Hello All,

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that it’s been a very quiet place around here these past few months. In case you were wondering, it’s not because nothing has been going on here in our little world!

No, I’ve just continued to struggle with the balance between sharing my story and protecting Grover’s privacy. ANYTHING that I put here on the internet will still be around for him to see when he is an adult. Am I guarding my words carefully? Am I saying things here that I would not say “in real life”?

It’s very difficult to navigate, at least for me. But I am still reading along with many of your stories, thinking of your families, celebrating and/or mourning with you. Indeed, I miss the conversations with my blogging friends… And so I need to sign in enough that I can comment on your posts!

In the meantime, you can also find me on my new Twitter account. I can’t reveal too much personal information in just 140 words, right?

Two weeks ago today, we brought home a lovely baby bunny as a companion for our 6-month-old rabbit. Our whole family went together to choose this bunny, and we decided to name her Sally.

As we were walking towards the car with Sally resting in the pet carrier, Grover turned to me and asked, “Where’s her mom and dad?”

This is actually a conversation that we’ve been having frequently in regards to our pets. He’s asked where the cat’s brother is, or his grandfather. He often wants to know about their families. And when I tell him that we are their family, he asks if we’ve adopted them.

The thing that’s most confusing is that “adoption” is the language used by most pet shelters!

So we talk a lot about our pets, and the way things work with animal families as opposed to the way things work with human families. It’s difficult because he can identify the loss experienced by these animals… But it’s not really the same as the loss that he has experienced. After all, animals grow up much more quickly than little boys.

In this case, though, I think we have a little boy who’s dealing with a grownup situation. I wish I had just the right words to offer him comfort, but sometimes all I can do is share information and listen.

It’s just me and Grover tonight, and we’ve been playing it pretty low-key. A friend loaned Grover one of their family’s favorite bath toys today: a Little People Floating Marina, circa 1976. It is completely awesome, equipped with slide and diving board, seaplane, gas station, and boat docks.

Grover just said to me, “Mom, I don’t want to play Mario Kart. I want to stay in the bath.”

Awesome. We’re now going on 35 minutes in the tub… I’m going to have to pull the plug soon.

Even now, after more than two years, I love to watch as he plays out these elaborate imaginary scenarios. I feel so thankful to have watched that silent toddler grow into the clever and creative preschooler. Oh, and by the way? This is one SILLY kid!🙂

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a seaplane to fly…

That was a question from a neighbor during last night’s trick-or-treat. It’s been almost a year and a half since Baby Boy returned home.

My husband and I looked at one another, then back at the neighbor. “No,” he said. “Just this one.” And we headed on to the next house.

In theory, I don’t have a problem talking about foster care. I don’t really have a problem talking about it in practice, either… Most of the time. But in a quick, drive-by situation with someone who hasn’t met our family since we moved in last spring?

My mom pointed out a better answer this morning: “You probably saw the little boy we used to take care of.” Of course that’s a much more accurate and appropriate response when people ask about our other child. Maybe I’ll be better prepared next time?

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for us, adoption-wise. We’ve had multiple issues around birth family contact, though I’m hoping that a letter we sent today will establish clear boundaries and precedent. We’ve also had some difficult conversations with Grover about the “why” of his adoption.

I feel a little bit like I’m floundering. Not that anything has really been terribly dramatic or overly negative. It’s just hard. Hard conversations, coming one after the other, tend to wear a person down.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say on the subject later, but I just figured I would let you all know where we’re at.

By the way, Happy Halloween!

Grover and I have spent the past week visiting my family in the midwest. This is his fourth time to make the trip, third by plane. It has all been planned for several weeks, and since Caleb was remaining at home to work, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to manage a busy four-year-old plus our luggage in the airport.

What I wasn’t thinking about was our former life as a foster family, and all the hoops required for every previous trip.

When we got into the car to head to the airport, Caleb went through a little checklist (as he often does).

“Do you have your phone charger?” Yes.

“Do you have your Nook?” Yes.

“Do you have Grover’s insurance card?” Yes.

“Do you have the travel letter?” Ha. It was a joke, but neither of us found it too funny… After all, we spent two years having to make advance requests and getting special permission for every trip out of state. Flying with foster children is an especially big deal, and it has been a headache to visit my family for the past two years.

How the times have changed. I do not miss the DHHS involvement in our family life.

I just sent emails asking for two of my three required references… For my CASA application. I also spent about an hour writing essays about my life experience, my beliefs about the state’s responsibility to protect the rights of children and families, and my ability to advocate for abused/neglected children.

I’d say I’m still a week from submitting the application, but it’s certainly moving forward…