So…I wasn’t planning on taking nearly the whole summer off from sharing my kitchen adventures with you. But I promise, there’s a good reason for this!
As you may have seen if you follow me on Instagram or in the About area of the site, we’re in the process of adopting a baby girl! We have chosen to adopt through our state department of children and families’ foster-to-adopt program and spent the winter and most of the spring in a weekly training, meeting with our permanency social worker, and filling out more paperwork than you could possibly imagine in order to both vet us as an eligible family for the program and to build our home study and family profile.
We were licensed as a foster family at the end of July and were ready to receive calls about children (age birth to 3 were our criteria) who the department of children and families deemed potentially eligible for adoption. What this means is that there was a strong inclination towards termination of parental rights – either voluntarily or court-ordered – that would allow for a child to become available for adoption. There are countless possibilities about how this can happen for each child which are too involved – and not relevant for our situation – to discuss here.
Anyway, it’s been a complete whirlwind of a summer for us! The very first call we received about a child in one of these situations is the one we hope will work out for our family. We got this call from our permanency social worker on July 21st, found out that we were matched by the Department to move towards adopting who we are now calling Riley Anne on July 25th, went on a pre-planned vacation which turned into our “babymoon” the following week, and brought Riley home with us on August 11th.
Riley is now 8 weeks old and we’re in week 4 with her at home. We are completely smitten with this girl and are absolutely loving the time we’re spending with her while we get to know her and integrate her into our home and family. We didn’t have much time to plan for her arrival, especially since we didn’t know what age child we would be matched with, so we’ve done LOTS of shopping since we found out about her and are putting the finishing touches on her nursery (will share this in a separate post!). And I’ve done a ton of cooking in the past couple of weeks to stock the freezer with meals that are easy to heat in a pinch on nights when I’ve got nothing left in the tank to cook.
I’ll be home with Riley through the Christmas and will return to work in early January. I’m really hoping to revive this space a bit during these few months and take advantage of the time she’s sleeping during the day (in between my own naps of course! ha!). I’ll post another adoption journey update as we move closer to this gigantic milestone over the next few months. We expect her adoption will be finalized within 3 to 6 months.
Before I close out this post, I want to truly thank all of you who have reached out with your thoughts, prayers, and celebrations since we started our adoption journey. This is a heavily emotional time and process for us and we cannot thank you enough for all of the love you’ve shown. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Due to our obligation to protect Riley’s privacy while she is in the foster care system, we won’t be showing any photos of her face on the blog or social media until after we adopt her. I’m sorry!! Trust me though, she’s a beautiful baby! Also, we will not be sharing the circumstances under which she came into foster care. Not only are we bound by confidentiality laws, but we believe this is her story to tell if she chooses to, not ours.
If you have questions about the foster-to-adopt program (this type of program is found in other states, too) or about the adoption process, please feel free to reach out to me directly via the Connect page or in the comments below if you feel comfortable.
Our Adoption Journey Part 1
4 lbs peaches, sliced in half and pitted
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a full sheet pan or two half sheet pans with parchment paper. Lay the peach halves cut side down. Roast for 40 minutes until the peaches are soft and the skins are crinkly.
Slip the skins off the peaches and discard. Transfer the peaches and their remaining juices from the pan(s) to deep stockpot and mash the peaches until slightly chunky.
Stir the sugar into the peaches and let sit for a couple minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Mix in the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice.
adapted from Preserving by the Pint by Marissa McClellan