Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Things I Never Knew

As we approach Holden's Homecoming date (within the next 38 days to be exact), there are many thoughts that cross my mind. Some that feel good, and overwhelm me with so much emotion. And, some, that still made me sad, stir my soul. And others, I will never forget.

Just over 2 years ago, Travis and I began the adoption process. We filled out a lot of paperwork, paid two $50 fees and asked a few questions regarding adoption domestically and internationally. We went into the process so green. Our spirits were glowing bright with the thoughts of bringing a child into our lives.

We knew we'd just fill out some paperwork, borrow the money we needed, and bring home a babe! SIMPLE AS THAT.

Well, you know what happens next. It was never easy.

From being denied because of my diabetes by several agencies, to being chosen over to another family for the domestic adoption we applied for. From being told we'd bring home a baby from Korea within 4-6 months, to being told it could be 6-8 months. Then, realizing it's going to be more than a year.

From trying to explain why we wanted to adopt (which feels terrible, since you never have to explain why you want to get pregnant!!) to educating our families on adoption. From dealing with petty comments from those who were simply too jealous of us and our happiness to be excited for us, to relishing in happy comments from those true friends who have showered us with positive thoughts.

From dealing with ignorance ( I once had someone tell me they always wanted to bring home a little black baby! REALLY??!) to feeling blessed by those who just "get it." Those who wrote me notes of encouragement, and shared stories of experience. And you WOULD NOT believe the ignorance of some people!!

I honestly NEVER knew how strong I was. I never knew how much $hit I could put up with, and how much spirit was stirring in my soul...ready to fight to protect, love and bring home my child.

Adoption is amazing. Adoption is hard. Adoption is love. Adoption is a vow of strength. Adoption is a mirror to the soul. Adoption is heart. Adoption, next to living with diabetes, is the most challenging thing I have ever done, and nearly completed. And, I am sure, Adoption will be one of the great journeys of my life.
A story who's map will trace the lines of my face, and grow in the heart of my Holden as the years go by. A story that I will be telling for years to come, with depth and soul.

And, as fiercely as we have braved this journey, I know we have many more paths to clear.
Holden will need time to adjust, as will we. But, we pray our souls are in for the matching. And, that our hearts were made for one another.

Our SON will be home in 38 days or less. Oh, the stories we have to tell him. His story is not simple, but it is so beautiful. His story does not begin with a pregnancy, and end with a birth. No.

His story has many pages, chapters and volumes. Some that have already been written, and others that are being told right now. Some pages are still blank, waiting in the wings for the ink to dry.

His life will be that of adventure, variety and history. He will always have a story to tell.

And so will we.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Two years gone by so fast

On Wednesday, I spent my off day volunteering at one of my old stores. I left there to take over my own store in March 2011, but in the last couple months there has been management turnover and they are short-staffed by about 3 bodies.

The new manager there is a close colleague who I highly respect, and with any luck I may soon call him a district colleague again. I'm in a bit of a limbo as I await another opportunity to take over my own store.

But I looked forward to visiting and working with three of the associates I coached and trained two years ago. I was humbled and appreciative of the fact that all three expressed how they missed my guidance and leadership. While I was discouraged for them to currently be going through a difficult time because their leader and my former boss unfortunately neglected them over the last 18 months, I also took it as a compliment that they viewed my departure as the beginning of downturn.

But what made me feel better than anything was the fact they remembered the beginning of our adoption journey. Sarah and I committed to the decision to adopt in September 2010, but it wasn't until spring 2011 we began announcing the decision. But I left this store shortly after in March, about the time we had our home study.

So, it was sincere and thoughtful of them to remember. I was able to show them some pictures of Holden and tell them all about him, and obviously told them he'd be home any day now.

It was also a realization of how long it has been. It doesn't always seem like it's been two years since we began this journey, although when I think about the wait it does seem like it will never finalize. But it seems like two careers ago that I worked across the river in Clarksville.

And it made me realize just how long others have waited, too. Others who may not think about Holden every day, but everyone who thinks about Sarah and I from time to time. We don't appreciate those thoughts daily, but this week I definitely was made aware of that fact. So, thank you all.

And, tonight I'll again go to bed hoping to write on here again tomorrow that I finally get to take that vacation from work I've been dreaming about for over a year.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Another anniversary is approaching...

Oct. 20th will mark one year since we first saw Holden Jae-Min Hubbard's little face.
I was sitting in my preschool class, when my email ring tone beeped away. The title read
"INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION REFERRAL: Pictures and family information."

And, my heart jumped out of my chest.

This isn't an instance where I can say, "man that seems like yesterday." Because it doesn't. That moment seems like forever ago. Almost like it happened in a different world.

I'm sure that is because that moment was so long coming. And, most likely, it is because ever since that moment, we have been waiting for the chubby, round-faced baby to join our family.

The weekend following Oct. 20th of 2011, we met my family at Keeneland to celebrate my birthday. Travis and I wanted to keep Jae-Min a secret until we got his referral checked out by medical professionals, but we already knew.

We knew he was ours when we looked at his pictures over and over that first night. We knew he was ours when we couldn't sit right with the thought of not accepting his referral. Something in my heart hurt at the thought of letting him go.

So, that weekend, we stood in my brother's kitchen before we left for Keeneland. We asked the family to come in and gather around. And, with my heart racing, I listened to Travis tell my Mom, Dad, brother and sister-n-law about our son, their very first grandchild, and nephew.

I think everyone was caught off-guard, and excited all at once. I whipped his picture out on my phone, and showed everyone. Happiness overflowing, we headed to one of my favorite places in the world. And, we drank beer, bet on some ponies and laughed together. But, mostly what I remember from that day, is pulling out my phone every 15 minutes to stare at Holden's pictures...long before he was named Holden. :)

My sister-in-law and I blew his picture up and talked about his cute little smile, and lack of hair. We cooed over his sweet little face. A few days later, we accepted his referral with our agency.

Next weekend, we are meeting my family again at Keeneland for the 2012 Fall Meet. And, again, we will celebrate my birthday. We will drink ourselves into a tizzy, bet like we're rich, and no doubt laugh until our bellies hurt.

And, while we never know what the universe has in store, and we can't predict the future...part of me wonders if God or the powers that be have been waiting too. Maybe waiting until this fun-filled weekend draws near to send world our little man is ready to come home.

Personally, I couldn't think of a more grandiose birthday present.

But, I try not to get too excited, as painful as that can be. Because I don't know when we will get that call.
However, I do know how my heart flutters with the hope in each new day that I might hear the words: "You're son is coming HOME."

I do know how let down we are at the end of each week when we didn't get "the call." And, I do know how important it is to make the most of this time "pre-baby" so that I can be the best mom once he is home.

I'm turning 32 in a week and a many beautiful things to look forward too.