Wednesday, October 30, 2013

List Maker, List Maker, Make me a List...

Are you a list maker?

I am.

My mother is a list maker.

My dad's mother is a list maker.

I come by it all kinds of naturally.

I like making lists.  I LOVE scratching things off lists.  What if I do something that isn't on my beloved list?  I add it to the list just so I can scratch it off.  Yep.  I'm THAT kind of person.

Here is my list for all things related to moving:

The point is not for you to read every line item(sorry it's a crappy picture quality).  The point is for you to see the number of things on the list.  There are several (understatement).  And I know there are several more (another understatement) things that need to be added to the monster "To Do" list prior to us moving.

For some reason, when I start to get overwhelmed about an upcoming thing, I revert back to paper.  There are millions of apps that would probably work well at managing my lists.  I can't use them.  I have to physically scratch something off with an actual real-life pen to make it feel official.  Pencils are also inadequate in my list-world, in case you were wondering.

The other day, thanks to a gracious friend watching my kids for a couple of hours, I managed to accomplish ONE item on my list:  obtaining birth certificates for my kids.  James is 2.  Reese is about to be 1.  No, I had not found it necessary to go get those precious documents yet.  They live in my house.  That was enough proof for me that they were borned.  Getting birth certificates really shouldn't have been a big deal, but for some reason I was absolutely dreading this task.  Driving downtown, finding a place to park, finding the right government building, finding the right office inside the building, filling out the right forms, having the right form of payment with me, yada yada yada.  I just plain didn't wanna do it.  Which is why I've put it off for so long.  Yes, you can request these documents through the mail or online, but the price goes from $10/copy to $30+/copy for those other methods.  The spirit of Dave Ramsey in me wouldn't let me pay ridiculous amounts more just because I was being a wuss about navigating in downtown Raleigh.  I lived in Seoul, Korea, for goodness sakes.  My parents let me and two other 13 year old girls gallivant to and from an indoor amusement park using the subway system there with no adult supervision.  If I handled that as a 13 year old, to be sure I can handle downtown RALEIGH as a 35 year old, right?!

Anyway...back to birth certificate procurement.  After leaving my friend's house and realizing I forgot my wallet and driving back home to get it and then going to the bank to get cash to pay for the oh-so-important documents and finding a place to park and getting to be "wand-ed" by the xray security guy because I had on a belt and Danskos which apparently always set off the xray machine and finally making it to the right person to fill out the paperwork...  I was with the birth-certificate-lady for about 10 minutes.  That's it.  The person beside me trying to get her 3 week old baby's birth certificate was having a time of it because his name was apparently spelled wrong on it.  The kind government worker was gently explaining how the mom needed to follow this simple 352 step process involving approximately 895 peoples' signatures to get his name corrected.  I was quite grateful my process only took 10 minutes.  After driving not-so-directly out of the downtown area back to my friend's house, I couldn't wait to scratch off "birth certificates" off of my list.  Only, after I did, I felt like just scratching the one thing off wasn't enough.  It seemed like such a complex task, I almost wrote all the steps down just so I could scratch them off.  It would've looked something like this:

At least THAT list would make me feel more accomplished!

Are you a list maker?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Open Adoption: "Success", What Does That Mean to Me?

"Another Open Adoption Roundtable discussion question:

If there’s one thing we all might agree on, it’s that we’d like our open adoptions to be successful. But what does “success” mean to you, when speaking about open adoption? Do you think it may mean something else to the others in your triad?

Let's start with a dictionary definition of success:  the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one's goals.

I would consider my open adoption relationship to be successful if three goals happened.

1)  I have a personal, more positive than not relationship with Chloe.  We see each other sometimes.  We call sometimes.  We know of, or know personally, each other's families.

2)  I have a personal, more positive than not relationship with Chloe's parents, Alvin and Melissa.  Hopefully this relationship contains mutual respect for one another.  I respect and value Alvin and Melissa for parenting my daughter.  They respect and value me for choosing life and enabling them to parent Chloe.

3)  All of my kids have personal, hopefully positive, relationships with one another.

Where we stand right now, I think we are on our way to being successful, as I have defined it here.  I have what I would consider a great relationship with Alvin and Melissa.  Well, at least Melissa.  Alvin and I don't interact much.  I'm okay with that.  I would wager he's fine with that too. :)  No need for us to be bff's.  (not that I don't WANT to interact with him, I simply mean we stay in touch through Melissa.)  Melissa and I stay in regular contact.  She is so kind to keep me updated on their family periodically.  Chloe knows who I am.  She calls me on occasion.  Our relationship groundwork has been laid and will (hopefully) continue to grow.  As far as my kids having relationships with one another, I think we'll get there.  James is 2.  Reese is 11 months.  Chloe is 9.  It's hard to have a real relationship with a 2 year old and almost-1-year-old!

I'd like to clarify that I don't think our relationship right now is unsuccessful according to my goals.  I would describe it as in-progress.  One day I'd love to hear Chloe and Melissa's answer to this writing prompt!

What about you?  What do you think makes an adoption relationship a success?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Open Adoption: Does It Ever Get Easier?

Does open adoption ever get easier?




Depends on what you mean by "easier".  At the beginning of Alvin (the dad), Melissa (the mom), Chloe (our sweet girl they are raising but I birthed) and I's open adoption relationship, it was really hard for me.  I desperately wanted to see Chloe as much as I could, but the sting of seeing her was so painful.  Ultimately, I decided the pain of seeing her was better than the pain of NOT seeing her, so we continued with regular visits.  Alvin and Melissa were (and continue to be) so very flexible and easy going.  Our relationship wasn't hard because of them.  It was hard because I was freshly grieving the loss of parenting my daughter.  And that just.plain.hurts.

Chloe is 9 years old now.  Over the years, the stingy-pain has subsided.  It doesn't physically pain me to see her.  In that sense, open adoption has gotten easier.  The new grief feelings have waned.  Time does have a way of healing wounds.

However, Chloe is 9 now.  Nine year olds have opinions.  Whereas in the past, my relationship with Chloe has primarily been a relationship with Melissa, now Chloe is interested in talking to me directly.  She's called me a few times on the phone.  I love that.  And it makes me nervous at the same time.  She wants to talk to me!  YAY!  What if she doesn't like me?!  Boo!  I feel like a middle schooler saying that, but hey, nobody likes to feel rejected. So this part of the open adoption relationship hasn't necessarily gotten easier.  Figuring out how to relate to your child that you gave birth to but are not raising?  There's no manual for that.  Nobody can tell you how it should go in your circumstances, taking into considerations the individual personalities involved.  Now that I think about it, no manual exists for more traditional parent-child relationships either.  Good, we're ALL flying blind here.  Perfect. :)

I'm about to move to another state.  This will be the first time since Chloe was born that we don't live nearby to one another.  That does not excite me.  Even though we don't see each other frequently, the comfort of knowing we CAN is reassuring to me.  We will have to navigate this upcoming change with a lot of grace, understanding, and honest communication.  I have high hopes we can do it.

the early years...

*linking up with Open Adoption Bloggers

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Welcome Home

My parents were recently out of town for five days.  My parents, to whom I speak on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times in a day, were out of town and out of CELL PHONE contact.  Apparently West Virginia is another country.

I wanted to make a sign for them and get me and the kids holding up the sign to express how much we missed them.  Scott was our photographer.  He took so many pictures he made it into a video.


And welcome home, Meemaw and Pawpaw, you were missed!!

ps.--If you haven't seen Scott's video productions before, check out this one of James' first bath in June 2011: