The Parallels to Pregnancy

If you have had any contact with me in the last week or two, you would know that I am quite the basket case 🙂  I had an epiphany yesterday.  Unfortunately, this was following a melt-down at a work meeting (oops).  Where we are at is very much like the feeling when you are 39 weeks pregnant.  While I attributed that “basket caseness” to hormones, my epiphany is that so much in this process is the same as how I experienced pregnancy.  Hormones or not, bringing another child (or children) into your family is a rollercoaster of emotions. 

The waiting for a positive pregnancy test = waiting to be matched.  It’s frustrating not feeling like you have control over it, and the silence can be deafening.  Some months are harder than others.

Getting the positive test = getting “the call.”  Woohoo!!!

The first trimester = the time between being matched and meeting the kids.  Is this really going to work out?  Should we tell people yet?  What if something goes wrong?

The second trimester = setting a meeting time.  This is real; this is happening.  Things don’t appear to be going wrong. Now I’m not sure this was a good idea, but it’s getting too late to change our mind.

The first ultrasound = the first time seeing pictures of our kids.  It’s amazing.  These are real people, they are beautiful, and they are my children. 

The third trimester = waiting for official placement.  We are just soooo ready to be a family, and are tired of the limbo phase.  Emotions are running high…excitement, nervousness, nesting feelings, etc.  If you look at me wrong, I might cry.  Or hit you.  I’m scared that I’m not going to be good at this.  If you tell me that I might not be good at this, I might cry.  Or hit you.

I think birth is most closely related to meeting our kids for the first time.  It’s a beautiful, overwhelming experience.

Bringing baby home from the hospital = the day the kids move in forever.  (You are really going to let me take them home?  Unsupervised?)   I am happy and scared about this. 

I hear rumors that post adoption depression is a very real thing, much like postpartum depression.  There is so much build-up, and now there is sleep deprivation and stress hormones going nuts.  I hope not to experience this particular parallel, but if I do, I hope I have the courage to tell you about it. 

The writing on the wall.

I just submitted an Etsy order for wall decals with their names…it’s a cute/easy wall decoration, but also I think it symbolizes the permanency.  I hope they will see it as us saying, “you belong here!” 

There was court today, and it all went well.  RIght now, we are looking at July 26th as an official move-in day (with more weekend visits prior to this).  This could change in a matter of minutes, but as of this minute we have about a month.  I am thankful for these weekend visits to get to know the kids more and more and for all six of us to mental prepare for us being a forever family.  It is possible (likely?) that there will be an an appeal regarding the placement of the third child I mentioned earlier, but initial placement of all 3 will be with us…and we sure hoping everyone continues to feel that is best.

We’ve had a lot of wonderful people offer to help or ask what they can do.  To be honest, we mostly just don’t want to feel on an island, and words of support or a kind listening ear is what we most need.  At no point during my experience parenting Jax has someone said, “well, you signed up for it…what did you expect?”  when venting about his age/stage/behavior.  We already hear this so often in regards to our adoptive children.  I think it’s important to remember that parenting is always kind of a crap shoot, however we come about it!   It’s exhausting sometimes parenting challenging children, but it’s even more exhausting trying to defend your decision (or their behavior) and feeling like you don’t have the right to vent.  Thanks for listening to that, and for respecting our overly-sensitive selves as we proceed!

We are so excited…I find myself pulling their pictures up on my phone randomly throughout the day.  I am so proud of them already!Image

So…this might actually happen

We got the call today…the “get your stuff in order, because we need to figure out a placement date” call.  Gah!  This is real?!  In that case, we have approximately 942 things we need to do (and buy!) to get ready.

In true adoption fashion, it has been kind of a rollercoaster week…as we found out there is a possibility that the kids will be split (which would leave us adopting 2 of them).  It’s a funny process, because the second we said out loud “we intend to adopt the three kids” they became ours.  Not legally ours, but ours in a very real way…on some emotional or spiritual level that is difficult to articulate.  It kind of reminds me of the way I felt when I saw a positive pregnancy test with Jax.  I couldn’t feel him or see him or touch him, but he was mine nonetheless!  We will do what we need to do, legally speaking, to get all three at this point.  We do not believe it’s in anyone’s best interest to split these siblings, they have been all each other have.  Meanwhile, we are having faith that everything will work out as it should!

Stay tuned 🙂

Father’s Day Weekend

We celebrated Father’s Day by pretending it wasn’t Father’s Day, because we didn’t want to either trigger the kids’ grief over the loss of their birth father or make them uncomfortable.  (Charlie is a trooper!)

I was excited to pick up the kids, and anxious to have a weekend with a little less pressure and without the supreme awkwardness of the first weekend (which kind of felt like a very scary job interview).   Friday was busy with visits from a social worker and Guardian Ad Litem.  “A” (the 7 yr old girl) demonstrated her interesting skill-set by picking a lock with a credit card, fixing the chain on a bike in approximately 15 seconds, and using a screwdriver like a master.  Looking forward to finding out what else she can do!

J asked, “Is it okay to call you Mom?”
Me: “What would you like to call me?
J: “I think I’ll call you Ann for awhile longer.”

We’re all just trying to figure this out!  We went to the lake on Saturday and spent the night.  Lots to do there!  It was so fun to see T (14) with a smile on his face while tubing and fishing!! The little ones went tubing with me in the tube with them, and Charlie gave lots of “scooter rides!”

Someone told me once to focus on CONNECTION OVER CORRECTION.  We are trying very hard to make everything about how safe we are…but sometimes it’s hard to frame things that way when one is purposely flooding your bathroom or repeatedly belching obnoxiously at the dinner table 🙂

Stastically, there are very high divorce rates for couples parenting challenging children.  I think we are different; I think we were born to do this together.  We were getting into our “zone” this weekend of communicating everything (one of these cutie pies really loves to triangulate) and modeling a healthy relationship for the kids.

It’s an adventure, that is for sure!  Our life will sure be boring until the next weekend we have them…

Weekend Update

Well, if chaos is what we were going for I think the weekend was a success!!  In all seriousness, the weekend went really well.  It felt strangely natural to add three kids overnight!  Friday night bedtime was a little rough, but even by the second night we were into a groove.  All four kids slept through the night both nights, which is huge!! 

On Friday night we just hung out. Charlie played football with the teen, and the little ones rode bikes/four-wheeler.  On Saturday, we went to the lake park.  The kids all waded in the water, we skipped rocks, the littles played on the park, and we had a picnic.  (Which, according to “J” was “one hundred million fun!”)  We watched Monsters Inc. and made popcorn that night.  Sunday went fast; more bike riding, baseball, four-wheeler, etc.  The younger two asked us if we were going to be their forever family and told us they liked it here…

We are such different people than we were when we began our journey with foster parenting, and several times throughout the weekend my eyes welled up with tears as I watched Charlie interacting with them and just doing everything so RIGHT!

We were very much aware that their “fight or flight” switch is extremely sensitive, and what we say/how we say it has to be so intentional right now.  With time,  we will be able to be more natural/less hyper-viligant.  Right now, we are focused on showing them that we are safe, that we will meet their physical and emotional needs, and earning trust. 

We will be getting them every other weekend for the time being.  Thank you for all the supportive words, prayers, kindness, etc.!  This is all pretty scary, but it feels less scary knowing there are so many people rooting for us and willing to listen.