Saturday, April 18, 2015

Crazy Busy, Under Pressure

What a whirlwind past few weeks! I feel like I haven't had much time to breathe, and I'm missing my outlet here. We are notorious for doing everything-all-at-once, and this spring has been no exception.

Yes, let's do the following:

- Renovate the kitchen completely
- Travel to Texas for Spring Break to visit Bryce's dad and stepmother, right before kitchen renovation and so necessitating all weekends leading up to kitchen renovation spent emptying kitchen and setting up temporary kitchen elsewhere in the house
- Travel to NYC for a weekend to visit my dad for 9 hours while he's in town for a trade show
- Complete the adoption paperwork in time for May home study classes so we can get on the social worker schedule ASAP after the classes are done, knowing that it can take weeks to get an appointment
- Completely forget how disruptive a home renovation is and that all temporary kitchen things will be COVERED IN DRYWALL DUST every single day
- Realize that cooking in the midst of this chaos takes about 5 times as long as normal, because nothing is where it belongs, everything involves eight billion trips to other rooms and wiping down surfaces frequently, and all dishes are washed in the bathtub (after thorough swiping down into the trash can because I don't want my feet communing with chicken bits in the shower)
- Do all this in the midst of IEP meetings and my teacher evaluation review cycle
- Do all this in the midst of state testing and crazy days with 30 minute periods and stir-crazy kids that lead to me being quite cranky when I get home and can finally unwind...except for all the stuff listed above
- Try to enjoy the new warm weather, which means first cleaning up the disaster that is the garden after a looooooooong winter

I'm exhausted. We're exhausted. Everything is wonderful, there's nothing on this list (except state tests maybe, har har) that is too horribly painful. I realize that I am very lucky to be able to travel and see family and renovate a kitchen while going through the adoption process. It's just A LOT to do all at once.

I'm feeling like we did a great job hauling ass on the adoption paperwork right out of the gate, and now we have just a few forms left to fill out and we are dragging our feet. I haven't done anything in weeks.

The major piece of paperwork left is the Autobiographical Statements. Which take a really, really long time to put together and are less of a statement and more of an essay. Basically, the agency states that the autobiography won't be graded and won't be seen by prospective birth parents, but is there to provide extensive background to your home study social worker so that there aren't redundant questions...but even with that statement of "hey, no worries, keep it casual," it causes a tremendous feeling of pressure, because HOW TO SUM UP YOUR LIFE AND DO IT JUSTICE IN JUST A FEW PAGES? I am trying to think it through in my head ahead of time so that when I sit down to write it I have ideas already. But my goodness, it's a little scary.

Here's a list of the things that should be included in the autobiography, in case you're curious:

- Who reared you? How did they rear you? What was their style?
- How many brothers/sisters do you have, and where are you in the birth order?
- Were you close to your parents and siblings when you were a child; are you close now; how much contact do you have with them?
- What are some successes or failures you have had?
- What educational level have you reached; do you plan to further your education; are you satisfied with your educational attainments; what do you think about education for a child?
-What is your employment status; your employment history; do you have plans to change employment; do you like your current job?
- If you are married, how did you meet your spouse? How long did you date before marriage, how long have you been married, what attracted you to each other?
- What are your spouses strengths and weaknesses, what issues do you tend to agree/disagree on?
- Why do you want to adopt? What kind of child do you feel you can best parent and why?

So, uh, should be no big deal, right?

Pressure. And finesse, because we need to show that resiliency is the name of our game since we have both had to work through adversity in our lives at various points, without making us sound like sad saps or like we have excess baggage. I kind of feel like this would be good for any couple to do, period, either in general or if they are thinking of having children. Reflecting on how you were parented and how that has an influence on how you yourself may parent is a challenging but ultimately worthy enterprise. It's just not something you can knock off in a rainy afternoon, you know? Especially when you didn't grow up all Leave It to Beaver (although, to be fair, who did?).

So that's the big task for April (A for April, A for Autobiography). Along with the kitchen renovation and the Financial Form and garden clean-up/rejuvenation and recovering from a lot of travel. Travel where we saw family, but travel is always something you need to recover from. Those nine hours with my dad were particularly sweet, since it's been nearly six years since I've seen him last. That's probably going to go over well in the autobiography... (To be fair to us both, he lives in L.A. and has a less than typical career in the movie industry, which makes it difficult to finagle travel plans even before you figure in five years of difficulty flying thanks to IVF -- balancing those schedules together and the financial demands of air travel was pretty impossible.) I think we saved the toughest piece of the paperwork for last, but it will get us ready for delving into all our scrutinizable parts when we have our home study visits.

We're looking forward to May. When the kitchen is feasibly done, when the home study classes are scheduled and our paperwork is in (minus the profile books and the social worker's report), when school craziness is coming to a close, when the weather is reliably lovely, when we can have some time that maybe isn't so frenetic. And then... after May... it's all going to get pretty real pretty fast and this waiting to wait business will turn into just... waiting. An activity we've become very accustomed to in the infertility treatment side of things, and that we will continue to try to do with grace throughout the adoption process.


  1. My goodness. May your wine glass stay full through the month of April! (And May, too!) I love how you said all couples should be required to attack those questions...So true! I bet (the general) you would learn so much about yourself in the process.

    I can't wait to see before and after pictures of the kitchen!

    1. Thank you! It is definitely a learning experience answering all these questions. A kitchen post is coming of before, during, and after pictures! I may do a progress post because I have so many. It's super exciting to see it all come together. Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. That autobiographical statement is no joke. It's good, though, that you're seeing at as a tool to express your outlook on life and as a couple rather than an assignment to get through. I've lived through a kitchen reno, so I feel your pain, but the good news is in the end it will be so, so pretty!

    What a crazy month or two, but I'm so excited that May is soon upon us and you'll be clearing this major hurdle in the adoption process.

    1. Seriously. I am embarrassed to say my final copy, while double-spaced for readability, was a whopping 18 pages long. But, it was thorough and hopefully will eliminate the need for some questions. Plus it was definitely interesting to see how my experiences have shaped my thoughts on my own future family and open adoption!

      I have to post pictures next week, our appliances are in and the counters go in next week... so all that will be left is the tile backsplash. WOO HOO!

      May will definitely be a relief and a feeling of progress, for sure. Thanks for your thoughts!