Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011.....

What a year of huge life changes 2011 has been! Some of them have been wonderful changes and others have been devestating, but together they've made 2011 a hugely eventful year for us. A brief month-by-month rundown of our 2011....

January

My brother came home for the first time in 5 years! We were super-excited to see him!

February

I won a giveaway over at Dragondreamer's Lair through which I got my awesome Paula Dean Cookware from CSN Stores. The Hubs and I took a Valentine's trip to Savannah. I suffered my first back spasm.

March

Vegas Baby!! The Hubs' boss took us to Sin City and we had a fabulous time. My RE nixed any further treatment until I lost at least 30 lbs. I started a new eating/exercising regime.

April

Night out in Savannah with The Hubs and a good friend (now former). I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

May

I lost a little bit of weight and changed my regime slightly.

June

My dad had a stroke and was admitted to the hospital. We were very worried.

July

My dad eventually is released home from the hospital. I participated in a local musical. I revealed that we had been potentially matched with an expectant mother for adoption!

August

My dad passes away after having a massive heart attack. I'm devestated.

September

I'm still shell-shocked from my dad's death and feel devestated. The Hubs and I move into a new house closer to work. Two of our dogs (one of ours and one of my mom's) died. One was hit by a car, the other was bitten by a snake. Seems like we can't catch a break from the heart-wrenching bits of life.

October

We finally make the call to start the adoption process through the State of Georgia foster care. A random ovarian cyst has me awaiting a referral to a cancer specialist. My dad's headstone is finally erected.

November

My best friend (apart from The Hubs) abandons me to go galivanting off to Afghanistan (okay, so he actually left to take a job, but I miss him!!). I participate in NaBloPoMo. The cancer specialist gives me the all clear. We attend adoption orientation. I turn 33. The Hubs and I celebrate 9 years of wedded bliss. We celebrate Birthdayversary in Savannah.

December

We celebrate our first Christmas without my dad. I spend New Year's Eve cleaning my house and taking down my Christmas decorations in order to start the year out fresh before heading to a New Year's party. We leave the party early and come home to ring in the New Year with Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest and the city of New York on Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve while devouring a bottle of the most delicious champagne I've ever had and wearing funny glasses.

New Year 2012
Happy New Year! Wishing you a stupendous 2012!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Day After The Day After Christmas

I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas! Ours was as good as it could be, all things considering. I really, really missed my Dad, but we had a good day on Christmas Eve with my family.

My mom, sister, niece, brother, The Hubs and I had a traditional Christmas dinner and opened gifts. Then, in the evening, my other niece came over to open her gifts. For the first time as far back as I can remember, there was no arguing on a holiday! It was impressive. Sad that I can say that, I know, but impressive all the same.

On Christmas Day, The Hubs and I spent the first half of the day at our house. We opened gifts from one another and had a great morning with our dog. The Hubs got me a telescope and I'm super-excited about that! And The Hubs loved his Kindle, which I think was an inspired gift from me, if I do say so myself. We each had several other gifts, as well, but those were the biggies.

After spending the morning at home together, we went and met up with my mom and went to the cemetary to spend a little time with my Dad. My mom and I cried and The Hubs was awesome for both of us. I really miss him and his absence was very prominent on Christmas Day.

Once we'd finished visiting with my Dad, The Hubs and I returned to our house and had our Christmas dinner. Having had the traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, ham, dressing, etc the previous day, we decided we didn't want that for Christmas Day. Instead, we had Christmas curry! I made chicken korma, rajma masala and rice. It was delicious!

All in all, our celebrations were very enjoyable. I'm glad we had an easier time than we could have. Made the holiday a lot less difficult to get through.

On a positive note, after another call requesting confirmation our background checks were back, I finally got a call back today from our caseworker. Our background checks are back and everything is clear! We are now in the wait to receive our invite to IMPACT training classes in the New Year! Soooooo excited!!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fruit Basket Volume Two

Looking back at yesterday's post, I realized how boring I made myself sound. The post lacked the wit and charisma I like to imagine myself having, so.....here's another post! The second in two days! I'm impressed with myself, lol!

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Today starts my Christmas break. Four whole, beautiful days away from work. Total bliss. The only bad part is that I have to go back in 4 days. See, I don't really hate my job (at least, not that much). But the work environment has been very stressful lately. There are money worries at my job and there have been layoffs because of this. In fact, two weeks ago (yes, two weeks before Christmas), there were 35 people let go. Our PTO time has been temporarily stopped - both use of and accrual of PTO time - so the time we're taking off for Christmas we will not be paid for. We don't get paid holidays or sick leave or vacation time, only our PTO time, so that's been worrying people. My department's workload has slowed down tremendously over the last few weeks. Basically, everyone is walking on pins and needles and we never know from one day to the next if our job will still be there.

So, yeah, not the greatest. And, to be honest, if we could afford it I would much rather be a housewife/stay-at-home-mom (eventually). But, right now, with plans to adopt and eventually do more treatment - not to mention paying off some bills - that can only be a pipedream. Therefore, it's very important I keep my job. Also, my insurance is with my job. Lots of important reasons to need to stay employed there despite the misery it puts me in.

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Since today is the official start of our Christmas vacation and we are headed out of town tomorrow to complete our Christmas shopping (yes, we are those people, the ones who wait until the very last minute to finish Christmas shopping and then realize one second past too late that we've forgotten something), The Hubs and I are starting our vacation by heading to the movies to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo! We both read the book earlier this year and are looking forward to seeing the film and discussing how it holds up against the book.

The Hubs is also taking me out for one of my rare guilty pleasures: fast food in the form of Zaxbys. Yum, yum. yum! Should be a good evening out!

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As I said, The Hubs and I are headed out shopping tomorrow. I still need gifts for my brother, brother-in-law and niece, as well as finishing up on The Hubs' gifts. We're also going out to eat at The Olive Garden. And that, coupled with Zaxbys and all the Christmas goodies, will mean I really have to get back to watching my food intake after the New Year. I'll admit, since my dad died, I've really fallen out of eating properly. I think I've probably gained back a lot of the weight I lost, so I'll virtually be starting back from scratch. Great. It will be okay, though. I've done it before, so I know I can do it again!

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I need to get some photos of our decorations and get them posted for you. I'm really proud of them, so I will enjoy sharing them with you. Another project for the weekend!

And, with that, I should really get going so we can make our movie! Toodles, my loves!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas ICLW Wishes!

Merry ICLW!

To those who've been with me, I wish you the very merriest of holiday seasons. To those new to my blog, welcome! And may your holiday season also be of the holly, jolly kind!

I'm Lynn or Wistfulgirl, whichever you prefer. I live in South Georgia and I'm married to The Hubs. We recently celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary (coincidentally, the day after I celebrated my 33rd birthday). We've been attempting to start our family for the last 8 years but have so far been unsuccessful. We're currently on a weight-loss sabbatical from TTC - until I lose at least 30 lbs, we won't be doing anymore treatment. After much discussion, we have decided to pursue adoption through foster care. We have had a failed adoption in our past and another, more recent close possibility. However, it has so far not worked out for us.

We have high hopes for the new year, though! We turned in our consents for background checks 5 weeks ago and, so far, have heard nothing back. I called our social worker last week (twice) but have not yet had a call back. It is Christmas-time, though, so I'm guessing it's very busy for the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), so I'll wait until next week and try again.

I'm excited about where I hope our future is carrying us, but still feeling down this holiday season because I lost my Dad 4 months ago and this will be my first Christmas without him. I have a wonderful husband, an awesome dog and a fantastic mother to help me through this though and I know we'll all help one another. I'm looking forward to visiting you all over the next few days! Have a great ICLW!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recap of Adoption Orientation

It seems I’ve already broken my promise to post more frequently and I’m back to my old ways. Sigh. I guess I just have to try harder.

Anyway. Moving on. I have not yet given you the low-down on our progress through foster-adoption yet. We’re (obviously) very early on in our journey. As I stated before, we originally filled out a request online to be added to the list for orientation on October 17, 2011. We were told we would hear from someone within 2 weeks with an invitation to orientation. Two weeks passed and we heard nothing.

On November 1, 2011, I made a call to the local DFCS to find out what the holdup was. I was given the contact number to speak with the adoption coordinator who manages three counties – ours and two neighboring counties. I called to speak to her and was told she wasn’t in, but was instead in another county. I was, however, put through to her voicemail, so I left her a message. I half expected I wouldn’t get a call back, but about 4 hours after leaving the message, she returned my call. I explained why I was calling. She consulted her list of names of people who were waiting to be invited to foster/adoption orientation and we were not on the list! She asked when we had called and I explained that we had actually completed the request online. She explained this was the reason why our names were not on her list. Despite being given the option of completing information online, our names would not be added to the list unless we called the State hotline for information.

So, with a sigh of resignation, I completed that call and placed a call to the State hotline to add our names to the waiting list. After that, things moved a bit quicker! We received an email that evening with foster/adoption information and a week later (on November 8) we received our invite to foster/adoption orientation!
We attended orientation on November 15 and that very evening completed our initial information including our household information, Letter of Intent and consents for background checks. We are now waiting to hear back from our background checks. I expect no problems with this but, since we haven’t heard back from the caseworker yet, I called today to inquire on the status. I got no answer, but left a voicemail so will hopefully have an answer tomorrow.

We were told there would be no more IMPACT training classes in 2011 but once our background checks come back, we’ll be invited to the IMPACT training classes that will be held in the New Year. We are super excited! Hopefully, 2012 will be a fantastic year that holds lots of amazing things for us!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thoughts On What Is Cruelty and What Is Naivety

Something that I've noticed since becoming a foster-adotive mommy-to-be is that I am hyper-aware whenever I hear news stories regarding children being abused, neglected, placed in foster care, etc.

Last night, The Hubs and I had just finished watching The X-Factor and the local news came on (well, as local as it can be for us). One of the leading stories was about a mother and her twin babies found living in a shack with no electricity and no running water. The story went on to say that the 21-year-old mother had the babies lying on a bed with several blankets over them. There was a kerosene heater in the shack, but no kerosene and an electrical cord running to a nearby house.

The mother was taken into custody, arrested on two counts of cruelty to children which are first degree felonies.

Now, I don't have all the details of this case. I don't know the ins and outs, I don't know what else was going on with this family. But I do have some reservations about the way this has been handled.

First of all, the article stated the mother had not contacted anyone for help. I have to ask was she aware she could contact someone? Was she scared that, by contacting DFCS or a shelter, the police would be called and she would lose her children? We have to remember that this mother is only 21-years-old with 5-month-old twin babies. I'm sure she was feeling overwhelmed and out of control. I know what it was like when The Hubs was out of work and there were only the two of us - both in our 30's - to worry about taking care of and it was a serious stress on us. Do we know if she had any family to turn to? Also, do we know for sure she didn't attempt to contact someone with DFCS? Our state-employed social workers are extremely busy these days and things do have the possibility of falling through the cracks. Is it possible that she called but, for whatever reason, her call was not returned?

There may be other factors in play here. As I stated, I do not have all the details. The article stated that the shack was in a known drug area. I can understand the arrest if the mother has spent her money on drugs rather than on taking care of her children. So far, this has not been indicated, but it is possible. However, if the mother has not been involved in criminal activity and has, instead, simply run into extremely hard times with no idea where to turn to, I think the correct path would be to help this family rather than causing more strife for them.

Again, this is not really me making a judgement on what has been done, but more simply me questioning the information that is given out and how it may affect public opinion. I want to know that this family is being treated fairly and that they are not simply being targeted for being poor. It's something I'll be following and I'll try to update you when/if more information is released.