Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's a Boy!

The waiting for a match is over and now we move on to the fun (and hard) stuff! We were selected unanimously at committee today for Judea! Of course, as we were the only family, this wasn't too much of a surprise, but it was still an anxious day because, of course, you just never know with committees.

I was on pins and needles all day. The committee started at 1pm and was scheduled to go until 4pm, but Barbara said she expected it would end early, as we were the only family being represented. As 3:00 approached and there was still no phone call, I got quite anxious, as if I wasn't already. At 3:30 and still no call, I'd have been near to panic if I'd been alone. Luckily, I was with friends who did a very nice job of distracting me. Barbara finally called at 3:45ish.

We have a 7 day wait, after which we can start transitioning. Hopefully Anthony and I will go to Eugene to meet him next Wednesday or Thursday and stay for a couple of days. Then, sometime in the next week, his foster parents will bring him up to us. They'll stay for a visit, but then they go and Judea stays! He'll definitely be here for Christmas. I've got lots of gift ideas floating through my head!

Davan and I are starting room decorations for him tomorrow. We know what he'd like - sports theme - so we're going to have it done for him when he moves in so he feel welcome.

We're very, very excited!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Sorry I didn't actually update before we left for the holiday, but I did find out on Wednesday that we will be going to committee for Judea on Tuesday. The day after tomorrow! Wow!

Barbara talked to her supervisor on Wednesday and was excused from the mandatory training so she can go to committee for us on Tuesday. She really seemed like she wasn't overjoyed by the change in plans. I think she felt like we were letting Thorn down. She was definitely mad about Lisa (Judea's worker) contacting us directly. If Lisa hadn't, we'd have never known that we could have gone to committee for him before Thorn nor that we were the only ones scheduled for committee.

I have been feeling some pangs about Thorn. It's hard to be in a position to choose. I sort of which we weren't, but then I also really think that Judea is a good match for us and will be an easier blending. Not that I expect things to be easy, but easier. Keeping in mind the health of our family, it seems the better way to go.

Of course, we're not really able to choose - committee can still go either way for either boy, but it feels like we'd be chosen at either committee. Judea's because we're the only family and Thorn's because we're the local family.

I just hope that Thorn finds a good match, as well. Anthony joked that we should just take them both, but even if we did want to, it's not allowed. You are not allowed to bring more than one child into your family at a time unless they are siblings. Anthony had a solution to this, too, though. He said, "Well, we'll just transition Judea now and Thorn later." But, it can't really be.

Meanwhile we had a nice Thanksgiving weekend at Beverly Beach, where Anthony, Davan and I stayed in a yurt while my parents stayed in their RV right at the yurt with us. It was a nice combination, given the weather (cold and wet most of the time), as we had the space in the yurt, but a place to cook indoors in the RV. Their RV is a very small one, so it's not like we could all stay in it.

We played lots of games, went for walks both on the beach and at the campground, prepared food, ate the food and visited the aquarium. It was a good trip, except that I was tired most of the time. We had raccoons being loud under the yurt at night for the first two nights, after which Anthony blocked the hole they'd been using. Also, each time it rained at night, it was very loud. I could usually go back to sleep after being woken up by the rain, but it was hard to sleep with the raccoons being so loud. Plus, whenever I woke up, I'd start to think about Judea's committee (and a bit about Thorn) and transitioning and, and, and....

It'll be good to sleep in my own bed tonight. I hope I don't find myself mulling things over too much!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Barbara! ARG!

Everything is humming along just fine and smooth. We're excited about Judea, but also remembering that there is uncertainty with everything in the system. Pretty much, though, we're thinking, okay, let's get ourselves ready for Judea.

Bam. This morning, Barbara calls to let me know that she can't represent us at committee on Tuesday. In the meantime, sense she'd told Judea's case worker she was available, something has come up for her and now she's not. She matter of factly says that she's asking for a reschedule to the next week.

Now, normally, a delay of a week wouldn't mean a lot, but, as it is, it means a great deal because Thorn's committee is on the 1st of December, which is next Friday. With a reschedule, that means that we'd be considered for Thorn first. And we're very strong candidates for Thorn. Our first choice, though, is Judea. It's hard to rank kids like that, but it's how we feel.

I'm doing everything I can to try to get Judea's committee to happen before Thorn's, but I have very little control. I even called back Judea's case worker (even though in Oregon there is only supposed to be case worker to case worker contact) to let her know where we stand. She was very glad to hear from me. She also really wants us to go to committee for Judea first, as she really wants us to adopt him. Wheels are turning, but without me at this point. I haven't had contact with anyone in several hours now. There is only one more work day this week. I have my fingers crossed for news soon.

I may be wrong, but it feels like Barbara is being obstructive in this manner. Perhaps it's really just disorganization, but it's our lives that are being messed with here.

I will keep the blog updated as I know more.

Monday, November 20, 2006

What a Day!

So, as I wrote, we have a date for Thorn's committee - the 1st of December. Barbara had told me that the first day, chronologically, that had been tossed around for Thorn's committee was the 28th of November. I didn't think much when she said it was on the 1st instead, as things seem to always be in flux. Today, though, something happened that makes me think that she was confusing children and committee dates.

I got a call from Judea's case worker this morning. She'd tried to call Barbara, but Barbara wasn't in the office today. This is because Mondays are Barbara's day off. Thus, she called me directly to ask if we were still interested in Judea.

She asked, "Has Barbara told you that committee is tentatively scheduled for the 28th of November?" No, she hadn't. Judea's case worker said that she was concerned because after having sent Judea's updated homestudy, she hadn't heard anything back. She and Barbara had emailed back and forth about what days would work and Barbara had said that the 28th would work for presenting us at committee. Okay, well, we're going to committee for another little boy on the 1st of December, but we are interested in Judea and have been for a long time.

Then Judea's case worker dropped the bomb. We're the only family scheduled to go to committee for Judea on the 28th. Wow. How could this happen, you may ask. Well, Judea has been waiting long enough that it's possible to skirt around the 3 family for committee rule. It's not due to any adverse thing about Judea, it's just because they put recruitment on hold while checking out the biological family member that didn't work out. Rather than take the time to put out a fresh bulletin and find more families, his case worker decided to just go to committee with only us. She says she thinks we're a great match for Judea. Wow.

I asked for 15 minutes to regroup before we spoke again. I called Anthony at work and talked with him. The dilemma is that we feel like we're in pretty deep with Thorn and sort of feel like we're leaving him in the lurch. They waited for us to go to committee for him. However, there are no guarantees that we'll be chosen for Thorn. Committee could very well go a different way than expected. It doesn't make sense for us to not try for Judea, whom we've actually been interested in for longer.

Plus, truth be told, Judea does seem to have fewer issues than Thorn. It's a tough thing, but we've decided to go for it with Judea. It should be an interesting conversation I have with Barbara in the morning.

Just to be clear, even though we're the only family going to committee for Judea, that's not a guarantee that we'll get him, either. It's possible that the committee could say, "No, we don't think this family is a good match. Recruit more families and try again." That would be a blow to our self esteem as a family, but it could happen.

I spoke with Judea's foster mom today, after hearing about committee next week, and she spoke as if this is a done deal. We discussed what Judea would be bringing with him, what transition might look like, what he wants for Christmas...

Wow. It's been an intense day and tomorrow might well be, as well. I wonder what Barbara will say.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

We Have a Date!

We've got a date for Thorn's committee. It's the 1st of December in the afternoon. Committee starts at 1pm. That's less than two weeks! We just found out yesterday, when I called Barbara, again.

Barbara also said that another little boy we put in for, Zachary, is going to committee soon and his case worker is interested in us. We're supposed to get his adoption child summary early next week. Zachary just turned 6.

So, to sum up: We're going to committee for Thorn, 4, on the 1st of December. We're waiting for a committee date for Judea, 5, whom we were supposed to go to committee for about 6 months ago, but it was cancelled due to the "need" to check out a biological family member for possible adoption. Now we're being considered for Zachary, 6. A plethora of boys.

I really do have a feeling about Thorn, though, so the rest may be academic. If we're not chosen for Thorn, though, it's nice that there are other possibilities developing for us.

I imagine this time the two weeks will go fairly quickly. We have Thanksgiving this week, for which we're going to Beverly Beach with my parents. The three of us are yurting. The two of them are RVing.

On Monday my mom is coming over to do our shopping together and do food prep. It actually won't be too difficult, as we're getting a premade Thanksgiving dinner from Wild Oats and plan on there being leftovers. Davan also has gymnastics, as usual, Monday evening.

Tuesday is an all morning playdate with two friends, followed by book group in the afternoon and dinner out. Yes, we eat out so rarely that it's a scheduled event. I'm really looking forward to it. We also need to pack, as we're leaving sometime on Wednesday after picking up our premade Thanksgiving dinner.

We come home from our adventure on Sunday. Monday is back to the usual with Girl Scouts and Gymnastics. Some time that week, maybe even twice, we'll be going skiing! We're very excited about this, too! Timberline is open and we have our passes and are ready! Unfortunately, the first day we can make it up there will be that week after Thanksgiving. Maybe twice, though.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The News, Such as It Is

I finally spoke with Barbara yesterday, having called her back. She said she was going to call me sometime yesterday, but... There is still no set day for Thorn's committee, but it'll either be on the 29th of November or in early December. So much for a few weeks from 4 weeks ago. Barbara also indicated that they may only be one other family going to committee for Thorn. Hmmm.

She'd gotten updated information from Judea's case worker and said I could come in and pick it up yesterday afternoon, but when I got there, she was out of the office and hadn't left it at the front desk for me. I called her when we got home and left a message, letting her know and asking her to call me to set up a new time to pick it up. I haven't heard back yet.

She also said she'd check our file (yesterday) and let me know any information from other case workers she'd gotten, but, that doesn't seem to have gotten done either.

There are no new bulletins, which seems odd, as it's been a couple of weeks sense I last looked, but they do seem to come in spurts.

I ended up opting not to do the respite care that I wrote about earlier, as I was just feeling like it would be too much. I didn't want to cancel game day again. Thanks, Stephanie, for the offer to help, by the way. And I didn't really want to try to incorporate preschoolers into game day. I'd do it another day, though. Or even on a Thursday when I hadn't just had a recent game day cancellation. And, frankly, although it's not this foster mom's fault, I was feeling angry with DHS for being so slow and frustrating.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Nothing New, Feeling Bummed

I did not hear from Barbara at all this week. I finally broke down and called her Friday afternoon, but only was able to leave a message and never heard back. So, still no committee date for Thorn. Nor any new information on any kids she said she'd check into for us.

Chris left on Monday after a really nice visit. I enjoyed having her and miss her. Davan's continued to recover from her cold this week, while Anthony also succumbed and felt mildly crappy for most of the week. Tonight, the house is hopping because Davan's three cousins are over for the evening while their mom is out. Four kids 9 and under in a house used to only one is a big change!

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Latest Conversation with Barbara

I called Barbara yesterday to check in and see if there were any new bulletins. There were new ones, so I went today to look at them. Barbara asked if we were interested in doing respite care for 5 foster kids one day next month. I'm on the fence. 5 unknown kids all day seems like a lot and it's on a Thursday, which is game day. However, doing respite care will look good for us (demonstrating an ability to work with "special needs") and I'd genuinely like to do it. So, I'm still pondering.

There is still no committee date for Thorn. Sigh.

I picked one sibling group and four individual children for Anthony and I to ponder putting in for. One is a 12 year old named Haley who seems like a very good match. She likes being active and hopes for a younger sibling.

I really, really want Thorn's committee date, though! I don't want to keep putting my heart out there to be trampled on.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

It often seems that all we do is wait. Barbara was out of the office for training on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, meaning that I'm sure our homestudy write up is still not done. I'm guessing it won't be this week, either. I think the two hardest parts of the wait are in between knowing that you're going to committee and getting the date and then the week or so before committee. They are both hard because of the not knowing. First not knowing even when you'll find out and then not knowing if you'll be selected.

My best friend is in town visiting for 5 days, so that is a definite distraction. Yay! She just got in yesterday morning and we're having a great time, as always. Today should be even better than yesterday, as she's not bone tired anymore. Yesterday she was running on fumes, having gotten up at 4:30 east coast time and then spending a whole day here. However, she has to work some while here, so I'm catching up on email and such while she works.

Anthony surprised me with taking today and Friday off, so Chris and I are off for the day (we're on line at the library now) for lunch and a bit of used record/book shopping.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Feeling Discouraged Again

Barbara and I only communicated through messages last week. And the upshot of those messages were that it was a busy week for her and she has no new news for me. That tells me that she didn't get our refreshed homestudy write up done.

To further bum me out, Thorn is back up on the page of waiting children in Oregon. What the heck does that mean?

So, I'm feeling bummed and disappointed. No committee date and Barbara seems to be dragging her feet. Maybe things will turn around this week, but I'm not feeling that hopeful.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday is Here Again

I don't have much new to share in adoption news. Thorn is no longer listed on the Oregon Waiting Children's web site, although the link from the blog still works. He's on his way to committee. Yay! We still don't have a date. Barbara was out of the office on Friday and Monday is her usual day off, so tomorrow is the earliest we'd hear anything. I suspect with her being out of the office so much, she hasn't gotten our homestudy update written yet. I'm anxious for a date, so I hope that happens soon.

We had a nice weekend at home punctuated by events such as dinner with my parents, a birthday party and working on painting the loft bed in Sam's room. We keep slipping and saying Thorn's room. That's dangerous when it's not 100% yet!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kids on the Web

Just after I posted that message, I clicked over the the Oregon Waiting Children page and discovered that Tanner has popped up there. I hope no one gets their heart set on him.

Various Updates

I spoke with Barbara both yesterday and today. Yesterday was mostly just sharing what I discussed with Thorn's foster mom. Today I called to see if there were any new bulletins. As hopeful as I am about Thorn, I need to keep going with other possibilities just in case. Otherwise, I think I'd feel even worse if it didn't work out.

There was one boy who was, sort of, added to the list today. A 7 year old named Austin. Funny story about Austin. Back when we first started looking at kids, we put in for a little boy, but committee families had already been selected for him. His case worker, though, after looking at our homestudy, said that she thought we'd be good matches for a boy named Austin about whom she was going to release a bulletin. So, she sent the pre-bulletin (no picture) to Barbara for us to look at. We were quite interested. He seemed like a good match. Over the course of months and months, Barbara tried to get more information, but to almost no avail. She did have one phone conversation with his case worker, which was relayed to us, but that was it. We finally gave up. Then, today, all of a sudden, there he is with a real live bulletin (which is a little different from the first one we were sent). So, we're putting in for him again (sort of).

Barbara also told me that Tanner, the boy who's foster mom we spoke with a couple of weeks ago, is not moving toward committee at this time, after all. There was just a trial for him/his mom and it turns out that Mom is making progress in her treatment. It had been previously expected that she would relinquish rights voluntarily, but now it looks like he'll probably be returned to her at some point. I hope that works out for him. If bio parents can get their act together, I do think it's best for the child. It's a big if, though.

I'm not feeling too disheartened about that, though, because I'm still feeling really hopeful about Thorn. I asked Barbara today when we might expect to have committee for Thorn. She said that his committee will be held here in the Portland area, which means it might be scheduled quickly. She said that the scheduler is waiting for two paperwork items, which are our updated homestudy (get on it, Barbara!) and Thorn's updated adoption child summary (which is done, so I don't know why the scheduler doesn't have it). Barbara speculated that his committee might be as soon as a few weeks.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Another Foster Mom Phone Call

We got the green light to call Thorn's foster mom on Friday. We left that afternoon to camp up at Mt St Helen's for the weekend with my parents and, so, weren't able to call her until this afternoon when we got back.

We had a long, very informative and postive conversation. I've been left reeling from it this afternoon, in fact. It was one comment in particular that has me in a spin. She said that Thorn's case worker told her, "The Gresham family is ready to go so now we can set committee." The Gresham family is us, folks. Thorn's case worker has been waiting for us to set committee, even though it seems that there were enough families before. Apparently, the other families are out of state. Thorn is local to us and I know they'd like to keep him near his current foster family (with whom he is very attached).

What's really annoying about this is that we said we wanted to proceed with Thorn months ago, but Barbara wanted us to wait for his most current evaluation at CDRC.

What's great about it, though, is that Thorn's case worker is so excited about us as a match that she didn't schedule committee until we were ready (or, more accurately, Barbara was ready).

I'm trying hard not to get set on the idea, as it's so crushing to be dissapointed at committee, but I'm a hopeful person today! It seems like this might really be the one.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Interesting 24 Hours or So

Yesterday morning, as Davan and I are leaving to go for a walk around our nearby park, Davan decided to go back in to get a scarf for warmth. While I was waiting, I decided to finally harvest the 5 delicious looking apples in our dwarf apple tree. There were a total of 10 apples - 5 nice looking ones and 5 not so nice looking ones. The 5 nice looking ones were on a limb which hangs down very close to our fence. Well, guess what? Some passerby decided to help themselves to our 5 nice apples! They had still been there just the day before. I was quite annoyed, as I'd shopped for fruit this week with a plan of using those apples. Grr.

After our walk, I came home to a message from Barbara saying that there was a 2 year old boy with committee scheduled for Thursday who had a family back out. She asked if I'd be interested in coming in and taking a look. I was really excited about this, but the fact that he's 2 did give me pause. Davan and I went in to look at his bulletin. He's a very cute little boy with what sounds like a great personality. Unfortunately, though, he has global delays probably due to his mother's phycotropic drugs. We got all the information we could on this little cutie and I ended up feeling conflicted about him. Anthony really felt like we should say no, though, so that was that. I called Barbara this morning to let her know. She was thinking it wasn't a good placement herself (but she almost always does), so the news was taken well. In fact, I think she wasn't looking forward to the work that a yes would mean - preparing for committee tomorrow.

We also found out yesterday that Judea, who is a little boy we were scheduled to go to committee for back in March or so, is having committee set again now. We were all scheduled to go, but then committee was canceled so that a biological placement could be explored. Well, that didn't pan out (although they spent long enough deciding that!) and now his case worker wants to know if we're still interested. We are! So, we should be getting updated information on him soon.

Barbara and I also had a long discussion about Tanner, whom she still seems to be against. She's come up with more questions for his case worker. She's been right in the past, but I don't think she is this time. I'm hoping to move forward with him.

Meanwhile, Davan and I have been to the Children's Museum twice in the last two days, as we have the pass out from the library and she hasn't gotten one stretch that's long enough for her. In theory, we could go tomorrow morning, too, but I'm feeling like I don't really want to do the drive again.

Also, Barbara told me that this month is the month to do an updated homestudy for us. I'm less than thrilled about this, as I'd hoped to have a placement before updating needed to be done. Sigh. We're working on scheduling a time for that.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Start Up the Roller Coaster

We're getting back on ye 'ol horse, to mix my metaphors. Yesterday, Anthony and I called Tanner's foster mom and had a good talk. Tanner is a 6 year old boy whom I believe I've mentioned before. We started getting information on him around the same time as Chance. However, the information on Tanner sort of petered out. Last week, I reminded Barbara that we still wanted to speak with Tanner's foster mom and, on Friday, she gave us her number.

It was a good, informative talk and I we are interested in progressing with Tanner at this point. So, here we go again.

Meanwhile, we also got a new set of information on Thorn from a recent new evaluation that was done on him. Sadly, although it was overall good news for Thorn and his progress, there was one thing that gave me pause. He only sleeps 6 hours a night! I need a lot more sleep than that! So, I have to say I'm feeling iffy this evening about if he's a good match. It was suggested (by one of his evaluators) that he have sleep therapy, so, perhaps with that he'll learn to sleep longer. Maybe it's too harsh to say no based on that. However, it certainly gives me pause.

And, life goes on in other arenas. My parents are in town this weekend. Technically, they live here, but they travel a lot. My mom particularly travels a lot, as she travels for work. We got together with them yesterday to see their new Sprinter RV, share a meal and see pictures of the trip my step dad took in the van, getting it home.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Not Chosen

We were not chosen for Chance. I'm very sad. We'd both thought that this was going to be the one, as Barbara had spent so much time preparing with us and we'd had such a favorable conversation with his foster mom.

Of course, there are other children we're somewhere along the process with, but I'm not feeling optimistic tonight.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Waiting Mode Again

It's less than a week until we have committee for Chance. We're waiting and trying not to get too involved in the thoughts of him being our son.

We're still pursuing other children, as well. We'd put in for Joe, but, unfortunatly, had to withdraw when we got more information. We've also inquired about Steven, but haven't heard anything there. Perhaps it's the homeschool prejudice in that situation, as kids who are on the web are usually the ones having a harder time being placed. Today we also decided to put in for another 11 year old, Tyler. And, we're still in the game for Thorn.

So, if it doesn't happen with Chance, we're in the thick of other options. It'll be hard, though, to not be chosen again. Although, I'm pretty steeled for it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another Week Has Gone By

I've been trying to not spend so much time on the computer, and, thus, have not been posting very often. We've been busy with life, but first, there is adoption news.

We are scheduled to go to committee for Chance on the 27th - just over a week away. I'm doing my usual balancing act of trying not to put too much emotionally into this event, while also preparing mentally somewhat. It's a hard tightrope to walk.

We didn't go out of town this weekend, but had a busy one anyway. Davan, Anthony and I hiked to Ramona Falls with my mom. It's a bit over 6 miles round trip and a lovely hike. Pretty moderate with lots of nice scenery. The falls are really pretty.

We came home to soup I had going in the crockpot and the taped season premier of Survivor to watch together. After dinner and the show, Davan and my mom took off for a sleepover at my mom's. Anthony and I had a dessert date and then watched a movie.

Before Davan returned in the morning, Anthony and I hiked up to Angel's Rest in the Columbia Gorge, which was really nice. It's 2.6 miles each way and a pretty steep climb. My legs are a little sore today.

Then it was time to tidy up the house and welcome Davan home before our session of Dungeons and Dragons.

Meanwhile, we've been getting back into the swing of Girl Scouts, book group and various things that start up with the beginning of the school year, while also continuing with the regular Thursday game days, play dates, orthodontia, camping, in-laws over for dinner and such.

We're debating another camping trip this weekend, but we haven't decided for sure yet. Davan and I are definitely going next week, though, with friends to Beverly Beach.

All of this should help us pass the time until the evening of the 27th....(committee is in the evening this time).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Standing in the Mud - Adoption Wise

I spoke with Barbara today for the first time in two weeks. Last week we were so busy that I didn't call her and, of course, she didn't call me, either. Today she told me that she's been very busy working on an emergency situation.

Anyway, there's still no set date for Chance's committee. I guess that means it won't be next week. This is the standing in the mud part. It seems like we're always stuggling through mud with this process. Sometimes we make progress and move forward. Other times we can't even pick up our feet. Then there are the times we slip, fall and slide back a bit. Right now I feel like we're just standing in the mud.

Barbara did have some new news on Thorn. I'm excited about this, as it means we might go to committee for him soon. He's had his newest evaluation and, while Barbara didn't finish relaying all of the information to us, nothing sounds off-putting. She's supposed to call back later today to finish telling me his lastest. Of course, now that he sounds more "normal" he might have more interest. We'll see.

Meanwhile, we had a quick turn around from our Labor Day weekend backpacking trip to going camping again this last weekend. Anthony had Friday off, so we left town Thursday evening and drove to Beverly Beach. It's a very different experience, car camping at a large state park. We had a very good time, but it was odd being around so many people. Loud, for one.

This trip was developed from two seeds - one was Davan's desire to cook over the fire and the other was all of our desires to go to the beach at least once this summer. We did a lot of both. We got in late-ish on Thursday, set up the tent, and walked down to look at the beach in the growing dusk.

On Friday, we spent a good 4.5 hours playing on the beach - playing with the sand, playing in the waves (for me on my body board) and such. The weather was very nice, if a tad cool, but it's the Oregon coast, so that's to be expected.

Both Friday and Saturday night saw us for hours around the campfire, cooking, eating and chatting. Meals lasted a long time, as everything was cooked with the fire. We had corn on the cob, roasted beats, roasted carrots, biscuits on a stick, Johnsonville Brats for Anthony, "chicken" strips for Davan and I and s'mores. We discovered that none of us are big fans of marshmallows anymore, so we played with them in the fire the second night to finish off the bag. That was fun, too.

We were back on the beach for the majority of Saturday, after taking a morning's trip to see the Devil's Punchbowl and to just a wee little bit of tidepooling (not great pools and the tide was coming it). It was cloudy and foggy most of Saturday on the beach, but no cooler than it had been on Friday, really. When the clouds finally burned off in the late afternoon, the wind picked up and it felt quite nippy. We flew kites in the afternoon and Davan decided she wanted to buy a cool kite for herself.

Sunday morning was our last hurrah for cooking over the campfire. We toasted our bagels. Then we were off to nearby Yaquina Head for some quite nice tidepooling (except for the flies - there were a ton of them!) and a tour of the lighthouse, which was pretty neat.

After going back to the camp site to pack up, we headed up to Lincoln City for lunch at Mo's and kite shopping. Davan found a parrot kite and we did some more kite flying before heading home at 4pm.

We all really enjoyed ourselves. While we're taking the weekend off from camping this weekend (we have Dungeons and Dragons on Sunday and are planning a day hike with my mom), we're thinking of camping again the weekend after. Davan and I are also joining in on a homeschool camping trip which is happening the last week of September for a couple of days. It's back to Beverly Beach for that trip, which is a good thing. Davan said to me, as we were packing up, "I'd sure like to visit an aquarium sometime." So, going to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport will be a must do on that trip.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Another Great Weekend

We went backpacking this weekend. It was a three day trip. We left Saturday and came home Monday. Our anniversary (12 years) was on Sunday. We've made it a tradition (more or less, we've missed some years) to do some sort of trip on our anniversary. We were trying to remember all of them that we've done, but came up more than a few years short. I guess those years weren't very memorable.

Some of the ones we did remember, though, were a 5 day backpacking trip around Mt Hood, which we did with friends and didn't even share a tent with each other! We also had a weekend away at Skimania Lodge. There were two other years that we did 3 day backpacking trips. The year I was pregnant with Davan, we took a road trip to Colorado and back, with lots of sight seeing both ways. For our 10 year anniversary, we took a cruise. One year we went to the beach for the weekend (just Anthony and I - the only anniversary after Davan was born that we were alone). The only other year we remember is our first one with Davan. She was 7 months old and we just went to a park for a picnic dinner. She was in a bad mood and the whole affair was pretty miserable. Ah well, most of them have been good - at least that we can remember!

We went on a new (to us) trip this weekend. We'd been planning on going to Elk Meadows on Mt Hood, which is an old favorite. We've done several times. When we do it, we camp the first night at Elk Meadows and the second near a river alone the Mt Hood loop trail, then back to the car.

However, this year Elk Meadows has been closed to the public due to fire fighting operations being staged there for the fire that was burning on the east side of Mt Hood. So, we regrouped and picked a new location. We decided to do a loop that involves Pansy Lake. Now, the Pansy Lake hike is only a wee bit over a mile and not a lot of elevation gain. Not that there isn't any, but there is only one switch back between the trail head and the lake. Of course, we couldn't just do that! No, we needed a challenge.

We figured out a loop that was about 5 miles the first day, 4 or so the second and only the mile out of Pansy Lake the third. Now, that first day, our 5 miles took us past the lookout tower for the area. You may be clever and have already figured out that lookout towers are generally in the highest accessible spot around by definition. Yup - we hiked a difficult 3 miles up to the lookout tower and then dropped down, down, down some serious switchbacks (causing us worry about the next day) to Big Slide Lake, where we camped the first night.

Big Slide Lake was really pretty and would be a nice lake to swim in, but we didn't get there until the sun was already below the ridge and were concerned about getting back up all of those serious switchbacks the next day before it got too hot, so we never did swim. I'd like to go back and get there earlier or just stay there for a day sometime.

The second day was up the switchback day. It turned out to be doable, but definitely hard work! Davan did great with it, even though we'd loaded up her pack much more this year. I was usually a switchback behind her and Anthony. I, obviously, need to do more hills when I walk!

However, Davan didn't do so great on the down part of the day. Once we made the ridge, we dropped back down into the next valley, where Pansy Lake is located. Davan had a heck of a time with the downhill and was very worried about her footing and staying upright in general. It was amazing because she'd gone down all of those switchbacks the day before like a little mountain goat. Ah well, I guess we all have our off days.

Pansy Lake was okay, but not a good lake to swim in, as I don't think it ever got deeper than about 2 feet and was very mucky on the bottom.

When we got into Pansy Lake, we passed an occupied camp ground (mind you, this is only 1 mile from the trail head) with people who had a roaring fire (illegal in the back country right now) and a cooler full of beer. After another family showed up to camp, this group packed up and left. Had they planned on leaving anyway? We don't know.

What sucked, though, was that they left about 10 cleaned fish to rot in the outlet stream that went by their camp site and tons of trash in the form of food cans, beer cans and the like. We policed up their camp site. At least, we mostly did. There were more cans than fit in our trash bags, even when we crushed the cans.

We had a leisurely morning on Monday and then hiked the mile out. We got to the car at 11:30. Overall, it was a very nice trip.

There's no new big news on the adoption front. We do know that committee for Chance is supposed to happen the third week of September, but still don't have a set date. We're still collecting information on Tanner. Last week we did pick four new bulletins (3 single children and 1 set of siblings) to inquire about.

The kids are all boys in this new group. There are two five year olds, an 11 year old and the brothers are 5 and 7.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Interesting Information from a New Contact

I was given contact information for a woman who used to work with the Special Adoption coalition here in Oregon as a resource for information about adoption from foster care and to address my concerns over feeling like we've been waiting a long time. She called me on Monday and we had an interesting conversation.

She answered several of my questions with honesty. I asked her if homeschooling was a strike against us. She said that, yes, about half of the case workers out there will turn us aside just because we homeschool. We'd suspected that was true, but hadn't had it confirmed.

She told me that 2 years from when the homestudy is complete is the average wait to be matched with a child unless you're willing to take on the more serious issues of the children who are harder to place.

She said that it was just criminal that we told that we can't adopt from out of state. This is sad to me, as there was a boy who was available in Washington when we first completed our homestudy who seemed like a great match for us. He waited for quite a while.

She told me that we should watch the Northwest Adoption Exchange website, as those kids are really being recruited for. I told her that we do and have put in for many kids from the site, but haven't been selected for them. That's actually when I brought up the homeschooling issue.

After finding out what parameters of children we were interested in, she told us about this great 12 year old who'd just become available. I said, "It sounds like Savanna who had an overwhelming response and we weren't chosen for her." It was. She was surprised about the response.

She suggested that we call up the Boys and Girls Aid Society, as they have a really good feel for which children are having a hard time being placed and will share who's really in need of a home with us. So, that was a good tip.

She also told me that Barbara is an excellent case worker. Thus letting me know that we should stick with who we have, even though thoughts of asking for another case worker has occurred to us from time to time.

It was sort of both encouraging and discouraging. It was good to have the honest response.

I also spoke briefly with Barbara today. It's good that I called her, as she seemed to have missed the questions we had about Tanner that I left on her voice mail on Friday. She said she'd look into if she'd passed on our questions or not and call me back, but when she hadn't called back in over an hour, I got online for a while and then left home and haven't heard back. No new information from her.

By the way, one of the children we put in for and were told that we weren't a good match for, is Shyloe. We were bummed because we'd felt particularly drawn to him. I just looked at his picture and felt a connection. Plus, his issues seemed like ones we could deal with.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Excellent Weekend

We had a week with not a ton of progress, adoption wise, last week. Apparently, we're on for going to committee with Chance, but we don't have a date yet.

We found out that 2 kids we put in for are "not good matches" with us according to their case workers. Now that I know, from Chance's foster mom, what some of the other prospective adopters "look" like, I wonder what prejudices the case workers have that make us "not a good match". I felt like we were good matches for both of them, but perhaps there are things about them that I don't know which make the difference.

One child, one of the aforementioned babies, has already been adopted and his bulletin just hasn't been pulled yet.

We're an alternate for two sisters who have a scheduled committee, but with one family slated for another committee before it happens.

We got an adoption child summary on Tanner, who is 6. We felt his summary was a little shy on details, so we asked some questions and we'll see.

We had a great three day weekend this weekend. Anthony is supposed to get every other Friday off, but hasn't in a little over a month. He got his Friday (after going in to work on Sunday and working late on Wednesday this week), so we finally got in our three day bike camping trip.

We went up Mt Hood a ways to camp at Lost Creek Campground. It was 40 miles away. Actually, we camped there the first night and then back-country (free) camped the second night. Both nights were nice, but the second was much quieter and more scenic.

We only got in about 4 miles on Saturday during the camp switch plus a very short ride. We did some mild hiking on Saturday, but were limited by our shoes - bike shoes and sandals - neither great for hiking.

We rode 41 miles home today, with three pit stops - one for lunch, one for water and bathroom usage and one to say hi to Anthony's mom, sister and sister's family, who's house was on the way home. We rode home over a section of what used to be the Oregon Trail called The Devil's Backbone. Lots of hills! It was a fun ride, though. I was pleased with my performance up the hills (slow, but I got up every one without fuss) and loved the down hills.

Davan says we should do some sort of camping every weekend.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Friday's Conversation with Barbara

I called Barbara Friday to let her know that we'd spoken with Chance's foster mother and to relay the conversation to her, as she'd asked me to. She let me know that Chance's case worker was out of the office this week. I was really glad to hear this, as I'd been bummed by how much time everything was taking and worried about being passed over because of it. So, we should hear from Chance's case worker this coming week and find out about committee, maybe.

We had a busy day today, all planned by Davan. She's been planning this day for over a month and had allowance from much longer than that saved up. She had me take her out yesterday to buy some berries and organic chocolate bars. We also picked blackberries to have.

This morning, we got up to find the living room set up with a bunch of different games for us to play. We played several, packed up the chocolate, berries and a few pb&js then went out to breakfast (this is the one thing that Anthony and I paid for - Davan had originally planned breakfast at home).

After breakfast, we drove to Safari Sam's, which is an indoor jungle gym and mini golf place about an hour from our house. Davan paid for her admission (adults are free with a child) and mini golf for all three of us. We played there for about 4 hours with one break for some berries, a chocolate bar and water. We ended up not eating the pb&js because we had breakfast so late.

Then we drove back to our part of town where Davan treated us out to dinner at a local semi-fast food Chinese restaurant. After dinner, we came home to play another game, then take turns getting massages from Davan while the other person read out of our family book. When our massages were done, we strolled over to TCBY and Davan treated us each to a small dish. Then home and to bed.

It was a lovely day and it felt like a mini-vacation, as it so different from our usual day. Once a week is about the most frequent that we eat out (often not even that much), so twice in one day and out for TCBY, as well was something. Today was also only Davan's second ever Safari Sam's trip, as they are not close to us. We all enjoyed playing there, though, and got a good work out.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Conversation with Chance's Foster Mom

Anthony and I spoke with Chance's foster mom this evening. She seemed like a very nice lady. She had a lot of information for us about Chance. Most of it was not new, but it was good to hear it from her rather than through Barbara, who, while she had the gist of things, was off in some detail.

I think the conversation went well. She seemed fairly pleased by the sorts of things we said. She related that she'd had several strange calls regarding Chance. One couple was in their 50's and she couldn't believe they were being considered for Chance, as he's only 3. The husband in this couple travels for days at a time for work, as well. She felt this was a bad match for Chance, as he's really attached to his foster father (and she believes will attach to his adoptive father strongly, as well).

The other strange phone call was from a lady who wanted to know if Chance could be a lawyer when he grew up as her husband is a lawyer. Are you kidding me?!?!?! What kind of bizarre person would as that. I think it was this same lady who asked if Chance could be trained. His foster mother said, "He's not a dog."

Weird. If this is the sort of thing that's out there, why aren't we the cream of the crop adoptively speaking? Of course, people might think we're bizarre for homeschooling, even though I think that's a positive thing.

Chance sounds like a funny and interesting child. He sounds like he has his ups and downs like all kids and I'm excited about the possibility of committee.

Chance's Update

Barbara called this morning and I, obligingly, moved appointments so that I could speak with her when she called. Then she tells me that she did actually talk to Chance's foster mom on Tuesday and just hadn't gotten around to calling me back. Grr!!!! That just really ticks me off.

Anyway, the good part is that, after hearing what Chance's foster mother said, I feel like Chance would be a good match here. I don't feel overwhelmed with his issues. So, we told Barbara we wanted to move forward with committee. Hopefully, we'll hear back soon that that is what's happening and have a date.

Barbara did also give us Chance's foster mother's phone number, so I'll call her and speak with her about Chance. I don't feel like I have a lot of questions for her because I already passed my questions on, but it's helpful to talk to people who live with the child to get a more first hand feel for them. Plus, if you have the opportunity to call and don't, that can count against you with committee.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Racing Mind

So, I'm lying in bed last night, unable to sleep. My mind is racing. What's the pressing issue? How we'll transition Chance. For crying out loud. We don't even know if we're going to committee for sure yet, but I just couldn't stop thinking about it.

He's about 3 and a half hours away from us with his foster family. He's pretty attached, so there should be a decent transition. I'm thinking, will we have to go there two weekends in a row? What if that's not enough? How would we be able to work out going there for a week? Maybe if we take along another person who can be with Davan when we need to see Chance one on one. Who can come with us for a week? Around and around and around.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

After a Weekend of Waiting...

We have more waiting. I called Barbara this morning to let her know that the cell phone was the best way to reach me this morning. Davan and I were out and about all day at the library, Powell's Bookstore (huge new and used bookstore for those who aren't Portlanders), lunch with Anthony and then to the Children's Museum with the library pass.

Barbara called back an hour or so later, saying that, in a short while, she had an appointment to try to speak with Chance's foster mother in order to ask her the questions we had after reading his paperwork. Apparently, Chance's foster mother is traveling, though, and was unable to make the appointment. Barbara says that the phone meeting should take place tomorrow.

All of this leaves me thinking, "Why didn't you just call her on Friday?" I suppose I have to give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she was overwhelmed with work on Friday. Perhaps she called Chance's case worker first and his case worker didn't get back to her until after close of business on Friday. Who knows?

Again, though, I have to hope that the fact that it's taking such a long time won't hurt our chances with Chance.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Why We Decided to Homeschool - The Politically Correct Version

As regular readers know, we were given information this week about Chance - a 3 and a half year old little boy whom we're interested in adopting. We've been working on this adopting process for a little over a year and a half now.

Chance's case worker came up with a new question for us. As relayed through our case worker, Barbara, Chance's case worker wants to know, "What was our thinking when we decided to homeschool?"

Now, we get this "Why homeschool" question all the time, of course, but this was the first time it came from someone associated with the adoption process. Adoption case workers are, generally speaking, very much pro-school. Education, intervention, special services and so on.

We have many, many reasons for homeschooling. Even with a "special needs child", which every child adopted from foster care over the age of three is considered to be, there are many good reasons for homeschooling. Simple avoiding the stigma of being in a special needs class room is a good start. Of course, there is also the fact that learning can be tailored to the child's particular interests and learning style. You homeschoolers know the benefits - this is just preaching to the choir.

What I needed, however, was a politically correct version of why we chose to homeschool. Something that wouldn't put off a person who wears school colored eye glasses. And I needed to come up with this statement quickly, as I was on my way to speak to Barbara when I got her message with this question from my cell phone.

I drafted out a basic plan in my head in the few minutes I had before arriving at her office. I'd already made the decision to not try to explain unschooling to social services in general. When I got there, I was ready. Luckily, Davan, my 8 year old, was home with friends, so I was able to use these few minutes without interruption.

"When Davan was 2 or 3 years old, I started noticing a lot of talk about homeschooling in various early childhood support groups in which I was a member. While I hadn't every thought of homeschoooling before, I started to see why one might choose to do it.

"I started researching homeschooling and different learning styles - reading a ton of books on the subjects. The more I learned, the more I felt the homeschooling was the best way for me to help Davan learn. I could address her particular style of learning much more than it would be addressed in a large classroom of 30 or so kids."

Here Barbara kind of nodded her head and repeated some of this back to me, as she was trying to remember in order to pass my answers on to Chance's case worker. Emboldened, I went on, "Once we started homeschooling, we discovered many other great things about it. Davan is able to run and play when she's in the mood to do so. Being able to be active when in the mood (and not just at recess) means that she's better able to sit and concentrate on bookwork type activities.

"We also like the fact that our family rhythms tend to stay more even keeled than if she were going to school most of the year, but with a long summer break. The consistency is good for Davan."

Barbara, remembering other conversations, helpfully added, "And you can pick up and travel with Anthony (my husband) when he travels for work without having to remove Davan from school. Same with skiing and such."

"Exactly! We just work out school work around these activities." No need to mention the distinct lack of school work that our very articulate daughter does.

Even though I'd already addressed the socialization question with Barbara, I felt this was a good time to mention it again, as this is always such a concern for non-homeschoolers. I continued, "Once I'd decided that we were going to go the homeschooling route, I started reaching out to the homeschooling community to find a social circle for Davan and myself. I wanted her to have a group that she'd see regularly and be involved with those kids.

"In fact, knowing that we'll probably adopt a child younger than Davan, I've just joined a homeschooling group with mostly younger children. The homeschooling families that we currently spend most of our time with all have kids older than Davan. I wanted to have a group in place from which our new child could find age mates and friends."

Barbara seemed impressed with all of this, but still asked if Davan had ever spent time in a class room situation or was that a complete unknown? I explained that Davan has taken many classes, mostly art, gymnastics and dance, so she's been in group learning situations. However, she never has had a sittting at desks sort of experience, so that is somewhat of an unknown. I explained that I felt like Davan would have had a hard time with sitting as desks when she was younger, but I felt she could do it now, if she needed to. Even though I have to wonder what's the point of sitting as desks with a room of age mates while an adult lectures you unless you're truly interested in the material being presented?

So, there it is - the politically correct, but still positive, reason for homeschooling. I just hope Barbara remembers what I said enough to pass it on without muddling it.

Back and Forth with Barbara

I called Barbara this morning, first thing, to let her know that we were interested in Chance, but had a few questions. She just called back at 1pm and I suspect that's when she got into the office today, as I called her a few times only to hear yesterday's phone message. She says she'll pass on our questions and let me know as soon as she has a reply.

I always wonder, though, does it hurt our cause when there are delays like this? Barbara actually had Chance's information on Wednesday. Did her delay in getting it to us (not until Thursday afternoon) and then the delay in the delivery of the questions (not until this afternoon) cause Chance's case worker to pick other families for committee? Usually there are more than three families that the case worker is dealing with when trying to schedule committee. And, in this case, Barbara told us that Chance's case worker is anxious to schedule committee. If we don't end up going to committee for Chance, I'll have to wonder if this was part of the reason.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I Heard From Barbara....

Actually, it turns out that she'd called yesterday and left a message on my cell phone, of all places. There are days when I never turn the thing on. Anyway, she called again today and said that she had an adoption child summary for us to muse upon.

The little guy's name is Chance. He's 3.5. He's quite cute and a fun child in a lot of ways (apparently), but he's also got some challenges. We read through a mountain of paperwork on him this morning and are still interested. I've narrowed things down to three points of interest to further inquire about.

Chance's case worker is anxious to schedule committee, so I'll be speaking with Barbara in the early am tomorrow to ask our questions. We'll see...

Random Musings, Mostly Food Related

I haven't spoken with Barbara yet this morning. I'm sort of trying to give her a chance to call before I call her. If I haven't heard from her by 11am, though, I'll call.

I was realizing that in the beginning on the blog, I talked a lot about food, but I've said nothing about food lately. The focus does seem to be pretty much on the whole adoption issue, which is fine. However, I thought I'd mention that Davan and I are still plugging away at the vegetarian thing with vegan leanings. Davan, though, has been expressing some thoughts about wanting to eat some meat again. She really misses bacon. Myself, I think it'd be a lot easier to eat chicken when eating out, but am willing to keep going without. I don't know if I'll go back to eating meat if Davan does.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I called Barbara yesterday and left a message on her voice mail, but haven't heard back yet. This probably means that she'll be calling during game day again tomorrow, so I'm going to try a preemptive strike and call her again in the morning.

Meanwhile....life does go on and mostly in good ways. I actually had most of a day to myself on Saturday. Anthony was volunteering with REACH to paint a house with a crew from his office. Davan wanted to help, so I took her over there after breakfast. Anthony had to be there earlier than we wanted to wake her up. Davan got to help paint for a couple of hours before they were done and went off to the post painting BBQ. REACH does several houses all in the same neighborhood and then all the crews join up for the BBQ.

After that, Anthony took Davan over to my parent's house because she was invited to spend the night there Saturday. After dropping Davan off, Anthony spent some time moaning over new bikes at Performance before coming home for a quiet evening of just the two of us.

When my parents brought Davan back from the sleepover, we all went out to eat for lunch. It was Anthony's birthday meal and he choose to go to the Olive Garden, as he was "carbing up" for his big birthday bike ride the next day.

Anthony took Monday (his birthday - 444 weeks old!) off of work to do a birthday bike ride. He rode 49.5 miles from our house up to Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood. This ride is a huge climb and, thus, very difficult. Davan and I drove up a couple of hours after he left and met him along the way. We did support stuff - new water bottles, chalk messages on the side of the road, fig newtons - until he got to the top. Then we all had lunch together.

Anthony rode back down part way - pretty much as far as he could coast - to enjoy the fruits of his labor, for a total of 70 miles. Not too shabby for a 444 weeker.

Davan had her last gymnastics class for the summer in the afternoon. Anthony got to go and watch, which was fun for all of us. Then it was out to eat again, as I hadn't had time to do anything special for dinner that day.

Then there's all of the usual stuff - up to the farm, homeschool park day, a playdate for Davan, racquetball for me....life!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Plowing On, More or Less

Anthony and I had a long talk about the adoption last night. The main decision made was that we will soldier on more or less at least until the requirement to take classes rears it's ugly head again, and maybe even then still.

A few things we talked about:

Perhaps being more picky so that maybe Barbara can concentrate more on advocating for us with one or two children. Although, it's hard to be too picky, as well, as I don't want to put all of our eggs in one basket so to speak. Plus, how will we rule out kids that right now we would consider? So, that's all sort of fuzzy, but we'll try to lean in that direction.

As Davan gets older (even a year or two), a lot more possibilities open up for us. There are a lot of very interesting 8 and 9 year olds available and they seem to wait for a long time. This is the exact age that we are not adopting due to Davan's age, but she'll get older and new 8 and 9 year olds will come along. Not to say that we'll definitely keep plugging at it that long, but it's a thought.

We do want another child just because we want another child, even if we're not "rescuing" a child from not having a family.

Expanding to other states probably wouldn't help matters. We're looking at the most desirable age for older child adoption. These kids are desirable in other states, as well. When out of state recruitment occurs, it's because their having trouble placing the kids in state. There are kids in our state that are being recruited for out of state and these are the kids that we've felt like we can't handle.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Nice Weekend, More Bad News Tuesday

Bad news first - three more of the kids we're interested in are unavailable to us. Megon (14) is off to committee with three other families. Anthony (1.5) is, likewise, off to committee without us. There was a lot of interest in both. Shawn (4.5) is just not a good match for us, according to his case worker. He has allergies (but we don't know if he's actually allergic to cats, nor, apparently, does anyone else). Also, he wants a brother. No positive news.

I'm having all sorts of conflicting thoughts on the adoption. I'm really feeling like we're just not needed. So, then I'm down to, do we want to do this for our family? Are our feelings of wanting another child important enough to continue? We're doing this for a few reasons - one is that we'd like another child. Another is that we'd like to give a home to a child who doesn't have one - actually help a child out. I think there are a lot of positive things to having a sibling for Davan, but there are a lot of positives in being an only child, as well.

Right now, I'm torn between a few courses of action.

1) Just keep plodding on. Check in with Barbara every week. Comb through the bulletins. Keep our hearts open.

2) Continue, but without the drive. Be a lot more passive. Wait for Barbara to call us.

3) Just stop.

With options 1 and 2, I'm also thinking about the possibility of a time limit. For example, I think we'd have to repeat our classes if it takes more than another 6 months or so. It might be 18 months, I'm not sure. I think the classes are only good for 2 years, but it might be 3. If it comes time to take classes again, then give it up.

Anyway, on to the nice. We had a lovely weekend. We did a bike camping trip and were joined by my mom. We rode a very hilly 27 miles to Milo McIver State Park and camped for the night. Then we rode home a not so very hilly - but with a couple of good hills and one huge, steep, hill - 24 miles.

The weather for it was perfect - highs in the 70s both days. I think it would have been much harder with 10 or more additional degrees.

Anthony and Davan rode the tandem and pulled the trailer with gear - including our big, heavy tent so that my mom could join us. My mom and I each rode our bikes with panniers. I was carrying all of the food (and kitchen gear and my clothes and the guide book and....). The food, though, was, obviously, eaten down by the second day, for which I was grateful when it was time to do the monster hill. I was the only one to peddle the whole way to the top. The others got off and walked. Anthony, though, I'm sure would have made it on a single bike.

During our return trip, the Livestrong Challange was going on - right along our chosen route for a while. We were passed by sleek road bike after sleek road bike. It was fun, though, and certainly gave us something to look at and talk about. The long ride for them was actually off limits to tandems due to the steep terrain.

Then, just because we're sadists, I guess, Davan and I hoped back on our tandem on Monday and rode about 11 miles to the community center where Davan takes gymnastics. They also have a very nice pool with a big slide, a whirlpool and a current channel. Davan and I like to swim there before her class. Then we rode the 11 miles home. I was pretty whooped, though, after all of that riding.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Final Word on Savanna

Barbara called yesterday - actually called me - amazing. However, her news wasn't so amazing. We are not going to committee for Savanna. I'm pretty sad about this, even though I was pretty darn sure that was how it would fall out.

In addition, two more of the new kids we put in for have already been scheduled for committee. One of the one year olds and one of the sibling groups. So far, we've found out that five of the kids we put in for the week after we had Zach and Kohl's committee have already found placements or had families chosen for committee.

Barbara also said that all of the new bulletins are kids that are incompatible age-wise with Davan. They are all within a year of her.

I'm feeling like it's been a long time sense we've gotten any good news.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Barbara Did Call Yesterday

Amazingly enough, Barbara did call back yesterday afternoon. Of the slew (12 singles and 2 sibling sets) of kids we inquired about last week, we now know that three of them (two of the 1 year olds and the 2.5 year old) have been placed. There are two or three more whose case workers Barbara wasn't able to make contact with and so are unknowns. The rest have asked for our homestudy.

Also, she made contact with Megon's (14 year old) case worker, who's selected some (?) families for committee, but it interested in seeing our homestudy. This is odd to me in more ways than one. First of all, why wasn't our homestudy sent when we first inquired? Second, families are selected but she's still open? I don't know. That seems strange. We'll see how it turns out.

Friday, July 21, 2006

No Steps Forward and About Six Steps Back

I wrote a short post yesterday morning, but Blogger ate it, it seems. When I went to post it, the screen went blank and froze up until I finally had to force it to close. Anyway, all I said was that I hadn't heard back from Barbara and was feeling unsurprised, but still annoyed by that.

However, she did call yesterday afternoon. Right in the middle of game group. I try to take the phone calls when I can, though, as who knows when she'd get back to me if I didn't take them. We had to go over pretty much all of the kids yet again because she seems to need that every so often. I guess that, even with the new system, she is still overwhelmed. I wonder if this is part of the trouble. There are so many kids that we've put in for that she's having a hard time working the system for us on all of them at the same time, so, instead, we just end up falling through the cracks. I don't know.

What I found out, though, was that Jordan, Cayla, Kamau, Tamia and Robert K. have all either had committee or have had families chosen for committee and that we're not one of them.

In addition, Barbara spoke with Elijah's case worker and, even though Elijah's case worker thinks he would be safe for Davan, Barbara is strongly recommending that we not proceed. Anthony feels that it's risky, as well and I'm sort of on the fence. This poor kid hasn't demonstrated any behavior that would make him unsafe for Davan. We're just judging him based on what's happened to him. On the flip side, though, is that we certainly don't want to put Davan in jeopardy at all. Right now, our priority has to be the safety of our already existing family. So, I guess we'll be passing on Elijah, but it makes me feel sad.

The whole conversation yesterday made me feel sad. That makes six kids that are out of our mix and no ray of hope by getting another child's adoption child summary or anything. The two sort of positive things (maybe three, but I really doubt it) were that Megon's case worker was interested in us a few weeks ago. Megon used to be on the web site, but was taken off, so I assumed she was adopted, but apparently not. Barbara is supposed to contact her case worker again and see what's going on there.

Thorn's case worker says that he has a new evaluation soon and Barbara wants us to see what it says before proceeding. I can respect that she's looking out for us here, but I also want to say, "Don't make us miss this opportunity by being overly cautious!"

In addition, there's no word yet from Savanna's case worker. While this could be seen as a hopeful sign, I'm thinking it means that we weren't picked for committee for her. I just went to look at her page to link her name and she's not listed on the site anymore. This is even more indication that her committee has been scheduled. And, as we've not had word yet, that we're not a part of it.

I'm not feeling positive about all of this. I'm wondering if we should even keep trying. It's just so hard to look at these kids without feeling some sort of attachment to them and then to not be chosen is rough. It's hard not to feel rejected. I (probably concededly) think that if they could just meet us, they'd be happy for us to raise pretty much anyone. However, probably all of these other adoptive families out there feel the same way. And, of course, I have the opposite moments - those moments when I am less than patient with Davan and I think, "Maybe I shouldn't be parenting anyone else!"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Time to Bite the Bullet Again

It's time to call Barbara and see if she has any new information for me. I don't even have an excuse for calling this time other than to see if she's done what she said she'd do. Usually, I call on the pretense of, "Should I come in and look at the books?" but I know that there aren't any new bulletins.

What I want to know is, "Have you made contact with the case workers for the kids that we're in limbo on? Particularly Elijah, Kamau and Thorn, as they are the three that we've gotten more information on and still have an interest in? Have you contacted the case workers of the kids that we picked out last week? Are they still available? Have you sent any of them our homestudy?"

The thing is that these are questions she should be calling me with the answers to after she's done with those tasks. So, it's hard to call and ask, but I will make myself. I promised myself I would if she didn't call yesterday and, surprise, surprise, she didn't.

It'd be so much easier if I could just do it, but instead I have to badger Barbara to do it and that's hard.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Interesting Conversation

I met a woman whom I barely know at the grocery store the other day. I know her because her daughter and mine took dance classes at about the same time at the same place for a period of time.

During this time, she started fostering. She fostered a little girl who was something like 8 years old. At the time, Davan was 6. The foster child (who's name I do not remember) signed up for the same dance class Davan was in.

Anyway, we met at the store. She recognized me and said hi. Then we figured out where we knew each other from. We chatted a while and then I asked if she was still doing foster care. She said no, that it was taking too much from their family to be foster parents. She said the needs of the foster child was just too much. There are too many things outside of the norm that they need (therapists, social worker visits, parental visits, ect.), which caused her to be just too busy.

I said that we were in the process of adopting. She was somewhat alarmed by this and thought that we should really only consider babies and toddlers. This was somewhat distressing to me because she's actually had experience with a foster child! Of course, I feel like we'd be okay with some amount of running around. I figure that happens with any child. And there's a lot less in the way of social worker visits and parental visits when adopting. After the adoption is finalized, there are no more social worker visits, in fact.

So, I said that I felt like adoption was a different deal and that was part of why we weren't going the foster route. Also, we felt like the child would really be ours, so we'd feel it was worth it to put the time in. She said, "Yeah, when you adopt, you're hands aren't tied in regards to discipline like with fostering. I mean, you can't do anything!"

This is where I started to feel like I didn't need to worry about anything this lady told me. Anthony and I looked at the long list of things that you were not allowed to do to foster children (in the name of discipline) and thought, "Well, yeah, that's abuse. Of course you wouldn't hit them. put them in the yard and turn the hose on them. use showers as punishment. withhold food. speak nastily about their biological family."

Apparently, though, this lady looked at the list and thought, "Well, there goes all of my discipline options." I imagine she did have a hard time with a foster child.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Moving On, But Feeling Discouraged

I wonder how long it'll be before we do finally adopt. I wonder if we should keep going with it. I wonder if we should just give it up and be happy with the family we've got. I wonder if no one (that we feel capable of parenting) really needs us, as there seem to be so many people out there who want to adopt. It's hard and it's so much up and down. I'm really tired of the process.

Barbara, who said she'd make inquiries Tuesday afternoon about the many kids that we're still in limbo on, hasn't. She says she's been busy. I feel like we're missing chances that we wouldn't be if we were allowed to contact case workers. This is an aspect of Oregon's system that I don't care for.

There's a lot I don't care for, actually. I think that the system of 3 families needed to go to committee causes a lot of delay, for example.

Wednesday evening, though, I took home the two (one for single children and one for sibling groups) books of bulletins. We found 9 single children and 2 sets of 2 sisters each to inquire about. Four of them are babies less than 2 years old. Two more are 2 year olds.

It's amazing to me how many babies are available for adoption. In our informational class, we were told that if we wanted to adopt a healthy, single under 3 year old child to not bother, as there was a 3 year waiting list to adopt kids like these through the state. Gee, what they didn't tell us is that there seems to be a 2 year waiting list to adopt anyone, but back to the babies. It seems that there are more babies than any other age and most of them seem healthy. We usually pass them over, thinking they'll be snatched right up.

The four babies we are inquiring about, though, have all been waiting for months. I suspect that they aren't really available anymore and it just hasn't been updated, but if they do still need homes, we're open to the idea.

The other single kids are 3 year old Tyler and 6 year old Robert. One set of sisters are 4 and 3 year old Khalaysia and Kenya. The others are 6 year old Kyra and 3 year old McKenzie.

Shortly after I dropped the books back off on Thursday, Barbara called to say that some new bulletins just came in and did I want to look at them? I did, so back to the office I went. And added three more possibilities to the mix. There is 6 year old Tanner, 5 year old Shyloe and 4 year old Shawn.

The other two "new" single kids are actually Elijiah's brothers, who are being placed separately now. The bulletins say that their needs are such that it would be hard for one family to meet them for both boys. They do not sound like a good match for us, due to their needs, so I see their point. It's too bad, though, as they seem close.

Again, I'm at a loss to figure out how they decide who's going to be put on the web and who isn't. Robert doesn't seem particularly difficult to place. I don't really get it. "Our" kids who are currently on the web site are: Robert, Robert, Savanna, Kamau, Tamia, Thorn, and Elijah. There are, of course, lots of others who supposidly don't need the extended recruiting.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It's Staph! No, Strep! No, Both!

Thanks to Anthony's urging, I took Davan into see our family practitioner today for some sores on her face. At first, we thought they were just pimples, but they hurt her and no longer really look like pimples. Turns out that it's good that I did because she's got a staph infection and is now on antibiotics.

While we were there, I asked our fp to take a quick look at my throat to see if I should be checked out and, yup, she sent me for a culture and I've got strep. So, I'm on antibiotics, as well. Good thing I cancelled our activities for tomorrow.

I also had to cancel Davan's dentist appointment for today due to the staph. She was supposed to get some sealants. We ended up running around way more than I was up for. We went to the doctor, to the pharmacy, back to the pharmacy to pick up and back once more because I'd forgotten to take my debt card for our health savings account. And I picked up the books with bulletins from Barbara. In addition, we did make a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up some fruit, some peanut butter (because that's how Davan will be taking her meds) and a few things for easy meals like chickenless nuggets.

I'm home and planning on resting and napping all afternoon/evening.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Outcome

No more waiting, but it’s a sad thing. We were not chosen. This time I cried. I’m really disappointed, but I rather expected not to be, also. I’ll get over it, but I’m bummed out. We weren’t even selected as the back up family.

Part of what counted against us was that we never contacted the foster mom to talk about the boys. We weren’t given her information by Barbara, which made it difficult to contact her. Barbara did claim responsibility for that, but it still didn’t look good for us. The other issues raised by two different workers were:

1) Davan might feel disappointed about not being the youngest and with two younger, that was a concern.

2) There might be too much stress on me, personally, and I might have a relapse with depression.

For those who don’t know, I had a brief bout of depression after being injured in a car accent about 5 years ago. I got some therapy and, between that, and regaining my health, was fine again in less than a year. And this was a pretty mild depression. I was functional the whole time. It makes me regret being upfront about it, though. I could have hidden it, as we have a new doctor (due to a change in insurance) and none of our references would have mentioned it, if they even knew about it.

Also, Davan would be the most excited about an older sister, but she is very open to younger kids and was very excited about the possibility of having two and one of them being just a toddler.

Apparently, the family who was chosen is some particular experience and education (What exactly? We don’t know.) which is particularly applicable to parenting these two boys.We did get a whole long list of positives and some are different from last time.-Anthony and I are both calm and even tempered.

-We’re patient.

-We have a sense of humor.

-There is good communication between us.-We have a strong marriage.

-We have good experience with parenting Davan.

-We’ve demonstrated our ability to research and meet any challenges that come up.

-We’re comfortable with adopting children who have had exposure to prenatal drugs and alcohol.

-We individualize children.

-We’re respectful of birth families.

-We’re involved parents.

-I’m an at home mom.

-We’re an active family in regards to camping, hiking, and other physical and recreational activities.

-We have friends who have adopted.

-We have a good support system.

-We’re actively involved with our group of homeschoolers.

-We’ve (I in particular) have had involvement and success with counseling.

-We’re open to contact with the foster mom.

-They really enjoyed our video and got a good feel for how comfortable we are in our home and how child friendly it is.

-We’ve involved Davan in the adoption process.

Lots and Lots of Waiting

I’m writing this in Word so I can keep my phone line free. I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for Barbara’s call. Last time, it was 2:00 when she called and we’re expecting that again. Anthony is on his way home (it’s 1:22 as I type) and should be here to get the news. However, I haven’t spoken with Barbara in over a week. I was laying off last week because it seems like not much happens when you’re waiting for committee. I think case workers are reluctant to send adoption child summaries. It also seems like they just don’t schedule you for committee, even though this isn’t supposed to happen. So, I didn’t call last week. In retrospect, I think this might have been a mistake.

Here it is, 1:25, on the afternoon of our committee and I have no real idea about several things. One is, how is Barbara going to notify us? Last time, we talked about it before hand and worked out a plan. This time, a couple of weeks ago, she said that she’d talk with my when we were closer about how we’d like to find out. There’s been no talking.

Another is that I didn’t get a morning phone call this morning. I expected one. Even though I felt like crap yesterday, I read through all the information we have about Zach and Kohl so that I could answer the, “What about these kids makes you think you’ll be able to parent them well?” question. But, no morning phone call. What does all this mean? Maybe it means that we are a filler family and Barbara knows it, so she didn’t bother with those sorts of questions. Maybe it just means that Barbara’s a bit of a flake. Who knows?

I’m still sick today, as well, although, I’m not as sick as yesterday. My throat is still sore and I have a low energy thing going on, but I’m not feverish and I’m able to be up and about doing mild activities for periods of time. I took Davan to Target this morning because she wanted to buy herself a black leotard with a skirt attached for her gymnastics class. We also went up to the farm (a day late – I was so sick yesterday that I just forgot) to pick up our produce. I was pretty wiped out by those events, though, and laid down for a bit after we got home.

Davan got invited to her friend, Laurel’s house to play this afternoon. Luckily, Laurel lives close. We usually walk or ride bikes over, but today I threw her in the car and practically kicked her out moving so I could get back to man the phone in case Barbara calls. Okay, not really. I walked her to the door and chatted with Laurel’s mom, my friend Katie, for a few minutes before I dove back in the car and high tailed it home. Pretty much, I’m feeling anxious, sick and ready for Anthony to be home. Oh, also, it’s my FIL’s night to come to dinner and, in a fit of feeling somewhat better this morning when he called, I said he could still come. I’m rather regretting that now, but maybe Anthony will be able to make dinner. I wouldn’t say maybe except that there’s not much in the house and what I was going to make will be challenging enough for him that I might as well just make it instead of sitting there, answering questions. So, perhaps we’ll just take my FIL out to eat. Maybe there will be something to celebrate. We actually decided after the last committee that we’d eat out every committee day, as it’s such a stressful day, but weren’t going to today because of the combination of having my FIL over and our Tai Quan Dou class. That might be scrapped, though. Or, even though Anthony picked up a pizza last night because I was too sick to cook (and we don’t have much in the house – time to go grocery shopping – or at least it will be when I’m well), maybe we’ll just do that again.

Okay. Off to sip tea and get what rest I can while I’m so busy waiting, waiting, waiting.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Black Bomber is back in the hanger

Tomorrow is the big day - committee! However, I've had a lot to distract me from thinking about it. Saturday was a busy day of Girl Scout scrap-booking, a company BBQ for Anthony's office and an evening with my parents.

Sunday, however, really gave me a lot to think about. Around noon, I called about the tandem and offered the seller a finder's fee. His story was that he bought it from a guy at a swap meet for $600 because the guy was desperate to make rent. He called in the serial number to make sure it was clean both then and when he went to sell it. I told him that I'm sure it was clean because we had never written the serial number down, and, therefore, the numbers would be clean.

I offered him $200, but he said that he couldn't take that much of a loss on it. So, I upped it to $500. This is where I think I went wrong. I should have stood firm. However, after a few hours of back and forth, we arranged a meeting time with his "lady friend" because he was "at work". It was definitely his home number that we called, though, so the whole story was more than a little fishy.

We got to a park that they'd picked to do the exchange. The woman was an obvious druggie, making me know that their story was a bunch of BS. She was all twitchy and nervous. It was like doing a drug deal. He was standing off to the side with her puppy (not at work). I'm guessing she wasn't supposed to acknowledge him, but she messed that one up.

They had our bike locked up and the money was exchanged for the key. They just gave us the lock, rather than sick around. It was all very weird. Sadly, the handlebars now turn to the right if you don't hold on to them, but Anthony (who's good with bikes) can't figure out why. The rear handlebars were not attached because they'd stripped the screws that attach it. Anthony was able to get it back on, but he says, "It's not pretty."

I'm regretting that we did this deal and, particularly, that I went up to $500. I should have left it at $200 and let him call me back if he changed his mind. It'll cost us to get it back in shape (if we can even figure out the pulling issue). We need new pedals and crank extenders. It'll cost a couple hundred, I'm thinking.

I rode the bike home and then made dinner. I'd been so stressed all day about the bike - calling, waiting for call backs, picking it up, riding it home (wondering if I was being followed or anything - I don't think I was), figuring out that there were things that were wrong - that we considered going out to eat. I decided to make something, though, for our financial sakes. Not to mention that we have fresh produce to use up.

However, as soon as I sat down to dinner, I started feeling sick. After eating, I thought that I was maybe going to throw up. I went to bed and stayed there from about 7:00 last night until 7:00 this morning. I was a little sick at the end of last week - a bit of a sore throat and some body aches - but had felt fine all weekend. I think it was a stress induced relapse. Or maybe not relapse - I'm a lot sicker now! I'm so achy that I couldn't really sleep, even though I was exhausted. I had a fever of 101.4 this morning.

I've taken acetaminophen this morning and that and a warm bath helped some. I still feel very poorly, though. I hope it passes quickly. Tomorrow is committee and I want to be well if we end up starting transitioning!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Less than a week to go

Kohl and Zach's committee is less than a week away now. I'm working on that balancing act of trying not to get too involved, but also mentally preparing myself for the possibility that we will have two sons.

We haven't spoken with Barbara in a while. I think I'll just let things rest until committee, then start badgering her again. While we're told it doesn't happen, I do think that multiple committees are not scheduled for a family, so probably nothing will happen until after this committee one way or another.

We had a quiet 4th of July by ourselves. It was nice, though. Anthony took a 50 mile bike ride with tons of hills in the morning while I prepared a picnic lunch. We had rutabaga, carrots and sugar peas with a parsley pesto dip, cherries and cornmeal fritters with key lime cupcakes for dessert. It was yummy, but Anthony was jonesing for a hamburger when we smelled all of the bbqs going at the park. We spent about 3 hours picnicking and playing at our near by park, which we just walked over to.

After coming home, we did an activity we enjoy. The game changes depending on how much time we have, but the basic idea is that each of us comes up with a set amount (3 last night) of activities that we'd like to do with the family. The activities are written down and then picked one at a time until they're all done or we run out of time. Last night we skated around the park, played sock wars, played Shrek Super Party on the Playstation, went for hamburgers (Anthony's idea - we went to Burgerville where Davan and I got fries and milkshakes. Usually, we do free activities), shot a few hoops in the driveway, rode bikes "in the ditch" (just up the street from us, there's a ditch which Davan enjoyed riding in), went for a walk, did "Popits" (those small fireworks you throw on the ground), and did Yoga Pretzels (chose a few cards from a yoga deck for families to do). By the time we were done, it was dark enough to do fireworks.

We did a small assortment (about $30 worth) in our street. Davan just loves doing this - much more than going to a big display. We do mostly ground flowers and other small fireworks with a couple of fountain. Neighbors in streets all around, though, were doing some pretty amazing up in the air firework. People must spend hundreds!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Our Crazy Weekend

I did not obsess about the committee very much this weekend, even though I was fully expecting to. There was just too much else going on to obsess about.

Thursday evening, Anthony mentioned that he'd seen a tandem for sale that was just like the Black Bomber (our stolen tandem). I asked him if he thought it was ours, but he said no because it had different tires and different saddles and such. We talked briefly about buying it and I fell asleep thinking, "Does it have a rear seat shock post?" The reason for this thought is that a rear seat shock post is standard on this model of bike, but we took it off of ours so that we could put the seat low enough for Davan to ride it.

Friday morning, we discovered that our neighbors were having a garage sale and decided at the last minute to put some stuff out ourselves. We didn't do well at the garage sale and should have saved ourselves the effort, but oh well. We also spent the morning getting ready for an overnight bike trip. Davan had been wanting to do a bike trip on her own bike, so we planned a ride out to my MIL's place. The route out ended up being 8.6 miles and back was 7.5.

Anyway, just before we were going to leave, I decided I'd better check my email and see if Freecycle needed any attention (I'm a moderator on a Freecycle board). Anthony decided to take another look at the tandem for sale, as I was online already. We discovered that it's our tandem. It is missing the rear seat shock stem and, even more importantly, it has our trailer hitch on it.

Anthony called the guy, pretending to be interested in buying the bike, and the guy didn't know a thing about it - age, size, nothing. He claimed to have bought it used from "some guy". Anthony set up a time to go see the bike, in his effort to make the call seem real. Then he called the police who said that they could do nothing for us without the serial number, even though there are distinguishing characteristics which let us know for sure it's our bike. I doubt there's another bike of this type and size in Oregon, much less with the modifications we made. Anthony also sawed off the ends of the handle bars to make them fit Davan better. It's possible that the thief changed the handlebars, but you wouldn't know unless you took the grips off.

Once the police said they weren't interested, we decided that maybe we should keep the appointment Anthony had made with the guy, take $200 with us and tell him, thanks for finding our bike - here's a finders fee and just leave with the bike. However, Anthony had made the appointment for 4:00, which is well after we were supposed to leave on our bike trip. He called back to change the time to 2:45 and we made arrangements for Davan to go to a friend's house.

On the way to drop off Davan, though, Anthony realized that he'd actually said 3:45 on the phone, so, after dropping Davan off, he called back on the cell phone to try to reschedule again. The guy couldn't make the changed time. After some deliberation, we opted to just pick Davan back up, proceed with our bike trip and try to come up with a plan.

We had a nice trip and Davan did really well on the ride. We had her two older cousins camp out with us in the yard and a good time was had. Then we came home Saturday morning and it was time to tackle the bike issue.

My MIL had the idea to look at other things this guy is selling, so we did. We did a search on his phone number and discovered that he's selling three other bikes - one other is particularly high end. Now, seeing as how he knew nothing at all about our tandem, he's not a collector. He's just plain stolen these bikes. It was our hideous bad luck to have the tandem out in front of the Winco when he was there shopping and he took advantage (is my theory).

I opted to call the police again with this new information. The officer we spoke with did take more information from us, but after having to respond to two different emergency calls during two different phone conversations, finally called back to say that we were pretty much out of luck. He did say that he'd talk to his supervisor to see what could be done.

Meanwhile, we called Anthony's friend, Matt, whose cell phone Anthony had used to call the previous owners when he first bought the bike. We're trying to see if Matt can get the phone number record so that we can call up that owner and say, "Hey, by any chance do you have the serial number off of that tandem you sold us?" If we can get the number, then the police will intervene.

Also, in the meantime, we formulated tons of different plans, ranging from confronting the seller to just taking off with the bike during a test ride. On Sunday, Anthony even called the seller to set up a time to see the bike, planning on just taking off, but ended up talking to his wife. After that fiasco, though, we were both so worried and keyed up that we changed our minds. A few issues...

1) We might be on fine moral ground by stealing the bike back, but we wouldn't be square with the law. This could put the adoption in jeopardy.

2) It puts Anthony (and all of us, if the guy manages to figure out where he took the bike to) in danger's way.

3) After stealing it back, even if we painted it, would I ever feel comfortable riding it again? I don't feel like I would.

So, we're back to:

A) Seeing what the police can do. We still haven't heard back from the cop after talking to his supervisor, so something may still happen there. Plus, we have the serial number plan in the works.

B) If plan A fails, we're thinking of calling him up and playing it straight. "That tandem is our bike which was stolen from Winco. We are offering a finder's fee of $200. Let's meet and make the trade." Chances are that he'll say no, but at least we'll have tried and then it's all on the up and up. Also, we're thinking he'll have a hard time selling it (due to it's size and special nature - tandems that are more in the main-stream size-wise, often take a month or more to move off the boards and even then, we don't know that they've sold). So, we'll also tell him that the deal stands and give him my cell phone number if he wants to get something out of it.

Plus, both of these plans are ones that we can share with Davan. This is also a moral guidepost for me. If I can't tell Davan about it, then it's dodgy. Also, we'd already written off this bike as a loss. Even though it would be ideal to get it back, free and clear, I don't feel happy with paying for it or with stealing it. I'd rather it go to someone else if those are our only options. We've been saving up for a new one anyway.

So, it was a weekend of a lot of pacing and worrying. Anthony and I were both quite drained by last night.

That wasn't all, though. On top off all of this, Davan's mouse, Suzie, had to be put to sleep yesterday. Suzie sustained an injury from one of the cats a few weeks ago. It was a fairly bad scrape across the back of her neck. The cat had gotten to her through her cage bars with her claw while visiting Davan in her room. We applied Neosporine a few times in the first few days.

At first it looked as though it was healing up alright. About a week ago, though, we realized that it wasn't healing anymore. Suzie had taken to scratching at it and was actually opening it back up with her claws. It was wider than it had been when she first was injured. We debated what to do, but Suzie is not a young mouse and we did feel comfortable with a large vet bill for her.

I opted for all the first aid I could do. We decided on buying some NuSkin - a liquid bandaid sort of affair, which is water proof and lasts for days. It was hard to get it on her, but we did manage it. By the end of the day, though, Suzie had cleaned it off herself. As she was eating it while cleaning, we opted not to put it on again. At this point, Suzie was still very animated - eating, drinking and playing.

However, this weekend I started noticing a distinct lack of energy on her part. When I finally got her in my hands and looked at her closely yesterday, it was obvious that something needed to be done. She was oozing blood and there was blood on her claws from scratching. The cut was much worse - deeper and going down her side. Her eyes looked like they were swollen and, after first, I thought she was unable to open them. She did open them as I was holding her, but things were bad. Davan tearfully agreed that the best thing to do for her was to not let her suffer anymore. It was a sad thing to do.

Davan spent the afternoon grieving on and off. The first hour or so, she spent laying down, crying off and on while being cuddled by her dad (I had the duty of taking her to the vet). We had a memorial service for her, where we talked about her and then had ice cream (because you always eat at memorials). Every so often, Davan would say she was thinking of Suzie and she'd be sad or crying. She ended up sleeping in our room last night because her room was too quite with Suzie gone. She spoke of her again this morning.

Between all of this, she's been playing normally. She's happy that the cats can come into her room now, and has made a few places for them to sleep.

All-in-all, it was quite the weekend. Although we're still in some limbo about the tandem, we're glad the weekend of high stress is over and we're comfortable with the decision we've come to regarding the tandem.

Tomorrow is the 4th and then next week, we're on to committee for Zach and Kohl! Speaking of Zach and Kohl, we tried to show Angie (SIL) their pics on the site this weekend, but they've been taken down. Zach and Kohl are on their way to being placed. With us? We'll see....