Sunday, March 6, 2016

Navigating a New Normal

Well hello there!  It has been quite awhile since I have written - but it is for a good reason I promise you.  My life has changed so very much since my last post and then I sort of disappeared for a bit.

This story starts many years ago, but I will abbreviate the story because it is a long and heartbreaking one - until now.  My husband and I got married in July of 2009 and at that moment, we decided to start trying for a baby.  After a year, we decided to seek professional help.  This led us on a journey of many, many myriad fertility treatments while simultaneously pursuing adoption.

Meanwhile, while our lives were happy together, we longed for a baby to complete our family and at times, the pain was unbearable.  During this time, we would see our friends and family get married, get pregnant, have children, and repeat.  It seemed that everyone was able to have a baby - except us. Have you ever noticed that when you want something, you see it everywhere?  It seemed that everyone was pregnant, holding a baby in their arms, pushing a stroller, or getting picked in our adoption pool.

My husband and I did not share our feelings with many people.  It was too painful to discuss and I usually ended up crying when talking about it - so, I tended not to talk about it that much.  I also went to therapy to deal with the loss of not being pregnant and that was incredibly successful and healing for me.  I realized I didn't need to be pregnant to have a child.  I was proud of myself for being able to let that go and move forward - that didn't seem possible at one point.

Our adoption agency is Open Adoption and Family Services in Portland, Oregon.  It is centered in the Pacific Northwest (with offices in Seattle, Portland, and Eugene) but they appeal to couples and birthparents across the country because of their position on openness.  We like this agency because they offer All-Options Counseling to birthmothers (and birthfathers), and once in the pool, the birthparents are the ones who choose the parents of the child.  That was so meaningful to us.  We were so excited to enter the pool and did not expect to be in the pool as long as we were and that was so hard just waiting - it was out of our control!  I felt like I was stuck in "The Waiting Place".  You know, the place where everyone is just waiting in Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss.

One good thing about being in the pool so long was that we did make some good friends who were also in the pool.

The other good (and BEST!) thing about being in the pool so long (27 months to be exact) was that we were picked by a loving birthmother who chose us to be parents to our beautiful baby girl!  We have nothing but the utmost respect for her choice and look forward to continuing to build a relationship with her and the birthfather.

Our daughter, Rebecca, was born on November 15th and we got "The Call" November 16th at 5:20 PM.  It was a regular Monday at work and I was just packing up to leave when I saw a call coming in from our agency.  Needless to say that was an amazing phone call and I called my husband right away.  We ate a quick sandwich at home and then headed into Portland to meet our daughter and birthmother, whom we now consider our extended family.

I called my principal on the way to the hospital to say that we got the call, and I won't be in to work the next day, or for that matter, for quite awhile!  Ha!  She was very supportive and excited for us, as was my entire staff, and all of our friends and family.  There were a few nearest and dearest who knew how long and hard the journey was for us, and how sweet this moment actually was.  I believe every parent is thrilled to meet their child and has nothing but love and amazement in their hearts.  But we had such a long wait, that this moment was a bit surreal and extra special that it was only natural that many tears of happiness were shed.

Life has been amazing ever since she came into our lives.  We absolutely adore her and love seeing her smile, and grab toys, and do many "firsts".  She is an amazing baby who is happy and easy-going and has brought such joy into our lives.

Fast forward to does all of this work?  I know how motherhood works and I am LOVING it!  I just don't know how to be the teacher I used to be (I don't want to spend all those extra hours at work now with my sweet baby girl at home).  How do people blog with a baby?  How do people update their Facebook pages, Instagram, and/or continue to create products for Teachers pay Teachers?

This is what I am trying to navigate now.  I have a new normal.  My daughter and husband are my priorities and I believe that is the way it should be.  I do so enjoy teaching and always worked outside of my contracted hours in the past, but I would rather be home with my baby girl than do that now.  Does that make me a bad teacher?  I hope not.  I don't think it does.  It just makes me a teacher who is rethinking my preps and time management.  It makes me a teacher who is going to be turbo at work every free minute so I can still do my best for my students, but be able to let work go at the end of the day and not bring anything home.

I can't figure out how to find the time to blog and part of me wants to let it all go.  I have only been blogging for about a year, and while I love it, it is time consuming.  But I have had fun blogging and have enjoyed the connections and friendships I have made because of it.  I don't want to give it up, but clearly, I am finding it hard to make the time to write.  I'd like to *try* to commit to blogging once a month, but honestly, even that seems challenging.

I have a few products I am working on for Teachers pay Teachers just sitting on my computer.  These are things I was working on, and they are still in the same place they were as of November 16th.  If I am blogging, or creating, then I am not giving my full attention to my daughter.  She is young and needs a lot of attention, and I want to be providing my undivided attention and shower her with love. We have waited a long time for this moment and I don't want to spend it in front of a computer.  I want to spend it with her.

Now, my priority is my daughter and my family, but I do enjoy all of these other aspects of my life as well.  I am bloggy twins with Chrissie Rissmiller from Undercover Classroom.  We feel a kinship with each other since we used the same blog designers (Blogs Fit for a Queen) and our blogs were launched around the same time (hers came out maybe a week or so before mine).  I saw on IG that she was hosting a Blog Birthday Giveaway and that made me realize that mine was also coming up and that I hadn't blogged in a little bit.  She had some great words for me and I really appreciated hearing this advice.  She said "Your blog will always be there, but your baby will only be a baby for a short period of time."

That is so true.  I needed to hear that Chrissie, thank you!

We have waited a long time - the wait seemed interminable - and now I want to cherish it.  I don't want to be tuned into social media like I was before.  I want to put the phone and computer down.  I want to be present.

So how do I do it all and still stay connected?  I am not sure yet.  I am trying to figure this all out.  If any of you have tips on how to manage all of this, please share!  For now, my baby girl is waking up from her nap and I want to go snuggle her.