It never fails to amaze me. Just when I think I'm at peace with not conceiving yet I get another painful jolt. I found out that an old friend from college is expecting twins. This is wonderful news. So why was I so sad? Of course I know why. It's that petty, she-has-what-I-want thing mixed with the grief and uncertainty that is my body. I'm finally starting to accept that this pain will happen each and every time a friend or family member finds out she is pregnant. If I never conceive this pain will go on the rest of my life. I do want peace. I want to be happy where I am, not just when I get pregnant. After all, as soon as I do get pregnant I'll want something else. I'll want to not miscarry. I'll want to know I'm carrying a healthy baby. I'll want a smooth labor and delivery. I'll want the right baby stuff. Eventually I'll want baby #2 just as badly if not more than I want baby #1. And the cycle continues. And then, irony of ironies, the day will come when I miss the days before I had kids. If I can't find peace where I am then I will never find peace, ever. Of course, the way God seems to work, He gives us lots of opportunities to learn. So if I don't learn the lesson this time I'll learn it later.
Things continue here. We may have figured out the alarm thing once and for all, or we may just be at the beginning of a long fight with the alarm company. I really hope they just give us what we want! We have a bad ant problem outside but we dealt with the indoor ants and we have a plan for the outdoor ants. We took Toby to the vet and it turned out his diarrhea was just a bacterial thing, no big deal. His medicine started to work almost immediately. He got groomed today and his hair is super short. It isn't as fluffy and soft but at least this way we won't have to take him in any time soon. He's getting so much better. I found a trainer on the internet who really gets dogs. Basically I only correct him for disobeying pack rules (trying to be dominant over DH or I) or for not coming when one of us calls. All else is negotiable. We ignore him when he's in his crate and he's much quieter. He's eating all of his food and took his medicine today with no problem. We have birds in the chimney but I did some research and it turns out it's actually kinda cool. As long as we get the chimney cleaned during the winter it's not likely to cause any problems. During the spring/summer they'll eat lots of insects while they're here. They're kinda noisy but apparently they're an endangered species and the noise is more interesting than annoying.
On another good note, DH has several interviews this week. There is solid hope that he will be working again soon. I will have an interview hopefully before the end of April but maybe in early May with the church. I don't want the other job I interviewed for, and I don't know where else to look. I'm going to keep an open mind, though. God has a plan.
I can't wait for my family to come visit this weekend! I want to show of my house and puppy.
The visit with my family went sooo well! I miss my mom so much now that she's gone. Her and I had some drama between us for close to five years but I'm happy to say that we got along really well. Honestly, if she somehow decided to move her I would be thrilled. I even want to get to know her husband more. God is good! How appropriate to go through all this during Divine Mercy weekend She loved Toby and we all had a blast. I shared with her more about our TTC journey and even showed her my FF chart. She's really supportive and even encouraged me to go back on clomid when I'm ready if that's what I want.
DH has three interviews this week; two were today. One went really well and the other was a definite no. It would be so cool if he gets a job soon.
My chart is really strange and I don't know what to think. I'm only going to chart for 6 more days since I should have an answer by then-O or anno. It could go either way. I don't have any acne, which is cool, but to me a sign of no hormonal activity at all. I still have hardly any CM, also strange. For the last week until this morning I felt wet inside, and also had vague O pains. All of that is gone today. Maybe I O'd last night? I hope I O'd when FF says I did but I doubt it. Because of my mom being in the next room we have no chance if I O'd last night. We haven't BD'd in a week. However, if I did O, then I know when to expect AF. I've been praying to O. My next cycle has a better chance. I'll be very disappointed to miss an O, especially considering it would be my third since June. However, I have to live my life. I could stress myself out to never miss an O but they're too hard to anticipate. I want to enjoy BD. I'll be upset if I don't have another O for awhile and I missed it but that's life sometimes. The only hope is if I haven't O'd yet and do within the next week. However, since my temps are weird, it's probably anno if I haven't O'd yet. My temps are higher then normal pre-O but still too low to know for certain. I hope my temps soar tomorrow so I can stop temping and just wait for AF. The uncertainty is frustrating. As long as I think I might not have O'd yet there is that hope that gets me frustrated over and over again. If I knew I O'd for sure then I can deal with our missed chance and get over it.
I'm probably going through a short-lived phase, but I've had enough of TTC. I've been on these boards for over 5 months now, and it's at the point where few if any TTC threads surprise me. I can often predict what they'll be about with even the most vague thread titles. to add to my frustration, my temp went down again and my chart is looking reliably anno. What am I doing TTC? If a woman doesn't O then she can't TTC without going crazy. I've gotten a lot of consolation on these boards but I feel like I don't belong here anymore. I'm at the point where I feel at least mildly jealous just seeing that a woman has O'd
To add to this, DH just got a job in which he'll be out of town most of the week, day and night. While he'll be close enough to visit, it's a long drive and I'm never sure enough that O is about to happen to justify it. I may visit him anyway but it would be because I wanted to, not because of O. My cycle looks the same whether it's anno or I'm about to O, and that can go on for weeks at a time. Or it can look anno for weeks and then O can happen out-of-the-blue.
I've said this before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, but maybe this is a great time to let my FF account expire and pack the thermometer away. I no longer get excited about EWCM, either, and, while I'll always probably be aware of it, I no longer make sure we BD when I see it. TTC was a challenge for awhile but now it's just work. I enjoy BD with DH, which is a blessing in and of itself. That part isn't work. But making sure I know the days we should BD is now just a hassle. I no longer get excited and think we may be cooperating in the creation of new life. I enjoy that time with DH but it no longer feels tied to TTC.
This may also be a good time to stop visiting the boards and just maintain my journal. I enjoy the complete freedom of writing things that I don't "need" anyone else to read. I don't worry about fitting in or being judged here. And I don't want to leave the pg.org community. I hope and pray that I can actively post on a birth board or the adoption board someday. But it may be time for me to leave the boards for at least awhile. I know that pressure we put on ourselves to have children, to do everything in our power to help it happen. But I want to leave that behind. Or to go on clomid with an understanding doctor with my only job being to make my appointments, take my meds, drink lots of water and BD after the trigger shot. Let technology deliver the O and determine the timing for me. Although that attitude doesn't seem very holy. God is in control and it's easy to transfer that to man and technology on that treatment. The dr seems to think that they conceived the baby instead of God. So maybe I really should just let it happen (or not happen as the case may be).
Another thing I liked about the TTC boards was that I felt like I could contribute. I had learned so much from CCLI and the Creighton Method and from my pcos, clomid and prometrium experiences that I wanted to share. But I've learned that my experience isn't really needed because someone else will have pretty-much the same information. I also wanted to learn more, and I did. I learned about vitex and clomid and pre-seed and OPKs as well as lots of useful websites. I gotten support from awesome women and felt great about reassuring others who went through the same pain or fear as me. But I don't feel like I'm needed there or that I'm learning anything anymore. Not that I know it all, just that I've ruled out so much that I don't want to do or that doesn't seem to apply to me (like some s/e, for example). In addition, it would be interesting to see what I did with all that freed-up time that I take up with the TTC boards. Not that I have a lot to do. But maybe I'd be more likely to find a job, or scrapbook once I can afford it. Maybe I would volunteer or go to adoration. Who knows what I would do with all those hours until I reclaim them?
Plus, I want to put making love over BD. DH and I are more likely to fight now then be excited. TTC has caused more depression in me since we got married then anything else. It's such a burden on my heart and crowds out everything else. It makes me feel so lonely and isolated in real life, even though I've shared my journey honestly with family and friends. I don't get excited over baby stuff anymore, or imagine what something would look like in our nursery. Yeah, it's cute, but I'm not much of a decorator anyway. It's not that I don't want a baby, but it's that I'm sick of wanting a baby. Besides, babies grow up so fast. The way it used to be, from what I gather, is that procreation was one of those things that just happened. It was part of life, not part of a plan. If it didn't happen for awhile then the woman would get insensitive comments or support. If it did happen it was a blessing (or, yeah, a curse). But it wasn't planned for or manipulated because it couldn't be. It wasn't an ambition, something that the rich were more likely to achieve because they could afford certain treatments. Health insurance didn't determine whether or not you tried or how you tried. Not that technology is bad or anything. I'm not saying that. Just that I don't want to tie plans and ambitions into our family size. I want to live an attitude of gratitude no matter how many kids we have or how God brings them into our family.
This feels like some kind of manifesto or something and I didn't wake up this morning thinking of this stuff. But it's been brewing for as long as I've been on these boards. Five months is long enough to form a strong habit that won't be broken easily or quickly. But I've been getting restless and, with DH's job taking him away from home for the entire week, I've got to get a job. I can't be alone all day and all night or I'll lose my mind. I can work nights, even. I probably won't do that but I've got options if I dedicate myself to getting out there and looking. There has to be something for me to do with my days. Someone must need or at least appreciate my time and energy for something! My confidence isn't strong but I've let the world go on without me.
I've been reading a dog book and realized that playing fetch with Toby so many times each day is not only boring for me but it's not good for him, either. It could lead to obsessive behavior. He's showing signs of too much pent up energy when he gets into his hyper spells and jumps around. Now he's biting our clothes. He's just playing but it's not fun. I've decided that the best thing I can do for him is to take him on walks each time instead of playing fetch, or just play fetch once a day. DH can take him out at least once, too. Tonight he was going crazy and I ran a little, too. It felt amazing! I used to run sometimes. Not a whole lot, and I'm not any kind of athlete at all. But there is something meditative about it, even more so with the master-dog communication that became automatic. He had to concentrate hard to make sure that his feet didn't go under my sneakers. I didn't even have to think about him and I like having him there. I also liked running at night. I had to concentrate, too, to avoid certain tree branches and sidewalk cracks. There were no kids to talk to or other dogs to avoid. What I want to do is throw on some workout clothes in the morning before my shower and take him out before breakfast. Later, take him further, maybe even as far as the in-laws (just a mile each way). I'll probably get some pepper spray, for the dogs more so then for people. I had a scary incident with a germen shepherd the other day that I want to be more prepared for in the future. I want Toby to calm down and I could use the exercise, too. I have time, with no job and trying to stop so much forum posting.
On the good side, we're getting better about being more assertive masters. We make sure that he sits while we exit doors and he exits afterwards. We make him sit before eating and before we'll throw for fetch. I'm also trying to remember to not give him any affection until he's obeyed a command although that's much harder. Toby is doing great about going outside, he's eating all his food, and he's coming more when we call. It's much better, and will only get better when we exercise him more. He's a high-energy dog.
I found a midwife tonight! We were at a party and it was a random meeting. I didn't get her contact info but it would be easy to get it later if we decide to go that route or at least do more research. I'm glad to have that option if we need it or just want more info.
I'm feeling better about not TTC. I also feel good because I had the acne, CM (I think, it could have been seminal residue) and libido that means I may be close. Or maybe not, who knows? We definitely didn't miss it if it was, and not because of TTC but because of my libido. I am making some small concessions. I take my temp each morning because it's so easy and because it gives me a lot of info. I think it also makes DH feel better, like we're still TTC. I'm not charting it but I will chart my higher temps once I get to 98.0 just long enough for FF to give me an EDD. I'm not going to chart anything until I see that 98.0. I'm not getting up at a particular time, either, although my body has naturally been waking up at the same time. I'll also chart my AF since docs ask about that and I want to have the answer ready if I need to go in. So I'll do those things. And I can't help but check for CM because it's a habit to check after I wipe. I've tried not doing that and it doesn't work, LOL. But I'm not really looking at it or anything. I'm also not being careful with BD, like with what lube we use or waiting 30 minutes after BD to go to the bathroom. I am sticking to our agreement to not drink alcohol (well, for the most part) unless I'm on AF because DH wants to be careful when I could get pg. As long as he flosses I'll lower my alcohol intake (although I only had one glass of wine a week before so it's not like it was an issue, but whatever).
We did the whole more-exercise thing today and I have to say that Cesar Millan is a genius. I took Toby for a two-mile walk this morning, with no fetch. Then I took him for a very short walk in the afternoon, no fetch. I took him out very briefly in-between just to go relieve himself but no playing and very little affection. Then DH took Toby for a two-mile walk and Toby was almost too tired to play fetch. He was very submissive in a healthy dog way to both of us and has slept most of the day away. No whining. I liked it so much that I arranged to go walking twice a week with my MIL since she's great about getting exercise. I also mapped out three routes to go on when I'm on my own so we don't have to go the same way each day. My biggest block to getting exercise is boredom so I'm hoping that, by having someone to walk with twice a week and having different destinations it will be OK for longer. Plus I'm doing it for the sanity of our dog and the sanity of living with this dog. We happened to get a high-energy, dominant dog and we have to either work with it or start over with a different dog.
DH and I being healthier is just the icing but what great icing it will be! Maybe it will even help with my pcos if I end up losing weight? I can hope. I've also had higher endorphins today and I've forgotten how great that feels. Also, If I really get bored or feel threatened then I'll go get a bike and train Toby to run alongside me. It will take less time and he'll be so tired out. That might be too much for him now since he's still a puppy but he has so much energy I bet he could handle it. This area is great for traveling around by foot or bike. Level ground, lots of routes, decent sidewalks, lots of parks. Score one for the suburbs!
Plus, I love exploring. I've always been like that, and prefer places where I can roam. I didn't know that dogs are hard-wired that way, too. I had no idea that dogs in nature roam around but it makes sense.
On the not-TTC front, I decided to check my morning temp only twice a week. Getting a low temp can ruin my morning so best to check it as infrequently as possible. I'll still see when I'm in the 2ww without being obsessed with it.
Oh, and I found a birth center that I feel good about. It's 30 minutes away and, if they take our insurance, it would be a good compromise between the whole hospital thing and home birth. Our friends and family could visit us, we wouldn't have to clean up, and they have jacuzzis for water birth or I could labor on the bed. It's certified by the state. Now I just have to get pregnant
This morning I really thought my temp would be up since I had had good signs of O. EWCM a couple days ago followed by sticky CM. But my temp went down this morning instead of up. I was really disappointed. Then tonight I started spotting. I really don't know what to think. Maybe the spotting is sign of O and my temps will go up. Or maybe my body is just really confused and is now shedding lining for no good reason. I may end up taking my temp in three days just to see. I hope another 33 day AF isn't starting. I only had 27 days without AF.
On a good note, we let Toby out today to see how he did with house training. He did really well! The weather was good this time, calm, clear and sunny. He let me know several times that he needed to go out. We put up bells on the door and he took to them quickly. He was really calm all day (except for his normal hyperness after his walk and breakfast). I decided to just walk him for one long walk and maybe a couple shorter ones. We won't need two long walks. That almost seemed to make him more hyper not less. It's less stressful this way. He's calmer and he doesn't have to whine to go out. Since it was so nice I even left the door cracked open and he did OK. He just played but it's cool. I got to watch my show so I was happy. He even was a lapdog for a little while. Now he's sleeping on the floor at DH's feet. So cute!
I've been feeling so much better lately! I know that the morning walks have a lot to do with it. Even though it's not much I feel like I have more of a life now. I have a better emotional outlook.
I never did figure out why I had that spotting--it wasn't O, that much I know. My temps didn't go up after all. But that's OK. I put my thermometer away this morning after the third day of 97.3 temps. I'm just going to wait for the anno bleeding to start another cycle.
Part of why I feel so good is because I'm taking a more active leadership role in our church group. I've scheduled several social events. I don't know about the weekly meetings but a woman who works at the church is taking care of that.
Best of all is a non-mom event that I scheduled. Even though I didn't give enough warning it's getting good feedback. It'll be a small group this week but hopefully next month more woman can come. Knowing that I have this event to look forward to makes the events with all the women into something I look forward to instead of dread.
I miss my mom friends but I was spending too much time with them to the exclusion of making new friends. Mostly I'm shy and what happened was my closest friends two years ago happened to be the ones to have children. At the same time, I kept thinking that I'd be a mom any time now so I needed to cultivate the mom friendships so I'd be prepared. The fact is, though, that I was turning things around. I need to cultivate friendships with the women I have stuff in common with now. I need to enjoy having the time and ability to go to a nice bar and a late chick flick with the girls. The time will come when I'm in the mommy club. Then will be the time to talk about all that mom stuff.
It was a relief to see the long list of women I invited to this event. There are a lot of women I have stuff in common with, and many are happily married. It is possible that, like me, many of those women have grown away from the group for the same reason as me. It just happened that the women who were the leaders were the same ones to have children first. They naturally started planning events that encouraged them to talk to other moms. The rest of us faded out. There is nothing wrong with that. However, it makes what I'm trying to do have a place. The rest of us can come back. I want all of us to be comfortable, both the moms and those of us who haven't experienced that blessing yet. We all belong both in the Church and in the Body of Christ. I don't want the moms to feel excluded either. But that's not a worry. They have each other and have been friends since before they had kids. And most of the events will be for all of us regardless of marriage or children. I'll feel horrible if I'm encouraging cliques. I pray that doesn't seem like my intent. However, all the women I've been honest with totally understand. They appreciate what I'm doing.
I've been focusing on having kids but I know now that my main struggle has been for significance and meaning as well as identity. It isn't about kids at all. I felt, for the first time in awhile, that I had meaning when I did something as simple as invite other not-yet-moms out for wine.
I also think I'm going to apply to a local bookstore to work mornings with inventory. I think I'd like that. I'll walk Toby when I get home. I'll wait until I get back from Florida and after I know about the church job. Although I'm wondering if that's been filled already. I really hope they don't fill it without even interviewing me. That will be a blow to my confidence! I'd wonder what was so wrong with my resume. I thought they were going to start interviewing soon
I came close to canceling my pg.org account today but I decided to wait. I sometimes make rash choices and then regret it. I really like writing in this journal but I worry, too. I don't know that I've said anything too personal but it isn't what I expected. My TTC feelings are changing and this journey is not going where I imagined.
When I first started I was so excited and proactive. Then came the first crushing AF. Then came the doctor visits and clomid. Amongst all that was the feeling that my life would change any day now and I was having a hard time dealing with that. My way was to prepare the best I could for motherhood. I read books about it, planned what kind of birth I wanted, and spent time with moms. And then the second crushing AF, and the rebellion into the world of adoption. I then did all the research I could and decided how I wanted to adopt. I just wanted to do something! I wanted to make my life happen, to have control.
As I started to accept the lack of control DH lost his job unexpectedly. We went through the drama of buying the house and bringing in a puppy. I stopped planning much of anything. I stopped my hobbies, my volunteering. I wouldn't commit to anything. I felt so abandoned!
Up until this time in my life, I felt at least some control and direction. I was completing a degree or I was teaching "for one more year". I knew the next step at least somewhat. Even if I didn't, I felt like I had a say in the matter, like when I was discerning to be a nun. It was my life. The hardest thing about TTC with pcos is not feeling that anymore. I can't really have that say. I don't know if I'm fertile or not at any given time. I can't really do NFP. We couldn't prevent TTC anymore than we can TTC. When you factor in the fact that DH's job is risky by nature you have a volatile situation. So much could change at any time and we'd have no way to prevent it or do much about it.
Through all of that, the ladies on pg.org were my anchor. They reassured me and challenged me. I reflected on where I am now and where I'm going (sometimes by comparison, many other times by contrast).
Now, though, I feel more ready to re-enter the world again, to make commitments. By the end of May I will have been unemployed for a year. I will have made it through my first year of marriage and all that has come with it. I'm starting to reach out to the women around me. I have some ideas about volunteer positions and jobs that I might enjoy. I'm sick of feeling sorry for myself and disliking my body. I am ready to embrace this situation as part of who I am (without getting so attached to the pcos that I don't want it to heal). I have many blessing to appreciate. My prayers have gone from "Lord, I want to get pregnant" to "Heal my body now" to "Help me to accept my body and myself for who I am".
My image of who I want to be has changed so much in this last year and especially while I've been on this site. If life was how I imagined I'd be a SAHM now. I'd be even closer to the moms around me and all I'd talk about would be my baby. I wouldn't understand infertility and I'd think that anyone can get pg just like that. But what I want has changed with all the disappointments and disillusionments. Now I am actually looking forward to getting back to work. I want to maybe work with animals at a good shelter around here. I'm going to look into work at a bookstore or the library. I'm going to see if the stationary store needs help. I will look into working with plants and learning about landscaping. There are more and more places that I'd consider. But I want to get out there. I want to live my life. I want to be who God has made me to be for now.
So this journal wasn't a TTC or an adoption journal after all. It won't lead to my becoming a mom. I'm not going to TTC or adopt for awhile. OK, no promises. Maybe tomorrow I'll be all set to do either one. One of the biggest lessons that I've learned is that I can't predict what I'll want. I think God has made it very clear that He is in charge around here! He is the King of my heart, the Master. I follow Him wherever He leads me. I am to be as docile as a little lamb. Through all these changes He has brought me to my knees, so to speak. So maybe I will TTC soon. However, most likely, this journal will come to an end soon. I like journaling but it's time to move on. I think I'm going to give pg.org a rest for awhile and then start up a new journal under a new username. It will either be a straight-up TTC journal (although I doubt it, I have no faith in that process anymore) or either a pg journal or adoption journal. But it won't be for awhile. I have no idea how it will go, or when anything will happen.
I can't wait for the day when I have one of those journeys to go on. But, for now, this turned out to be more of a house and dog journal than anything else
Speaking of acceptance, the current theme of this journal, I came to a realization today that brings me a lot of peace.
A year ago, when I left my job and got married, I kept feeling like it was only a matter of time before I got pregnant. That made it OK to be home because why go to work if I'm just going to quit 9 months later? Well, jokes on me because that obviously wasn't a problem. After my clomid cycle failed six months after the wedding I started to realize that staying home because I might get pregnant was silly. It's just adding pressure on an already-pressurized situation.
Also, around that time, I decided to be a writer. I had always had a dream of being a writer. I figured that this was the perfect time to try. I was home by myself with nothing to distract me. Well, that dream of being a writer wasn't really me. I hated it! OK, I liked part of it. But I felt so constrained by the idea. I even joined a board for writers and wrote several chapters of a novel. But I happily let that go. This journal is the closest I may ever get and that's fine.
So back to my dreaded identity as a housewife, a possibly barren one. I knew it was time to start working full-time. But where? There is no job I want to do and I like being at home. It's just that I felt like a loser at home. I hated parties with DH's work friends. The inevitable "what do you do" question and the awkward silence when I say I'm home. I'm way too young to be a housewife. This is the 21st century after all. Many women worked hard so that we could work and I got my degree. I'm smart, gosh darn it! I looked down on housewives. Not SAHMs, no way. I wished and prayed to be a SAHM. But a housewife?
Well, it's been almost a year of me being at home, childless, and no prospects of a full-time job. I've applied for some and no luck. By the standards of my peer group in this country I'm an anomaly if not pathetic. I don't know anyone else in my situation here.
However, Yesterday I went in to interview for the recruiter of a several part-time jobs. It was kind of a group interview and we all heard each other's conversation. It was weird at first but actually not a big deal. Each one lasted just a couple minutes and wasn't personal. Anyway, the woman across from me was a college grad like me. The interviewer kept pressuring her until the woman admitted that she would, indeed, like a full-time job. The interviewer was glad to hear it and told her they had a great full-time job for her. It was a great fit, and all the woman had to do was admit that she wanted a full-time job. The interviewer figured that and told her (and all of us) that the part-time jobs they had were for students, housewives, or retirees. People who would stick around for awhile. I was next, and I proudly said that I was a housewife and truly wanted this part-time job. I said that my husband was the primary provider and that I helped my MIL as well as the work at home.
It wasn't until today that it dawned on me what had happened. Yesterday I felt no shame in saying what I was. And the interviewer was the woman I had used to want to be. She was a polished, competent professional, even a little glamorous (especially compared to me!). I openly realized that I like being home. Before I would have died before saying that to a woman like her. I realized that I could happily be home for years even if we never conceive and if we never adopt. The woman I want to be (in a way at least) is more my MIL then the polished professional. My MIL makes being a housewife look good. She does the best job she can whatever her job is. She enjoys it. Now I'm very different from her in many ways. I don't enjoy cooking (to her it's an art) or entertaining. I'm not as active and involved as her. I'm shy and introverted whereas she is very out-going. And I think her generation is at least a little more cool with the idea of housewife. But she makes the most of who she is the jobs she has. She looks for work and makes the most of it.
So I've decided to embrace being a housewife. I still want a part-time job, especially at the library. It's tailer-made for me. There is no reason to be alone in my house all day, every day. I'll help my MIL with her work as needed. But I'll also embrace the at-home stuff, too. I'm not talking about being Martha Stewart or anything. I'm not that talented. But I'll do DH's laundry which to me is the epitome of house wife and something I refused until now. I'll tell people I'm at home when they ask what I do. I'll be proud of who I am and what God made me to do. Not that I'll never work full-time outside the home. Someday I may get my masters and be a librarian which is something I've thought about for years but never been sure I wanted. When the kids are all grown-up and we have an empty nest I'll need to stay busy. But I hope to be proud of myself no matter what. I'm a wife and my job is to be a good wife. It took a year to adjust but I think it's where God wants me to be. And I'm sure DH will appreciate me finally doing his laundry
Yesterday morning, out-of-the-blue, I started thinking about adoption again. I hadn't thought about in in months. And then there was a post about it on the JLIH board, too, which was a cool coincidence.
This time my ideas about it are much different. I'm still thinking about adopting from the foster care system. However, now I think about adopting a young school-age person instead of preschool age. I already figured out that I didn't want to adopt an infant or a toddler.
One of the reasons that I wanted a very young child was because we were just married and getting settled. Mostly, though, it was because our friends have very young children. That matters to me less, now, though. I used to feel bad about our house, that is wasn't big enough because our friends have bigger houses. But now I just want what's best for us. I actually want to bring a young child into our house and our hearts. It isn't about fitting in or having a life or an identity. I'll need to find other ways to do that in the meantime. It's just fine if our kids are older then our friends' kids. Our neighbors have kids the age I want, and we'll meet plenty of parents with kids the same age through their school and our church.
I'm also thinking about only adopting either one child or two same-sex siblings. Girl or boy, doesn't matter. Before I wanted to adopt a large family but not now. It's too intimidating and, the more kids we'd have, the more chances for large bills of some kind. If we stick to one or two then we don't have to wait as long. Our house would be a good size as it is without needing to have a bigger house almost right away. In fact, DH figured out that we could have this house ready for one or two school-age kids in a couple weekends. We'd need to move some furniture and, of course, buy furniture and stuff for the kids. We'd need to finish getting the house ready for the homestudy. We'd need a new oven since ours is not as safe as it should be with kids in the house. It's just old and can be smoky. In fact, it may be possible that, for less then $2,000, we could get this place ready for a great house for one or two kids. And family might help, too, with gifts.
Furthermore, race matters less and less the more I think about it. There are advantages for all of us if we look alike. However, if a child or siblings really fit in with us then that is way more important. There is a lot of diversity around here. In fact, most of the kids I see outside are not our race and often there are different races playing together. Plus, with school-age children, we'd deal with race immediately, whether they were our race or not, since their classroom would be very diverse.
Also, with them being school-age, I could still keep my part-time job. I haven't gotten one yet but I interview for one that I really want on Monday. I would like to work part-time while they are in school. I would want the rest of the day to have some peace and quiet and to get stuff done alone.
Another advantage of them being school-age is that, if I do get pregnant, it's a good thing. Before, with us wanting a large sibling group, my getting pregnant would just be one more. My rare ovulations are due to PCOS but it's so-far just random that I haven't gotten pg when I do. If I still haven't gotten pg in a year, which would be two years of TTC/not preventing, it would be unexplained. It could still happen for all we know. If we got pg after adopting the children, and they were the same sex like we'd require, then we would put them in the same room (if we hadn't already) and use the small room for a nursery instead of a guest room.
As for medical issues, it depends. Some would be easier to deal with then others. Asthma, for example, would be something that DH knows intimately and could deal with. Mental retardation, however, is not something we would ask for. We would want children who were very likely to be independent as adults. Autism is in the middle, neither a yes nor a no. A high-functioning autistic could be good for our family (not necessarily bad anyway). However, a low-functioning one may not be as independent as we'd prefer. We just don't know. I'm open to learning about different conditions and talking to doctors and the caseworker. I still remember the frustration I had with Toby having fleas, for crying out loud--could I handle a child having a surprise medical condition that the caseworker should have either realized or told me about? That could happen, and that is where grace and maturity comes in. At least the state generally helps with paying for medical issues. At least in theory!
I used to insist that we would only adopt but now I'm more open to foster-to-adopt. Unless that would mean a parade of kids coming through our house, however. I keep reading about kids up for adoption who have bonded with their foster parents. I know there are different struggles with that route. I know I could bond with a child and that child could get taken away and given back to a druggie parent or a relative that came out of the woodwork. I'd have to drive the children to visit with the very people who might take them away from us or make them upset. I know that may not be the right route for us but I would be open to discussing the possibility with our caseworker. I don't want to be daycare for the state but I want to be the foster-care mom the child gets attached to if they become free for us to adopt them.
One thing that we do need is more job stability for DH. We need to have more confidence that his job is stable. Also, we need more money in savings for times he doesn't have a job. However, we wouldn't need to wait as long as I had originally planned. God will provide as long as we're reasonable and make an effort to both plan and use good discipline with what we have.
Adoption was always something I would do if I couldn't get pg. Now, however, I know that I have to grieve my infertility even if I adopt. Even if we were to adopt an infant. My infertility is separate from adoption. And adoption is a separate call in the sense that different questions have to be answered. My house and relationship is poked and prodded instead of my body. Instead of bloodwork we do paperwork. Instead of insensitive comments about pregnancy there are insensitive comments about adoption. There are similar joys, though. I'd be a mom.
As for readiness, who really is ready to be a parent? I do know that, each year, I get more laid-back. I'd be 30 before this happens. If we got a 10-year-old or younger I would be at least 20 years older which is good. I handle clutter so much better. I've never been obsessive about cleanliness but I keep a healthy house. I'm more resourceful. I'm learning a lot from Toby, too. How to care for a living thing that will never give back like you give to it. How to deal with unexpected mess and, yeah, bodily fluids. That isn't as revolting as I expected it would be. How to pay attention to something other than your work and still get something accomplished. The total upheaval at first followed by a routine that will change regularly but will, indeed, be a routine. The necessity of paying attention when they're too quiet. The sacrifices of time, money, and attention that the young require. I'm also learning that enforcing discipline is difficult. It takes practice and patience as well as smart strategies. Plus, I used to think that I wouldn't be that good of a mom because I don't like to goof off. However, I like playing with my puppy. I talk to it like a puppy and enjoy being in the yard with it on a nice day. I like the responsibility of it. I know I need to be nurturing at this time in my life. I would be a good mom. Not super-mom, but a good mom if I'm true to myself and pray always.
As for DH, he's not really enthusiastic about this yet. He may never be, which would mean not having kids at all (if we didn't conceive). He's not against it, though, so we could go through the process together. He's open to that. I think that, once he's more settled at work, he'll be more enthusiastic. He just doesn't want to worry about providing for more people then us right now. Plus, he needs to grieve my infertility and we still have hope it will happen in this next year. If not, though, a lot can happen in a year and he may be thinking about it, too. It has to be our idea, not mine.