On the homeschooling forum I frequent, a lot of thought goes into ones' signature. Mine, for example, undergoes revision fairly frequently. I like to note birthdays, send in-joke nods to forum buddies, announce interests, etc. Your signature is just that--it's your signature, much in the way that Jo announced, at age 5, that she had selected a "signature color" (purple, how original, no?). It was how she wanted people to identify her: "There's that Jo, always wearing a lovely shade of purple. Is that lavender today by any chance?" Well, a forum signature does that for us grownups. Yes, I realize that these aren't IRL relationships, but still, I glean a whole world of wisdom from these women that I don't have access to in my day to day life. If I want to have a little fun with them, by golly, I will.
For the past year, part of my forum signature has been an adoption countdown ticker. Tickers, for the uninitiated, are little lines of graphics announcing your impending anniversary, how long until your dream vacation, how long you've been (ahem) lactating, how far along you are in your pregnancy or, in my case, how long you've been waiting to adopt.
Tickers are cute little tools. People see your ticker and they know a little bit about you. You
Except, of course, when your ticker betrays you.
When I created my adoption wait ticker, I had to pick a "start date." Now, picking an official start date for an adoption process is not easy. Do you put in the day you decided to adopt? How about the day you sent in the application to the agency? What about when you got their acceptance letter? See the problem here? There is no clear beginning to most adoptions.
I arbitrarily chose the date of our PRIDE training--Oct. 21, 2006-- as the starting date for the purposes of my ticker. That, I reasoned, was the date that we first made a commitment beyond filling out a few papers and being interviewed--we got down to the practical stuff. Sounds like a beginning to me. I popped that date into the handy Lilypie.com magic ticker maker and finished customizing my countdown. I had to chose the icon that would travel across the line, marking the time as it passed. Because we are interested in Hispanic siblings, I picked out a pair of adorable brown-skinned little people to walk down the line for me. Voila! A ticker is born.
For a year, I have watched my ticker putter along. About a month and a half ago, I noticed something that bothered me. My cute little sibling set was inching closer and closer to the end of the line. The image was, frankly, disturbing. I mean, these are children here. Worried about what would happen when we reached the end of the countdown, I hastily went back to Lilypie
Much to my horror, however, I have discovered that something far, far worse than a nosedive into Al Gore's backyard took place when my wait overextended Lilypie's expectations--my little bear went all the way back to the beginning. You can not imagine how disheartening it was to recognize what had happened when I logged in to the forum on day 366. All of a sudden, the friendly bear who had seemed so close to actually getting somewhere was back to square one. What does this say about our adoption hopes?
O.k., I do recognize that one is in no way tied with the other. But when you've been waiting this long, morale is difficult to muster. A thing like this can cause a major emotional setback and require more chocolate than I can reasonably afford right now. My bear--my friend--has, in the words of my kindred, "done me wrong."
So if you're reading this and you happen to work for Lilypie, take note: adoption tickers should never, ever even appear to be moving backward. You wouldn't do it to a pregnant woman, because you know for a fact that if she saw that giggling baby move back to the beginning of the line somewhere around 25 weeks she couldn't be held responsible for her actions. So don't do it to adoptive folks, either. Remember: onward and upward. Can't go wrong if you follow that motto.
see your ticker and have the pleasure of watching the time let away, much like a paper chain Advent countdown at Christmas. and whipped up another ticker--using the same date, but this time, selecting a bear as the moving figure. Much safer. After all, if a bear tumbles off into cyberspace, I won't be too distraught.