31 May 2009

Time...and Energy

Yesterday was a down day...not "down" like "Oh, I feel so sad and down", but down as in doing nothing/relaxing/foozling.

Having stayed up crazy late on Friday night I slept in ridiculously late yesterday, which is always weird for me because my actual preference is to head to bed early and be up relatively early. Sleeping in always leaves me feeling super groggy. Luckily it was a gorgeous day - just the kind of day that I wish we had all summer long - not quite 70 degrees, sunny with some poofy cottony looking clouds floating gently across the sky, and a cool breeze.

I spent the afternoon reading a book while laying in a lounge chair on our deck.


It occurred to me last evening that these kinds of down days are soon going to be a thing of the past and that Chris and I should take the time to enjoy them now before the arrival of the Little One.

"We're not going to have quiet days like these anymore once The Kid arrives," I say to Chris. He greets this statement with a wry grin.

(I've received loads of advice to the effect of, "Do everything that you like to do as an adult now because soon....")

While we do joke about this, one of the things that I do continue to worry about a bit as we move forward along the adoption path is my energy level. I have always been a person who needs "down time" - time to read a book - to watch a little TV - to just be quiet with my thoughts. I am an extroverted introvert who loves spending time with people and being very social, but regenerates best by myself. Once the Little One arrives I don't imagine that there will be much down time at all for me to regenerate. Chris is likewise a person who seems to need down time to regenerate so I imagine that parenting for us while maintaining our energy levels may pose some challenges.

How to make sure that we both have the time to regenerate?

Will we be too exhausted to parent effectively?

When we first starting talking about adoption I mentioned to Chris a few "must haves" for me to move forward as a parent. And the more I think about this the more I realize that one of those must haves is a little bit of down time each day. And I'm sure that he'll need that, too. So my thought is that we may need to be very intentional (as much as circumstances allow...) about the way we parent to allow for that little bit of time each day to regenerate.

One thing I've noticed about my wonderful husband is that he loves to read the news online in the mornings. And on Sundays the New York times (the "real" one...not the cyber version.) If we have to get up and get going on a weekend morning he's fine, but I notice that he is definitely more cheerful and happier throughout the day when he has had his time with the news in the morning. Once he's read the news he's perfectly happy to get going on house projects, errands, being social, whatever.

I'm the opposite - If I sit down on a weekend morning to read it's pretty much all over for me for the day. You'll find me hours later in the same spot with my book and I am loathe to get up to do anything else (see above for my description of spending the entire day on the deck!) If I get up and get going then I tend to be pretty "good to go" for a while throughout the day. This makes me think that when the Little One arrives that on the weekends I'll take The Morning Shift - getting The Kid up and out of the house for a while thus giving Chris time to foozle and read his news.

Since my energy tends to flag in the late afternoon and evening, I am hoping that Chris will take The Afternoon/Evening shift with the Little One thus giving me a little down time to regenerate.

This is probably a very overly optimistic picture of what life will be like on the weekends with the Little One. While we may have our plans and want to be very intentional with the way we parent...each kid is so different and I'm sure that every parent I know will tell me that the best laid plans will go very awry based on the whims and moods and needs of a particular kid. Still, I'd like to try intentional parenting as much as possible and to make and stick to plans as much as The Kid allows.

Today looks to be a bit grey outside. No lounging on the deck for me. And I probably ought to get up out of this chair very soon or Chris will find me a here hours later foozling around on the computer and getting very little else done...

30 May 2009

Everyone has a story...and kind words

When we decided to adopt a child not so long ago one of the hardest things for us was to keep it quiet.

So we didn't.

Chris e-mailed me just a few days after we made The Big Decision to say that he had spilled the beans at work to a very close friend/colleague. I, of course, felt that this gave me license to spill the beans to some of my colleagues over lunch that same day. And after we spilled the beans to our parents and siblings it just went on and on from there. Now the majority of our friends and family are in the know.

The craziest and most amazing thing about sharing our adoption plan with others is that just about everyone we've told has some connection to someone who has adopted. We keep hearing things like, "Oh, my friend and her husband adopted a little boy from Russia" or "You should talk to my sister. She and her husband have a little girl from Guatemala."

Two of my colleagues have adopted children from Ecuador and Russia.
Another of my colleagues is contemplating adoption.
My ten year-old sister-in-law is adopted.
My father's oldest friend and his wife adopted their children.
Turns out that my sister's sister-in-law and her husband adopted a little cutie pie from Ethiopia and I think are in the process of going back to Ethiopia once more because they had such a great experience there the first time.
A good friend of mine has two adult adopted children.

Everyone seems to have an adoption story.

And each time we hear from these or of these adoptive parents there's almost always a concurrent offer of advice and assistance.

Recently we had dinner with family friends who adopted their two daughters via domestic adoption. They kindly spent the entire dinner relating to us their adoption story (which was totally fascinating!) and answering our 8 million questions about domestic adoption. Likewise, my two adoptive-parent colleagues recently spent a great deal of time with me describing in detail their international adoptions (also fascinating!) and offering advice, help, support, and the names of their respective adoption agencies.

Additionally, everyone we've told so far has been thrilled for us and incredibly supportive - especially just in the last 24 hours since I started this blog. One of my colleagues read the last entry and sent me the following message:

"Hey – just a note to make you feel better….

"One day after 'birthing classes' with my then husband – I went home and cried and cried and cried and… cried – well you get the picture… because I was SO scared that I couldn’t raise this kid – that I couldn’t do it, I was scared to death…. Well lo and behold – nine years – I’m the best damn mom there is… LOL.

"So it’s going to be scary – just remember that - but you’re going to make an amazing mom – and by giving some little child the opportunity to have you and Chris as his/her parents – that is just a miracle!"

Another colleague of mine - someone who I admire and always think of as incredibly together - confided in me that she never thought she would have children because, like me, she had been terrified. She felt as though she would not be capable of taking care of a child and that she would not make a good mom. But as she got older she changed her mind and has never regretted her decision to enter into the wonderful world of motherhood.

Everyone has a story.

There is still some fear in me as we move further along in this process, but I have been overwhelmed (in a good way!) by everyone's kind and loving sentiments and know that there is a great support network out there for me..and for Chris...and for the Little One when she arrives.

(Yes - we're hoping to adopt a girl...)

28 May 2009

Becoming a mom...a new idea

Friends and family who have known me for a long time were a little surprised at the recent announcement that my husband Chris and I are planning to expand our family by one.

To tell you the truth, I'm a little surprised myself.

In a journal entry I wrote:

"I once told Chris that whatever other people have that 'clicks' on in regards to being a parent that I don't have it. But recently...I can't say that I feel my biological clock ticking... It isn't really that 'longing' for a baby that I've heard other women talk about (in fact I still think that me attempting to have a biological child is still not a great idea)...but what I have been feeling is the desire to raise a child, to have the experience of being a mom and certainly allow Chris the opportunity to be a dad.

"I'm not exactly sure when all of this started, but if I had to narrow it down it was the first time I saw Chris holding [our niece] Amelia. There was something so right about seeing him cradling that little tiny girl...perhaps that was the moment when that little thing inside of me clicked (albeit very quietly.)

"Spending time with my nieces has definitely made me feel more maternal. And watching my sister-in-law and brother-in-law work together to navigate the ever changing waters of parenthood has been very enlightening.

"[For] the longest time, the thought of being a parent terrified me...How do you parent a child from a place of extreme fear? I lived my life in fear - unwilling to see my own potential. Afraid of failure. Afraid of not being good enough to take care of a child. I said to Chris on more than one occasion, 'How could I possibly be a mom? I can hardly take care of you, me and the cats!'"

In a follow up to the above entry I wrote:

"I am clinging to the story that I would not make a good mom. It's been my story - my suffering - for a long time. I want to let go of this clinging to suffering. I want to release it and be free of it and tell myself a new story - the story of me as a competent, confident, capable woman who is a good wife, a strong human being who could - if she chose to - raise a family.

"I don't know where I heard it, but the phrase 'A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.'

"I don't want to be afraid anymore."

I shared these journal entries with Chris when I finally told him of my change of heart and now here we are...

27 May 2009

New blog...New mom (almost)

I tried blogging once before...for three whole days. At the time, I don't think that my heart was truly in it so I deactivated my blog before anyone other than my husband had a chance to read it.

But now I have something to blog about...something about which I am truly excited...our new Little One! ...Well, the Little One that will be joining our family in the (hopefully) near future.

My husband and I are on the road to adopting a child - or as it's been described in several of the adoption books we have in the house - "the adoption journey." We're at the very beginning of the Yellow Brick Adoption Road. I've created this blog to record our journey and to keep our friends and family updated on our progress toward becoming "Plus One."

It's late and I need to head to bed...to read just a few more pages in the baby name book that I bought for my husband and so far haven't let him read.

More tomorrow.