It's so weird to me that I have once again gone about a month between new posts. I am someone who has always had so much to say (a little too much to say, according to some). It makes no sense in my mind that I can quit my job (freeing up 60+ hours a week, in theory), and NOW feel like I "don't have time" to blog. Makes no sense. A lot of things in my life seem to make little sense right now.
It has now been over 5 months since I resigned from AAI. For the first three months I don't think it felt real. They were still a part of my daily "chores"--answering questions for them, or passing case updates to them. I didn't like it, and yet I insisted on being the one to communicate to them on behalf of Eban Project. I don't know if I didn't want my friends in Ghana to know what it could be like dealing directly with them, or if I simply didn't know how to totally let go of my job. Maybe a little of both. Finally, something in me realized that this was hurting me way more than it was helping anybody else. In January I told Eban Project that I needed to stop sending case updates, therefore stopping my last contact with AAI. It was a good choice. Letting go was a good choice.
Since the drama died down I feel like I have really had time for my kids for the first time in many years--for the FIRST TIME as far as Kendi and Bright remember. It's weird. I have learned to enjoy them in a different way than ever before. I have also learned areas where I've failed them in the past five years. People used to say, "I don't know how you do it all." Well, I wasn't. There are things my kids should know (academic things) that they don't know. There are habits that have been built into the fabric of my family (spiritual/behavioral habits) that are disgraceful to me. Like I am getting to know my kids in a new way, they are also getting to know me in a way they've never known before. [For this, I am thankful.]
I now feel a huge burden to fill in the gaps that have been left in my kids' lives. This takes time. Lots of time. Hours each day I am now plugging into them rather than the internet. For the first time, it feels as if the words I have to share with them are way more important than the words I might have to share with the adoption community. I know this is good, but it also leaves a sort of hole in me that I've got to learn to fill in a different way.
As stressful and time-consuming as adoption work is/was, it is also rewarding. What other job can you have where people say, "Thank you!" or "I don't know what I would do without you?" or "You're the best!" I'm someone that absolutely thrives on positive words. Honestly, it's addictive to do something that you know you will be praised for. Now that my days aren't filled serving super-kind adoptive parents, they are filled serving 4 children that don't think so much about lifting up their mom (nor should they). Moms don't need to be thanked constantly for doing what should be done. Don't get me wrong, my children say super-nice things to me sometimes. It's just not quite the same, is it? It is rewarding in a different way.
The reality of going down 40% in bring-home pay each month has finally really started to sink in. We were so very blessed with our income before (and we knew it). We had extra money in the bank and didn't have a lot of need for a real budget each month. We were so used to having a cushion, that we weren't wise with the cushion we had when I quit. Now we're remembering what it's like for most of the "real world." It's been a while since we had only $X (small amount) in the bank until payday. It's been a while since we couldn't eat out if we wanted to. It's been a while since I have had to try to save up so that I could buy my kids' clothes on consignment or at thrift stores.
Honestly, the hardest thing about our current income situation is that we no longer have the extra money to give to this charity or that adoption fundraiser. Some people say that the rich don't give more (percentage-wise) than the poor. I can tell you, that isn't true in our case. It was SO FUN to be able to bless others whenever I wanted. Now, it's difficult to see the needs out there and know that I can't give (or can't give what I'd like to) because of next week's grocery budget.
Mostly, I feel a lot of guilt right now. Guilt that many of the adoptive families I left at AAI feel alone and abandoned, without someone who truly cares about them. Guilt that I have caused my family to be in a financial bind because of my resignation. Guilt that because of working too many hours the last 5-6 years, my children have academic or spiritual/behavioral holes that need to be filled. Guilt that I miss my "You're great!" fix. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.
The reality is that I need to make some money to contribute to my family. Not a huge amount, but more than the $100 I currently contribute. At the same time, I don't want to give up the time I finally have with them! I don't want to give up the freedom we enjoy with homeschooling! My mom reminds me that many families don't have a choice--public school and a few hours a night with their children is all many people have. I realize this. But neither Eric nor I want this for our family, and we will do everything we can to keep that from happening.
I never would have guessed, before I resigned, that the transition for my family would be so long, and sometimes painful. I never imagined that the Lord would be ushering us into a season of trial rather than reward. I don't at all regret my decision. I know it was what the Lord told me to do. I'm just tired of walking up this hill. I'm ready to be over the hump. I'm ready for the sacrifice to be over.
I feel embarrassed to admit these things I've written. It's not how things are "supposed" to sound right now. [Hmm...I just realized this must be how families feel when they've adopted a child who turns out to have severe attachment issues and homecoming isn't as hunky dory as they had always imagined it would be.] Is post-resignation depression a real thing?! LOL! I guess that's it in a nutshell. My reality isn't meeting my expectations, and I always have HIGH expectations!
I know that the Lord will provide for us. He always has. I guess, in that way, I should be thankful. For the first time in several years I am once again learning how to really rely on HIM for our needs, rather than my paycheck. This is a good thing. There are many good things in my life, and for that I am thankful.