Thursday, April 24, 2014

Don't hog your journey.

Everyone has something in their journey worth sharing.  Something that would help someone deepen their understanding of a friends plight, something that would change an opinion, something that would open up a new door for someone else, something, something, something.

I'm who I am today for so many reasons--and besides my incredible parents--one of the most important is because I've had people walk along side me and share their journeys with me.  Journeys that, at the time might have seemed to be un-relatable, but eye opening all the same, and journeys that helped me think differently and decide to act differently because someone close to me was willing to share their experiences with me.  They didn't hog their journey all to themselves for fear of judgment, misconception, fright, or guardedness.

I think that's the difference (and arguably both good and bad) between this generation and ones that have come before us.  I remember when Chris and I were walking the road of infertility I told my mom that while it was a hard road, it was one with many people along the way who'd experienced it too--always ready to lend a kind word, an ear to listen to me vent, or a helpful direction to head in.  She expressed that she didn't think infertility had been as prevalent when she was having kids back in the late seventies/early eighties…..or maybe…..she added……people just didn't talk about it.

A-ha.  I think that's it.  I think people 'hogged their journeys' a little more.  It's hard for me to understand why……after all, I'm a product of the (and generally embrace the mantra) "let's share everything" generation.  I can't imagine trying to get pregnant for five years with no one really knowing, but instead wondering behind closed doors, "why Chris and Maggie weren't having kids." It makes me frustrated for women thirty, forty, fifty years ago that didn't feel like they had a wide-spread support system, a sister-hood, a camaraderie with others dealing with the same issues; that it might have been considered taboo to talk openly about something so near and dear to most women.

Even five years ago when Chris and I were deep into our first adoption there wasn't as much sharing.  Facebook pages and blogs and community groups and Instagram feeds have exploded recently in support of various causes and herald the importance of not 'hogging your journey' but putting it out there.  Letting others learn from it, helping others feel like they're not alone and that the feelings you're experiencing are normal and there are people who are now on the other side of them and they can help you get there too.  I consider it a privilege to have access to those resources.  They are personal and honest and raw compared to the clinical, sometimes cold, and often impersonal feel of just seeking advice from a book, a medical professional, or a therapist.

When I need real advice.....really real advice, I want to talk to other moms involved in domestic adoptions who have experienced the same things I've experienced and can speak to them in unfiltered and in totally honest ways.  And I want to do that too.....for other people.  I don't want to 'hog my journey.'

Because here's the thing, in not keeping my journey to putting it out there....I might be advocating for adoption and helping someone else come to a realization....but I'm also getting a lot of encouragement, wisdom, things to think about, and camaraderie from those who respond to my journey. 

When I shared that we were set to adopt again last week--the responses were so encouraging, so excited, so hopeful, and so affirming.  And not that we needed those things to keep going--but as in anything you embark on that is scary and unknown--it's nice to feel like you have people in your corner. 

And we all have corners we need people to be in with us.  So let them.  Invite them in.  You'll be amazed, when you do, at how many corners we all share, and how much we can brighten them up when we're all in them together.

Again, thanks for the amazingly kind words last week…..for the encouragement and the excitement!  We're happy to share this journey with you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

There was this day back in September.......

September 17th to be exact.

It wasn't one of my Tuesday's to work so I dropped Georgia off at pre-school and drove Jefferson street.  There are two important things on Jefferson.

St. Mary's hospital, where Georgia was born and....
Catholic Charities,

our adoption agency.

I went to the latter.

And I met with a social worker about starting the adoption process for a second child.  Yes. Yes I did.

Chris and I decided last spring that we'd table adoption talk and putting pressure on ourselves to make a decision until the fall (we kind of always follow that pattern I guess).  Then of course, like it always does, fall crept up on us.  We didn't feel peace with saying we were done with kids.  We didn't feel peace saying we wanted more kids.  We didn't feel peace.

Last time we felt like that we started the adoption process one step at a time.  So that's what we decided to do this time too.  One. Step. At. A. Time.

Our social worker assured me that was a perfectly healthy way to go about it.  She'd done the same thing.

So I sat in that waiting room...........

And I took a picture to document it.  I promise I wasn't angry.  Just scared.

And my meeting went well.  And I walked out of there with all the paper-work that I needed to get this done and the assurance that a second adoption would be much less paper-work and "we could pretty much have your profile ready to show potential parents in less than a month."

And cue the nausea.

I took that paper work and stared at it for a week.  And Chris and I had lots of conversations that never got finished because we didn't know how to finish them.

One step at a time.

The next Tuesday I dropped our medical clearance paper-work off at the doctor's.

And then I started asking God for signs that we should do this.  Even though I'm not a big 'need a sign person.'

Whatever.  Who isn't a 'need a sign person'?

And that day this article from Adoptive Families screamed into my inbox totally unsolicited.  And an hour later this post showed up in my Facebook feed from a kids website here in town.

And then of course there was just the nagging feeling that wouldn't go away that maybe, just maybe, we should do this.

But still we waited a bit.  Chris got a new job, things were crazy for me at my job, Christmas was coming (in about a month and a half--but still….it seemed like a good excuse to stall), and we were……..scared.  Scared of doing it all over again.  And by "it" I mean it all.  A newborn, adoption, meeting another family, re-defining our own family, and in the midst of it all thinking about how this would and could affect Georgia….a factor that we didn't have to consider the first time around.  And when you're adopting as the way to add to your family there are a lot more moving parts that your oldest will be exposed to--moving parts that can feel scary.

But in January we told our social worker, 'let's get this going.' She came out and updated our home-study, we got fingerprinted (again), we answered essay questions, and I created another profile book.

And today….I turned it in!

And we are officially on the waiting list as prospective adoptive parents….for a second time.

And we are just so excited.
To see what is before us, how this will change us, how this will grow our little girl who is absolutely ready to be a big sister, and what adoption will be like the second time around.

We know more about adoption now… ignorance is bliss doesn't apply anymore……I suppose.  We're concerned that maybe we won't get to have as open of an adoption this time as we do with Georgia's birth mom…..but maybe we will….hopefully we will.  We worry that we'll have to wait a long time compared to Georgia's adoption--where we didn't wait at all……but maybe we won't.  There is no typical in adoption so we have to pretend that it's the first time a little bit.

I'll keep you updated here and there when there's something to update and just like the first time we did this and the years that have followed I love to answer questions about and talk about adoption--so never hesitate to ask something if you're curious.

Thanks for being excited with us!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Palm Springs.

Chris and I headed to Palm Springs for four days this week.  Such an amazing little city; from the heat, to the mountains, to the perfectly preserved sixties architecture, to the colors everywhere, to the views, to the……everything.  We had an amazing time and I think I could get excited about going back to California just about anyday!
I'm addicted to searching the travel sites for deals at unique hotels…..the Saguaro did not disappoint.  It's a remodeled Holiday Inn from long ago and it's just so pretty!
We drove up to Joshua Tree National Park for the morning one day.  My parents made sure we always stopped at any National Park we were within a few hours of growing up and thankfully Chris is on-board with that plan too.  It's probably the most breath-taking national park I've been in yet.  The rocks look like they're from a movie set, the views are perfection, the trails are easy to maneuver, and the landscape is my favorite…...
On our last night we had dinner reservations at a really nice place, but at the last minute I asked Chris if he'd ever heard of this weird place in the desert about ninety minutes from our hotel called Salvation Mountain.  He laughed and said, 'Yeah--oddly enough--I noticed that the creator of it died about a month ago and pictures of it were all over Instagram.  It looks crazy."

"Wanna go?" I asked.

I knew it was in the middle of no-where.  According to Yelp, it was indeed crazy, kind of scary to drive to, in the middle of no-where (mmmm….horror movie nowhere), and basically into Mexico, but not-to-be-missed if you had it in you.  It's being heralded as the largest outdoor folk-art installation in America and with the recent death of the artist, various groups are trying hard to find ways to preserve it.

We cancelled our reservations, got food at a drive-thru and headed out. Such a fun adventure!  When we made it to border patrol we knew it was true….it was out there.   As we were getting closer we were sure we'd missed it……we hadn't passed another car for miles on a two lane road out into the desert and then…..we came upon random groupings of trailers, bombed out buildings, meandering locals, stray animals, and a small little sign that indicated we were at least in the right "city." We drove a little more.  Chris looked at me with that look that said, "Dude….we need to turn around."

And then, around a bend there it was.  This incredible fifty foot man-made adobe clay mountain painted the most vibrant colors rising out of the most desolate desert.
The artist, Leonard Knight, built this as a tribute to God.  It is painted with Bible verses, flowers, a yellow brick road, and trees.  He built little grottos and a maze of rooms off to one side that are full of  relics and pictures.  
Currently, you can climb all over it.  However, I'm guessing that if it gets more popular that will end, sadly.  It's pretty slippery, made of clay and straw, and it's a mystery what actually makes the "mountain."  
There are a few trailers camped at the site that I assume are people who are now taking care of Leonard's work.  They use donated paint (they encourage you to bring a gallon out there with you) and make repairs as needed.  We didn't see any of them while we were there--but I could hear them talking--and I assume making sure that this work of art was being treated with care.
If you're ever anywhere near Palm Springs and you appreciate folk art and off-the-beaten-path destinations this is a must-do….no matter what your beliefs are.  It's an amazing piece of America with an incredible air of mystery about it.

I'm so thankful for a husband that likes to do crazy stuff like this.  Heading out to see it ranks right up there with some of the most fun we've had together.

Thanks for such a fun week Palm Springs!  You know how to have a good time!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Powder Room Mini Makeover

We've lived in our house a bit over a year now and the rooms are coming together, I'm figuring out where I want stuff, what I want to do, and how much money I want to spend.  I have this little 1/2 bath, or we could call it a powder room to sound extra crazy, off my mudroom and I really wanted to put bold wall paper in it.

I ordered some, it came wrinkled and the company told me it's a common problem.  I ordered some more, it was old school paper that I had to paste myself; not having that. I found some more I liked; it cost $400 for one 5x10 wall--not happening.  So in the meantime while I hunt down something I love and basically puts itself up I ordered some removable decals from Etsy for about $30.

Before………oh so inspiring.

Going up--it literally took me about 20 minutes.  I'd step back after a few, fix crooked ones, change the places of a few to fill in gaps, and not lose it (which I'm sure would have happened with wall-paper).

After.  It's a pretty simple transformation, and will do just fine for a while.
Also--it's really hard to take nice pictures when a toilet is involved.

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