An explanation.
January 12, 2014

You may have noticed over the past nine months or so that this blog has really suffered.  To say that posts have been fewer and farther between is an understatement of the greatest magnitude.

I wanted to take this time to explain this to you.

Eleven months ago, Donald and I received a letter from our foster-adoption agency.  The letter told us that our file was being temporarily closed because of recent changes in our living circumstances.  At the time, Evelyn was only a few weeks old.  Things had definitely changed for us, but we did not want our file closed.

(Contrary to popular belief based on the e-mails I received at the time, we did not decide to pursue adoption BECAUSE of our miscarriage a couple years ago.  Donald and I had established that adoption was in the cards very early in our dating relationship and the only thing we were waiting for was the right time.  So our pregnancy and Evelyn’s birth did not at all change our resolve to open our home to a child in need.  The long and short of it is that it turns out there is no such thing as a right time and our loss opened our eyes to this.)

So we called the agency the following morning and asked them to keep our file open.  They agreed and promised to call us with more information about what we needed to do to complete our foster-adoptive certification.

Because the social worker with whom we had been working had left her position, it took awhile to find all of our paperwork and sort out scheduling conflicts – but eventually it all came together.  We received an itemized list of what needed to be done, when classes we needed to take were available, what changes we needed to implement in our home, and so on.

THAT is the moment when this blog began to die.  Juggling two children was a difficult but manageable transition for us, but juggling two children and finishing certification seemed to take herculean effort.  I’m not sure why, exactly.  We would have finished in about four months, had I not turned up pregnant with Evelyn, so I think we expected the whole affair to take us a month or two and be over.

Instead, it took MONTHS.

Months and months and months.

We broke it down little by little.  Fingerprinting this week.  Car evaluation next week.  Attachment class two weeks later.  Installing locks on our laundry detergent in the garage after that.  And on and on and on until finally, FINALLY, this last autumn we were done.

By then, we’d outlasted another social worker and been in the certification process for just over two years.  We were literally one of the slowest families to certify in the history of the organization.

On the day that we were finished, the social worker who certified us asked what we wanted our profile to be.  The “profile” is basically which children we were open to having in our home and which we were not, and what our time frame looked like.

We said we wanted to wait until after Charlotte’s preschool let out in June to accept a placement.  We were interested in either accepting a girl in between our daughters in age (preference) or accepting an infant boy at that time.  We had a list of some special needs we were open to and other needs we were not.  We were open to any ethnicity.

A little over a week later, the agency’s intake coordinator called us.

“There’s a baby,” she said.  “And I know you don’t want to accept a placement yet.  And I know that this child won’t fit your criteria exactly, but I really think that this could be a very good placement for you.”

It took us less than a minute to decide.  We said yes.

Seven hours later, a county social worker stopped at our house on her way home for the evening.  She brought with her a beautiful, wonderful baby girl.

And that is why this space has been suffering.  At first it suffered because it was taking us forever to get our ducks in a row with two little girls in tow.  Then it suffered because our ducks were mostly in a row, but our lives felt like they were hanging in limbo.  Now it is suffering because we have three kids to take care of – and on top of meeting the individual needs of three children, we spend an additional 10-15 hours each week on paperwork and visitations with our foster daughter’s biological family and medical appointments and social worker home walk-throughs and the like.

When we started this journey, we feared that it would be invasive and inconvenient and that it would take away from our biological children.

It is invasive.  And it is horribly inconvenient.  And in the beginning as we transitioned to a new normal it definitely took away from our biological children.

It is the hardest thing I have ever done.

But despite the trials, despite the difficulties and frustrations, despite the hours of endless and fruitless wondering how this will all turn out, it is worth it.  It is absolutely worth it.

People keep asking us: “but what if she ends up going back to her family?”

You can quote me on this: IT WILL HAVE BEEN WORTH IT.

I have decided to begin writing in this space more frequently again.  I miss the outlet, the community opinions and guidance and thought-provoking conversations, the chronicle of my children’s childhoods.  I miss the advice and the stories from other parents and feeling challenged by new ideas and perspectives.  But for the foreseeable future, our foster daughter will not be mentioned here or appear in any photographs.  Please understand moving forward that you may not see or hear even a whisper of her, but she is here.

She is here and she is perfect and she is so very, deeply loved.


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  1. By on January 12, 2014

    You really are a superhero! Thanks for the update. I check your page frequently :)

  2. By Sarah@crazylovegamblestyle on January 12, 2014

    This is so great Sarah!  I’m really happy for your family!  Welcome back to blogland. : )

  3. By Elly on January 13, 2014

    Oh lady! You are fantastic. Can’t wait to read more :)

  4. By on January 13, 2014

    So glad you are back. :) You and yours have been missed.

  5. By on January 13, 2014

    Sarah,

    I am so happy for your family! I have a question, though. I believe that at some point in the past, when talking about foster-adoption, you said that there was a timeframe for how long the natural parents have to take the child back. (I may have picked that up elsewhere…). Is that the case, and if so, what is the length of time? (i.e. at what point will this be able to transition from a foster situation into a formal adoption?)

    Thanks!

  6. By on January 13, 2014

    Congratulations!  What an exciting time.  It sounds like she’s a very lucky little girl and you’ve been lucky to share this very special time with her.  However they come or however long they stay, children are always a blessing.  You all must be SO BUSY!  Does this situation have the potential of becoming a foster to adopt?  And did you have to get that bigger car you once mentioned in conjunction with fostering?

    I missed you too!  (Okay, that might be a little creepy, seeing as you don’t know me).  I am glad to hear you’ll be blogging more.  I’ve read your blog for years and it’s consistently inspired me, first when I was a nanny for young children and especially now that I’m expecting my first in just nine weeks.  I love going back and reading and re-reading your old posts.  I miss hearing about the little projects you do daily, your toys and games, books and stories and your cooking and planting goals.

  7. By on January 13, 2014

    You have been missed! Thank you for keeping your heart open to those whom need your family -for however long that may be. Sending hugs to all 5 of you!

  8. By on January 13, 2014

    May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family, Sarah! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  9. By gretchen from lifenut on January 13, 2014

    This is a beautiful development. I’m so happy for all of you, for opening your home and hearts. It’s good work and it’s important work.

  10. By Stefanie (radieschen:lespetitsradis) on January 13, 2014

    Sarah, your sentence “It will have been worth it” brought tears to my eyes. How brave of you to be willing to give your love without holding yourself back internally.

  11. By Jill on January 13, 2014

    well that is wonderful news and worth the wait!  Look forward to reading about your journey!

  12. By Sarah Christensen on January 13, 2014

    Re: adoption.  It really varies from case to case.  In LA County, the typical way things work is that there are 6 months of reunification services, 6 months without, and then a varying number of months after that before parental rights are terminated.  After termination of parental rights, there is an appeal period.  So for most children who wind up adopted in Los Angeles County, the process takes 12+ months.  That said, we’ve met people who adopted after 2 months and people who adopted after 4 years and people who fostered for 8 years and then had the child reunify - it really depends significantly on the child’s case.

    As for us, we are certified for both fostering and adopting, but we will not be sharing the case details specific to our foster daughter at this time.

    Julien - No, we managed to fit three car-seats in the back of a Civic!  It’s a pain in the ass to lift in the middle kid, but if we can hold off another year or two on a new car, that would be nice =)

  13. By Sarah Christensen on January 13, 2014

    P.S.  Leah, I know I’ve already said this, but seriously, thank you so much for the recommendation on How To Train Your Dragon - that book series is making it’s second round in our house right now and we’ve been making dioramas from it and dragon puppets and the works.  THANK YOU x1,000,000!!

  14. By B on January 13, 2014

    Thank you for sharing this part of your life! I will look forward to more posts about the experience. I am a social worker in a NICU so work with foster-adopt families fairly often with babies with prenatal drug exposure. I’m interested in possibly pursuing foster-adoption for our family someday as well.

  15. By on January 13, 2014

    This is wonderful news! I wish you and your family all the best. such an exciting time.

  16. By on January 13, 2014

    Well, Bless your heart my dear. What a wonderful development. Lucky you and lucky little girl and lucky us for having you back. I have no idea how you find the energy but I am so glad that you do.

  17. By on January 14, 2014

    Wow, Sarah!! Congratulations!! I wish you and your family the best and look forward to reading whatever it is that you choose to share.

  18. By Katie @ Miss Tweedle on January 14, 2014

    Hi Sarah, I am so glad you have decided to start writing again. I missed you and your writing. I wish you the best of luck with the new baby and I commend you for doing such a wonderful thing for a child. I have a baby girl of my own now- 5 months old! and I look forward to more glimpses into a life with little girls! Thank you!

  19. By on January 14, 2014

    Hooray!! Love & well wises to all FIVE of you!

  20. By on January 14, 2014

    I love this so much. It is awesome how willing you are to love this new daughter even though she may not be yours to keep. It matters so much how well babies are loved even if they never remember. Your family will have made such an impact on her even if she is reunified with her birth parents. Not to mention the wonderful lesson you are actively teaching Charlotte and Evelyn about unconditional love.

  21. By Sarah Christensen on January 14, 2014

    Julien - Apparently, I should take back what I said about the car.  Up until about 10pm last night I thought we were going to be holding off on a larger car for awhile, but then my husband found out about a used van and…long story short now we have a van.

    So.  I guess we did end up with a bigger car after all.

  22. By on January 15, 2014

    This is great news! I’m so glad that there was room in your hearts (and you MADE room in your lives) for this little girl. She will be better for it and so will all of you. Much love for the journey.

  23. By on January 15, 2014

    Congratulations!  I have been following you for over four years and have cried, smiled, laughed, felt so many emotions with you, I am overjoyed for you and your family!

  24. By on January 15, 2014

    I remember you saying a long time ago that you wouldn’t be able to write about her, so I hoped and hoped and hoped this was the reason! I’m so happy for you! Congratulations times a gazillion!

  25. By on January 17, 2014

    Sarah,

    So happy to have been able to share with y’all! After all, what in the world is greater than a child’s imagination?

    L

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