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Adopting in Ashburn

What began in France moved to Washington, DC and then the suburbs. Let the adventures in Ashburn continue.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Individual Home Study Interview

I recently got to meet with our case-worker for the next step in our home study; the individual interview.

Step 1: Write an auto-biography.
This part came a bit more naturally to me as I (obviously) have some experience writing about my life for others. It was a bit weird though because I was supposed to frame the piece around 13 questions my case-worker was particularly interested in. My tip for those going through the process: be as thorough as possible and don't worry about anyone besides your case manager seeing it. This is just a tool to help them know what to ask you.

Step 2: Try not to freak out as the date approaches.
Wildly, epic-ly failed at this. My advice: Find someone else to tell you how to not get nervous for things that have a big impact but are seriously not that big of a deal, because my husband will confirm that I suck at this. :)

Step 3: Arrive freakishly early.
Stopping for lunch included, there will potentially be absolutely NO traffic the day you finally leave early to get somewhere on time. I'm not complaining, just saying, the fates are probably on your side.

Step 4: Answer super benign questions that make you wonder why you were worried in the first place.
My advice: Do know how old - or at least birth years - for your family. Ask questions that you think of while you are talking. Make it a conversation instead of a ridiculously personal interview.

Step 5: Bond with your case worker.
For me, it was talking about The Fosters (and noticing the Dumbledore wand from her desk was not in the pencil holder anymore). It was helpful to think of her on friendlier terms since she is, you know, helping us pick out our child and all.

It was an overall positive experience. My interview lasted for awhile because I had also brought our next round of finished paperwork and about 30 kids from AdoptUSkids that we thought had potential. (That's a whole other post of thoughts.)

The best part was that I left feeling more expectant than ever. Our child could be with us by this summer. LESS than six months from now! It was a good day to be a future mom.

Love always, Heather

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Hopeful Adventure

There are a LOT of scary things happening in the world right now (particularly if your world is America and you appreciate science and using facts as a method of logical argument). I could focus on that. I am focused on that. But at some point, to have a life I enjoy, I have to talk about the good things happening in my world too.

The best thing happening in OUR world right now is that our family is about to get larger by at least one small person. That's right, we are planning g to adopt through U. S. foster care. We're hoping to adopt a child between four and eleven years old.

So far we have taken classes through Northern Virginia Family Services about how to be a good parent to children coming from the foster system. We gave a large check to Catholic Charities to begin our home study, and we filled out piles of paperwork. The home study is going to a new level this week as I have my first one-on-one interview. I'm anxious and excited to get started.

My motivation for changing the blog name and starting to write about this process is to be an open door to others who are going through the process (or just have questions!). If I was pregnant, I could post pictures of my growing belly or have semi-regular reveals about gender or birth-plans or results of sonograms. Instead, we're going tone working with teams of case managers and advocates to find the perfect addition to our family; a forever family for a child who is waiting to come home.

Adoption does not seem to have quite as much pre-arrival excitement as the nine months of pregnancy. There are few to no women in my social circle who have grown their family this way. There are fears from well-meaning friends and family about what kind of child we "could wind up with." It seems inherently wrong to approach our future child this way - quietly, with professionals, and little to no fanfare.

I wonder about and pray for our future child. I have so many questions for them. I wonder if they will like me or compare me to their biological mother. I can't quite get their room ready yet because our child will arrive with more than just a personality based on movement in the womb, but with a soul that has lived and seen hardships in their short years on this Earth; a soul with opinions and style all their own.

So while I will only mention it where it seems socially acceptable in my circle of friends, here I will talk about this journey. It did not begin by peeing on a stick and I won't have to give up wine or soft cheeses, but my journey to be a mom is just as valid and worthy of celebration. Here I will celebrate and talk about some of the more arduous parts of the process. This is the place where the evolution of our family will be documented. There won't be pictures from the side (though now I am brainstorming how I could make that work in some way) or discussion about my changing body (though I imagine gray hair is probably in my future).

There will be celebration. There is joy. And two adult humans and two sweet dogs are about to get a permanent house guest. Let's get excited!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Self Sabotage

I am amped up and unmotivated simultaneously. I'm hungry, but too lazy to fix myself dinner. There is a strong chance I will eat cake tonight and an equally weak chance I will meet my fitness goal for the day. 

I am looking forward to summer. Theoretically, I will stop sabotaging myself and eat, sleep, and intellectually stimulate myself just as soon as my pool of responsibilities drops from 145 students plus my personal life to just my personal life. 

Perhaps this is less sabotage and more procrastination. Either way, bring on summer. 

Always, Heather

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Wanted: Local Friend (or two?)

The things about living in suburbia, or being in your thirties married without kids, or just being me is this: you know how lucky you are to be who you are and have the experiences you have, and you love your life; but keep hoping that one day you'll fit in. 

It's been a struggle this week, being happy with my social life. It's gorgeous this afternoon. 16 straight days of rain - including this morning - and then the sun was out. The weather clear and the sky a stunning robin's egg blue. If RJ hadn't told me to leave school and get outside and enjoy it, I might still be in the copy room, taking care of business. Instead I'm on the balcony with my pooches enjoying the reprieve from the clouds of gloom. 



Still, my first thought was: what would I even do in the sun? There are no kids to play kickball with or ride bikes. No friends who live close enough to meet for a walk in the park before it gets dark. No buddy to sit in a cafe or at an outdoor table with to enjoy a drink and wind down the week. This is the thing about adult life for me (and maybe other people like me?): it's finally play time and there is no one to share it with. 

It feels like, when you look at Facebook or overhear conversations in the lunchroom, that everyone else has friends. A social life. People who have people. 

I am not a person who easily finds people. There is this thing about my personality that sets people off when they meet me. It's hard to make friends. It's like resting bitch face, but for my soul.  

When I find my people, it's for life. I have a whole village. But sometimes, when my village is scattered to the four corners of the globe, I want to be able to walk into other people's villages and not immediately be considered some kind of threat; or worse, be invisible. 

Basically, I could use a local friend, or better, two. That way, if one has plans, I can still have someone to spend time with. 

When people exclude me, when they group up in force against me, when they ignore me or don't invite me; it hurts.  Because no matter how long the world has been bullying you, it doesn't stop hurting. 

In some very literal ways, it is like I never left middle school. I know enough to not care what people think about what I wear, or what I look like, but my personality? And more than that, when they take my differing opinions, my principles, my ideas and discredit them because they are different from the norm. Different from them. Different from the type of society that elects Donald Trump. How am I supposed to feel about that? Excited? Resigned? Accepting?

I blame this feeling on too much television. If I never watched Friends or Seinfeld or Cheers growing up, I might have thought it was okay to sit on my couch by myself and read a book. Heck, that's what the characters in my favorite books always do! Instead, I wonder where the people are who will just randomly walk through the door and have a story, a plan, an adventure, a problem to solve - something challenging but not so taxing it fits outside a 30 minute plot line - and then we'll relax together until the next adventure comes. 

But life isn't a sitcom, or Dawson's Creek, or Grey's Anatomy. I will spend many nights alone. I will constantly be dragging my work home with me. I will not randomly be able to carpool with people from work all the time. 

Instead, I'll try to focus on having my village all over the world. The ones I can call in multiple time zones, the big adventures every few years and the little mysteries I get to solve everyday (sometimes finding my sunglasses is a 30 minute plot!). What I have is so much. 

Time to be grateful. 

Love always, Heather

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Framing Inside Out

Breakfast this morning was at Duck Donuts in Herndon. RJ claims it was to help give me some inspiration for making my own cake doughnuts at home, but I think he just wanted to see if they were as good as Krispy Kreme (ruling: different kind of doughnut, but definitely closer!).

Today's home adventure: framing all the paintings we rescued from Grandmother's house. 
Don't they look lovely? Two more needed custom mats/frames and should be ready in 3 weeks. It is going to be so challenging to wait to pick a few to hang up until we see them all together!

Then, because that wasn't enough of an adventurous day, we went to go see Inside Out. It was quite good. I tend to think it is more of an older kid to adult appeal, but RJ says it appeals to both differently. 

Now, I have to somehow get in about 6000 steps and make my new FitBit vibrate. Yes, I know it is arbitrary, but totally motivating anyway. 

Off to get my steps!

Love always, Heather


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