Posted in Adoption, Anxiety, Foster Parenting, LGBT Community, LGBT Parents, Safe Surrender, Two Dads

Safe Surrender Baby – Unfit Parents?!

Wow. My husband and I are completely shook. I don’t even know where to begin, but I’ll do my best.

We have had baby in our home for a while now, and the county has come up with a bunch of reasons why they believe that baby should be moved from our home to another.

Their first reason was: “Due to this baby and his positive tox-screen, we think that they will do better if placed with another family that has a more maternal influence.”

Our agency called them out on how discriminatory that sounded, and doubled down on the baby not being removed from our home because we did everything were suppose to. That our family has two loving parents with one that can stay home 24/7. That if the county believes this baby needs a more maternal influence, then we can have my sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, and step sisters on call. The county responded that they don’t understand why they would come off as discriminatory and referred to their record of placing foster children in lgbt homes.

Well, now that the court date is coming up, the county has switched their argument from the baby needing a more maternal influence, to my husband and I being unfit parents.

They quote, “Think this placement is unfit due to the foster parents being first time parents. This child would do better in a home with a family that is more experienced in child rearing.”

So now we have two options that our agency and social workers have laid out before us.

We have the option to either fight them on placement, stating that they already signed the placement paperwork, and that my husband and I have done nothing wrong regarding the removal of this baby from our home. We can try to bring in the pediatrician for their professional opinion in how we are handling the situation and monitoring baby’s growth/feeding schedule. Our social worker informed us that although the county claims that they don’t have an official “blacklist,” every social worker knows that there will be a “reputation list” to some extent and odds are we will stop receiving placement calls from the county. All that being said, if we fight, not only do we get blacklisted, but we could still lose this baby if we get a wrong judge who believes as the county does. That we are unfit parents due to being a same sex couple of men.

The other option, is to give in. To let them come and take the baby from our home. To give up and scrap our hopes in naming the baby. To stop feeding every two hours around the clock. To go back to our normal lives and wait for another phone call for a possible placement later down the road. To not be blacklisted.

After a long discussion with my husband we have come to a conclusion.

We are not going to give up. We have a child in our home right now. We aren’t going to give in to the county bullying us. We aren’t going to let them play politics with a human life. We are not going to let them push us around, other foster families around, or denounce all of the amazing first time parents out there that have raised fantastic kids.

Thanks for letting me vent. It’s been a rough ride with this kiddo, but we definitely wouldn’t change this situation for anything. We are in love. We will fight until adoption day.

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Posted in Adoption, Anxiety, Foster Parenting, LGBT Community, LGBT Parents, Safe Surrender, Two Dads

Safe Surrender Baby – County Being Shady?

So, nobody was able to get a hold of any county workers until about 7PM yesterday. I called our social worker, explaining that we were really frustrated because the hospital is wanting to discharge the baby into our care, but the county has failed to come in like they said they were going to and sign the discharge paperwork.

When the clock hit about 6:30, I called our social worker, and she told em that she was going to take care of it. Within 30 minutes, she had contacted a separate on call county social worker, and explained that since they already signed the placement paperwork for the baby to be in our care, they needed to sign the discharge papers immediately.

By 7PM a county worker had appeared, signed the paperwork, and the baby was discharged into our care. We made it home with the baby in our arms by 8:30pm that night.

With all of that being said and done, our agency contacted us to let us know that the county was acting abnormal with the baby being placed into our care, in a way that they haven’t experienced with other placements. The county investigator started texting our agency, mentioning that “they seemed really attached yesterday,” and “we just want to remind them that we can move placement at any time.”

Now, my husband and I are not the ones to play the “it’s because we are gay” card. That being said, our agency said it was really odd how when the county had called them, they asked if our agency had a family that could handle a possible pos-tox safe surrender newborn. Our agency explained that they had a family with two committed parents, who own their home, have fully fenced front and back yards, stable income, a stay at home parent, and a nursery already set up. The county’s exact words were, “That’s perfect!”

Our agency believes that “perfect” changed when they met us and noticed that two parents were two daddies. Which would explain why the county never showed up to sign the discharge papers, why the county gave us and the nursing staff separate contact information, why the county dropped all communication with all parties after meeting us for the first time.
While we don’t know for sure what they are planning, we do know that something seems a little odd with their word choice and how they are acting towards placement. Our social workers assured us that they will continue to talk with the county and express their concerns, and told us to not expect anything horrible and continue loving the baby for the time being.

On a positive note, we have started chanting “up and down” while feeding the baby and moving their chin up and down on the nipple of the bottles with the result being that the baby is actually eating closer to 20-25mls every 3 hours instead of us struggling to get 15mls!

Posted in Adoption, LGBT Community, LGBT Parents, Safe Surrender, Two Dads

Safe Surrender Baby – Update

We have been to the hospital every 3 hours around the clock to see this skeletal baby and be there for every feeding. We are having some issues being first time parents attempting to teach a 4 week premature baby how to eat from a bottle. We are struggling to get 10mls into their belly.

The nursing staff has been so kind and helpful, teaching us how to hold the baby, feed the baby, burp the baby, and change diapers. We’ve done all sorts of training to prepare us for this possibility, but reading about how to do everything vs actually doing it are entirely different things.

The nerves alone make us shake and fumble through things we thought would be simple!

We are slightly frustrated though, because the county investigator has dropped all contact with my husband and I. The county investigator has dropped all communication with the nursing staff, the hospital, and our agency. To add to that, the county investigator didn’t show up to sign the discharge papers that they said they were going to, and the hospital is wanting to discharge the baby by 5PM tonight.

We have also found out that the county investigator gave my husband and I different contact information than the hospital staff.
We are hoping that somebody from the county comes to sign the discharge papers, and are really confused. The investigator seemed totally supportive yesterday.

What is odd, is that our agency has told us that the county has already signed the placement paperwork this afternoon, which released the baby to our agency, but the county has failed to show up and sign the discharge paperwork.

Posted in Adoption, Anxiety, Foster Parenting, LGBT Community, LGBT Parents, Safe Surrender, Two Dads

Safe Surrender Baby / Foster Parents

Sorry for not posting for a while all!

So much has happened!!!

We finished a bunch of training classes for our county in order to adopt, and our social workers at our agency had talked to us about increasing our age range of kids we want to take in from 0-3, to 0-8.

Our goal will always be adoption.

We want a family and we want to adopt.

That being said:

Two days after we decided to increase our age range- our agency called us for a placement for a newborn.

Not just a newborn- but the county had called our agency asking for a family looking to adopt a safe surrender baby.

Safe surrender- for those of you who don’t know -are children who are given/dropped off/surrendered to police stations/fire stations/hospitals with no questions asked.

In this baby’s case- the mother had given birth, and decided to surrender the child.

We’ve been told by the county investigator that the mother is 100% confident in her decision, and that baby should be available for adoption after the 14 days, which will then have parental rights terminated.

Wish us luck as we continue the path of foster/adopt!

This is everything we’ve wanted as a gay couple. It’s…almost as if we are dreaming and this isn’t real!

Somebody pinch us!

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, My Dogs, Puppy

Trixie The Triumphant- TTT

This is a friendly reminder to always attempt the stuff that seems/is impossible.
Live your life like this puppy.

See the odds of winning. Stare directly into the windows of its soul.

Tell it “fuck off,” and still try your best, despite the outcome.

#NeverGiveUp #NeverBackDown

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Game Review, World of Warcraft

Level Scaling Impressions- World of Warcraft Review

Personally, I’ve played World of Warcraft since late Vanilla WoW. To most, that doesn’t mean much, but to us old timers- we know the struggle of finding great tanks, great healers, the best sappers, savvy sheepers, and the horrendous DKP. (-50).

I found myself grinding in holy for my first undead priest to max level because I didn’t know how to quest, or that different specs were substantially better to level with.

I remember needing to get groups for the tough quests, getting into my first guild, starting my own guild, and when Wrath of The Lich King came along, raiding Icecrown Citadel every tuesday night at 7pm PST, for 3-4 hours straight.

I fell in love with bear tanking in late Burning Crusade/early Wrath of The Lich King, so when Cataclysm hit the live servers and bear tanking was broken at end game when our guild was finally ready for it- I quit.

I found myself coming back every expansion, hoping to relive that nostalgia. To get that same giddy feeling with online comrades when finally beating a boss that you’ve all struggled to defeat for weeks.

Every expansion would reignite my love for the game for about a month and when the old feelings didn’t stick, I would sadly go and cancel my account.

I played through Pandaria, (Pandas are my favorite animal, sue me) and although I loved the story, most of the end game was severely lacking with the introduction of LFR loot being damn near identical to guild ran raids.

When I heard that the same level scaling tech that was released in legion was coming out across all previous content, I immediately hit subscribe and tried it out.

Before level scaling, even without Bind on Account gear, you would find yourself outleveling zones. You would always be forced out of a cool quest line or zone due to the lack of experience or rewards via green/grey quests. The mobs were easily killed in any specialization, and dungeons could have everything be pulled from the entrance to a boss and AoE’d down.

When I finished all of Tirisfal Glades since the level scaling tech was patched in: mobs were still doing decent damage, all quest rewards were decently helpful, rare spawns took a big chunk of health if not geared or prepared to engage with, and I was never penalized for doing every-single-quest.

I finished an entire zone and found myself loving the ride of the grind whereas before I was hating nearly every second of the leveling process.

With that zone done, I moved down into Silverpine Forest. I felt an immediate hatred for Garrosh, a kinship with Sylvanas, and a general dislike for Worgen kind.

Again- I rushed through the entire zone not because I wanted to level quickly, rather I wanted to see how the story would play out. I was intrigued throughout the leveling process of the entire zone. Every quest felt like it was suppose to be done at my level EVEN WITH BOA GEAR!

I went to Hillsbrad, where I was surprised to see that The Forsaken had dominated the zone which had been so scary for horde to wander around in previous expansions. Lore that I had never experienced before because I could camp in a major city and dungeon my way to max level in a matter of days was being experienced by me, just like the old days.

There was even a quest to kill a giant Yeti, where I had to hit up general chat to look for others that were also struggling to kill him.

Every zone from there on out, I’ve completed fully. By the time I hit level 61, I found myself saddened to leave Azeroth for Northrend/Outland. (Yeah, you can pick which expansion you’d like to go through).

My husband would hear tales of my adventures when he would get off of work and decided to create a character with me, and we’ve been leveling together since.

I can’t stress enough how cool it was to have him come to Northrend with me for the first time. To have him experience the lore and the quests that I fell in love with as a teenager. To have him engage in jousting via Trial of The Champion dungeon.

To experience everything the way it was suppose to be. The way I used to. The nostalgia has stood with me, and I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good or bad thing yet. 😉

However, level scaling has gotten my husband into World of Warcraft. It’s gotten him to fall in love with dungeons, quests, factions, lore, and zones. To actually appreciate them for what they are: works of art.

My hope is that you take some time to give it a shot yourself, and we see you in game, whether you are For The Horde like us, or you are For The Alliance and we engage in the battlefield.

My hope is that level scaling in this game has made you as happy as it has made us.

Posted in Dead By Daylight, Game Review

Review – Dead by Daylight – Current State

This is an update to the Dead by Daylight Review as of March 23, 2018.

The game has come a long way since I first posted about it many months ago!

So, where do we start?

Matchmaking has been updated severely. You now get placed into a match with survivors and killers being relatively the same rank as one another. Occassionally the game will place you with someone who is higher rank than you, but their countermeasure for this is to place someone at a lower rank than you to cause an average equal to yours. For instance, if someone is a rank 1 survivor, and you are a rank 10 killer, then they would most likely place some rank 10’s in there with a newer player to make the average closer to your rank.
Maths example: 1+10+10+20 / 4 = 10.25

This has resolved my biggest frustration of the game, which was getting qued against players who were simply much better than you. It help eliminate the “what am I doing” phase, and enables you to learn at a decent pace what works/doesn’t.

In regards to “leavers/disconnecters”, the developers have taken a stance that if someone is going to “DC” that often then they probably shouldn’t be playing this game at all anymore. If someone has a DC or rage quitting ratio then they are flagged, investigated, and banned.

On the same topic, those who disconnect now get nothing. No points, no shards, nothing. If a survivor disconnects, not only do they get nothing, but they lose their items and offering used for the match; killers also receive a blood point bonus and additional scoring points when a survivor disconnects.

When a killer disconnects, all survivors are suppose to keep their items and collect their blood points that they accumulated up until the point of the disconnection. This does not always happen, and survivors can potentially lose an item, an offering, a rank, or any combination of the three.

 

That being said, it brings me to one of the biggest issues this game has at the moment:

Killers being weaker than Survivors.

While that may seem like an odd statement, it is entirely true and factual. Survivors have taken on the general attitude of teabagging, looping, flashlighting, decisive striking, and more. While these are their main goals of the game, the combination of these on survivors makes it rather frustrating to play killers, especially when learning how to play a newer killer or if you are simply an inexperienced player matched with a higher skilled individual. (which doesn’t happen all the time I might add)

In my opinion, it’s the cause of the attitude of survivors which causes the frustration of killers like myself to want to rage quit. Rather than accepting that they are better, or more skilled, they can hold the match hostage by not escaping, run circles around bad killers by juking, loop through three or more pallets and then disappear, and the kicker: if you actually manage to hook or sacrifice one of these players- they resort to name calling and racial slurs. On the flipside to that, if you don’t manage to kill anyone because of the reasons stated above, many survivors will throw out a “noob killer” to stroke their ego.

All of that being said, it doesn’t happen all of the time, and the developers do have a nifty report feature at the end of the game where you can let them know who is being stupid and for what reason. More use of this could actually result in some of the more hostile and toxic members of the community being removed or dealt with.

All in all, the game has continued to make a positive advancement, and the developers are taking the steps they need to in order to make the game more appealing for all. Whether that be through tutorials being added soon, character customization options, purchasing dlc with in game currency, or weeding out the toxic players.

 

I still can’t recommend this game enough.

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, My Dogs

Newest Member of the Family

It was a lot to consider. We weighed the pros and cons.
We came to the conclusion that we simply…are a 4 dog kinda household.

With Rolo passing, the house has felt empty. Bigger. Spacious.

We understand that he was just a dog to most people, but to us it was like losing a child. 12 years is nearly half of my entire life, and he’s always been by my side.

We’ve decided together, that although money will be slightly tighter, we want to open our hearts to another furry monster.

Please meet our newest addition to the family:
Trixie, the German Shepherd/Saint Bernard splitbreed.

We’ve been taking the past few days to get her acclimated to our pack of animals here at the house.

She’s terrified of Brodie if he stands up, Kira is indifferent to her, and Chance is surprisingly standoffish/slightly aggressive towards her.

She’s been getting more and more comfortable every day, and we have started the process of kennel training at night.

She is just starting to sleep through a whole night.

We were told she is about 7 weeks old or so, and we guess that’s about right for how clumsy she is. Her first vet appointment is this coming up Wednesday. That’s when we will do her first visit and shots/update you with more information.

Posted in Movie Reviews

Game Night

Synopsis:

Max and Annie’s weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party — complete with fake thugs and federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all supposed to be part of the game. As the competitors set out to solve the case, they start to learn that neither the game nor Brooks are what they seem to be. The friends soon find themselves in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn over the course of one chaotic night.

Things We Liked:

The comedic timing. We felt that every joke in this movie had its timing down perfectly and stuck with us hard. Our bellies were sore at certain points during the film from laughing so damn hard. We haven’t laughed this much since watching Rat Race when that first came out. It was a goofy kind of humor, surrounded by adult situations. There were even a few plot twists here and there that we weren’t fully expecting. Generally everything about this movie gave us a solid good time. Movies like these are why we want to go to the theatre. We ended up attached to just about every character in the film, as every character seemed to be defined well. There are some “cheating” jokes that felt to go on a little too long, but was drawn out just long enough to get you a few belly aching giggles when the truth was revealed.

Things We Disliked:
I honestly can’t name one thing we disliked about the movie. Wait, I take that back, the older brother slightly annoyed me personally. Other than that- amazing!

Recommendations:
Go. Now. See this movie and have a good time laughing at some of the most ridiculous scenes we’ve seen in a long time. Example: The Dog scene. No spoilers- but that was my favorite part. I was ugly cry laughing. Amazing

Ratings:
Me – 10/10. 
It has been a really long time since I went to the theatre and felt like I walked away, asking myself if I really spent so little on a film. Like- I think it deserved more than my ticket and concession costs. I felt no remorse during the film, and the whole room was filled with laughter at EVERY punchline.

Husband – 9/10. There were a couple of jokes that I felt were dragged on just a little too long. However, the airplane scene made me laugh to the point where I almost cried happy tears.  Good movie that made me feel good.

Posted in Movie Reviews

Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built

Synopsis:
The most haunted house in the world sits on an isolated stretch of land that’s 50 miles outside of San Francisco. Built by Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester fortune, it stands seven stories tall and contains hundreds of rooms. To an outsider, it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman’s madness. But Sarah’s actually building a prison, an asylum for hundreds of vengeful ghosts — and the most terrifying among them have a score to settle with the Winchesters.

Things We Liked:
The older woman. She comes across as a cooky grandmother that nobody really intends to take seriously, but everyone humors out of respect. We really wanted her to be the main protagonist of the film.

We also really enjoyed that they showcased some of the cooler things from the house itself. As a couple who have gone on tour through the building, it was an awesome feeling to be like, “I REMEMBER THOSE STAIRS!”

Things We Disliked:

The main protagonist. Everything about him bothered us. The lame love story about him and his wife. His addiction. We felt like the movie would have been better without him and that the story should’ve focused on the leading ladies in the film who had more character and connection with the audience.
Overall, his performance seemed forced, by no real fault of the actor, but by the fault of the writers. His role in the movie seemed coincidental and lackluster, which is sad considering he has more screen time than anyone else.
Also- the ending. The only thing we are going to say that might be spoilerish: If she could command ghosts, what was the point in having any issues with them. If they listened to her, then why would the ending even be possible?

Recommendations:
The movie does what it is suppose to as a horror film. It has two or three jump scares to get the adrenaline going. Our favorite was the turning mirror. Other than that, everything that didn’t involve the house, or the Winchester granny- was crap.
If you have spare money, and want a jump scare or two, head to the theatre- otherwise, save your money.

Ratings:

4/10 – We both agreed that it did what it was suppose to, but a large portion of the movie left you with more questions than answers. A lot of that was due to story loopholes and things not tying together, but being mashed together in hopes they would stick. BIG CASE IN POINT- The ending.