Thursday, May 31, 2007

Back To Work

I can't believe it has been 12 weeks since I left to meet Jacob! Time has gone by very quickly. Everyday is a joy (well, almost every day). I just wish I had more time. I miss work but I cannot imagine not being with him all day. I will miss him but someone has to pay the bills.

It is now almost June. The Summer is finally here and we are beginning to play outside. I made it a house rule yesterday that Jacob is taken outside every day at least once to play. He loves to be outside and I know he is learning a lot from being out there. He continues to grow and amaze me.

I have been a mother for 3 months now and am considering adding to my family next year. I would love to adopt a girl who is 4-7 years old. I do not know if it will happen or not. It just depends on if I can find the money and a child that will fit into my family. I am considering adopting from foster care since it is considerably cheaper. It will just depend on whether or not it is in God's plans. My adoption case worker says it is "exciting" and she is in favor of it. My parents are "staying out of it" but admit they will love any child I adopt. That is a change from Jacob. They did not think they would want to spnd time with him. Now, they volunteer to babysit and love to see him :) Everyone who knows them is now laughing. It is wonderful!

I guess time will tell as to when my next child comes. Hopefully, it won't be too long from now.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Thoughts on Single Mothers By Choice

This has been a week filled with thoughts on single motherhood and it's trials and blessings. I can tell you that after 11 weeks of motherhood I am NOT an expert. I have some opinions and have learned a lot though. Both of the adoption agencies I have used are requesting me to speak to families in the process. I have also be a co-facilitator in our single mother by choice group (SMBC). I am thrilled to be doing both and would love to do far more if it helps people make the decisions that are right for them.
There are several things to consider while debating becoming a single mother.
1) Is there enough money to support me and my child? It doesn't take a mountain of money but you should be able to clothe, feed and house your child without worrying about having enough money to still feed yourself. You can cut corners on preschool programs and sporting fees but think about what you really want for yourself and your child. Don't forget daycare can be very expensive.
2) Are you stable enough? Changes always occur but you need to know you have a job (or enough savings) to feel secure. You also need to know you are happy with yourself and your life and that a child will change it forever. My son is the greatest gift I have ever received. He is also the biggest challenge and toughest adjustment I have ever had.
3) Do you really want a child? If the answer is yes. Then examine questions 1 and 2. Find a way to make them work.
So why adopt a child rather than have one by birth? For many people the reason is simple. They can't have one by birth for whatever reason. That is not the case for me. I do not know of any reason I could not have become pregnant. I can say that I have never tried and don't know if I ever will. Here are some of the reasons I chose to adopt instead:
1) Look at my child's face! There are millions more hoping and praying that someone will say "Yes! I want to be your mom and I love you!" Right now, they can only dream of having a safe and loving home where someone claims to by their mom or dad.
2) Biology is not important to me. I don't care how my children come to me. They are my children whether they look like me or someone I don't know.
3) My children will take after me. No child becomes their parent whether they are adopted or not. They may have similar personalities and looks but they are not clones. Scientists continue to debate how much of who we are is related to biology and how much is enviornment. What is clear is that my child has inherited traits from his birth family and me. I will continue after death in the future generations through the lessons and values I teach my children.
4) I know my child doesn't have many feared birth defects. He has lived long enough to prove that. He isn't missing any limbs and he can move his body. Does that mean I love him more than if he were disabled? Absolutely not! It just means that I can have very good odds of having a healthy child.
Adoption isn't for everyone. Some people have a strong desire to see their genes passed on. Others really want to experience pregnancy and their children's first moments. For those who are considering it and financially and emotionally stable, do it!
I hope to someday give my child a sibling. I will take the challenges of adoption and do my best. We have already overcome the first stages of grieving (he will probably grieve his Ethiopian family and life many times over the years.) I became the mother of a walking active 22-pound child in moments. I didn't have the opportunity to grow stronger as my child grew bigger. He already has a personality but then again so do all children. I can no longer just go to the movies or a nice dinner theater. I have to plan more just to leave the house. I am no longer able to do what I want every time I want. Every challenge is worth it.
When is the next child coming? I wish I could say next year. I can't. I cannot say I am ready for another child. I am stable but I don't have the money. I have already begun saving but it will be a few more years. The first adoption took almost all of my savings and it will take awhile to build it back up. I also cannot afford daycare for another child right now. When the time is right, I will adopt again. Until then, I keep looking at the waiting children and dreaming of the day that I can have another one. I also remember how blessed I am to have the one I have now.
I know that when God is ready, I will have another child. I don't know if this child will be by birth or adoption. I don't know if it will be an infant, toddler or older child. I don't know if I will adopt domestically, internationally or choose to become pregnant. Those are all questions that I will find the answers to later. God will show me who my children are and I will be ready when He calls.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jacob's 1st Vacation In America

Jacob and I took our first trip together as a family. We had four generations of our family together for the weekend. The picture above is Jacob's Great-Aunt Shauna, Great-Uncle Gary, Great Grandma, Great-Great-Aunt Virginia, Great-Great Uncle Cecil, Jacob and Grandma. Not pictured are me (Mama), Grandpa and our Au Pair. We also met up with his Great-Aunt Patty and Cousins Katherine and Caitlin.
We spent the weekend in Branson, Missouri. Jacob was his usual happy self for most of the time. He was tired which meant he was a little crankier than normal but that is to be expected. As seems to be custom lately, Jacob was spoiled the entire weekend. He loved being passed from his new relatives to Grandpa to Mama and back again. He got several new outfits, two new cars, a new doll and two toy cell phones. I told him not to get used to it! Even Santa Claus won't bring that much new stuff!
Jacob did well in the car. He played with a toy steering wheel and pretended to help me drive. He also enjoyed playing with his toy Shrek from McDonald's and watched a little of the DVDs we brought. Jacob has never been very interested in watching TV or movies. That is fine with me. I would much rather just have him play.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Wonderful 1st Mothers Day!

Today was my first mother's day. It was my mother's 29th mother's day. Jacob is pictured with her above opening her candy bar. We had a wonderful day planned. The two girls I have mentored for the past 7 years spent the night last night, went to church with us this morning and then spent the afternoon with us at my parents' house. My brother was there along with my dad and our au pair. Some of my favorite people that I love gathered today to celebrate not only mothers but each other.
I got a necklace and earrings from my son. My mother helped him pick them out. That wasn't my favorite part of the day though. My favorite time was before the day started. Jacob woke up early (he often does when people stay overnight). I brought him into my bed and laid down with him. My favorite moment was then. Watching him smile while snuggling against me and staring into my face. He followed it with a very tight hug around my neck. It was one of those moments that I will always cherish. The realization that I am a mother of a little boy that I love more than I could ever imagine.
I can only imagine how I will feel when Jacob is 29 years old. I hope that he loves me and appreciates me as I appreciate and love my mom. Happy Mother's Day Mom! I hope we can share many more together.

Monday, May 7, 2007

He's still a baby!

Someone told me yesterday that Jacob is "approaching two." A mother of another boy the same age as Jacob stated her son was "almost two." I don't agree! He has four and a half months to go. It's not that I don't want him to grow up. It's that I want him to remain my baby for as long as possible. Maybe part of it is because I missed so much of his infancy. I think it is just that I really like the age he is at now.

I do have to admit that he is growing up fast. He started swimming lessons and preschool last week. He cried during swimming lessons and reminded me that he is still a baby. Preschool meets for 1 1/2 hours one day a week. He loves it! The teachers stated he didn't cry or miss me at all! He also spent the entire hour in the church nursery without showing any anxiety. He had fun watching some of the older kids play and tried to follow them around.

I know it won't be long befoe he is two. I just want to enjoy these last few months of him being one. He is such a joy (when not having a tantrum because he is tired and didn't get what he wanted).

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

No More Diapers?!?

I was not planning on starting toilet training until Jacob was around 2 years old. He is now 19 months. He had other plans. After his nap yesterday, Jacob went into the bathroom and began pointing at the toilet. I put him up there and he went! He has since gone 3 times. I am in shock. I knew he was beginning to get interested I just didn't realize he was ready. It makes me both sad and proud. I'm not ready for him to stop being a baby.

Jacob also starts swimming lessons today. I explained that we were going to the "big thing of water with all the kids" that he saw last week. I then showed him his new swim suit. He yelled "Yeah!" I don't know if he understands but I think he will enjoy the lessons. Even if he is a little scared the first time.