Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Five Whole Months

Five Whole Months!

August 2nd is the mark of 5 months since our return from China with EFP. Sometimes it seems all too short a time. Like we are still unpacking and other times I can not remember what my life was before she came to take center stage. That is what it is… I am merely a stage hand. I don’t mind though.

This is me and EFP the day we met!






And here is my darling 2 weeks ago at the Grans!!!



Five Months ago we stepped off a plane from a far away land with a child who until then had probably not traveled more than a few miles… well until February 20th that is. On that day our child traveled for nearly 4 hours on a bus in the cold and rain to the civil affairs office where a person employed by the social welfare institution she was assigned to handed her over to us. It was the farthest she had ever traveled to that point. Little did she know that within the next two weeks she would travel on three planes, sleep in 3 different cities and hotels before arriving home here in the states. Now, the way my daughter skarfs down chicken nuggets and French fries you would never suspect she was not born in the USA!

I know that everything changed for her. Absolutely everything. Although – in her previous life she had a foster mom who is a saintly woman. The care she took with our child – the love she gave to this baby is (I am convinced) the real reason she is so happy and healthy today. I am certain that she loved this child as her own. I am also sure that she must still miss this baby. I miss her when I am only away at work!! Yes, everything changed in her little life. She wears much fewer clothes these days and she is so physically active now! She has all she wants to eat (though you could hardly consider her anything less than plump when we received her!) and believe me the child eats! I know that the second she stepped into our life HER whole future changed. Perhaps you could say that the second the orphanage director chose to send her paperwork to Beijing – her future changed.

I also know that everything changed for me also. Not just in the way I live my daily life – but something essential inside of me has changed because she is in my life. I suppose all mothers (and fathers) must feel that way – that who you are at the core is essentially and irrevocably altered when a child arrives. That must be so. I won’t say that becoming a mother has made me better or anything….. just that I have changed at a deep level how I view things and how I take information in etc. How I even process things or make decisions. I could not have predicted some of the changes. I know I have been saying that I am hormonal or something that causes excessive weepiness… though that is not what I really mean. I am also not referring to my being a kinder-gentler me, since that is hardly the point. I probably am less so of each – since now I have someone to protect at all costs. Now I get my hackles raised and – there is no such thing as kind or gentle. I am more thoughtful I think (no pun intended, well maybe a little).

I also have a new found sense of bewilderment that I thought had disappeared long ago. Being a mother bewilders me all the time. How do you speak rationally to someone who insists on being irrational and acting in ways that are inherently dangerous and beyond their ability? How do you ‘explain’ to a child that kitties neither appreciate nor tolerate noodles being flung in their faces? Or that fish crackers should not be flying fish crackers? Or that Mommy has to be in the front seat in order to drive the car and the law insists that baby be in the back seat safe and sound while locked in a baby protection device? Or that stepping is a lot of fun….. stepping on a toy the size of a matchbox car is foolish and baby is gonna get hurt? I ask you – how is it possible to do any or all of those things? And yet everyday I must try to do any or all of them!

Today, I had to keep her home because she has a slight ear infection probably from the swimming pool or perhaps the germ pool (aka daycare) whatever. Her pediatrician said she had to stay home today. EFP stayed home with g-ma and I went to work. I cried on the way to work and then fought the tears all day… well occasionally I stepped out of my office and proclaimed to any who cared to hear that I was very sad that I had to leave my baby home with a stupid ear infection…. Oddly the students seemed not to care! (not really my grad students are very kind and caring… ) I felt guilty and irresponsible for her getting an ear infection in the first place. Either because I have been taking her to the pool or because she must be in day care. SO much for I can fry up the bacon and blah blah blah….

I was thinking about all this, in part because I was thinking about referrals… still so happy for the people who got their referrals yesterday!!! And two because it is our 5 month anniversary of arriving home with our baby. So naturally we are trying to think of how we can begin to think about thinking about a second child. Really the issue is that the wait is now so long and unpredictable that we might have to consider getting the paperwork ready to submit the minute we are eligible in order to begin to wait in line again. It is just so hard to think about. Oh, so why are we, well in this paper intense world we inhabit – our 6 month post-placement report may be able to be combined into a home study update – and thereby putting us on the time line to have our paperwork submitted in February 2007 (we are ineligible until February 21, 2007 – since we must wait one full year from the time of EFP’s formal adoption). Though I hold out hope that we will find our next child on a waiting child list – who knows.

No the real reason is the absolute panic I am in over our pending vacation. We now have to think in terms of “family vacation” rather than merely a vacation. Which means, in short, that I can not wear anything other than what I will actually be wearing when we leave home. I can not take any books or meds or make up, no slr camera, certainly no painting implements. In fact, our vacation packing will be all about the baby. SO we are learning about family vacations the easy way – by taking one! Actually planning for this trip has become so stressful we are 1. considering not going or 2. scheduling a short trip to Bermuda to recover from our 2-week family vacation!!!

1 comment:

Frank & Allyson! said...

Missy,

I love reading about your beautiful Chloe and all of your adventures. You are so great with words and believe it or not, I feel the same way you do.

When we returned home from China, we had to purchase a new car. DH travels a lot during the summer and our old one just would not have been big enough. Packing for the baby and us for the 3 trips so far this summer takes almost 10 pieces of luggage. Good luck on your trip and packing!

Allyson!

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