One step closer!

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We are back! After a wonderfully relaxing week at the beach we arrived back in the Pittsburgh area on Sunday night. We walked through the door around  9:00 after a short stop in Cranberry for a youth devotional about the pioneer trek activity Gracie attended in June. Although we were all tired after being in the car for eight hours we decided to stop so Gracie could participate in the trek reunion before we headed home. While Grace and I listened to speakers talk about their experiences on trek as well as see video and  pictures of the event Toby kept the others entertained in the church parking lot. It was a wonderful night but we were glad to get back on the road and officially be home.

When we arrived home we found the grass higher (it was like a jungle!), the garden filled with vegetables, a new litter of baby bunnies and Bailey’s collar laying on the table. Earlier in the week we recieved a call from the man who was animal sitting for us that when he arrived for the evening chores Bailey was curled up on her bed, not moving. She had died in her sleep. When we received the news on Tuesday we made the decision to wait to tell the kids until the vacation was over rather than spoil their week with the sadness that we were feeling over this loss. We told the kids on Sunday before we arrived home. All the kids were heartbroken and there were many tears shed for our beloved dog. Rusty took it especially hard. He was the one who took care of Bailey everyday. In addition to feeding and watering her he was the one who would administer her medications morning and night. It was a true labor of love as he sorted and hand crushed the many pills she was taking to keep her heart and lungs working. He would crushed them up and then cook them into scrambled eggs every morning and night and did so with great love and care. It is always hard to lose a beloved pet but there is a part of me that recognizes the blessing of her passing happening when and how it did. She hasn’t been herself since December when she first became sick. We made every effort to bring about healing but the vet warned us that due to the damage her heart had suffered she was likely to pass away unexpectedly from her heart simply “giving out.” I am grateful for the time we did have with Miss Bailey. I am grateful that she passed peacefully as she slept and I am grateful that it happened while we were gone so Rusty or Tyler weren’t the ones who had to discover the body. Matt buried her body under a small willow tree in the yard. It is our “Giving Tree” …the place where we lay to rest our dearest furry companions. Like the tree in the book, The Giving Tree, these pets have taught us the lesson of unconditional love..always freely giving and expecting nothing in return.

Miss Bailey

Miss Bailey

Soon after arriving home everyone was tucked into bed. We had a busy day the next day and needed a good night’s sleep. The following morning we were up with the sun as we prepared for our final safety inspection and social worker visit. After being gone for two weeks there was a lot to do before she arrived at 9:00 am. As Gracie,Molly, Rusty and I raced around wiping, vacuuming, cleaning toilets, etc..Tyler slept. Tyler, who is usually up before 7:00am, finally had to be shaken from sleep at 8:45 to be dressed before the social worker arrived. I think all the excitement from the week finally caught up with him.

Our adoption social worker and the county social worker both arrived and after doing the final safety check of the house (we passed) proceeded to go over the final paperwork and procedures for next week’s adoption day in court. We are almost there!

After they left it was back into the car..again. We had to pick up Toby from work and then drive down to Pittsburgh to a law office to sign our intent to adopt paperwork. The law office was located in the heart of Pittsburgh and as we drove through the crowded streets I was grateful Toby was behind the wheel. We soon found the PNC building and then the search began for parking.

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We finally found a parking garage a few blocks away and drove 7 stories up to find a parking spot. Poor Gracie was a nervous wreck when she saw the elevator we would have to ride to get down to street level. She is terrified of old elevators and has been for a couple of years after having a nightmare about falling to her death in one. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to find stairs so she walked in, squeezed her eyes shut and held on for the ride! You’ll be happy to know that she lived to tell the tale. 🙂

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As we approached the building Tyler nearly jumped for joy when he discovered that the office building had a “spinning door.”  I don’t know what it is about kids and revolving doors but Tyler, in particular, loves them. His face was one of sheer joy as he revolved himself into the lobby of the law office. This law group was assigned to us by the county so we weren’t expecting such an extravagant building and office. When we walked up to the front desk we had to show id and then were given security badges that we had to scan to unlock doors and elevators. We were told to head up to the 12th floor. Tyler soon commandeered the badge and had fun gaining us access to the elevator and law office.

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The view from the 12th floor was beautiful and the kids had fun standing in front of the floor to ceiling windows looking down on the world. We were soon called back to the conference room where we sat in “spinning chairs” around a large conference table. We were given a stack of papers filled with legalese and told to read it over. It kind of felt like we were buying a home as we read and signed paper after paper. The kids were so good but I did worry that Tyler’s constant spinning was driving the lawyers crazy. 🙂 We were soon done and our lawyer told us that she would see us next week in court..Yea!IMG_8234

As we were leaving we stopped in the lobby to take a picture. As I was snapping pictures of the kids I saw one of the employees from the 12th floor walking quickly toward us. I thought perhaps we were going to be told that we couldn’t take pictures in the building for security purposes but instead she approached with a smile and said, “I just wanted to let you know what sweet children you have. We have a lot of kids coming to the office for adoption finalization but rarely are they as nice and well-behaved as yours were.”

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I was so touched by her words and the effort she made to share that sweet compliment with me. Tyler is not always easy or calm when we are out in public so to have someone acknowledge his good behavior within earshot of him was a blessing for both him and I.

Well, we are almost there. A week from today we will be sitting in the courthouse, in front of a judge and be declared a family…officially!  God is good!

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