Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday: Running, Riding, Basketball

We all slept in on Saturday morning--till 9am!!  By 930 the boys and I were up and doing the weekend cleaning.  Within an hour we had the vacuuming, bathrooms, and stairs cleaned and were on the way to the gym.

When we got the gym the tennis team had every court but not the upper track.  We ran two miles.  It was my first run in eight days because I was sick last week.  By the end of two miles all three boys were breathing hard.  Nigel and Chalid were lying on the floor.

We got the bikes out after that.  It was cold but we rode six miles.  After that we went the other campus gym for about 90 minutes--mostly basketball.  After that, I cleaned some more, the boys played in the yard.  We ate dinner--burgers on the grill--then went to the gym till after 9pm.  The boys were up late again, but fell asleep fast.

Chalid Comes for a Weekend Visit

Today is Chalid's first visit to our home.  He is spending the weekend and if all goes well, will move in during Easter weekend.

He really likes riding bicycles which is great for our family.  Chalid arrived just before 4pm.  I had to do some work before the end of the day, but just after five the three boys and I went riding.  At first Chalid rode with me on the tandem, Nigel rode his sister Lisa's road bike and Jacari rode Nigel's  mountain bike.  After a few miles we switched riders putting Nigel on the tandem and Chalid on the road bike.

At 530 I stopped and called Cycle Circle to see if he had any road bikes in stock that were the right size for the boys.  He did and after dinner we rode 9 more miles each on road bikes.  Nigel and Jacari got road bikes with the older style downtube shifters.  Their hands are too small for the more modern racing shifters so it worked out well for them.  Chalid has big enough hands for the racing shifters so he did fine on Lisa's bike.

Kiersten made Lasagna so we had a good dinner.  After dinner we tried to go to the gym, but relay for life had the the whole gym till 5am.

The boys and I went to the grocery store and got potatoes, apples, hamburger rolls and other stuff for grill dinner tomorrow night.

The boys all slept together in Nigel's room for their first night together.  So far they are getting along great.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Talking About Trayvon Martin

Later this week I will be talking to my sons about Trayvon Martin.  And when Xavier finally gets here from Haiti, I will have to tell him about Trayvon.

My sons own hooded sweatshirts and in the wrong place, wearing that sweatshirt with the hood up is enough to put them in danger.  When I see them with the hood up on their sweatshirt, I know I am looking at polite young men who are no more "Gangsta" than their parents.  

But tens of millions of people in America look at my sons as threats.  And I have little hope I can actually convince my sons of that.  But it is so easy to take appearances as truth--even when the opposite is true.  When my sons have trouble with another kid at school, I have to encourage them to stand up to loudmouth or bully.  They are not the kind of boys who are looking for a fight.

Ten years ago I read Uncle Tom's Cabin to my daughters while their one-year-old brother slept in the next room.  They knew in a vague way about America's past, but the book made vivid the reality that 150 years ago their little brother could be sold like a bushel of potatoes at an auction.  The injustice was so ridiculous that the girls had a hard time accepting it was really how life was in their country.

But the racial divide lives on in crazy ways.  Could anything but mistrust and hatred lead to a situation in which a 240-pound, 28-year-old man armed with an automatic weapon and patrolling his neighborhood can say (through his lawyer) that an unarmed, 140-pound, 17-year-old boy somehow made that man fear for his life?  

So when I talk to them, I will let them know that if they pull the hood up on their sweatshirt, they could give a racist all the excuse he needs to pull a gun and kill them.  No matter how much they are loved by their family and friends, when they are away from home, they have to be aware that just being a young black male scares and provokes a big part of our country.

Chalid on NBC 10 Philadelphia

Chalid was on a recent segment of Wednesday's Child on NBC 10 Philadelphia.
Take a look.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Next Child, Completely Different Schedule

Yesterday we met Chalid.  He needs a home, he likes his new brothers and if all goes well he may move in our house over Easter weekend.  Two weeks away!!!

Here he is:

 With us
With Nigel and Jacari

With all of us

He's a nice kid.  Kind of shy.  there is a video of him on Wednesday's Child I will share on the next post.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Another Change, Another Child

The two boys, J and D, who needed a new home in a hurry got one last week.  So they will not be moving to our home.  On Friday last week, Annalisa and I drove to Allentown PA to meet with the social workers of a boy named C.  He is looking for a permanent home and his social worker (and our case worker) thought C might be good for our home.

To be sure we had all the information we needed, there were a total of six social workers in the meeting with us.  It seems that C is a good kid and they folks on his case really want him to get a good home.  Until we meet him, I should not say  lot more, but we have seen a video of him and he looks like a really nice kid.

More soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Guest Post on Adoption Paperwork--The Complete List!!!

From my wife Annalisa here's the entire catalogue of paperwork Haiti needs for adoption!!!

This is the abbreviated list of items we need for our international adoption.  There are fourteen (count ‘em, 14) different categories of things on this list. After 2-and-a-half months of chasing these things down, we’re really, really close to being done with this list.

         1.  3 passport pictures of recent date of you and your spouse

         2.  request for adoption (you will need to write a letter explaining how you are your husband are willing and ready to adopt)  Include a picture of your family and home.

         3.  birth certificates- long form (of the parents; 2 originals of each)

         4.  marriage certificate (NEED 2 originals)

         5.  power of attorney

         6.  detailed medical exams for both parents and any children in the home

         7.  employment verification letters (stating when you started working and that you plan on working after finalization-on employment letterhead)

         8.  letter from your bank stating that you are a customer in good standing, amount of money deposited last year, how long you have been a customer

         9.  letter from your cpa stating that you are financially stable to adopt and possible reasons why. 

         10.  homestudy (NEED 2 original, notarized, copies)

         11.  psychological evaluation-  this is an evaluation done by a licensed psychologist or psychiarist

         12.  police records for the county you reside in

         13.  2 notarized reference letters

         14.  translation attestation (this is done by the person that translates your documents into french)

Are you tired just from reading these?  The two things we still need are item 10 (the homestudy), 11 (the psychological evaluation), and 14 (the translation attestation).

For 11 (the psych evaluation), I think all that’s left is to pay the bill and pick up the paperwork; the bill came out higher than we’d been told, so I’m trying to figure out how to negotiate that without jeopardizing the whole adoption. 

For 10 (the homestudy), our social worker is just waiting on a doctor’s note to say that Kiersten is free of communicable disease.  As you might imagine, the homestudy itself had a lot of paperwork that goes into it, but we think we’re just about done with our end. 

And the translation just needs documents to translate.  We roll forward slowly.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Meeting Next Week with New Kids' Case Worker

Our case worker for Pennsylvania adoptions is setting up a meeting next Friday for us to talk with the case worker for J and D, the brothers that we may be fostering, adopting or maybe just meeting.

My wife will get more specifics on their situation in the coming week.  I am out of town on business so I will get the pass-along emails.  As we get more info, I will pass it along.  

My wife offered to do a guest-post update, so I may be putting that on the blog soon.

In the meantime I am flying to Orlando for a scientific instruments conference.  It may not be your idea of a good time, but 20,000 people from all over the world come to this meeting every year.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

No News, Then News Non-Stop!!!

The last few weeks have been sad.  Nothing to write except more paperwork.  Nothing happening in Haiti, nothing happening in Pennsylvania.  Then all at once we are inb the process of looking at four different boys!!

First though, there is no news about Xavier.  We are still waiting for our mental health evaluations and for a couple of pieces of medical paperwork.

But there is lots of news in PA.  In the last two weeks we heard about two boys, ages 12 and 14, that might be right for our family.  They are both in relatively stable situations now, one in a foster home and one in a group home, but both are looking for adoption.

We decided to talk to both boys and told our case worker we would like to meet them.  We decided to let both boys know they will be moving to a home where school and sports are what we do.  We are not the right parents for kids who want to excel in video games.

But before we could arrange those meetings, our case worker sent us an email about two brothers with a very sad story.  They were adopted, the parents (I think just the Dad) changed their minds about the adoption and gave the boys back!!  They were placed with a youth pastor and his family, now he wnats to end the placement on short notice.

So we may be taking in two brothers who may not want to hear about adoption.  If it works out, we can offer them a home and talk about adoption later.

If this works out, we could be parents of five teenage boys within another year.

This is what I remember from our last two adoptions.  Nothing seems to happen for a while, then lots happens.