Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A healthy dose of guilt

I have found over the past nine years of being a mom that there is nothing more potent than "mom guilt".  From the time I was pregnant, I was already feeling like maybe I wasn't doing everything I could to make my child's life perfect.  Maybe I should only eat organic food, maybe I should get more exercise, maybe I should stay away from that guy in room 16 with TB...you know, the usual mom guilt stuff.  I have found that instead of getting better over time, this only gets worse.  This summer has been unusually full of that mom guilt, so let me just put in out on the table now....

1.  Yes, I'm excited that the kids are going back to school.  Yes, I love my kids more than I ever dreamed possible, but while trying to work from home and be with them, it's been a rough summer.  I have loved getting to spend more time with them than usual, but I think we are all ready to be back in our "normal" routine

2.  Yes, my kids played WAY too many video games and watched entirely too much TV this summer.  I was certain that the American Academy of Pediatrics was going to come beat down my door any day for them watching more than 2 hours a day....2 hours....yeah, we got that beat by a landslide.  That being said, Gavin is now a master at Minecraft!  (if you have kids this age, you know what this is)

3.  No, we did not do our summer reading like we were supposed to.  I'm pretty sure at the end of the year there was some sort of "bingo" game that came home for us to read books and fill in the squares.  I'm also pretty sure in the next couple of days we will get many reminders to send those in soon, and I will feel a stab of guilt each time I hear that reminder.

4.  Yes, our house was pretty much a wreck all summer.  Between work, and hanging out with the boys, the last thing I wanted to do was clean.  Though I did teach the boys to clean a bathroom this summer...guess that's one thing we accomplished.

So, in that respect, I feel like the epic fail of moms....and I know that one day they will be in therapy talking about how I didn't care enough to make sure they did their reading bingo over the summer....But, there were a few things we did get done....

1.  We went bowling together, and we laughed when Gavin and Noah both beat me!

2.  I heard my boys say more than once, "Mommy, I like hanging out with you"

3.  I watched Gavin teach Noah how to play games on the iPad like a big brother should, and watched Noah actually take direction from him, which for Noah is a pretty huge accomplishment

4.  I watched my boys show all of their friends that came to the house the picture of their little sister, and tell them how we were going to China to get her.  I've never heard so much pride about being a big brother, that it brought tears to my eyes many times

5.  We had movie nights under the blankets with popcorn, painted pottery, and ate ice cream....all for the most part without a schedule

I guess maybe I didn't have a total fail this summer.  I will remember this as my last summer with just the boys, and I am amazed at what great kids they are.  I'm so thankful that they have such open hearts, and I am so excited to add our little girl to the mix and to see her grow and learn from the best big brothers a girl could have. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Best. Adoption. Day. Ever

Well, I'll say the best adoption day ever...at least until they put her in my arms and I can squeeze her for the first time!  I'm sure you all know by now (since I was posting like I was being paid per post today!)  that we got our approval (in half the time we were expecting it!) today.  This means we should travel in November...did you hear me???  NOVEMBER!!!!  I have been on my knees praying that we would get our approval in time to travel in December to have her with us for Christmas, and never even dreamed we would get there sooner!  If you know me, you know I cried when they called.  Now I'm not sure how I'm supposed to sleep or get anything else done for the next three months while we wait!  The good news is that the boys and I both start back to school next week, and I will be furiously trying to get as many clinical hours in as I can before we travel so that I don't miss anything for school.  

On to the good part...even though you have already seen these on FB....you know I have to add some here too!!!

Seriously...is she gorgeous, or what???

Yeah, she's into that guitar.  Ironically, that's the same look I get from Noah on a daily basis!

 Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and supporting us.  It's been a rocky road, but we KNOW that this little girl is the one that was meant for us, and we just had to take a little detour to get here.  I am once again reminded that His plans are far greater than ours could ever be.  We are so thankful for the blessing of being able to bring this little one home.  We know that the she is going to bless our family so much more than we could ever deserve.  While most people look at her as the lucky one for getting a family and being "saved"....it's just not it.  We are not "saving" her from something.  We are being blessed by bringing her home.  She is already part of our family, she's just living a little too far away right now! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Through my daughter's eyes

Let me start by saying, I never dreamed I would be able to call a post that!  A daughter...wow...still gives me chills!  Anyway....I have had WAY too much time to think lately, and I can't help but think about how differently we will view all of this than she will.  I constantly think of feeling her in my arms, getting to hug and kiss her, and just the simple things like being able to tuck her in and check on her while she sleeps.  As a mom to 2 biological children, this is what I remember about when I had my boys.  I remember being able to just hold them constantly, letting them sleep on my chest, and my absolute favorite, rocking them and watching them drift off to sleep.  But, as I think about that, I start to think of stories I hear of adopted children not wanting to be held, not wanting to be rocked, and just zoning out for the first few days with new parents.  I have heard many other stories also, and while we have educated ourselves, we are really ready for that, but hoping we won't have those struggles.  All of these stories have really made me stop and think about the process from the perspective of this beautiful brown eyed girl.

Right now I have her picture up at my desk and I look at it all day long.  She is in an orphanage, and doesn't know (and wouldn't really understand if she did know) that she has a family that loves her and is coming to get her as soon as we are allowed.  She may have memories of a mom and a dad that probably loved her very much, but didn't have the resources to care for her.  In the orphanage, she will have different "nannies" caring for her daily, and hopefully she has been able to bond to at least one or two of them.  But, they are not her mother.  I will never know how she was taken care of, and after much reading about the orphanage system, I'm not sure I want to know how she was treated, I think it  might be too much for me to handle.  Then, on a cold day a few months from now, someone she likely may have only seen a few times will put her in a car, which is something she may have never been in, and take her to a hotel, which she has never seen.  This person she doesn't know will give her to two people she has never seen, who don't look anything like anyone she has ever known.  We will smell different, talk different, and eat different things.  And then....she will be alone with complete strangers.  I can't even fathom how terrifying that will be for her, and it breaks my heart to think of how scary that will be for her.

So, not only does she get left with these strangers, we will then take her to many appointments, many people talking to her and at her, and her not really understanding what is going on.  She will likely be compliant, mainly just because she will be much like a deer in headlights and not know what else to do.  There will be medical tests and blood draws, and then.....we will put her in a giant bird and her ears will pop, and she won't be able to get out and play, and this will be another new and scary experience.  So, in a matter of two weeks, she will leave everything she has ever known to go to a place she has never been with total strangers.  Wow......I cannot even imagine......

We will do everything we can like send a photo book to her so that hopefully her nannies can show her our family before we get there so that maybe we won't be total strangers.  We will give her space if she needs it, and we will give her as much love as we possibly can.  I will say now, that I may explode if she doesn't like to be hugged and cuddled, but I will do my best to make it on her time.  I am scared in a different way, but scared the same.  I am scared that her special needs will be more than we know, and that we won't be able to handle that.  I'm scared that there are demons in her past that we will never really know, but that will haunt her.  I'm scared that she won't bond with us.  I'm scared that she won't love me like I love her.....so scared.  I want so much for this little girl, and still can't believe that this is really going to happen.  I pray for her that she is being well taken care of, I pray that she somehow knows that someone very far away loves her more than anything, I pray that her heart will be opened to us when we get to have her with us, I pray that I can see happiness in her eyes instead of the sadness that I see in our pictures.  I pray we will get there SOON!!!!!!