Monday, September 15, 2014

Year 34 Begins!

Well, today I turned 34! It has been an odd birthday. Another one of those years where I come to terms with the fact that my life today doesn't look much like what I thought it would look like a year ago. In some ways it's a silly thing because life is pretty good. In other ways, it's a legit bittersweetness. But, overall it's been a great birthday and birthday weekend. For example, this appeared in our bathroom on top of Mike's towel last night.

Autumn had PLANS with all caps. She and my mom gathered and stashed most of this on Wednesday, I think, and it's been killing her to keep quiet about it. Yay for discipline! I asked Mike if he would, in fact, wack her up but he said she probably wouldn't enjoy that much. She ended up waking up before he had a chance to get her. He said Autumn looked a hot mess with hair everywhere, ha! I wish he got a photo. Anyway, she set this up and went back to bed. First up, Autumn propped up this little bear against a box full of snowflakes she made and decorated. I'm not sure why the snowflakes but they are quite well done. The bear, incidentally, sings the worst rendition of Happy Birthday known to humankind but we still get it out every birthday.

Actually, that's not true. I get it out for Mike and for Autumn but no one has ever made a birthday display like this for me! My mom also helped Autumn pull out this birthday sign Cheri made us several years ago. Autumn added my little bear that my dad gave me when I was a baby and lots and lots of jewels. I'm rather impressed with Autumn's ability to balance the sign, bear and jewels without anything falling until Mike bumped into it around 5pm.

Molly wasn't impressed. After Autumn went to school, I came home to find Molly knocking the jewels down one by one. There is a hilarious gif of a cat sweeping things off a table but it has profanity in it so I won't post it. HOWEVER, if you aren't offended by strong language, here's a link. Molly was that cat today. Also, please excuse the breakfast crumbs and the tools and new oven debris (did I mention that our old oven irreparably kicked the bucket?) in the background.

Autumn was pretty happy with the execution of her plans. I was happy, too. And THEN Mike surprised me with lunch out, some really great Green and Black's Hot Cocoa and a super amazing looking chocolate bar. I got a grill for my every gift event for the year gift. Whenever we do something like that, I always asked for some kind of interesting chocolate and he always delivers! Thanks, Mike!

On top of a great day today, yesterday we had good meals with family. We met my mom at a brunch at this old, fancy hotel called the Peabody in downtown Memphis. When my mom arrived, we were so busy chowing down that I didn't get a photo of or with her! But while we waited, I got one with Autumn. My hair looks better than expected--I ended up pony tailing it because it wasn't cooperating.

And here are Mike and Autumn being cute. Autumn was so nervous about using her extra nice restaurant manners that she couldn't relax but she finally chilled out and had fun. I think spying the dessert bar broke the ice! Seriously, the brunch was great. I'd totally do it again.

That night, we met Mike's parents at a place called One and Only Barbecue. SO GOOD. We use them to cater all of our dojo dinners now, we like them so much. Autumn and Ellie were, of course, adorable. Man, I talked to Lindsay today and Ellie was all "'APPEH BIRDEH" and it was freaking cute.

Ellie's like, wait, she stopped playing with me. WHAT IS THIS I CAN'T EVEN.

So, a good end of 33 and beginning of 34! Here's to another year of learning, teaching, playing, working, happiness, sadness, and all things betwixt and between. I'll leave you now with a poem from our friend Ken...I got teary-eyed at the end:

You could have a happy birthday
And nobody would mind
You could wish out all your candles
And everyone would hope you'd find
A wonderful present
Even better than the past
And a hope for the future
Where dreams come true at last

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Adoption Update: Worse than Nothing Happening Edition

When we last visited the adoption topic, a few things were moving along slowly. Well, we're at a dead stop. A highly recommended agency in Texas accepted our pre-application and invited us to their orientation. We had been emailing back and forth on different elements of the full application process but we never heard back on a question we had about getting wet fingerprinted. After waiting a couple weeks, Mike called to follow up and they told us that they made a mistake and we were no longer invited to proceed any further with their agency.

I'm angry for a lot of reasons: from their "mistake" to the nearly $200 in fees that we never would have spent if they weren't so supposedly excited to have us as part of their program. Not to mention, why couldn't they have told us this sooner? Were they just going to ignore us until we gave up?

Mike, who is generally more level headed than I am, and some of our other friends--including Mike's dad--are on the side of waiting and seeing what our other options are. I'm more on the side of this being it. How many more times do we hear no before we believe it, you know? No to Garrett. No to the two adoptions that fell through. No to however many other expectant parents who looked at our profile with the other agency. No to the THREE families a lawyer in Florida showed our book to it. Maybe it isn't meant to be. Maybe the answer is no. Nanny, incidentally, made it clear to Mike that she is also of the don't do this anymore opinion. I'm not surprised because she and I are very similar.

Our social worker called after I emailed her to tell her the agency changed its mined. She feels like we have a lot of options. I don't know, though. We've had trouble with people like our former agency and Autumn's former occupational therapist giving us the material we need. At one point our social worker lost our entire file somewhere in her house and we had to reproduce everything we had given her up to that point. Thank goodness for scanning, for real. She did, by the way, find the file. So even the home study which is chugging along is doing so in fits and starts.

Autumn cried for a long time today. I think it's one of those things where all the hurts get all balled up into one, big hurt know. We were on our way to class when we found out. I took it harder than I expected. I spent this entire process believing it wouldn't work out in the end but...I don't know, I can't help but hope. Or, maybe it's like Autumn and I'm responding to the entirety of the sadness and not this small piece. Anyway, I'm sure my reaction didn't help Autumn's. I pulled it together pretty quickly, though, so I am hoping I didn't contribute too much. I didn't want Autumn to just mope in the corner all night so I had her participate in class. I explained the situation to the parents in some detail and students in minute detail because I am, if nothing else, open about what's happening. Some of the sweet kids in the class made her cards after class while Autumn did her homework. The I Love You note goes with the message at the top of the page. The Hope note goes with this message: "I am so sorry you cannot have a sibling but there's still hop..." Maybe. Maybe not. We'll see.