Saturday, May 21, 2011

First post...warming up

If I did this correctly, this blog is private...a diary of sorts just for me and my thoughts about family and adoption. Soon I'll open it to friends and family when life is a little more..."exciting," isn't the right word but it'll do for now.

I am the wife of a wonderful man, Jon, and the mother of two boys (D is 5 & W is 2)...two awesome little boys. I thank God that he gave me this gift of motherhood. A mother is who I am now and who I will always be, even after I'm gone. I am so happy that I will always carry that title.

Last spring after being told my window of opportunity to have more biological children was closed (which wasn't a surprise), I spent months in quiet mourning. I felt silly mourning children I'd never have, but it's what happened. I loved being a mommy so much that in the fall I brought up the idea of adoption to Jon. He was satisfied and happy with two kids, but also completely open to the idea so I started requesting information online... That was followed by packets being delivered in the mail and agency and law office personnel calling me...some almost pestering...leaving messages while they were clearly chewing food...and as I began to read through all of the information I'd received I was hit by how much negativity all of their packets contained. Not telling me why I should use them for our adoption, but why I shouldn't use anyone else. I started feeling overwhelmed and confused and like something that initially seemed so right was maybe not the direction I wanted to be headed. I prayed for something different, some guidance. For weeks I felt utterly lost. I thought I knew what I wanted but the avenue was unclear.

But life goes on. I brought my oldest son to pre-school one mid-October morning and while I was dropping him off I noticed there was a new little boy in the classroom, playing by himself. I asked my son to invite the new boy to play, and that turned out to be a pivotal moment. The moment I go back to when people ask, "why?"  The little boy didn't speak English and his mother, who was standing nearby, approached. In the days to follow I learned about the local agency that this family had used for international adoption and I was surprised I had never heard of them before. I requested information and then the mother of the new boy encouraged us to go to an adoption meeting the agency was holding the following week. It wasn't a convenient time for us to leave the boys, just before bed time, and our only sitter up to that point had been my sister-in-law and she already had plans. But, as much as I felt like God had put that little boy and his mother in our path, I believed he provided a sitter at the last minute as well; a coworker of my husbands whom we were both very comfortable with and was cool with being paid in ice cream. We went to that meeting with domestic adoption in mind and left with international adoption from China in our hearts. Learning about the special needs path to adoption was all new information. Discovering that many of the children have very minor and/or correctable needs was eye opening. Our conversation on the way home was about the number of people waiting to adopt domestically and the number of children in China waiting to be adopted. The babies here have homes before their born, and I realized I was okay with missing out on the newborn stage. And in the end, I truly felt like this was the path being laid out in front of me. All I had to do was choose to walk it.

So now comes the hard part. A mother who has never left her children more than two nights, flying to the other side of the world for two weeks. How do I do that?

It took me until mid January to mail our formal application. I sat in the car at the post office for 20 minutes, engine off, freezing because it was snowing outside. I was looking at a family picture of us and wondering if I was making a mistake. Could I really leave my boys for two weeks? What if something happens to me? Or them? Am I being selfish in my desire to have another child? All the questions I thought I'd put to rest before leaving for the post office. I finally told myself that I could mail the application and always cancel the check if I changed my mind in the next three days.

Three days later, sitting at the kitchen table with Jon, openly crying (not something I normally do) because I didn't know what to do. The agency was about to open and once they cashed that check, the first really big check, we'd start walking this path. Jon is a pilot. In an effort to offer some comfort he says, "people fly back and forth to China every day, hundreds of people, and they're fine." I knew that of course, but hearing it out loud, matter-of-fact, made a difference. Knowing he was offering encouragement because he was really on board made a difference. And then I was okay...comforted. I didn't call the agency and I didn't cancel the check.

Homestudy went quickly. We had a meeting with both of us together, individually and then here at the house. It was funny listening to the social worker discuss the adoption with our five year old. He told her it was all his idea! I think what he meant to tell her was that adopting a little girl was his idea but he got the details confused. Early on, prior to our first home study meeting, I asked him if he wanted a little sister or another little brother. He replied immediately, "a sister." Then after some hesitation, "no, wait, a brother!" When I asked him why he'd changed his mind I learned that he thought we were going to trade his little brother in for the new child and he wanted to keep the brother he already had. I explained this would be a third child and he went back to wanting a little sister. So that's what he thinks was all his idea. Although we were already planning on a little girl, I like that my son feels he was part of the decision making process.

Immigration. So this is where we are now. We sent our I-800a to Homeland Security only to receive it back ten days later because it was missing a page. I printed out the missing page, wrote "N/A" in all the blanks and mailed the packet back in for an April 26 arrival. This past Wednesday we walked in early for our biometrics appointment (fingerprinting), although as of yesterday an officer still hasn't been assigned to our file.

And now we wait for our I-797 (USCIS approval) so we can send all of the documents we've been gathering since February to China. And then we will wait for our agency to find us our daughter.

I admit I still have pangs of fear about traveling; about something happening to me and my boys losing their mother; about something happening to them while we're gone and not having their mommy by their side. I still rely on Jon for comfort, but I also try to comfort myself now. When I met Jon, I knew he was my future. I believed that God put us in one another's paths at the perfect times in our lives. I tell myself now that if I truly believe I am walking the path put before me that everything will be okay. If I just believe that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I just need to trust. So here I am leaning on faith... and faith has allowed me to get a little excited...