Friday morning was my 10-year anniversary at Hallmark. I spent the first 10 minutes of my anniversary party on the phone with our agent in California, who was nervous because she had just heard from Kelly who loves her new place, but who is worried that she can't spend much more time alone with Sophie. She's regretting bringing her here and she wants to send Sophie back to Georgia. I spent the rest of our conversation telling her how great it felt to get Kelly out of that gross apartment and how Troy brought Sophie a big bag of gifts and how excited they were to see a clean place to live...blah, blah, blah. Mary was thrilled.
I went to my party. Ryan was there. My mom was there. We told everyone about our dramatic trip to Topeka and how we'd saved this little girl from this horrible situation and saved our birthmom from a smoky, disgusting pit that did not reflect our true feelings for her. I told everyone how my car still smelled like smoke this morning just from the hour that their things were in it...that's how bad it was. Everyone was so excited for us. Even my manager announced that "Ryan and Ashley are expanding their family through adoption. Their baby is due in October and won't that be great."
Around 1:00, I got a call from Kelly that she didn't have any dishes and the ones in the place charged $50 to use theirs. She didn't want to bother me, but she just needed a cup. She wanted to drink her coffee. She loved her coffee in the morning, but just needed a cup. She could just drink out of the pot if she had to. I assured her that I would bring her some dishes. Some cups. Some napkins. Don't worry. And don't drink out of your coffee pot. I'm sorry that the dishes are extra. I had no idea it was an extra charge for all of that stuff.
I went to the double discount shop at Hallmark and I bought Royals napkins, Atlanta Braves plates, and some fall leaf-themed cups. I planned to bring them to her right after work. I thought she might think the Atlanta Braves plates were a cute touch (it just so happened that there were a ton of MLB plates in the cardshop...) Kelly called an hour later.
"Cud you bring me a pan? Like...ah'd really like to fry n'egg."
"Of course! I will bring you a pan. No problem."
I spent the rest of the day researching hospitals and doctors and how to get a birthmother on Medicaid. Allan was a pain in the ass, but he knew how to get stuff done! He knew everyone. He could expedite Medicaid. Finally, I had success. The receptionist at my doctor's office recommended a Women's Center next door who could get Kelly in next Thursday, August 5th. It would be $1500 out of pocket, but if we filed Medicaid before the appointment, they would back-date and reimburse us for all of the money we spent before Medicaid kicked in. (and according to her, Medicaid was really backed up and might not kick in until after the baby arrived). I called Ryan to let him know.
He'd been talking to the other lawyer about getting Kelly a new apartment, and while Lindsay was finding all kinds of awesome deals, we needed to know where to focus our efforts. Would it be better to have an apartment in Wyandotte County or Johnson County? Because we'd heard that the judge in Johnson County was really picky about the amount of money people pay for adoptions and he requires a lot of receipts and justification. He can really slow the process down or stop it all together if he feels we "bought" a baby. Also, we remembered Allan saying something about how the extended stay didn't qualify as a permanent address...and before Kelly could qualify (or file) for her Medicaid card, she had to have a permanent address in Kansas. She had to establish residency and the extended stay might not qualify. So we had to get her in to an apartment, but again...we didn't know which county.
This new lawyer didn't seem to know for sure. Not the jolt of confidence we were looking for. Maybe we needed a different lawyer???
I called Kelly to tell her the good news - that I'd made an appointment for her to see the doctor. She seemed nervous but willing...and she would like a bag of ice.
I also started to get nervous about what we were doing - that all of this was so brand new and we knew nothing about any of this stuff. Medicaid? Free health clinics? Judges? Lawyers? We were sooooo in over our heads. We didn't even know what we didn't know - which made it difficult to find answers. I tried the HomeStudy office. Figured they've finalized a lot of Kansas adoptions. While their part of the process was done, maybe they could at least direct us to the right information. Yeah...they're closed on Fridays.
So, what now? We had a doctor's appointment on Thursday. She was paid up through Thursday at the extended stay. She had to file the Medicaid card before Thursday, but we still didn't know if the extended stay would qualify as a permanent address. And if not, we still didn't know which county was best in the long-run for an apartment.
I decided there was nothing we could accomplish at 5:00 on a Friday, so I called it a day. I made plans to go out for drinks with my girlfriends and Ryan was headed to a Royals game with his buddy Roady after work. I stopped by my friend Holly's house to pick up a skillet (she'd offered to let Kelly borrow anything she needed for the next 3 months) and I called my little brother with an alarming lack of energy to fill him in on all of the drama. I was exhausted, confused, and overwhelmed. I was hoping he had some insight in to the issue about the judges and the courts being rough on adopting couples since he'd worked for the OPPD. He didn't.
I got to Holly's house and updated her as well. She (like me) had really only ever dealt with health insurance through an employer and knew nothing about Medicaid or how to file. Or what qualified as a permanent address. But I quickly realized I was needlessly spinning my wheels. Even if extended stay qualified as a permanent address, we didn't really want to keep her there because they were nickel and dime-ing every single item in the place. It was cheap to stay there, but they charged to use the phone, the dishes, the coffee pot...everything. It wasn't worth it. So we would begin the search for the apartments on Saturday or Sunday. Lindsay was sending us lots of options and we could just drive around and find pick the one we liked best. Hell...we might even take Kelly with us. Let her look at 'em. Let her pick the one she wanted. At least then we'd know she liked it.
I got to the extended stay place and realized I'd left my key at home. I called Kelly to let me in, but was leaving a message as a guy came walking out. He let me in. I got to the door and heard yelling inside. I knocked. There was Sophie, standing at the door with a cute little sundress.
"Hey sweetie. I brought you guys some paper napkins, some plates, and some paper cups. Aren't they cute? They have little leaves on them!"
Then Kelly came to the door. She looked like she'd just gotten out of the shower and she was very flustered. She told me she'd invite me in but the place was a wreck. She just got out of the shower, blah, blah, blah...and how far is it to the gas station down the street? She wondered if it was too far to walk cuz she needed some milk.
"oh my gosh! I'll take you! It's really hot outside and it's definitely too far to walk."
So she made Sophie go back inside and put her shoes on so they could hurry up and go with us. I could hear them behind the door, hustling around to get Sophie's shoes on and find her purse. I wondered how messy it could be. They'd been there less than 24 hours. Then the door opened, but not all the way. She shoved Sophie in to the hall.
"Ah don' hav mah key...you got yur key...cuz ah don' hav mah key...ah guess ah jus lost mine."
"I don't actually. I left my key at home. So if you can find your key, that would be better since the office is closed for the night."
"Oh...oh dear...okay...well...ah guess it's over here somewhere...an oh... you jus wait there bay-bee...(reaching to the key on top of the fridge) oh, here it is...okay...so here we go. Less'go bay-bee. You gotch'yur shoes?"
And away we went. I drove her down to the gas station where she just hopped out of the car, "Ah'll be right back," and came back with a half-gallon of milk. Then I offered to drive her around, since it was so dark when we'd come in the night before.
"Would you like to see what's around here, since you didn't get to see much last night?"
"Shur...ah mean...if you don' have no-where else to go?"
"Not at all! Let's look around a little. I could even show you where Ryan and I lived when we first got married. Our first house."
So I drove her up Lamar and past my old house on Woodson. I showed her the playground at the top of our street and how much we loved our neighborhood (hoping she'd understand that we used to live over here and it's not scary). I showed her our vet's office on Johnson Drive and all of the fast-food places up the street that she could walk to if we found her an apartment over here.
"We're tying to get a bunch of options for you. Somewhere next to a playground with a pool for Sophie?"
"Yeah...ah might be sending Sophie home. Ah'm jus suh tired. Ah tried tuh take a nap today n she jus yelled at me 'git up! mama! play with me!' git up mama!' ah'bout smacked her cross tha rooom! An ah'm suh big, ah think it might be twins in here!"
"are you serious?"
"what wud you do if it wuz twins? Cuz ah'd freak out."
"are you kidding? we'd be THRILLED!"
"oh good, cuz ah wuz suh worried you'd freak out and you wudn' wanna work with me no more."
"Oh my gosh, kelly. if you're carrying twins, that would be such an incredible blessing."
"oh good, cuz ah can feel somethin' here (touching her left hip) and here (touching her right hip) and they's both hard."
"Wow...that would be amazing."
We drove around some more but all I could think about was twins. It wasn't actually possible because we had a report from her one and only doctor's appointment that he only heard a single heartbeat, but I didn't care. I was so distracted that I got us a little lost. I drove past the point where I wanted to turn and then I missed the entrance to the highwday because the entrance was not on the right side, as anticipated. It was on the FAR LEFT and I couldn't get over.
I took them back to the apartment and gave Sophie a hug good-bye. I saw Kelly look at me, like she thought it was really sweet. She approved. I explained that I had to deliver some cupcakes tomorrow afternoon, but they could call me if they needed anything. I wanted her to make her grocery list and we would go on Thursday after the doctor's appointment. That all sounded good. No mention of sending Sophie back. No mention of anyone trying to kill her. No mention of anyone being so rude and yelling at her. This change was good. She seemed good. She talked a lot about how tired she was, but I've obviously never been pregnant so I can't relate. I don't know what that feels like to want to get out of bed, but you can't because you're SO tired. It was really all she could talk about. And how she tells Sophie that she's just getting fat. She's not explaining to Sophie about the baby because she thinks it will be too confusing. But Sophie sleeps in her bed and she kicks her in the stomach and she's like "No! Stop!' but can't tell her why.
I texted Ryan later that night:
"She thinks she's carrying twins."
He texted back:
"And everyone is trying to kill her."