Monday, June 29, 2009

Update- Stinkerific Month 7 on Deck

I struggled writing this update for you all. This month has been an arduous, and ultimately, an emotional one. Emotional, for a number of reasons. Seeing family and friends lose their jobs, loved ones passing away, wrenching my back, and getting a direct shot from a skunk did nothing to help raise the level of joy. Add in the fact that, this time last year I expected to be traveling to pick up my child this summer. Clearly, not happening.

The underlying, inescapable truth is…
Adoption is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

It. Is. Hard.

A friend of mine and her husband, who are adopting siblings, were with the same agency as me. Last week, they decided to switch agencies as they looked at another agencies Waiting Children and saw the faces of their children looking back at them.

I am so excited for them and in a bit of awe at the fact that they have absolute faith, with no doubt, these are their children. “Please, Shannon. Come with us. Switch too.” (I know she’ll read this and know that I’m paraphrasing. I’m sure that’s what she wanted to say, but was sufficiently restrained in her words) ;)

Crossroads. They aren’t always intense contemplative places… but they are a stop sign. The literal crossroads and figurative ones… have the same effect. Some are easy, known, well traveled. Others… not so much. All the same, they are actual points requiring you to STOP, pay attention, chose a direction and look forward to what lies ahead.

This one called for a real gut check. Did I feel right switching? Why should I? Is it the ‘right’ thing? What about being single, would the new agency be able to get me through court? What about the children? AHHHHHH What to do?

My head was swirling. I couldn’t figure it out. The temptation to switch was STRONG. So I called in the troops and asked my friends to help. There are some differences in the agencies- I spelled them out so that Sarah & Kevin could have a view into the chaotic world I call my brain. “HELP ME!” I said. “I need to know what you think.” I couldn’t guarantee I’d do what they suggested. I just needed to hear the situation coming from someone else’s mouth.

They came through. As always.
As I suspected, they both had different conclusions. It was their insight that was so helpful.

So I’m staying with my current agency. I’m at peace with it that way. If, I’d started with the other agency, I be just as happy staying with them. But, I didn’t…

What I also learned: I cannot, yet, with peace of mind, chose which child is mine. Some adopting parents can. They are blessed to look at these waiting children and see their child’s face staring back at them. I know that it is not a gift I have. (At some level I don’t trust my judgment, but I also do not think it’s my choice to make.)

You may be thinking, ‘I’d want to choose.” It is not as easy as you may think.

Who among us, would choose to have their child born ghastly early, possibly blind with an uncertain, highly questionable life expectancy? Who among us, would choose to have our child born with 3 holes in his heart, and a strange kidney problem likely requiring surgery? Who among us would say that’s my daughter! The one born with a broken collar bone, dislocated shoulder face taped up receiving oxygen. Who would chose to the child lying there, with legs twisted, needing surgery and Forrest Gump braces for a good year? (Corey, Alex, Cassie Lynn, Brady)

But you were perfectly suited to parent those blessings you call children. Had you chosen a perfectly healthy child, or the cutest one, or one that seemed like they’d fit in your family easier… all hell may have broken loose. Who knows? It worked out for the best. I come from a long line of taking what God gives us.

I’m looking forward to what little blessing is waiting on me. What little personality, challenges and opportunities lay ahead. There is a reason, Forrest says the old box o’ chocolates line… We don’t know what we’re going to get. We aren’t supposed to.

This is my view today. The other thing I’ve learned, nothing stays the same. I may learn something new and change perspective by next month!?!?!

I do my best to keep these updates light and fun for us all, but time and again, reality sets in.

As I'm entering 13 months into this process (7 months of technical 'waiting'), I had to start redoing paperwork. Parts of my homestudy paperwork, the background checks, FBI clearances, DHS Ok's, DMV etc etc etc. Basically every state agency got a check from me last week. It wasn't intimidating to have to do it all again the second time, but it sure was depressing to think it'd been that long and wonder if I'll have to do it all again next year.

Next week, I have my second round of shots. The first were incredibly painful. I've yet to get: Hepatitis series (1 down, 2 to go), Tetnus (done), Typoid, Yellow Fever, Menengitis and about six others I'm purposefully forgetting. Those I'll have to go to the "travel clinic" to get as, appearently, no self respecting doctors office carries those.

Yup. Actually me getting stuck.

To keep this update from being sponsored by “Debbie Downer” here are 7 things you should know about skunks:

7 Things you should know about skunks, from personal experience...

  1. Telling your dog to hurry up and get inside, translates in skunk language to, “C’mere skunky skunky…” -
  2. When you get a direct hit, from 3 feet, it doesn’t smell like skunk. It’s 10 times more assaulting to all the senses!
  3. Having a lot of vinegar, baking soda and dish soap is very handy. Use it quickly! (Face, hair, skin. Strip and through cloths and ingredients in washer immediately) Rinse eyes and realize they'll burn and water periodically for days.
  4. Wash off any surface areas that may have been hit or you touched, with it too.
  5. If given the choice of letting your dog take the direct hit or you getting it… trust me… take it yourself. It’s washes off yourself much easier!! Plus any rabies treatment is much easier for humans that it would be for your dog.
  6. After showering throw belongings in a Tupperware storage bin, leave the house, exile self from society, stomp feet & pout like a 12 year old and state “I’m not going back home until it stops smelling.” Someone will send the youngins over to febreeze etc. They’ll love it. Trust me.
  7. If you have an uncle with a .22, invite him over for target practice.
The skunk that got me was substantially closer... Stankin' thang...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How many more times?

Today I needed to start redoing my Home Study paperwork. Approval clearances from Motor Vehicles, Criminal Background Check, Child Protective etc etc. Each with a check written out to some random official state office. Been there. Done that. About one year ago- so it's all familiar.

I knew a year ago, that I'd be doing this again, but at the time, I thought for sure I'd have a referral or a child in hand (i.e. on hip) by then. I'd want to keep my home study current, out of choice to adopt or foster again. The fact that it would be required .... is a little discouraging.

Mostly though, it leaves the simmering question- Will I have to do this again this time next year? With empty arms?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Peace at a crossroad...

Sorry for the absence. I’ve had some really great days.

For posterity sake: I’ve reached another of those, gut wrenching cross roads. I’m finding that making these decisions often is not as hard as actually having the question laid before me. I have to admit, these big, giant heart aching crossroads are exhausting and I sometimes feel “broken” when they show up.

I also have to admit that- I know, beyond a doubt- that at this moment in time- tonight as I sit here and write this- I’m not ready to make this decision. I’m not ready. Not yet.

It is tempting. But temptation has been lingering strong here for a few days, rearing it’s ugly head. Remember that whole “Wolf in Sheep’s clothing” analogy?

My own little "sheep in wolves clothing..."

Peace is here. It really is. It just isn’t alone, is all.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Chocolate Ice Cream & Rainbow Sprinkles...

This weekend each year the Special Olympics come to town. It's a big deal around here. Rain Shine or Snow the Police from around the state make this week long run (literally) into town. As they approach the sporting arena all the athletes join and the local fire engines etc all form a GIANT parade into the arena. The smiles can be seen and felt from miles away! Even if you aren't attending you can hear the sirens and know the happenings. Grown adults give a knowing smile as they are overwhelmed with sincerity and gratefulness of the special abilities each of their children have.

A half mile from my house there is an Ice Cream shop. (I'd tell you the name but whoever visits this site from Budapest, Malaysia, Hungary & Rhode Island may google it and then find my house on google earth or google street and that stuff just FREAKS ME OUT!) Any way... Local Yokels like myself, often find it an excuse to not cook dinner... "We'll just go and have an Ice Cream". But this time of year, visitors to Maine, if even in the vicinity will venture over to this out of the way place in order to stand in line at an otherwise small, local convienence store, in order to get their special fix of Maine Ice Cream. All the time. Beautiful days like today will find a line down the street and one person serving. (I've rarely ever seen anyone get testy about the wait either...)

Today, I stopped on my way home to pick up something (not Ice cream). As I waited down the counter for the clerk to serve the line of Ice Cream folks, the ones being served was a "older couple"(I'm guessing in their 70's) and a young man, ever so patiently waiting for his Chocolate Ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. His eyes were buggin out of his head he was so happy!

He was still wearing his Athlete's bib with his competitor number emblazoned on it and around his neck I noticed his 2 ribbons. He must have seen me looking at his ribbons. He held on to them and raised them high for me to see, with a big peaceful happy unabashed smile.

I had no words that could respond. His face of course was instantly contagious and the smile infected my entire body and instantly felt lighter on my feet.

Thumbs up!

That was all I could do in purposeful response. A big "good for you" thumbs up.
Even though he had to apply some effort, he responded back with another big thumbs up.

I'm overcome with peace, joy & gratitude that words simply can not convey. (Actually, I felt that before meeting this young man- this just felt like another gift!) Re- reading this it all sounds so trivial in comparison to the actual experience.

It is days and moments like this when I wonder, "is this the face of God".

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Bells of St. Joe's...

Fair warning: I'm typing in free think here...

So you may have realized, that for the past few years, I've been stretching my spiritual wings, so to speak. It started long before the adoption journey, but the exercise of both together only strengthened each of them singularly. Provided clarity. Surety.

I wonder, do any of you find yourselves having to "re-learn" or unlearn things you 'knew' as a child in order to get your life straight as an adult? In order to become the person you are meant to be?

I don't know if it matters, but I was raised in the Catholic Church.

I remember going to church with my grandparents from a young age. We lived across the river from the 2 churches (one french speaking- the other English). When I went with my grandparents we always went to St. Joseph's (french). I was upset if the bells would ring and we weren't already on our way to mass. As I got older and attending Sunday School we went to St. Mary's (where masses were in English).

When we were in HS as I was about to be confirmed, my parents decided to switch and go to a Methodist Church. My father had been divorced and my mom married him, so the Church wouldn't allow either of them to accept communion, so they switched us. I'll ignore the obvious arguments one could have on this subject as it doesn't really relate. I've gone on a bit of a tangent here, except to say, that switching at that point in my life, may not have been the sole cause, but a contributor to losing interest in learning more about God, Christ and all ...

I realized something the other day... I struggle with knowing something may be a sin, and really incorporating that into my heart. Keeping true my daily life.

I remember, learning and hearing "That is a sin", but then again the examples I saw, simply taught that if you ask for forgiveness, it's ok.

The unlearning of the cavalier-ness of that is hard. I'm working on it though.

Not being prudent with my mouth, having excess food & not taking prime care of my body feels wrong. It feels- off. I know it is wrong. I'm working on it. Any pointers? Passages?

Little by little- I'll get there. I know it.