Our Imperfect Lives


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Summer Time Fun

It’s been a while since we last shared with you all, which means a whole lot has happened (not much on the legal front) but there have been first steps, first solo swims and Meg and the kids have traversed three states – we’ve been busy!

Now, before we get into the fun stuff let’s get the handwringing, headshaking legal updates out of the way… First off, one of the most noteworthy legal developments over the last two months is that we will likely have to testify. The trial is now combined with a decision about placement, so the lawyers will call witnesses and argue not only for the question of parental rights but also where the children should be placed, if the parental rights are terminated. As a result, we’ll be presented as an adoption option/placement by the Department of Children and Families. As you may remember from a previous post, the birth parents are also presenting their own option for placement (a grandparent). Of course, it still remains to be seen when we’ll be called to testify.

The trial dates we laid out in our last post are all in the books and the lawyers burned all of their time in court questioning one witness. That’s right, they spent all that time on testimony from one person, the first ongoing social worker on the case. As a result, four more court dates have been scheduled through late September. Time will tell if more dates will need to be scheduled come September, but it seems pretty likely.

As always, we just sit and wait and hope for the best. We also take some comfort in the notion that the children’s lawyer and social workers believe the longer Sport and Sunshine are with us, the less willing a judge will be to remove them from our home. In fact, they will have been with us for one year in October – making us the longest placement for both children since they were born.

OK, we promised you fun stuff….

Let’s begin with Sunshine’s first birthday! It’s hard to think of how the day could have been any better than it was –the early morning rain clouds scattered, the sun came out to play, it was warm – but not too warm – the birthday girl was in good spirits and so were her Moms. We had about twenty adults and a handful of kids running around in the background, a table full of snacks and a grill turning out tasty food.

Our birthday girl, who had to have three costume changes because of all the messy fun she was having, was all smiles and made the happy discovery that she loves cake! She ate as much cake as a grown adult and wore an equal amount on her face, hair and shirt.

The next big adventure was a trip to Vermont, but sadly it wasn’t a trip for the whole family since Marcy and the dogs had to stay home. Even though they were short one Mom, Meg and the kids headed to the Green Mountain State to meet up with our friends and their three kids and had a great time. They got to do very “Vermont” things like feed chickens, pick strawberries and go hiking. Sport even got the privilege of sleeping in a bunk bed and in the top bunk no less. Although before he got the official go ahead to claim the top bunk for his own for the night he had to prove he could safely get up and down the very short (the top bunk was only about 4 feet high) ladder and make his way to the bathroom, which, being the athletic little guy that he is, he had no trouble doing.

We enjoy the great outdoors so naturally we’ve spent a good amount of time soaking in the sun, playing in the yard, splashing in the water and walking in the woods. And we’re lucky enough to have a pretty good sized back yard for living in a fairly dense city, so we’ve spent plenty of time out back. Sport has played almost all of the major American sports in our yard including football, soccer, baseball and basketball. He also is working to develop a bit of a green thumb by helping Meg plant and care for the vegetable garden.

In addition to the joys of gardening we’ve been teaching Sport the wonders of a walk in the woods. At not quite three years old he can spot and follow trail blazes. He also loves to find walking sticks to carry with him as we make our trek. Sunshine has also started to enjoy riding in our new-to-us child carrier for hiking. She gets to face forward and sit up nice and high and take in everything around her. She particularly enjoys when we get nice and close to a tree so she can reach out and run her tiny fingers along the rough bark.

A new favorite outdoor toy from Sunshine’s birthday was a water table, which has brought a splashing good time in the backyard, but not the only fun splashing the kids have taken in this summer! We also took a trip to a park with a splash pad with our friends and their two year old daughter. Sport wasn’t a huge fan of not knowing when the water was going to spray and while he wouldn’t get too close to any of the water elements he managed to have a splashing good time. Even Sunshine, who was under the weather, enjoyed the park – maybe a little too much since she kept trying to crawl across the paved splash pad, scraping up her knees.

And yet the splashing fun didn’t end there! We’ve been taking full advantage of Meg’s parents’ pool. Sport started off the summer being very hesitant about swimming, even with his new life jacket he doesn’t like to be in the pool without having contact with an adult, even if it was just a hand on the life jacket buckle. However, fast forward a few pool sessions and he’s finally able to “swim” a little on his own. He swam from Marcy to Meg a whole five or so yards apart. It’s not much but it’s a start!

In other big milestone news Sunshine took her first steps! She started about a week before she turned 13 months old with only 2 teeny tiny steps! Of course they happened pretty quickly and she didn’t want to do it for the camera so we didn’t get any video or photographic documentation but we’re excited that we were both in the room when it happened (only Marcy was there for her first crawl). It’s been a couple weeks now and she’s only up to about 4 steps at a time. She still prefers to crawl because boy oh boy is she fast when she crawls now!

We recently took the kids to Marcy’s old college stomping grounds – Portland, Maine. We visited the children’s museum and the Portland Headlight. Meg’s cousin and her husband live nearby with their daughter who is two weeks older than Sunshine, so we hit a nice park in Portland and swung on the swings, raced down the slides and played in the sand. We also stopped at a tasty BBQ restaurant where Sunshine drank from a cup using a straw for the first time while her forgetful Mom had to run out to the car to retrieve her sippy cup.

We did so much so far this summer we just can’t even cover it all in this one blog but here’s a quick rundown in photos of our summer so far:

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And we still have a lot more fun planned for the remainder of the summer – Meg will actually be taking the kids on another road trip this coming week while Marcy stays home and we still have the YMCA Family Camp at the end of the summer. It is important to note that before we took off on any out of state escapades we received permission from DCF to do so. Also, when planning any of our trips we must plan them around the children’s bi-weekly visits with their birth father at the DCF office.


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Happy National Adoption Month

November, widely known as Movember or Moustache November, is a month where many men grow facial hair in awareness of men’s health, specifically prostate cancer. Since Marcy’s father kicked prostate cancer’s butt not once but twice, we are all for promoting prostate cancer awareness; but it’s not the only awareness issue that November focuses on – it’s also National Adoption Month.

If you didn’t know it was National Adoption Month, don’t feel too badly because we weren’t aware of it before this year either. Adoption has been an important part of our lives for quite some time, especially Marcy’s life. Marcy’s older sister, Melissa, is adopted. Now, because adoption is such a huge part of our lives and the way Marcy’s parents chose to start theirs, we feel the need to pay a little attention to this celebration.

Our story, which we hope will soon become an adoption story, is just one of many, many adoption stories. Some adoption stories are created through familial adoptions, some international adoptions, others through state care like ours, and an additional route to take is through private agencies, which is what Marcy’s parents did over thirty years ago.

Many families turn to adoption when doctors say conceiving a child is not an option. We never bothered to speak with a doctor regarding one of us trying to conceive because we knew it wasn’t the path we wanted to take. We believed there were children in state custody who were waiting to complete our family. However, Marcy’s parents did speak with a doctor about conceiving a child, and he said it wasn’t possible. Obviously the doctor wasn’t one hundred percent correct in his prognosis, since Marcy is sitting here as we write this blog. Marcy’s parents, eager to start a family, started looking into adoption. Marcy’s parents chose to use Catholic Charities as their adoption agency, even though they are Protestant and not Catholic.

Marcy had always known, since she was old enough to understand, that her sister was adopted. The story was no secret in the family. In fact, Marcy and her siblings joke that Melissa is “The Chosen One” because she was adopted and Marcy is “The Miracle” because she wasn’t supposed to be able to happen. However, even though we previously knew the broad strokes of the story we had not discussed it in much detail until we started on our adoption path. For example, Marcy never knew that her parents didn’t care about the gender or ethnicity of the child they were placed with – they just wanted a child to share their lives with, just like us. Even though they didn’t care if their child looked like them, Marcy’s parents were placed with a baby girl with blond hair and blue eyes, just like Marcy’s mother. Coincidentally enough, even though we were open to children of any race, we were placed with two children who do share similar characteristics with us; Sport has dirty blond hair like Meg while Sunshine has darker, slightly curly hair like Marcy.

Our journey to adoption has also stimulated similar discussions with Melissa on the subject. She has shared her views on open adoptions, molded by her personal experiences. Melissa was born to two teenage parents who recognized that they could not care for a baby girl and gave her up for adoption. However, that is the bulk of the information we knew about Melissa’s parents until recently; she was adopted through a closed adoption. Marcy’s family was a happy family, and from what we know from Marcy’s experiences as a child and from Melissa’s words herself, Melissa had a happy childhood and she loves her parents dearly. Nonetheless, the older she got, the more she yearned to know about her birth parents (as an adult she has been able to unearth a bit more information through extensive research).

A large portion of this yearning came from wanting to know ethnic lineage and medical history. Melissa knew her adoptive family tree, which an aunt had tracked all the way to Governor Bradford and the Mayflower, however, it wasn’t her biological family. Were her health problems related to her family history or just dumb luck? These questions are a large reason why Melissa has encouraged us to have an open adoption if and when the time comes. And we have decided that if the situation is right, we will agree to an open adoption.

We love the adoption stories of real families, families we know personally and the ones we learn about through friends or on the internet. But we also enjoy the fictional story of an adoptive family portrayed on ABC Family’s “The Fosters.” We must note that we were particularly drawn to the show because the family is headed by a lesbian couple. For anyone who’s looking for a feel good, highly dramatized and simplified adoption story we encourage you to check it out.

To learn more about National Adoption Month, visit the National Adoption month website or the Adopt US Kids website.

Finally – here are some photo highlights of our weekend…

Swimming at the YMCA:

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Basketball at the YMCA:

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Hiking at a local wooded preserve:

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Dance party in the living room:

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Keep Moving

Parenting is hard. We’ve all heard it before and we had believed it, but we didn’t really understand it – until now. Going from no kids to a 4 month old and a 2 year old is a little like getting thrown in the deep end of the pool and having to learn to swim on the spot, and when learning to swim it’s good not to panic and to continue moving to keep your head above water. We’ve found those principles work pretty well with the kids; if we don’t panic and keep them (well really Sport) busy and always moving life is a whole lot easier.

And keep them busy we have! The past week has been jam packed with activities including many trips to the local children’s indoor playground, which we of course now have a membership to, swim lessons at the YMCA, a visit to a plaster painting studio, trick or treating, a trip to a science museum and even a new haircut.

The indoor playground has everything from a chalkboard wall to climbing apparatus to a bouncy house and it’s a perfect activity regardless of the weather! Plus Sport can make friends, or in one particular case, follow a child around until he wears them down convincing them to finally play.

Sport and his friend

Sport on the indoor slide

Sport in the bouncy house

Meg grew up swimming – her family had a pool, she attended summer camps where she spent every moment she could participating in water activities, she swam on her high school swim team, then as she got older she became a lifeguard and even the waterfront director for one of the YMCA camps she attended as a young girl – so it was only natural to sign Sport up for swim lessons at our local YMCA.  And he is shaping up to be a water bug too. After seeing his love for bath time we had a good idea that he’d probably take to the water like the fish decorating his room, and we were right. During his first lesson he was already dunking his head under the water with Meg.

Swim lessons

Swim lessons

Painting plaster was an absolute mess and a bit chaotic. Every time Sport got up from the table we got a small break from monitoring where he was putting the paint, but we then had the fear that he was going to break every plaster figurine on the wall, so we were on our toes the whole time. However, it was a perfect activity for us to take Sport, Sunshine and two 13 year old girls, since we met a friend and her 13 year old foster daughter along with her friend.

Painting plaster with Meg

Last weekend was Halloween, so we couldn’t resist dressing the kids up. Since Sunshine is still a baby we got to dress her up in whatever we wanted, so we picked out an adorable penguin costume we found while poking around the Halloween section of Target. Sport has taken to playing with fire trucks, a fire helicopter and firefighter action figures and since we were lucky enough to have a firefighter costume given to us, he was a firefighter for Halloween.

We only trick or treated at a handful of houses. Sunshine naturally didn’t do much of anything, and Sport was very shy, although excited about the candy – what kid wouldn’t be? He seemed to be more interested in handing out candy to the other children who came to our house. However, the real excitement for them was probably having Meg’s brother, his wife, and Meg’s sister all over for some homemade pizza.

Trick or treating

Trick or treating

This week Marcy went back to work but Meg still had another week home, so she decided to call in reinforcements, a friend who is still in college and conveniently only had an early morning class that day, and together they took Sport (Marcy took Sunshine to daycare on her way to work) to a science and nature museum. There they saw animals like otters, owls and eagles, checked out a hurricane booth where winds blew 70 mph, and inspected some dinosaur tracks.

Sport checking out the otter

Sport and Meg

Since Sport and Sunshine are foster children we have to get permission to alter their appearance in any way so we inquired about getting Sport’s hair cut. The biological parents said they would like his hair to be neatly kept so, we booked an appointment with our stylist. Normally, we probably wouldn’t bring a 2 year old to a nice salon to get his hair cut, especially since our city has a barbershop (or two) on every corner, but we love our stylist, Ana. She has a two year old boy herself and when we told her our plans to adopt through the foster care system she let us know that she would love to cut the kids’ hair.

Sport's Haircut

Next week we’ll both be back at work and both Sport and Sunshine will be at their daycares. We’re hoping to get a comfortable routine going and to give Sport some productive outlets for his energy at daycare. Until then we’re doing everything in our power to tucker the guy out, and it seems to be working.

Tired