Okay, here's the deal. I've decided that I'll keep this space for awhile to write about things that seem light enough for the audience. But I've also started a new space, and it's going to be a bit more raw, dark, angst-filled, angry ... hell, it's going to be honest. So sue me. I've written the first post, but I haven't actually, y'know, posted it yet. Working up my nerve, I guess. If you've been reading here for awhile and you don't mind going down into the depths with me from time to time, drop me a note about who you are or why you want to follow me, and I'll send you the link when I finally get the guts to post. I promise I won't keep your email addresses and sell them to spammers! Those who asked to follow me in the comments to my last post are already on the list, so no need to duplicate your request.
So much for old business!
New stuff. Let's see ... We ran into the social worker from our adoption agency at the playground yesterday, you know, the one who was counseling us grief-stricken infertiles while she was hugely pregnant? Yeah, her. We actually became Facebook friends with her a few years ago, so we knew that she now has two kids, but it was a whole different thing seeing them running around with our son and the other kids. Instead of this weird awkward relationship where she held the keys to the magic parenthood castle and we were standing outside the gate begging to be let in, we were all just a bunch of exhausted parents trying to make it through to bedtime. We were all very different people 4 years ago. Now we're peers. It was nice to see her, but very strange.
In other news, we're buying a new house! We love our current house, but it's in the wrong school district for the Boy. He's such a wild child, so smart, so charming, so easily bored, so talkative, so open, so constantly in motion, that it will be really easy for him to pick up with the "wrong" kids (because they're the interesting/exciting ones!) or be labeled as a trouble-maker as early as kindergarten, and we simply couldn't allow that to happen. We wanted to get him into a good school district where the parents are involved (and probably over-involved) in their kids' lives, where there are resources to provide him with extracurriculars, where there are other kids whose families look like his -- mixed-race, well-educated, and a bit driven. I feel guilty in some ways, because we're taking him away from an elementary school where a large percentage of the kids would look like him, and placing him in a district where more of the kids are white -- I never thought I'd do that -- but I also didn't know I was going to get this particular kid with these particular challenges. And honestly, we just want the best for him, and he's going to get a better education in the district where there are more resources. We're very conscious of making sure he has friends who look like him, with families who look like his -- some of his friends are Ethiopian, some were adopted domestically, some have black/white parents. Together, those kids will be able to figure out how to integrate themselves into all of their various worlds. It's not going to be easy for any of them, and I'm still very conscious of needing to make more connections in the non-adoptive black community so that the Boy will have more black adult role models/advisors. But in the meantime, we chose to make sure that he'll get a quality education. White flight or just being good parents? I like to hope it's the latter. Judge us if you will.
Our new house (assuming the inspection goes well and there are no major glitches before closing) is awesome. We're moving from a brand new green-certified home in a hip artsy neighborhood to a hundred-year-old craftsman in a family-oriented neighborhood with big trees and well-tended yards. The house is in near-perfect condition but will need some renovations eventually -- it needs a dishwasher, and we're already planning a second bathroom and maybe a kitchen remodel. If we can afford it, an on-demand water heater and some solar panels for the roof. (I suspect I'll need to start a "remodeling our house" blog at some point.) But basically, it's a solid house, a family house, the kind of house that should fit us until the kids are grown. It's 3 blocks from the Boy's preschool, across the street from the middle school, a mile from the elementary school, and a half-mile from the high school. We were able to get into it because it's not perfect, and it's on a street that gets busy at rush hour. Other houses in the district are considerably more expensive and way beyond our reach.
The housing market here is a bit nuts. The inventory in our price range is pretty much crappy, so whenever a good house goes on the market -- particularly in our target school district -- it's snatched up in a matter of days. We were reminded of looking for apartments in NY, where you'd need to show up with your credit score, your deposit, your proof of income, and there'd already be 30 people looking at the place. Once we figured out it was the same situation here, we got pre-approved with the bank and the instant our broker sent us a listing we liked, we'd schedule a time to see it that night, ready to make an offer on the spot if necessary. And even then, we "lost" at least one house when there were already several offers in before ours, at above asking price. We didn't expect to see this kind of competitive activity, given the way the national/international markets are, but our city is popular right now, and once people move into this school district, they don't leave until the kids are grown, so it's a tight market. We're very lucky that we're not underwater on our current mortgage and that we're going to be able to lock in a ridiculously low interest rate on the new place. I feel guilty because there are so many people still out of work or facing foreclosures. This is a tight squeeze for us financially, but we're able to do it, and we're feeling incredibly blessed. Of course, we still have to sell our current house, which is more than a bit scary, but based on what we've seen in the local market, it should go fast. I certainly don't want to be sitting on two mortgages for longer than absolutely necessary!
Anyway (she says, finally getting to the thing I wanted to tell you about), our realtor made a point to tell the seller's broker about us, explaining how we built our family and that we just wanted the best schools we could get for our kids. As it happens, the sellers have a 5-year-old daughter who they adopted from China, and they are moving to get her into a district that has a Chinese-language immersion program. Their next-door neighbors have two kids through adoption, as do the people across the street. I know we were the first offer on the house, and they didn't have to take it, but they did, and our realtor is positive that what sealed the deal was the adoption connection. And they want to meet us, which I think is great. There's something about the adoption community that makes instant bonds between strangers. That sense of community is one of the positives of living in this post-infertility world, and I'm really appreciating it when I find it.
So wish us luck with the inspection/closing/getting-ready-to-sell/hopefully-quick-sale/moving process. Not sure how much time I'll have to post here or elsewhere in the next month or so, but I do intend to keep writing. Lots of things are in flux right now, but that much is clear. Writing is important to me, and this community is important to me. This community was my home when my IRL home was not a place of comfort, and I'll never forget that.