Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ours

Yesterday morning we made a trek down to ye olde courthouse for our finalization hearing. We got up early and decided to dress Gus up for the big day.When we got off the elevator and turned the corner, there were a bunch of other families with babies waiting for their adoptions to be finalized. Apparently they do all the adoption finalizations on Mondays. I guess it's a nice way for the family court to start their week. We waited outside with the rest of them and one at a time, each family got called in for their time with the judge. The nice thing was the waiting families would applaud the people as they left the courtroom. After about a 20 minute wait, we got called in. I was actually a little bit nervous for some reason. Maybe they found a loophole in our file that would prevent the adoption from happening. We swore that everything was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but (the judge seemed to be preoccupied).I have to admit, when the judge spoke her solemn words about parental responsibility, I got choked up. I couldn't believe Gus was finally going to be ours for real. It was all a bit overwhelming. The crazy thing is, the whole procedure lasted less than 5 minutes. So now we are truly a family. On paper as well as in spirit. Seems like the legal aspect of it wouldn't make a huge difference, but I do feel different knowing for sure that Gus is irrevocably our son. It really was a happy day. Maybe the happiest day of my life.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Dating Game

A date has finally been set! September 28 will be the second happiest day of our lives (the first being the day I got to see District 9... Wilkus!!) For something that was only supposed to take 6 months, we've had to wait 10 months to get a court date. It's only a small complaint since everything else has gone pretty smoothly. We have so much to be thankful for, I can't even begin to describe it all. So Here's to Gus' birth parents. Here's to Adoption Connection. Here's to being able to make a family despite life's challenges. woohoo!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Almost There

We finally got notice from Adoption Connection that they are going to request a court date for our finalization! It was taking a long time to hear any news so we emailed them to check on the status of our adoption. Luckily we did because they were waiting for the hospital to fax them Gus' medical report. We had some papers that the hospital gave us when we took Gus home so we sent them over to Adoption Connection. Turns out those papers were enough for them to finish writing their report. Now we're just waiting for our court date to bring this puppy home!I really can't wait for the adoption to be finalized. The truth is, at this point it's not necessary to have a piece of paper telling us he belongs to us but it would be nice to not have to think about it anymore. After 8 1/2 months, we are fully capable parents...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blair, Jo, Natalie, and Two-Teeth

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. The truth is, nothing new has happened on the adoption side of things. We are still waiting to hear when our finalization date is going to be. Maybe everything is being held up in the plumbing of bureaucracy.Just because we are waiting around for our court date doesn't mean we aren't busy. Gus is getting bigger every day and starting to become mobile. He's also doing quite a bit of baby talk. Hopefully we are finalized before he learns to say Dada otherwise he'll have to learn how to say it with air-quotation marks.Here are a few recent pics:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Smiley Cyrus

We are done with the paperwork! We had to do a narrative report about our experience with Gus so far and fill out a bunch of adoption forms that the court requires. The narrative report was pretty easy. It is basically just a relaying of Gus' vital statistics with a little personal perspective thrown in here and there. They ask you to list his milestones and when he hit them. Doing it made me nostalgic about how much has happened in the last 6 months. It's kind of hard to believe he is now two and a half times his birth weight!In the last couple weeks alone, he's been going through several major changes. We've begun feeding him solid foods, he can now hold a bottle on his own, he got his first tooth, and we are taking him to a weekly swim class... What's next, marriage?!The court needs several papers in order to complete the adoption. They all sound sort of similar but they each serve a slightly different legal purpose. They are as follows:

-Adoption Request (to ask for a hearing and case number)
-Contact after Adoption Agreement (establishes amount of contact between birth parents and adopting parents)
-Adoption Agreement (making sure we REALLY want to do this)
-Adoption Expenses (all about the Benjamins)
-Adoption Order (the court says it's ok)
-Indian Child Inquiry (any Navajo in there?)

David and I went to the courthouse on Monday to hand in the forms. They stamped the papers and gave us a case number. For some reason, every time the clerk stamped a form, I heard Emeril Lagasse say, "BAM!" Now we just have to wait for our adoption agency to finish their paperwork so everything can be combined and we can set a date to finalize the whole thing once and for all!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Can Almost See It

Last week was interesting. We had the final visit with our social worker which ironically doesn't mean the end of our adoption journey. It actually just means we can begin the paperwork to finally get a judge to say we are fit to be Gus' parents.Miraculously, he is thriving under our care and as each day goes by, we feel the parental bonds deepening. At this point I can't imagine anything preventing us from becoming his legal parents but you never know I guess. They have gone over our life with a fine-toothed comb and come up wanting. At first, I felt like we had to prove to the agency we can be capable parents, but the truth is, the only person we have to do right by is Gus.So now we are busy filling out more paperwork. It is seemingly endless but every blank I fill in, I know I'm getting closer to the finish line. I'll be so glad when it's all over and we can shift 100% of our focus to other stressful things like pre-school, potty training, language acquisition, gross/fine motor skills, and manners.In related family news, California decided to uphold the majority ruling of prop 8 which means marriage is only allowed between a man and a woman. Luckily for us, the CA Supreme Court is letting the 18,000 same-sex couples who got married last year have their marriages remain valid and recognized. But don't think the fight is over. I hear we are going back to the ballot box in 2010 to try again. If that doesn't work, we'll go back in 2012. The point is, eventually gay marriage will happen so the nay sayers should just give up. Meanwhile, as a married gay person, I am very busy ruining the fabric of society by watching the new season of So You Think You Can Dance. What's up with Mary Murphy?!
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spazmodeus

I don't know what this is:

video

Anyway, life is flying by fast. While waiting for our final social worker visit, the family is settling into a pretty reliable routine. Gus is sleeping on average 10 hours a night and it's getting easier for us to predict his moods.We've started him on solids and he's taking to it pretty well! It's so funny that every time we offer a spoonful he's shocked but then takes it. I also went to a play date with some other gay dads. It was nice to see dads interacting with their kids. Usually there is a sea of moms (or sea momsters) at any given playground so we got to show how the other half does it. The funny thing was, we didn't talk about being gay at all. We just exchanged tips on parenting!... LIFE!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Suffocatie Holmes

A few weeks ago, Amy asked us if we would be willing to speak at Adoption Connection for their 'Preparing for Adoption' class. This is the same class we took over a year ago. I even have an entry about it here. We were happy to do it because I remember feeling so appreciative of the parents who came to speak back then. Getting to hear real stories of people who have gone through it was encouraging and eye-opening.Last night was the night of the class. They had 2 other sets of speakers with their new babies. One of the other couples happened to be in our Preparing for Adoption class from 2008! The classroom was filled with people at the earliest stages of adoption. Their gazes were fixed upon our babies or, Pots Of Gold, if you will. I think a lot of prospective parents (us included) are fearful of the situations surrounding the birth parents but seeing a thriving happy baby makes you forget about all that. Usually the journey is the destination but in the case of adoption, the destination is the destination.

After relaying our story, we answered a few questions and went home. From their perspective, I'm sure it's hard to imagine the adoption process working but we are here to say it really does and we have a chubby baby to show for it. A baby I might add, that can now flip over onto his stomach but can't quite turn back. So now, when he's asleep, we're awake.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Filling Out

On Monday Amy came by for her third visit. Even though the time is always pleasant and laid back, I usually feel a little bit on edge right before she arrives. It's because she has to write a report on how we're adjusting to parenthood and about how Gus is developing physically, mentally, and emotionally. The lead up to her arrival is a frantic display of tidying up our house, changing into clean clothes, and wiping the drool off of the baby, us, the floor, and the cats.At this visit, she told us we can make an appointment for finalization after June. Finalization means we will go to the courthouse and a judge will deliver a solemn reading about the weightiness of parenthood. Then Gus will get to pick out a stuffed animal from a bin and we will get a new birth certificate with both our names on it as his parents! I can't hardly wait!To qualify for finalization, we have to supply a vast array of forms ranging from Amy's narrative report on us as well as our own report on Gus, birthparent relinquishment papers, adoption expense list, and even a form stating whether or not he has Native American blood. There's no messing around when you're getting a baby! They should make teenagers go through this in order to have a kid.On a personal note, we have begun sleep training Gus. We want this:to become this:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sir Squeaks-A-lot

For Gus' first Easter, we thought we'd go all out while we still have a relatively large amount of energy for this kind of thing. The poor guy didn't know what we had in store for him!Anyway, he seemed to like going to the park for a picnic in his new outfit. It was windy and the suit was nice and warm.


David burping Gus (note the tail)

This being San Francisco, we were graced with a variety show hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. There was going to be a Hunky Jesus contest but we left before they got to that... One more thing for my Bucket List I guess!

Progress report: Gus can sort of laugh now but it's more like a squeal.
video

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Observe And Report

Just got back from a wedding in lovely Mendocino, CA. I got to reconnect with a couple of my good high school friends. Much has changed in our lives but basically we are the same people we were then and still laugh hysterically at the drop of hat.The wedding was notable because it was our first overnight outing with Gus. We packed like we were never coming back. In the future, I hope to streamline the process a bit because really, does Gus need 5 changes of clothes for a 36 hour trip? Overall, the experience was fine and he only had a small fit near bedtime. Maybe he's still too young to be tied to a schedule.Adoption news: We got a package in the mail from Adoption Connection telling us the birthparent rights have officially been terminated and filed. Whee! In July, we should be done with the post-placement period. A couple months after that, we will have our court date in front of a judge for the finalization hearing. This process is long and labored, but when I'm playing with Gus it doesn't really matter how much work we have to do. It will all be worth it in the end (unless he hates us).On an unrelated note, as the primary caretaker of our baby, I've noticed I'm getting a fair amount of unsolicited advice from strangers. Meaning, I will be standing in line at a store and an older lady will say, "your baby looks cold, do you have long-sleeved clothes for him?" Or, "When was the last time you fed him? He's hungry." Or, "Unlock the bathroom door! You need my help! I'm calling social services!" (one of these is a joke) My guess is this happens because I'm a man. Do women get this kind of treatment? I may not be Super Nanny, but I think I know what Gus needs by now. Oh well, all part of the experience I guess.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Twitter

In an effort to keep myself busy/waste time while taking care of Gus, I've joined Twitter and added my updates to the sidebar on the right--->

For those who don't know what Twitter is, it's basically a social networking program that lets you say what you're doing at any given time. Kind of like the status update in Facebook. Great for mobile phones, horrible for productivity. In baby news, I started going to physical therapy for my wrist pain. Apparently, it's a common ailment for new mothers (is that sexist?) called De Quervain's Tendonitis. Now in addition to diapers, feeding, laundry, and dishes; I have stretches, icing, and ibuprofin to look forward to every day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

ATTACK OF THE 500 FOOT BABY!

That's a full-sized bottle of Tabasco sauce he's holding! After this picture was taken, he kicked down our front door and rampaged through the streets of San Francisco.The point is, he's growing fast.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What Makes A Family?

Today will be the oral arguments for overturning Prop 8 in front of the California supreme court. It's scheduled from 9:00am to 12:00pm. Watch it live here or after it's over in their archives.I remember being so sad when the majority voted to restrict marriage to opposite sex people. This was before we got Gus and back then I wanted equal rights because of basic fairness. Now I feel like it's about much more than that and so important for our family to have the same legal protections as everyone else.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Babies Suck

At least ours does. If it's not the pacifier, he's sucking on his fingers, toys, or blankets. WTF? Too bad they don't have a "change your own diaper" reflex. I kid. One of the surprising joys of fatherhood is getting to change a messy diaper because that means he won't be constipated for a while which means Happy Baby.Yesterday we had our second social worker visit. This time it went smoothly and Gus was a model baby. We fed him while Amy was at our house to cut down on the potential crying time. Thankfullly he was very happy and calm during the whole visit. Whew!Amy asked us the usual questions about his height, weight, eating habits, dailiy activities, etc. She commented on how Gus is about to enter a really fun phase soon. He is 3 months old and starting to grab at things, smile voluntarily, and stare at us as we walk across his line of sight. What else could there possibly be?!! Whatever it is, we are as prepared as we can be and are just holding on for the ride. He's already changed so much in 3 months. Please to compare:

THEN

--------------
NOW
Another thing Amy mentioned was the finalization process. Apparently, we are still far from over! There are reports to be written, lawyers to consult, judges to see, and months for Gus to reach (6). More on all that as it happens.

One final thing is, I've developed a bit of carpal tunnel in my wrists from carrying/feeding the baby. Any parents have advice on this?