Tag Archives: Adoption Transition

Birthday Wishes

Today is my birthday.  I thought I would be happy, but I’ve awakened to a bit of the blues today.  They started sometime yesterday and have just gotten worse every few hours.  I’m struggling with me issues today.  I’m sure it’s all normal, and I’m hoping we blow through today so I can get on with it.

I don’t feel like I’m going to get to do what I want to do for my birthday and it doesn’t feel very good having to nurture the new center of my universe today.  I hate that that sounds so selfish and narcissistic.  I hate that it sounds like I don’t really want to share the day with my daughter.  I hate that I have anxiety about how this day will turn out because things feel so ridiculously unpredictable.  I wish I didn’t feel this way, and I’m terribly sad that I do.  #kickingmyselfwhileimdown

And I got email spam from a faux funeral home this morning.  Yeah, no kidding #41isthenew21

Hope has already given me two drama free days.   That’s right—no meltdowns since the epic, “No, The Furry One is not Kujo” confrontation.  There’s been no back talk.  There’s been no foot dragging on chores.  There’s been compliance.  There’s been giggling.   There’s been sweetness and goodness, and on a trip to the library where we sat for an hour while we read magazines, I looked over at her and thought, “This is so nice.”  Later she read me two books by Shel Silverstein.  I hate Shel Silvertein, by the way, but I loved that she wanted to bond by reading aloud to me.  We were happy.

And as much as I lived in the moments of the last two days; I can’t help feeling like I know I’m just borrowing time from six months from now.  Tomorrow school for Hope starts in earnest.  We’ve got in-take with the new therapist on Wednesday.  Thursday a school orientation program and Friday we head south for one of my best friends’ wedding.   It’s a bit closer to what a “real” week might look like for us in terms of scheduling.  And I’m anxious scared.

And I’m scared that things will fall apart today.  All I want is to go to church, go to a nice brunch, maybe sneak off to the gym for an hour and cook for a few hours with my girl.  But after years of seeing mom’s slug through birthdays, Mother’s Day, and other holidays as the low priority, I know that my expectations of being seen and heard today by Hope are pretty low.  Hope is not yet able to devote capacity to other things besides surviving and adjusting, and I can see how much energy that’s taking.  And I really don’t expect anything more from her right now.  She’s struggling; several friends back home have stopped taking her calls, and one has apparently blocked our phone number.  Although she didn’t meltdown, I can tell she’s having a very hard time with how her friends back in WA are handling her move.

So, I’m scared that the pins and needles reprieve that I’ve enjoyed for the last two days will end today.  I’m fearful of the feelings of isolation that come with a meltdown; those feelings are the worst.  It’s bad enough that you are dealing in the moment with something rotten, then it’s almost like you feel shame for the whole mess and you can’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t couldn’t dare breathe a word about how really rotten it all is to anyone.  I’m sad because the anxiety about the inevitable reminds me of the pieces of my identity that I’ve had to set down, while I’ll build my family and try to shore it up into something strong and amazing.  I’ve seen glimpses of that reality, but it also feels a bit like a mirage at the moment.

So today we will go to church and a nice brunch might turn into strawberry poptarts.  I will go workout, because I absolutely emotionally and physically need to, and we will cook.  But I won’t expect another smooth day.  I’ll let the universe surprise me.  I’ll try not to cry both happy and sad tears because they upset Hope so; she hates it when I cry.  I typically start crying the moment we walk into church because the emotional release is so great.   I’ll probably need to take something to keep that from happening today.

So this is my version of adoptive motherhood on my 41st birthday, my first birthday with Hope.  Wishing, hoping, praying for a drama-free day with absolutely no effing expectation that it’s going to happen.  Just trying to be thankful for the two early birthday freebies I’ve enjoyed, and secretly praying it’s the beginning of a pattern.


It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…No it’s Hope!

I arrived minutes before she did.  I had barely taken a seat on the oversized sofa, when she came in.  She had on a hoodie with the hood pulled low.  She peeped out and slid the hood back and slowly smiled.  I saw tears in her eyes and I started to tear up.  I said hello and asked if I could hug her.  She stretched her arms, and I stretched mine.

That hug was like finding a piece of me that I never knew I was supposed to have but being so happy that I found it.

We both admitted to being nervous, especially with everyone standing/sitting around grinning at us and watching every little first that we had.  We made plans, and the team said, why don’t you take her tonight?  A day early?

Oh yeah!

We picked up a weekend bag for her; picked up a few grocery snacks, got a takeout pizza and a red box movie.  The movie sucked but we had a nice low key first evening.

I gave her some yummy smelling things from Bath and Body Works and as I draft this blog post I think I’ve heard her spritz her new body spray no less than 28 times.  She just denied it.  The whole hotel suite smells like Moonlit Path, and all I can do is sit here, grin and pop some more allergy meds.

I’ve learned a lot about my daughter today.  She frets about money in ways that seem like she’s never had any financial security.  She misses her father, but thinks he would be happy about this adoption.  She has too many friends who are also waiting for forever families.  She likes green apples, green grapes and hates blue cheese unless it is paired with contrasting flavors.  She has a palate that is eager to be expanded.

I am deliriously exhausted, barely blinking my way through Scandal, which I swore last season would be my last Gladiator chasing set of months.  Two hours of sleep last night and a cat nap on the flight.  I am tired.

But I just tucked Hope in and kissed her forehead before retiring to my sofa bed.

Yeah, super, super day.

When a Week Seems Like a Year

I fly out to see Hope in 5 days.  Seems like forever.

This week I’m traveling for work and cramming in dissertation interviews so that I can keep this project moving.  It has been exhausting.  I’ve conducted 4 interviews this week and I’ve got another 6 before I leave to see Hope.  Lots of prep work, note taking and synopsis writing…late nights writing and early morning writing.  Actually, this dissertation thing sucks.  It really is a means to an end.  I enjoyed most of the coursework, as much as anyone enjoys the rigid discipline that is required to slug two-plus years of course work while working full time.  I made lifelong friends and colleagues and learned a lot both about my area of focus and myself.  I love my dissertation topic, but honestly, I cannot be more over this stupid exercise of demonstrating my capacity to do research.  I just need to get it done.  Onward and upward.

Meanwhile, Hope got the photo book that I sent her and apparently loved it.  She is so excited about her new life with me, that she showed the book to her friends at school.  Wow!  I am blown away and delighted that she is so excited!  I have no idea how a kid goes to school and says, “Look at the book some chick who wants to be my mom sent me about what my life might be like if I go to live with her.”  Is that even how the conversation goes?  How does a pre-teen even go about telling her schoolmates that she’s waiting for a forever home?  I have a hard time trying to figure out how I might have shared that with my friends back in the day.  My Hope is a brave girl.

She did raise the issue of timing…”So, my friend asked if I was going to go back with you after next week?”  It wasn’t an anxious inquiry, more like how long do I have to wait and what kind of timeline do I have to say goodbye.  We all need time to get our lives in order right?  I know I do.

She continues to give me peeks into her life and just when I think my heart can’t melt more, I find yet another smushy spot.  So, she likes two different boys in her class, just a little puppy love crush.  I love that she told me and actually didn’t seem to freak out when I asked questions about her crush.  I hope that she will continue to share those things with me.  I hope I can continue to earn her trust.

I’m still working on ideas for her room and pulling things together for her look book.  A dear colleague I had some quality time with during this week’s travels inspired me to include a pet fish in the book. Hope has asked if maybe one day she could have a dog of her own, but I can only have one furry beast at a time, so a fish has emerged as a new option. Dr. Beach has the coolest fish!!  She’s taught him to do tricks!!!!   I had no idea that fish could be taught to do tricks!  I’m starting to build a registry for Hope’s arrival and the R2 Fish School Fish Training Kit is so going on that registry!

So, it’s just a matter of days before I come face to face with my beautiful Hope.  I have so much to do to get ready, but I know the minute I see her that first time, nothing else will matter.

Artsy Gifts, Decorating and Really Long Books

Hope called me on Saturday night. Have I mentioned that I adore this kid?  She told me that she was creating some artwork for me.  My creative, right-brained girl said she wanted to make me something, and in that moment I learned another life lesson about generosity and grace.   During our conversation on Saturday I started to get a better sense of how few/little material things she’s had over her young life, how financial instability has followed her and yet Hope still has this spirit of heartfelt giving.  I’m so honored that she wants to create something just for me.

We are both counting the days until we meet in person.  We are now down until 10 days, and it seems like an eternity.

In the meantime, I’m nearly done with the analysis from the first phase of my dissertation, and phase two is coming together surprisingly well.  Writing…there’s lots of interviewing and writing these days.

And there’s decorating!!  Hope gave me a list of her favorite colors and asked if she could have a pink room with purple polka dots.  Sure, that sounds fun!  Team ABM is on it!  My girl likes blue, pink, purple, and florescent yellow. So, this weekend my mom (Grammy), my aunt and I trucked up to the local Ikea to look around, get some ideas and purchase a desk for Hope’s room.  The desk is such a fantastic find and will be a lovely pop of yellow in a corner of her room; let us not forget a matching chair!


I’m making her a “look book” to flip through during my visit.  She can pick out things for her room so I can get a better sense of what she likes and give her some say in what the final product will be.

My Amazon delivery of the Inkheart trilogy arrived today.  I love that the teen set loves to read all this great literature, but seriously when did teen books regularly get to be more than 500 pages?  As a fairly concise writer, I’m convinced that there must be unnecessary detail, dialogue and just…words…in these books to drag them out that long!  I am hoping to get the first book read by next week and to study the online synopsis for book two before I see Hope next week.  I’m traveling for work this week, so I’m hoping to get some reading done on all the planes, trains and automobiles!

Just 10 more days!

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