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  #811  
Old 04-21-2014, 08:23 PM
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Brother-Husband might have been bummed that we didn't do anything special for Easter yesterday, and I'm in some kind of funk today not sure why, but basically we're doing alright.

Keep us posted on how that meeting goes. (Hoping hoping hoping)
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  #812  
Old 04-30-2014, 11:54 PM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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The meeting is in a few hours. Nervousness has taken over. I had the chance to talk to other adoptive parents who succeeded at gaining approval. Most say the home study has nothing on this. One described their panel as all over 50 and likely to have not parented any child in this generation. Another said their views are antiquated, outdated, and minimally progressive. She also said it felt like they were seeking reasons for non-approval. Go figure.

I was strongly considering being open about my past. I now realise that very honesty will likely cause us to lose our child. I have read the laws from beginning to end. There are endless pages part of this state's Adoption Act, and I have read every single word. I have posed questions to our legal team and the social worker. There are no gray areas. It would be like playing Russian Roulette if I wanted to blaze a trail. I am praying for the best, but I am bracing for the worst. I have learned about the appellate processes for the various steps. I am not in good spirits today. I really am grinning and bearing it.

Sad but true: I have serious regrets about my past. The whole damn thing. I have been doing everything humanly possible to erase any trace of what used to be. Honestly, I am ashamed of my past and all choices surrounding the decision to be a polyamorist. I feel foolish. I wish I had never come out. I want to erase all of it. Shame is a new feeling that no one prompted. It is not just this meeting and the possibility of losing our child. I have been feeling this way. Matt thinks this is just stress, but it goes deeper than that. I will expand on this later.

I hope everyone is doing well.
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  #813  
Old 05-01-2014, 12:30 AM
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I can't imagine how much stress you must be under with this meeting looming overhead. Man if you have any Xanax or Valium now might be a good time to take a few.

That's too bad to hear about the kind of panel you'll be facing. I just hope their bark is bigger than their bite.

Good luck.
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  #814  
Old 05-01-2014, 04:25 PM
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Good Luck with the panel!!!

As a parent, as a wife, daughter, friend, etc we all have regrets and moments that haunt us. I could have done ____ so much differently, OMG, I can't believe how stupid I was, If only... Stress will magnifying everything and give us tunnel vision where we only see the bad and shines the spotlight only on our part in it. When the stress clears, there will be a bigger picture and things won't feel so all encompassing.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:30 PM
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Thank you both!

Yesterday was stressful, but I am glad it is over. It was interesting and informative. There was nowhere to hide, and all eyes were on us. We were forewarned that even if our social worker had recommended us for approval, it would not matter if they were not in agreement.

My confidence wavered a bit. I felt guilty at times and like I was perpetrating a lie. At moments, the stress made me want to scream out the truth, and my husband knew it. He gave me a reassuring glance like, "You can do this." Meanwhile, he was cool, calm, collected, and charming.

In total, there were 20 pages of questions. They had ten primary levels of suitability criteria. Fair enough, right? Well, each primary level had 2-10 secondary levels of questions to complete the picture. They asked questions like: "Have your respective upbringings influenced your parenting style," "Do you and your husband agree on routines," "Have you established a routine that consists of adequate family time and nurturing," "Are your networks of family and friends willing to validate your decision to adopt," "Are your respective families supportive of your decision to adopt," "What changes have been implemented to integrate the prospective adoptee into the established family," and "Have your biological children been receptive of the prospective adoptee?"

They wanted to know all about our marriage and our history. They remarked on our level of warmth, subtle attentiveness (him looking at me and silently reassuring me), and our chemistry. This was crucial because it somehow showed that we could form a solid attachment which will ultimately help our daughter. It also explains why she felt comfortable with us. We exude warmth. Kudos to us.

Our self-disclosure exercises during the home study came into play. Our social worker talked to us separately, and she asked questions about the other spouse's strengths and weaknesses. Our therapist's remarks helped tremendously. It showed them that while our communication was not as open as it should have been, we have taken steps to amend that. Our conflict resolution skills were analysed pertaining to the marriage and parenting. Since she is a teenager, they posed a hot topic: birth control. We were asked for our respective views. We were reminded to take some time to ourselves. Parenting does not mean neglecting the needs of the marriage, and they seemed impressed by our model. They wanted to know if tasks like picking up and dropping off children was shared or if it was one parent's responsibility. It is not. Our system involves the three adults in the household, and it is efficient and running smoothly.

The only change to the adoption laws has been the accommodation of same-sex parents. There is one exception, and I am still not entirely clear if it applies to adopted children. In the cases of biological children, they have a De Facto Parenting Order. Basically, this is what Matt was afraid I would do last year when we moved here. If anyone outside of the biological parents meets the set criteria, they can be granted legal rights to a child. This third "parent" would have a say in the child's religion, education, an everything. Who was it designed for? Partners of divorced parents, de facto step-parents (with or without marriage), and unintentionally--poly families. There is nothing in the law that says non-traditional families cannot utilise it. Matt was concerned about this because this type of order can be granted without both biological parents agreeing. As far gone as I was, I would not have put it past myself to finally and legally grant Si equal rights like he and I automatically had. On that front, he had a reason to be concerned because it would have taken an act of God to undo that. It was bad enough with an unwanted agreement. Let alone something legally binding. I digress. It did not reach that point, and I am kissing the pavement because of it.

We were asked to leave while they deliberated. I was on edge. It was like a black cloud looming overhead. We were called back in, and they had a chairperson speaking on all of their behalves. She detailed how they determined suitability, and it was in the form of those endless questions. Each member had a vote, and if they were tied, the presiding member had the final vote. We were informed of our rights to appeal their decision. (No more than 28 days after the decision.) Fortunately, there is no need to appeal. We were informed that they were in fact approving our application. It was a deep sigh moment.

The major hold out was her age. This state favours Permanent Care over adoption for children beyond the age of two. From 2011-2012, there were only 333 adoptions in ALL of Australia, and it continues to be on the decline. Adoption is a rare occurrence, and we knew none of this would be easy with odds stacked against us and legislation that is not keen on it. They favour family hierarchy, so unless a child has absolutely no chance of being placed with his/her biological parents again, permanent care and adoption are not even considered. The need for adoption of a child over two is limited to "exceptional" circumstances. Our oldest was in the foster care system for years, and there is no hope of repairing the relationship with her biological mother. Our child nor the mother desire contact. She also has no contact with the biological family of either parent. I would say we are the better choice than her going back in the system and aging out in a few years.

What is next? We have submitted the applications for Dispensation of Consent and the Adoption Order. Due to her age and legislation, she actually has the right to consent to her own adoption. At some point, we will receive a hearing date. The courts are slow, so if we are lucky, we might be on the docket this year.

A small victory. Now to discuss the other stuff.
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  #816  
Old 05-01-2014, 08:35 PM
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No wonder their adoption rate is declining. It amazes me that people actually consider it better to keep kids "in the system" than let them live with a slightly imperfect family.
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  #817  
Old 05-01-2014, 09:39 PM
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Re:
Quote:
"It amazes me that people actually consider it better to keep kids 'in the system' than let them live with a slightly imperfect family."
No kidding! What's up with that?

Ry, I am so relieved that your hearing turned out alright. I feel like you're finally on the downhill side of the mountain to get your adoption completed.

Take a deep breath!

I did.
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  #818  
Old 05-01-2014, 11:03 PM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNeacail View Post
No wonder their adoption rate is declining. It amazes me that people actually consider it better to keep kids "in the system" than let them live with a slightly imperfect family.
The adoption rate is sad. For known adoptions which includes foster carers, step-parents, or a relative, the total number might have been 5-10 for the year. The number of all adoptions for the entire state is usually under 60. I have never lived in a country where adoption is the last resort. If you can complete a domestic or local adoption within two years, you have done something unheard of. Intercountry adoption takes multiple years. I have heard from parents who said it took upwards of five years before the adoption was finalised.

Our social worker knew about my past, and off the record, she strongly discouraged me from saying a word about it. Now that I have interacted with that panel, I can understand why. They are not progressive, and even though their manual says they are to keep their personal opinions, views, and feelings out of decision making, there is no guarantee that would have happened. It is easy to hide behind the "best interests of the child."

It makes no sense that they want to keep children in the system rather than place them with imperfect families, and in some cases, they force contact with the biological parents. As if a child really wants to stay in contact with the parent who neglected them, abused them, or failed to keep them safe.
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  #819  
Old 05-01-2014, 11:58 PM
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Pretty sad.
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  #820  
Old 05-02-2014, 05:02 PM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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It is 3 AM, and I cannot sleep. I have so much on my mind. I need to get my heart under control.

My past is like a tear on a vintage, bespoke Versace gown that a seamstress has been unsuccessful in repairing permanently. To the outside world, it looks flawless and ready to wear. To me, I know the tear is there and no amount of putting it out of my mind will stop me from thinking about how the gown is flawed now.

Only the real life tear is my history with Kensi (aka Si). I have moments of regret strong enough to wish that I had never met her. I have moments where I wish I had lived monogamously from the time I met Matt. It is no reflection on her, but I have been unsuccessful in my attempts of shaking those thoughts.

This aspect of my past is vividly emblazoned in every facet of my life. As much as I want to pretend like the past never happened, evidence contradicts that. I can burn every picture, bar loved ones from speaking of it, sever ties with poly groups and friends, delete every Facebook status, move to a new country, hide it from the AAC, not mention a peep to new friends and colleagues, but none of those things change the fact that I was in a relationship outside of my marriage for years. I often feel awful about that choice. My therapist believes forgiving myself is key to acceptance of this "tear." She believes I am stuck in the vicious cycle of stitching, ripping, rinsing, and repeating. My efforts to conceal the "tear" are in essence futile because it keeps getting larger. I suppose I am lacking inner peace regarding my past, and it is causing me to feel an insurmountable level of shame and disgust with my choices. At this point, I lack the ability to see the beauty in an imperfect piece. I guess I need to learn to ignore the "tear," appreciate the gown (my present), or change it because all I can see is what is wrong. Not the potential of what it could be.

It is rather interesting how one small tear has the propensity to lead to lessons being learned, character building, gaining wisdom and insight, experience earning, and humility. I guess my tear is not all that bad. I am magnifying it because instead of focusing on the in tact 88%, I have honed in on the torn 12%.

The most messed up part of this is the more I try to conceal that tear, the more complicated things get. It is like pulling one ravel and causing the whole thing to fall apart or causing more tears that need to be repaired. (I liked the analogy my best friend gave about the water bed having leaks in multiple spots and the owner having to try and cover all of them at the same time.) This is one of those "leave well enough alone" situations. I am in love with two people (husband and my best friend), and I have unresolved feelings for Kensi. I only want a relationship with my husband, though. I am not keen on labels. I have the propensity to love more than one, but I am finding that I hate it and wish it was not so. There is no pull for me to have anything outside of what I have with Matt. I am not a polyamorist now. I am not polyamorous. Maybe in theory but not in practise. What label would fit that? Oy vey.

---------------------------

Kensi and I are on good terms. We are speaking more on a consistent basis. I attended her birthday dinner, and I was vague about whether or not I would be in attendance. I decided to go about 40 minutes before the party started. She looked quite fit. She was radiant that night. For a moment in time, I remembered what initially drew me to her.

I have never really talked about Kensi. She is the blonde version of Angelina Jolie--full lips included. Physically, she is beautiful. Her inner beauty made her all the more beautiful. Her physical beauty was not what drew me to her. She has this aura about her that pulls everyone in. She is very intelligent, caring, and generally a class act. She always carried herself in a dignified manner. She was that deliriously cheerful person at 6 AM who would grind on your nerves because they were so bloody happy. She was that person who would give her last even if meant she went without. It was hard not to fall in love with someone who had it all.

It has been nice to remember the good times I had with her. She was not always calculating and vindictive. Yes, people change, but she underwent a massive personality overhaul. It was not for the better. I guess we all have moments where we step out of character. I do love having her back in my life. I went to her home after the dinner party, and we talked for a couple of hours. It felt like it used to when we would have those in-depth and thought provoking conversations. I do not know what it was about that night, but I felt comfortable being open with her. (No, there was no alcohol to blame it on.) She talked about her feelings for me. She is still in love with me. I knew that. (*sings* "There's nothing not to love about me." *hair flip*) She said that she is going to keep it respectful. It is easy for me to be in love with a friend, but I hope she can handle being in love with me and just being friends. Friendship is all I can and will ever offer. I admitted to still having feelings for her, but they serve no purpose. Some feelings are utterly useless.

We are working on rebuilding trust. It is a long road, but she is committed to healing what has been hurt. She is willing to do what it takes to get our renewed, budding friendship to a healthy and trustworthy place. I am still on therapy burnout, but I do want to seek therapy with her. I am not ready, yet.

Do I sound like as much of a mess as I feel?
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Ry - Me. Panromantic demisexual with a history of polyamorist tendencies. Married to...
Mr. Grey - The once distant stranger that I complement beautifully. DH of 12 years and father of our (3) children.
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