Sunday, September 9, 2012

This is not a vacation

I have an amazing group of friends and have had more support on this journey than most people ever get in their lives. I am very very grateful for that.  Sincerly, truly grateful.

That is why I am hesitant to write this post.  But, I never listen to my wise inner voice, so here goes.

People often say the wrong things even though they mean well.  Ask me how I know.  I do it all the time. Daily.  And I realize it.  I am working on it.  I appreciate when people honestly and gently tell me what I could have said that would have been better.  That is how we learn, right?  And communication is so integral to our daily lives and relationships.  So, learning how to better communicate and support each other is a worthwhile investment.  That is why I am writing this.  Well, and I need to get it off my chest.

I have been told dozens and dozens and dozens of times over the last few days that I need to take this opportunity to self reflect, recharge, enjoy, explore, relax, and so on.  And here is the thing, I am trying.

 I know that when I get home I will have 6 kids.  1 being a baby that is not yet 2 and was still nursing. Hopefully, will still be nursing. 1 has only been home 6 months and is still adjusting. the other 3 are just generally going to be dealing with clinginess and their emotions of us being gone and being home. Then we will have the newly home, non English speaking child who will be FREAKING OUT!!!

Will that be hard?  Um, I'm not even going to answer that.

But, you know what? That is my life. The life I chose. And I want to get back to it.

No one can know what this process is like unless they do it.  And then, do it twice in 8 months.  And then, have your spouse leave and do it alone.  Now, I can do this.  I am doing this.  with a grateful heart. But that doesn't mean it is easy.  It is hard.  Very hard.  it is not a vacation.

It is hard to relax when you start your days visiting your child who is still locked behind giant concrete walls.  I spend 2 hours in an exhausting dance with her. Trying to communicate,trying to bond. And then, when we find our groove, it is time to leave her.  And she is upset when I leave.  We will then have to make up the lost ground the next visit.  Two steps forward one step back.  That is not a vacation

I am exhausted when I get back to the apartment. I then need to figure out where to eat. What to eat.  How hard will communication be ordering my lunch or at the grocery store?  How much money do I have left?  How much can I spend?

After I eat I usually have hours sprawling ahead of me. Hours and hours. I have already wondered around city center for miles in each direction. Multiple times.  I do not have disposable income.  So far, we have had $1200 in unexpected expenses come up. There is a catacombs tour I would love to do, but can't afford it.  Even buying coffee to sit and stare at passersby can not be a daily occurrence anymore.  I probably have enough for the rest of the adoption, but there is no room for anything else.

I am finding different places to sit and read and I love reading. But doing nothing but reading for 6-7 hours a day for weeks on end?

 I am in a city where I don't speak the language, I have large amounts of cash strapped to my body, and I don't have a way around. Not sure how far I want to roam now that I am solo.  Please remember that I love adventure. I hopped freight trains, hitchhiked, love new places and seeing new things.  I have explored this city and Kiev over and over again. But I am pretty happy with the exploring I have done. I have experienced a ton over here!!

I should be writing, but to be honest, I am just so exhausted the my brain feels like mush.  I lay in bed and think about things I should be writing, but I am not.

Dale and I tried to enjoy our alone time together. And we did. But, each day there was a stressful meeting, paperchasing, or something to pick up or drop off. This is not a vacation.

And a little alone time is an unusual gift. I have had 2 days of it now. I don't want much more than that. I am adopting a 6th child because I love my children.  I want to spend my life with them. I definitely want the opportunity to recharge on a regular basis.  But weeks alone is not what I consider recharging.  

I was here for 5 weeks just 6 months ago. I have now been here for more than 2. I don't know how much longer I have, but possibly another 2.  Then I cross the ocean alone. If you know about my fear of flying, you know I dread that.  Then I fly back a week later.  Then I will be here for another 2 weeks. 
And all of this involves more stressful meetings, paperchasing, running around, and leaving my daughter behind in the orphanage each day. This is not a vacation.

And as I write this, there is pounding, blaring, horrible dance music filling my apartment from somewhere outside. This is not uncommon and goes till all hours of the night. So, I am also sleep deprived. That might be contributing to my exhaustion and irritability. I need to introduce them to better music.  STAT.

I tell myself daily that this is an opportunity for growth.  That I can't change this situation so I need to make the most of it.  I need to focus on the beautiful end.  I remind myself about how awesome it is that I am here at all. I try to relax, recharge, enjoy. I do.

But I am feeling spent right now.  I can't find anything to plug into right now to recharge from.  Just getting through each day is where I am at. Skyping with my kids hurts as much as it helps.

Childcare stresses at home have compounded it. People at home are burdened with the charge of 5 extra little people to care for.  Things have not been smooth on that front. It is a constant, nagging worry.

I have said I would be honest with you guys.  So I am being honest at the risk of hurting feelings.  I hope that I don't hurt anyone. I appreciate that you care enough to try to cheer me up and cheer me on.  But, at some point, I start to feel like I should quit sharing my struggle because people think I am complaining. Am I complaining?  Well, probably a bit.  But, I am just being honest. I hope you guys can understand.

This will all be worth it. I can do this. I am glad to be doing it.  But, I am also struggling. I have been stepping out of my comfort zone so much lately that I am not even sure I could find it if I wanted to.  I will be a better person for that. But today, I just hope that a break comes soon. In the form of a court date.  So, if you hear me crying or bitching, please just do a little nekkid jig, send up a prayer, light a candle, think happy thoughts for me, or just totally ignore me!

But please don't tell me to enjoy.  Please don't tell me that I should be using this time to to soul search.  I have no energy for that right now.  Besides, don't we do our best soul searching and self reflection when we have passed through the trial and can, therefore, breathe and reflect on it?  When in the midst of the struggle, we have little energy for reflection. We are just trying to stay above water. 

Please, when I express my very real emotion, just tell me to hang in there.  That you hope I hear soon.  That there will be an end. Please tell me that you love me and that you are thinking of me.

I hope i have not upset anyone. This is where I am today. Maybe tomorrow I will have an amazing epiphany and be handling this like a rock star.  But, today?  Today this is my truth


  1. I love you Kate. So glad you are able to be real with everyone. I am prayin for you daily, heck I have even started doing some nekkid dances on your behalf, hope I am doing them right. Really just having a good time thinking happy thoughts for you. I will be praying specifically for paperwork and court to be expedited, for you to be able to rest, and for your 1 step back everyday to be reduced each and every visit until you and v can just go forward :). Love you and dale and am humbled everyday by your journey :)

  2. I'm sorry, Kate. I can only imagine how hard this is. I think you are an amazing person and I admire you for your love, determination, perserverance, and honesty. Keep hanging on. Yours is a seldom traveled and difficult path, but as I think you know, the reward at the end is great. I am thinking of you daily and cheering you on, and all the while you are inspiring me. Thank you for sharing your journey - ups and downs included.

  3. Kate (Haly here again) I love your honesty. I love that you are willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly. I love that you open my eyes to experiences I'll never have and make me think about them in a different way. I don't think your last post was directed at me hopefully but I did leave you a comment something to that effect but what I meant by mine was that I interpreted your day 14 and 15 post like you were feeling guilty for not blogging. Like you had to keep us all up to date because we'd helped support the journey and MY message about pacing yourself and doing what you needed to do was meant to come across as don't worry about US, don't worry about the blog, just do whatever it is you need to do to keep your head above water and moving forward. If that means shutting down and being silent, that was okay. If blogging helps do that. If telling us to shut up and just let you speak without a response, that's okay to. I just wanted to tell you that I am rooting for you and your family and V and the universe to start spinning smoothly for you.

    1. Was definitely not directed at you!! Was not directed at anyone in particular! Thank you!! <3

  4. Haly again. I just put $100 in your paypal donation fund with this instruction: Specifically for Mama Sanity use. Coffee, catacomb tours etc. It's like the flight attendants tell you, you gotta put your oxygen mask on before you can help others. Breathe mama!

    1. WOW! Thank you so so much, mama!! I might go out and get a coffee right this very second! Thank you! Thank you!

  5. argh, I had typed a long comment and it got swallowed by blogger :-/
    this post is all but hurting my feelings, on the contrary it's a relief to see you're not a superstar able to walk through all this that easily, but just a normal human being ! It must be so hard to be away from the rest of your family for so long, and in a foreign country (even if you like ukraine very much!). hang in there, every day that passes makes it closer to the happy end. I wish I lived in Ukraine and could invite you for a coffee or meal, but I'm only in France; Sending you happy thoughts though !