Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ain't no mountain High enough... Ain't no Valley low enough...

As I'm looking at the title of the compass picture to the right here... something suddenly hit me. There are times when I'm struggling to decide what direction to go in, trying to take into account all the differing possible options and what lies ahead. Rarely do I feel good about the decision after going through all that. More importantly, it causes worry & anxiety and I takes away from the when and where of the moment.

When I'm in the woods hiking, I rarely ask "where am I going...?" and never "where am I?". I'm just so consumed with my current surroundings, firm footing for the next step and the wonder of what is around the corner and committing to that path regardless of the terrain.

Hmmm. Mental note to self when floundering: Should I buy a new house? Should I build? Should I move to Orono? Move closer to the boys?
Should I Adopt? International or domestic? What happens if… What about… Here’s my answer: I’ll know the answer when I need to know it.

Well that's the 2nd surprise in a week... Shannon commits! (oh, hush up you three!)

Reflecting: I may have been a bit misleading in the last post. I should admit, that pain hits me every time I leave those boys. Usually right at the moment the jet engines accelerate and my insides scream to stop and get off the plane. Latitudinal distance separates us and has for years now. But, it remains true, they are a part of me, part of my soul. I can only pray for 3 things: That my heart is as wise and loving as their own mother has been in raising them; That I feel as bonded to my own children as I do those two young men; and that God keeps them all safe, happy, warm, loving & generous.

Peace out.(Cat Stevens on iTunes this evening!)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My heart was broken by a 5 year old

Travis went to stay in Veazie for the 2nd night in a row. It is a good thing. He needs to be able to spend time with them, reconnect. He’ll be with me again, tomorrow and Saturday… But still… after I drove away a familiar feeling came back to haunt me. It had visited me only once before, December 5, 1995 to be exact.

I had just recently moved to Portland. Maine Hockey was playing a game in the CCCC (Cumberland County Civic Center). Tracey and Shawn had split for good and the divorce was at least close to final if not completely. Shawn brought Tyler down on the team bus, so that Ty & I and could spend one last afternoon/evening together before Tracey and both boys would move to Michigan. Tyler was 5 at the time; Trav was too young to travel on the team bus.

So one last visit and time of fun it was. Toy Story, Burger King, Playground and then to the rink. It was a difficult time for a 5 year old who idolized (and still does) his father. I could tell he had a sense things were about to change dramatically in his life, kids always know… no matter how young. His behavior reflected this conflict and was all over the map. It hurt to watch. But I couldn’t take my eyes off him for a second, it would be the last time I would see him in God knows how long.

I started the walk back to my apartment, after blowing kisses to a tinted window bus, it pulled away from the curb leaving only diesel fumes. The crush came. My heart fell out, my knees went down, my breath left. A hurt so debilitating I thought I would die. Death would have been preferable at that moment. A gutteral sound came from somewhere, “NOOOOOOOO!”

I don’t know how long I clung to the sidewalk. Eventually I knelt against a retaining wall. Regained only enough consciousness to recognize the pain of my broken heart. “Why God why? He’s not even my child! If this is what it feels like to love your kids, I don’t want any!!”

I swear, I said it. Out loud. I immediately knew, I’d said something bad. Very bad. It’s really the last time I remember being Mad at God. So I said it again. A heart breaks but once, but as I’m finding, the pain can return.

Tonight, as I hugged Travis goodbye, I was reminded he’d be leaving soon. Only God knows when I’ll see him again. Just like 12 years earlier, that hurt raised up through my throat and reminded me that it is still there. Unlike 12 years ago, I pulled over, sobbed quietly in the privacy of my car (rather than on the streets of Portland!) and recovered immediately when he texted me twice in 30 seconds. I love this kid! He is a good egg.

Who da thunk it?.. My heart can still be broken.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Silent phase…

Those that know me might characterize me as being somewhat of a private person. (That probably isn’t the best word, but lets go with it.) This hit home this week. I found an Axum Ethiopian Cross pendant on my doorstep. A
gift from a friend. She had clearly done a lot research to find such a meaningful gift. (Thanks Susan!). After admiring it, I immediately got sick thinking the “what ifs” of the home-study realizing that it’s not just me going through this. I’ve drug a lot of people into this tricky terrain.
There is nothing private, intimate or easy about the “process” of adoption. As I mentioned in the previous post.
It’s not like I would have kept my family building a secret, I simply would prefer to have been able to acclimate and steady myself to feel somewhat comfortable before guiding people I care about into this maze of a process. Truly, I would have enjoyed the secret time of adjustment and anticipation, but mostly, it’s because I care about my friends & family and do not want to cause disappointment and anxiety as the many possible hurdles will undoubtedly happen.
What this anxiety, of my own, has produced is that I have not talked to many people in my family about this adventure. Why? Lets relate back to “Ashlee’s Advice” and correlate this to a pregnancy stage- you don’t tell people you are pregnant until after the 1st trimester. The first trimester would correlate to the 2-3 month process of a home-study process. So, it is not a “secret”… but it isn’t exactly public knowledge either. (yes, I understand the contradiction of that statement and publishing it on the web!)

Look, like I said, I’m about a little more private than some people, but on the other hand, there is no way someone starts this journey without being excited and scared all at the same time. If you are close to the person adopting, be curious, ask questions and respect privacy and time if you sense they need it...
I’m finding people are afraid of being nosy. Maybe this comes from some antiquated notion of adoption being some dubious secret. I dunno.
As far as my own friends and family, whether I’ve talked you specifically about this or you know because well, every one knows everything… If you have questions, concerns, ideas or you’re just excited; feel free to express. I’m a single woman who is definatly going to count on all of you… “it takes a village…” Please don’t infer my lack of confiding as a “secret” I’m just playing the traditional role of trying to get past the stage where “anything can go wrong”.
Love & Huggs… Shannon

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Following in the footsteps….

I met a young lady recently who preparing to bring her son home from Ethiopia, made a very perceptive suggestion.

"You have to correlate every step of the adoption process to the pregnancy process. Everyone knows what to be excited about and concerned about during pregnancy, but they have NO IDEA during an adoption."

I can not begin to express how prophetic that sounded. (Thanks Ash!)

After I decided to finally start building my family, the first step... I'm talking THE VERY FIRST REAL STEP... was to ask friends (not even family) to write a recommendation letter that has very specific criteria. This is not just some easy to write employment recommendation... this is serious stuff! It is very personal and hard, to ask people you care about to become emotionally invested in whether or not you will have a family. It seems like too much to ask so soon.

Lets take Ashlee's advise and relate this to getting pregnant: Can you imagine, before trying to get pregnant, you had to ask friends to literally give their blessing, IN WRITING and have it NOTARIZED, before you could "venture" further? It's not just friends mind you: I had to get documented blessings from my doctor, insurance company and soon from the US Government.

Currently, my home-study paperwork is complete and received by MAPS. I should be notified soon who will be my assigned social worker. Then the social worker will take 2-4 months (pray for 2) to complete my home-study. For those of you trying to relate: I've made the appointment with the OBGYN office to confirm pregnancy, but haven't even been in to pee in the cup yet. That is how early we are in this.

Keep fingers crossed and prayers flying!