Recapping 2016 & 2017

To gloss over lots of pain and trauma I'm not ready to commit to language, I thought I'd bridge the blog's Dark Period by hitting the highlights:

Lulu is 8 and still a joy. She began piano lessons and took to them like a human to air. She happily practices daily and now composes sweet, weird little songs. She enjoys soccer, dance, running (legs for days), and making noise. Any kind of noise will do. As the encourager, she tells me daily that I'm, "the best mom she's ever had," even on my worst days. She is full of energy, but brings a laser beam focus to things that interest her. She stands up against injustices, regardless of how big the opposition is. Either smiling or scowling, she wears her heart on her sleeve. I'm absolutely crazy about her. 

Flavia is 6 and as tall as Lulu. People constantly mistake them for twins, to Lulu's chagrin and Flavia's apparent delight. She began kindergarten last year, but was moved up after a few months to 1st grade dual-language program. She enjoys the challenge of learning Spanish and will turn anything into a competition. She is a fun (and fierce) opponent to any game. She devours books independently, but still requests that I snuggle and read to her often. Her heart is huge; she is keenly aware of and motivated by the feelings of others. I'm constantly surprised and challenged by her thoughtfulness. I absolutely love this girl.

Alex is doing well. After a hard, dark year, he is basking in the sunshine.

Me? I'm trying to move forward in this season without hindering myself with fear of a return of another Dark Period. I went back to work part-time and still get to join all the girls' school field trips.

Foster Care is still a beast. Birth Mom surrendered her rights to us in December 2016 and the TPR for Birth Dad ended in March 2017. The appeals process officially ended September 2017 and we're now in the process of finalizing Lulu and Flavia's adoptions. Our home is open for short-term respite care placements for infants-toddlers. You know, the usual...