Monday, February 9, 2009 Austin!

So we arrived home with our newborn. And just so Austin would know exactly what kind of West Virginia and Tennessee hillbilly families he was joining, he arrived to his new home with, of all things, a broken toilet sitting on the front porch. When Pete had gotten the call on the 20th about Austin's early arrival and us being chosen as his adoptive family, he was in the process of installing a new toilet in our guest bathroom, which was now going to be the "boys" bathroom, and where potty training Alex would begin very soon. Potty training tends to work better with an actual flushing toilet, so when our clogged and broke down beyond repair, Pete (the family handyman) was installing a new one. But when we got the call, toilet be damned! You can wait....we still have the master bathroom toilet, and Alex can keep peeing his pullups for a few days....we were off to meet and bring home our new son! But we had to put the broken old toilet somewhere until trash pick up day, because Alex still had to be bathed.....what the heck! To the front porch it is! Let's really show off our roots!

We eventually installed our new toilet. We survived the BUFA incident. It was time to let the rest of the family know about our latest bundle of joy. The last time we did it, we kind of ticked some family members off, because it was Christmas time, we did not tell anyone ahead of time besides my parents where we were going or what we were going for, we traveled out of state for Alex's birth, and we were gone for a month. So I can understand people getting peeved. But this time, even we didn't know about Austin until the week prior, and even then, it was only a possibility.

So on Friday, February, February 23, we called Ashley and Adrian and invited both of them to meet us for lunch that day. We called Jessica, too, but with her living and working a ways away from us, she couldn't make it, as we predicted. We told the girls that I had taken a mental health day from work and we wanted to catch up and enjoy a day with the family.

We arranged for the family to meet at a local restaurant that is run by a friend of the family. We had basically the whole place to ourselves, as we made it a late lunch. Pete and the boys and I got there first and "set up". Ashley was the first to arrive and she came in and kissed and hugged Alex, her baby brother, and then kissed her dad, and then kissed and hugged me. And for those of you who know Ashley, you know she is always a flurry of activity, a busy bee of hustle and bustle. So after hurrying around and kissing and hugging everyone, she finally settled down in her chair and said, "So, how's everyone doing? What's up?" And she looked from face to face, going around the table, and her eyes finally landed on Austin. She said, "What? Who's that? Oh, my gosh, there's a baby....who's baby?....oh, my gosh, is this your new baby?!?!?! Is this my new brother?!?!?!" And with a huge smile on her face, she immediately got up and went over to meet her new baby brother. She went on to explain and apologize for not noticing, saying that she noticed the car seat out of the corner of her eye, but that she just didn't pay it much attention, thinking it was something for Alex. That moment was so perfect, so.....Ashley.....I couldn't have scripted a more perfect introduction between big sis and baby brother.

Next, Adrian arrived....and it was the exact opposite of Ashley. Adrian arrived apologizing and sheepish, saying, "I'm sorry, I know it was supposed to be a surprise, but I already know!" She had had to take her car out to Joe's place early that morning (Joe being a mechanic, a minister, and Alex's godfather and one of Pete's best friends). Joe had asked her what she thought of her new baby brother....oops, the cat's out of the bag now. So Adrian knew, but she had yet to meet him....and when she did, she fell in love with her new baby brother the same as Ashley.

So all local siblings were present and accounted for. We went through the story for Adrian and Ashley and had a wonderful, delicious lunch. While everyone was gathered there, we also called Matthew out in Mississippi, and Jessica in Ocala, to let them in on the news. And from there, the news spread. By the end of lunch, the entire family knew and were calling our cells to congratulate us on Austin's arrival.

Lunch lasted so long that Ashley had to leave to pick up Jared from school. When she did, she brought him back to the restaurant, where we stayed to linger over dessert and coffee. When Jared arrived, he was full of his usual happiness and 6 year old gusto. We pointed out Austin to him right away. Jared did not look too happy, asking "who's that?" And we must have just said something along the lines of "his name is Austin". We must not have explained that he was our newly adopted son, or that he was Alex's new brother and Jared's new uncle, because when I told Jared that Austin was coming home with us, he looked and acted rather upset. It was not until many months later that Jared explained to us that he did not understand that Austin was our new baby....Jared thought that Austin was "just some baby that someone left behind at the restaurant" and that we were just going to pick up that baby and bring him home on a whim! Wow! What a note to selves....on next and future babies....clue Jared in!

So we ran the gamut of situations in bringing Austin to meet his family. From Ashley, to Adrian, to Jared, to Matthew and Jessica on the phone. But I'm blessed to be able to say that whatever the introduction, Austin was welcomed, loved, and warmly brought into the fold. We managed to trick the family again, this time without really meaning to. The family has come to not know what to expect from us, especially when I take a day off from work, or we both leave town for a few days. And believe it or not....we had more surprises coming their way!

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