Monday, August 30, 2010

A Month of Showers

After eight months, most of you are familiar with the fact that adoption doesn't have a specific "end" date.  We travel to get the boys when we find out we can.  Since accepting the boys as our referrals (July 21), we were given the time line of three to five months for the adoption to be finalized in the Congo.  Once that was complete, we would be able to get embassy appointments and know our travel dates. 

Well, that time line put the adoption finalization between October and December.  Because of this, it was decided to have my showers in September, to ensure I had everything I needed if we were fortunate enough to get the boys and bring them home in October.  This was good thinking and planning on the part of my family and friends.  But to be honest, thinking about showers is REALLY weird.

Now I don't say this to be negative or ungrateful, because I am SO thankful for all of the love our family and friends have shown us.  It's truly incredible.  I think what's weird to me is the fact that I am having showers, but the boys actually coming home seems like a dream.  It's definitely not a reality for me yet.  This is not to say that I am not excited, because I am.  I am oh-so excited to bring them home.  But I have more of a controlled excitement because I know of all the things that can happen and have heard both good and bad stories.

Like I said, it just hasn't hit me that I am going to be a momma of two boys within the next six months (hopefully).  I really don't think it will truly become a reality until they are in my arms.  And based on experiences of other adoptive families, that's not uncommon.  So at least I know that I am not going crazy or anything.

Since our decision to adopt, not much has changed in our lives except that we've been saving and that we remodeled the attic into a bedroom.  I personally do not go through any physical changes, as would a woman who was pregnant.  And as I said before, there is no due date to look forward to.  I have never been to a shower for an adoption, so it seems unusual to me because I can't tell people when the boys are coming, only that it's hopefully soon.  I know it's the best thing to have them now, but with so many unknowns still lingering, a part of me thinks that it seems a little presumptuous.

Again, I say that I am not trying to be ungrateful or unthankful to the numerous women who are putting these showers together.  I am just trying to express my honest feelings about the next few weeks.  I know I am going to have a great time at the showers.  I always love seeing family and spending time together.  And hopefully, as we continually pray, our boys will come home soon and I will be able to utilize all of the wonderful gifts we will receive.

Thank you to everyone and I hope to see you all soon :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bountiful Emotions

I was just talking with a friend this week about the numerous emotions that I experience because of our adoption.  Fear, excitement, anxiety, joy, patience, impatience, contentment, discontentment and some that I would not put into words.  And sometimes these emotions exist in me simultaneously.  It's something that I have never experienced before and wonder what in the future could ever make me feel this way again (other than waiting for children).

This adoption is the most incredible thing I have ever done.  I am SO excited to actually hold my boys, to see them in person, talk to them, touch them, hug them, hold them.  It is often times a pretty overwhelming emotion.  If I let myself dwell on these things, many times fear and anxiety also start to creep in.  I do not fear that I will be a bad mother.  I know I love my boys more than anything.  I guess the fear and anxiety come with thinking about the HUGE change my life is going to experience, the realization that I am going to probably have two infants.  The reality that our house is pretty small and that I live on the second floor.  Now none of these fears deter me from wanting to bring my boys home.  That's the crazy part.  I still want them home so badly, it's just seeing the reality of what our life is going to be like.  I wouldn't change it, but the unknown of what it will be like exactly is pretty scary.  And I am very much a realist so I think of these things a lot.

Most times, the reality of what it will be like comes while I'm doing something.  Like the other day, I ran errands to Comcast, Target, a thrift store, the mall and to a friend's house to pick up dishes.  As I am driving home a light bulb goes on and I think about what it would have been like had I brought the boys.  My Comcast stop took only ten minutes, but when the boys are here, I will have to get them both out of the car, into a stroller and then back to the car and into car seats after those ten minutes.  WOW, what a change to my 'normal', easy life.

These are just some of things zillion of things running through my mind as I try to prepare myself for what's to come.  I know that I will never be truly prepared, but I am ready for whatever needs to be done.

On another note, almost two weeks ago, our agent headed out to the Congo to visit contacts there and to check on all of the waiting children, including our boys.  I am SUPER excited to get updates from her.  Hopefully she took more than one or two photos.  All the photos we've received thus far are close-ups.  I have no idea how big they actually are because there is never anything to compare their size to.  She didn't say when she would be arriving home, so we are just waiting on pins and needles until we hear something.  Needless to say, I check my email often.

Hopefully I'll be back soon with some more information about the boys.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

School Cometh

Today is my last day off before classes start on Monday.  And when I say "classes start" I really mean, I must begin reading my textbooks since all of my classes are online this semester.  I had originally enrolled in four classes but have since dropped one.  I figure no matter whether we travel for Eric's work or the boys come home, it would be pretty overwhelming to have four classes.

So last week I headed over to the GRCC bookstore to pick up my books.  I am taking General Psychology, American History: Reconstruction to the Present and Sociology: Race and Ethnicity.  I easily find the books required and head to the checkout where the cashier asks me for $500.  No, I am not joking and almost fell over when she gave me the total.  I don't want to get into it, but textbooks are exorbitantly expensive.  Why?!


Okay, moving on.  As with every new semester, the dread of failure and drowning takes over.  I find assignments already given, 14 pages syllabuses and the thought of 15 weeks of this is nerve-wracking.  But as with every semester, I am fine.  I just have to keep telling myself.  Although, this semester I do have a professor who thinks very highly of himself.  In his first announcement, he informed us that he would not respond to any email that didn't address him as Dr. or Professor.  Really?!  I know GRCC is now accredited, but still, he's teaching at GRCC.  That little requirement didn't help my confidence with that class.  But I will prevail.

Hopefully I will be alive and thinking next week to update you on how the first week went.  We will see.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Figuring Out Work

With adoption, there is no "due date", no months of planning ahead.  There are just time lines, three to five months, six to eight months, ten to twelve months, etc, etc.  This unknown makes work and the timeline of leaving work very difficult. 

I told my boss about our adoption plans back in February.  He's a planner and a worrier so I knew it would make things a lot easier the more time I gave him to prepare.  At the time, I didn't know whether or not I wanted to come back to work, but there was plenty of time to figure that out.  Then in May, I let him know about our decision to adopt two kids and the definite choice I made to quit work.  With two kids, I couldn't give him a specific maternity leave time frame and date of when I'd return, which I didn't think was fair to my boss or the company.

At that time, the earliest we could travel to get the boys was September (we didn't actually know who the boys were at that time), but as with all adoptions, that was just the best case scenario.  Like any businessman would, he planned for the best case scenario in order to avoid the chaos that was ensue if I only had a few weeks to hire/train someone before leaving.

You see, my company is very, very small and I do almost everything.  I am the receptionist, office manager, human resources department, junior accountant, executive assistant and event planner, among other things.  This is the reason why I felt the need to inform my boss of my plans earlier than most people would.  There is really no way anyone could begin to learn what I do in two weeks.

Well, with my boss' plan for the best case scenario, I started training my replacement a few weeks ago (this was also before we knew who the boys were).  As soon as we accepted the referrals for the boys, I went to my boss, showing pictures and updated him that the new time would be between October and December if everything went smoothly.  Needless to say, he was surprised.

Over the weekend, Eric and I talked about what should be done.  My plan was to leave just before we brought the boys home, but I didn't want to stay on staff if I was only there for a paycheck and didn't have a job to do.  I couldn't ask that of my boss, it wasn't fair.

Come Monday morning, I sat down with him and expressed what I was thinking and what Eric and I had talked about.  I let him know that I was more than happy to be done with work in September if my replacement was ready.  Adoption was OUR decision and with that comes an unpredictable timeline.  I wasn't going to expect my company to cater to my needs because something in the timeline shifted.  My boss assured me that there would be things to do around the office, but to be honest, I'm not so sure.  I would rather find stuff to do at home than twiddle my thumbs at the office just for a paycheck.

The only fear I have with leaving earlier than necessary is the lack of things to fill my time.  I just don't want to sit around online (which I know I would most likely end up doing, to be completely honest).  But thanks to the ever-creative Katy, she pretty much started a list for me of things to get done.  1) Christmas shop now, just in case I don't have the time to do so after the boys are home 2) Continue with my new found hobbies of jewelry making and sewing 3) Knit more, especially for Christmas presents 4) Complete all the little projects around the house that have been pushed to the side and 5) Get the boys' room ready for when they arrive.  And I could always make the long trek downstairs and visit my lovely friends and all the babies there for daycare.

I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens.  I definitely want to stay until mid-September to help my replacement send out the information packets  for next year's events.  After that, I will have to evaluate how she's doing and see if my boss really has stuff for me to do.  To be honest, my replacement is catching on remarkably fast.  I get pretty bored doing the day-to-day stuff, since she pretty much has that down.  I'm just here for the things that come up sporadically and the in-depth learning needed for the State requirements she needs to know.  But I won't get into the details of my work.  That would take all day to write and I exhaust my brain enough training my replacement.

It's crazy, training someone is actually REALLY hard.  Everything you can accomplish in almost no time, now takes much longer since you are directing someone who doesn't have a clue what is happening, what you are doing and why.  Really, it takes a crazy amount of patience and slowing your brain down to do things in steps.  I think it may even be more challenging than being the new employee and learning everything.  But like I said, she is catching on quickly and I have no doubt that she will be just fine.  And everyone makes mistakes in a new job.  I really think that that's the best way to learn sometimes.

Well, today is my last day at work this week.  I have tomorrow off as usual and Friday morning we are going camping with a bunch of friends on North Manitou Island.  I am super excited since I have never been there.  Maybe I get wild and bring my camera and take pictures.  But we'll see :)

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Almost Finished Registering

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with my mom, finishing up our registry at Babies R Us and beginning/finishing a registry at Target.  The only other place I need to register at is Hop Scotch, for our clothe diapers.  It's a cute, little children's store with lots of locally made items.

With the identities of the boys known, ideas of what to get start to become more and more real.  But the reality of the unknown  is remaining the bigger thought right now.  I like looking at blankets, strollers, cribs and thinking about decorating but the reality of an unknown travel date is simultaneously lingering in my mind.  This unknown reality began to manifest itself as negativity and pessimism yesterday.  "Oh, you need small onesies since one of the boys is really small," my mom says.  Not a bad idea, but I respond with, "well, what if they don't come home for a year, then I won't need anything that small."  Why?!  Why would I say something like that?

It was weird.  It was my initial reaction.  I am not trying to justify the attitude, but I can only guess it was a combination of stress and protection of my emotions.  As soon as we walked into Target to start, I was immediately tired and drained.  Adopting our boys is SUPER exciting, but for some reason, registering has been a very difficult thing to do.  I feel a ton of pressure to get everything I need, which is something that I really can't know.

Registering forces me to think about the boys being home, which might not happen for a long time.  It's so much easier to be patient and content in waiting if I don't think about it. 

It's only been three weeks since we found out about both of them and the thought of having to wait another 6 months or even longer seems like an eternity.  I trust God that he has a perfect plan and that He knows what is best for our family, but I still try to save my heart from any hurt or sadness.

Most days I am totally fine.  I guess today just isn't one of those days.  It's a weird feeling to miss someone whom you've never met.  But that's what it is, I just miss my boys.  I can't wait to feel them in my arms because I'm actually holding them.  And hopefully, that's sooner rather than later. 

I don't mean to be depressing.  Actually, when I started writing this post I was just fine, but by the end I started to feel a little sad.  I won't complain.  Feeling sad sometimes just reinforces how much I already love them and how much more excited I will be to actually have them home.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Breathing a Sigh of Relief

Since we now know who our kiddos are, the plan for school has become a bit more complicated.  I had originally signed up for four classes with the option to drop if need be.  According to our agent, the Congolese adoption process takes anywhere from 3 to 5 months to complete.  This could have us picking up our kids in October or not until the beginning of next year.

The decision of whether or not to take classes started to become stressful.  Eric and I decided that online classes would be the best option.  Not matter what, I would be able to finish and be a little closer to the finish line.  I quickly jumped online to find only a handful of classes available.  I was bummed, but I realized that the drop date for classes if tuition wasn't paid was August 5th.  So, first thing Thursday morning I was up checking out what had become available.  To my dismay, no new classes came up.  At this point my level of stress was growing.  I knew that if I kept my in-class lectures, that the boys would come and I would have to get an "incomplete" on all of them, losing our money.  But if I didn't sign up, expecting to get the boys, we wouldn't and I will have wasted an entire semester for nothing.

Then today, as I took a break for my mildly frustrating new sewing machine, I decided, "what the heck" and went online.  Classes GALORE!  Now, I couldn't get all of the classes I originally signed up for, but come August 30th I will be embarking on four.  I have never taken online classes, so I am a little nervous, but I know I will figure it out and do fine.  But you may want to ask me that again once I've started :)

I'm now off to attempt to make sushi.  Wish me luck!  If it doesn't turn out, we've made sure to have a back-up dinner plan.

Have a super weekend!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Playing the Waiting Game

I was telling Eric the other day that I feel like our summer has been flying by.  I really can't believe it's August already.  Now, the work of throwing my mom a surprise birthday party did add to my "to do" list a little bit more than usual.  But I must say, it was definitely worth it.  We got a great reaction and she had absolutely no clue.  Ah, sweet success!

But as our season zooms on, the amount of time since finding out about the boys seems minimal.  I feel like it's been weeks and weeks and weeks when in reality it's only been two.  My goodness, only two weeks?!  As I write this, I thought it had to be at least three, but after looking at a calendar it was even shorter!  I am hoping that this altered sense of time is a good thing.  The boys have integrated into our family so well already, it seems as though they've been known forever.  Although, this does make it more difficult when I actually think about the small amount of time that has actually passed and the number of months I still have to wait before bringing them home.

I emailed our agent today about how often updates are sent about the boys.  I am hoping that I am able to get one every month at least.  The boys are very young and so much happens so quickly when they're so little.  I got an automated response letting me know she is out of the office until Friday.  Hopefully I will hear back from her then.

Well, it's Wednesday so I am half-way through the week.  I am looking forward to the weekend.  Hopefully I can get my butt in gear and find the second crib so I can start redoing them.  And an added bonus, after tomorrow I am finished with my summer biology class!  Woohoo!  I just have to make it through the final tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

I hope everyone's Wednesday is wonderful!