Saturday, September 29, 2012

Welcoming friends....

Want to know how to make an 11 year old boy have a great big smile and melt into a puddle of giggles with his knees drawn up tightly to his chest so he can bury his sweet little face? Tell him that while he and dad were spending the morning at his baseball game, Mom was at a "welcoming shower." As you are explaining to him that this means friends of our family did this to welcome him to our family, have his sisters walk into the room carrying brightly wrapped packages all for him. Watch him as he sits and looks at the parcels and absorbs the moment before you finally have to tell him he can open them. He is  looking at the gifts and cards on the table with some combination of excitement, happiness, joy and confusion about what to do with all of these.

I wish I had taken photos of his gifts. I did take a video of him opening them so we will have that to look back on later. Here is his awesome baseball cake at the shower.

It felt just a little bit like Christmas in September and no one cared that all the gifts were for the little guy. It also provided an opportunity to discuss when the girls were each born/adopted and how each of them entering our family was celebrated. R and I even went on a search for her (nearly empty) baby book. We filled in a little info we could and she really liked choosing pictures to put for each year. I know I may be in the minority here, but I'm not a scrapbooker and I had fun doing this with my 12 year old daughter allowing her to choose her favorite photos. She is also going to do her own write ups for each year of school. Not sure why a "baby book" covers school until 6th grade but it will be a fun activity for her. So any of you overwhelmed mommy's out there thinking bad thoughts about yourselves for not completing your baby books, you might just want to cut yourselves some slack and wait until your "baby" is old enough to do it with you. I promise you will both enjoy it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What happened to the McIntoshes?


We are still here, plugging away at the daily grind. It's just that our daily grind has been given a strong boot and the daily grind is more of a daily marathon. Summer vacation is over, well vacation is over. Although the calendar says autumn has officially arrived we live in Florida, so summer is never really over. For sure vacation is over and the kids are back to school - in one way or another. This year our two oldest girls are both seniors - Canadian readers this means grade 12. **wink** So that is an entirely new thing with happy days and sad days reflecting on what this means for our family. I am so not going there today. Grad rings, yearbooks, graduation photos, homecoming (Canadians - no I can't explain Homecoming - it seems Americans just like to start AND end the school year with a prom.) All of this, times two daughters. Add in college applications (Canadian translation University applications) AP, SAT and ACT tests.... It's a busy school year. K is taking a computer class in graphic design and she is LOVING it! She is even talking about continuing education with training in this area. That is very exciting to us and I'm looking into it! Here is one of Kennedy's sketches. She is having fun using her art work in the class.

As for the younger two we have taken the leap into homeschool. K & T were homeschooled in NB until grade 3 and 4 when they entered public school. With S having minimal exposure to school prior to being in foster care and with English being his second language he is significantly behind so I decided to take this one year at a time and see how it goes. R decided on her own that she would like to be homeschooled. She is much more independent in her studies and gets through her work with minimal support. I’m pretty sure she has already decided that she plans to return to public school next year, though she says she enjoys sleeping in and finishing her work much earlier than her middle school friends. Plus she never has homework - when she is done her work we stop. Period. 

So that’s school.  We now have two athletes in the house. S plays baseball. FOR THE YANKEES!!! He is thrilled that is the team he was put on - Michael not so much :-( But I guess he wasn’t too discouraged as he signed up to volunteer as an assistant coach. I can’t imagine Michael wearing a Yankees cap - oh the shame. 

R is cheerleading this year. Yes my little tomboy is a cheerleader. She has practice 6 hours a week and a game every Saturday. I have to admit their workouts and practices are intense. So those two are keeping us hopping. Add in T and her babysitting and being a two car family is stretching us. 

So there it is, school. sports, babysitting... what else, oh yes we are still going through the adoption process. It is indeed a process. There are days that S feels like ours and I forget that basically he is just a little boy who sleeps at our house and eats us out of house and home - seriously that boy can eat as much as all three of the girls put together. I wish I was exaggerating. One amusing little tidbit is that we used to have a few grapes left in the fridge, one lonely banana on the counter, enough milk for half a glass because the girls were polite to a fault to leave a little something for the next person. This is not something we encouraged - frankly it’s a little annoying because those last little bits spoil because no one takes them. Suffice it to say this is no longer a problem. Now the problem is - “Mom didn’t you buy bananas yesterday?” “Mom we are out of milk.” The new little man has no problem eating the last of anything, in fact he prides himself on it. 

Next week we have another judicial review at court. Hoping for some big news this time out. The goal for court next week is to alleviate all remaining issues surrounding the at risk portion of S’s adoption. Will you indulge me in yet another of my timelines? 

September 25th Court in the morning - and Happy Birthday Blake!  I hope Blake's birthday was happier than our court day. We woke up early and drove into Tampa and went through security. Waited for our boy's name to be called then went into the courtroom for (maybe) two minutes. The result ANOTHER court date for November 5th. 
October 25th - if  Sept 25 court went well placement status can officially change from non-relative to adoptive placement.  Not going to happen.
October 25th - 90 days living with us - adoption can be finalized at any point.  Also not going to happen.
November - I’d love to finalize S’s adoption at any point this month. November is National Adoption Awareness month, so it’s even more special.  I hate to be repetitive but NOT HAPPENING! This one makes me sad because I really was hoping for finalization on such a special day when the courtrooms are filled with families all finalizing and happy. Suffice it to say family court is not the happiest place on earth, though it makes for very interesting people watching while you wait for your case to be called. 
December - IF November’s goal didn’t happen then I would hope for finalization before Christmas. Merry Christmas. There is still the teeny tiniest chance for this - really teeny tiny. We really want this adoption wrapped up in 2012. The new best case scenario is that S be proclaimed legally free for adoption on November 5th and his placement status changed from non-relative to adoptive placement on December 5th (conincidentally my birthday) then there would be the rush to finalize before the end of the year. I repeat this is highly unlikely - but we continue to believe that with God all things are possible and we will be praying for finalization in 2012.  

So that’s it in a nutshell - a nut shell - yes that’s a good word to describe what we are in. A nutty little life that is constraining us while we wait out all of the requirements. A life of ordinary (church, work, school, sports...) and not so ordinary (therapists, Guardian ad litems, adoption workers, case workers, judges, foster parents...) We go where others tell us to go and do what they tell us to do. Challenging for my personality. Hush now, I can hear you laughing!