Center thy self

Holidays acomin'. Need to feel centered. N. was up just a little earlier than usual this morning having awoken because she's soaked. Still haven't found a diaper that tells the truth and lasts 12 hours overnight.

A.'s working from home today. We've shared our breakfast omelets. I've had a little aloha coffee. N.'s down for her morning nap. I turn on the laptop and locate my go-to meditation. 

Despite the early biting cold outside, the mid-morning sun shines oh-so-warmly through the living room window onto N.'s alphabet mat. 

I sink comfortably into our couch. I gently close my eyes. 

Center thy self.

Another year is about to wind down. I have learned that mamahood is hard, real hard, real exhausting. But I wouldn't want it any other way. I have learned that I have many moments of frustration in the world of toddlerdom, and I have learned much patience. More patience than I thought I ever had. Moments when I tell myself to take a deep breath, N. also takes a deep breath. Amused, I smile to myself because she has actually learned how to take a deep breath.  

Thank you, Daniel Tiger and family, for reminding us how to take a deep breath when in the moment of madness, we just want to roar!

And yet another year is about to be full of possibilities. What will I do next to incorporate my working self into the new year? It's been a major concern as I don't want to have my skillset grow stale, yet not sure how I will find the time to be with N. and be productive in the world of (non-childcare) work.

Center thy self.

To keep my heart open to possibilities. My mind wanders . . . to online teaching . . . to freelance writing . . . to facilitating wellness workshops for women and youth . . . have to re-work my resume over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Center thy self.

I take a deep breath and remind myself to be in the moment. To focus on my heart. It is illuminated as I think of my Dad beyond. Two old family friends recently passed away, each of them fathers who have left behind legacies in their sons and daughter. I send their families comforting thoughts. 

I am warm in the morning's sunlight. My heart aglow, I am calm in the moment.

A moment of simplicity, patience, and self-compassion.


Unwanted: Widowhood

I don't want to be a widow. Yes, we've put into place all of the precautions should anything happen to either A. or myself. Our documents have been updated since N. was born. But it is ever so horrifying to have to actually have that discussion with my husband.

He asks me, Do you know what to do if I die?

This has always been a realistic discussion ever since his open heart surgery seven years ago. Only now, we have a child to consider.

And now, A. has diabetes. Sudden adult onset. His blood work was fabulous just three months ago. He'd been losing some weight which I attributed to having a one-year-old and average day-to-day stress. But A. thought he was losing weight too quickly without trying. 

A. is one of the most disciplined individuals I know, especially when it comes to his overall health. 

Doctor says it's nothing he has or hasn't been doing. Some gene has just turned on. 

Medical directives. Check. Living will and testament. Check. Insurance policies and investments. Check.

All of this comes at a time when A., having recently turned 45, struggles with having to get reading glasses as well as accept the reality of the end of our adoption journey and now high blood sugar. What is especially scary is that A. is aware of how diabetes can complicate his heart health if his blood sugar is not under control. Since learning of his new condition last week and having to manage it, A. has vigilantly worked to stable his blood sugar as he wants to avoid insulin shots and additional meds. 

Do you know what to do if I die? I don't even want to entertain his question. I already know I probably wouldn't stay in the area. I couldn't bear to. I'd move closer to family or perhaps attempt to restart life someplace completely different. A. knows this and wouldn't expect anything else. 

As A. works to accept middle agedom, I have had to dig deep and remain positive, strong and supportive while quietly hushing my inner voice, I don't want to be widow. Not now.

Having had to prepare for my Dad's death somewhat in advance, I know how important it is to think about the situation and have the discussion. God forbid it happens. Please let it be a long time before it happens.

How do I deal? My ongoing practice is constant gratitude. For my husband. For our daughter. For our life that is full of sweet moments. 


What now?

The adoption is not happening. Not right now. Our journey has been terminated. 

After more than four years of completing forms and clearances, responding in essay form to extremely personal questions, undergoing psychological evaluations, and updating our medical/financial records, our waiting child is no more. 

Almost two months since this hell began, we continue to come to terms with our decision to end our adoption process. It was not an easy decision at all. Though the transfer agency's recommendation that we just pretty much start from the beginning heavily weighed in on our decision. There was no way we could start from the beginning and once again pay out the service fees to a new agency. Absolutely not. Especially because we were in waiting mode. 

How an organization such as Peal S. Buck (PSB) with an amazing legacy could lose their accreditation and  have no accountability to their clients, I'm not sure.  A. & I requested an exit interview as we wanted to communicate how disappointed we were in their services as well as share in detail the various instances we found that PSB demonstrated insensitivities in their practices and culturally.

It wasn't a confrontational conference call. We were professional. However, I did want them to know every red flag we'd experienced in their services based on our interactions with them. From the pregnant facilitator in the homestudy training who didn't acknowledge her pregnancy while the women in the room stared in discomfort . . . to being asked to bring dessert as a guest at a PSB function where they hosted ICAB members (aren't they the hosting organization?) . . . to clearly demonstrating oversights in their management of our dossier and ongoing updates to keep our adoption application current. . . as well as frequent turnover in staff who never seemed to have read our file thoroughly enough . . . gave us cause to question PSB's competence -- despite the fact of having over 30 years of adoption success from the Philippines. 

Feeling like the only time we ever heard from PSB was when it was time to pay another service fee.

So incredibly glum it has come to an end. We just couldn't continue and start from the beginning.

But we never would have been blessed with N. had we not started the process. 

What now?
A bit of soul searching. A bit of dealing with a health crisis on A.'s end. A bit of trying to emotionally reconcile how a significant loss of our finances with no investment to show for it is part of the Universe's plan to show us a miracle.

ICAB rejects adoptive parents who have diabetes. Most recently, A.'s has had to suddenly deal with high blood sugar and try to get it under control, which means regardless of our decision to discontinue the process, ICAB would have halted the process for us. We would've been in the midst of providing our annual medical updates. A's current high blood sugar would been noted, and ICAB would've tossed our dossier aside right then and there. 
Where is our miracle? Sure it's the day-to-day with N. who graces us with her blueberry smeared face and playful toddler personality.

We haven't ruled out adoption. When we're ready, we may consider domestic foster to adoption if it feels right for our family. In the meantime, I'll mourn the loss of our waiting child and focus on N. in these early years. 

[In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, it has been difficult to watch so many images of Filipino families, especially children, seeking basic respite from the natural catastrophe. Sometimes I can't help but feel we've let someone down by not pushing through with the adoption. We continue to pray for the survivors and the dead among the ruins of Typhoon Haiyan.]

So what now? I seek reprieve in my own heart(break). I take a deep breath, quiet my mind, and know that we are where we are meant to be at this moment in time. 

Because every moment in this life . . . is a miracle.