I have definitely turned into a Mom - one of those emotional, but oh-so-proud women who delights in her child's new accomplishments at the same time that she grieves just a little bit that he is growing up so fast. Case in point: he starts pre-school next week. He is beyond excited, and asks every single day, "Mom, when I wake up from my bed, THEN it will be time for me to go to pre-school?" We bought him the required back-pack last week - a gray and lime-green affair that is much too big for him, but that he insisted was the one that he liked - and he has been dragging it around ever since. He fills it up with random things that he deems necessary for pre-school: paper, stickers, his "bottle-water" (in case he gets "firsty") and...his I-Pod shuffle (which I've been trying to explain will NOT be accompanying him!) It's only for two hours at a time two days a week, and the teachers are ladies from our church, and it will be a wonderful opportunity for him to learn and interact with lots of other little people, BUT...I'm still kind of dreading it. I never dreamed that it would be such an emotional thing for me to let go just a little bit - and this is only the beginning of letting go!
He has also learned to ride his bike sans training wheels during the last week - a feat of which he is prodigiously proud. He's been continually announcing to random strangers, "Hey, you know what? I can ride my bike without training wheels!" and then puffing out his little chest and waiting for the praise to start falling - which it inevitably does, because he's just so adorable with that huge grin on his face. I have to admit that his skill is pretty impressive, considering that we purposely bought his bike bigger than necessary so that he could "grow into it." His feet can't touch the ground when he's sitting on the seat, so I wasn't planning to remove the training wheels until next year when he was a bit taller. However, the little daredevil had been riding so recklessly down our fairly steep driveway that his training wheels were bent beyond usefulness, and he was actually learning to ride his bike leaning to one side in order to compensate. So, the training wheels came off, and after about ten minutes of David helping him to stay up, Yikealo had the riding thing down perfectly. I was thinking that he'd still need us to get started and stopped, but he figured out that if he pulls alongside the curb, he can easily stop by touching his foot to the grass (which is about 7 inches higher than the street.) With a few tries, he also figured out that if gets the pedals positioned just right, he can start the same way - by pushing off of the curb. I was pretty proud of his "problem-solving" - but it just proves that when there's a will, there's a way. The new developments in riding do require frequent stops, by the way, so that Y can practice putting down his new "hand-stand" and no amount of talking on my part can convince him that it's called a kick-stand.
He hasn't out-grown George though. I was sweeping several days ago, and stopped the vacuum cleaner next to Yikealo's chair while I went to unplug it. As I was walking out of the kitchen, I saw him reach out and put his thumb on the start button, so I gave some orders: "Yikealo, don't you DARE turn that on!" He looked at me with a very insulted expression and insisted in his best "Duh-Mom!" voice that he wasn't going to turn it on. I asked why he was touching the "On" button if that was the case, and he replied, "Mom, I am holding the button so GEORGE will not turn it on!" Oh, of course! What WAS I thinking?
This morning, as David was getting ready to leave for work, Yikealo was stomping around the house with a blanket for a cape, a balloon for a weapon, and a fierce expression on his face. He informed us that he was a very, very bad guy named "LaWishy" and that he was "stremely dang'rous" to touch. David responded, "Well, if you're too dangerous for me to touch, then I guess I won't be able to kiss you goodbye" to which Yikealo said, "No, YOU can touch me, and Mama can touch me too." I asked who exactly he was so "dang'rous" for then, and he quickly replied that he was "dang'rous for George to touch. George is very afraid of bad guys!" All I can say is that George MUST be a sissy if he is scared of a bad guy who can't abide the thought of missing his morning goodbye kiss from Daddy!
A quick update on our second adoption: quick, because there is absolutely nothing happening right now. We had finished all of our paperwork and parent education by the middle of July, and I was very pleased with the fact that it had taken us a little less than one month to finish. However, I suppose that I needn't have hurried quite so much, because the State of Ohio is currently taking at least 70 days to complete child abuse checks on prospective adoptive parents, and our agency can't continue with the homestudy process until they get that report back from the state. AGCI filed the paperwork on June 14th, so it should be 70 days as of today. Hopefully we'll hear something by the end of this week, at which time we can schedule our interviews with our social worker. She has to spend at least 6 hours with us to make sure that we're fit to parent another child, and then she has to write our homestudy report, which is basically a brief history of us: our lives, our beliefs, the reason we are adopting, and our parenting style, along with her personal recommendation of us as adoptive parents. Then, that has to be approved by the central office in Oregon, signed and notarized, and returned to us, where it will become part of our dossier. Once our completed dossier arrives in Oregon and is approved, we will be added to the waitlist for a child. We were told two weeks ago that our agency is currently telling families that are added to the waitlist that for a child of 0-3 years it could take up to 18 months just to receive a referral! That was a little surprising, considering how quickly everything went for us the last time, but there have been so many changes to the program, as well as a LOT of families who have signed on since then. If this adoption were following the same time-line as our previous one, we would be receiving a referral within the next month - and now we're learning that it could be a couple of years before we are home with our second child! So, we're settling in, preparing our hearts to wait, and reminding ourselves again and again that God's timing is perfect. He knew every bit of this when He called us to adopt a second time, and He is in control of everything, so there is really no point in being anxious about any of it.
In other news, we are still struggling with USCIS and the Social Security Administration over Yikealo's information. I filed for his Soc.# in mid-June. We had waited for a full-month from the date that we had received his Certificate of Citizenship with the updated birthdate - hoping that it would have given USCIS enough time to get all of their records straight. Two weeks ago, after waiting for 8 weeks, I got a call from the local SS office. They had received a notice from the Department of Homeland Security stating that the information in their database did not match what SS had for Yikealo, so we would need to make a trip to our local USCIS office to ask them to update their computer system. WHAT? We need to take time off of work, drive an hour to Cleveland, pay parking fees, and then drive an hour home - just to tell a government office to DO ITS JOB?? How does that make any sense whatsoever? USCIS GAVE us the document that doesn't match their computer data! At any rate, we didn't really have a choice, so last Friday afternoon, I got the pleasure of yelling our personal information through a plate-glass window to a hard-of-hearing USCIS employee who didn't speak English very well. Oh joy! After a few minutes of me holding papers up to the glass and shouting my request, he appeared to understand my predicament and supposedly "fixed" the date in the computers. We'll see. I called Social Security today to have them try again, so I'll expect to hear something in 8 weeks or so. Pardon the sarcasm, but doesn't it just warm your heart to think that government offices will be handling your healthcare too at some point? Oh well, as I stated above, God holds the future, so what's the point of worrying?
Celebrating at the Beach
1 day ago