Monday, April 20, 2009

Calendar

Today:
"There are three things worth having in this world: courage, common sense and caution."
-Nigerian Proverb

From Saturday:
"If you do what you should not do, you will see what you should not see."
-Ghanaian Proverb

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Siblings


When our boys first came home, they were close. They did EVERYTHING together. Playing, sleeping, eating, etc. They both HAD to do the same things - all the time. When Jellybean started going to school, things obviously had to change. They could no longer do everything together and they each had to learn how to break out of their shells and make new friends. Which they've done - really well.

But these days I'm noticing something else. Until recently, when they played, they played really well together. They took turns implementing each other's imaginative play ideas. They cooperated. They shared. They laughed and had fun. And if they disagreed, it ended quickly.

But lately? For the past few weeks we've had all kinds of crazy arguments, disagreements, and complaint sessions. They don't cooperate so much anymore. They don't share and play the way they used to. They still play, but now there's a whole lot of arguing going on along with it.

I'm not liking this change very much. This morning I had to institute the "Jellybean sits on this side of the room and Peanut sits on the other side of the room" rule because I was so tired of listening to the constant bickering going on.

They argue over EVERYTHING these days.

Once in a while its pretty funny to walk in the room and realize they are having an argument over whether or not the girl they saw on TV was a princess or not. But mostly its just tiring to constantly play referee.

I'm hoping its a short phase. But I also grew up with brothers...and know that I should probably be a little more realistic.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Classic Cartoons


Today is a dreary, rainy kind of day in our neck of the woods...so the boys are hanging out in the house. They've decided they want to have a "Jammie Day" so after we ran our errands this morning (including our first garage sale of the season), they changed back into their pajamas.

Yesterday I stopped by our local Borders bookstore and noticed that they had most of their CDs and DVDs marked down 50%!! I managed to find two VeggieTales DVDs and the DVD release of the first 3 seasons of The Gummi Bears. Anyone else remember this cartoon?

The boys have been hanging out in their pajamas watching Gummi Bears today...and they are loving it. We don't watch a ton of TV around here, but having the boys singing the Gummi Bears theme song and enjoying a cartoon that I enjoyed when I was a kid is pretty fun. Why don't they make cartoons like this anymore??

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Calendar

My African Wisdom calendar has this to say:

It is not where you are but what you do there that matters.
-Rwandese Proverb

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wishy, Washy

I have been feeling so wishy-washy lately about what our adoption plans should be. I've been thinking about ALL of our options...trying on one idea for a day or two, changing my mind, and trying another. So far, nothing has struck me as the "right" path just yet. I know there is a path forward, I am just stuck at the crossroads wondering about which path we should start walking down.

And our agency representatives (bless them all) are probably so tired of me asking questions that are scattered all over the map!

One path I had not considered until today is the path of adopting a child (or sibling pair) older than our boys. I know there are LOTS of older kids waiting for families. I guess I always just thought that people who have experience parenting older kids should adopt the older kids. We're newbies to this parenting gig, after all. But...today (all day today) this issue has been on my mind. Why aren't we considering the older kids?

So...for those of you who have adopted older kids (like ages 5-10), please feel free to leave me some feedback. I want to know about the good, the bad, the ugly, and the wonderful. I'd love to know how you prepared your kids at home for new siblings who were older than them. I'd love to know how you transitioned them to public school (if your kids go to public school). I'd love to know if language was an issue. I'd love to know if attachment issues made things hard. I'd love to know about experiences of "twinning" adopted children. I want to know about all of those things (and lots more).

And, if you're of the praying persuasion...we'll take all the help we can get making this decision. Its been a really difficult one for us.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!










Happy Easter Everyone! We've been having a great Easter here...We dyed eggs Saturday morning, Church on Saturday evening, an Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday morning, followed by Easter Baskets and lots of fun playing with what was inside. The boys each got a Lego racecar, a hoodie, and some candy in their baskets. But, the thing that was the biggest hit?!?! The thing that I bought on a whim as I was about to leave the store. Whoopie Cushions. The boys LOVED them!! Jellybean's lasted about 15 minutes, but Peanut still has his (and is sharing it nicely with his big brother). Boys and their toys. I have to admit, though...seeing their faces as I showed them what it was and how it worked was totally priceless!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Attack of the Green-Eyed Monster

Lately I've been feeling a bit...hmm...how do I put it? Jealous. Yep - there it is. Out there for the world to see. I'm jealous.

In the adoption world, you make connections with other families who've been through this process before (or are going through it with you). Not many people have the advantage of having someone in their neighborhood or family who have gone through the adoption process, so you reach out to others on the internet. Over the past few weeks I've noticed that more and more of my internet friends have good news to share - they've passed court, are traveling to pick up their child, etc. Some of them are people who started the process after we did.

Now...I don't want you all to think that I'm not happy for you. I am. Really and truly happy for you.

But for me? It kinda stinks. Here we are....STILL not done with the homestudy. Still working out our next move. Still wondering if we can take this leap of faith and come up with the money.

I'm not writing this to be whiny in any way. Its just the truth. Sometimes the adoption process is hard. Sometimes its frustrating. And sometimes it brings out the very worst parts of your character (like letting someone else's good news make you jealous).

But sometimes adoption is also amazing, and wonderful...and brings out the very best in your character.

And at the end of your journey all those times of waiting and frustration go away. In the end, the timing seems perfect. As though it was planned out in advance.

I'm looking forward to that part.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Finding the Silver Lining

Last night I had the opportunity to have a much-needed catch-up session with one of my dear girlfriends over appetizers and a drink at one of our favorite places. Because both of us have been so busy lately, we haven't had the opportunity to get together as much as we normally would. It was clear from the beginning of our meeting last night that we had a lot of catching up to do.

She went through her stuff...we chatted some more...and then I went through my "stuff". After sharing information about the death of our boys' baby sister in Ghana, the subsequent loss of the boys' little brother, and the deployment of Z's Army Reserve unit I felt like a big ol' ball of sunshine. It wasn't until I sat down across from my friend and filled her in on everything that has been going on with us that it finally hit me that we have a lot of heavy stuff going on in our lives right now.

As of right now, Z isn't being deployed overseas, but his unit's deployment and his absence for a couple of months while he helps them train and do paperwork will most definitely play a big part in our lives for the next year or so. And the dear friend who sat across from me at the table last night is one of the few people in my life that I know really "gets" what Army life is like. She and I suffered through the last deployment together...we spent many evenings in our jammies watching movies while clutching our cell phones in case we got a phone call. We both leaned on each other a lot during that year.

But I also know that in times of turmoil, there is tremendous opportunity for personal growth. I have held my two Ghanaian blessings a little closer these days. And Z and I have realized that our family isn't complete. There's still someone missing. We just don't know who it is yet. But...we are getting closer and closer to figuring out WHERE that someone is. And that is a bright spot for us.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fear

Its amazing what fear can do to us, isn't it? Fear can stop us from making a positive life change. It can keep us from stepping out of our comfort zone to meet new people or travel to an interesting place. It can keep us from ending old bad habits and starting new ones. Sometimes fear is necessary. Sometimes fear saves us.

Fear is powerful.

This past weekend I stared at one of my biggest fears in the face. Z's military deployment.

Right after Z and I got married, he was deployed to Iraq (he spent the entire year of 2004 in Iraq). It was, without question, the hardest year of my life. These days, hearing a song honoring military service, or watching a video about a family having a tough time dealing with deployment still bring all those fears and feelings right back to me and I end up teary-eyed.

Z's unit is getting ready to deploy again. They'll be leaving for training relatively soon and will then be heading overseas for a year-long deployment in a combat zone. This time, we're lucky. As of right now, Z is not on the list of soldiers scheduled to go. He's waiting to hear about a promotion, which makes him non-mobile...but the truth is, that can change. Instead of going overseas, Z will be deploying with his unit to the training bases they need to go to. He'll be helping them while they train and helping them process the loads of paperwork they need to do before they go. Once the rest of the unit gets on the plane to go overseas, then Z will be able to come back home. As of right now, Z's deployment will likely be for about 2-3 months.

We're lucky. Z is leaving...but the time he's gone will be short. Z is leaving...but he'll be stateside. We can still talk on the phone every day. I won't have to worry so much. I'll still be "on my own" for a couple of months...but its only a couple of months.

This past weekend was the family readiness meeting for their deployment. We spent 2 days in meetings about Tri-Care, soldier rights, family resources, etc. The last time Z deployed, I remember these meetings being so unbelievably overwhelming. I remember how fearful I felt and how I wanted to just hide in the corner and cry. I wanted someone to hold my hand and tell me that everything was going to be fine. I wanted someone to tell me that life would be exacly the same when Z got back. But no one could do that. And the truth is, it wouldn't have been possible. Things weren't the same when he got back. But we got through it...we both changed during the time he was gone. But we both accepted the changes, spent lots of time communicating how we felt about things, and adapted.

This time around, the meetings weren't so stressful for me. This time around those meetings weren't to help me so much as they were to help the other families in the room. We're getting off easy this time. But as I sat in that uncomfortable chair for 2 days, I remembered just how it felt the first time. I saw the look in the other family member's eyes that must have been in mine. I heard the questions that I had swimming through my head.

I watched as soldiers and their spouses reached out to hold each other's hands...knowing that they want to touch as often as possible while they still can. And I reached out to my husband and took his hand, too.