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, 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 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 Anxiety, Depression, Memories, My Dogs

My Best Friend Died Today

When I told him I was gay, he just looked at me without saying anything, kissed me, and loved me anyways.

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When my mom’s boyfriend was abusive, he listened as I told him how scared I was.

When I wanted to lounge around and watch cartoons, he lounged right beside me.

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When I went to the bathroom, he would follow me to the door.

When I went to bed, he would sleep at the foot of it.

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When I was scared of the thunder, he made me less scared, by showing me that he was MORE scared which curbed my fear.

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When I had spare burgers, fries, cake, cookies, or donuts- he was always down to be my garbage disposal.

When I forgot to take out the trash, he would knock it over to remind me.

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When the food bowl was empty, he would headbutt it until more food came down, or until someone filled it.

When he would come inside from the backyard, EVERY TIME, he would stop at the food bowl and eat a meal for two.

When I moved out on my own for the first time he made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

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When we got Chance, he became the big brother, and wrestled with the chihuahua.

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When we got Kira, he would let her win at tug o war, ever since she was a puppy and half his size.

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When we got Brodie, he found someone to groom and chew on.

When I would grab his green squeaky ball, he would hide his aches and pains, and somehow always manage to turn into a puppy again.

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Even this morning, as he went about his business in the front yard, he looked youthful.

My Best Friend Died of Cancer. Diagnosed and euthanized at Ferndale Veterinary.

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I held his head as he fell asleep. As he went peacefully, never showing me once that he was in pain.

I’m heartbroken.

I still expect to hear him bark obnoxiously when I come home.

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I expect him to rally the rest of the pack when when he hears a car door open or close in the neighborhood.

I want to hold him again. To go on one more walk. To order him one more plate of nachos from Peppers.

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12 years seems like a long time. And I know I should be grateful to have had our bond last as long as it did.

But this effing sucks. My heart is broken. I feel like I’m in a dream.

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I don’t share this publicly for pity, likes or views.

I want to share this as a notice that I’m going off socials for a few days to get my head clear.

I share this as a reminder to cherish your pets like it’s their last.
Two days ago he was begging for food at Sunday Dinner and begging his grandpa for treats.
Today- Poof.

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The house feels empty without him.

If you are out there buddy. Rolo. I love you. So much. I miss you.

You will always- ALWAYS:

Be loved by your three siblings.

Be loved by your aunt Natasha and uncle Preston.

Be loved by GG, Grandma, and Grandpa.

Be loved by both of your daddies.

Be my best friend.

Thank you for watching over me for 12 amazing years.

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Husband's Motivation, Personal Accountability

Free Movies and Date Nights │ You’re Welcome

Hey all!

My mother has been bugging me for the past few weeks about signing up for this app called MoviePass. She read online that it was a super cheap way for us to go to the movies together, and since I budget our finances, she thought it would be a good way for us to relieve some stress after a long day or even get together as a family on the weekends for a flick.

Basically, you pay $9.99 for a month in a subscription. In return you get to watch “unlimited” movies at the Theatre.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, kinda yes, mostly no.

Basically you sign up with an email address or with your Facebook account, once registered you can enter a credit/debit card for a $9.99USD fee for a thirty day subscription. While you are a member of MoviePass, you can go see movies on their dime.

However, upon registering- you have to wait up to two weeks for a “credit card” to be mailed to your address. You then register the last 4 digits of your card to your account. This is where the rules come into play.

1) You must have a smart device or tablet that has GPS capabilities. The only way to access your account is through the app on your device. The only way to check in to movies is through the app. The kicker: you MUST be within 100 yards of the Theatre at the time of check in.

(This can be a con for those who don’t have a decent data connection/plan)

 

2) Once checked in to a movie/time that you chose, you then have a 30 minute window to swipe your card, and MoviePass picks up the cost of the ticket. Whether it is a matinee, or late night/full price showing.

 

3) The MoviePass card does not cover concessions- No popcorn/drinks/food of any kind.

 

4) You CANNOT see more than one movie a day, or (they may have changed this recently) see the same movie twice.

 

5) The movies CANNOT be in 3d. They have to be a standard 2D flick.

___________________________

   All of that being said, if you can follow the rules, you can see whatever movie you want, at whatever time, on the dime of MoviePass. I don’t know about you but a matinee showing of any movie where I live is $7.50. After 3PM the cost shoots up to $12. So essentially one movie in a month and you paid for your subscription.

Because of this app, my husband and I have been to the movies together more in the past few days than we have during our entire relationship together.
An added bonus? Our Theatre has a rewards card, where you get 1 point for every dollar you spend on concessions or tickets. This means that every day that we go to the movies we get a minimum of 14 points. EVERY time. Those points can be used on free popcorn or drinks, which when you use your rewards card for those, adds even more points.

Our first movie we went to go see? 12 Strong- an army movie based on a true story. I never would have agreed to go watch something like that with my husband, but gave in due to my desire to test the app out. This is where we signed up for a rewards card, got two tickets for the film, and then paid .75 cents for a large popcorn with the points we earned.
Our first movie date cost us $4 because we also split a large soda.

 

The very next day, we went back to the Theatre and saw The Shape of Water. A romance movie that my husband would usually never watch with me, but again – the movie was free, so what’s a few hours? We ended up loving the movie and splitting a large popcorn and drink.

Today? We went back to watch Call Me By Your Name.

We find ourselves actually watching trailers to movies during the previews and going : “Let’s come back and watch that”. We look forward to our daily movie dates. The best part is that the app is easy to use and every movie we see past the first one, costs us nothing unless we want a soda or snack.

Tomorrow we are going to watch Winchester. The day after? Black Panther.

The movies are our oyster, so to speak.

Additionally, on Valentines Day yesterday evening, their app was bugging out and we couldn’t check into the movies. While that may seem like a bad thing- I tweeted the company pointing out the problem and they responded immediately apologizing for the influx of customers bogging down their servers.
They stated that if we are subscribers (which we are) and we ever have to pay out of pocket for one of our tickets, we can DM them a copy of our ticket/receipt and they will reimburse us.

I don’t know how this company is making their money but good golly, I can’t recommend this app more. I urge you to get it, give it a fair shake for one month, and let me know what you think.

Going daily for a few hours with my husband has totally upped both of our moods, and I hope it does the same for you as well!

Posted in Anxiety, Depression

Music Therapy │ Overcoming Depression

After talking to my therapist more and more, I have come to enjoy the smaller things in life.

I know that seems really simple and ridiculous to say such a basic thing about depression, but I can’t stress enough how the small things in your life can really make a difference in your every day struggle.

One of the things that helps me tremendously is a subscription to Spotify. (You can get a free account, just deal with ads and it’s still amazing.)

I wake up and do my business around the house listening to my favorite songs every day. Whenever I hear a new song on the radio in the car or over at a friends house that intrigues me, I throw it on my Lifetime Playlist. Bands that come to mind from high school that still make me smile or songs that are linked to happy occasions get thrown on there.

It has become this haven of happy groove tunes that almost never fails to put a smile on my face. Music can take me from a depressed start in my morning to a somewhat energetic evening without the help of caffeine.

I find myself doing things before that I thought were too stressful. Things that I previously deemed “difficult” that people without depression are able to do so easily: Dishes, Laundry, etc.

While a simple thing, I thought I would share for those who are also struggling to battle depression. Hopefully it helps you as much as it does me.

Also- if you are a pop music lover, throw it on shuffle and enjoy.

Spotify Link- Lifetime Playlist

Posted in Anxiety, Depression

A Helping Hand │ Household Gadgets and Mental Illness

Personally, I struggle with a lot mentally. I hate being around people I do not know because my brain goes into overdrive about all the different ways a conversation can go south and I start to panic and wonder how I could say the wrong things to make another person frustrated or dislike me, all at a glance before any words are stated by either of us.

I struggle with memory and I know I get distracted easily. I often walk into another room forgetting why I was there, and I also forget things my husband and I may have discussed a few days ago. I forget tings we desperately needed at home when I go to the store and end up frustrated with myself because it should’ve been something easy to remember.

However, with all that being said- there are a few things that I have been fortunate enough to get, that help me immensely around the house. It may seem like little things, but these little things really change a lot for me to have to worry about, and enable me to focus on the important things, like my health and mental well being.

1) Vacuuming

I know plenty of couples who argue or make comments towards one another involving basic household duties. Things as simple as vacuuming can be rather tedious when you have pets, and when you are like us and have two furry Saint Bernards, it is a constant battle between you and the dormant dog hair. Fortunately, we had a 50% off coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond and threw the Irobot’s Roomba model 980 on a credit card. This little robot, which we have named Gizmo, zooms around the house cleaning up dog fur relatively quietly. We even downloaded an app on our phones called IFTTT, which stands for “IF This Then That”. This app makes it so that when we say “Hey Google, the floor is dirty,” our Google Home responds with, “Starting you robot Gizmo now”. The little robot activates and vacuums the whole house. We don’t spend 30 minutes a day vacuuming the entire house anymore, and to those of you who clean your house often, you know how obnoxious and stressful it can be, especially when you have to move kitchen chairs, pets, and more around. I no longer feel the dread when I wake up knowing that I will have to spend anywhere between a half an hour to a full hour fighting to keep the house in a decent state of appeal.

2) Medication

If you are like me and have memory issues, you constantly forget to take your meds. There are days where you feel completely normal and as a normal person, you don’t remember that you need to take medication to handle your crazy. To counteract this, I merely told my phone, “Ok Google, remind me everyday at noon to take my medication.”
Every day, if I am at the house, my google home flashes at me and tells me to take my meds. If I am out and about I receive a notification on my phone reminding me as well. It has become second nature to see a notification and then go, “oh yeah” and run off to snag a few pills, pop them, and go about the rest of my day.

3) Shopping

For the things I need constantly, like Dog Food for instance, I head to a website that enables automatic shipping (Chewy.com). I attach a debit or credit card to the order, and every month 80-120lbs of dog food appears on my doorstep. Bimonthly, I receive the flea medicine in my mailbox for our pets. I don’t have to go to the store, deal with anxiety for being in public, or deal with anyone having a bad day to trigger my mental issues. I simply go to our front door, and bring the necessities inside.

For things that I have had to get more regularly, such as groceries or toiletries, I have my google assistant on my phone keep a running list for the month of what I want. I can say, “OK Google, add (Anything I have to shop for) to the grocery list.” The assistant says okay, adds it to a list, and once a month I head to the store to do all of my grocery shopping/household item shopping. I don’t have to worry about if I forgot anything. The only thing I have to do is hunt for the best deals around the grocery store, going down the list one by one until everything is checked off. For things I was not able to find, I can ask the assistant to order from various stores online via my voice when I get home.

 

These things may seem like a simple task for many people, but for myself: It simply isn’t. I use the google assistant app on my phone often enough, to where it has become a lifesaver. I save so much time that I wasted before sitting down to write lists, or deal with grumpy people, that I now get to focus on things that make me happier like playing with my pets or doing Yoga. We have so much free time due to all of the shopping and most of the household chores being automated, that we spend more time with our parents at movie nights, or together as game nights. We even started having nieces and nephews stay over for the weekends more often and as a result have a much better relationship with them.
Hell, weekends are easy because we can simply tell our google assistant to turn on a movie in the living room after popping some popcorn and just relax with one another.

I know this seems like a random set of things to share- but these changes in my life have definitely made a positive change in regards to handling my mental illness, so I figured it could possibly help someone else.
I hope you have a fantastic day! 🙂

Google Home, Google Chromecast, Google Assistant App, Roomba 980