Turkey, and Stuff

Spent Thanksgiving in Los Gatos with our good friend Pete and his Mom and Step-Dad (Judy and Webb). It was a tasty meal. Also in attendance were Florian (excuse the spelling, I’m guessing) a friend of the family from Munich, Germany and Chris, a work-friend of Judys from Scotland. So it was an excellent chance to show off my amazing american lack of knowledge regarding international politics and internationl geography. Actually, it was a lot of fun.

I made a flourless chocolate cake with rasberry sauce, and also an Apple pie for dessert. Both were tasty, IMHO. The apple pie had walnuts, though, and I didn’t quite get the topping right. That’s what next time is for.

Brian has updated the birthmom letter so that now when you click on the pictures, you get bigger versions of the photos. All the better to see me smile.

Spent today painting the downstairs. Got the second coat on the library, and the first coat and edging done in the entry way. Now I’m off to meet Pete and one of his friends for a tasty beverage at the Pilsner. Yeah for Muni.

1-800 Call Me (again)

After all of the drama over Hurricane T, before we went back into the pool, I needed to get our 800 # reconnected. It was a big pain because the number was originally linked to my home office business account with Sprint when I was with Apple. But then Apple left Sprint for ATT, and our 800 # was in limbo land.

After many conversations with many departments of Sprint (Hello, this is the dept. of departments. Please hold for the next availalbe operator) things finally got squared away yesterday thanks to a great lady named Mary. But the 800 # still wasn’t working today, so I called her back, and like magic, it now works.

So, birthmoms can call us again. And I can call home anytime I want for free. How exciting!

Baking, baking, baking for thanksgiving. Going down to our good friend Pete’s mother’s house in Los Gatos. We went down two years ago and it was a really nice time, so we are looking forward to it. We get to take the puppies too! Yeah.

I’m making Chocolate Decadence, a flourless chocolate cake, and also Fish Market Apple Pie, which I haven’t made before, but I like the recipe so we will give it a try. It’s kind of like a dutch apple pie, with a crumby crust, but it’s a little different. It should be tasty.

This weekend Brian’s dad and stepmom are coming down, I think with grandkids and a bunch of folks in tow. Hopefully the weather stays nice.

Painted the “library” today. Have no idea what to call Living room #2, but since I think we are going to fill it up with books and chairs and no TV, I’ve decided it’s the library. The walls need one more coat of paint, then we can bring the bookshelves and books up from the basement storage area. Yeah, it’s almost like we finally live here.

I’m really not a hater

If my previous post sounds a bit angry, hey, I’m a bit angry. But that said, more than anything, I feel sad and sorry for the two kids. I also feel sorry for the hurricane. She’s obviously a pretty messed up person. On the paperwork she left behind for us, we discovered that she had been in counseling since she was 10 years old, and that she had been diagnosed as both bipolar and seriously depressed.

It also turns out she had been on medication for these issues, but she stopped taking it in January.

Oh, how true the cliche that hindsight vision is 20/20.

So why the call from CPS? It turns out the folks in NC that got scammed reported her to CPS. Which explains the visit. But CPS couldn’t tell us anything. How screwed up is that? Letting the kids continue to be with her because at the exact moment CPS saw the kids, they were safe and fine because we were caring for them, not the hurricane.

So, more than the anger, there is sadness. A frustration that I can’t help her, and that I am powerless to protect her kids. I’m also powerless from preventing this from happening to other adoptive parents (although we posted our info to the web also).

It just sucks. Kids deserve a fair shot at a decent life. A loving home. 3 warm meals cooked with love. Toys and clothes. A mother that isn’t completely dysfunctional.

And I think I deserve an honest birthmom. Not a perfect one. Just an honest one. Hopefully we will find her someday.

Meet Hurricane T

We matched with a birthmom in August, whom we will call Hurricane T. She lived in a backward southern state (narrows it down considerably, eh?). She has two kids, T and D.

We lost touch with her for a few weeks, after we had purchased her and her kids airline tickets to come meet us in early October. A week before she is supposed to arrive, we get a late night phone call from her. She says she is stranded at a pay phone by a gas station and is in a bad situation and needs our help.

Being the suckers that we are, we did help. It was like command central around here, but we got a cab to her and got her to a Days Inn in Asheville, NC (which is not the backward state she started out in). How did she end up in NC, you ask? Well we didn’t, but stay tuned!

The next day we flew them out because she said she wanted to still match with us. We met them at the airport at 12:30am on Tuesday morning. We were exhausted. It appeared that they were too.

We had to stop at the Diamond Heights safeway on the way home because we had no children food in the house. So – there we are – at 1am with a 2 year old and a 3 year old walking around the grocery store throwing Apple Juice, Juice Boxes (which are the root of all evil), cheese, bread, Ravioli in a can (a can, dear God, a CAN!), etc.

Looking back, why the hell we thought this was even remotely normal is a puzzle to me.

Anywho, we get home and her daughter promptly falls off the bed onto our hardwood floors. And oh yeah, anytime our dogs got near the kids, they’d scream at the top of their lungs. But their mom insists they like dogs.

They stay with us for a week in our house, then we move them downstairs to our in-law unit.

I don’t remember much, but I do remember that first week was HELL. I’d come home exhausted and then have to deal with her and them. And whatever I did wasn’t good enough. Either dinner was too late, or she didn’t eat spinach, or she couldn’t eat cooked carrots. Angry? Me? Nah, not at all.

Weeks 2, 3, and 4 all have their dysfunctional highlights too:
There was the emergency room trip because the hurricane was having contractions. Turned out she wasn’t drinking any water.
There was the un-announced visit from CPS to do a welfare check on the kids (we’ll soon find out why).
There was another trip to the emergency room to check D’s phenobarbital levels (oh yeah, did we mention she doped both her kids because they are alleged to have epilepsy and seizures).
There were the 26 trips to the welfare office and the medi-cal office.
There was her blatant lie about not immunizing her children.
There were shit filled diapers strewn across the floor of her unit.
There was her black “hoochi-mama” lady of the night outfit.
There was the night she went to the Metreon, “lost” her money, and I had to go fetch her from outside the old Navy.
There was the time she put gum on the front seat of the car, and then blamed me for it.
There was the fact that she was smoking and wouldn’t stop.
There was her surly attitude.
There was the god-awful frozen corn she cooked one night.
There was her staying up till 5am and not watching her kids, so they’d wander into our unit at 6am.
Watching Toy Story for the 5,000th time because she didn’t want to parent her children.

There was the trip to the adoption center where they told us this looked like a good match. A good match! Good god, what the hell are our adoption professionals doing? Apparently not much in the way of protecting adoptive parents. Do I sound angry? Me? Nah, not at all…

Turns out the Hurricane was a scam. She had lived with at least two adoptive parents in NC before us. Gave them the same story. But she only lasted a few weeks with them. They must have been amatuers. We, on the other hand, as hardcore professionals managed to tough it through a month with her.

We found all this out via the internet (yeah GOOGLE). We had searched the internet prior to her arrival, but her scam hadn’t yet made it to the adoption boards.

We confronted her about it, and she denied it all. So we all drove out to the agency and they confronted her about it. And she denied it all and basically shut down. So we unmatched.

On the way home, we found her and her kids an airplane flight that departed at 5:30 from Oakland to another backward southern state (but not the one she started in, and not NC). So it was a mad dash home to SF from Concord, and then out the door from SF to Oakland to meet the flight (we unmatched at about 1:30pm). I made it there by 4pm, and managed not to say anything mean to the hurricane.

So that roughly brings us up to speed about where we are now. I’m still angry for being played the fool. I’m still angry at our adoption agency. I’m puzzled about why it all happened. What does it mean? Throw in a healthy scoop of existential angst, and that’s where I’m at.

Oh yeah, the rest of my life

I’m selling houses!!!!! Yeah. I love the new career, it’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

A good friend in SF stopped speaking to me because I wouldn’t be his business partner (at least, that’s what I can figure out. It’s tough to find out why people aren’t speaking to you when they aren’t speaking to you). He also dropped me as his workout partner.

I’m angry about it, but I got a new, better workout partner.

And I’ve got plenty of amazing friends in my life, and not enough time in the day to spend it with people that don’t understand and/or value friendship.

Spot has taken to trying to catch squirrels during our walks in Golden Gate park. I get to walk my dogs in Golden Gate park, how cool is that?! It’s cool!!!!

Fred has a little lump on his side that seems to be getting bigger, so we are going to have to get that removed.

And I got a cookbook all about Potatoes. I love potatoes. I like potatoes more than rice (for the moment at least). It’s like an uber-vegetable. You can do almost anything with them. Potatoes for breakfast. Potatoes for lunch. Potatoes for dinner. Yum!