Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

A year ago we went public with our announcement that we were hoping to expand our family via adoption during 2014 and that happened.  The best start to the new year though has been junior's warming up to us.   Over the last 3 months he has slowly moved from calling us by our first names to mom and dad.   We told him he could call us what he was comfortable with when he first moved in.  There has really been no rhyme or reason to when we were mom and dad and when we were Dawn and Dave until about a week ago.

We noticed at Christmas that whenever he wanted something or needed help we were mom and dad.  In normal conversation, or if he was angry with us we were Dawn and Dave.  For example:

  • "Mom can you help me take these Legos apart?"
  • "Dad will you come upstairs with me."
  • "Dawn look at this."  
It was interesting to see the distinction in the use.   I'm not sure if he thought calling us mom and dad would make us say yes or if it was something else.  

This quickly lead to a shift in a 50/50 split to being mom and dad the majority of the time.   While on vacation this week we have been almost 100% mom and dad.   This is such a huge step and has made this vacation even more special.   

On a related note the morning we were leaving on vacation during breakfast junior asked when he would be able to live with us.  I was a bit confused by this and told him he is already living with us.  His response made my heart melt.   He said "No, when do we go see the judge so that I can stay with you forever."   He had been asking questions about what the adoption would be like so this was the next logical step for him.  He knows a judge needs to make the final decision, but him asking for the date means a lot.   Sadly we don't know when this will be.  I wish I had a date to give him but that will come with time.  

All in all if things continue along these lines 2015 will be a great year.  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Highs and Lows of 2014

Here is an overview of the highs and lows for us in 2014 - not really in any particular order.

  • Having junior join our family was definitely one of the highs but the paperwork and waiting and classes probably would not be considered one of the highs.   
  • Visiting two more states on my list.  I am now down to only 5 states before I have been to all 50.  
  • Great trips to Boston, NYC, Washington DC, Estes Park, Seattle and Santa Fe. 
  • Junior's first airplane ride (not just with us but ever).  
  • Not making gold on United this year.  I will miss the perks but that means I traveled less this year so that's good. 
  • Dave &  I both had friends pass away.   That was tough we still think about them often.  
  • New job for me.   It was not easy to leave a company where I had made many friends and had spent 9 years, I have no regrets.  I do love my new job and hope to get more settled there over the year. 
  • Remodeling the master bathroom.  So happy it is done but it was such a long process.  And I think we are crazy for remodeling two other bathrooms in the  house next year but it has to be done. 
  • I lost 20 pounds but in the last few months I haven't had the time to work out and it has slowly crept back on.   Need to figure out  how to get workouts into my daily routine once again.   
  • Getting diagnosed with anxiety.  It seems to be under control now so that is definitely good, not knowing what was wrong was not pleasant.   I'm not surprised with everything going on that I got this diagnosis.  
  • Watching junior get more comfortable with us.  Over the last 3 months he has slowly started calling us mom and dad more and more.  He has decided he likes the same football teams we do (well the Seahawks and the Steelers.  And he has learned the foods that we like, it is very cute to watch him hand me a bottle of hot sauce when we go out to eat.  
I'm sure there are many little things that I am forgetting but memory loss comes with age and I am getting older.   

Sunday, December 28, 2014


All parents worry about their children, or I assume they do.   Some may seem like minor worries and some major but they are still valid.   I find myself worrying about things that other parents may not worry about.

What events could be a potential trigger for  a meltdown,tantrum or some other event?  We don't know what junior's past was and we will never know all the details.  

Is he going to sabotage a big event?  That may seem strange to some but it isn't uncommon for kids to un-intentionally or intentionally to sabotage a big event like a holiday or vacation.  This is partially tied to the first item as there may be memories tied to a holiday or they don't know what to expect from a vacation.

I have been on pins and needles leading up to Christmas and our vacation.   We decided to wait until Christmas Eve to tell junior we were going on vacation.  Partially to minimize the waiting and partially because we didn't know how he would react.   Without knowing we were travelling, he has been saying every time I talk about my travels that he is afraid of flying.    I was expecting the worst for the flight but everything went smoothly.   We got through the airport and to San Diego with no issues.   Junior seems to be enjoying it and wants to stay here until next Christmas, so maybe the worries were for nothing.  The vacation isn't over yet and we still have 2 big events planned so there is still time for things to go wrong but I am optimistic that it will all go smoothly.

Why is he worried about us dying?  This is a relatively new thing with junior asking us if we will still be alive when he is a teenager and what will happen to him if we die.  For me this is a tough thing to answer as I don't necessarily want to make promises that we can't keep.  Last night I asked him why he was worried about this.  His answer "because I want to stay with you forever."  

What are other people thinking? There is often some event that results in junior running away or screaming at us in public.   Typically when it is time to leave some place there is frequently shouts of 'I'm not going' and 'You can't make me' followed by him actually running away, screaming kicking,and crying.   I always wonder if other people are thinking "What is wrong with those parents that they can't control their child."

I know we are doing the best we can but I don't think the worries will ever diminish we will just start worrying about larger problems.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

The holidays are always a busy time, but it seems like this year with junior it was even busier.   I wasn't sure what to expect leading up to Christmas.  Junior did not seem to be excited for Christmas part of me wasn't surprised as we have no idea what Christmas was like for him in the past.   He had no interest in going to see Santa.  I asked on many occasions if he wanted to but the answer was always "not today."

I didn't want to push things and just tried to come up with other things to get him in the Christmas spirit.  We were visited by Claus the kindness elf with suggestions to do good things for others.   Claus had us:

  • Make gifts for his team.
  • Make gifts for the grandparents and great grandparents. 
  • Donate toys and household items we no longer use.
  • Donate food and toys to the animal shelter.
  • Buy presents for the kids at Children's hospital 
Junior really looked forward to these tasks or maybe he just looked forward to the treats that were left after they were completed.  

We kept preparing him for what to expect on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Last night we had to ask him if he wanted to leave treats or a note for Santa.   I was expecting him to be more excited and he wasn't.  Today went mostly as expected.   He came into our room when he woke up and got into bed like he does every morning to cuddle.  After a few minutes he asked if Santa had come and he went to look, he then ran back to bed to report that he had come but he didn't rush downstairs.   

After he had opened about half of the presents he said "Now I'm excited for Christmas."   He seemed honestly happy with all of the gifts he received from us, Santa and family members.   His comment after he opened everything was "Santa did perfect." He has been quietly playing with his presents all day, except when we forced him to go to the movies.   

I do wonder how Christmas has been celebrated in his past and if he has been let down.   Hopefully we have established some things that will become family traditions in the future and next year he will be more excited.  It has to be hard not knowing what to expect and wondering if you will be let down like you have in the past.