Wow! I cannot believe that the end of 2009 is here. It has been a very busy year. It has been full of ups and down, but mostly ups.
We were able to celebrate Michael's first birthday home this year. He turned 3 in July. He has 3 parties to match his age, one at our church with family and friends, one at daycare, and one at Gamma and Papa's house in New Hampshire.
Michael made many advancements this year in every area. At the beginning of the year he was still only saying one or two words at a time. He had surgery in August to completely close his palate. After this, he began to start saying more phrases. Now, he is making complete sentences and asking for things he want. He knows his color and shapes and can count into the double digits. He loves to read, color, sing, and play. He enjoys playing with his trains for hours on end. This year his personality has blossomed. He is a fun loving child who has more energy that the Energizer Bunny. He is a comedian and loves to make people laugh.
After Michael's surgery, we were given information on a foundation that helps parents with the medical bills of special needs children who have been adopted internationally called the
Laila Rose Foundation, http://lailarosefoundation.com/. After contacting them and applying for aid, they were able to help us with Michael's medical bills.
We met with our social worker Kristin in January (6 month follow-up) and July (1 year follow-up) to update her on how our life with Michael was going. We also filed for readoption here in Virginia. This makes the adoption legal in all states of the U.S. and allows us to get a birth certificate for Michael here in Virginia. When the readoption was finalized, our agency closed our case. Everything is done!
Bill and I both celebrated our 34th birthdays this year. In April, we celebrated 5 years of marriage.
I have been at my job for almost 9 years now. I made it through two rounds of lay offs at work this year. However, Bill was not as lucky. After working for his company for 12 years, he was laid off in September. Fortunately, he went out the next day with resumes in hand and was able to find a new job in a matter of hours. We think that in the long run the new company will be a much better fit for him. One other low point we had in our year was the passing of Bill's grandmother. She lived next door to us and was a wonderful woman. He health had been declining over the past few years and quickly deteriorated after a hospital stay in August.
We traveled a little less this year than last. We didn't go half way around this world this year. We spent time at Easter with Gamma, Papa, and Mamaw & Papaw Ryan. We showed them a few sites in Richmond and then toured D.C. for a day. We ended the weekend by visiting Aunt Carrie in Charlottesville for brunch. In July, we took a vacation to New Hampshire to visit Gamma and Papa. Most of the time we were there it rained. However, it allowed us to have a very low key week. Since then, Michael and I have traveled to Alabama to attend my aunt's funeral. Gamma and Papa moved to South Carolina in November. Michael and I drove to visit them just before Christmas. He is down there visiting them again for almost a whole week. Our house is going to be very quiet...... too quiet.
As I look back on this year, there is so much to be thankful for....... our friends, our family, our faith, our health, all of the doctors, nurses, and medical staff that help with Michael's surgeries and routine care, the Laila Rose Foundation, and so on.
As we go into 2010, I am hopeful and look forward to all that is to come. Have a happy and safe New Year!