Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Abigail's Family Portrait


I am in the green, Abigail's in orange, and her sister is in brown. Apparently her sister started out smaller, but Abigail wanted her to be bigger. So she crossed out the baby version of her sister.

The Gut Doesn't Lie (And Other Confessions I May Regret In The Morning)

You know how you have those moments when you discover something- you run into an old boyfriend, you read an announcement in the paper, you hear something from your mother about one of the kids you used to hang out with in junior high... and your gut does that lurch that fills your entire body with burning and shoves a giant golf ball into your throat? It's the feeling of being shocked, usually closely intertwined with another feeling...

Yeah, sometimes it's a good feeling: happiness, joy, exuberance. Usually it's not. It's disappointment, sadness, heartbreak. And as much as you've told yourself that you have moved on from that situation, as much as you truly believe you want what's best for that person and you don't care about anything else, when that gut feeling hits you, you discover the truth of what you feel. Not what you think you feel, but what you feel deep beneath the pep talks you have given yourself about your attitude and how a mature adult would think, act, and feel.

I had one of those revealing gut moments tonight. And I sit here heartbroken. And so unsure of myself.

The one that got away- well, for me, he really did get away. And he married someone, after telling me that the reason it wasn't going to work was because he really wasn't ready to be married.

It hurt, his rejection. The way he casually and easily pushed me out of his life after I had trusted him and given him my whole heart. It took a long time to stop crying myself to sleep, and immeasurably longer to start to trust someone again. Even now, it remains difficult for me to fathom giving my heart to someone so completely as I did to him. So when he said it was over, I was literally crushed.

But I believed that it was for the best, because if he was fooling himself about being ready for marriage, then there was no reason to continue our relationship. So I told myself that it was for the best, and I hoped he would take the time to heal, to move forward in his personal growth, to truly get to know himself and re-evaluate what he thought he wanted out of life.

What he did was get married 13 months after we broke up, to someone that he didn't know when we were together.

Finding out tonight was like a slap in the face. It brought back all those feelings of rejection, of heartbreak, of the raw, unbridled feeling of being alone. And with it came feelings of worthlessness. Of being the woman who has something so intrinsically wrong with her that she is un-marryable. Of being so afraid of getting hurt again. Of never having someone. Of growing old alone.

The gut doesn't lie, and besides the fact that I clearly wasn't over this guy, my gut reaction tonight showed me something else: as much as I know that I don't need to be married to be happy, I so very much want to be married.

For a while, I had myself pretty convinced that I didn't really want to be married. Boy was I deceiving myself. I will say it right now, because I know it is true: not only do I want to be married, I desire it above most other things. I feel like saying that is some unholy confession- some revelation of my weakness. Because women these days are supposed to be okay with not being married, right? Especially the single women who go about pursing their career, education, and family without a man, like I paint myself to be. Like, there is this cultural mindset that I am supposed to enjoy being single, right? And that it's old-fashioned to want to be married again.

But I do, what can I say? I can't deny that gut reaction.

Step 3

Wanted to give a big SHOUT OUT to Doctor John who just found out that he rocked the Step 3 exam!

He performed well above the average score, and passed with flying colors! How ROCKSOME is he?

Anyway, do you know what all that means? It means that now he can write me scripts for narcotics! (Just kidding!) But it does mean that he can pick up some very well paid overtime, and might just be getting someone a very nice present in the near future.

By the way, I hear that Paris is lovely at Christmastime, and that Greece is wonderful in the spring:)

Week 15


I saw this and thought it was so appropriate for this week. (Well, except for the holes in the sign that look like bullet holes. What are those things?)
I feel like I am kind of at a point where things are slowing down in anticipation of turning the corner in my referral wait. I can't predict what that means, only say that I feel like I am emotionally slowing down. I am more calm and even-keeled right now than I have been at any other point in the adoption process. I am still excited and hopeful, but in a quiet anticipation, not a loud exuberance.
But, that could also be the massive school stress and lack of caffeine talking.
The school to-do list remains long, so I will cut this post short and take advantage of my quiet house to write yet another paper. Regular posting will resume some time after May 2.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wedding Dance

Call me a sap, but this first dance as a married couple really got to me.

(Wait for it. It is worth it.)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sign

I work with a lot of people who are very excited about my adoption. However, due to the nature of my job, I do not see these people with any regularity, consistency, or predictability. So many times a day, I find that I am repeating myself.

I don't want to be mean, but maybe I should make a sign for this waiting period:

No, I haven't heard anything yet.
Yes, it could be any day now, but it could also be weeks or months.
I promise to tell you when I have anything worth telling.
Thanks for your support!

Scary Monster

Me: Abigail, why did you wake up so many times last night?

Abigail: I don't know.

Me: Well, were you having trouble sleeping? Did Lily sit on your head? Did you have a bad dream?

Abigail: I had a bad dream. About a monster.

Me: A monster? What did it look like?

Abigail: Well, it was white. With polka dots. And stripes!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Map

Okay, did you see my new cluster map that I added yesterday? It's on the right-hand sidebar at the bottom. In one day, I have had readers from all over the country, and one from Europe, too! How cool is that!

So, I would like to take a minute to let you all give a shout out to the little girl that is the inspiration for this blog... Maybe something like this:

Hi sweetest girl! This is your Momma, shoutin' out my love, from the Sweetest Place on Earth- Hershey PA! Love you and can't wait to meet you!

Okay, hit us with your shout outs!

Timing

Well, since I am at work and can't do schoolwork right now, I thought I would "cheat" a bit and update my blog.

Thank you to everyone who is encouraging me in the wait for a referral. I am bathed in a sense of peace about my referral- it will come at just the right time. Not a moment to soon, and not a moment too late. God knows what He is doing, and I trust Him with this.

When I was pregnant, I went to a routine doctors appointment and within hours I was hooked up to machines and receiving medications to induce labor. They had found a few concerning things on physical exam, followed up with an ultrasound, sent me to an emergent ultrasound with a specialist, and directly admitted me to the hospital. I wasn't planning for Abigail to come then; in fact, I hadn't even packed my suitcase!

But God knew just what He was doing. If my doctors appointment had been a few days earlier, the complications might have been missed. If my appointment had been a few days later, Abigail might not have made it. God was looking out for me and baby Abigail, and He knew just when to make things happen- even if it wasn't my plan:)

So, I feel really comfortable in this waiting. Yes, I am eager to hold my little girl. I want to be with her, to love on her, to bring happiness and joy and love into her life like she has already brought into mine. I am impatient to hold her little hand while we walk to the ice cream store, to share a scoop of Butter Pecan and see her face when she gets "brain freeze", to stroll home under a sky full of stars, and to tuck her and Abigail into bed and say our prayers of thanksgiving. I hopeful in my anticipation, thinking of how I will comb her hair into puffs and rub lotion onto her little arms and legs. I can hardly contain my excitement of sharing a new granddaughter with my parents, and seeing her hugging people who mean so much to me. And I could burst, knowing how much Abigail loves her little sister.

But I am comfortable in this waiting. God's timing is always right, and He is watching out for my little one, just as He was watching out for Abigail. Thank you for your encouragement and prayers. I am so blessed by you all!

Friday, April 25, 2008

O'Nike

Abigail has been requesting a pair of Skechers for a few weeks. Another child at school told her that Skechers make you run faster. Despite my assurances that a certain brand of shoes does not actually make you run faster, she maintains that she needs a pair.

Tonight, the subject came up again as we got ready to take a walk with Doctor John to the ice cream shop. John jokingly said that if you want shoes to help you run faster, you need to get Nikes. I don't think she picked up on the joking tone in his voice, because when we got back from our (very tasty) walk, this exchange took place:

Abigail: So, Doctor John. Do you have Neekees?

Doctor John: Neekees?

A: Yeah, you know, those shoes to help you run fast.

DJ: Oh, Nikes?

A: Yeah, O'Nikes. Do you have a pair of O'Nikes? I think my momma has a pair of O'Nikes because she is a good runner and can beat me when we have running races.

I thought that was pretty funny. Snort-worthy funny, actually.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Irritating

Abigail and I walked to the corner ice cream shop after dinner, and while there I ran into a (new) friend who lives literally right around the corner from me and whose daughter is just a year younger than Abigail (whoo-hooo! A new friend to play with!)

Like most people who are "imports," she is here because of a connection to the medical center- her hubby is a medical student (considering doing residency in Chicago, coincidentally:) We got to talking, and I told her I was a nurse, but that I am considering other careers and definitely trying to leave the bedside because I am tired of being a glorified butt-wiper. Because that is what my job is most of the time.

We shared a laugh and moved on in our conversation, when all of the sudden the lady who was sitting kitty-corner from us jumped up, stomped over to us, and looked me in the eye and proclaimed "if that is what you think nurses do, you are sadly mistaken." Then she huffed away.

Um, okay. So she was listening into our conversation. Fine. (We were admittedly talking loudly- I mean, we were sitting outside and our kids were running in the yard next to us and playing and hollering- you have to talk loudly under those conditions!) Fine. Listen in. But lady, get your facts straight! If you are going to listen in and then be gutsy enough to comment on someone else's conversation, at least know what you are talking about!

Don't tell me that I don't know what nurses do! I am a nurse, and every day that I go to work, I LIVE IT! So I know what nurses do!

I wish I had spoken up rather than stare at her (large) backside as she stormed off.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Week 14


Because of my afore-mentioned school/time issues, this won't be a real post, but rather a little note to mark my 14th week of waiting.


And also to say that I am terribly excited for Chris and Jess!

Not Quite My Referral

But close enough to make my heart skip a beat!

Go say HOORAY to Chris and Jess!

Shameful.

I feel like my blogging has been shamefully lacking over the past few weeks. There is so much I want to write about, but I just don't have the time right now. Here's why.

New posts coming in the next few weeks, promise!

Another Kind of To Do List

I was going to revise and publish my updated adoption to-do list, but then I remembered that I only have 1 week of the semester left to finish my classes, and in that time I need to write/do/complete:

~ 2 cumulative exams
~ 1-15 page paper
~ 1- 5 page paper
~ 4 statistics homework assignments
~ 3 class reviews
~ 1 nutrition homework assignment
~ 1 case management homework assignment

So blogging is pretty much on hold for now. But never fear, this always happens during the last week or 2 of the semester, and I always return during semester break with all sorts of stuff to say! Until then, any prayers you want to say to help me get it all done and done well would be appreciated.

Being this frenzied in school certainly makes the adoption waiting process go much more quickly:)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Prayers, Revisited

You know how Abigail likes to pray for the orphans and the cat orphans? Well, she always prays that they will have food, money, and clothes, and that they will have a family to love them, etc.

She changed it up a bit last night:

"Dear God, please help the orphans and the cat orphans so that they could have food, money, and clothes, except the cat orphans because they don't need clothes. So help them have fur, God."

We have shelves:)

Last night I got Doctor John to help me put together the bookshelves for the girls' room while Abigail watched a movie in the guest room. It was late when we finished, and I decided to let Abigail "discover" the shelves when she got ready for bed.

So, much past her bedtime, I sent her into her room to put on her PJs. She came back out, saying that she wanted to pick different jammies than what she wore the night before, and could she put those into the laundry? Okay, sure. She heads back in and comes out with one of her new nightgowns that I picked up at the thrift shop, and wondering if she could wear that. Okay, sure. The third time she comes out already in her nightgown and says

"Wow, Momma, how did those get in there?!?"

She was so tired it took her 3 trips into her room to discover her shelves!

I am trying to be careful to make special places for each of the girls in their room. The room they are sharing is not large, so this has required thought. They are sharing a double dresser, and Abigail has the "left" half and bottom 2 middle drawers. Her sister gets the "right half" and top middle drawer. They each have their own bookshelf with 3 bins each to put "their" stuff. Each has a shoe basket in their closet, and their own bin for hair things. At the same time, I am making them share. They have to share the dress-up clothes bin and babydoll bin, as well as the toybox and toy shelves in their closet. And all of their books will be shelved together on the big bookshelf in the hall. It's been difficult trying to decide how much "yours," "mine," and "ours" to allow, since they will have to share many things.

Any thoughts?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Diet

I tried on my bathing suit the other day. I am officially on a diet now.

This is not easy for me. Thank God it is the season for lots of yummy fresh fruits and vegies.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Week 13/ 3 Months!



Today is 13 weeks/3 months of waiting for a referral! It is officially my "Window Day."
The week 13 highlights can be summed up primarily in one word: Family. I got to spend 5 days with my family in Chicago, and it was fantastic! My whole family is super excited about the new baby, from my mom and grandma to my cousin's 8 year old daughter! It was so nice to be surrounded by love and support... I can't wait to surround my new little girl with that same love.
Family is ROCKSOME!

Window!


Today is my Window Day! Hooray!
In honor of being in "the window," I am asking you to vote on a referral date. Feel free to check out the FBI, past votes, or just go with your gut! Leave a comment or email your guess:)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Week 12

That's right folks- 12 weeks! Next week is the big 1-3, the big 3 months- the big WINDOW DAY! I might be a tad bit excited. And eager. And hopeful. And it might mean I am very forward thinking. According to the masses, it does not mean I am desperate.

This week's highlights include:

~ Not only did I get the bunk beds, I taught Abigail how to get on and off them with ease! And I even found a mattress for the bottom bunk!

~ Received some lovely books from Chris and Jess. Thanks guys! We love them and may even be so bold as to post a book review here.

~ There was a big mess up with getting my certificate of completion from NCFA for my Hague training, but it was all straightened out by the wonderful Jessica, and now I am good to go!

~ And of course, the biggest news was the adoption grant I was awarded!

Onward! One more week to the window!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Praise God/ Thanks SCC!

Oh my heavens! I can't stop thanking God for all his goodness and mercy to me!

I just got word today that I have received a $4,000 grant from Shaohannah's Hope, the adoption grant organization that was founded by Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman!

I love this organization because they are one of the few Christian adoption organizations that gives grants to single adoptive parents, not just married couples. They firmly believe that kids belong in a family, and they are working to make that happen for as many children as possible. So thanks Shaohannah's hope, thanks Steven and Mary Beth, and thank you God!

Trauma

Last night, Abigail sat crying in the bathroom. It is not unusual for her to be overly-emotional when I work 3 consecutive days (12-13 hours/day, with little time to spend with her between coming home and her bed time.) When I went to investigate what the problem was, I anticipated that she would say something like "I miss my Gagie" or "You are never home." Both things are horrible to hear as a parent, but I also realize that the temporary nature of a child's outlook on life means that she probably does feel like I am "never home" on days when I am not with her much.

I was blown away when Abigail's response to my "what's wrong?" was this...

"I am afraid you won't love me anymore."

What? Where did that come from? And why? A little probing by momma revealed that at some point during the weekend, Abigail had heard on TV that "once they have a new baby, your parents don't love you anymore." What a horrible thing to hear as a 5 year old waiting for her new sister!

I reassured her, cuddled her, hugged and kissed her, held her, and prayed for her. I explained that parents never ever stop loving their children, no matter what. I reminded her of all the other families we know who have more than one child, and specifically of (Aunite) Moriah and (Uncle) Josh who just welcomed their second child, Selah, into this world. Did they stop loving Charis because Selah was born? No way! We even called Auntie Moriah to ask her about it, and she should know because she is the oldest of 4 kids! Her mom and dad didn't stop loving her when her brothers and sister were born, and they will never stop loving her.

This was one of my fears with adoption- with adding another child to my family in general. I knew it would be hard on Abigail since she has been an only child for so long. But I expected difficulty sharing toys, sibling rivalry, and the like. I never anticipated this. So, what should I do?

Desperate?

Does it make me sound desperate that I emailed my caseworker with alternate back-up phone numbers for when I am going to be out of town later this month?

I know I am not yet in "The Window," but it is coming up soon, and I am hoping that Gladney will have a round of referrals this week or next, so I just wanted to make sure that they could contact me, considering my place on the FBI list.

Okay, yes, it does make me sound a little desperate.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Happy Feeling

I know that I often vent about work here, but today I had a really good experience. Brief, but good. I want to tell you about it, but first, you must read my privacy statement.

Do you remember the odd/scary patient that brought Doctor John and I together for the first time? Well, Mr. H. ended up being my patient again this weekend. Now, he didn't remember me, but I definitely remembered him!

As per usual, he was demanding, cranky, and uncooperative. It tried my patience to care for him, and yet, every time he got on my nerves, I tried to remember how much I had to be thankful for because of him. Things got really bad between him and his medical team, and he ended up leaving today without the treatments that he really should have had. He was simply "done" with being in the hospital, and wanted to leave. We couldn't make him stay to get better, so we let him go.

As upset as he was about the whole process and as anxious as he was to leave, he took a minute to have this exchange before he walked out...

Mr. H: Grace, how long have you been a nurse?

Grace: Just about 2 years.

MH: Really? Seems like it should have been longer!

G: Well, it's been long enough (smile, laugh.)

MH: Well, you have a real knack for it. Thanks for taking such good care of me.

When I told the other team members what he said, their jaws hit the floor. It was totally uncharacteristic of him to even use my name, let alone thank me for something! I was literally shocked, and could only think to say "Well, thank you." But seriously, coming from him, it really meant a lot.

And that wonderful feeling lasted for about 27 minutes. Until someone pooped blood on me.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Bunk Beds

Okay, this is not strictly adoption related, but I thought this was funny. As you will see, we got the bunk beds delivered, but they delivered a light wood ladder even though the rest of the set is dark wood(they are correcting it!. So, ignore that. Also, ignore Abigail's box spring that is haing out on the bottom bunk. Still need to get a mattress for that bunk, and I have no idea what I am supposed to do with a twin size box spring! Anyway, check out Abigail's first attempts... (these videos are a few minutes long, but there is some really funny stuff:)

Next, we have a whining intervention. Yes. Intervention (that's for you Jess and Jen!) Someone was having a bad attitude as she is prone to getting when she thinks she can't do something, so Doctor John had to show her what's what.

Finally, Abigail had success... and a major wedgie!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Week 11


Oh my word, where has the past week gone? I can't believe I am in week 11 of waiting! Seriously, it seems like I was typing the Week 10 post just yesterday, and here it is week 11 already! I hope that once I receive my referral, the wait for court seems to fly by just as quickly as this wait has been going.

This week has really been focused on trying to get caught up in school. When I say that I am having a difficult time concentrating, I mean it! I think I get this way at about the same point each semester, but it just so happens that this semester I have a really good reason to be distracted!

This week's highlights are not very numerous, but important nonetheless.

~Received a wonderful note from my caseworker. Jessica is new to Gladney's Ethiopia team, and I have to admit that when I found out that my case was being moved to her, I was apprehensive. However, she has been professional, kind, responsive, and caring throughout this process, and she fits right in with all the other wonderful people at Gladney. I email her the silliest, most random questions (which is why I am your go-to girl for that silly information) and she never gets cross or irritated with me. God knew what He was doing when He put us together, because it takes a special person to put up with my incessant questions. (Natural curiosity+ anxiousness for my child= excessive random questions.) God bless her. I think we should start a National Adoption Caseworker Appreciation Day! Or at least a Blog-o-sphere Wide Adoption Caseworker Appreciation Day! What do you think? Anyone what to help organize that? (I am being serious, and someone needs to come up with a better name!)

~ Spent some time further educating myself about the legal and ethical implications of international adoption. The further along in my adoption journey I get, the more I feel the need to support and promote not just following the letter of the law in the process by ensuring the legality of the adoption process, but also following the intent of the law by promoting the most ethical practices in this journey. This was a matter of much discussion on one of the Yahoo Ethiopian adoption groups to which I belong. I am so glad I chose Gladney as my agency because I feel that they are truly not only legal in their adoption procedures, but ethical as well. If you are considering international adoption, please take the time to educate yourself about the legal and ethical practices before choosing an agency, and make sure that the agency you chose upholds the highest standards of ethics. If you have questions about how to choose an ethical agency, feel free to email me! I am not an expert, but I am happy to point you in the direction of some great resources!

~ This week's biggest adoption milestone? The bunk beds were delivered this morning!!!!
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