Cancelled!

After an internal review of the Aboriginal Adoption Online training, the Executive Director has decided to cancel the September 14, 2015 session, in order to update the curriculum to provide the most up to date and relevant training experience for participants. Once a new date has been determined for the training we will be in touch with you to inform you of the new date.

— excerpt from an email from the programs coordinator at Indigenous Perspectives Society.

I am bummed. Not heart-broken, because this is an optional course and we have a ton of other things going on in our lives right now, but I am certainly bummed. I haven’t contacted our social worker yet to find out what this means in terms of our wanting to be considered to adopt First Nations / Métis children, but from where I am sitting it seems as if we don’t have any options that would make us eligible. The course that was cancelled is the only way.

Hopefully they’ll come up with a replacement in the next few months?

*sigh*

In other news, the husband and I have decided to attend an information session called “LGBTQ: Your Path To Parenthood” which is being put on by Acubalance Wellness Centre and Olive Fertility Clinic. We’ve shut the door on surrogacy right now, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop learning about our options! It’s a free session, and it will also help us get to know other queer families. Which we need to do, because most of our friends with children have relatively traditional family compositions. 🙂

Advertisements

Intake… complete!

We had our intake appointment today, and I have a few thoughts that I want to get out before I forget them:

  • Our intake social worker is awesome. We want to keep her! She says normally we’d get passed along to someone else after our AEP (Adoption Education Program), but that she is going to try to keep us. So, the feeling is mutual. She was friendly, obviously educated on queer families, and we spent nearly two hours with her, chatting and going through her checklists.
  • We made a few missteps in our Adoption Questionnaire, but that’s to be expected — the terms aren’t explained very well, and we get to resubmit the form after our AEP anyhow.  We learned a lot today about access orders and polysubstance addictions, let me tell you.
  • She recommended us to the AEP, and we’re starting in October! From the AEP website:

    The AEP-Online takes place over 13 weeks and covers the legal, social and emotional aspects of adoption. Because the program is online, lessons are taught through a variety of media and assignments can be completed at your convenience.

  • Our AFABC support person forgot to send us one of the forms we had to fill out, so we did it on the spot. Oops, guess that criminal record check is pretty important! 🙂
  • She explained that the fact that neither of us has lived out of province gives us an advantage — there’s extra paper for if you have, and apparently it’s a giant pain. Glad to have dodged that bullet.
  • We’re almost a third of the way through the process!  Eeee!
  • I wasn’t surprised by any of her questions, even though she asked a lot. Research saves the day! She told us what the homestudy process was going to be like, and I didn’t learn anything new. She asked about our mental health, our employment, the number of bedrooms in our house, pets, other people living with us, and the big question: why adoption. I’m going to do a post later on about why we have chosen to adopt though this particular path, because it’s pretty important.
  • I *was* surprised by my reaction to her question about concurrent planning — this is where you foster a child with the possibility that it will lead to adoption, with no guarantee. There are a few situations where this could happen, such as a mother leaving her newborn in the care of the ministry who has no living family, or if a child is being placed due to a disrupted adoption. Initially, I had a strong negative reaction to this idea, for the same reasons I don’t want to be a foster parent. How would I feel if I become attached to a child, only to have to give them to someone else? But as our social worker explained more about it to us, I realized that it could be a possibility. Husband was surprised that I was even considering it, but I really am. More research is required.
  • She encouraged us to look at each of the “yes or no” options on a case by case basis, rather than ruling things out from the start. Some of our “no” answers turned into “maybe” answers before we even got out of her office, which feels right. If, for example, we said no on our form to a child with ADHD, we may be missing out on the right child for us, because they would never be matched with us, and there are a lot of conditions that present like ADHD but may be something else entirely, like abuse or trauma.
  • I am so excited. 🙂
  • Oops, one more thing: since we are open to adopting a Metis or First Nations child, we need to take another education program through Indigenous Perspectives Society, called the Adoption Online Course. It’s a hefty financial commitment, but we’re going to do it. We’re also going to take a number of other courses through AFABC in the fall.

I am sure more will come later — we don’t start our AEP until October, and I plan on doing a bunch of research in the meantime, especially about concurrent planning and the homestudy process.

So. Excited. 🙂

Ominous and Looming

We are married. 🙂

We had a perfect wedding day (aside from the heat, aarrghh) — we were surrounded by our nearest and dearest, who unfailingly supported us, made us laugh, cried with us, and danced their tails off at the end of the day. I could go on forever and a day about how wonderful the day was, and how lovely our mini-honeymoon was, but there is something even bigger than that, ominous and looming: our adoption intake appointment, which is in 5 days.

I know that it’s just a “getting to know you” appointment, and I know that we just have to be ourselves, but I am nervous. This is step four, and (hopefully) step 5, in our 16 step process. I want it to go smoothly, I want to like our social worker, and I want us to show her the best parts of who we are: but the whole idea just makes me go all quakey inside.

If anyone out there has gone through this, can you offer some words of advice or encouragement? There is a dearth of blogs for people who have gone through the adoption process through MCFD in British Columbia, and I feel as if I am casting around aimlessly in my Google searches.

Intake!

After we mailed the giant pile of paperwork to our social worker, I decided to put adoption out of my head for a bit. We are getting married later this month (just over 2 weeks to go) and I figured I should re-focus on the wedding and honeymoon plans. I finished reading two of the books I ordered from Amazon, and then put the other ones aside for later.

My efforts succeeded! I got a chunk of wedding stuff done, had a lovely afternoon tea with my wedding attendants (including my sister, who is my maid of honour, who came from out of town), enjoyed two BBQ celebrations, and did some planning for our honeymoon.

And then, yesterday, we got a call from our social worker. I was at work, but she managed to get through to my fiancé, who stepped out of a meeting to take her call. Aaaaaaaand… we have our intake appointment scheduled for the end of July! It’ll be only five days after we get home from our mini-honeymoon (we have a bigger one planned in August) and I’ll be working until 7am the day of our appointment (which is at 10am, so you do the math on how much sleep I’m going to get), but I am not letting any of that bother me–even sleep deprived and frazzled, I am sure it’s going to go well. 🙂

Step 3 done, bring on step 4!

Oh, and a reminder.  If you want to see a summary of where we’re at in our adoption process, please check out the process summary page.  I update it frequently. 🙂

Books!

I am a genealogy nerd. Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve been practically obsessed with family trees–first, my own, and then later, the family trees of friends. Genealogy requires a lot of research: reading, note-taking, meticulous citations. Hours and hours of time spent in libraries, on websites, in cemeteries and city archives, and curled up in my living room with a book and a highlighter.

If I’m not studying something related to genealogy, I’m diving into something else involving research–it’s kinda my thing. Most recently, it’s been wedding planning. Our wedding is in just over three weeks, and everything is pretty much done, so in the past few weeks, I’ve switched gears to adoption research.

Oh boy, I have so much to learn.

I’ve been reading articles on the AFABC website and doing endless Google searches on attachment, openness, LGBTQ adoption, and anything else I can think of. I’ve read the current issue of Focus On Adoption so many times that I think I have it memorized. I dug out my copy of The Kid and read it again for the millionth time.

Last month, I picked up a copy of Attaching in Adoption by Deborah D. Gray. I hadn’t done a lot of research on the author, but the back of the book looked good, so I figured I’d give it a shot. It completely blew my mind. I realized only a few pages into the first chapter that I have so so so much to learn about this whole new world we’re stepping into.

Which, as a research nerd, thrills me to my toes. As a prospective adoptive parent, it’s somewhat sobering to realize the depth and breadth of what I need to learn, but I feel optimistic. Which is a good thing, because the following books arrived on our doorstep from Amazon yesterday:

I can’t wait to read them! And when I am done these four books, I am going to order a few more off Amazon. I have another dozen or so in my shopping cart. Yep, I really am a research nerd. 🙂

It’s the middle of the night, my husband-to-be and cat are fast asleep, and I have hours to kill until I need to sleep before my night shift tonight. Time for a cup of tea with my new stack of books. 🙂

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork

I get the feeling that the stack of papers on our dining table is just the beginning.

We got an email back from our social worker on Monday, and finally had some time to sit down together on Wednesday to fill in the few blanks we had left.  And now it’s done!  I’m going to scan everything for posterity, and then mail it off today.

Aaaaaand then back to the waiting.  Waiting for my newest round of adoption-themed Amazon purchases to arrive, waiting for our social worker to process our paperwork, waiting for our wedding to be over and done with (one month to go, so there’s a little stress on that front).

This isn’t really a complaint. I know there will be a lot of waiting, and I am actually happy about it. If everything happened in close succession, there wouldn’t be time to process and think and plan and research. Which are things that I love doing, and things that need to happen.

And so. Time to redirect our focus back to the wedding and honeymoon, for the time being. 🙂

Queer femme dad

I just realized that as I start participating in discussions on adoption websites and blogs, more people will be viewing this website. And those people will be strangers. And so, I thought it might be a good idea to explain a bit more about myself, and why the words ‘queer’ and ‘femme’ and ‘dad’ are in the title of this blog.

To start, a little history/etymology:

Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual or cisgender. Originally meaning strange or peculiar, queer came to be deployed pejoratively against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late-19th century. Beginning in the late-1980s, queer scholars and activists began to reclaim the word to establish community and assert a politicized identity distinct from the gay political identity. Queer may be used by those who reject traditional gender identities as a broader, less conformist, and deliberately ambiguous alternative to LGBT.

From Urban Dictionary:

Femme: n.) A gender identity in which someone (female, male or other) has an awareness of cultural standards of femininity and actively embodies a feminine appearance, role, or archetype. It is usually–but not always–associated with a gay or queer sexual identity/sexuality. It is usually more accentuated and intentional than a straight female gender identity or gender presentation and often challenges standards of femininity through exaggeration, parody or transgression of gender norms.

From Miriam-Webster:

Dad: noun: a person’s father

Clear as mud? Well, okay, I’ll try a little harder. 🙂

I am a femme man. I have a lot of mannerisms that are traditionally considered to be feminine. I wear the occasional bit of makeup when getting dressed up for something fancy. I throw fabulous dinner parties while wearing my apron. I consider my femininity to be central to my personal identity. I am not ashamed of the fact that I talk with my hands. I look great in glitter. I covet jewelry the way my male co-workers covet new golf clubs. And much, much more.

I also a queer man.  I like this word better than ‘gay’ a lot of the time (although I tend to use ‘gay’ to describe myself when I am talking to people who may be less educated about queer culture as a way of skipping some unnecessary questions and strange looks) because it feels more expansive and welcoming, to me, and also is a word that has particular meaning in the GLBTQ community that I am a part of.  It allows for muddiness, for grey areas, for ambiguity, and I like acknowledging that gender and sexuality aren’t black and white.

One day, I hope to be someone’s father.  This part should be pretty self-explanatory. 🙂

And so: I chose to highlight these things in the title of my blog, because they are core parts of my identity, and they are things that make me rare (as far as I can tell) in the adoption blogging world. If anyone out there has any questions, please let me know.