Saturday, December 31, 2016

Safe Families for Children, Minnesota edition

One of the biggest choices that we needed to make was what type of intervention was next for us.

Options were:
1) License for foster care in Ramsey County and take on as much as we could handle, likely resulting in some more adoptions somewhere along the way. Buy the big van.
2) Attach ourselves to a 3 year old with Down Syndrome in Colombia, while doing Safe Families on the side (You can't do all in foster care while doing an international adoption due to the nature of the paperwork and declaring people in your home). Big van to take on more than 5 kids would have to wait until after Drew got home. There really is a limit to our budget, friends.

We opted for Drew.

Safe Families started about 2 minutes later.

Safe Families in MN is configured differently than it as in Kansas City. Long term placements really only happen when short term incarceration of the parent or rehab is involved. Otherwise, they are intended to put out the fire in the short term of the situation, not necessarily long term behavioral interventions. So our placements ranged anywhere from 3 days to 6 weeks depending on the circumstance. Short term placements are nice in that you don't get so horribly attached and there seems to always be an end game in sight.. but you are also in a nearly constant state of "who are you? What do you need? Do you sleep? No? No sleeping?". They don't get to know you long enough to trust you and build that relationship, but also the fear doesn't set in quite so horribly, because this is supposed to be quick.

Here is a snapshot of some of our babies from fall 2016 and spring 2017 before we went on maternity leave for Drew.

4yr old Ms "J"
A lady of preference. She REALLY liked that pink jacket and a good Leap Pad.

3 yr old Ms "J" He was hilarious and adorable! Sammy was a fan.

There was also 2 year old Mr "M"

(I'm reviewing all of these pictures of our little friends, and making a solid mental note that I get more pictures of them facing away from the camera... we are in the spirit of protecting identities over here and I don't have all of my fancy face sticker editing things available when I'm not on my phone...)

And 3 year old Mr "M".. another I don't have a good picture for you...

And 2 year old "K"

This is 3 year old "K" or "SS" depending on what name you wanted to use for him. He was one of our favorites and lived here longer term and more than once. SERVE REFUGEES people, that is all.

This is 4 yr old buddy "F". He was a big yes for us, because his needs and situation were significant. My Mom and I had to tag team that one hard, but we did it, and we were glad we did.

After our time with F came to a close, buddy "K" and other buddy "K" each made another round.. but it was at that time that Drew's dossier was ready to go to Fana and we had to turn our attention to that and begin to prepare for a permanent 5th child.

As you can see, it did not hold us back from additional shenanigans

Also, my children went to school.

Through all that, winter set in in Minnesota and we were counting down the months before we left to get Drew.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Drew Sibley: "The kid we aren't adopting" until we were

I remember this day well. Note the ice cream. I cried through the entire application. We were adamantly done with international adoption after Trenton. We are passionate about family preservation and taking care of the kids in our own back yard as well. More on those kids in the post to come, but for now, this is the visual of me writing the 15 page application to adopt a special needs child from Colombia. We weren't officially matched to Drew yet at this point, but we knew he was there and his circumstance was not going to change until someone wrote an envelope with his name on it. So on August 16th, I wrote the the beginning of that envelope.

We set ourselves a deadline to decide, and on September 1st we submitted an official Letter of Intent to FANA (his, Lucas, and Sam's first home) requesting to pursue him. We were approved in October, and the paper chase for his dossier was in full swing.

Meanwhile, as his process was still out of my control, we used that time to advocate well for displaced children here in the city.

Hence, starting to work with Safe Families for Children again. WHICH WE SO DID. Read on.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

June 2016, THE BIG MOVE

We knew since 2013 that moving back to MN permanently was the right move for our family... now pulling that off logically and emotionally was an entire other ordeal. Even through we had two years to plan for the idea, that didn't make it easier in the moment. We knew that Trenton would likely arrive sometime in 2015, and the plan was to get that child settled before the big move. One does not simply fill out job applications to change employment as an ER doctor under contract so that was the first thing to work towards.

Ted traveled in fall 2015 to secure his new contract with Emergency Care Consultants in the Twin Cities that manage many of the emergency departments in the area. He works primarily at United in downtown St Paul, although he travels out to others in Wisconsin, Hastings, and Minneapolis on occasion.

We had saved and saved for the right house to do community ministry out of... and we found just the right spot. Bulleye center of the metro area and able to sleep 14 people relatively comfortably.

We live in a pretty fab area

We spent the summer adjusting to the new reality. I missed my friends fiercely. The kids didn't understand why we had to leave everything they had ever known.. but slowly over time this place became home again.