Monthly Archives: June 2012

I Feel It All

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I accidentally hit “publish” before I made final revisions so sorry to everyone who got the unrevised version!!

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Okay, so I’m shamelessly stealing my title from a song by Feist, but it perfectly expresses what our trip has been like so far. The last few days have been amazing and wonderful as well as heartwrenching and exhausting. Our trip began very early on Sunday morning, around 4am to be exact. Or 3:15 if you count when I woke up & couldn’t fall back asleep because of the stress & excitement.

Despite getting up in the middle of the night, we still managed to cut it a little close for our first flight. Who knew the airport would be so crowded at 6 o’clock  in the morning? Actually, probably everyone else but us, but I digress.

The first leg of our cross-country journey was Pittsburgh to Cincinnati. From there, we flew to Seattle. Believe it or not, this was my first time west of Missouri. For the record, I’m not a total “yinzer” (slang for someone from Pittsburgh). I’ve been to Europe & the Canary Islands but just never out west.

 For the final part of our trip, we took one of those puddle jumpers to the town where DJ’s foster family lives. As soon as we walked out of the tiny airport outside to our rental car, we knew that we weren’t in Pittsburgh anymore. In fact, the differences between our urban neighborhood and DJ’s current hometown became clearer the further we drove away from the airport. It’s not that we hadn’t realized before that DJ was living in a fairly rural area, but I couldn’t help but feel a little bitter that he would have yet another thing to adjust to on top of all of the other major life changes that were rapidly approaching.

I wish that I could say that I remembered exactly how I felt as we drove closer to the house, but honestly, like most of the last 72 hours, it still doesn’t feel real. I know that I was excited and terrified. Would I burst into tears as soon as I saw him & scare him? Would he recognize us as the people who were going to take him away from his loving foster family and friends & hate us on the spot? Would he run & jump into our arms? Would he be just as sweet & cute as he was in his pictures and video?

To be brutally honest, that very first face-to-face meeting was actually a bit anti-climactic. Nobody cried, and nobody jumped into anyone’s arms. But DJ was as sweet & as cute as we thought he would be, and he immediately put us at ease with his shy but eager demeanor.

His very first question was both simple and revealing: “what school am I going to go to?” I think John & I were both relieved to be thrown such a soft ball on our first question. Our answer must’ve satisfied him because he seemed to visibly relax.

I feel like I should confess at this point that I thought that I was fairly prepared–emotionally and mentally–to meet my son in-person, but I was wrong. I could never express both the happiness and the longing that I’ve felt since that first meeting. Immediately, I wanted to be able to take him in my arms and make everything in his world safe and good. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him and how I would do anything for him and that I would always be there for him no matter what.

And at the same time, I understood intrinsically that I couldn’t do any of those things. Yet. That the very best thing thing that I could do for him was to be patient. To trust that someday I’ll be able to hug him tightly and that he’ll know through & through that he is the most amazing gift that we could’ve ever hoped for.

Almost Home

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(Drum roll please) Here are the pics of DJ’s really-close-to-being-totally-finished room. Except for some minor floor repairs and the rug, we’re pretty much done. Yes, I said floor repairs…it’s the room that just keeps on giving, but we’re really happy with how it turned out.

We’re finally down to the last few days before we head across the country to bring DJ home. The nervous energy that I was feeling for the last week or so has morphed into an eerie calm of sorts. All of my lists that I’ve been working on for the past few months have gradually gotten shorter & shorter. More importantly, I’m also starting to accept the fact that we’ll never be completely ready for this momentous event that’s going to change our lives forever. Instead of sheer panic, however, there’s just this strong pull willing me through the minutes, hours, & days until I meet my son face-to-face for the first time.

Since most of the work has been finished on the room, we spent a fair amount of time this week working on what we call the “DJ Plan.” Basically, trying to sketch out a daily routine for him and to finalize our “house rules,” including things like chores, allowance, and screen time. Of course, I made the mistake of looking on Pinterest for ideas for a chore chart. Suddenly, my little black-and-white chart made on Word felt pretty uninspired. Fortunately for me, I have a big sister who kindly told me that sometimes a particular version of her chore chart doesn’t last more than a week. Since she’s one of the most creative (and all-around amazing) moms that I know, her reassurance made me feel a lot better!

As instructed in our adoption classes, we also wanted to have a short list of rules that we could give to DJ right away to help him transition into our home. Here’s what we came up with:

  1. Respect yourself
  2. Be kind
  3. Be honest
  4. Be gentle with the dogs

As for Rule #1, we mean it to include things like daily hygiene as well as helping him to develop a healthy self esteem. Anyone who knows us probably guessed that rules #2 and #3 were mine and John’s respectively. Kindness is a big deal to me; it’s free, it takes relatively little effort, and it makes people feel good…what more could you ask for? For John, honestly is extremely important. We really want to create the type of environment for DJ that he’ll feel comfortable enough to be honest with us, even with the hard stuff that we might not “want” to hear but should.

I’ve also been researching summer learning activites, which has been even more intimidating than the chore charts. Being a college professor who is used to explaining to students that I’m not here to entertain them, I feel woefully unqualified to develop a fun curriculum for a 4th grader. (Although the fact that I just debated curricula vs. curriculum for several seconds makes me wonder if I’m still qualified to be a professor.) Anyway, I’m already planning numerous trips to all of the local museums…that counts as educational, right?

I’m also hoping to implement a regular reading time everyday in addition to reading with DJ before bed. In fact, going to the library is one of the things at the top of my list of summer activities–and yes, there’s really a list. Maybe I’ll include it in an upcoming post if anyone is curious or just wants to help make sure that I check everything off.

After years of waiting for this moment, it’s really hard to believe that it’s real. In fact, I’m so excited that I’m half-concerned that this entire post is gibberish. But whether I can wrap my head around it or not, it’s almost time to stop all of the planning and get down to the nitty gritty like packing and cleaning our house for the pet sitter. Actually, knowing us, it’s probably a bit past that time, and there will be quite a frenzy of activity between now & getting on the plane. (I love that our family & friends have been dropping little hints by asking us if we’re packed yet. LOL!)

To my kind readers who have been following our story: life is about to become fairly hectic, but I’ll do my best to update the blog in the not-too-distant future. The exciting part is that the next time that you hear from me, I’ll be a M-O-M. Let the real adventures begin!