I've been wanting to blog for a while now but I haven't been sure what I should say or how much I should say. A lot of stuff is happening for the Bartels!
I'll start with updating you on my recovery. I think I'm back to normal, although I do feel the odd twinge or pang where my gallbladder used to be. I'm back to exercising. I have been slowly building my workout back up through the last week. Last night I got to where I was before my surgery... although my arms are sore today!
The crappy thing about my recovery is how long it has taken for me to get back to eating normally. My appetite was completely gone for nearly ten days and different foods were affecting me negatively. I have not had the motivation to start my meal plan again yet. I am glad that I had started educating myself on nutrition before my surgery though. Even though I am not fully back on my meal plan I have been making much better choices with my food. I have not had any really "bad" junk food days except for a box of Mike and Ikes at the movie theater last night and Friday night when I was stress eating, along with the help of my mom and sister. We have no junk food in the house and I am so much more aware of the calories I am ingesting... but not obsessing about it! It is quite a liberating feeling :) First weigh in is tomorrow!
My stress eating night was triggered by the issue with my sister. I've mentioned that her and her boyfriend got engaged, right? Well, we've been going to family counseling, when she can make it. (Do you sense the rolling of the eyes?) I do not feel that she is making us a priority. Her boyfriends mother was having an engagement party on Saturday night that we were invited to. Actually, she had invited over 50 family and friends to come, all of whom Liz has not talked to in over 18 months, and asked to bring money in lieu of presents. Aside from that just being tacky, I find it sad. It seems like she is in this imaginary world where getting engaged makes her alienation and abandonment okay and forgettable. That is not how relationships work and it is going to make for a very lonely existence.
She has also chosen bridesmaids and a maid of honor already. Her wedding is scheduled for a year and a half away, yet she has picked her bridesmaids already. Her boyfriend's sister and some one no one knows... indicating she has probably only known her for a year or too and does not have a very deep relationship with. Not that I want to be a bridesmaid right now or support this wedding in any form, but I can't help but be hopeful for our relationship. With us working on things and "apparently" wanting to be close again, her picking other people to be in her wedding that is so far away seems like a slap in the face. We've been each others bridesmaids in both weddings that have taken place so far. Plus, Vanessa is her twin sister and she was Vanessa's MOH. There was no need for her to pick so quickly. It, along with her attitude and how many sessions she has bailed on, shows me she is not really committed to re-engaging with us and still wanting to live in the fantasy world she is trying to maintain. That must be so exhausting. I wanted better for my sister.
I need to figure out how much of myself I am willing to open up to her and where my boundaries are. I haven't figured out the answer to this and have, this far, been responding to her efforts. Keep in mind I reached out and was told to "fuck off" for six months straight, so I'm tired of it... I'm not just being a bitch. I did not go to the engagement party. It just seemed like a lose-lose situation. If I didn't go I'd be judged. If I did go and seemed uncomfortable I'd be judged. I figured I'd save myself the stress of it.
On to more exciting news! Some of you may have been noticing my Facebook status updates about "big things" in our future. It is true that we are expecting this year to be great. We are hoping that Jon's job turns in to a permanent position sooner than later, although we do need to be prepared for the unexpected. He is the bottom of the ladder and still only holds an auxiliary contract. With that there is a certain level of instability. He is still really enjoying it though and from all the feedback he has been getting, he has been doing his job well.
Despite the instability, we are moving ahead with our lives. We are making plans to move. Hopefully this summer but possibly a year from now. It just depends on when we can get a mortgage approval with Jon having just switched jobs. We need more room and more bedrooms :) We would like to move in to our forever home. The home where we are going to raise our family. If that is going to happen, we need at least 4 bedrooms. It is possible in our budget. We'd like the 4th bedroom so that we can do Home Sharing with a special needs adult. My life was so blessed by Home Share and being a part of the lives of people with different abilities that I want my kids to grow up with that too. It would also help generate a bit of income so I wouldn't have to work outside the home and could be home with my family completely full time.
The other, bigger news that has been going on for us is we are thinking of adopting! We have always had it in the plans to adopt a special needs child so that is not news, but it was more a five year plan. We were going to get pregnant at the end of this year and adopt in a few years. Now, we might be adopting at the end of this year instead! We are thinking of adopting a little girl about Livi's age, hopefully a few months younger because we'd like to keep Livi as the oldest.
This feels like SUCH a big decision. There is so much to consider. We know we want to adopt internationally, from a country where people with special needs (Down Syndrome is our focus) are not given much hope. Many countries look at people with special needs as lesser than animals, to be hidden away from society, and stripped of all dignity and joy. You can find adults, the size of children, hidden away in institutions with their limbs twisted up because they have never been taken out of the cribs they were put in at birth. Okay, that is for another post. Jon and I strongly feel that we are able to save and be blessed by at least one of these children.
With international adoption comes a whole slough of other concerns. Can we afford it? Well, no. We can afford some of it but it will cost us upwards of $30,000. We would need the support of our family and friends. Reece's Rainbow does not have their Canadian charity status yet so we can't give tax receipts out to people who may want to donate to our adoption. This will probably greatly decrease the amount of money people are able to contribute. With Jon's position still being technically auxiliary and us wanting to move, will that look like we are unstable to a home study? I think we are ready to expand our family and we have so much experience with Down Syndrome but how will it be to parent a child with DS? Actually, that last question isn't really a worry for me. I know that Jon and I are the right parents for this. I think it will be hard at times, but really great for our family. I think I worry more about other peoples reactions to our child (people can be so ignorant and cruel) and the attachment of our family and friends to an adopted child with special needs. I trust that everyone will be excited and I will do my best to educate them when the time comes.
Money is the main factor. If $30,000 were to mysteriously appear in my bank account we would not hesitate in starting the process. But, as it stands we are trying to decide whether adopting before a second biological is the right thing for us (which I think we are both leaning towards right now :). If it is, do we take that leap of faith and begin a homestudy now or wait until after we've moved. The only thing with waiting is that it will still take probably over a year to bring our child home and we would be pushing it back, and a future pregnancy, that much longer. I really wish money wasn't an issue!