National Adoption Month

This month is national adoption month, it’s also the anniversary month of the birth of our amazing daughter who was placed in our arms, entirely coincidentally, during Adoption Month 2007.

I’ve had people tell me how hard it is to adopt. The approval process is a nightmare of paperwork, interviews, excitement, heartbreak, and waiting. It takes creative financing – particularly if you go through an agency or private adoption. Oversees adoption is even more so.

I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And for me, the work, money, and “intrusion of my privacy,” was far better than the idea of fertility treatments. The wait was far more “tolerable” and certain than “waiting to get pregnant.”

I’ve heard that “abortion means less children to adopt.” I cry bullshit. I means less available babies to adopt – which, consequently are more expensive to adopt, because less state funding is available. Adopting through the foster program is far less expensive, and there are plenty of children to adopt – plenty in need of good homes and loving parents. And until they are all adopted and there truly are no children left without good homes, I don’t want to hear abortion and availability of adoptable children in the same sentence again.

I strongly advocate adoption, but only with proper training and preparation. Prepare to have your heart broken by a child whose heart is already in a million pieces.

All of the excuses for not being able to adopt? I can refute them all. It’s about prioritizing what you spend your time, money, and effort on. Anyone can adopt if they really want to. But not everyone should. Parenting is hard. Adoption is harder.

But most days it’s absolutely worth it.

 

-Nean

I’m Fine… Really

So, I haven’t written in ages. Not really. There’s been too much in my life that I can’t share online for reasons of legal nature, personal nature, or just because all sharing does is invite questions I can’t answer for those aforementioned reasons. Sometimes it’s self-defense, and sometimes it’s “to protect the innocent.” Hence the ending of my “Laughing at the Moon” blog several years ago.

But, because people have actually expressed that they miss reading my writing, and because I’m often asked, yes, I’m fine. Really, I am. Life’s been rough and there have been a lot of major life changes over the past year alone, but mostly, life is good. So here is what I can and will tell you – and feel free to ask questions, but know that I may or may not be able to answer them:

We’re moving. We are very excited about it. The where and why has nothing at all to do with you, the reader of this musing. Unless I have specifically verbalized that it has something to do with you, it doesn’t. There are exactly 8 people that this move has anything at all to do with. And unless you are one of those 8 who will be living in the new house, you can rest assured that we are not running away from you, avoiding you, or otherwise allowing you to impact this decision to move. We’re moving because we feel that this is what is best for us and our family at this time in our lives. There has been much prayer, much contemplation, and much discussion with people we trust to counsel us in this decision. We are aware of the challenges we may be facing here, and we’ve chosen to embrace them for the greater good.

I struggle with my inner demons. I have been extremely close to losing people I love desperately over the past year to accidents and/or their own emotional struggles. I’ve been fighting physical illness as well as emotional illness in my own life, as well as in the lives of many people I love. And frankly, I’m exhausted. A simple cold virus has had me down for the better part of the past month. And prior to that, migraines and other nasty side effects, triggered by hormonal imbalances that I have been trying (and thus far failing) to correct through med changes. I’ve changed meds at least once a month for the past 6-8 months, and I’m not done. And, frankly, the hell that med changes put one’s body and emotions through is not for the weak of heart.

My daughter is also looking for the right meds – and therapy – for several conditions that she is dealing with. I love my daughter – adore her even. Most days, however, she is a trigger to my own disorders and feelings of inadequacy. And most days I’ve run an emotional marathon with her before she is even on the bus at 7:40am. And then… I have to start my day. And some days, I just don’t have it left in me to do that.

As a result, I struggle with social events. I want desperately to go out and do something and be with people. I don’t, however, feel “safe” in large groups. Even if it’s people I know and love. I don’t have the emotional energy most of the time (or often the physical energy) to care for myself in large groups. Often, I even struggle to hang out with people one-on-one if I feel the least bit as if I’m being “evaluated on my performance” or assigned motivations for the things I do and say. In other words, I have to feel utterly safe with you, knowing you care deeply about me and my people, respect my personal limitations and boundaries, and accept me for who I am, whether you agree or not with who that person is.

I won’t remember the “last time” we were together. I’ll remember the phenomenal times – whether they are negatively so or positively so. As someone with a bipolar disorder, there are no real in-betweens. And that’s not something I know how to explain. I’m not trying to leave you out of anything… I’m just trying to survive the day, same as most people I know.

 

– Nean

Baby Whisperer

I seem to be suddenly surrounded by friends with/having babies. I’m not complaining. I LOVE them. And given that we’ve decided we’re done, I have to get my baby fix somewhere. So, I have my special babies in my life (and at least one more on the way – SQUEEEE!!!) – babies I spoil and pamper and love all over (and then return to their parents when I’m “done”).

And sometimes it makes me feel guilty. Because, I’d rather spend all day with a baby than with my own kids. At nearly 4 and nearly 8, they don’t snuggle as well. Zoe can’t sit still enough and I always end up being a jungle gym. Dante has always been my snuggler – and very good at it – but he’s hit that elementary “only on my terms mom” phase. But babies…

My friend calls me the Baby Whisperer. I seem to have a calming effect on babies –  ironic given my consistently high stress levels, but they seem to have a similar effect on me. When her daughter refuses to stop screaming, I take her. Often, she snuggles into my arms, puts her head on my shoulder, and falls asleep. Pure heaven for both of us.

I detest the age Zoe is in now. I hated when Dante was there as well. It’s that preschool age, where we think we know how to use the potty until we decide we don’t, and where we have a mind of our own and want to do it ourselves but without the common sense or dexterity/strength to do it by ourselves. Whining, tantrums, and “accidents” are all crap I can’t handle (word choice intentional). I’m living for the day she hits kindergarten, and she’s going to preschool five mornings a week this fall because I need it as much as she does.

Dante’s in a better stage. A place where I can relate to him on a more logical level. He’s also going to brick and mortar in the fall. We need a break from each other too… and he needs to be with friends his own age. We have fun, do projects, talk, joke, laugh, and play… but he has always lived in an adult world. He needs to remember how to be a kid.

So… my babies are growing up. Some days too fast and I miss that early snuggly-cuddly stage. Some days I am impatient with the stage they’re in. Regardless of it all, they’re still my babies and I still snuggle as much as they let me.

And in the meantime, I’ll borrow my friends’ babies, and enjoy a few quiet fall mornings when I send my own kids back to school.