out. DH's was about 30. I guess I'm just more verbose. The questions are very comprehensive - having to do with your childhood, your family, your parenting practices (provided you have kids already), your relationship with your spouse (provided you have one), your emotional life, your children (if you have them) and so on.

At the end of the classes, we went to an adoption class. At this class, I must say, we didn't learn much that was new. They went over again what the next steps in the process were and we could ask questions about whatever we liked. We also turned in our homestudy questionnaires.

Once classes and questionnaires were turned in, we became the responsibility of a case worker's. Our case worker was assigned to us, but we did know a couple who had previous contact with a case worker and handed their questionnaire to this case worker directly.

At this point, the idea is that your case worker will contact you and set up a first meeting, usually at your house. We waited and waited and then called our trainer (the person who taught the classes). Another week went by. We called again. Then we got the call. Our case worker was Barbara and she was coming in a week.

The next step is more paper work. A financial report needs to be filled out, references given, a physical done and a doctor's assessment procured. Once the subject of the study (us) have this done, the case worker sets up interviews with each parent. Sadly, even though we were very quick about this paperwork, it took a long time until our interviews were set up. Barbara is a very nice lady and seems to really want to do her best for her families. We've really valued her input about prospective children. However, I think she is either very overworked, could use a little more organization or both. We've had a lot of periods of waiting longer than seemed necessary in this process. At our informational meeting, we were told that we should be paper ready about 4-6 months from then depending on how quickly we finished our classes, did our paperwork and on our case worker. It was 10 months even though we often dropped paperwork off the very next day after it was given us.

Anyway, we got our interviews done. Basically, all we did was go over our questionnaires in more detail. Then we had an interview together where we went over our financial paper work and basically reviewed the next steps. The next step was waiting for Barbara to write up our homestudy. Basically, this seems to be a report on all of our information that had been collected. This is the document sent to children's case workers when we are interested in a child and is used by them to determine if we are a good match. This was another long wait for us.

We were finally paper ready in early November of 2005 and got to start looking at potential kids for placement. This is when we get into the whole committee thing and how kids are places here in Oregon, but I think I'll get to that in another post, as Chris is on her way home to have lunch and get on with our visiting.
I am currently at Chris' place, chilling out while she gets some work done.

I thought I'd fill in some information I touched on previously. First, the whole stay at home mom thing. Davan and I spend a very little part of our time at home. In a typical week, we've got Girl Scout meetings on Mondays, book group or craft/game group on Tuesdays, skiing on Wednesdays (in the proper season, of course), Davan's play rehearsal on Thursday mornings, game day on Thursday afternoons (this does mostly take place at my house, so I guess I am home for this at least), and frequently a play date or other outing (swimming, OMSI, Children's Museum, ect) on Friday. Of course, we also have regular errands to run. We go to the library a couple of times a week, minimum. Grocery shopping is usually done together during the day. Running to the bank, going to pick up paper work from our case worker in regards to the adoption and picking up food from the co-op delivery at a friend's house or from the CSA farm can also be regular outings.

While our list of activities often puts people's minds to ease about the "socialization question", which we homeschoolers are frequently confronted with, it also causes people to say, "Well, when, then, do you fit in school?"

We don't have to find time to fit in school because we believe there are things to be learned in all aspects of life. Trips to the grocery store, for example, as lessons in economics, math, nutrition, reading, writing (we always use a list) as well as offering opportunities to socialize with people outside of our family.

I'm sure I'll rant more about this sort of thing, but that's enough of that for now.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'm off this weekend to visit my best friend, Chris. Davan and DH are all set for a father/daughter weekend. I'm excited to go, but still need to get through Davan's Peter Pan play rehearsal this morning before I'm off. I've been letting her sleep in because she was up late last night due to nerves with the Peter Pan performance happening this evening.

We've gotten some good news in regards to the adoption! There's a 7 year old girl who's case worker wants to take us to committee! Yay! However, we haven't received all of the information on this little girl yet and are not allowed to commit until we do, which is a wise thing. I'll explain more another time about how the committee process works here in Oregon.

Monday, April 17, 2006

So, my first post for the Mournful Cry of the Laundry. First I guess I'll share with you the reason for the name. I emailed a friend and when I mentioned that I had to go tend to the mournful cry of the laundry. She replied, saying that "The Mournful Cry of the Laundry" sounded like the perfect title for the memoirs of a stay at home mom.

And that, I'm sure, gives you a clue as to who I am. While the term "stay at home" is a bit of a non-sequitur, that is my title. My DH, 8 year old daughter and I live in Gresham, Oregon. For those unfamiliar with the area, Gresham is a suburb of Portland.

We are a homeschooling family - particularly of the unschooling variety.

We are hoping to add to our family soon. We're in the (long, drawn out) process of trying to adopt a child from the foster care system here in Oregon.

I imagine I will mostly post about homeschooling and adoption. We shall see where it all leads, though.

I was inspired to start a blog after enjoying smooed food.