So. Right. Adoption stuff.

Nora wrote back—I was right. Ruth is mostly bowing out. If I wish to send things to Cricket, I am to send them to Nora’s address; if I want to talk to them, I am to talk to Nora. Nora has committed to Skyping with me and the boys every six weeks (and did so on Kit’s birthday); she says that all three of them will come visit on September 7–8.

I am also pulling back somewhat until after the visit. Maybe it won’t look like it; Skype every six weeks is more contact than we’ve ever had. And I’m going to keep that up. But I’m not talking to them unless they talk to me, and I’m not writing to Cricket. After the visit, we’ll see.

Right now, I’m knitting the boys sweaters for this winter. I must look like a lunatic, knitting sweaters in a Southern California June, but here I am, cabling and ribbing and clicking away with my needles. And I don’t know whether I’m knitting two sweaters or three. Well, okay, I do start with a sweater that would fit a boy who’ll be five this winter, but I carefully don’t think about it as being for any person in particular—the last time I tried to knit for Cricket, I made mistake after mistake. And anyway, I don’t know whether I want to make him a sweater; for all I know, the sweater I made last year ended up in the back of a closet or in a donation box, and if that is to be the fate of all sweaters, I’m not participating. But I do knit this sweater, rather a handsome one, in a dark blue and green colorway. When I’ve sewn up the armpits and added a toggle, I make my final decision. Because I guess it was always his sweater, even while I was telling myself that it could fit any number of kids, and I have to try. At least one more time.

Come and Gone

Sorry I’ve been dark-ish; Mr. Book came to visit, and I was trying to spend all my time with him, and then he left and I was sad about it and didn’t feel like writing. But I have returned! I’m going to start out just talking about that visit and Kit’s birthday, though, because those are my favorite things.

Mr. Book was here Friday morning (June 7) and left Tuesday morning (the 11th); he arrived in the middle of Joey’s behavioral therapy, which abruptly took a break for Joey to say “Dada! Dada!” and run around the room, laughing and jumping for joy. The Mister and I got to go out by ourselves on two of those nights, and of course we threw Kit a birthday party on Sunday. The party was nice: bubble machine, pool, ice cream cake. Kit wasn’t feeling his best—he’s been teething, and going through a phase where he’s doing a lot of shrieking with rage and not a lot of sleeping—but overall it was a pretty nice time.

The first night that Mr. Book was gone again, I woke up about three a.m. (because I was being shouted for. Hiya, Kit) and was confused as to where he had gone. It took me a few minutes to realize that he was half the country away.

Point by Point

He loves his occupational therapist and dislikes all the others. Not that he has anything against them personally (I think)—but he hates what they want him to do. But his OT is so great. At his last appointment with her, we were at a park, and she was trying to get him to go up and down hills with her. At one point, he decided that he had had it up to here with therapy, and he turned and ran away from her. As she jogged after him, the OT yelled “Good running, Joey!” =)

During ABA, Joey is asked to check and then follow a schedule; he plays (e.g., is made to do puzzles), has circle time (is read and sung to), gets a break, works with his teacher (which mostly involves being instructed to copy her actions or match colors these days), and then either has sensory time or gets to go outside. And he cries almost the whole time. He slowly lets himself be pushed through a puzzle and cries and cries. He sits in his therapist’s lap while she sings “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and moves his hands—and cries and cries. He doesn’t get aggressive, and he hasn’t tried to run away, but he is terribly unhappy.

Speech is almost as bad, but if I hide in the next room and listen from a spot where Joey can’t hear me, it goes much more smoothly.

And it’s all working. Joey is talking more, and he’s much more engaged with us.

Joey has started counting—he has a pop-up toy that has the numbers 1–5 embossed across the top, and he will point to each in turn and say “Wan, two, fou’, fou’, fou’.”

The kids are also playing together more; they’ve worked up a game that involves Joey running away and Kit chasing him, and there is a lot of laughing and checking on each other.

Joey’s also enjoying the pool; we got him a floatie that allows him to move around in the water on his own (uh, by which I mean totally supervised and with me in the pool—just not physically supporting him), and it’s wonderful to watch him working it out. I happen to know that Kit is getting a flotation device of his own this weekend for his birthday, so soon I’ll easily be able to take the kids into the water whenever we like.

KIT IS TURNING ONE ON SUNDAY!! I can hardly believe it. He’s not a baby any longer; he’s hell on wheels, in fact, and so great. If he can’t eat it, he’s going to try to break it—but he’s pretty sure that he can eat it. He has big feelings: he is so happy unless he is so mad. But mostly he’s a cheery little dude. We’re having a small party, and I plan to make him wear a ridiculous party hat for as long as he will tolerate it.

Our kitchen is being remodeled! While wonderful news in the long run, for right now, it means that we’re eating only frozen food and take-out, and the kids are living mostly outdoors. This is great for them, but also super filthy. Four more weeks until our kitchen emerges from its chrysalis! I’m a little disappointed that I can’t cook for Kit’s party, but we’ll order a cake and have a good time.

I Dropped the Bomb

Well—I sent the message. Nora and Ruth each responded; Ruth’s response came first, and I was enraged after reading it. It was incredibly condescending in tone, and parts of it seemed to be written for a lawyer rather than for me (e.g., pointing out that they don’t have to visit every twelve months, but once every calendar year—when I had never suggested that they had missed a visit, but complained that they kept telling us that they would let us know when they want to visit “soon” but that it’s been four months’ worth of “soon”). She said that they have done things to show us that we are important, and it’s unfair to say that we aren’t a high priority for them. Nora’s message made me feel a bit guilty, and made me feel as though I have to try to work things out—the difference was mostly in tone, but left me and Mr. Book deciding to just have as little contact with Ruth as possible without trying to pull away from Nora or Cricket. I wrote back to them, and since I was writing back to two messages that I wanted to respond to very differently, the tone of my email shifted quite a bit from the beginning to the end.

Excerpt from early part: “And maybe I never would have gotten to this point if I didn’t know other people in better open adoption situations. So when I say that we aren’t a high priority, I am saying it as someone who has seen what it looks like when the birthparents are, not just because we didn’t get copies of pictures for a year and a half.”

Excerpt from near the end: “I’m making fall sweaters for the boys, now, and I don’t know whether Cricket ever tried his on, or hates red, or hates sweaters, or whether it didn’t fit at all—so I don’t know whether to make him one. When we sent dates in a Christmas package, you never told me whether Cricket tried them, or liked them, or thought they looked too much like bugs, or isn’t allowed to eat dates. I don’t assume that you’ll be attending the boys’ birthday parties, but you don’t even let me know that you got the invitations. I’m not looking for rosie sunshine responses to the things we send, but I hate that we are sending them into silence. (Although you did tell me that he liked his birthday present this year, and I really appreciated that.) I have a hard time reaching out to Cricket, and this is one of the easiest and clearest ways for me to try to show love—and it practice, it ends up being really discouraging.”

And I’m responding to Ruth in that first portion, and Nora, mostly, in that second one—although I didn’t call it out that way. No response to that message yet—except that Nora sent me a really beautiful picture of Cricket that I will post behind a password. Based on what Ruth has told me about the breakdown of the other relationships in her life, I will not be surprised if my refusal to agree that we are a high priority and that she has been awesome and that her problems are the only important problems means that she’s more or less done with me. Instead, I pointed out tartly that she is not the only one going through a hard time, and that since I have no idea when anyone’s hard times will be behind her, I am not willing to wait until that unknown date to express my discontent.

Mr. Book isn’t thrilled. He supports me unconditionally, but he will put up with just about anything to have as much contact as possible with Cricket—and I finally said I’m not willing to do the same, that I just can’t handle it on top of everything else right now. Of course, I want some kind of closure, which is idiotic. But it is an incredible relief to have just said: Hey. This sucks. I do not like it. And I’ve made myself a promise: I never have to talk to Ruth on Facebook chat ever again, unless someone is in the hospital.