Sheelagh Cabalda is a partner, mama and educator, who has worked extensively in youth development, cultural studies, multicultural counseling, cancer support, higher education, events administration and non-profit management. Redefining success is a combination of positive & changing self-concept, inner directedness and a balance of priorities. It is personal empowerment -- taking charge over what we can control & accepting what we cannot. Every day is an attempt to do just that.
On the eve of A.'s grandma's memorial service, once again death reminds me that this life is momentary. I watch N. sleep and want to celebrate all of the little happenings worth toasting to! Like A. & N.'s healthy hearts, afternoon strolls with N., or mint cookie ice cream.
In honor of A.'s grandma, Maria Agustin Lopez (b. 12.05.1925
– d. 10.02.2012), who raised him in the Philippines for his first seven years.
with radiant strength
like the island sun
tulad ng araw sa isla
with the flow of grace
ang daloy ng biyaya
as in an autumn rainfall
she is gone
children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren
bata, inapo, at mahusay na mga inapo
follow her 96 years
beloved Mother Spirit
My parents raised me to multitask since I was in elementary school -- school, activities, and chores. Oh yes, and sleep. That rhythm has continued until now. As a new mama who recently resigned from her fundraising job in the city to be at home with her newborn daughter for (hopefully) the first year, I've been struggling with the following woes:
I'm not stimulating my two-month-old enough. I'm messing her up. I'm a terrible mother.
I'm not keeping our house tidy enough.
I haven't saved enough for me to be home for one year. I'm putting pressure on my partner to be the sole wage earner.
My professional experience may not be enough by the time I'll have to find a job near home.
Enough! Instead of worrying about whether or not I'm doing or being enough, I've had to make an effort to include mindfulness on my task list. In addition to childcare, adoption follow-up, bill payments, dishes, laundry, storage organizing and showering, yoga and walking are absolute musts on the list. Two months and 10 days since N.'s birth, mindfulness has been on the bottom of the list and yet the most important amidst the blur of sleep deprived days. I've been trying to 'get back into it' -- trying to commit to my post natal yoga dvd at least two days a week and walks outside when the weather permits. Doesn't always happen. Doesn't happen enough. As yoga has taught me, while I may not be super flexible, at least I can make the effort and just embrace the moment.
You might think that adoption isn’t as painful as pregnancy
or physical labor. Truth is, it is. Just prior to N.’s surprise birth, we rushed to complete our updated homestudy given
the notice that our U.S. immigration approval to adopt a child from the Philippines
expires in November. Our agency, Pearl S. Buck (PSB), advised
us to do so as we could get it done ahead of the deadline. By the end of September, I mailed in our renewal request for immigration approval along with
our updated homestudy (completed in August & mentioned my original due date of 09/13). The response from U.S. Homeland Security? Because I just gave birth to a child, I need
to submit a new updated homestudy.
Is this a contraction?
of this costs, of course – fees that cover the updated homestudy, renewal request application, updated fingerprints,
UPS delivery, etc.
Can't help but feel like PSB has taken advantage of us. Given PSB's expertise and on their suggestion, we completed our revised homestudy prior to N.'s birth. Shouldn't they have known that it would be best to submit an udpate after I gave birth? And now, PSB -- who is no longer licensed to do homestudies in New Jersey (their license expired end of July, and they decided not to renew) -- tells us that we must go to the new homestudy agency to update our homestudy.
Sure feels like a contraction.
N. - 10.01.12
Almost makes me want to give up on the adoption process. But we've been on this journey for the past three years, and I'm not ready to give up. A. & I always discussed that if we were able, we'd love to have children by birth and adoption. In my heart, I truly believe our waiting child brought us N., and N. will bring us to our waiting child.
When I encounter individuals or circumstances that I am unable to accept, it takes me a while to come to terms with the fact that I am coming head onto some kind of resistance . . . or moment of frustration (that lasts too long). Maybe it's yet another change in the Philippines ICAB's (Inter-Country Adoption Board) adoption procedures or unwarranted advice from a more experienced mom (like my mother) . . . or what seems like uncontrollable crying from my newborn. Whatever the case, we sometimes have a tendency to resist the person or situation that currently gives us anxiety, doubt, and grief.
What to do? Pause.
quiet my heart so that i may
accept the present as it is
shift my thoughts so that i might
enjoy the gift of the moment What more to do? Keep trying.