Life as MommyMo

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Baby News

Yesterday was one of those days... I have heard lots of adoptive parents say over the years that just when you think you can't take waiting any longer, something in the process gives.

I was probably even more anxious yesterday about our wait for travel than I was for a match back in December. I can provide some context by explaining that I obsess over the stats of where other families are in process on the Holt message board. It's really the only glimpse, however unscientific, you have as to how things are moving within various agencies.

We were quite surprised to learn Max's emigration permit had been approved in Korea in January. We'd just gotten his American immigration application sent over not a week before that, so we were just convinced the universe was totally working in our favor (not that we don't believe that now...) and that Max was going to be home in record time.

(I sound rather composed about all of this don't I? That's because I'm typing this two weeks after the fact, when my kitchen is done, I have running water and Sam's moved into a new room. By no means are we totally ready right now, but we are positively light years ahead of where we were on that particular day.)

We tried to be patient waiting for the I600 approval. I saw other families in New Jersey report getting theirs very quickly. I thought I'd get a letter last week and have been virtually pouncing on the poor mail guy the instant he darkens my doorstep. I had no luck for days on end, then got a letter with the appropriate postmark on it on Saturday morning. I squealed, opened it, and read a form letter indicating that USCIS had received our application and would process it.

"Please expect 10 weeks for approval from date of receipt."

Oh, and don't even bother calling before then.

I freaked. My stress level went way up and I had a hard time thinking of anything else for the next few days.

Yesterday, I woke up just feeling like it *had* to be approved and maybe we'd somehow missed the letter. Well, when the mail came and was nothing but junk, I decided I was going to call the office anyway, but that I'd wait till the 3 hour window opened every Wednesday afternoon for freakishly hyper parents like myself to try to get through to an officer.

I tried and tried when I wasn't on conference calls. I tried searching online. I tried to dig up the number for a specific agent in Newark that is legendarily awesome. Nothing.

I called Rob and begged him to get home before the window closed so I could take a conference call and so he could try calling, too. I heard him upstairs rooting through papers and he asked me one question (can't recall what it was) before I could hear him talking to someone.

He came down the stairs and I put my phone on mute, prepared to get whatever news he had. He said nothing and started out the door to go get Sam. I hissed at him to tell me what happened and he replies, "Everything's fine. We were approved today."

I don't know how he managed to be so deadpan. Really. The man could be a guard at the Tower of London, I'm now convinced.

So, that's all a long way of saying we're a huge step farther ahead and definitively closer to having our baby home where he belongs.

Sorry the story got so long. I guess it's not surprising... I use this blog mainly to capture my thoughts from time to time, though, so I don't usually write focused on who's reading. I save that for work. :-)

Other than just the facts of where we're at, I can also now officially say that this wait has been WAY harder than I thought it would be. I managed to stay occupied while the house was in disarray, but I must have been planning for the baby to arrive as soon as life started to get back to normal. Every day that we wait just seems FOREVER.

I confess to wrestling with all of the emotions that surfaced years ago when we were in process and adopting Sam. I see so many people be able to build families in blissful ignorance to how hard it can be for others. I can't blame them and truly envy that. I wouldn't change for one second what we've been through and what has come of it, but I still fight the bitterness and questions of the struggle that are part and parcel of adopting.

I heard a story recently of someone I know and respect who said of adoption (clearly not around me) that she couldn't understand why anyone who can't have children "of their own" would ever adopt. She claimed every single thing that I HATE about the lack of awareness some seem to have. She said you can't love an adopted child the same way and that people who can't give birth are completely crazy to adopt from other countries. I can't put into words how hurtful it was to hear this, even third or fourth hand. I don't know that I'll ever be able to look at her the same way again. Actually, I know I won't. There was more to the comments, but I can't even give them justice by repeating them.

I know that most of this pain will magically dissipate the instant I get to hold Baby Max in my arms and see him with his Daddy and big brother. I just struggle more on some days than others and wish with all my heart that it could just *happen* without the waiting and the anxiousness and the publicness that it must have. I know a lot of pregnant people right now and think rather wistfully of the "luxury" (in my mind) of not finding out what sex your baby might be or not sharing the news until you're in a safe period.

I don't want to sound like I begrudge anyone the happiness and joy pregnancy and children bring. I don't. I just suppose I need to deal with some toxic emotions before they bug me too much more.

That brings me, in a very roundabout way, to my Lenten sacrifice. Last year, I focused very intentionally on prayer and devotions, but with all I've been feeling lately, I felt like I really needed an exercise in faithful sacrifice to realign my priorities. I think it will be a good reminder for me to remember Who is with me through all of this and what the ultimate reward really is.

I thought long and hard about what daily pleasure and habit would make an impact and decided not to buy any scrapping supplies during Lent. I do have plenty with which to work to actually scrap, but the shopping part of this hobby is a HUGE part of it for me. Rather than spend the time poking around on website and blogs looking for new product and sales, I want to be reminded and be more focused on getting myself in the best possible frame of mind and to do additional devotions.

I had a tiny bit of guilt about this since I know so many designers struggle in an economy like this since scrapping isn't exactly a necessity, but I figure I can work harder on marketing for the designers I CT for during this time to somehow cosmically make up for the lack of global income that begins in my PayPal account.

At the rate I seem to post, here's hoping that my next one is about Max's TRAVEL CALL!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm behind

Falling behind. This seems to be the theme of my life right now. I seriously don't think I've ever felt so busy in my entire life.

I like to think I have good reason, but at the end of the day, I still just feel like I can't keep up with myself.

Most of the stuff keeping us busy is good...

The kitchen is almost done. After nearly seven weeks of cooking and eating in our living room and more restaurant food (and the associated calories) than I care to remember, we are thisclose to being able to cook a meal and sit down at an actual table to eat it. At one point last week, when things had slowed down a bit as we waited for some bits and pieces to come in so the contractors could keep working, we practically begged the poor man running the show to install our sink and faucet before the weekend. It sounds minor, but even once we could cook, not being able to rinse anything off pretty much ended our hopes of eating at home. As we said to him, we're not proud, demanding people. We just want to cook an egg. Is that so wrong?!

Drama aside, I am seriously happy with how the whole kitchen turned out. I'm not sure how people manage the details of building an entire house, though, as it felt like a second full-time job at times. We spent a fair amount of money to make these improvements, but we did wait 10 years to do it and it's made me fall in love with my house. I'm seriously convinced I will never leave. I now have a nice kitchen and a finished basement for all the monster truck clutter. If a certain family would get on the stick and move their stuff to a certain address, I could be persuaded to live the rest of my days in this very spot.

The even bigger news of the last month or so is that the paperwork for Baby Max (which has become his full name to practically every person I know) is moving along nicely. I did have a moment last week in which I was CONVINCED he was literally on his way home, but alas, it would appear that paperwork is done in a completely different order than it was in 2005 when Sam came home, and Max's arrival is still most likely a few weeks away. That doesn't stop me from harboring hope that his I600 approval somehow managed to slip by me and that he just needs a quick visa interview and plane ticket to be on his way to where he belongs.

If he were to arrive this week, however, he might have second thoughts and ask to go back from whence he came. Our house still looks like the construction zone it's been for weeks and you would have no idea that Rob and I have invested considerable time and conversation in the creation of rooms for both of our children by looking at the place. (For any editor friends reading, my apologies for <<<< that <<<< ridiculously long sentence.)

Thanks to our dear friends Ted and Kim, we have made serious progress in the baby gear department and have gotten one room upstairs emptied out so that we can start the process of actually making space for an 18 lb. child to sleep. When Ted arrived to help Rob move the queen-sized bed out of the guest room so that we could move my office in there, he regaled us with his own brand of logic and swiftly convinced us that all the monkeying around with the rooms upstairs was unnecessary. (We'd planned to move my office to the guest room; Sam to my office and Max into Sam's room.) Our plans were perfectly sensible until Ted stood in the upstairs landing and basically called us on our obvious lack of spatial relations skills, thereby demonstrating the complete ridiculousness of moving an extra room. So, my office stays put. We'll get a daybed for my dad to sleep in when he visits and Sam will move into a new "big boy" room while Max gets the nursery.

This move is not happening a minute too soon for Sam's taste. He informed me that there is a crack in the wall beneath his current bedroom window and that he just couldn't sleep there anymore. He led me by the hand to show me the offensive flaw, and pointed to a minuscule nail head pop. Hey, we all rationalize in our own ways.

Other tidbits from the last month:

* We will either boycott Ikea for life for their lack of supply of any single suite of furniture with which to decorate Sam's room... Or we will cave and realize that despite how ticked off we are right now, the Heimdal and Hemnes furniture designs are still the best deal around when it comes to kid furniture. Seriously. Rob despises having to go to Ikea, yet we've been there three times in seven days and have nothing but a random set of twin bed slats to show for it.

* Franklin is officially the most neurotic dog on the planet. We've always known he was easily spooked. I also quickly realized that I could not leave the house during construction lest he completely freak out at every random person and tool that darkened our doorstep. Five weeks into the process, the poor guy had had enough and had what I have now learned was a cluster seizure (five seizures in 15 min.) He was given a Xanax prescription to get him through the duration of the project and will be transitioned to another, milder anti-anxiety drug in order to prevent another episode when Baby Max arrives. Something tells me he will be the least excited of anyone in our house at a new child joining our family.

* Sam is still making great progress on the caffeine solution we started and got a glowing pre-K report from his teacher. He still has issues with episodes of silliness at school, but his handwriting is downright legible now and he is actually reading words to us without prompting. He's also turned out to be a stunningly talented Wii bowler and boxer. My hopes of him getting a college scholarship have shifted thusly. I'm sure that by the time he needs to enter university, someone will have recognized the talent he has and will bankroll his Ivy League education solely based on his ability to throw a Wii Turkey.