Our former city of residence in SoCal. We have been here a week and have a few more days here and in the city my family lives in, and we've been in Birth State, just in Agency City, not in Birth City, for about a week before this. Apparently it's weird to take a three week holiday, going by people's surprise before we left.
Small and Tiny are doing really well though but we and they struggle with some things. Small is nearly 3 3/4 and has some escapologist tendencies which are not safe on roads, but gets so stressed by hand holding that he kicks, hits and bites. He also casually (and occasionally not so casually) hurts Tiny. He messes with/breaks stuff but that's a lot less of a big issue, just irritating.
But he's coming on fabulously in lots of areas. Very articulate but still with cute mispronunciations. So much so that you forget he doesn't understand long sentences. Great to spend time one to one with (except maybe for the running off), a joy to watch at the beach. Like last year, I feel I'm reliving a childhood summer. Also can be very kind to Tiny, and sings to her when she is grumbling that she doesn't want to sleep (Twinkle Twinkle Little Tiny). Making progress at sharing at nursery. I'm working on not shouting and not grabbing him if he is messing with Tiny.
Tiny, who is 15 months, has just realised we are MEAN and NASTY when we say NO! and that this is the END of the WORLD because really her life will be OVER if she can't pull the fireguard off the wall. Teenage years will be fun with both of them. I have no worries about sustaining Small's connection with his home culture. I worry constantly about Tiny. But even if she'd grown up with Nella the most she would have had would have been people around her and school mates, her birth family do not really live in a world that celebrates or connects with the Hispanic world.
Tiny is also coming on in leaps and bounds. She has eschewed bothering to walk (she took two independent steps yesterday before deciding it was too much effort) in favour of trying to climb out of her travel cot, spearing her food with a fork (occasionally the wrong end), and copying her brother making vroom noises with toy cars, and putting his feet on the table. Oh and biting his fingers back. He cried. A lot. I was not very sympathetic. Come to think of it, he hasn't done it again.
I should also say that we met up with Lovely Foster Carer in Agencyville (very lovely to see her, Small particularly happy) and that Nella, her parents, Big Sis and Steve (Nella's boyfriend) plus four month old Baby Brother also all travelled down to meet us. Yes, that's right, baby brother, 10 1/2 months younger than Tiny. With her birth parents. Steve seems to be holding down a job. I would say I'm happy for them but to be honest I'm more concerned.
During the day of the visit but thankfully not while we were there, some behaviour transpired which led to birth grandparents saying that they were happy to see and correspond with us but that they would not be seeing Nella again. We are also not sure it is safe for us or our children to see her without professionals present. We will look into this (in the UK this would be standard, but in the UK all adoptions go through the equivalent of DCS).