Sunday, January 20, 2013

New addition to the family...

Any who have read my blog from the beginning will recall that Sean and I were seriously considering adopting another child.  Due to some personal circumstances, we found we wouldn't be able to proceed until June 2013, so it kind of went on the back burner for a while.  And in that time I realized a few things.

First, I had to accept that I was wholly overwhelmed with my life as it is right now.  My girls are starting to have more and more outside activities, my younger daughter is on the ASD spectrum which results in some real struggles for all of us, and the reality is that any additional stress, I might just explode. And additional stress came last summer, in the form of a huge work shift.  One of my co-workers left for another job and his entire case load ended up on my desk.  There was good in that, and I did well with it, but it left me with absolutely no emotional reservoir.

I don't like to admit the work "overwhelmed" ever has any bearing on my life.  I take great personal pride in being able to get through anything - one of my huge "walls" is to never let anyone see me sweat.  Good Germanic and Scandahoovian martyrdom and stiff upper lip b.s. and all that, you know.  It's bred into me.  But I did admit it ultimately to myself this time. 

And so the dream of adopting a child is over.  Those children need homes, and I greatly admire those who provide the homes and the amazing care that these kids need to deal with their pasts and their futures, but my children had dibs on me first and my obligation to them does not allow me to dilute myself beyond my limits.  I'd love to think I could do it all but that is not being honest with myself.  On a happier note, once I did figure it out, it took a lot of pressure off.  There is a certain amount of deep breathing that comes with accepting yourself as you are, you know? 

And our family then took a leap:  in October we adopted a second dog.  I have never had a second dog in my life, so that was an interesting prospect.  The dog we adopted, Copper, is a greyhound, rescued from a racetrack breeding farm in Kansas.  He must have been slow or something, because he never made it to the track, which is maybe a good things for him (conditions at the track are worse than those at the farms).  The thing about these rescued greyhounds is that they know nothing of family life, living in a house, or floors other than dirt and concrete.  Copper lived with thousands of other hounds in outdoor pens and kennels.  He was terrified by the door to our house and cars and mailboxes, we had to teach him to walk up and down stairs, and he still (3 months later) is spooked by new people, loud noises and shadows on the walls.  But he is sweet and sometimes playful and we have high hopes that he will continue to socialize and develop his personality.  Thankfully, he and Lucky took to each other right off.

We are a well balanced household now - 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 cats, 2 dogs; 4 males, 4 females.  I hope we are also on our way to balancing everyone's emotional needs, activities, and obligations - or at least I think we are and I'm optimistic.