Friday, May 26, 2017

Scope for the Imagination

I am such a fan of Netflix original series. The number one reason is, of course, strong content. The second reason is that when the new seasons come out, they come out all at once and I can watch as much of them as I please. When I saw they were re-making the Anne series, I knew I found a treat.

Seeing the movie Annie (the good one, with Carol Burnett) is what first made me want to adopt kids (at some ripe, single-digit age). It just seemed terrible to grow up in an orphanage. Reading the Anne of Green Gables books and seeing the Canadian television series as a kid made me convinced it was a good idea. I loved the Avonlea stories so much, that for years we watched the Disney (?) series and my parents got me lots of Avonlea-themed books. Anyway.

I was watching Anne with an "E" on Netflix tonight and it made me "longful." The hardest part about this part of the process so far (because at two weeks into the matching phase, I'm sure there are plenty more parts coming that will be challenging) is knowing that our kids are out there - with personalities and lives and daily joys or sorrows - and that they might be thinking that no one really wants them.

The idea that our children are worrying about that right now is really sad. I know that parents can't prevent all the bad things, or even most of them, from happening to their children. However, at the least a child should feel like someone wants them to be their family forever. That our daughters or sons don't yet know we are here waiting to love them in person. That they have had a whole lifetime without us ...

I felt more like an expectant mom today than I have yet. First, I read a Facebook post by someone who was talking about how we shouldn't use the term "mom-to-be" for pregnant women because they are already mothers. True. But, for me, frustrating because - like so many parts of adopting instead of biologically having a family - that's just another part of motherhood I am going to miss. I try to shrug these things off. I'm so happy about adopting; but I'll be honest, I still think about what it might be like to have a child actually grow inside of me. Then I remember the diapers and not sleeping parts and shake it off. :)

After that, I read about a family that adopted a sibling set of seven. They already had one child at home. "And then there were ten" seems like the monkeys jumping on the bed in reverse to me. However, the reason why this made me feel more like a future mom was because someone else saw it and posted it on my wall. A friend from high school who I have not seen in at least a decade saw this story and shared it with me because she remembered I am going to be an adoptive mom. Our own form of expecting.

Most people can't tell me stories about when they were this far along. Even amongst families adopting from foster care we're a bit of a minority since most children in care are adopted by their foster families. But I've never been one to do major life events traditionally. And RJ has never been one to care about tradition over the end result.

So we're here. Waiting. It's not exactly Green Gables, but hopefully it will still have plenty of "scope for imagination" for our children. A home where they are already loved, whether they know it or not.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Getting ready

We are still waiting to be approved, but with all of the paperwork finished, my mind has moved on to getting our home ready for future children. Number one on the list is working with our dog, Beckett, so he won't be aggressive to people who try to come in the door. He is a lover, but we really want him to get along with our future children (and any guests they try to bring over).

Number two is a massive garage sale. There is so much stuff stored in the playroom and guest room closets that absolutely cannot stay there should we bring a child home. Part of the process is just packing up things we don't need and organizing them so I can find them again if they go into a crate (like all of my crafting supplies, sheet music, quilting fabric, VHS tapes I still haven't converted to digital, and a small library worth of books). It isn't that the games and age-appropriate books can't stay in their rooms, but all of the training says things will be destroyed or broken. If I care about it, best it stays in a safer space until the hardest part of the transition is over.

Number three is rearranging the kitchen cabinets. RJ and I are both tall, so where things are in the cabinets is not really an issue. I imagine we do not want our children climbing on the counters to get to the cereal, or reaching over the gas stove for the oil and vinegar.

Number four is the garage. This is the scariest part for me, because I know that as fast as I clean it out, cleaning the upstairs rooms will inevitably mean that more things get stored in the garage. Our one car garage. That has a car in it. And the trash and recycling cans. And the cleaning supplies and scary chemicals we aren't allowed to have near the kids without supervision. Oh, and all the things we already store in the garage like lawn chairs, a tent, holiday boxes, a crate of items from my childhood, and Costco-sized portions of paper towels and toilet paper (which I am pretty confident I should make sure there is room for).

We're going to need more power plugs for additional devices and binders for all of their paperwork, and some kind of system that does not involve me dumping baskets of clean laundry on the bed in the guest room to make room in the dryer.

And then, I need to be getting myself ready. How am I going to take time for myself? How am I going to maintain my relationship with my husband? In addition to my mental health, should I also be getting in better shape (yes!)? Kids like to run around and I should at least try to keep up.

I'm not actually worried about these things, but I wonder about them. I wonder because I could be doing something proactive this weekend, but instead I read a book. I enjoyed the quiet of our home. The truth is, it'll all get done by whenever they arrive somehow. I am excellent at managing to a specific deadline and finishing well-past midnight the night before. I also have RJ and an amazing team of friends, family, and professionals who are going to be right here to help.

I like getting ready. Planning and preparation are my happy place. All we need now is a deadline.