When Pigs Fly

Mason and I had a nice drive to Cincinnati last week. I hadn't been to that part of Ohio before, and it was really beautiful We had nice sunny, fall weather all the way through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. On Wednesday night, we stopped in Merrillville, IN. There was a Portillo's Restaurant there, so we had some delicious Chicago dogs. Mason loved them and ate two. The NWSA conference was great except Elizabeth Alexander was sick, so I was disappointed that I didn't get to meet her. Mason did fine in the conference daycare. I didn't tell the childcare providers that Mason is autistic. I just told them that he was more like a three-year old. They noticed right away that he didn't want to be in the loud room, so they had someone sitting with him looking out the window a lot. He was fixated on the new "white" KitKat, and so we walked all over Cincinnati, but couldn't find one. My panel on Saturday evening went fine, and I had to talk over Tiffany, the 80's pop singer who was warming up below us in the Duke Energy Center. Next year the NWSA conference is Puerto Rico. That sounds like a nice place to be in November. Last Sunday, we met up with LaVonne and Kyla at Pearl's Place, a soul food restaurant, in Bronzeville. It's been two years since we've seen them. Kyla is so cute, smart, and outgoing. She even remembered when she fed Mason strawberries at the Wisconsin Dells (they were barely two then). Mason has been enjoying looking at the pictures we took of the two of them together. I hope it's not another two years before we make it back to Chicago. I remember thinking when I took this job in Menomonie that I would be able to maintain my friendships in Chicago, and I didn't think a five and half hour drive was a very big deal. Then after Mason was born, it seemed hard to go there. Most all of my travel has been work related. On Friday, I got finger printed again for the umpteenth time. The detective asked me why I needed fingerprints. I told him that I was planning to adopt a child. He said that they don't use finger prints anymore, they just collect DNA at crime scenes. The process seemed outdated to me too, since I've had my finger prints taken every time I started a new teaching job and several times for my first adoption. The home study seems easier this time. I got all the paperwork done in a few days; now I'm just waiting for the social worker from Crossroads to visit the first week in December. She said she could do it before Thanksgiving, but I needed to put it off until I get paid in December. Tomorrow I meet with the special needs adoption worker from LSS. She's going to update our special needs home study. It been over a year that I've been trying to adopt through foster care, and it hasn't worked out. My original hope was to find an African American male between the ages of 5-10. There haven't been any presented to me that would have worked for our family. Also, I now think that 5-10 is really too old for us, and it would be better if the child were younger than Mason. Bringing any child into our home that has had a traumatic past is more difficult for me than it might be fore some families. First, Mason can't talk well enough to converse with other children, and he also can't tell me what happened if he is hurt or abused by another child or adult. He can't even tell me what happens during the school day. When he comes home from school, I ask him if he saw certain people or did certain things and he always answers yes. I'm really thankful for all the generous donations people have made to my fundraising projects toward the private adoption. It wasn't a rash decision to try another private adoption, it was just that I didn't think I could ever save that much money on my salary. The adoption tax breaks all come after you've finalized the adoption. At least when my home study is done, I will be able to apply for some grants and continue to save. The economy tanked right after I started this job at UW-Stout, and the only raise I've had came when I was promoted from assistant to associate professor. The state of Wisconsin has not given us any raises in the seven years I've been here. We had two years of furloughs and our insurance and benefit costs have gone up every year. I do teach overloads, but even that is frowned on. Administrators have told me that it appears that if I CAN work more because I have the time to teach the overloads, that it looks like I should just be doing more work for the salary I already make. This doesn't make sense to me because no company in the private sector would tell employees that they cannot work overtime or work a second job. I've made that argument several times, but I recently heard that there will be a new policy that you can't teach an overload if you receive a release time for being a program director. I do receive a .25 release for directing Women and Gender Studies. If the release time ends, I'll have a hard decision to make as to whether or not I can stay and continue to work at Stout. For now, I have to keep my mind on the present and do the best that I can. I'm getting older and Mason wants a brother or sister, so that is my focus right now. The pictures above are of Mason in Cincinnati; Mason and Kyla in Chicago; Mason playing with Playdoh (he's been sick all week, so there has been a lot of playing with Playdoh; and I put up my dad's picture that was taken when he entered the Army. Happy Veteran's Day Dad! If you would like to make a donation to help with the cost please join and learn more about our adoption story: https://www.adopttogether.org/newbabyj


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