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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Golden Rule

The other night, Buddy got a message on Instagram from his friend asking why he had been saying mean things behind his back.

Last weekend, the two boys had been hanging out and Buddy came home annoyed. This is pretty typical. It seems like any time Buddy spends too much consecutive time with one person he ends up frustrated.

Buddy may be a teenager now, but in some ways he is still socially behind his peers. He wants things to go his way, and gets upset when others are not willing to let him take the lead and dictate activities all the time.

He vented his feelings to the mutual friend, who spilled the beans to another friend, and so on and so on until it got back to the first boy.

Add typical teenaged behaviour (gossiping, hormonal moodiness, loyalty testing) to typical post-orphanage behaviour (feelings of entitlement, controlling behaviour, mixed maturity), and you've got a recipe for problems. Especially when trying to make and keep friendships.

We continue to talk to Buddy a about how no one can control other people's actions, we can only control our own. After 3 years, he still hasn't come to accept the golden rule: treat other people the way you want to be treated.

So Buddy doesn't understand why what he did was wrong. He honestly believes that the fact that he was annoyed gives him the right to say mean things. He also doesn't understand why he's not allowed to use Instagram until he responds to his friend's message and apologize for hurting his feelings.

So he's simmering at the dinning room table, and I'm letting him. If he hasn't learned in 3 years, he certainly isn't going to learn tonight.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The 4th First Day

This week, Buddy had his 4th first day of school as a part of our family.

He returned to the same school as last year, with the same home room teacher and classmates. This made for the easiest first day of school we've had yet.

I have written about the mistake we made choosing Buddy's first school, as well as his experience last year on the 1st day. These events were big moments in our family.

This year... Not so much.

- We did all our school supply shopping on Amazon, except for the items we re-purposed from previous years (including Five-Star binders Hubby and I have had since WE were teenagers!).
- We didn't buy any "back to school" clothes, except a pair of new shoes Buddy bought himself with the money he earned working this summer (also purchased on Amazon).
- We gradually packed up Buddy's school bag the weeks before school started.
- I didn't pick out a special first day outfit for Buddy.

We didn't have any big lead-up to the first day of school. We didn't do anything out of the ordinary the day before school started.

We were just chill.

Yes, under his arm there are another 2 boxes of Kleenex, the school annual requirement

Buddy woke up the morning of his first day, ate a normal breakfast, did his normal routine, performed all his normal morning chores and headed off to school. No fuss, no drama, no dysregulation, no hypervigilant over-excitement.

I'm kind of kicking myself for not being chill sooner!

Today was just like any other day. Which is the biggest school victory we've had so far. I am so proud of my Sweet Boy. And I'm also proud of Hubby and I for meeting him where he needs to be.

So, here's to a great first day of school. May there be many others.

Especially next year, when Buddy will have to move schools again.

Monday, September 5, 2016

In a Nutshell


It's been a minute since I checked in. Actually, it's been more like a year.

I miss writing this blog, processing my thoughts, and having a hobby that is just mine.

I miss you! I have gained so much from the interactions, sense of community and new friends I have gained by blogging.

So, this year isn't shaping up to be any easier (professionally) than last, but I have learned a lot about time management, delegation and work-life balance over the past 12 months. So I am going to make a real effort to carve out time to blog more often.

Over the last year, we have gone through a lot as a family. I am going to jot down a few things I can think of off the top of my head:

- Buddy started junior high (a big change - not one that we were very well supported with by his new school). This meant several new teachers (good and bad), new friends (good and bad) and a whole lot more homework and independence (bad, bad, BAD). But we got by and hopefully found a good routine and will have a better game plan for this coming school year.

- Hubby and I worked a lot. Like a LOT, a lot.

- We bought a new house last October and are in the process of finishing our new basement and having the back yard landscaped. Soon we will have a media room and a pool. This makes the previous point a bit easier to deal with.

- Because of work and saving money for home renovations, we didn't do much in the way of vacations this year. We did spend a week in Phoenix in May for my birthday. I am a big fan of off-season vacations!

- Buddy did skating lessons (again) and baseball (for the first time) this winter and spring. He hasn't decided on a winter activity this year, but we are thinking he will probably skate again because he seems to enjoy it. His favorite activity continues to be playing video games. He saved enough money to buy himself a PS4 this year. Screen time rules are still strongly enforced as he becomes a total jerk when he spends too much time fighting aliens.

- Speaking of Buddy, activities and working - Buddy got his first summer job this year: working for me! He worked 4 weeks this summer which was a great experience for him. He now has a better idea of how education and experience impact wage and what it means to do a menial task for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Hopefully this helps him understand the long-term benefits of working hard in school.

- Swar and Grem are still good. Swar is 16 now and Grem is 8. The continue to be crabby and stubborn (Swar) / over-energetic and spastic (Grem). Age never seems to change their doggie-personalities, and although they can both be pretty darned annoying we wouldn't change them for the world.

So that's the past year in a nutshell. How did it get into this nutshell?!?

(Austin Powers joke, which if you already knew, good job)

Friday, September 2, 2016

3 Years

Three years ago today, Hubby and I met Buddy for the first time. In honour of our Metcha Day anniversary, I am re-posting this from Nov 30, 2014

Hubby and I went through a blind adoption process. We had no idea of the age, gender, or number of children we would adopt, or even if we would be successful after everything was said and done. We were approved to adopt 1 to 2 healthy children, anywhere from the ages of 0 to 10. I had an image in my head of our family complete with a 9 year old girl and a 6 year old boy, for whatever reason.

Once we traveled and met with our in-country facilitators and had our first appointment it became clear that our criteria was a bit narrow. Not impossible, but we hadn't gone through the whole process to gamble while in the home stretch. So we underwent the difficult task of having our criteria changed while out of our home country. We figured it was more important to become parents to a real kid than stay stuck to an imaginary picture.

Thank goodness for our wonderful agency, social worker, an in-country facilitators. They basically busted their butts to get everything done for us as quickly as possible. While we waited, we decided to look at our time as an international getaway and did lots of sight seeing, food sampling, and culture immersing. We actually had a blast!

The night before our second appointment we learned that our facilitator had pretty much forced our newly amended, translated and approved dossier into the hands of the woman we would be meeting with the next morning. Our new criteria was for 1 to 3 children with up to moderate health conditions between the ages of 0 to 13. We said a prayer and went to bed hoping for the best.

The second time we met with the government adoption agency was nerve wracking. We were stressed out and nervous to say the least. Would the woman accept the new dossier or would she insist on using the old one? Would our changes be enough or would it all be for naught? How long would we have to wait for another appointment if we weren't successful this time?
And then we were handed a 1.5 page write-up and picture of a beautiful little boy. A single boy. A healthy boy. A boy who was under 11 (remember our initial criteria...). It was Buddy.

Then we were told that day was the first day he was available to be adopted internationally. If we hadn't waited for new documents to have our second appointment we wouldn't have seen Buddy's file.

How amazing is that?

We later found out that Buddy had started down the road to adoption at the exact same time we did, all the way on the other side of the world. It was the missing piece of why we felt such a strong desire to adopt.

I don't believe that God plans for children to be orphaned. The best place for every child is in a loving home with their first family. But I do believe that when this was no longer an option for Buddy, God helped bring us together to make the next best thing. Every road block, delay, snafu, happened so that we would all be at the same place at the same time.
As silly as it may sound to some, everything happened for a reason.