It’s the crack of dawn. It feels like I’ve only had about three hours of sleep when a rooster crowing awakens me. What the…? I open my eyes and the room is so bright I think that has to be around 9am. There goes breakfast. Annie’s note on the door said it would be ready at 8:30, and with having to be at the picnic at 10, there would be no way we could get ready, eat breakfast and be out of the B&B in an hour. My blackberry is dead so I can’t access the clock so I reach for Chris’ iPhone. It’s only 5 o’clock. The rooster is still crowing. Loudly. It’s going to wake everyone in the house. I start shhh’ing. It doesn’t care that I want it to be quite. It just keeps crowing and crowing. Does it understand what we went through the night before? Does it know what awaits us today and that we need some sleep? Does it understand that the more it crows, the more upset people will be in the house? It doesn’t care. And why doesn’t it care? Because she got plenty of sleep the night before as we traveled from PA to VT. That rooster crowing was our very own Kensington Grace. Up at five in the morning and refusing to go back to sleep. She’s looking up at me every time I look down at her, with a huge smile on her face. How can you be mad… even this early in the morning?
I take her out of her temporary crib and starting walking around the bear room with her. After about 9-10 minutes of this, it seems like she’s ready to go back to sleep. I put her down and as soon as my head hits the pillow, Cock-a-doodle-do. [Okay. It really sounded more like blah blah blahhh blah bla.]
I break out the pacifier hoping it would helps. Nope. I make her a bottle even though the sound isn’t her hungry sound. This early in the morning, I would try anything.
The bottle goes down with ease (like always), and I do a quick diaper change. Okay… let’s try this again. I put her back down in the crib and creep back into bed. A tiny Cock-a-doodle-do comes out. Followed by a louder version. Then a couple raspberries. And some laughing. Okay – I’m up, I’m up. And now, so is Chris. We have her on the bed playing with her so her vocal level would stay at a low tone. A few moments later we hear someone downstairs. Ohhh… Kensi, you’re in trouble :)
One thing we forgot to mention… the Bear Room doesn’t have a door on it. It’s upstairs above the kitchen, but the way the house peaks, there isn’t room for a door. There is a screen, and we have complete privacy, but a door would buffer the sound that little miss rooster is making. Because it was so late when we came in, we didn’t get a ‘lay of the land’, so we have no clue how close the other couples are to our room - hence the need for silence. The front door opens and we see someone heading out across the property. It must be Annie. She’s headed out to the barn to feed the horses. I run downstairs to see if coffee is brewing. No such luck. I wash out Kensi’s bottle and then head back upstairs to the cave.
I decide to occupy Kensi while Chris takes a shower and gets ready. I swear he takes his time. Oh… the eye. I forgot all about the eye. That’s why he’s in there so long. Chris comes out and it looks much better. It’s still a little swollen, but its open and he can see out of it. We’ll leave a little early and stop by a pharmacy.
It’s my turn to get ready and Chris heads downstairs with Kensington. He meets Annie and Walt and recaps our adventures the night before. I can hear her laughing in the kitchen so I head down (praying that coffee would be ready). “Juice? I have cranberry, apple, orange”. I go for the cranberry. “Do you want anything with it?”. “After last night, a little Grey Goose would be great”. One of the guest starts laughing and says that another couple said the same thing the day before. So Joseph and Joe are here already.
We continue to laugh at the prior evenings recap while Walt cuts up fresh fruit and Annie makes breakfast – an amazing frittata. Joe & Joesph come in with their little bundle, Ella – who is just adorable (she was born the day after Kensington… but has SO much more hair – gorgeous curly locks). We haven’t seen them since the Friends In Adoption holiday party in November, so there was a lot of catching up to do. We thought the park where the picnic was being held at was just down the road, so we took our time at the B&B, only to find out that it was 25 minutes away. Having no cell service, Chris started panicking. He was worried that our birthparents would be waiting longer than expected. His panic deepened when we missed our original turn and then hit a street fair that caused us to have to detour. Luckily, we were not the only ones to miss the turn, or hit the street fair. When we arrived at 10:30, there were only about a two-dozen people at the park and our bio-parents hadn’t arrived yet. Rushing to the park, we forget to try to find a pharmacy. Chris is just going to have to suffer with his eye. We found a great little spot in the shade, next to the lake. The park had about a dozen picnic tables lining the area, so we snatched one up and made the numerous trips needed to bring everything out of the truck. We over packed. Go Figure. The picnic table to the right of us had a group of 8 people… what seemed to be a birth mom, her parents and friends, waiting for their adoptive parents to show up, and when they did they were all excited to be reunited. Hugs and photos took place over the next couple of minutes. Chris and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes. We knew this was going to be the sight seen over the next couple of hours. Tissues? Did someone pack tissues? How could I forget tissues? I bet they’d have tissues at the pharmacy. It looks as though we will both be suffering today.
We started seeing familiar faces. Lots of them. Some couples from our FIA Getting Acquainted Weekend, some from the FIA Holiday Party, and others that we felt like we knew because we’ve read their profiles (multiple times) and have followed them on their blogs and the FIA website. Soon the masses came. There had to have been at least 250 people spread out over the park. It was self-arranged at how people chose their locations. As I looked across the area, you could see how the parents clustered themselves by age range of their kids. It could also be because they too setup camp next to their friends, but on the far side of the area (by the beach) you would see parents with older kids (2 and up), then there was the set of parents that had 12-24 month olds, then their was us that had the 2-12 month olds. In each of these groups, you could see the collection of gay parents with their families – what and absolutely amazing sight to see. There were four pairs of gay dads that grouped next to our picnic table - all of us were at the same Getting Acquainted Weekend back in August of 2007, now having sons and daughters ranging from 4 months – 9 months, and one of us with twins.
From the distance, I saw our bio-parents and our bio-mom’s sister, walking up from the parking lot. It was perfect timing. There were rounds of hugs followed by flashes of lights from everyone’s camera. Kensington was starting to get hungry so I asked Stacey, her bio-aunt, if she wanted to give her a bottle while Chris, S and S caught up on their travels to Vermont. Over the next several hours, we all spent time admiring Kensington, taking tons of photos, eating (my ‘home-made’ fried chicken with seven herbs and spices with the Mango Salsa – a Pecken’s Family recipe - on the side), and sharing stories of our lives over the past 6 ½ months, as well as injected moments socializing with the other gay dads. The day could not have been more perfect. At one point, due to the sun moving and the picnic table no longer being in the shade, you saw one parent from each of the couples lining the tree line with our babies in tow, protecting our little squirts from the UV’s.
It was time for the Friends In Adoption group photo (how do you take a group photo of 250 people?). We all gathered in one area. We ended up being in the back (go figure). Chris was throwing Kensi up in the air, and I warned him that the last time he did this, she puked in his mouth. As I said the words – yep, you guessed it – she puked in his mouth. I almost wet myself from laughing… so did S&S.
It’s now almost 4pm and Friends In Adoption has invited everyone back to their agency (which just underwent a huge capital campaign to renovate their building), so they could do a dedication ceremony. About 100 of us trekked over to their Middletown Springs building and checked out their new digs. After a while, Chris, Kensi and I, along with S&S (who would be staying the night with us) decide to head back to the B&B so we could arrange for our own dinner. Kensi’s sleep schedule has totally been blown for the day. She took a small nap at the park, but not nearly the amount of time that she should have. Once back at the B&B (Walt and Annie moved us into the Moose room so S&S could have the Bear Room), I put Kensi down for a nap, Chris headed to town for dinner, and S&S walked some of the 150 acres of property. Twin Mountain Farms is absolutely stunning. Annie tells S&S about a cabin that they have across the way and that they should check it out, but they hold off until Chris comes back. Kensi’s nap is only 20 minutes. She should sleep well tonight (fingers crossed).
After dinner, I suggested that they walk to the cabin (6/10 of a mile away) and I’d stay behind with Kensi. Unfortunately, they took the wrong path (and went in the wrong direction) and ended up… guess where, guess where??? Yep. You guessed it, they ended up on Margaret’s property and were ‘greeted’ by Clint (?), her husband who was out on the property. He asked Chris if he was one of the guys that entered his house the night before, and Chris apologized – once again – for our error. Thank God he wasn’t home when we did enter (is that why she left the light on?).
By the time Chris, S&S came back (disappointed that they didn’t find the cabin), Joe, Joseph & Ella had come in and were in the living area. The eight of us stayed up for awhile, letting the girls play a bit. S&S shared with us some of the scrapbook pages that they had made with the pictures we’ve sent, as well as the ones they’ve found on the blog.
Around 8 pm it was time for the girls to sleep (hallelujah) and J&J went back to the Wolfs Den (the cabin next to the main house). We stayed up with S&S for about another two hours talking. By the time we were headed to bed, we were all exhausted from the activities of the day. We decided to find the cabin in the morning (which I know you will enjoy that story). I crank in the air conditioner and set it to 70. Hopefully, if the rooster wakes up early in the morning, the sound of the AC will drowned her out.
One could hope, right?
[Due to the sensitivity of the subject, and wanting to respect the privacy of both the adoptive parents and birth parents at the picnic, as well as the privacy of the kids, we decided not to post pictures of this event. Our apologies... but we know that you understand]