Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Pity Party has now ended

Thanks to all who emailed and/or commented. . .I am feeling much calmer and more relaxed now. It really helps to know that others had these variables, and all worked out just fine. It's so easy to feel like you're trapped in some unique situational black hole.

Sooner or later the process ends and children come home. With my levels of emotion and exhaustion running sky high, it's hard for me to see the big picture at times. Thank goodness I have my blog to freak out on. . .I hate to think of my poor family otherwise! Kind of like the time I was two weeks overdue with Paloma. . . I wish I had a blog then (I bet they wish I had a blog back then, too!) I honestly thought that baby was NEVER going to come out! You all could have grounded me in the reality that she would indeed come out. She certainly did, and now we're just two and a half weeks away from my baby girl's 3rd Birthday!!!

The boys will come home. I might have a full head of grey hair from the stress, but that's why God made the man who invented Loving Care.

I'm gonna wash that gray right outta my hair. . . . (now that can be stuck in your head too, lol!)

Pity Party

Okay, so yesterday I actually made a commitment to be cheerful in the midst of this (adoption) trial. Stupid of me, I know, and certainly asking for trouble. And guess what?!? Today I heard news that was the straw that broke this camel's back.

Lest any of you think I'm waiting through this end process with nerves of steel and great emotional fortitude, I just finished a big crying, sniveling breakdown on the phone with the Mister (so recent that I'm still sniffling here). Here's why:

We still don't have a correct passport. Okay, I can handle that. BUT, BUT, BUT, there are a few other steps that should be going on concurrently with this passport wait. A big one being the birth parent interview, which could have been done at any time after we filed our Visa paperwork way back in May.

But, here we sit, 2.5 months later and nearly a month after exiting MOI, with NO interview scheduled. Finally given the go-ahead, our dear Sara E. attempted to make the appointment, only to be told that she no longer could and that ONLY the orphanage director could make the appointment.

This is a nearly comical idea. NOT because the orphanage director isn't a hard worker--she's the hardest worker I know. But because it is damn near impossible to easily get a hold of a person at the U.S. Consulate to make the appointment! And Marie is soooooo insanely busy running an orphanage that it really doesn't make sense to 1) ask her to do such a menial task and 2) expect her to be able to sit around her desk all day trying to get through to the Consulate.

So, if this is the case, I expect it will be a good deal of time before we can get a birth parent interview. The birth parent interview, the medical visit, the paperwork translation, the file review: all these steps done concurrently, and you can be done in 3-8 weeks. But to do this not concurrently, but one after another, well, I don't even want to add that up.

My heart sank as my brain told it, "Better kiss an August pick up good bye!"

That little thought was the big, bad catalyst for my sad, pathetic breakdown.

I'm a lucky gal to be married the Mister. He deciphered my story though my sobs, said, "Babe, we are 95 yards into a 100 yard race. The last 5 yards are always the worst, but we're gonna do it."

I know he's right. This is but just a blip on the timeline in terms of our life with the boys. A teeny, tiny little blip. But this Mama's heart hurts. I just want my little boys home.

But, Haiti is Haiti, and tomorrow is another day. And while the bad news is that the Consulate is difficult and always changing the rules, the good news is that the Consulate is difficult and always changing the rules. Just because someone wouldn't let Sara E. make the appointment today, doesn't mean that someone else won't be kind enough to set an appointment for me if I call tomorrow. But in the long run, does it matter? Hard to tell, but probably not.

Sara E. said it best. We're an airplane, circling the PAP airport. Just without a detailed flight plan telling us to land.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Teen Moments

Well, it has been nearly a month since I began mentoring J, a pregnant 17-year old living in a group home for pregnant teens/teen moms. I have spent a good deal of time with J individually and in our family, and I have spent time "hanging" and observing all the girls in the home.

Wow. Mentoring/Parenting a teen is H-A-R-D. I am a little, wimpy, parenting novice weenie compared to you Experienced Mothers of Teens out there!!! I give you gals HUGE praise, LOUD applause, and if I had all the money in the world, a full MONTH at a luxurious, 5-star spa in Fiji.

This entire experience has brought some of my most serious shortcomings to my personal attention. Shortcomings like the desire to lecture (biting one's tongue 'til it bleeds HURTS), impatience, lack of compassion towards the selfish nature of teens. Really, all stuff that one of my favorite books, Grace Based Parenting, addresses as things NOT to do. So I'm trying, really hard, but it. is. not. easy.

I'm addicted to a series of blogs focusing on large families who have adopted kids of out the foster system. Big Mama and all of her great links are usually the first ones I peruse each morning. I've learned tremendously from these brave and obedient gals who so selflessly blog honestly about the more difficult moments, both as a way to decompress and to educate those of us who feel drawn to this sort of work.

What I am finding difficult is trying to discern what attributes to specific behaviors. Is it just being a teen? Or is it that they are in foster care and had downright horrid and heartbreaking upbringings? Or is it just that they are pregnant and very hormonal? I assume most things are a mix of all 3, but I wonder, if you take out the pregnancy factor, of the foster care factor, would you find some of these behaviors in "regular" teen girls?

My guess is yes. Like the clothing thing. Honestly, I'm surprised at just HOW IMPORTANT clothing brand is to teens. And HOW MUCH it all costs. Granted there are only 5 girls in the house, but each and every one is very concerned with what their babies wear. Recently they all were taken on a shopping trip as a reward for their hard work on the house's garage sale (each was given a portion of the proceeds). Now, I guess because I naturally look at things through my own frame of reference, I would be like "Outlet mall? Rock on! How much can I get for my buck?" Nope. Not these girls. If the clothing didn't say Nike or Adidas or RocaWear or BabyPhat, they didn't want it. No one wants to listen to my reasoning that these advertisers should be paying us for doing their advertising by wearing clothing with their name on them. Didn't matter to them if they took their $115 and came back with only 2 pairs of baby booties and 3 onesies, as long as those few meager items were emblazoned with some logo.

Honestly, this is behavior I fully expect of teen girls. But for their own things. I realize that if I gave my very materialistic cousin $100 to spend, she would a) balk at the sum, and then b) come back with one $95 t-shirt and a slice of Sbarro's Pizza.

But these girls don't yet realize just HOW EXPENSIVE BABIES ARE!!! And sadly, most of them already have babies, and they still haven't yet learned that children will bleed your wallet dry in a blink of an eye (and that's for generic everything, excluding "name" brands.)

How does one teach a child who is about to become a mother, or who is a mother, that once that baby is here, the baby comes first? Every. single. time. Food, shelter, medicine: that baby is first in line. The whole teen-entitlement thing has to go. And that is a struggle.

I try very hard to be empathetic and compassionate. Single motherhood at any age is not an easy road. I found it to be a very worthwhile road, yes, but easy? Hell no! I want to be here for J as a sounding board, someone to 'gently' guide without lecturing.

But how does one be 'gentle' when you find out that your girl is on restriction because she went out for a long walk, against doctor's orders for bedrest? And the reason for the long walk was because she "felt like it"? Because truth be told, I wanted to give her a 'gentle' smack upside the head to knock some sense into her!

Honey, the baby and baby's health comes first. Period. And the moment you become pregnant is when you must relinquish yourself to that fact. I know many a mother who has been driven nearly batty with months of bed rest. I know moms and families who struggled through the hardship of longterm bed rest with small toddlers in the home. But that's because they stayed in bed! They all made it though, and survived.

I think so far I'm doing an 'okay' job. J confides in me, we laugh and enjoy each other's company. Were I at a different point in my life with different circumstances, I would foster this girl. The potential is there, and she needs a loving family to show her what a family is and what a mother does.

The problem I find is that I don't know where to draw the line between being a 'friend' mentor and a 'parental' mentor. I guess that line is meant to be wavering based on situation. When she complained to me about the restriction, I said, "Honey, you can't tell me that you didn't know that you were out of line." I'm gentle when I try to say as seriously as possible, "Once you're a mom, you have to give up a lot for the best interest of your child."

This is where the fact that they are in the foster system comes into play. These girls never had a good mother to begin with. They don't know what a good mother does. And it probably doesn't naturally occur to them that a good mother does give up things for the sake of her children, since their own mothers didn't behave that way.

Oh, what tangled webs we weave. I could go on and on and on about my thoughts and feelings about this situation. I will say this though: this whole thing is definitely placing me outside of my comfort zone.

In theory, I think that's great. In reality, it kind of stinks at times.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Girls' (plus Banjo Matt) Weekend

I hightailed it out of town last Friday afternoon, up to our trailer where our trailer neighbor/my mom's best friend, Sandy, hosted the Fifth Annual Girls' Weekend. I spent Friday night solo, and then Hatfield rode up with Boppa on Saturday morning and joined us for a little one-on-one time with Mom.

The weekend provided the perfect Rx of R&R, (homeschool) work time, and good times drinking wine and laughing hysterically around the campfire. A prescription I sorely needed. There's nothing better than coming home feeling re-energized with a new focus.

I made two new friends over the weekend, Sandy's niece Erin, who lives in Minnesota, and Erin's younger brother, Matt, who lives in Brooklyn, NYC. Technically this was the First Annual Girls' + Matt Weekend, as Matt was given gleeful permission to come and crash the party.

Night after night, we were treated to Matt's banjo playing and story-telling. A young pup at 26, he's is a singer/musician, having taught himself seven instruments. Matt is a bit of a gypsy, having lived all over and traveled even further beyond that, not caring for money or possessions but rather experiences. Immersed in his art (music), he's a refreshing example that you don't need a college education or a high-paying career to be of value in this world. The focus being on who a person "is," not what they "do for a living."

While I initially felt a bit shy around these two outgoing, well-traveled people, their genuine interest and respect for who I am put me at ease. City folk, neither of them showed pity for my living in the middle of Wisconsin. Not that I think anyone has the right to look down upon where we live (I LOVE where we live), I am always so genuinely surprised at the disdain "city" people show me when they find out where we live (especially the ones who lived here and then moved away.)

On Sunday morning, Cliff and the little kids came up, and again Matt plucked a banjo song for them. Atticus was completely mesmerized, breaking his gaze at the flying fingers only once, to tell me, "I should have brought my violin!" Atticus has a true artistic side to him, loving dance and music, and I hope over the years we can introduce him to many artists like Matt, who can inspire and motivate.

Riding a high inspired by these two incredibly "real" siblings, realizing how very much I want my children to see and hear and know people, places and cultures outside of our little home, I'm working like a madwoman, preparing our year's curriculum, as I intend to start up homeschool the second week in August. My hope is that we can get a good 3 or 4 weeks in before we bring the boys home (Disclaimer: I am truly hoping that statement tempts fate into proving me wrong, only allowing me to school a whopping 3 days before getting the, "Come pick up your children!" call.)

Last year, I purchased and schooled a full Sonlight curriculum. The perfect start for a HS novice, the curriculum came with a full and very detailed Instructor Guide (complete with weekly schedule). One can pick and choose reading, math, handwriting and elective programs to their child's ability.

Throughout the year, I gained footing and confidence, and began making changes. Switched over to a different science program. Scrapped their grammar and went to Shurley English. Dropped read-alouds, added read-alouds. That is one of the beautiful things about homeschool; something doesn't work well for your child, your child doesn't have to suffer through it for a year(and the resale value of HS materials is very good).

This year, however, I am taking a Charlotte Mason approach to our homeschool. Charlotte Mason believed in treating each child as an individual, not as a "container" into which you dump information. She encouraged parents to take an active role in teaching and training their children in academics, fine arts, faith, citizenship, and habits of character. "Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life."

I like that: "Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life." A tall order, that's for certain, but this is for my children. As a parent, I'll give them my all, and hope that when they walk away from our home to venture out into the world, eyes, ears and minds wide open, ready to take it all in.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Passport Update

I'm sneaking downstairs to post a quick Passport Update.

At this time we still do NOT have two correct passports. It's my understanding that one is fine; the other is not. Out of my MOI group, thus far the count is 3 incorrect passports. I know a woman whose passport came out over a MONTH ago with an error and she still does NOT have a corrected one, so I'm not feeling too optimistic. My guess is someone who didn't pass 2nd grade spelling is having a ball typing away at those passports in the Immigration office.

Sooooooo, the chain goes like this.

Passports - medical exam - birth parent interview - review of papers Visa.

And let's see where we stand. . .

Passports. . .nope! Sucks to be us.

We are waiting for word to even schedule the birth parent interviews.. . .so another stall there.

And on top of it all, UNICEF is in Haiti breathing down everyone's neck, and the U.S. Consulate is mega-paranoid in their Visa reviews.

Some days it feels like these boys are NEVER coming home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blogging. . . .

Things have been crazy busy around here. I'm so tired and am really making an effort to get a decent amount of sleep. Plus, try as I might (and I've tried with 4 different posts), I can't write a post worth publishing to save my soul. Once I get a few things taken care of around here and reclaim a sense of a paragraph, I will be back to blogging as usual.

Blessings,
Sarah

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Things That Make Me Happy

Since I've been in a deep slump ever since the news of the passport fiasco, I've decided that for today, even if I still feel like I'm ready to pull my hair and toenails out, I'm going to be chipper (just please don't test me on that).

So, in honor of my newfound, totally faked chipperness, I'm going to post a few a few things which make me smile.

Each morning I drink coffee. And each morning I will only drink it out of one of my two favorite mugs. This cheerful yellow Fiesta Ware mug is my favorite. If I'm feeling a bit sassy or spanky, then I drink from my persimmon Fiesta Ware mug. I don't have my own photo of that mug, since it's in my minivan.

I refuse to drink from travel coffee mugs. I abhor drinking from plastic or stainless steel. So I just take my ceramic Fiesta mugs with me. I've rarely spilled. The Mister calls me his Ninja Coffee Cup Warrior. Kinky, I know.

My newest favorite thing is my Pantry. The pantry used to be a Place of Dread. Well, Jimmy spent yesterday morning whipping it into shape, and now I have the best pantry on the block.





Look! She took all of the Mister's Wizard Mixes and put them in a bin. Easy out, easy in, that's his new motto. Perhaps he might consider this location to be a demotion from their usual residence on my fridge's penthouse (aka, the top of the refrigerator), but I think these new digs are pretty swanky. And notice their new neighbor--my cookbooks neatly housed in a rubbermaid container.


My mother's genius put all the Tupperware in a laundry basket on the floor of the pantry, along with the rolling pins. Why? Because kids LOVE to play with Tupperware and rolling pins, and happy kids playing quietly on the floor means a Momma cooking peacefully in her kitchen! Why didn't I think of that?!? Obviously, she didn't pass her brilliant Martha-Stewart-eat-your-heart-out genes onto me.

Yes, I have the best mother ev-ah.

No, I don't loan her out.

So after I pour my coffee into my cheery mug and smile at my pantry, I amble into the family room where I find this. My new armoire. This was my June project.

This armoire was in bad shape. For a long time it resided in my folks' garage after coming home from an antique store. I had a big, bad case of Armoire Envy. After some well-timed, ever-so-subtle hints (and the realization that they had no place for it), they gifted me the armoire.

It went from their garage to the garage in my first house.

To the garage in my second house.

To the garage in my third house.

Finally, I could no longer stand my family room. I had to do something. I think I blogged about my Family Room Frustration a while back.

Then the Nester inspired me. I love her. I want to be her. I became so inspired after reading about all the cool stuff she did, I decided that I was going to improve my family room. But not only was I going to improve it. I was only going to use Stuff. That. I. Already. Own.

Oooo, that's a tough one. I get rid of a lot. Then I was in the garage, tying on Paloma's shoes, and my eyes settled on my old, neglected armoire.

And I heard a choir of angels sing as a ray of sunshine focused on only its unearthed beauty.

One trip to Home Depot later for this, I was in the garage creating my masterpiece, which I then promptly moved into the family room.


I keep some legos, trains, cars, and markers in the galvanized buckets. I used some old glass canisters to house markers, feathers & pipe cleaners to give it a color boost. And I framed some cards the kids made for me on top. I LOVE it.

So there you have it. Simple things that bring me a bit of happy each and every day. So in the spirit of my happy chipperness (and no, I'm not being facetious, I mean this in a very genuine and loving way), I wish you a very happy day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

From Disbelief to Unbelievable

Guess who was issued a passport with an error.

&#*$%!!!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Musings about Cuteness from My Sick Bed

Yesterday I came down with a doozy of a stomach flu, which I'm now recovering from. Hit so hard with it, we all packed up the trailer like mad people and high tailed it back home so I could be sick at home in my bathroom. When you have a REALLY BAD stomach flu, you just want to be sick in your OWN bathroom, not a trailer bathroom. You know what I mean?

The Mister has now banished me to our bedroom, locking me in and taking on the duties of child rearing. God bless him. In my whining boredom, he kindly brought up his work laptop, and I have spent the day blogsurfing.

I'm expanding my blogsurfing repertoire. In addition to the adoption blogrings, I now love to surf home remodeling blogs, usually penned by moms my age, who love to fix up their homes in creative, crafty and (best of all) frugal ways. Someday I'll get ambitious and link these blogs on mine. Not today because it's the Mister's laptop and trying to link blogs without use of a mouse is just too darn much work for this recuperating barfie.

I love these blogs; I love these women; I wish some of them were sisters of mine. Two hours of surfing later, and I realized certain things.

They all have super cute haircuts.
They all have nice white, shiny smiles.
They all have very good writing skills.
They all have lots of fun decorating, socializing, mothering and the like.

So then I got to thinking about myself.

I used to wear super cute haircuts. With super cute highlights. But then I started an adoption, went to Haiti, began homeschooling, and have had my haircut ONCE in the interim. I have dyed my hair 3 times with Ferria after realizing that my very outgrown salon highlights were turning orangey, but that's it. Now my hair mostly hangs 'there' so I keep it pulled back, which I think gives me headaches by the end of the day.

I also used to wear really nice makeup and always dressed nicely. When my kids were in school, I just never wanted to be that mom who showed up in her pj pants to pick up her kids. Now, I just wear whatever. I also mentor a really cute, nearly 17-year old girl. We talk about lots of things, from politics to clothing to motherhood to music. Some serious, some not. And you know what I realized? To a nearly 17-year old, I'm old and no matter what I pull to wear from my closet, it's still grungy old lady stuff.

I used to whiten my teeth with Crest Whitening strips. My teeth are naturally not very white. I further scar them with coffee and red wine. The whitening strips made my teeth ULTRA sensitive if I used them more then two days in a row. Actually, they were a great dieting agent, because by day 4 my teeth were so insanely sensitive I couldn't eat or drink for 36 hours until the sensitivity began to wear off and my teeth could tolerate changes in temperature once again.

My writing has gone to pot lately. I write when tired, distracted or unfocused, and then I read it later, wincing. Even the Mister has caught errors, heaven forbid. Most days I feel as if I have nothing fresh, funny, charming or witty to say.

And to top it all off, I think my social skills have taken a dive lately. I blame it all on pseduo-pregnancy adoption hormones. In all my pregnancies, I just wanted to be left alone during those final days (which always turned in to weeks, as I suffered from chronic overdue pregnancies). I must say that I often feel the same as of late. When I moved back to Green Bay, I loved hosting dinner parties, barbeques, baby showers, playdates, baking days, etc. Now the Mister will say, "hey, we should have the so-and-so family over for a bbq!" and I respond, "yeah." And that's about as far as it ever gets.

I really don't know what to make out of all of this. I don't know if I'm in some adoption-induced, year-long funk that has me too tired to care about hair, clothes, makeup, teeth and social gatherings. Or I don't know if I'm just growing into a set of principles where there's little importance in those things. Or maybe I'm just growing old and frumpy with little thought. Who knows.

What I do know is that I am going to take down the window treatments in my bedroom, as they are terribly dusty and dirty. I may walk around in my old, dirty t-shirts and carry an out-of-season purse that doesn't match a single pair of shoes I have, but after reading these blogs, I'll be darned if I can't pull off a super-cute and free window (mis)treatment makeover.

The Big Question

When are they coming home?!?!

Oh my, I wish we knew!!!

Thank you, everyone, for the wonderful comments and emails of congratulations--we are so appreciative! It such a comfort to know there are so many people following along and pulling for us :)

Our best guess is sometime in the next 4-8 weeks. Here's what needs to happen (to the best of my rather limited knowledge):

What do we need to do:
- Sign and notarize a new POA
- Fed Ex the POA and other USCIS documents that the Consulate would not take in May but need now to the creche director in Haiti

What goes on in Haiti:
- The creche director will have all a handful of documents translated from French into English, and will gather all of the documents we send her and pull those from the dossier that the U.S. Consulate requires for the Visa issuance (we know this process will take several weeks at best)
- The boys will have a medical physical by a U.S. Consulate-approved doctor
- The birth parents will be brought to the U.S. Consulate to their interview
- A Visa appointment will be made and, to the best of our understanding, the creche director will leave that appointment with the Visas in hand.

After all that?

WE PICK UP THE BOYS!!!!

Once we have the Visa appointment set, and our agency confirms with the Consulate that the Visa will be issued that day, we will be able to set a travel date. The Visa appointments are made in advance, so ideally we'll have some time to prepare and hopefully get less expensive airfare tickets (ha ha ha!)

We'll keep y'all posted!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Disbelief

Ready for this?

We're not only out of MOI,

WE HAVE PASSPORTS!!!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A HUGE Hooray!!!

It has FINALLY happened!

The first family in our MOI group is heading to Haiti tomorrow morning to bring home their adorable little guy!

Congratulations to Jen and family! (And I just have to say that I am SOOOOO envious of the Canadian end process, as Jen will have little Wil home, speaking Canadian, long before our dear government issues our boys' visas, assuming that we ever get out of MOI ourselves.)

Can't wait to see all those homecoming photos, Jen!
Big smooches,
Sarah

Monday, July 07, 2008

Happy Campers



For the first time in a lllooooonnnnngggg time, I spent the weekend free from adoption anxiety (sorry, no official news of any kind to report, but honestly, I'm just too worn out by the whole thing to register disappointment anymore) and the all too familiar I-should-really-be-cleaning/mowing/gardening/ironing (insert chore here: ____) guilt.

We played in the sand, swam, hiked, ate, watched fireworks and visited with new neighbors. The kids didn't fight, I didn't blow up the trailer using the gas stove, and Cliff didn't create a DNR-sized health hazard when emptying the septic tank. It was a weekend that we sorely needed.



(For those of you who know Cliff's sister Mary, doesn't Paloma look so much like her in the above photo?!?)

I must say that I LOVE living in such a tiny space. It's kind of like playing doll-house! I realize now just what a waste of space our big homes truly are. Granted, I wouldn't want to live in a trailer 365 days of the year, but I think I'm going to love going away to one each weekend where it takes me 30 minutes to clean it top to bottom, there's minimal space to create a mess in and I don't have the I-should-be-mowing/vacuuming/organizing/whatever guilt.






I'm amazed at how many things it did not occur to me to bring, but I kept a list and we'll take another packed van-full up midweek.

Paloma easily went to bed for me (a first in a loooonnnnggg time), exhausted from all her 'firsts,' including her first time pirating a boat (from her brother, Atticus), and her very first pedicure (courtesy of Jimmers).



The fresh air and beer-infused boccie ball games with our crazy neighbors plum wore the Mister out. Atticus was certain that Dad would catch a fly or two in that mouth!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Our little getaway



Last year, my folks bought a camping trailer that they put down in a nice campground on a beautiful lake, about 45 minutes northwest of here.

This past Saturday was the first time we visited, and our entire family fell in love with the lake and area. Sand-bottomed and warm, the kids swam the entire day and had a blast jumping into the lake from a high-flying tire swing.




Even the Mister gave it a try!


Paloma loved the camping trailer and called it her "little house." She lived to peek through the doors and talk to us sitting around the campfire.


The trailer next to my mom's was for sale. Slightly bigger than theirs, it sleeps 8 and has a deck. A widowed man owned it but has not visited in over a year, his wife tragically passed away a year ago, 2 weeks after her retirement. It was priced to sell, but still, much too far above our adoption-stretched budget.

"Maybe in a few years," we said, shrugging it off.

So fast forward to Monday morning, when my mother calls me. "Remember the trailer for sale next to ours?" she asked excitedly. "Well, for xxxx, it's yours!"

Stunned at what she was saying, I couldn't figure out what was happening. Apparently the gentleman came up to the campground, now ready to retrieve some of his wife's things. My mother asked if he had any interested buyers, and he said no. She commented that her daughter and son-in-law loved it, but they were in the middle of an adoption and the timing wasn't right. He asked about the adoption, and was very moved. "How about I make them an offer they can't refuse?" he asked my mom, quoting a much lowered price.

Long story short: sold.

I am over the moon about this situation. As a large family, we live on a budget. Family vacations to faraway locations will be a rare occurrence in our house. The expense of flying 7 people anyone is prohibitive, plus the fact that we 2 hotel rooms to fit everyone makes it nearly impossible. Even renting a cottage up north for a week ends up being a sizable chunk of change. So to have this little getaway, in the woods, next to a lake, a mere 45 minutes from our door, is such an incredible gift.

After some heavy duty cleaning, we will be heading up over the holiday weekend to spend the first night in our new digs. With no phone or internet, I will gladly welcome the break from adoption events (or the glaring lack of these events). To live in the moment, to enjoy the kids and watch them make memories, will be a very welcomed getaway indeed.