Saturday, November 30, 2013

family day

It's hard to believe that one year ago today, we sat in front of a judge and promised that we would care for our daughter forever. That act, those words, seemed so simple. We'd already cared for her for months. To us, she was already ours. But it was different when we made it official. It made it seem that much more real.

I don't "celebrate" this day. Celebrating isn't the right act. Instead, I use this day to reflect. I reflect on our time together. I reflect on K's birth mother and her entire first family. And I wonder what the future will bring for all of us.

If you've adopted, do you do anything special to honor the day you "officially" became a family? Why or why not?

Friday, November 29, 2013

up in the air

I almost forgot to blog today, which would have sucked. Two days before NaBloPoMo ends and I would have blown it. But alas, it's a little after 10 pm and I remembered.

Though this won't be much of a post. Why? Because I'm currently at around 35,000 feet -- somewhere above middle America -- typing this on an iPad (so please excuse any errors). We are on our way to Seattle. Everything has gone (relatively) smoothly so far. The baby is asleep on my lap and the dog is asleep on Joey's, and we have about 3 hours left in the air.

Which means that the next time I post, I will officially be a Seattle-ite. From IF to When: West Coast Edition begins now. I have no idea what this chapter has in store for me or for our family, but I hope you'll stick along for the ride.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

happy thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I have much to be thankful this year, including all of you. Thank you for reading and supporting me.

To those of you who are struggling today, regardless of the reason, I'm thinking of you and holding you in my heart. I hope that you find peace during this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

new adventure

Today is my last day at work.

I started at Full Sail back in the fall of 2010, and I've worked for three different departments -- which (working in higher education) means that I've had the chance to interact with a number of individuals in my organization. As a result, I've met so many amazing people here. I've built friendships that I hope will last a lifetime, and I've learned from some incredibly talented and intelligent people.

Not all of my time here was happy. I've also experienced heartache, and I think that aspect is going to be the most difficult one to leave. These were the people who surrounded me when Ani passed away. These were the people who shared my grief. It will be hard to leave the space that I shared with him each day and the people who I grew close with because of him.

But what I won't leave behind is his spirit. I will carry with me the love and kindness that he showed me and the compassion he showed others, always.

Here's to a new adventure. Thank you, Ani and Full Sail, for paving the way.

Monday, November 25, 2013

16/17 months

Thanks to all of the moving excitement, I haven't had much of a chance to update on Miss K.

Personality: She's turning 17 months a week from today, which blows my mind -- thinking that her second year has almost reached the halfway point. She's always on the go. She never sits still, even when she's sleepy. I can't wait until she gets old enough to enroll in classes like gym and dance because she's going to enjoy all of that activity. She's starting to get into pretend play, too. She enjoys hosting tea parties with her tea set and she likes to play kitchen with tupperware and plastic utensils.

Development: We've made a little progress with talking. Her favorite thing to say is "uh oh." She knows what it means, but she enjoys saying it for just about everything. She especially loves dropping items on purpose and saying "uh oh." Beyond that, she certainly tries to repeat what we are saying but doesn't quite grasp some of the sounds yet. She does, however, recognize items very well when you ask her to point them out. (For example: Where's Elmo? Where's your nose?) She also mimics movements and actions constantly. She's learned how to blow her nose, just by watching other people do it. And even though we rarely let her play with our phones or the iPad, she knows exactly the motions you are supposed to use with the touch screen. She picks up on everything very quickly. Rarely do I have to show her how to do something twice.

Growth: She continues to lag behind in size, and I think this will always be the case. She broke the 20-pound mark, with clothes on, when she had her follow-up with the ENT to check on her ear tubes last week -- which look great. We've moved into 18-month clothes, but most are a little big on her. Luckily, her cloth diapers take up plenty of room, so they don't appear much bigger than her except for in length. I feel like I'm always running around behind her, trying to roll up her pant legs. But she eats like a horse and drinks plenty of milk, so there's no concern about her size.

Sleep: We are on a fairly regular schedule with sleep: 7 pm to 6 am (which should go completely out the window at the end of this week when we move to a different time zone . . . fun!). She usually wakes up a couple of times a night, but in most cases, she puts herself back to sleep within a few moments. We have been dealing with night terrors, though, and they've become more frequent as of late. I know that she doesn't remember them, but it's definitely terrifying for Joey and I to watch. In those cases, we have to pick her up and comfort her in order for her to settle down.

Likes: Macklemore, Sesame Street, bananas, tacos, toy cars, anything that plays music, dancing, balloons, getting into kitchen cabinets, stuffed animals, waving "hi" and "bye" (even at photos on the wall), shaking her head "no"

Dislikes: men (particularly men with beards), riding in the car, sour cream, getting her diaper or clothes changed, wearing anything on her head

I'll end with a photo from our visit with Santa, which took place yesterday. Despite the smile, she wasn't too fond of Santa this year and insisted upon sitting on my lap rather than his. But thanks to the photo crew, we still managed to get some adorable shots. The family one is going on this year's Christmas card!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

good-bye, hello

I still remember the first moment that I walked down this hallway, and I felt hope that this could be our home.

Now, here it is -- the last look down this hallway to the place we did call home for over three years. It feels like just yesterday we were changing the locks on the front door. Someone else will be doing that same task on Wednesday.

I know I've already said "good-bye" to my house in a separate post, but I thought this view deserved one, final farewell as we prepare to say "hello" to our next adventure.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

nearing the end

We are nearing the end of NaBloPoMo, and you can tell I am running out of things to write about. I never realized how hard it would be to blog about life every. single. day. Sure, there are plenty of events happening, but they aren't always exciting enough to write about, so it's been a challenge to think of a topic every single day. The last couple of days were particularly difficult because I was sidelined with the stomach flu, too. But I think I'm finally on the mend.

A couple of moving updates: we signed the lease on our apartment, and we move in a week from today. We also have a closing date on the house (Wednesday). And the best news of all is that I was offered the job I wanted. I'm very excited about this new opportunity. It's a perfect combination of my education and publishing experience, but it focuses on a completely different area of expertise (law), which I'm excited to learn about. The only thing that's left to tackle is child care, but I have more tours scheduled for the first week we're there. My hope is to make a decision in the first couple of days so that I have time to transition her into a place before I start work the following week.

I'm surprisingly less overwhelmed now than I was before, despite everything we have ahead of us. I'm getting excited about settling into our new place and, once we are completely unpacked, exploring our new city. I'm looking forward to living close to my brother, too. Though we are six years apart in age, we've grown especially close as he's gotten older and he and Joey have a great relationship, as well. It will be nice to have family in the city, and I think that he feels the same way -- or maybe he will after he helps us put together furniture!

Our last week in Orlando will be spent with family and friends, wrapping up work (for me, at least), and celebrating the holiday. Seems fitting that everything is taking place on Thanksgiving week: the closing of our house, our move, and the one-year anniversary of our "family" day. Which brings me to my last thought for this post. Today just so happens to be National Adoption Day. This is a day when thousands of families come together in court to finalize their adoptions, and it takes place each year during November during National Adoption Month.

Please take a moment today and think about all of those families and individuals who've been affected by adoption in some way. The adoptees. The waiting children. The adoptive parents. And, in particular, birth families. To learn more about National Adoption Day, visit their website or check out Twitter to see if there are any National Adoption Day events taking place in your area.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

the home stretch

This is it. Tonight will be the last night we sleep in our bed, in our very first house. Tomorrow we move in with my in-laws temporarily and my car is being shipped to Seattle. Our pod leaves on Thursday. We leave a week from Friday. And closing will happen sometime in between.

It's very hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that this will be the last night in our home. I still remember how I felt the moment I stepped inside the front door. We first went to see it in January 2010. It was a foreclosure, and it was a complete mess. Everything from floor to ceiling needed to be redone. But we saw the potential. We saw our future. In the midst of infertility treatments, this is where we wanted to bring home our child.

We closed in March of that year and spent the next month or so making it our own before we moved in. A couple of months later, our infertility treatments would end without success. We were heartbroken, and our house seemed emptier than ever.

Then, we brought home Danica.

She made our hearts, and our house, feel fuller. But we knew we still wanted to be parents.

So, it was in this home where we sat across from each other at the kitchen table and confirmed that we wanted to adopt. It was this home that we cleaned from top to bottom, preparing for our home visit from the social worker. It was this home where we set up a nursery and unpacked baby clothes. It was in this home where we spent many nights wide awake, wondering when (or if) we would get "the call."

Finally, last summer, this home became everything we ever envisioned. It became what we originally set out for it to be. It became the house we brought our child home to.

It became the place where we rocked her to sleep. The place where we celebrated nearly all of her firsts. It became forever a part of not just our lives, but hers. It was more than just a house or a home.

It was the place where we became a family.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the buyers. They are a young couple, about my age, who recently married over the summer. They held the same expression that I saw on our own faces back when we were purchasing our house -- that look of hope for the future. And as sentimental as it makes me to close our front door and lock it one last time, I also feel a sense of joy.

That perhaps our home's family-building days aren't over just yet.

Monday, November 18, 2013

handling the adoption wait

I only received one question about adoption last week (sad face), but it's a fantastic one and it's on a topic that I haven't covered much in-depth. Jana asked:

How do you handle the waiting? We're working through an agency and are in a family profile book with 59 other families. We've been in the book 8 months. It feels like forever! I'm going crazy and wonder if we will ever become parents. Any advice on how to get through this time?

Truthfully, I think that the waiting part of the adoption process is the most difficult. Yes, the paperwork is daunting. The home study (or the part leading up to it, rather) is nerve wracking. You're worried about whether you'll qualify. You're scared that there is something about your life, or yourself, the social worker won't like. You want to be genuine, but you also want to be the best version of yourself because this is the time when someone decides whether you'll make a good parent.

But nothing can truly prepare you for the waiting.

It's much different than the waiting process during infertility treatments, and I've written about this a bit in the past. There is zero sense of control, and if you're anything like me, this can be an overwhelming feeling.

The first task in "dealing" with the waiting process is to accept that everything is out of your hands. I spent many months thinking that there was something I could do to move the process along. And there is, to a point. You can network. You can keep your profile updated with newer photos. You can keep in contact with your agency or whatever resource you're working with. But that's about the extent of it. I think if I'd realized sooner that everything was out of my control, I would have handled the wait a little better. Instead, I obsessed over the tiniest little details in our profile and wondered what was wrong with us that we weren't being selected. The reality was that nothing was wrong; instead, our child's birth mother just hadn't found us yet.

Letting go is hard, though, especially if you don't have an outlet for your energy. So my next advice is find an outlet. Or ten outlets -- whatever you need to take that worry and reroute it into something that's positive. I did everything I could to stay busy. Some of what I did was adoption related and some not. On the adoption front, I fundraised, worked with my local RESOLVE support group, and did plenty of "spring cleaning" in our house, in case we got a last-minute call. But I did plenty outside of adoption and infertility, too. I was enrolled in grad school at the time and spent a number of hours devoted to research and writing. I volunteered at the library. I made it a point to spend time with friends. I read (a lot) and got addicted to Mad Men. I took up new hobbies like cooking and running. Anything that could take my mind off of the process and my eyes off of the phone.

But the most important thing I did during my wait was build my support system. I made connections with adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth mothers who I could speak with about any aspect of the process, any fears that I had, and any questions that I needed answered. They are what got us through the wait. They are the reason I didn't lose my sanity. They are who educated me about adoption, and I'm incredibly grateful to each one of those individuals.

Wishing you peace, Jana . . . and anyone else out there who is waiting for their little one. In the words of Tom Petty, "The waiting is the hardest part."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

a flying fiasco

Today started off as a normal day. We were supposed to fly home from Seattle, with a connection in Chicago, pick up the kiddos, and be settled back in by dinner time.

As it turns out, Mother Nature had a much different plan.

We arrived in Chicago Midway's "airspace" fairly early. Then, we circled. And circled. And circled some more. It soon became apparent that we might not land. The air was extremely turbulent, and we'd been up there for quite a while. Finally, the captain announced that we were being diverted to Omaha.

I don't think we knew how bad it was until we made it to Omaha. While we were running out of fuel, people were stuck in terrible storms below us.

We were on the tarmac in Omaha for about 90 minutes or so, waiting to see what was next. Props to Southwest Airlines. They made sure everyone stayed calm, happy, and fed while we were stranded in the middle of nowhere. I even saw flight attendants playing with some of the babies on board. In an age of dying customer service, this made me smile.

After holding and then refueling in Omaha, we headed back to Chicago for what was one hell of a landing. The storms had cleared, but the winds were incredible. Put it this way: when we finally did land (to much applause) and we were sitting on the tarmac, waiting for a gate to open, the plane was swaying back and forth.

We got off the plane and ran from one end of Concourse B to the exact opposite end of Concourse A and got there just 20 minutes before the next flight to Orlando was scheduled to depart (we'd missed our original connection). Again, Southwest stepped up -- holding the plane to make sure that every single person who was bumped from that first flight got on to this one. We were the last two people on board, and we landed in Orlando amazingly just three hours past our original arrival time.

I'm definitely feeling grateful tonight as I continue to read stories and see photos of the devastation. Thankful that all we experienced was some inconvenience, and heartbroken that there are many who lost everything. My thoughts go out to everyone who was affected by those horrible tornados today.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

seattle: day 2

We took it much easier today and spent some time wandering around our new city after we turned in our apartment application. Here are some images from our day:





Don't let the photos deceive you... We did see the sun quite a bit today, and there wasn't a drop of rain.

Back to Florida tomorrow to reunite with our babies and to kick our move to the west coast into high gear!

Friday, November 15, 2013

seattle: day 1

Day 1 of our two-day trip went something like this:

Breakfast
Daycare tour
Apartment tour
Daycare tour
Apartment tour
Job interview
Daycare tour

And finally, a beer and a burger.

The good news is, I think we have an apartment. The other two are still yet to be determined. Day 2 will consist of a lot more sightseeing. And photos. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

5th blogoversary

Yesterday marked five years that I've blogged in this space.

A lot has changed in the last five years. Everything about my life and my blog has evolved: me, this space, my words, and (of course) my journey. I spent time yesterday reading back through some of my old posts, reminiscing, and trying to gather a sense of where I came from and in what direction I'm headed.

I've reached the conclusion that I'm past my blogging "prime." My readership is down, for sure, and sometimes I'm not certain that I have enough juice left in me to keep going. You might be surprised by the number of times that I've considered abandoning blogging. Leaving this space for dead and just moving on.

What brings me back? I can't say that it's my love for writing, because if that were the case, then I would write in a private space. It's not for the publicity, either. Clearly. Part of me feels an obligation to stay here to and keep putting down my thoughts. I'm not sure if the obligation is to others, or myself, or to both. I'm not even sure if I'm good at this anymore. How do you know when you've gone past the point of no return?

It's almost like throwing in the towel during a stage of infertility treatments. It's a guessing game. When is enough enough? How far can (or will) you take things? This is how I feel about blogging at this very moment. I don't know what, if anything, I have left to give. I don't necessarily want to be done, but I also don't know if I can keep going, either.

That leaves me here: one day past my blogoversary. It leaves me thinking back to everything that my blog was and is and wondering what it will become.

Wondering if it will be here to celebrate a 6th blogoversary.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

tuesday rundown

- Our family's story is featured on Bloggers for Hope today in honor of National Adoption Awareness Month. Go check it out here, and a big thank you to Bloggers for Hope for allowing me to share what November means to me.

- Reminder: I'm answering your questions about domestic adoption. See yesterday's post and leave a comment. What do you want to know about the process or our story, specifically?

- More moving news (are you getting sick of this yet?): the appraisal is complete on the house, which means we are close to the finish line. Joey and I head out to Seattle this weekend to find a place to live. We also need to tour daycares because I have a job interview on Friday! It's a fantastic position, and I'm excited about the potential opportunity.

- I realize that this is completely unrelated to my life or to infertility and adoption, but I've been so upset these last few days over the images that are coming out of the Philippines. It breaks my heart to see the devastation. Please consider making a donation to the Red Cross or another organization that is assisting in the recovery efforts.

- Last, but certainly not least, a sweet friend of mine could use your thoughts. She's an IFer who is now pregnant with twins, and she's gone into labor far too early. She is currently 23 weeks, 4 days along. Please join me in sending positive energy and prayers her way. We love you, "Jelly!"

Monday, November 11, 2013

more of your adoption questions answered

A couple of years ago, I hosted a Q&A on my blog about domestic infant adoption. And since it's National Adoption Awareness Month, I've decided that now is the perfect time to do this again.

Questions asked last time:

  • What is a home study? 
  • How much does an average adoption cost? 
  • How much of that money is due up front? 
  • Are you doing closed, open, or semi-open adoption? 
  • Once you are on the waiting list, how long does it take to get a baby? 
  • Does the birth mother pick you or do you pick the birth mother (or child)? 
  • Are you told every time someone looks at your profile? 
  • What is a "match"? 
  • When does a match occur? 
  • What happens if a birth mother changes her mind? 
  • Do you get to name the baby? 
  • How soon can you take the baby home? 
  • After the match fee and the paperwork fee, where do the rest of the fees come from? 
  • Are you able to tell your agency in advance your match budget or do you have to be okay with $30,000? 
  • The company I work for was purchased by another larger company and they offer adoption assistance which wouldn't come close to covering it, but I guess I'm curious if many companies offer this or if it is like IF coverage (i.e. you're lucky to have it). 
  • Will you post who you are using for your adoption services? And your opinion of their service?
  • When should you tell your employer about your plans to adopt? I know that all the people who get pregnant don't go telling their boss that they are having baby-making sex and wait to say something until they are a few months along, usually. So, when is a good time to broach the topic when adopting? 
  • When adopting domestically, do you have the opportunity to choose the race of the baby? What happens if the mother of the baby doesn't know the father's race because she isn't sure who the father is? 
  • Can you recommend some good adoption resources (books, websites, etc.) to help answer more questions?

Are there any questions you have about domestic infant adoption that aren't listed above? If so, leave them in the comments section and I will answer them in a blog post later this week.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

the first of many good-byes

Another day in what I'll now dub "the moving chronicles." Otherwise known as "I have to blog every day this month and moving is the only thing that's happening in my life right now."

Since we have a cross-country trek, we are downsizing, and Seattle is one of those cities where it doesn't make sense to have two cars, we are getting rid of a lot of items -- including Joey's vehicle.

I don't get too attached to "things," but it was a little sad saying good-bye to Pete (our Jeep) today. We've had him for five years. He drove us to our wedding. He moved us back home to Florida. He helped us buy our house and adopt Danica. And, of course, he is the car we brought K home in.

Thanks for all of the wonderful memories, Pete, and I hope that you have more good times ahead of you with your new family.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

moving right along

We started packing up the house today. It is a little surreal seeing the place that we've made our home these last three years with bare walls and boxes in the corners. More on this in the coming weeks, I'm sure, as I begin to process the move away from our first home.

Things are progressing well, for the most part. The pod is scheduled. We arranged for my car to be shipped. We sell Joey's car tomorrow and head out west on Thursday to tour apartments and check out daycares.

We were supposed the have the appraisal report on the house yesterday, but we are still waiting. Once this guy stops dragging his feet, we should be done with all of the waiting re: the house sale until closing. Thank god, because I've decided that selling a house is far more stressful than buying. In fact, this makes me never want to buy again -- for fear of dealing with the selling process.

The kiddos know something is up, I think mostly because our house is in disarray. Especially Danica. But perhaps it was testing her travel arrangements that gave it away... I'll never know!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

this is me

Today is day #7 of NaBloPoMo and instead of writing on a topic of my own, I thought I would dig into yesterday's BlogHer prompt:

"If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?"

I've thought about this particular question a lot in my life, especially after my diagnosis with infertility.

Infertility changes you. It changes the way you perceive everything around you and it changes the way that you view yourself. For someone like me, someone who battles with depression and anxiety, infertility amplified the deep-seeded issues I already carried about myself. It made me further scrutinize everything: from my physical attributes (what was wrong with my body that I couldn't get pregnant?) to the mental ones (am I not deserving of a child because of certain emotional factors?).

It would be easy for me to respond to a question like the one above with "I would change my inability to have children." After all, this is the catalyst for nearly every personal struggle I've experienced over the last five years. However, it's not as simple as it sounds. If I were to say that I wish I could change my inability to have children, I feel like I would be doing a disservice -- both to my child and to myself.

K is my daughter. Even though I didn't carry her and she doesn't share my genetic make-up, there isn't a day that passes where she doesn't feel like "mine." By stating that I wish I could make myself fertile, I feel as if I would be lowering her value or importance to me because I didn't give birth to her. I might as well say, "I still want to be pregnant and give birth," which isn't the case. I don't want any of those things. I spent over a year grieving the loss of our biological child, a child who would never exist, before we began the adoption process. I don't regret making that choice, and wishing for fertility would sound an awful lot like regret.

Then, there is the disrespect I would be doing to myself.

My infertility journey, though difficult, made me a better person. It made me stronger -- not physically, but emotionally. It made my marriage more resilient. It made me understand who I was and fight for what I felt was right, not only for me but for others. Changing that now would be wiping away all of the progress I've made growing as a person over the last five years, and I don't want that. More so, I can't do that. I can't go back to the young, naive girl I once was.

Going back to the original question, my answer would be "nothing." I wouldn't change a thing about myself. My experience with infertility showed me that who you are and the events that occur in your life are what build your character and shape your future. I'm certainly not saying that everything happens for a reason, because there are circumstances I will never understand (particularly infant loss). Instead, I'm saying that I've learned how to compensate for who I'm not.

I once thought that my body was a failure. I thought that I was less of a woman because I couldn't do what I was designed to do: conceive and bear children. Five years later, I know better. I may not be built to have children, but it doesn't mean that I'm less of a woman. It simply means that other parts of me are built better, stronger than that one piece.

It means that I need to find those parts and foster their success. I'm working on it.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

the bigger bullies

We talk about it all. the. time.

We say it until we're blue in the face. We talk to our kids. Schools talk to our kids. Public officials, celebrities, you name it. Everyone encourages young people not to bully. Bullying is not okay. Bullying is mean. Bullying can truly hurt others and can sometimes produce horrific consequences.

But what about adults?

I've seen plenty of adult bullying. I've seen it in person. I've seen it online. I watched as Twitter exploded on the young woman who dressed as a Boston Marathon bombing victim and the young man who wore blackface and dressed as Trayvon Martin for Halloween. Yes, what they did was beyond wrong and it wasn't smart. It didn't, however, give anyone reason to make death threats to them or their families or to encourage them to kill themselves. There's no reason to ever take it that extra step. Yet, that's what many people do, and it's often overlooked.

Now, I sit here and I read about this happening in a NFL team locker room.

Male sports locker rooms have always been notorious for their "macho" environments. A certain amount of hazing or teasing is deemed acceptable within these walls and among teammates. However, what happens when this teasing turns into something that's far worse -- such is the case with Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito? What happens when teasing turns into harassment and bullying? What happens when threats are made and racial slurs are used? What happens when someone suffers an emotional breakdown over words or gestures they've received from another? What then?

I've seen a wide range of responses from the masses on this topic, with most agreeing this sort of behavior is wrong and punishable. However, I've also seen those who believe that we've become "too soft." They believe that Martin should "stick up for himself" and handle this "like a man."

We spend a great deal of time talking about young people bullying one another, yet we rarely discuss adult bullying. Maybe it's because people think that bullying doesn't happen to adults. (Wrong.) Or maybe people think that adults are strong enough to handle what others say about them or do to them. (Wrong again.) Whatever the case may be, it has nothing to do with age or strength or gender. Bullying should be unacceptable across the board, but this point seems to get lost in the shuffle. We have forgotten that no one is immune to it, not even star athletes. We have forgotten that it's often impossible to stand up to our bullies, even when we're grown, for fear of retribution. Just imagine what the fear of retribution must have felt like in an NFL locker room, where men are perceived as indestructible and "too tough" to let the words of another get through their thick skin.

The lesson here is that it doesn't matter if we are a 12-year-old kid riding the school bus or a 6'4", 320 pound offensive tackle for a professional football team. We are all still human. We are all destructible. And we can all easily be broken, whether it's by sticks and stones or by words.

My heart breaks for Martin. It breaks for the months of hell that he endured from Incognito behind closed doors up to this point. It breaks for now, for the sudden onslaught of those who feel they know how he should (or shouldn't) have handled this situation. None of us are him. None of us know the pressures that may have been on him to stay quiet or deal with it himself. We will never know what this felt like. Whatever he felt, however he felt, is valid.

My heart breaks for Incognito, too. It breaks that no one taught him better. It breaks that he didn't have the guidance and encouragement to treat others with love and respect. It breaks that there are children who may see what he's done and perhaps think it's okay to say and do the same. Because this is where and how they grasp it. This is how kids learn to bully. Maybe this is a wake-up call for where bullying prevention needs to hit next: the voices of those who are louder and respected enough to influence. The voices that children hear and repeat.

The voices of the adults.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

(out of) control

Thank you so much for all of the support and encouragement about our move! So far, so good on the progress with the house sale. We had the inspection done this morning, and the appraisal should be done by Wednesday. Once this week rolls through, the real frenzy begins. We need to book a pod for moving, sell furniture, arrange for my car to be shipped, sell Joey's car, travel to Seattle to find a place to live, and much more. Luckily, Joey's last day at work was today, so he'll be able to take care of the logistics while I'm at work.

To say that I'm overwhelmed is a bit of an understatement. I'm Type A. I'm a worrier. I think this has been the hardest part about this situation: learning how to let go and maintaining the positive vibes.

Sound familiar? Ah, yes. Infertility! This is eerily reminiscent of the waiting we did through treatment and adoption. Slightly less stressful, of course, but the same lack of control we felt through both processes. And it's infertility that trained my brain to think everything will go wrong. I'm fairly certain this disease has broken that part of me forever -- the part that's innocent and naive to all of the things that can go wrong in any given situation.

That said, I'm trying my best to focus on one task at a time and push out the negativity as much as I possibly can. Because let's face it: worrying never helped me become a parent and I'm fairly certain it won't bring me any closer to Seattle.

Friday, November 1, 2013

east coast, west coast

You know when you are holding a secret inside of you that is HUGE, and you have to sit on it for I-don't-know-how-long until you feel like you're going to burst? Well, this has been me for weeks. No, I'm not pregnant. What I am is moving.

Our family is picking up our things and heading to . . .

SEATTLE.

I'll spare all of the details, but Joey got a wonderful job offer, and he starts his position in a few weeks. He'd planned on staying with my brother until we sold the house, but as fate would have it, we got an offer on the house just 10 days later. If everything goes as planned, we will all be headed to the west coast the day after Thanksgiving. (Fingers crossed, please.)

It's a bittersweet feeling, leaving. It's sad leaving our families. It's sad leaving the house where we brought both of our babies, human and fur, home. It's sad leaving our friends, who we love dearly. But we are looking forward to living in such a fantastic city that will provide a great environment in which to raise K. We are extremely excited to embark on this new adventure together.

More to come soon on our cross-country trek!