God's Child, Our Joy

An adoptive family's journey in faith and life


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Parenting: In the trenches

IMG_1488Here’s the truth…being a parent is HARD! I know this is nothing new. I know that so many parents come to this realization after finding themselves with one or more children and wonder, “what did I get myself into?” Parenting is not all flying kites, building sandcastles at the beach, baking cookies,  and sweet night time snuggles. It is calming your child when you made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when they only wanted jelly, it is asking your child for the 10th time to step away from the hot oven, it is finding your children hanging from the chandelier (yes, really!), it is screaming your child’s name as they run toward the street when you turn away for a fraction of a second, it is relentlessly putting an over tired child back in their room for the 20th time, it is still waking up in the middle of a night for a child 4 years after they have been “sleeping through the night,” it is sitting and letting them run circles or turning on the TV because you just don’t have the energy anymore, it is comforting your child when cliques start at preschool (really, already?), it is dinners thrown on the floor because it’s not what they want to eat, it is sitting up all night with sick children and then realizing you still have to make it through the next day…I could go on and on of course. Then of course there is everything you have to maintain a home and keep everyone dressed and fed: the endless laundry, the endless dishes, always having to think of what you’re making next for a healthy meal or snack, realizing only after you buy a new house how much yard work will be involved, putting toys away just so you are able to walk through a room, and that is of course the minimums. You rarely have a moment to yourself and for two introverts, that has become a source of resentment in a way. It makes finding quality time to spend as a couple nearly impossible. Then there’s the money…where does it go?! We went from a two income, two person family to a one income (mine is so negligible), four person family in a matter of 15 months. To maintain sanity, we eat out far more than we should. We bought a mini van to fit this family of 4 better for our long road trips to see family. We bought and moved to a bigger house and a much better school district…for the kids. We send them to preschool, which is of course more expensive down in this nicer area of town. The money stress is real. There’s always more too, whether it be a sick pet, a new medical diagnosis, impending surgery, new work obligations, etc, it never ends.

You may be thinking to yourself (since most of you are parents!), this is nothing new, we know this and deal with it every day. Here’s the kicker. I feel extremely guilty. We put so much work into becoming parents. We went through so much to adopt these two wonderful, adorable, smart, funny children. I don’t feel I have the right to feel overwhelmed or especially resentful. I should feel thankful and gracious that we have been given the gift to be these children’s parents. We were chosen, not only by God, but by a birth mother that loved them so much she knew she wanted the best for them and she wasn’t going to be able to provide that. I feel everyday that I just need to buck up and embrace the life I have been given…the life I wanted!…but it is sooo hard.  I chose to be a stay at home mom and I will never regret that decision, but I feel like I have lost a piece of myself. We have both struggled with depression off and on, trying to keep everything going and ultimately provide the most love and most opportunities we can for our children.

But, as Dory says, we “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” and try to keep our heads above water. The saving grace…our two beautiful children. That’s right, the thing that ultimately causes all the stress and struggles, they are the reason we keep going. It’s the joy on their faces when they see the beach for the first time. It’s the silly faces and dances they make up for you. It’s the “I love you” called out to you from their bedroom after you have tucked them in for the 5th time. It’s the cuddles and hugs. It’s the amazement on their faces when they learn something new. It’s the amazingly out of tune, but oh so cute, singing of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”. So, here it is…parenting is hard, so very, very hard…BUT…parenting is the most rewarding job I will ever do and I love this family we have created. I love Scott even more than ever as we struggle through and support each other in this new stage of life together. There will be some days that are harder than others, but we must try to wake up each morning and try again. Here’s to all the other parents struggling out there. Please know you’re not alone and please know that it doesn’t mean you don’t love your children. If you find yourself struggling more days than not, please seek help. We all need a little help now and then, and your children and family deserve the best you that you can be.

 

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Life in Full Swing


HELLO! As I look back to the last post I realize that it has been 17 months since our last post…where has the time gone?!? Here are a few things that have happened since we left you last:

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We Moved! – About the time of the last post, we realized that we would most likely send the kids to public school…then quickly realized that we would need to move to a better school district. We also realized that Eva could not bum on our bedroom floor every time Grandma and Grandpa came to visit, so a 4th bedroom became a must. We narrowed down our our preferred school districts, started going to open houses, and contacted a realtor. We put our house on the market March 5, 2014. We closed on our new house, June 12, 2015 and on our old house July 2, 2015. There were a few bumps along the way…and of course it was stressful…but we are incredibly happy in our new house! [Maybe Scott will update you all on the process some day when he has time…which may be in 15 years.]

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Quinton – Our twelve year old dog, Quinton, did not seem to handle the move well. He started throwing up on almost a daily basis and began losing weight. We finally took him to the vet (a new one because Scott waited 5 hours at our old vet without being seen) in August 2015. After blood work and an x-ray, it was decided to do exploratory surgery. They found that Quinton had swallowed the tip of a corn cob! After an extremely difficult post-op recovery that included another $1000 and 3 trips to the emergency vet, he was back to his old self. We noticed we was putting the weight back on a little too well and was always hungry. By December he had quite a large belly. In January he bit me while I was trying to wrestle some garbage away from him. Off to the vet we went, where he was diagnosed with Cushings Disease. He is much better with his twice daily med and we hope he has a few more good years in him.

Another baby?! – In February of 2015, we received the news that Eva & Eli’s birthmom was pregnant again. She had a new boyfriend that seemed serious, and a job. Her plan was to parent. Unfortunately, things started to spiral out of control again…she had a nasty break up and lost her job. She even had her utilities shut off for a while. In August we received a call from the agency, birthmom is considering adoption again. Once again, Scott got the call…thank God! He shared the news with me and I think I muttered the “F” word a few times. Keep in mind, this is August when we are also dealing with all of Quinton’s medical issues. We started contemplating if we were ready to welcome another child into our lives in October…so we made a list of questions and emailed it to the agency. Scott received another call…we weren’t being considered, birthmom felt we were dealing with too much already. Our hearts sunk…apparently we were ready to welcome another child. We took the kids to the hospital to meet the new baby in October and a few weeks later we got a call from our social worker…the new adoptive family wanted our contact information! We have met them for dinner and they are wonderful. We are so happy to be able to make them a part of our extended family.


 Eva – Eva turned 4 in December. She is a joy. She is smart, inquisitive, loving (she’s my little cuddle-bug!), empathetic, sensitive, friendly, and happy (most of the time), although she has still lived up to her nickname, Eva the Diva. She likes drawing, dancing, singing, Legos, Doc McStuffins, My Little Pony, Barbies, playing outside, chocolate milk, and antagonizing her little brother (and the next moment she’s hugging him). She goes to preschool 4 days a week, takes gymnastics still, and takes ballet (or creative movement at this stage!). I can’t believe how she has grown. These years really do go by so fast. Those huge smiles have stayed with her through the years and they warm my heart.


 Eli – Eli will be 3 in two weeks. You will often hear me say, “He is all boy!” and yet he also dresses up in princess gowns and plays Barbies 🙂 He is smart, outgoing, funny (that boy can sure make you laugh!), energetic, opinionated, clumsy, and just fun to be around. His facial expressions crack me up! He likes dinosaurs, trains, Paw Patrol, music, dancing, reading, playing outside, jumping and climbing, very few foods, and antagonizing his sister right back. He goes to preschool 3 days a week (we tried 2, but he complained every time we dropped Eva off and didn’t drop him off too!) and take gymnastics. He keeps asking to take ballet with Eva 😛  Eli is no longer a baby, but he will always be my baby boy. He is not a hugger or cuddler, but that just makes his hugs all the more special.

Scott – Scott continues to work and then come home to work some more (aka being a parent). He helps out so much around here and we really share the load. Like most parents, trying to balance work, family, couple, and individual time leaves one severely sleep deprived. Hence, the reason this blog has gone un-updated as long as it has. The kids and I got him a basketball hoop for his birthday, and he finds it to be a great stress reliever (when the kids aren’t stealing the ball and playing keep away!).

Steph – I am stretched in a number of ways. My saving grace is the time the kids are in preschool and the fact I can still get them down for at least a quiet time most afternoons. I work two mornings a week doing the choir at the school I used to work at, I own a crafting business on Etsy and occasionally do craft fairs, I free lance as a musician playing gigs here and there (hasn’t been much lately), play in a volunteer symphony, am in the church choir, and take adult ballet for fun and fitness. This usually means I “go to work” in the evenings. I often sit back and realize that it’s way too much and I need to focus on being a mom and wife, but I’m afraid I will lose my identity…I am even considering if it’s time to go back to work…but that’s a post for another time! No matter what, I love my kids and family. I love that I have been able to take the time to be with them, and I don’t regret a moment of that. On top of all this, I was finally diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome…again, best to save for another post.

Well, that’s our last 17 months in a nutshell. I’m sure I have left something out, but it’s not coming to mind right now. Time marches on and we are just trying to hang on for the ride!