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Our Cat Adoption Saga: Part 2

Current Mood:hopeful emoticon hopeful

Current Music: the kids playing Paper Mario on my Nintendo 64

Last week, we began a trial period with a sweet, 4 year-old kitty name Thea. She took a few days to get comfortable leaving our bedroom and interacting with us and Anya, but she never really enjoyed getting attention from the younger two children. It was very obvious that she was anxious all day long while they were awake and would become a different cat at night once they were asleep. We enjoyed having her, but we knew it wouldn’t be right to keep her in a house that would cause her distress each and every day until the kids got older. She has now been returned to her former foster home, where she was very happy and had other animals for company that she really seemed to miss while with us. We were still a bit sad to see her go, but we all knew it was just a trial that might not work out. Thea barely interacted with the kids at all, so there hasn’t really been much of a difference in our days since her departure aside from the nighttime cuddles she was prone to demanding from me. It was still nice to have a little furball around after almost a decade of no pet of my own.

We are scheduled to meet with a couple of kittens next week to see if that goes better with the kids. We definitely want our new family member to be comfortable with everyone in the house and be able to be themselves all day long. We are still excited to continue this process and find the right pet to add to our home. I’m a bit nervous about going the kitten route, which is why we opted for an adult cat for our first trial, but the rescue has suggested that raising a kitten with the kids will probably work out better as far as them not being scared of little ones. I don’t know much about cats, honestly, so I’m relying on their knowledge and advice. I think a kitten will be fun but also require commitment and care a step above what I was anticipating with a grown cat. Even so, I’m eager to have a cat back in the house now that Thea is absent. It didn’t take long to get used to having her around! I didn’t think I’d be a cat person, but they have definitely grown on me through this experience, and I can’t wait to adopt the perfect kitty for us who we can make memories with for years to come.

Reminding Myself to Never Give Up

Current Mood:hopeful emoticon hopeful

Current Music: “Broken & Beautiful” Kelly Clarkson

I wrote this up on Facebook yesterday and thought I would share here with an update:

Yesterday, after a lot of thought and research into the eventual PCS home, our family decided to go to the stray pet facility on base to see if any of the cats currently awaiting adoption would be a good fit for our first family pet. It was a big deal for me to open myself up to the idea, and we all agreed we would only bring a cat home if it was the perfect storm of qualities for our household needs. Not so playful and vocal it causes issues with our sensory problems, but not too shy or skittish to love on the kids and be patient with their excitement.

We were shown a cat that had been at the kennel for a while but would require eye drops and constantly hid under a table, obviously terrified of the kids. The staff was trying really hard to sell us on this pet that was visibly not meshing with our family. We asked to look at others and found the perfect cat. She is beautiful, sweet, and didn’t mind at all that the kids wanted to constantly be in her face. Out of an entire kennel of strays, she was the only one with the right personality. We fell in love with her.

We asked what the process for adoption would be, and we were told that we would fill out an application and get a call by 3pm so we could pick her up before the end of their free adoption event that was apparently going on this past week. The person we gave the paperwork to made it sound like a done deal and even agreed it would be fine for us to go ahead and take the kids to lunch and supply shopping while we waited for the call. The call never came. We spent all day out and spent a good chunk of change on things we would need before finally calling the kennel ourselves at 3:30pm.

It was at this point we were informed that another family had also put in an application and been chosen over us in a “tough decision”. They had already been notified the cat was theirs. We went back to the kennel and asked what happened. They just said sorry it was their policy to accept multiple applications and choose from them. When we chose the cat we did, and our small children excitedly realized they were going to bring that particular cat home, no one told us this was a possibility. No one, despite knowing we were out shopping for items for this cat, bothered to call and tell us that we were wasting our time, money, and emotional investment. I don’t know that they ever would have called if we hadn’t made contact ourselves.

I’m not going to lie, Anya and I both had an autistic meltdown right there in the building, crying and stimming, that continued long after we were home. Marie was angry and kept saying how mean and rude the staff were to give our cat away, and poor little Ben was so confused when he could see the cat still in her cage and didn’t understand why we weren’t picking her up like we promised. The staff said we could take the other cat we had seen, and I began to feel like we had been purposely bait and switched so they could get rid of this cat they want gone, thinking we would just take any cat we could have if they gave the cat we applied for to the other family. It was obvious they did not expect us to be as upset as we were.

This was a very major event for our family. We didn’t want just any cat; we were willing to adopt because this cat has the perfect qualities to be a pet in our family. Myself and my kids are traumatized by having what already felt like a member of our family ripped from us in an arbitrary decision and then blindsided with the news with no warning. This has kept me up most of the night with panic attacks and nausea. My kids are a wreck. We have to take all these supplies back to the Exchange at some point.

We will NEVER go back to that kennel for anything. Their business practices are unprofessional at best, and, honestly, the way they handled our specific situation was appalling. If this is how they treat special needs families and can sleep at night after having kids that young emotionally devastated in this way, then I pray they develop some empathy.

We will not recover from this like some minor, disappointing setback. It will cause me issues with functioning, sleeping, and eating for weeks. It is keeping me from finishing grad school work that is due this weekend; it will haunt the memories of my kids as a trauma for years, and that really guts me the most. I regret ever going in to look; I wish I could undo it all. I wish I could stop crying. I wish I could stop believing that something in the way myself or my children present our autistic personality traits is the cause of the way we were treated. I just wish the intense pain we all feel was over. 💔

At first, I was so angry that I wanted to give up entirely, but my husband reminded me that we had already now opened the door to the idea that we were getting a pet for the kids. It is only right to keep moving forward and give them a happy ending to this situation. So that night, we e-mailed an application to a local rescue organization that fosters their pets in homes until an adoptive family is available. We have already heard back from them with a recommendation for the cat they think will be a perfect fit for our family, and we will be meeting her later this week to hopefully begin a trial period of her living with us. I will, of course, share more about her and photos once everything is solidified. We learned our lesson from getting too attached too quickly this weekend and are being more cautiously optimistic this time around.

I think having this cat join our family will help us begin to heal from the horrible experience we had with the base kennel. I was sick to my stomach for a good 36 hours afterward and could barely function yesterday as a result. Thankfully, I’m feeling better today, and I think just putting some distance between that day and myself is helping, along with knowing not all hope is lost. We can provide a loving family for another cat who doesn’t yet have a forever home.

Despite being the type of person who believes that everything happens for a reason, I struggled with accepting it when all of this happened. I was just caught so off guard. Now that I’m able to process it a bit more, I know that maybe it was just meant to be that that cat ended up with the family that she did, and whatever happens with our future pet is exactly what is supposed to happen. It will be alright. My faith has kept me sure of that in much larger, more devastating situations than this. This is small potatoes for God. He always comes through; just not always the way I expect. Thankfully, He is gracious in giving me time to adjust to his plans, no matter how obstinate or ungrateful I am in the meantime.

Oki Cars, Comic-Con, and Island Life Laments

Current Mood:busy emoticon busy

Current Music: the kids playing Paper Mario on my Nintendo 64

The last week or so have been a bit of a blur, but after having first my car, then my husband’s taken in for repairs, we finally have two cars again. Hallelujah! Except now, I’m seeing roaches in my car from time to time. (Thank God they are not huge…yet.) Apparently that’s totally a normal occurrence on this tropical island “paradise”. So, traps have been bought and placed and a cleaning company is coming out next week to do an interior detailing to make sure we’ve gotten up every single possible food source. I will have to ban the kids from eating in the car, which is not going to be an easy task with as much as we’re on the go. Sigh. If it’s not one thing, it’s another I swear. Adulting is overrated. I’m ready to go back to the days of hibernating in my room for hours, playing Sims 2 and only taking breaks for instant ramen and diet soda refills. If only.

Went to the base-sponsored Comic-Con yesterday with the family. We only saw the vendor hall and bought some nifty artwork (like Star Wars prints signed by comic book artist Michael Golden!) and such before the kids began to melt down in the heat. We didn’t make it to any of the meet and greets or panels or anything like that, but it was the first con any of us have ever been to, and it was a free event, so I’m not going to complain too much about getting to experience at least a glimpse of what it’s like to attend a con. I would love to go to a bigger con once we’re back Stateside and the kids are all old enough to enjoy it without being bored to tears during discussions and waiting in line – or maybe just take the eldest ones at first. Anya is already talking about us cosplaying as Sailor Moon and Mini-Moon, so that expectation has now been set. Haha! I’m totally down; I’ve dreamed of cosplaying Sailor Moon for literally decades, though which Scout I wanted to be changed here and there. In fact, I’ve never been able to cosplay at all and would love to check that off the bucket list. It would be fun to not only get to finally do it, but to also share it with my daughter who is becoming quite the Sailor Moon fanatic herself.

I’ve been busy just trying to accomplish some normal life tasks. This week will be my last in the poetry course, and then I’ll have a one week break before the Shakespeare course begins. Thankfully, my mental clarity seems to be returning. I think the anxiety of dealing with medical staff and the unknown of my physical ailments was really getting to me and causing a massive amount of anxiety. I’ve kind of resigned myself to my fate of just having to ride out the physical symptoms until we move again, that medical here will never actually care to figure it out and will always be looking for the easy out of blaming it on my mental health. I informed them I’m not taking the SSRI’s they prescribed and am waiting for the behavioral health referral to come through that will probably never end in an appointment because things just get so lost in the shuffle of endless wait lists out here. Otherwise they haven’t prompted for any further testing or appointments, so I’m just avoiding them and not bothering anymore. Just removing the stress of trying to deal with them and having my hopes and expectations dashed repeatedly has helped tremendously, though all of the physical pain and issues are still present. I just power through it, as usual, and try my best to implement what self care I can to counteract it a bit.

I don’t think I’ll be able to return to dance, which is frustrating, but unless medical magically decides to actually get to the root cause of things, I don’t know that I can power through that level of physical activity, not to mention the risk of injury without knowing why my joints, muscles, and bones constantly ache and sometimes refuse to complete certain movements. I’ll have to do some soul searching about it. The studio sometimes requires a level of intensity I just don’t know that I can even attempt to live up to right now, and I don’t want to take away from the efforts of the girls there trying to maintain a professional standard for the teams and future endeavors. Maybe it’s just something that has to be shelved for now, until I can be home with family to help with the kids and can try to participate in theatre, which is really the dream anyway. I’m perfectly content to be in the background of endless community theatre musical numbers, happy just to get to be on stage singing and dancing and being a part of it. Just something else to look forward to when our time here comes to a close. Trying not to wish the years away…but I’m so over Okinawa life and the limitations that come with it.

The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways

Current Mood:grateful emoticon grateful

Current Music: “Startin'” 浜崎あゆみ

So far this week has been busy; full of the usual homeschooling and running kids to activities. Unfortunately, yesterday things came to a screeching halt when my car decided to act up. I’ve known for a while that I need to take it in for an oil change and to check on the fact that my emergency brake light keeps flashing on at random. As I was leaving a parking garage last night, I heard a popping sound and then the front end just wasn’t sounding right at all. Then I figured out while looking at the paperwork before making an appointment with the garage, that I misread our mandatory inspection date per Japanese law…it was yesterday. So…I can’t drive until that whole process is done. Thankfully, the garage is working with me and towing the car in to get looked at next week so everything can be repaired and inspected properly. It’s a great place that will literally take care of everything if need be, and I’m thankful the owner was willing to answer my frantic questions yesterday evening via messenger when I wasn’t sure what in the world I was going to do with an expired inspection. Heh.

These are not typically the kind of mistakes I make, but life has sure been a bit hectic lately, so I’m not honestly surprised. Just super frustrated at the time as it was all happening. I had a full-on meltdown in the car, crying and making panicked noises that I’m pretty sure scared my kids into silence in the back seat. Thankfully, we’re all very open about our different neurotypes and how sometimes traits manifest in positive ways and others not so much. It’s a good opportunity to discuss afterward how they relate to feeling that way sometimes, too, and even adults get overwhelmed. If nothing else, living in a house full of autistic and ADHD family members certainly leaves us all a little more understanding and supportive when things get difficult for one of us. We’ve all been there at some point ourselves.

I feel better about the situation now that I know it will all work out. Just might have to miss some activities and errands in the meantime, which really isn’t the worst thing ever. We’ll all survive! First world problems and all that. Personally, I think something more pressing going wrong with the car was God’s way of forcing me to look at my paperwork before I was driving around with an out-of-date sticker later this week, potentially ending up with my car impounded at one of the base gates when the guards noticed. While the whole experience wasn’t pleasant, and I was exhausted last night from the aftermath of my meltdown – I know how much worse things could’ve been had I not realized my mistake on the last possible date I could even be driving the car around legally. I’m a firm believer in divine intervention and things happening for a reason. Thank you, Lord, for putting an obstacle in my way…but not too big of one. 😉

 

My Weekend Brought to You by Team Ayu and the Supernatural Family

Current Mood:tired emoticon tired

Current Music: “Out of Control” by 浜崎あゆみ

I had a rare day of mental clarity and reduced pain yesterday, and, of course, I behaved as if everything was so perfectly normal because I felt so much better and overdid it running around doing ALL THE THINGS. It was my husband’s birthday, so I made cupcakes so we could celebrate with the kids in between finishing up some school assignments while my brain was in the right space to do so, then we got dressed up a bit and headed out for a dinner cruise he had surprised me with a reservation to a few weeks ago. It was a lovely, relaxing time, but once we were back in the car headed home, the familiar ache began to take hold in my hips, legs, and feet. What I’d give for one day doing remotely typical tasks without ending up in pain for it. I’m paying for it with mental exhaustion today more than with pain (back to it’s usual, constant baseline but not worsened as it can be after overdoing it on a good day), thankfully, but it’s still not loads of fun to deal with. I feel like I could sleep for the rest of the day, though I won’t, obviously, with children to homeschool and whatnot.

I’ve been trying to cheer myself up a bit by doing things related to special interests that had taken a bit of back seat in my efforts to fit in and be normal as an adult and mother. This is just the latest step in my journey of discovering the things I’ve done, or stopped doing, because of being autistic and how society, therefore, reacted to me before I was diagnosed. Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎あゆみ) has been one of my favorite musical artists since high school, and this weekend I finally joined her official international fan club Team Ayu so I can get news on concerts and releases a little earlier and just enjoy having an opportunity to win things on her website and the access to her blog she keeps for the club. It seems such a silly thing for me to do, something I would’ve done as a teenager had the international option been a thing at the time, but it brings me so much joy just being a part of it. I even discovered that she will be performing in Okinawa next fall! I’m hoping to luck out and get tickets through the fan club when they go on sale. That would bring my grand total of Ayu concerts to two, which is more than I ever thought I’d be able to do as an American fan. Fingers crossed it works out for me to attend because it would be amazing to see her perform again and take Anya with me this time to experience it since she was too young to go along during the 2014 tour when I saw the 15th-anniversary show in Hiroshima. It would definitely give me something to look forward to when I’m having a bad health day and hating everything else about being stuck here on this island unable to do anything about my medical predicament.

I also splurged a little and did some shopping online at Hot Topic. (Good Lord, have I time-traveled back to my 15-year-old self this weekend, or what?) As Supernatural is going into its final season, they partnered with the retailer to produce a limited time t-shirt design to be sold for proceeds toward hurricane relief. It coincides with the official fandom holiday Supernatural Day, September 13th – the day the first episode ever aired. I never get to do any of this kind of stuff either because of time or money or because I believed society telling me it’s not a productive use of my time and energy. It feels so good to just not care about that anymore and embrace what I love! I’m so excited to get this shirt when it arrives because it’s a little piece of participating in the fandom lovingly dubbed the Supernatural family in real-time, as things were happening, instead of just watching from the sidelines, as I have for so many years, afraid to get as into it as I really wanted to because it would’ve been viewed as childish or useless. While I was already there doing some digital shopping, I decided on an impulse to get a dress that mimics the one Ariel wears during her time exploring the kingdom with Prince Eric in Disney’s The Little Mermaid and some glitzy Sailor Moon hair pins. It’s going feel like Christmas in the mail the day this all arrives.

I never do this stuff for myself, just for the kids, as we mothers are inclined to do. Don’t worry, my kids are still spoiled rotten with the things they love and time with me, but I’m not letting my own needs take a backseat to the point of neglect anymore. It’s a freeing feeling to be completely myself, regardless of what anyone else thinks, and my kids benefit from how much happier I am – they’re even getting into some of my interests with me! Anya has loved bonding with me over Sailor Moon binge sessions and old Disney Channel movies in recent months. Do the things you love, ya’ll! And don’t let anyone make you feel silly for it. I never will again.