Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Surprise Visitor!

Jacob and M were very excited when I picked them from school yesterday. Their teachers had told them they would have a visitor but they didn't have any clue who. It was the Easter Bunny! Jacob told me all about the "white Easter Bunny" that read a story with them. M was excited about the candy he brought. They both had pictures taken and enjoyed their special days.

The only problem the boys had was figuring out why the Easter Bunny at school was all white and the one at the mall was white and brown. Jacob was able to figure it out though. The Easter Bunny is busy getting ready for Easter so he sends his helpers to meet the kids. The helpers then tell the real Easter Bunny how the kids are and what they told him.

Just a few more days until the real Easter Bunny comes with baskets of goodies.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tax credit extended: Could it be true?

Adoption Learning Partners just sent out an announcement about the adoption tax credit. They are reporting that on page 903 of the new health care bill, the adoption tax credit was extended until 2011. It was also increased to $13,150 and is now a refundable credit. In order to get the credit, the family would need to complete the child's adoption before 2011.

I used the adoption tax credit to off-set Jacob's adoption in 2007. The tax credit was set to sunset this year meaning that family's adopting after Dec. 31 would not have gotten the credit and adoption may not have been possible for them. Now that is not a concern until at least the end of 2011. That means more families will know the miracle of adoption and more children will find forever families.

No matter how you feel about the health care legislation, this part of the bill is a very good thing. Many families will be formed and many more will be helped by extending the adoption tax credit. While we will need to take action to extend it again next year, today we can celebrate this victory.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Part-time or Full-time?

I am trying to make a difficult decision. It is the middle of my school semester and I admit it has been difficult. The majority of my large assignments were due right before break. I have a large presentation due next week that I am still working on. At the same time, there have been several recent developments in M's case that have led to large amounts of paperwork. In short, I feel really overwhelmed, my grades have suffered (although sill passing) and I am not nearly as patient with my children as I was before this semester started.

I have been seriously considering only going to school part-time next year. There would be several advantages. I would have more time with my kids and less stress. I would have more patience for them and as a result be the mom I wish I was now (or at least closer to it). I am working on getting a temporary training social work certificate allowing me to practice social work for up to 2 years while I complete some foundation courses and my internship. I will be able to take the national exam this summer and get a regular social work certificate. I will be more likely to find a new job and it would be easier to start a new job if I am only going to school part-time.

There are also some negatives. It would take me an extra year to graduate. I would be 34 years old and definitely not a young employee when I start out. It may be harder to find a job without my master's degree so it may mean remaining in my current job for an extra year. I would also be attending school while Jacob is in kindergarten and could have to move when he starts first grade instead of kindergarten.

I just don't know what to do. I know the past few weeks have been a struggle but it will be getting easier in the next few weeks. The school wanted an answer at the beginning of this month but I just didn't know what to tell them. I still don't. It is just a difficult decision. I welcome any suggestions anyone has.

I want to be a good mom and I know part of that is changing jobs. I need to stop working three weekends a month so that I can watch Jacob play sports and get M involved in more activities as he gets older. I don't want to pay weekend babysitters any longer than necessary but I also don't want to always be stressed out and not have time for my kids when I do have off work.

I will have to give this some more thought. I hope to make a final decision soon. I just hope I make the right one.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Family Day Jacob!

Today is a very special day at our house. It was three years ago today that I took custody of Jacob and he became my son. I still remember it like it was yesterday and it only feels like it's been a few months. Time just flies.

I met Jacob for the first time on March 10, 2007. Jacob made it clear almost right away that I was his mommy and he didn't want to stay at the orphanage. When the nannies interacted with him, he would look back at me to make sure I wasn't leaving. The first day I left, he seemed happy to go help the nannies. When I came back two days later to see him again, he began laughing, screaming and giggling as I walked up the path to his building. He ran to the door to the room and met me there with a huge smile. I will never forget the pure joy he had when he realized I was actually there to be his mommy and not just to play for a day.

Jacob and I had a wonderful time together over the next two days but it always ended with him going back to the care center for the night. He would cry when I dropped him off and I would cry at the thought of leaving him where he didn't want to be. He really didn't want to be without a mommy any longer. The third day, March 13, 2007, he began crying as soon as we got to the building. I thought we were leaving right away so I gave him to a nanny and walked outside. Another family got delayed dropping off a child so I stood outside the building for about 10 minutes. I could hear Jacob screaming and crying the entire time. It was heart wrenching to leave him so sad and upset knowing that it was because he didn't understand why I was leaving him again.

That all changed the next day, March 14, 2007. I wouldn't see Jacob until late in the afternoon at the good bye ceremony. I anxiously waited for time to pass all day. Finally we got to go to the care center and I saw Jacob in his traditional outfit. The nannies formally handed each child to their new parents as custody was transferred. The children sang, everyone prayed, the children's handprints were left on a wall and we bacame a family. It's a day I will never forget.

Jacob never had to return to the care center alone after that. He slept in my room at the guest house and woke up with a smile. A few months ago, he told me he still remembers the first day we met and that first night we slept together. He woke up in his toddler bed, looked over at me and just smiled a huge smile. He told me it was "because you were really my mommy. You weren't leaving me." Three years later and he still remembers those feelings and that moment.

I know it wasn't love at first sight. Not real love. That took time to develop. It was an overwhelming need, desire and joy at finally having a mommy to love him and care for him. My love for him was one of being a mom and not to him specifically. Over the following days and months that love would turn to attachment and love for us as mother and son. A true miracle and gift from God.

The past three years have been magical. There have been ups and downs just like in everything in life. I would be lying if I said it has been perfect. We both have our days where we are tired or sick or just plain cranky. But even on our worst days we still have each other and that is what makes this journey so magical. We have become mother and son and love every day that we get to be together. I often tell Jacob that I don't always like the things he does but I always love him. He tells me the same when he gets mad at me. That is part of parenthood.

I would not trade these past three years for anything. I still am amazed when I look at him. I'm amazed that he is my son and that I am this blessed. I am amazed that God gave me such a wonderful little boy and that complete strangers blessed me by allowing me to adopt him. The entire adoption journey is awe inspiring and one I am so grateful for.

Three years has passed and Jacob is now 4 1/2 years old. He can run, jump, ride a bike, and is beginning to learn to read. He is growing up and it makes me happy, proud and sad. I miss the baby that I adopted but am so proud of the person he is becoming.

Three years ago Jacob was a young toddler who finally found his forever mommy and loved it. Today he is experiencing a different view of adoption as he watches his little brother's adoption journey. We are a family of three today but he will always be my first adoption and first son.

Jacob, I love you. I am so glad you are my son and that we are a family forever. Three years has gone fast and been a wonderful journey. I look forward to our continued lives together as mother and son.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Help Needed

I am looking for some ideas for adoption announcements. I am hoping to have one to adopt in the next few months and want to send out some extra special announcements to close friends and family. If you know any great sayings or poems, please let me know. It will be an adoption from foster care for a 3 year old boy.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Busy Life Update

Life has been busy, chaotic and mostly wonderful. As you probably guessed by the lack of posts, I am back in school now. I am also behind in work which is something I am not comfortable with. Spring break is in a week and a half and I plan to catch up on school work then. So what else has gone on lately? Well here is a quick update.

- Jacob and M changed daycares. They love their new school. Jacob is struggling a little but still loves it. He was very popular at his old school and had a lot of great friends. He is struggling a little with being the new kid and wants everyone to love him immediately. He has made a couple close friends but is upset that he doesn't have the fan club he used to have. He will soon. It's only been a couple weeks. His teachers report he is doing well. Apparently another child came right before Jacob and is having some difficulties making friends and Jacob is hearing the comments and worried they are directed at him too. We have talked about it but it will just take some time.

- I scheduled M's birthday party. It is still a couple months away but I wanted to make sure I got the room and date we want. He will be 3 years old. Where does the time go?

- School has been going okay. I don't have the time to study that I did last semester so my grades won't be quite as good. I'm not in danger of not passing I just wish I had a little more time to study.

- Jacob passed the last level of preschool swimming lessons. He will continue in the last level until he is 6 or the Y states he is mature enough to move to the youth lessons. Either way he is continuing to learn and become a better swimmer.

- I didn't get the job I was hoping for. It's okay though. I know that I will find the right job at the right time. I would prefer to wait until after this school semester anyway. I need to finish my internship so I can get licensed.

- I have begun searching for study guides for the national social worker exam. I have heard that the exam is very difficult so I want to make sure I know what to review and study. I hope to take the exam this summer.

- I have begun making lists of things that need to get done on the house in case we need to move next year. The list is long so I won't actually start on it until school is over. I have begun spring cleaning though.

- The animals have begun to shed. The puppy is shedding in clumps which are easy to pick up. The other animals are getting hair on everything so the housekeeper is working hard to keep up. I have her coming every week instead of every other week and it seems to be helping.

Overall, we are doing very well. We miss hanging out with our friends and extended family. I am really hoping to have more time to hang out with everyone this summer.