Thank you for all your comments! It was such fun to log on today and find all these good wishes for both the birthday and the Rugrat (the latter being, I'm afraid, the way TTD and I refer to the daughter we hope finds us). Cyberspace has given me a lovely community--that would be YOU, reading this, so go buy yourself something nice and frivolous--and I am so grateful.
Today was sort of a beginning birthday, in that my mother came up and watched the kids while I went for a massage (!!!!!) and then had lunch with a dear friend (beautiful, PhD in philosophy from Harvard, mother of a six and a three year old, writing a book on Kant, and yet you can't hate her because she's so real and funny) who lives here in my new town. She gave me a magnolia tree, which was a much better present than the one I'd bought myself while browsing some shops before lunch: I bought some Spanx under--hmm, undergarments? Girdles, actually. I bought GIRDLES. Because I am FLABBY and when I wear a thin rayon dress out on Saturday my rear view is going to look, to quote my grandfather, "like two racoons fighting in a bag." Anyway, the magnolia tree was better than the Spanx. I'm going to dig a big hole and plant it tomorrow, right outside the kitchen window where I'll be able to enjoy it and think of her for, I hope, years and years and years.
So the day wore on and I spent a while sitting in the sun admiring my tree and fending off small boys (Urp: "I want to bite! I want to bite!"), then I failed to get Urp down for a nap, decided to bring the boys to the beach, did so, got eaten to pieces by midges, fled, and ended up at a harborside playground climbing on whale sculptures and eating PB&J. Now I am blogging madly while TTD drags everyone (tired, sticky, sandy, dirty, cranky everyone) upstairs for baths. And oops, they are melting down. Have to run. Back in a minute.
Hi, I'm back. TTD and I have just finished going over the autobiographical questionnaires our social worker sent us in preparation for our first home study interview next Tuesday, and though we filled the papers out separately, we ended up checking exactly the same boxes, which I hope is a good sign. Look, see how well-adjusted and harmonious we are! Look at our absolutely dazzling level of insight and our sparkling judgement! OK, if not that, then look at our legible penmanship, itself miraculous when you consider its medical-practitioner origins.
The home study interview is one of the earliest steps in what's going to be a very long process. We went to an introductory meeting a few days after we arrived in MA, and learned a bit about the basic process and the different country options, then sent in the first round of registration paperwork and received two fat packets of more papers in return. I ran around getting things notarized, finding birth certificates, xeroxing IRS 1040's, etc, and sent THAT packet in, along with a bunch of requests to various agencies for criminal background checks (they will find a lot of parking tickets) and sterling references. About ten minutes after the agency, which we will call The Agency, received that stuff, a Social Worker Woman called us to set up the first of three home study interviews: one with TTD and me together, one with each of us individually, and one at our house, where Social Worker Woman will be able to watch both our sons prance out onto the deck at intervals, pull down their pants, and whizz onto the boxwood plants which border the deck, and which are starting to die from a surfeit of uric acid.
After the home study finishes and The Agency signs off on it (we hope, we hope, we hope: we are trying not to get all wacko neurotic at the prospect of people scrutinizing our parenting, and we, or at least I, are not succeeding) the state of MA does a lot of fiddling around to make sure we're not fishy, and THEN what The Agency calls our Dossier, which sounds to me like something out of The Bourne Identity, gets sent to Ethiopia, where they do who knows what with it. Eventually, if we are both blessed and lucky, Ethiopia will refer a child to us, and we will go to Addis Ababa to pick her up. And yes, we are allowed to request a girl, since our children are both boys. The actual time from Dossier-to-Ethiopia to a child's being referred can be as little as one month or as many as eighteen. So we have no idea how long this will all take.
I am excited. I am nervous. I am braced for a long haul. It's a bit like deciding to try to conceive a child: the only thing you know is that anything can happen, and that nothing will be as you imagine. TTD says he feels the same way. And Rabbit has been asking for a baby for the last year, so I think will be very pleased about this: he certainly has been glad to have a little brother from the moment Rooster came home from the hospital, and he also has this strange sort of baby jones, where he just can't get enough of them and wants to stare at them and pinch their little cheeks all the time. As for Rooster (Urp's current nickname), I have no idea, but whatever his reaction, it will be loud, long and definite.
So, have any of you adopted children, or are any of you in the process, or considering it? Are any of you adopted yourselves? If you are, or do, or have, I would love to hear about it. I love hearing from you anyway: you know me, I'm a comment slut.
A sleepy comment slut. I was putting Urp down tonight and telling him a story as I rocked him in the dark, and as I often do, I began to fall asleep as I talked. I had been telling a story about Thomas the Tank Engine, I think, but I woke up to hear myself say, "And then Thomas dropped off Percy at the sheds, and then he dropped off the lyrics for the toothbrush, and then he dropped off the Elvis impersonator for Daddy."
Please don't tell The Agency that story. The lyrics for the toothbrush? I ask you.