adoption

Adoption Wait # 2 – Surrender To Win

This time around, the adoption wait is way easier. But I am still struggling a lot when it comes to getting a call about a potential baby and then having to wait days and weeks to find out if that baby is Our Baby.

I found this out recently, and it genuinely surprised me. I thought I had this waiting thing under control. I did not think I’d have the same level of panic and uneasiness with the uncertainty.

Then, we got a call about a baby who could potentially be placed with our family. The waiting started. And I did all the wrong things, once again. I planned things out in my head. I daydreamed. I thought of names.

And then – that baby wasn’t Our Baby. And that’s okay. I trust that our second child is on its way and that all will be well.

But in the moment, while I’m waiting for a phone call (if it’s a yes) or an e-mail (if it’s a no)? In that moment, I am still having a really hard time with the wait.

I have no reliable strategies for dealing with this uncertainty. But today I am pondering the notion of surrender. This concept is discussed often in recovery meetings – the idea that we admit that we’re powerless over something, and turn it over to a power greater than us.

Now, I’m not a religious person, and I struggle with belief in God. But that hasn’t stopped me from finding peace and serenity in recovery. Because the most powerful thing a person with an unsolvable problem can do simply admit that she’s powerless and let it go.

This is tricky when it comes to problems we feel like we CAN control – how much money , we have, what size jeans we wear, our relationships with others. It still works, for me, in all of those situations – but it’s harder to let go of control.

But, with the adoption wait? It is not hard to admit that I am completely powerless over the situation. Unless I am going to go out and find an adoptive child on my own – which some people do, but is not for me – there’s pretty much nothing I can do about the wait.

Just admit I’m powerless, surrender to the wait, and enjoy my everyday life without worrying about when Baby # 2 will arrive.

Sounds good.

I know that the next time the phone rings, it’ll be a struggle to keep my mind and my heart from running away from the present. But today? Today I feel content. I’ll hang on to that for now.

adoption

The Adoption Wait: An Update #body

Before we moved to the new farm – years before I even knew there would be a new farm – I used to run by our farmhouse all the time on my evening jogs.

I barely remember it now.  In fact, I only remembered this fact after we’d been at the new farm for a few months.  Usually, when I’m going for a run, I leave the house and I jog north on the NCR Trail, toward New Freedom.  (Yum – Bonkey’s!  Running in the direction of ice cream is always a good idea.)  One day, instead of running north, I started to head south on the trail.  I ran about a mile down until I reached a parking lot, and then turned to head back to our house.

The deja vu hit me as soon as I started to run in the direction of the new farm.  I realized that, years ago, I’d come to this parking lot several times a week to go running.  Then, as I got back to the new farm, I remembered how often I used to run by it.  There were horses here, at that time; and I loved that the house sat right on the trail, and I daydreamed about being able to roll out of the house and immediately hop on the trail for a bike ride.

That was years ago, and I never would have dreamed that one day I’d live in that beautiful white farmhouse I would run by every day.

You never know where your life is going to take you.

The adoption wait continues, and it sucks.

I’ve been making my peace with the wait, day by day – but in general, it sucks.

My life has taken me right here, to this moment, and it will continue to carry me through until I get to the moment when Our Baby comes home.

When I get overcome with sadness and stress – which happens – I think about running by this house, and how I never would have dreamed I’d ever live here.

We don’t know which ways our life will go and when.  That’s why we have faith.

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family · relationships

Why Being An Aunt (before being a parent) Is Awesome #heart

The wait continues for this adoptive-parent-in-waiting.

Today is the second birthday of one of my nieces – a sweet, smart, spunky, wonderful little girl who I love like crazy.  My heart is full of love, and I can’t wait to see her later today, to watch her smush some delicious cupcake into her adorable face.

I’ve written a lot about the woes of waiting to be a parent, but there’s an interesting upside to the way my life has panned out so far: it is tremendously awesome to be an aunt, and (I think) it is really, really cool to be an aunt before you’re a parent.

I’ve thought about this a lot, ever since my brother’s first child was born.  That little one has seriously one of my best friends and one of my favorite things in the universe.  (Still is.)  (And yes, I am talking about having a toddler as a best friend.  I’ve had several; they’re awesome.)  I have loved baby-sitting for my nephew and my three nieces, and when we’re at a family gathering, my tendency is to drop everything else the moment one of them is looking for a plaFour_Hearts__edition_4-1336927380ymate.  Tee and I act similarly with all our honorary nieces and nephews, too – the children of dear friends, of whom there are many, who we love to tickle and snuggle and with whom we’ve played thousands of games of Birthday and Horsey.

Ever since we’ve been waiting for Our Baby, I’ve been thinking about what it will be like when Our Baby is part of these gatherings with family and friends.  Will I not be able to play as freely and reliably as I have been before?  Tee and I will be taking care of Our Baby, and then Our Babies, and while we’ll still love our little nephews and nieces like CRAZY, they won’t be the only little ones filling up space in our hearts, the way they have been for the past few years.

All of these musings have helped me to realized how awesome it is to be an aunt (or uncle) before you’re a mom or dad.  Being an aunt is insanely awesome, no matter what.  But those of us who get to do so before parenting ourselves have a special kind of experience that I’m grateful for.  (I imagine it’s similar for people who don’t have kids, nor have any intention of having kids, but I can only speak for me!)  Often people will talk about the awesomeness of being able to play with small children and then send them back to their parents when they get cranky; this is not what I’m talking about.  What I’m talking about is feeling your heart crazy-full of love for a tiny little one on the day he’s born, loving them like you never thought possible – and then, maybe years later, having your own child and getting knocked over yet again by the force of how much you can love a child.

They’re both awesome, amazing loves.  But I can’t imagine it being the same for someone who is a parent first.  You’ll still love your nieces and your nephews in a uniquely wonderful way – but, you’ll be experiencing that love having already experienced the knock-you-on-your-ass love of being a parent.

It feels a little funny to voice these kinds of thoughts – comparing different relationships and different kinds of love.  We’re not supposed to do that, right?  But sometimes I can’t help it.

With the adoption wait, it’s hard not to throw myself pity parties every once in a while, so it’s good when I can identify things I am grateful for.  And I am extremely grateful for all the aunting I’ve been able to do, especially since it will help me to be a better mommy to Our Baby.

adoption

Telling Myself Stories #Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting

I’ve always had a vivid imagination and a strong sense of romance and story.  I believe in happy endings and fairy tales.  I believe in magic.  If something “would be a good story,” I go for it.  I love hearing stories about how people met.  I love telling myself stories of how things are going to work out.

This storytelling tendency may be one of the quirks of being a writer – like carrying a journal everywhere you go, or ordering special pens from Staples.  (Pilot EasyTouch Fine Point.  Perfect.)  Or it could be part of being human.  Brene Brown spoke in one of her talks about how the brain loves a good story; our brains latch onto stories, regardless of whether or not they’re true.

When I tell the story of my life, it’s a serie118fef0ea22d12fe20155b1a71dfca82s of meant-to-be moments -the good stuff and the not-so-good stuff.  I graduated early from college, so my dad got to see me give my graduation speech.  I spent a weekend in DC with my AmeriFriends, so I was together with my sister and my brother on the day my dad died.  I stayed in Maryland to be close to my baby nephew and met my better half two weeks after his birth day.  Everything makes sense.  Everything has rhythm and reason and rhyme.

This story-telling has made things really difficult during the adoption wait.  Because I always have a story in my head about how things are going to fall into place.

We’re waiting to hear about a possible placement, and it’s three days before Christmas!  The baby will come home on Christmas Eve.  My mother, my sister, Tee, and I will scramble all around to gather together what we need, and we’ll spend Christmas Day cuddled up and warm inside our home, with a precious baby girl being passed around like the best gift ever.

It’s Father’s Day, and I can feel my dad’s presence.  My dad is working together with the universe to bring Our Baby home.  The baby will probably be born on Father’s Day – or come home on Father’s Day – or we’ll get the call on Father’s Day.  Definitely something like that.  And the baby will be like a gift from my dad. 

storytelling-instagram-wersm-657x360This weekend, I’m flying to Houston for a friend’s wedding.  But – maybe I won’t be able to go.  The baby will come home early this week, and I’ll have to call my friend and share the news – and I’ll be somewhat disappointed, but it will be completely overshadowed by my joy. 

My baby niece will be born any day now!  And we’re waiting to hear about a placement.  If they were born during the same day/week/month, it would be so wonderful; they’d be as close as I was with my cousins growing up, and we’d take adorable photos of the two of them side by side.

My mom is in Europe, and we’re waiting to hear about a potential placement.  This baby was born weeks ago; if this is Our Baby, I’ll trace back and I’ll remember what I was doing and thinking and feeling on the day Our Baby was born.  This baby will come home, and I’ll call my brother and my sister; my sister will come visit and I’ll cry with happiness the whole time.  We’ll FaceTime with my mom, all together, so that she can see the baby; and then she’ll fly back to Maryland and come straight to our house to meet the baby.  (And to take over our kitchen making sauce, meatballs, lasagna, and sausage and peppers.)

The list is endless.  There are hundreds of stories I’ve told myself, and my brain latches on to those stories, as brains do.  The most dangerous stories I’ve told myself involve things I can do to make the adoption happen faster.  One of the stories I’ve made up is that if the baby’s room is ready and I’ve practiced diapering, the baby will come home.  One of the stories I’ve made up says that if I am peaceful and content and serene, the universe will know I am ready and Our Baby will come home.

Sometimes, we are the authors of our stories – and sometimes we’re not.  I can write the story of how I live my life today, but I can’t write the story of when Our Baby will come home.  Which sucks.  But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a beautiful story.  10387547_820576321357818_237653967991284127_n

adoption · self-care

#Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting #hopes #woes #strategies

Sometimes I find it difficult to balance being positive and grateful with being honest and authentic.

Positive & Grateful KEM says that you have to trust the timing of your life.  Our Baby is coming home to us, and Our Baby will come at the perfect time.B_WV0x7VEAAkOrI

Honest & Authentic KEM says that waiting is really hard and that being patient has never been one of her strengths.

I think there is merit to each of these approaches, but I find that I am happiest when I choose positivity and gratitude.  Subsequently, I will start with my hopes today.

Hope Number Two: Tee and I are insanely grateful to all the family and friends who’ve passed onfour-hearts-7529657 clothing and other baby accoutrements to us!  I’ve spent many happy hours going through adorable baby clothes and trying to get things organized and tidy in Our Baby’s room.  The most recent gift is a bassinet from my sister-in-law and my brother – the bassinet that my wonderful nephew and my three wonderful nieces all slept in as newborn babies.  I can’t think of anything more special.

Woe Number Ten:  This feeling that everything in life is on hold.

It’s so hard not to think of things in terms of “when Our Baby comes” or “after Our Baby comes.”  I’ll think about meeting up with an old friend from out-of-state, and I’ll think, “We should make a plan to get together, after the baby comes.”  “We’ll throw a big adoption party, after the baby comes.”  There are bigger things, too – Tee and I are conthere-is-only-one-way-to-happiness-and-that-is-to-cease-worrying-7sidering finding a new house and relocating the farm, both of which seem daunting to do before Our Baby comes.

Of course, this isn’t the way we want to think about things.  I want to keep myself in the present moment – I want to enjoy life right now, not just anticipate something wonderful that’s going to happen in a few months, weeks, or days.  But – it’s a woe that I’m struggling with.

Survival Strategy # 2: Creating rituals around problem situations.

So I figured out that Friday afternoons and evenings are difficult for me.

When we get e-mails about potential adoptive placements, they usually come between 9 and 5 on weekdays.  On Fridays at three-ish, if I haven’t gotten any adoption e-mails, then I know that Our Baby is most likely not coming home anytime in the next 72 hours.  I get real sad when that realization washes over me.

When you identify a problem, you are empowered to solve it.  With the help of my fabulous older sister and Tee, I’ve decided to begin a new ritual – Friday afternoon adventures.  Every Friday until Our Baby comes home, Tee and I are going to plan an outing that would not be possible to do with Our Baby.  There’s not a lot on our list – most of our day-to-day activities are going to include Our Baby.  We started brainstorming ideas while tubing on Sunday, and tubing is definitely on the list – we decided that it wouldn’t be safe to tube with Our Baby until they were at least a few years old!  Climbing is on the list, too, but we struggled to come up with more ideas.  I’ll have to do some polling to come up with more suggestions.  I’m hoping we won’t need too many.

adoption · self-care

Why I Sometimes Delete Facebook #Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting #strategies

Survival Strategy # 1: There are days (or weeks or months) when I delete Facebook from my phone.

It’s a self-help technique that I sometimes find necessary.

First and foremost, I sometimes find Facebook overwhelming with relation to the adoption wait.  There are way too many adorable babies and birth announcements and pregnancy announcements – and while I share in the joy of my family and my friends whose families are growing, it’s not necessary for me to see that the sister of the guy who sat next to me in high school biology just had a baby boy.  I wish them all the best – but, if I’m in a good mood and distracted from my adoption #woes, the last thing I need is a reminder that Our Baby hasn’t come home yet.

It’s not just the baby stuff, though.  The whole phenomenon of Facebook is sometimes overwhelming to me.  b99bb9ecabbaa40de552970f3939088eI know that people generally only post the best, happiest, most exciting things going on in their lives – but I can’t help it, sometimes looking at the best in others’ lives makes me think about what’s missing in mine.  And I find it way easier to just delete Facebook on those days than to access my self-confidence and my faith to combat those feelings of comparison or jealousy.

Luckily for me, I mostly use Facebook on my phone, so deleting the app from my phone means that I won’t check Facebook until I download the app again.  (Although sometimes I check it just to see if anyone has “liked” my blog posts!)  It’s trickier if you’re someone who uses Facebook via multiple devices, like laptops and iPads and desktop computers.

beefy-ecards-annoy-meThis week feels like a non-Facebook week.  The wait feels pretty overwhelming right now, and I think it is, for me and for Tee.  I’ve been doing a lot of ‘hiding’ on Facebook – not de-friending people, but hiding the posts of acquaintances with newborn babes.  Sometimes I think that this is avoidant or unhealthy – but not often.  Most of the time, I recognize that this is healthy and necessary for me – a strategy to help to get through the months of waiting that have passed and those to come.

adoption · self-care

#Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting

There are days when I feel desperately sad and frustrated and done with this adoption wait.

Much of this desperation has to do with my own expectations.  I expected that our adoption wait would be shorter.  I expected that things would work out the way I wanted them to, and when they haven’t worked out according to my timeline, I get overwhelmed and I feel like something major is wrong with me or with my life.

My expectations are related to my sense of entitlement.  I think we all have a little of this in us, and it’s our job to do reality checks and to keep ourselves grounded.

Being a mother is not something I am entitled to; there are probably lots of people out there who want to be a mother and are not able to.  Being a mother before I am 35 is not something I am entitled to.  Being a mother without having to wait too long is not something I’m entitled to; when I am throwing myself a pity party, I remind myself that there are people struggling with infertility, people who’ve been waiting for their adoptive child for years, etc.  21-600x600

I keep reminding myself of a Cheryl Strayed quote; she included these words in a Dear Sugar letter to a writer whose sense of entitlement contributed significantly to her struggles.  “You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt with,” she writes.  “You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding.”

Sometimes, I am so busy worrying about when Our Baby will come or why Our Baby hasn’t come yet that I forget that life is still going on all around me.  The game of life isn’t on pause while I wait; I’m living it.  And I have so, so much to be grateful for.