Thursday, December 27, 2007

Homestudy, Check!

Well, our homestudy got approved! What a nice way to end the year. I can't believe it's been 3 months since we've started this process. They said it would take about that long and they were totally right. They sent us a letter with barely a paragraph saying we are approved. Now, I'm not saying I'm not happy to be approved, but after putting us through the ringer of interviews, forms, and recommendations, you'd think there would be a little more fanfare to the completing of our homestudy. I don't know, would a cotillion or an elephant parade be too much to ask?Looking forward into 2008, we have many things to do on the adoption front. We have to go to all of our workshops, prepare a "Dear Birthmother Letter", get a website up, find a pediatrician, and various miscellaneous legal things. I'll try to hit them as they happen. In the meantime, have a Happy New Year next week. Don't make any resolutions you won't stick to!is this what armageddon will look like?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Oh The Weather Outside Is Warm

Hope everyone has a Happy Holiday! We thought about sending a Christmas card but maybe that's something best saved for when SeƱor Toddlersworth arrives. Winter in California isn't the same as Minnesota or Ohio. We miss the snow, but are enjoying the sun. Hopefully our kid will get to enjoy a snow day or two.Please be safe and enjoy the last days of 2007! Here's hoping 2008 brings everyone a little something they want.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Waiting to be Approved

Hope people enjoyed David's entry. Although he chose to call it "David's Dialogue", I thought my suggestions were good too: "Diaper Duty w/David", "Pop Squared", "David's Korner"... But whatever.

It's true, we are done with the interviewing and paperwork for the homestudy! Thanks to everyone who helped out. They said the references are usually the thing that takes the longest, but everyone we asked pulled through and got it in. We know people are busy so we appreciate it big time.
Amy said she just has to write up her report and send it off. Hopefully we will get approved and then we can start the outreach portion of the adoption. More on that as it happens.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

David's Dialogue

David here, with my 1st attempt at this new-found blogging thing all the kids are raging about. Well indeed it has been an eventful few weeks in and outside of the Page St house. Technically we're done with the home study, what part we can do for now anyway. I had my one-to-one interview with Amy Friday the 14th, and she took a look at our facilities. No red or pink flags, in her words, which is either semaphore speak or her way of saying all seems to be a go! We talked about my experiences, my past (fun fun fun, try it sometime), and our ability to host a little one here. She particularly likes the closet space the tyke is going to be getting in that spare room. Who wouldn't? Junior (he or she) has plenty of room for clothes, books, and whatever else he/she plans to own/wear/read/leave lying around for us to stumble over later. But it's exciting. It'll be a big change and luckily all of you will be counted on to help us bring this new person into the world just right. Feel free to sign up for babysitting, diaper changing, or just swinging by to provide us with some adult banter while we navigate teething, crib shopping, and the delicate art of using baby wipes! It'll be a wild ride, but rewarding. Check back for more good reads later.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gloss or Matte?

Check out the new Glossary I added to the right hand column. It's just a bunch of commonly used terms I may be throwing around these parts. If there's anything you want a definition of, do let me know.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Peripheral to the Main Plot

Before getting into too much blog, this installment will be like one of the episodes of The X-Files that wasn't integral to the main story arc but rather supports the world in which the characters live. That is to say, this entry won't be about aliens and government conspiracy, it will be about a man that can shoot lightning bolts out of his fingers.

In preparation for next week's visit with Amy our social worker, we've started to reorganize our house a little bit. We live in a 2 bedroom condo in San Francisco so space is limited. Our second bedroom used to be our playground for all of our musical endeavors but now it's to be Junior's LITERAL playground. I have to go through everything in there with a fine-toothed comb and purge anything that's no longer needed.It feels good to get rid of a bunch of crap and the funny thing is, if we didn't decide to adopt, who knows how long our house would have gone without an upheaval. Stuff just piles up over the years and tends to become ignored after a while... The cats are not feeling the transition.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We Just Talked About Stuff

This morning I had my individual interview with Amy our social worker. To my surprise, I wasn't nervous at all. However, in the middle of the interview, I felt as though someone had stuffed a handful of saltines into my mouth thus removing all saliva and making it difficult to swallow.The interview touched on a myriad of subjects both personal and practical. The personal questions were about my childhood, family life, school years, career choice, dating history... Stuff I don't normally have to speak about. Especially in such depth. As I've said before, It was a little bit like therapy.Then there were practical questions, like how we expect our lives to change after having the baby, our thoughts on discipline, what kind of parents we hope to be. It really made me examine the whole prospect of being a dad and luckily, I didn't feel like running out of the building screaming. In fact, the opposite happened. I left the interview with a sense of calm and serenity

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Let's Give Thanks

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. If you're Canadian, sorry this greeting is so late. Not much to report this week. The only notable thing is that our social worker asked us if it was ok to use our interviews to train a new person. I guess that means she thinks we'll pass the homestudy! That, or she wants to show the new person what a lost cause looks like.

Anyway, hope everyone enjoys their turkey day... Wear loose pants.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Done and Done

Today I mailed off the last of the paperwork. It was a pretty big stack of papers but once it's done, it's done. The reason it took a while is because I had to go to my doctor to get a TB test and then wait 2 days to get the results... Negative!

This homestudy process is really moving along. Now it's just a matter of getting our interviews done. Two individual interviews and then one more couple interview. Also, our caseworker is going to come visit our house to make sure it's suitable for a baby. I guess that means we'll have to cover up the pit of broken glass in the hallway.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Work It

We're diligently working on our paperwork and it's going well so far. The hard one is the expense report. We have to do a budget of everything we spend our money on in a month and see if that number is less than the amount we bring in. We also have to show them employment verification, give a criminal record statement, and get a TB test. This begs the question, how come people who just get pregnant don't have to do all this stuff? I guess that's the way the life cookie crumbles.David has signed us up for some Workshops that are also required. The first one is the Preparing for Domestic Open Adoption workshop. It is a 5 night seminar that will guide us through the process. Topics include:

Resolving infertility
Making the decision to adopt
Special issues in raising adopted children
Understanding adoption from the perspective of adoptive parents, birthparents, and the adult adoptee.

The other required workshop is called Transracial Adoption. That one talks about how to be sensitive to the cultural heritage of a child that is not the same race as us. Since David and I are not the same race, most likely the baby will be of a different ethnic makeup than at least one of us.
Finally, there are several optional workshops that we will probably try to attend... Newborn Care, LGBT Adoptive parenting, Infant CPR, etc. I figure, the more we know, the better off we'll be.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Reality Writes

Last night was a big one! We went to Dopsh Cons (new nickname) to meet with Amy our social worker. She was super nice and answered every one of our newbie questions. She and her partner adopted through Adoption Connection so she's been in the exact same situation as us. My observation with social workers is that they have kind eyes and gentle voices.

First she outlined the process going forward. As a gay couple we'll face different but not necessarily harder challenges in the duration. One challenge might be if we are matched in a state with laws forbidding LGBT adoption. We might have to bring the birthmom to California to have the baby. I guess we'll cross that bridge if we come to it.

Next she did our first pair interview. The questions were about our relationship mostly. How we met, what we like and dislike about the other person, what we do for fun. It's a little strange getting interviewed about personal topics. It almost felt like therapy but the good news was, digging deep didn't wet the well with tears if you catch my drift.

Finally, she gave us our sizable stack of forms to fill out. Most of them are just signature required but some of them are more interesting. I'd say the two big ones are the personal REFERENCES and the personal PREFERENCES. Yes that's right. The references are to be 3 people who are not relatives filling out a questionnaire about if they think we'd be good parents. The preferences form is what situation we would be comfortable being matched with. You really have to do a lot of self examination with the latter form. We are faced with a multitude of factors that could result in any number of congenital defects or pre-natal substance exposure. But we only get this one life so we're throwing all caution to the wind, yo. We're just hoping the baby arrives healthy and happy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallow's Eve

Happy Halloween! I can't wait to dress our baby up in this:

with this being a close second:But seriously folks, tomorrow is our first meeting with our social worker. I hope it goes smoothly. I'm doing my best to keep the stress level low as I'm sure it will be increasing in the next several months.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Next Up, Forms

They got back to us! We received a package in the mail with information on the next step. We have an appointment with our caseworker next week for our first interview.

Apparently our immediate future consists of filling out a bunch of forms. Examples include but are not limited to:

- Child Placement form
- Adoption Expenses form
- Financial Statement
- Personal References
- Medical form
- Employment Verification form
- Criminal Record Statements
- Grievance Procedure form

Forms, shmorms! Sounds like a lot of work but I secretly like filling things out. Plus I gots to keep my eyes on the prize. This weekend we went to our friends' baby's first birthday party. She seduced me with her cuteness.

like this?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Still patiently awaiting news from Adoption Connection to see if they'll take us on as clients. I know they said a couple weeks until we'd be assigned a case worker but it would nice to get this thing rolling!

In semi-adoption news, David and I have decided to start a joint bank account for all things baby. It was easy to get David to agree to this since the Cleveland Indians are steadily trekking towards the World Series. (note to self: when he's happy, he'll say yes to anything)

hmm... might be time to rethink that logo

Why don't we already have a joint account you ask? We currently are not Domestic Partners but we've been solid for a miraculous 6 years. Who needs that paper anyway right? Actually, we're still deciding on the best path to take in cementing our relationship. According to California Law, if we become domestic partners, we can adopt together as a single unit instead of having to each do an individual adoption. Sweet!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Wait a Second

I called Adoption Connection today to see if they received our application and they have! The woman on the phone broke it down to me thusly:

7-10 days to process the application
2 weeks until a case worker is assigned to it

So I guess this is just the first in what will probably be a long string of wait periods.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Nurse, I need stats, STAT!

Since announcing our intention to adopt, we have gotten a huge outpouring of support from our friends and family. Thanks everyone!

I've also been getting a lot of similar questions so I thought I'd share some of the statistics our agency has given us. These numbers are specifically from 2006 and for Adoption Connection only.

- Average time to complete an adoption was 12 months. They said to expect anywhere from 6-18 months.

- Ethnicity of babies placed breaks down like this:
African American - 7
Asian/Pacific islander - 2 (but keep your fingers crossed mom and dad)
Caucasian - 29 (I know, right?)
Mixed - 12
Hispanic - 1
East Indian - 0
Native American - 0

- Average of 9 families per year leave the program due to various circumstances. Reasons include getting pregnant, moving out of the area, or just changing their minds.

- LGBT couples make up 14% of families who adopted. Singles were at 6%. Convicted criminals and children tied at 0%

- 60% birthmoms reside in California.

- Cost varies but ranges from $10,000-$25, 000. It depends on the mother's situation.

This one is not a stat, but I got asked a lot... No, we don't get to choose the sex of the child but that's ok with us. Either is fine. Although, David wants an athlete so it has to be really strong. We do get to specify ethnicity, medical condition, etc. Obviously the more open you are, the easier it will be to make a match.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Ain't Just Whistlin' Miscellany

Just a quick note... I realized I had locked the comments from people unless you had a blogspot account. I just opened it up to anyone so feel free to comment without having to sign up.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Applying Ourselves

OK, here it is! After getting our toes wet with orientations, we are now fully diving in by sending in our home study application. Up until now, the whole idea of adoption has been somewhat theoretical. With this application, it's going to be real.
this is how it went down...

$250 non-refundable application fee

Forms include the Contract, Live-scan, and lengthy, deep-delving questionnaire.

Note steady, resolved hand


Friday, September 28, 2007

They Live-Scan

Yesterday we went to the Hall of Justice to get our fingerprints taken. It's one of the requirements for the home study. They'll see if we have any criminal records and send the information to the agency. This is not your old timey ink-pad and carbon copy fingerprinting. Nowadays it's done on a glass plate with a scanner and the computer can fill in the blanks if you don't press it just right.

a tender moment

It was strange sitting in an area meant for people waiting to get thrown in the slammer. Our technician was kind of quiet and gruff doing the fingerprinting but after he finished with us, he quietly said, "good luck"...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Orientations are not just for Orientals

A great way to get introduced to the adoption procedure is to find an agency and attend their orientation. We ended up going to 5 different orientations. Here are my observations:

The first thing I noticed was, man, a lot of white people want to adopt! I should say Caucasians. It must be cultural because San Francisco has a wide variety of all races. It would seem like the orientation would be a cross section of everyone in this area. But as it turns out... not so! No big deal, just an observation.

Sample orientation makeup

The second thing I noticed was everyone looked nervous just like we did! That was a relief. hearing other people's questions was a great learning experience for us. We also got to hear about many different situations that led people to choose adoption.

Finally, at almost every orientation, there was at least one other gay or lesbian couple. As with marriage, parenting is a hotly contested arena for our community. As if reservations about my own ability to raise a child weren't enough, there is this whole other undercurrent of judgment by some people thinking we shouldn't be trying to be parents. Well, I just don't see how two people who want to offer a child a stable, loving life can be bad when compared to the situation they might be in if no one wanted to adopt them. So to all you Negative Nancy's out there:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Do What Now?

Right now we're in the "Deciding Which Agency To Use" phase. But let me backtrack... Before we even decided to do Domestic Open Adoption, we had to figure out which way of getting a little tyke was best for us.

My first inkling was to look into Surrogacy. Now, since I have not sired any children in any of my previous relationships (ladies, you lost your chance in high school), surrogacy seemed to be a good way to have a child that is biologically mine... Until we saw the cost. It can go upwards of $120 K, and that's if everything goes well. More importantly, after doing the research, we realized the kid doesn't need to be created by one of us. There are plenty of children out there who need good homes and if we can provide a stable, loving one, then we will.

Next up was Foster Care. We went to an informal meeting with AdoptionSF and they told us all about the process of fostering a child. This particular agency does what is called Fost-Adopt which just means the child you are placed with is one that has a low chance of being reunited with their biological parent(s) so eventually the hope is he or she will be adopted by you. We like the idea of doing this but since we will be brand spanking new parents, we're not sure we'll be able to handle the special needs of the kid we'd foster. Maybe one day we can do this.

Then we considered International Adoption but that is probably the trickiest of all our options. As of now, it seems like only Vietnam and Estonia allow single men to adopt from their countries. Also, one of us would have to apply for it as a single parent while the other one would have to pretend to just be my roomate. Kind of like the popular CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men" starring Charlie Sheen as a well-to-do bachelor who has his tightly wound brother Jon Cryer and his son come stay with him. In this scenario, I would be Jon Cryer and David would be Charlie Sheen. The only difference is we don't have a rotating door (a lazy susan if you will) of witty characters dropping by every 5 minutes.

Finally, we looked at Domestic Open Adoption. Open adoption means pregnant mothers choose who to place their child with. There is no secrecy involved. All the adults involved know who everyone is, and the child will also know who their biological mother is. Sounds good to us! To me it just seems like there will be fewer unanswered questions as the kid gets older. If he/she starts to wonder who their mom is, and why she chose adoption, we can just call her up!So it looks like we're going to do Domestic Open Adoption. There are several adoption agencies in the bay area so it was difficult to choose. we just made a pro/con list and picked the one that had the best vibe for us. Also, not all agencies are open to "other" sexual orientations so that helped narrow down the list. We're going with Adoption Connection because they are in the city and we like their staff. Spunky ladies with a lot of knowledge!

Monday, September 24, 2007

This is What's Up


David and I have decided to start the adoption process. What?! Does this mean we're adults? I wanted to document the process somehow and figured this was as good a way to do it as any. Since we'll be two dads in a world full of mom/dad combos, there will undoubtedly be some obstacles to overcome. My goal for this blog is to show all the ups and downs no matter how painful or joyous. Maybe it will be interesting reading for some, maybe it will be more like "Bulgy The Bore", but really it will be for us to remember what we went through when we decided to start our family.