Our Christmas tree is up and decorated, the front yard is ablaze with thousands of LCD lights, the holiday season is back. Anthony has once again turned our home into a Fudge, Divinity, and Fruitcake factory. If that wasn’t bad enough, this year Anthony has shamelessly stolen the classic Sorensen family chocolate chip pumpkin cookie recipe and has added that to the production line up as well. There is no doubt that Christmas as come to the house.
We have had a big full year. We have moved out of Portland, survived Hurricane Rick at sea and managed to keep a roof over Sam’s head for another year.
But our biggest news this year is that our adoption home study was completed in September and more importantly paid off.
We have made it though the classes and background checks and all the inspections. We are right on target for adopting a kiddo or kiddos sometime in 2010 and have made it to the matching stage. Our caseworker has been sending our home study to potential kiddos caseworkers that we have an interest in. If the kiddos case worker likes what they see in us, then we get some more information about the kiddo sent back for us to review. It’s like exchanging business cards. Right now we have our home study out for about 12 different kiddos and sibling groups. So far we have had additional information come back twice. Sadly both times, the three of us (us and our own case worker) did not feel it was a good match.
So far the waiting & matching process is proving to be a very hard and emotional process.
We have been keep trying to find adventures and projects to keep us distracted. The biggest adventure was a 7 day cruise to Mexico. Neither of us had been on a cruise before and neither of us had ever been on a cruise in the middle of a hurricane.
So we were able to check two items off our bucket list. You can read all about our adventure with Hurricane Rick and our Mexican cruise at our family website (click here). We had quite the adventure!
Now is also a good time in our Christmas letter that we should also mention that we have made very good progress this year in disproving the slanderous rumor and lie that has been spread among our family and friends that “we” have some sort of Disney theme park “addiction”. Just so you all know and for the record, we did NOT make our fall pilgrimage to Disney World as we have been doing annually for the past few years. Furthermore, we only visited Disneyland twice this year, only once in the spring for our anniversary and only once in the fall as a tie in to the cruise. Clearly, we have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt, that we don’t have a mouse addiction. And the rumor that Anthony has already started planning our future kiddos first trip and we are hopeing to have as many family and friends with us for a large grand gathering is also just a rumor.. until we send the invites out.
During the Spring we took a long six week parenting class in Love and Logic. Our caseworker recommended it as it would give us some great parenting tools to us with our future kiddo. We loved the class! If you are a parent, grandparent, teacher or babysitter you need to take this class!
They teach a real innovative way to help your kiddo make little mistakes as kids when it’s safe. Rather then big mistakes when they are older and it is much more life shattering. It also helps parents let the kids to the hard work when it comes to parenting, meaning make the kids think and learn from their actions and behavior rather then having the parents worry, fret and helicopter over the kids which only helps on setting them up for failure as adults. We find ourselves using the techniques every week, and they work!
We have been very blessed this past year to have been able to provide some child respite care on our weekends. Our adoption caseworker got us connected with a young mother and her son who was recently placed with her.
Every Sunday we have had an 8 year old boy dropped off at our front door and the fun begins! We get to play games, go on hikes, cook, go swimming, work on science projects, go to OMSI, or work on spelling words. Sometimes we get more then one kiddo. Recently, we had three at once, a 8 year old, a 5 year old and a 3 year old.
Helping out and being apart of this kiddos life has been a great learning experience for us. A lot of our posts online at www.desoren.com this year have been based on the experiences we have had with him. It has been very rewarding knowing that we are helping while getting some hands on experience with special needs adopted kids. More then once we have been able to draw on some experience with him when looking at potential kidos profiles. That and he is just a super cool kid, we have been very lucky!
At the beginning of the year, Joshua received a promotion and new job position at Banfield as a Jr. Pricing Analyst. He is currently in the process of moving positions again at Banfield. The company apprently thinks of him as upwardly mobile and a good key player. Joshua also has about one and a half years to go still on his degree in accounting from the University of Phoenix.
Anthony is still working at Minuteman Press as a production designer. He recently step-downed as Speaker of the House for the ICS International Parliament. Anthony was one of the key founders of their new Parliament which is comprised of 70 non-profit chapters within the International Court System. The I.C.S. is a GLTB non-profit group that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity annually across Canada, Mexico and the USA.
June 2010 will be mark 2 years of living with Sam. His short stay seems to be getting more and more permeant. Right now, Sam is looking for a job. A few weeks before Thanksgiving he was laid off from Safeway. Which is currently being looked upon as a mixed blessing. It has made things bit harder for us, as we had to cover everyone’s expenses. But he was stuck in bad job, so it really is for the best. The goal is for him to get in to a better job with more pay and hours or at least enrolled in school by January.
Our latest big adventure was having to move to a new home. Right after we booked and paid for our Mexico vacation, our landlord called us and gave us the bad news that she needed to sell the house. This set us into a real panic. With our home study freshly completed and paid for, moving was the last thing we wanted to do. Getting a good home for our kiddo was something we had really invested a lot of time and energy in to the first time around. Trying to do it again and quickly, was a huge task to hit us with.
Luckily, we quickly got a great real estate agent who was a friend and she got us in touch with a great loan officer. With their help we looked into our options and the possibilities of buying the house from our landlord and/or buying a new home. But in the end we just did not have the time to get together the financing that we would need. Home ownership is in our life plan, it just wasn’t expected right after paying for a holiday and adoption.
After we got back from our hurricane cruise, we had about a month to look for a new house that would meet our needs and our future kiddos. We found a great new-construction corner two story townhouse in Happy Valley. Happy Valley is just outside the Portland city limits in Clackamas county near Oregon’s largest indoor mall Clackamas Town Center, just north of Oregon City and the end of the Oregon trail.
The house has amazing views, 3 bedrooms & 2.5 bathrooms. Gas everything and the cats love the carpeted second floor. Their new favorite spot to lounge is the top of stairs, it gives then a good view of the whole house.
The new house is the furthest from downtown Portland that we have ever lived. Seems each time we move, we move farther away from downtown. But, one of the big plusses is it is right on the new Tri-met greenline lightrail system. So both of our workplaces and downtown are just a short train ride way. We also found out that our new elementary school looks to be a much better school for our future kiddo. It scored outstanding in every category on it’s 2008-2009 school report card.
Our new house has many plusses over our old house, the biggest being it’s cheaper! The new little worry is that because this place is so nice we might get spoiled and have a hard time finding our next place. But it’s something we are willing to risk!
So from our new home A.K.A. the fruit cake production factory… from both of us to all of you
Joshua & Anthony
Looking for that perfect Christmas present for our family?