Thursday, June 28, 2012

Here, Now, and the Hopeful Future

Elvie is sitting on Jarod's lap on the bed right now as I type, supervising the goings-on in our hotel room.  She doesn't like to be unaware of where any of us are.  If she cannot see us all, she fusses.  She likes it when we talk to her, and she makes a kissing noise back when we kiss her nose or lips.  She loves her pacifier and her lamb blanket and her big sister.  She gets held most of the time, even when she is sleeping.  We do our best to make sure she waits for nothing.  She's spent the last four-and-a-half months waiting for her needs to be met; we don't think she should have to wait anymore.  The only time we've heard a full-on cry is when we indulged Zinashi and put her briefly in the bathtub for sister bath time.  We will not do that again for a long time.

In addition to being a very good baby who is not a fan of baths, Elvie is also likely suffering from marasmus.  The first night I took off her shirt, I fought hard not to cry, as I saw her ribs in stark detail, just beneath her skin.  We knew she was too small, but we had no idea how bad it was.  The next day, when she vomited all the formula we'd given her, erasing the day's caloric progress, I changed her clothes again and couldn't hold the sobs in.  All this time she has been in group care, her whole entire life, she has been losing body fat.  All this time, she has been in line with many other babies to have her needs met, when she really needs to have her needs attended to all the time.  All this time, we were in the US, convinced that getting on a plane to go to her immediately was not the right decision.  And maybe it still wouldn't be, but it's hard to look at our baby's ribs beneath her thin skin and think anything other than that we should have been here sooner.

She is a fighter, and we believe that she will recover and do beautifully in time.  She has been eating like a champion, and we have started giving her higher calorie formula as well as vitamins.  She has been cleared by the doctor as healthy enough to fly, so we will.  We are now considering coming home early to have more resources for meeting her needs.  Zinashi's family is scheduled to be in Addis this weekend, and we are hoping to have Elvie's visa by Monday.  If we can get a flight that will still allow us the family seating we need to make the trip manageable, then we will come home earlier than planned.  If we cannot, we will depart July 6, as scheduled, and get home on the 7th.  We need to have Elvie's visa in hand before we can officially make a decision, so we are working on that.

We so appreciate everyone's lovely comments on our post introducing Elvie.  You are all gems, truly.  With you standing by our (virtual) side, we know we can get this baby home and get her the care she needs.  Thank you so much for being here for our family.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Introducing Our Tiniest Family Member

This afternoon, a judge in Addis Ababa declared us to be parents for the second time.  Shortly thereafter, we had Elvie in our arms, bouncing along the streets of Addis Ababa and back to the hotel as a family of four.  We couldn't be happier.

It is our pleasure to introduce Elroyi Aveline, who we love beyond measure.


Introducing Elvie from Mary McBride on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Notes From Ethiopia


Greetings from the land of the perfect macchiato.  We are here, and we are happy, and we are a little bit tired.  What has been happening is so big that I don't have words to say it right.  I keep typing it over and over again, and it doesn't come out the way I want it to.  Jet lag is getting the best of me, I think.  So I will just tell you in snippets.

Elvie is pure loveliness, but too pale and small.  She reminds me of a baby bird, all big eyes and skinny limbs.  At four and a half months old, newborn shirts are still big on her.  The official plan is to wait two weeks after we get home to take her out of the house and start medical appointments, but now I don't know.  Failure to thrive isn't something we want to mess around with.

Elvie's family was waiting to meet us yesterday when we arrived, and we love them.  People try to boil down the adoption and family preservation issue to make it more manageable (and sometimes to point fingers), but what I can say after meeting Elvie's family is that sometimes it 's just a lot more complicated than we want it to be.  Care for Elvie simply does not exist here in Ethiopia, and her family knows it.  All of us who live in the developed world should take a moment right now and recognize how good we have it.  No matter what the issues our children may face, there are resources available to us.  In so much of the world, this is just not the case.

We will go to court tomorrow to say yes to being Elvie's family in front of a judge.  We've done it before, so we are not nervous.  I'm just anxious to have the adoption decree in our hands so that we can take custody of our fragile baby bird and start trying to put weight on her.  Of course we want to love on her and be with her, but if you'd seen her skinny little arms, you would be thinking first and foremost of the weight issue, too.  We want to see her well and happy.  We have a lot of work to do.

Photos will come once we are legally her family.  I know you are all anxious to see her.  Give us a few days.  We will not disappoint you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

NO MORE DAYS!!!

This countdown is history. We are outta here! (Well, after we eat breakfast and I make the beds and take out the recycling and our ride gets here, but whatever.) We fly TODAY!

countdown to ethiopia, NO MORE DAYS!!!

HOORAY!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One Day!

It appears that we'll be getting on an airplane tomorrow to go to Ethiopia and become a family of four.  Huh.  Weird.

countdown to ethiopia, 1 day

Weird and wonderful.  We are so ready to go.  Well, except for the part where I haven't packed any clothing for myself yet.  I can just wear pajamas, right?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oh, Little Sweetheart

Zinashi is feeling some big feelings right now, using behaviors to push us away because it's easier than being vulnerable.  We are going back to Ethiopia, and she is excited, and she is terrified.  I don't know why it didn't occur to me until the end of two days of working so hard to help her make good choices, only to fail miserably, but sometimes I'm a little slow.  We are walking into fighting for our second daughter, but we still need to fight for Zinashi, too.  We need to fight to teach her that this is forever.  We need to fight to chase away the fear that what happened before could happen again.  We need to fight to make her feel irrevocably and unconditionally loved.

So this song is for my little girl, who still needs her Mami to fight for her.  I promise that I will, always, no matter what.


TWO. DAYS. WHAT?

Remember back when we started this countdown, and there were twenty-three days to go, and we all had roses in our cheeks and flowers in our hair, and life was carefree and simple?  Those were good times, weren't they?  Well guess what?  We don't have that kind of time now, and we don't want it.  We want to put on something other than pajamas and leave already.

countdown to ethiopia, 2 days

We've had a lot of help with a lot of things lately, and I feel so much better.  I feel like we can actually do this, can leave our house and come back with a whole extra person in tow and not arrive home to find that we've forgotten something very important.  Today is still intense, but we are setting ourselves up to be able to focus only on our family while we are in Ethiopia.  Of course we will still pop in to show off the baby--you know we can't help ourselves--but there will be little need to keep up with our lives on the internet.

With so many things checked off our to do list, I am starting to feel more excited than overwhelmed.  We are doing this.  We are getting on an airplane, and we are flying to our baby, and we are going to come home with a whole extra person in our family.  That is pretty amazing.

Our Give It Forward Recipient for June!

We are so happy to give our Give It Forward payment for June to Ekisa. Thank you all so much for donating to our Give It Forward fund and making a difference both for Elvie and for the people served by the charities we give to.  You are all awesome.

Without further ado, the receipt.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Oh, Dear, Where Did the Time Go?

With a whoosh, another day went flying by. I'll be burning the midnight oil tonight for sure. Because four days?  Is not a lot of days.  Time to stress eat some caramels and get some more stuff done.  Thank you, all of you, for pulling for us as we forge ahead.  Miss Elvie is waiting, and we will not be late.

countdown to ethiopia, 4 days

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Five Days

I'm in a mood. Wanted a particular thing to eat, had my mouth set for it, and it didn't happen. Worked hard all day after working hard all week, never getting a good night's sleep. Ate chips for dinner. (Which probably didn't help my mood.) Am having a pity party. Might have cake.  Five days to go, and I'm obsessed with a crib for the baby which we can't afford to buy yet. Eventually, yes, but not today. Nesting instinct: thwarted by budget. BAH HUMBUG.

countdown to ethiopia, 5 days

(Also I forgot to get Jarod a Father's Day present, but he forgot to wrap the thing I ordered for myself for Mother's Day, and in fact I believe it's still in a post office package stuffed between his dresser and the wall, so I'm going to call it even.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Friday Dispatch, Coming to You From Loungepantsville

What a week!  My mom and niece were in town from Tuesday morning until this afternoon, Jarod was downtown all week, including overnights, and Zinashi was keen on staying up as late as I did every night, making sure I knew she was loooooooonely.  No disrespect to our houseguests, but I am sincerely glad this week is over.

Because guess what?  We've got six days to go until we leave for Ethiopia, and I've got no shortage of things to do before we leave.

countdown to ethiopia, 6 days
Eep!  Six days!  That's less than a week!

Over on Being Pregnant this week, I've been looking forward as well as looking back, noting how far Zinashi has come and hoping the same for Elvie.  I've been exploring what it means to bring home a special needs baby and how we aim to protect our daughters' privacy.  Here's a little roundup of those posts if you haven't visited me over there already.

The Difference -- From One Home to Another
How Our First Adoption Led to Our Second
Preparing to Welcome Home a Baby With Special Needs
Adoption and Privacy: Protecting Our Daughters' Stories

This Sunday is Father's Day, so I also pulled together a little slideshow of our favorite father and his eldest daughter.  Pop over there to see the photos and read the sweet story of why it's titled the way it is.

Our Favorite Guy, Our Favorite Man

We'll be popping back in every day to update our countdown.  (And by we, I mean me, with photos of Zinashi, so that's two of us, right?) By the time the weekend is over, I'll have moved from less than a week ohmygoodness to help me I'm about to be a mother of two.  Oh, boy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

ONE WEEK! (!!!)

We leave in one week.  Life is crazy.  I will be so relieved to get on that plane.

countdown to ethiopia, 7 days (one week!)




Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Eight Days to Go

I'm pretty sure that you are familiar with our countdown by now, but we're still at it.  Eight days.  We have a LOT to get done in those eight days.

countdown to ethiopia, 8 days

For example, I need to beautify myself for family-of-four photos.


mom hair upgrade

Oh, wait!  I did that already!

On to the rest of the list...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Single Digits and Some Heartburn

It might just be the overly large brunch still talking, but I'm pretty sure I'm finally feeling the weight of this adoption.  Tums aren't going to help this; I'll need to just go scoop that baby up and love her to pieces.

countdown to ethiopia, 9 days
I tried to love Zinashi to pieces, but she's strong.  I just have to love her whole.

Nine days. HELLO.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Because I'm Not Busy Enough

All the best opportunities seem to be heading my way right now, right as I'm, well a bit pressed for time.  But I couldn't resist the invite to study French on Duolingo, could I?  Clearly the answer is no.  Now I get an email every evening at five o'clock, reminding me that learning a language takes daily practice.  I leave that sucker at the top of my inbox until I do a few lessons because you know what?  I want to learn French.  I might be exhausted in the morning, but my mind will be expanded!

I know what you're thinking.  I've gone nuts.  You're right.  I mean, who is ten days out from bringing home a baby with special medical needs and can actually sleep at night?  Me.  Well, when I'm not studying French or watching Mad Men, that is.  It's weird, or at least weird compared to my experience with Zinashi's adoption.  But you know what?  I'll take it.

countdown to ethiopia, 10 days

I've not spoken a lot about our hopes for Zinashi on the trip.  We hope that she feels some measure of peace.  We hope she doesn't feel awkward not knowing much of the language.  We hope, as we hoped before we knew this baby was coming so soon, to reconnect with her Ethiopian family.  I don't know what to say about that.  That it might be hard?  That it might be awkward?  That none of that matters if it is best for Zinashi?  I think all three of those are appropriate.  Zinashi's memories of her time in Ethiopia are slipping away, and I don't want another two years to pass before some of them can be revived.  I don't want another two years to pass before we make good on a promise that we made when we met her family the first time.  So we will walk through this, because it matters.  And sometimes I am scared, but mostly I understand that she did the hardest part before, coming to a new place with new people, and the least we can do for her is surrender ourselves to complication and discomfort.  The least we can do for her family is this as well; none of this was their fault either.

And then, selfishly, it's for me, too.  To see the hands that held her when she was small.  To hug the necks of the people whose names she still remembers. I want that.  I want it with all my heart.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Eleven!

Eleven days to go.  EEEE-LEHHHH-VENNNNNN.  When you draw it out like that, it sounds ominous.  But I feel fine about it.  Zinashi feels fine about it.  In fact, she's kind of over having to hold the sign for the countdown.  She wants to know how many days, but she does not want to show you how many days because she is too busy telling stories that make no sense.

countdown to ethiopia, 11 days

Oh, well.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

One Dozen Days (of FABULOUS)

Zinashi has been growing like a weed lately, and I'm pretty sure it's because of all the good growing food she's eating.  This is what she'll tell you, anyway, and if it's after dinner, she'll have you take a look at how well she did at filling her belly.  Magnificent!

such a magnificent belly

One week her leggings fit perfectly, and the next week she wore the very same pair, and they were more suitable for wading at the beach.  I am astonished sometimes to see the length of her.

get wild

She seems to have come through the worst of her struggle to control her world, and now she's left with just getting annoyed with me when I take multiple pictures of her in a row.  Because she's busy.  Froggy is cranky, and he needs to be rocked, and did she mention she is busy?  But how can I help myself?  I mean:

there's a cowgirl in my entryway

If you were me, what would you do?  You would take the photo, admit it.  You'd take this one, too, but she wouldn't be mad, because it's funny.

ohmygoodness

She is such a delight, even when she won't do us the favor of seeing her photo when she holds our countdown sign.

countdown to ethiopia, 12 days

One dozen, that's how many days we have left.  I am packing Zinashi's clothes, pulling out items in the next size up and letting her wear the highwater leggings and shorts inappropriate to the weather in the meantime.  It doesn't matter.  She looks fabulous regardless; don't you agree?

Choose Who Gets Our Give It Forward Payment for June!

It's that time again, already, to choose who gets our Give It Forward payment for June.  It was actually time yesterday, but I was confused about what day of the month it was.  In order to give you ample time to vote for who gets the payment, I'll extend voting to midnight on the 16th.

For those of you who are new to our blog and thus new to Give It Forward, what we are doing is raising money to get Elvie home, but we are treating it like a loan and paying it all back to charities, plus 10% interest out of our own pockets.  The 10% is matched, making each donation grow by 20% to help others.  By donating, you help bring Elvie home and help people in need.

Right now we are making monthly payments of $200, just as if it were a loan, and adding our 10% through the matching gift website.  So when you vote for an organization, you are choosing who gets $240 through Give It Forward.  Here are this month's choices:

We've featured Ekisa before, and we feel so strongly about the work they do that we are bringing them back for another round.  Where Ekisa works in Uganda, there are very few resources for children with special needs, and Ekisa is working to fill that gap.  Disabled persons are often stigmatized in Uganda, so they are making what they do count doubly by caring for the children as well as employing disabled adults.  What they do is simply amazing.

Where Zinashi is from in Ethiopia, many of the people are illiterate and have no chance for an education.  That's why building schools is close to our hearts, and Tesfa is doing just that with their 5 x 3 initiative.

While large organizations do a lot of good, sometimes the smaller ones make more of an impact because the operating expenses and red tape are not as extensive.  FOVC is making a difference for vulnerable people in Ethiopia, and their US staff is entirely made up of volunteers.  That means that every penny that's given goes to where help is needed.

It's a tough choice, but someone's got to make it.  Please vote and spread the word!





PS--I need to update our Give It Forward page to reflect the latest total amount given.  I am also behind on expressing gratitude to those who have given to us.  Please forgive me for getting behind--every single donation is very much appreciated, and you will eventually see an email from me in your inbox.  We are so grateful to all of you who have given to help get Elvie home.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Lucky Thirteen

We're having a pajama day.  Again.  I'm fairly certain that once Elvie is home, we'll be having pajama day five out of seven days of the week.  So really, we're just practicing!  We only have thirteen days left, so it makes sense that we should practice as much as possible while we still can.

countdown to ethiopia, 13 days

Going through an adoption the second time has brought up a lot of memories of Zinashi's adoption.  I've been retelling Zinashi's adoption story over on the Babble Being Pregnant blog, and it's been a great trip down memory lane.  I also realized that there are some details that I never told here, so I took the opportunity to round out the story a little more over there.  You can read the whole story from start to finish with these links:

Back to the Beginning
Ditching Our Pregnancy Plans
Full Steam Ahead
The Birth of Our Family

Now that I've got the opportunity to share things about adoption with a wider audience, I've been thinking of all the things I want others to know about adoption and all the things I was glad that someone told me before we brought Zinashi home.  Today at Being Pregnant, I posted five bits of knowledge that helped me immensely with the adjustment to being a new mom of a toddler.  Fellow adoptive parents, were there bits of advice you received that made all the difference?  Please share in the comments on my post at Being Pregnant.  And if you have some things you'd like shared about the adoptive experience so others can be better informed, please tell me!  I'd love to get more information out there both for families who are adopting or considering adopting and for people who simply want to understand the adoptive process better so they can be better support to those who are building their families this way.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Two Weeks. WHAT?!?

countdown to ethiopia, 14 days

Fourteen days.  This is happening.  In my wildest dreams, I didn't think we'd be traveling for our adoption in June, and I certainly didn't think that we'd be adopting a baby.  I was thinking maybe December, and it would be two-year-old.  All along I felt like our process would all happen in 2012, but I never ever expected it to happen so quickly.

We have finished all our doctor calls and preliminary planning for medical care.  We have bought the changing table at IKEA.  We have had the bassinet stroller parked in the bedroom for weeks now*.  So much is done.  I am so grateful.

We still have to buy diapers and wipes.  Order the few things off our Amazon registry that we need to have before Elvie gets here.  Tidy the house and get in touch with someone to give it a deep clean so that at least we start out fresh and clean and organized.  And we have to pack.

Whether we get everything done or not, in two weeks we'll be getting on an airplane.  I don't think I'll believe it until it is actually happening.

*We can't afford the crib we want yet, and it's on backorder anyway, so welcome to family life, Elvie!  You can sleep in this mobile sleeping device!  And if you're lucky, the cat who's claimed it for her own won't lie down directly on your face!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Every Day, I Am the Mom

Today is way better than yesterday.  First of all, we have internet back.  Hooray!

internet is BACK!
Zinashi supervised.  I'm pretty sure that made all the difference.


Second, power struggles have been minimal.  Part of the success is that she did want to have a better day today.  We talked about it before she went to sleep last night, and then again this morning.  That even when a whole day seems to have gone horribly wrong, it's okay, because you can wake up the next day and make better choices and have a better day. You might also get to have craft time as soon as you're out of bed.  I mean, if your mom is awesome and impulse purchased some craft items at IKEA.

crafty morning

We had a couple of, um, special moments, but for the most part, the day went smoothly.  I pulled out a couple of new parenting tricks, variations on the same old theme but different enough that she hasn't figured out a way to circumvent them when she gets really panicky.  Zinashi needs to know that, regardless of anything and everything, terrible behavior included, I am still her mom.  Being a mom means that I love her no matter what, that I believe that she is good at her core and confirm that to her daily, and that I can handle any problem that comes our way.  If the problem is that she is trying to feel safe by being in control of every person, situation, and pet that she can possibly control, then I need to be the grown up and show her that control is not what keeps you safe.  (This, actually, is a lesson a lot of us grown ups still need to learn.)  In fact, giving a five-year-old control of many things can be quite dangerous.  She need the security of knowing I'm in charge. She needs it desperately.  She deserves to be a kid, and to worry about things kids should worry about, like what to play with next and which funny face to make when telling one of her endless stories.  She needs to be free from the worry that if she can't control things, that something might happen to her family.  She needs to be free from the worry that I might stop taking care of her, so she needs to make sure she can still take care of herself.  She needs to be free from the worry that I might stop loving her because she doesn't do something right.  So every interaction that we have, I pepper with the same words:  I love you, all the time, every day, no matter what.  Whether things are going swell or heading straight down the toilet, she hears those words.  Out loud.  Up close.


She needs this now as much as ever, and she needs to hear me saying it to her baby sister as well.  We are a family.  All of us.  Forever.  In fifteen days, we will be on our way to make that happen.  That is a shockingly small number of days.  We'd better rest up.

countdown to ethiopia, 15 days

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Countdown Catchup

We don't have internet access at home right now.  It's annoying, but it's not the end of the world.  I like the coffee shop I walk to at the end of the day, and it turns out that I like getting work done somewhere that is not my house.  It also turns out that I like having work to do that is unrelated to suffering through the battle for control that is raging in our house right.  Which, again, is annoying, but not the end of the world.  I'd much rather work through the issue of who's in charge now as opposed to post Ethiopia.  Which is not to say that I've got rose-colored glasses on regarding Zinashi's adjustment once Elvie is with us, but she is learning a lot of lessons the hard way right now, and I doubt she'll forget anytime soon.  I do my best to keep it light, but oh, man is it ever hard to watch her dig herself deeper and deeper into a hole.  I won't lie to you; I have asked her more than once why she is trying to make life hard for herself.  Cliche mom lines: turns out they are just so darn appropriate sometimes.

We've gone through all our previous adoption training afresh for this adoption, and one thing stands out to me, which is the part of one training video in which the instructor says, "You should try to avoid power struggles as much as possible.  But if you do get into one, you need to win, and you need to do it quickly."  Unfortunately, quickly isn't possible with the world's most stubborn child, but I do win, every single time.  Who's in charge?  I am.  That's right.  Can I get a high five?  Or maybe a low five?  Probably low five is better since I'm too tired to hold my arm up for the high five.  And don't hit it too hard; I've already been kicked today.

Anyway.


We are behind on our countdown, aren't we?  Here you go:

countdown to ethiopia, 17 days
Seventeen days to go, and still not a morning person.  I really hope Elvie isn't a morning person either.  It would make life so much simpler.


You'd think that today went really well, based on this photo.  In fact, it started out going swimmingly.

countdown to ethiopia, 16 days
Sixteen days to get this level of cooperation and good mood to last all day.  Can we do it?  I hope so.


Today was a rough one, but we're going to make it.  In sixteen days, we'll be in the air, winging our way to Elvie.  If I wind up exhausted every single day, it won't matter.  I won't be able to sleep by then anyway.  What's the difference?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Because She Still Needs Both of Us

One of the main things that we want Zinashi to understand is that this is the last stop for her, that we are her family no matter what, that what happened before will not happen again.  We have worked hard on attachment, and we have worked hard to do our best to make her feel secure, but the truth is that some things can only be attained with time.  And just when I think that she is doing really well and feeling secure, she will remind us in some way that we are just not there yet, and maybe we're not as far along as we wish we were.

This morning, Zinashi was still sleeping pretty hard when Jarod got up to start getting ready to go to liturgy, and I was feeling a bit under the weather (or exhaustion?  if one can be "under" exhaustion), so I decided that I would just let her sleep and stay home with her myself.  Jarod came into the bedroom to kiss both of us good-bye, and as he walked out of the room and down the stairs, Zinashi started to stir.  I called Jarod back into the room and said, "Ababi is going to church, and you get to stay home and rest with me."  She immediately burst into tears.  A little gentle prodding revealed that she wanted to go with her Ababi.  Because of course she did; she sees me every single day, without fail, but Ababi is only here on evenings and weekends.

I find myself often trying to explain to people why we are homeschooling next year, and possibly for years to come if it goes well.  The bottom line is that it simply fits how we want to live our lives as a family, but what cemented our decision was Zinashi's continued need for our physical presence.  To rush her through getting ready in the morning, then send her off to school for six hours, then have to curtail her time with Jarod in the evening so she can get adequate rest will simply not work for her, at least not right now.  And I certainly couldn't see sending her off to school for the first time while we are all still adjusting to life with Elvie.

Her need for both of us is also why we are taking her to Ethiopia with us.  I always wanted her to be there for the big moment of meeting Elvie for the first time, but we weren't sure if it would be the right thing.  Did we want to fly home with two children, one of whom has significant medical needs and may need additional in flight monitoring?  What if one of us got sick?  But when we considered both our desire to have Zinashi there with us and the fact that she has not spent one night away from both of us yet, it seemed like a no-brainer to take her along.  And if one of us gets sick and needs help, well, isn't that what flight attendants are there for?  Furthermore, isn't it better to attend to Zinashi's attachment and security needs as opposed to having major regression while we are jet-lagged and trying to help Elvie adjust and grieve?  I think the answers here are clear.

And so, we are all three leaving for Ethiopia in eighteen days, so that we four can come home together, as a family.

countdown to ethiopia, 18 days

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hitting the Teens

You guys.  YOU GUYS.  We have nineteen days until we leave for Ethiopia.  That's, um, less than twenty days.  At least this is what my calculations tell me; I'm no math major, but I'm pretty sure I'm right.  This is unfathomable.

countdown to ethiopia, 19 days
Or maybe just plain crazy.


It really feels like I should be doing more packing and freaking out right now, but I can't seem to manage it.  I'd rather take a nap.  Doesn't that sound nice?  If only I had the time.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Was an English Major

When I was a kid and someone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say two things:  artist and author.  Back then, I had no idea that A) I really wasn't that great at art, and B) that someday there would be something called a blog that one could write professionally.  I've never been terribly ambitious, at least not in the traditional career sense of ambition, so I have a feeling that if I'd seen into the future and understood the blogging genre, I would have said, "Wait, I can do that in my pajamas? While eating chocolates?  In the middle of the night?  YES, PLEASE, THAT IS MY DREAM JOB."

Then real life hit, and there was all this talk of marketable skills.  I had two other majors in college before settling on English, which is also commonly known as the "Paper or plastic?" degree.  Some people do things with their degree straightaway, but most of us English majors do something else.  My something else was nannying.  I loved it, and I was good at it, and I truly believe that I was meant to do it professionally for the years that I pursued it.  The transition from that into motherhood has been easy and natural, and I am so grateful for all the skills I gained and relationships I forged during those years as a childcare professional.

Still, throughout the years of nannying, I never stopped writing.  I started my first blog in 2002, took it to a better platform in 2004, and started this blog in 2009 as we prepared to adopt for the first time.  To be honest, the most I hoped for on a professional level from this blogging endeavor was that I'd get enough page views to warrant making a little bit off of ads.  For me, blogging has always been about telling a story and making connections, and everything else is just icing on the cake.  I have been incredibly happy to make mothering my primary concern and to let thoughts of anything resembling an actual job fall away.  My life is busy and joyous and full, and on top of that, we are leaving for Ethiopia in twenty days.

countdown to ethiopia, 20 days

When people asked me what I wanted for this year, what my goals were, I said one thing, "To bring home our next baby."  And I meant that.  It is the only thing that makes the list of what 2012 is about for me.

But that doesn't mean that when opportunity knocks, I'm not going to answer and invite it right in, especially when it knocks in the form of a dream job.  Internet friends, I am pleased as punch to announce that I am writing for Babble's Being Pregnant blog.  You can read my first post by clicking here, and follow along every weekday as I post about what adoption is like for us as a family.  I will still be posting here, of course, but I'd be thrilled if you'd join me over there, too.

Happy weekend, internet friends.  Happy, happy weekend.
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