Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Super Woman is Dead?

Adoption, kids, family, friends, finances, health, daily obligations, cleaning, pets, romance and a personal life?

I was speaking with my life transitional coach, specifically adoption support that I had the first go around and she said she had read the term, "Super Woman" was a dead word and that when women gained more freedom, what they often gained was another job. Let me explain as I have been thinking about this a lot lately with the amount of work on my platter, not plate.

My female line is the perfect example of women with careers and the freedom to make choices.
Great Grandmother: Teacher
Great Aunt: Nurse
Grandmother: Award Winning Journalist
Mother: Crisis and Trauma Counselor and University Professor

Culturally speaking there were plenty of high expectations for us as women in our family. My grandmother was the perfect example of a career woman from Hollywood journalism, San Diego CBS news anchor to flying into Vietnam in an active war zone in a helicopter. A tough Russian/British woman who would kiss us at a 2 inch distance on each cheek. She was incredible at who and what she did. That leaves me remembering how scared I was to interview her in high school as I thought I would not be able to do the job she did during a real interview. Needless to say, she was hardcore and very classy.
My mother took a different route so to speak. She works 60 - 80 hours a week, always has to make it to give us a great life. There were sacrifices for both women.

When I was born my grandmother was ready to raise a daughter. My mother and her mother were gone so much during their career, the little time left was to fulfill the rest of the expectations from hiring a nanny as my grandmother did to sending us off with grandparents as my mother did.

Where were the men? Well, my grandmothers father drowned at La Jolla Shores Beach while she watched at a young age, no one could get to him. My mother's father died when she was only 8 years old, also an award winning journalist who became ill after covering the test sites in Las Vegas. My great grandmother and aunt raised my grandmother a bit as my great grandfather passed away early as well.

Is Super Woman dead or has she just taken on another role?

Funny, but when you think of yourself as a woman, mother, wife, home maker, lets take it back to the Donna Reed era, now think of yourself in the modern era as a woman, mother, wife, home maker, career woman, care taker and that is just the beginning.

I look at my life and I am in no way complaining. I am a woman often thought of as solid as a rock, "HunterAnn? Oh yeh, she has it all." I often tell my friends that is not the case and nor is it easy as pie.
I think they just look at me like, "Yeh, right."

A week in the life of ME looks a bit like this:

- Adoption Paper work: I take care of 95% of the paper work. This includes making phone calls, setting up appointments, pleading with medical doctors to make copies of their license for our adoption or hoping the bills for each test, psychologist appointment, cpa appointment will not be an arm and a leg. Making copies, scanning images, e-mailing, sending out documents over night, lots of UPS visits, notary visits, drives to the capital for apostilles and so on. If my husband says, would you get the financial lists and e-mail them today, well that is another 2 hour job and plenty of research. Making meetings that fit into my husband's schedule, taking time off and hoping my husband can plead with his company to get 4 weeks of vacation, which does not include the days off for all of the appointments needed for this year.
- I pack
- I write up the 9 page instructions list for housesitter, mother's helping etc with Alexei.
- I am currently working on a 46 item list that is on my wall for the next 1.5 weeks before we take off.

- House Cleaning: On a lucky month, I get some one to clean half of my house, however in a daily week, that would be me. Yes, doing the dishes at midnight and hoping I get the toys picked up once that day. There are not high hopes in this department just being able to comfortably live in a clean house.

- Cooking: Well, breakfast for Alexei, Lunch for us and dinner when I can fit it in. If not, take out is there, sad but reality for now.

- Grocery Shopping: Sigh, this is in and out. So I get about 6 hours a week in baby sitting and during that time it is making my appointments, running to them, and doing errands like grocery shopping, mailing, etc. A very tight schedule.

- Work: I freelance. At this point between work, child, adoption stuff, house, pets, etc what mom doesn't feel like she works from the moment she gets up until midnight.

- Each night I wake up and cover Alexei in his blankets, usually 3-4x a night.

- My son: I love him more than anything but he came to us with the Disneyland Syndrome. He does not take naps but maybe 1x or 2x a week for an hour and he goes to bed at 11pm if we are lucky and only sleeps about 9 hours. He is actually on a pediatrician herbal remedy for now until the syndrome wears off. It means he is tired but he wants to know about everything, see everything and not miss out on a thing. So what does this have to do with me? LOL, he is my side kick ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. Super woman side kick. He is energetic, all over me and I love it but where does that leave me? Hanging in there.

- Pets: Love them, have had them for a long time. 5 cats, 2 dogs and 6 fish, 1 frog. The fish and the frog have their tank, the cats have their own cattery area and the dogs, well they run the house: 2 large shepherds.

- Friends: As my friends know, my door is always open whether it be 2am or a 4am phone call. Yup, that's right. If you need me, you know you can count on me and I will always do my best to be there. That's just me.

- Wife: Well, lol, sadly I am sure that takes last place at the moment. I love my husband more than anything and he is incredibly kind and patient. What I love is that I can look fine yet feel overwhelmed and he takes one look and says, "Talk to me." He is my rock. So although I am responsible for basically everything but the main financial flow, I have him to lean on while I let everything else lean on me. Date nights are maybe 1x a month so we enjoy our time together with Alexei.

Now, having to come to this point has taken SO much sacrifice. Yup, that's right. All of this work I do above and more is actually a good thing but comes at a very costly price. Am I tired? Hell yes. Am I hanging at the end of the rope a lot? Hell yes. Is it all worth it? I have to believe it is.

For example, the lady at the bank who I have been working on trying to order new $100 dollar bills as they only do this during Christmas. Again, yes they only do this during Christmas means I have had to apply as an adoptive mother who needs new bills LOL. Anyways, she asks me yesterday, "Oh, so I guess adoption costs what, like as much as me getting pregnant and having a baby right?" I smile and say, "Well, no, not really and tell her a number". She went silent and began working even harder like she felt suddenly a need to help me lol.

Going broke for awhile is a normal side effect of adoption for many. I know it can be quite a struggle and if we are lucky to adopt through loans, family and fundraisers for some, well that is HUGE LUCK and GOOD FORTUNE.

I suppose in short I LOVE BEING A WOMAN. And I would never ever trade it for the world.

I also want to give a HUGE THANKS to the women in my life for without you all and you know who you are who often e-mail me even when I do not have time to respond right away and simply say, "Hi, how are you?" or for the incredible woman who delivers me coffee maybe 1x-2x a week if I see her, your simple gestures offer me a world of difference in getting me through the day and to a special woman who says to me, "Don't worry about it" I may always reply and say,

"I'm fine", which means, I will deal and move on.
"Hanging in there", which means I am at the end of my rope but after a good cry or breathing moment, I will be good as new.

Being a woman means carrying various roles and enduring stretching limits but the rewards are great even if we have to wait for them.

I believe women have taken on greater roles, however I do not believe Super Woman is dead but rather Super Woman has evolved.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Being a writer, I find myself incredibly passionate about people, feelings and experiences. Life just seems to be a bit heightened on a daily basis for myself and my husband who also writes. I suppose having to jump into someone's shoes and feel how they feel, cry, laugh, react and so much more is part of the role. When it comes to the show Parenthood, which has been on for awhile, I cannot say enough about how much I can relate to the characters and real life drama that is portrayed.

Needless to say, I choose to watch Parenthood during dinner and more often than not, end up with indigestion lol.

A few years ago my husband Michael and I were resolved to the fact we had been trying for 8 years to get pregnant. 8 years is a very a long time. We rode the emotional roller coaster of whether we were just meant to be one of those couples with decent salaries, traveling the world and having dogs as children. Nothing against this by the way, it was a fun start. For some it works, for others like us we began to see our friends and family with children enjoying what life had brought them, the experiences, the ups and downs and as much as we loved the two of us, video games, 500 dvd's or so, it became a bit overdone. Yes, plenty of freedom and it is fun, for awhile.

Michael began to want more in our lives and I followed suit. We confronted fertility by going through all of the testing and fun visits. We never did go through IVF as I suppose on one of our numerous trips, we decided not to invest in something that may not work and then we saw a family who adopted and it was as if a light bulb went on. That was it, we knew, this was for us and we could travel and bring a child into our life who needed us as well as us needing and wanting a child.

We never realized just how involved the paper work, the journey was going to be but we did know it would be like climbing a mountain, a rocky, crumbly steep climb.

Our house is now rumbling with an almost three year old flying through the house, more often in a Buzz costume shouting, "To infinity and beyond, I come in peace" as his arms are stretched out flying like a plane.

I think how much our lives have changed and even more how much my sons life has changed. His personality came into fruition from a quiet thinker to an outgoing child filled with excitement, kindness and affection.

We are heading into our second adoption and lucky enough to be able to go back to the same city to bring home a sister for Alexei and a daughter for us. I look forward to meeting her and wonder how her personality will be.

Some ask is this your last one? I say, yes, but not by choice. For every child out there I can give a life long home to is a great gift for us, for our family and for them.

If you would have asked me whether I was going to have children 10 years ago. I may have said, "probably not".

I am entirely too happy to follow in the footsteps of characters like those in Parenthood where we all can relate or will come across a similar experience.

Life is short and to be able to share our moments with each other and our children is awesome.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

DeJa Vu: 3 Weeks Until Travel

Over the course of a week and a half, we have our dates to travel.
We are excited and also very much in a bit of a surprise still as things seemed to have happened over night.

One interesting point to all of this has been the timing. For example on April 14, 2009 I signed a visa travel application to go and meet Alexei and on April 14, 2011 I have once again signed a visa travel application to be introduced to a baby girl.

Such a coincidence. There are times when I attempt to hide from the signs that often slap me in the face and boy do they frequently wake me up thinking of how strangely numbers, timing and our lives have some sort of purpose. I may not have the answers, however my life has often followed a pattern with another new adventure on the way.

As Michael continuously reminds me, "Our lives frequently go a different direction then what we thought they were going to go." This is very true. I find that if you think you have your life planned out, think again as there is no reason to fight what is supposed to happen. Is it fate? I do not know, however if the stars align... life happens.

In a few weeks we hope to be meeting a baby girl who will hopefully make her way into our life. It is funny as I have not met her yet, however I find myself listening to lyrics that say, "Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel, Like you're nothing, you are perfect to me. You're perfect, you're perfect to me!" - Pink.

As a mother and one who will be a mother to a daughter this year, I find myself as a woman with strength and character that I hope to pass on to my little girl knowing that no matter what, she will always be perfect to me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Our Referral!!!!

The Call:

Alexei is saying, “Mama, tacos, tacos Mama.” So I am driving into a taco place for us to eat lunch. I get out of the car and my phone rings and I see who it is and I think, “Oh no, what did I do wrong in my paper work?” My wonderful coordinator says to me, “We have a baby girl for you!” And I just went, “No way! This is a joke right?” As if, what a cruel joke that would be haha.

Needless to say, my little guy did not get his tacos at that place. I had to get back in the car and let my coordinator know I had to call Michael first before I hear much more. Of course, Michael is back at the office with a huge emergency meltdown of some sort and he has to get it fixed so he is no where to be reached and I am with this heavy news wanting to tell anyone.

Alexei hears sister but his mind is on the “tacos” so we hit the Taco Bell drive thru, “Sorry Alexei” and while I am in the drive thru, Michael calls. The guy says, $2.32, well there was no way I could eat after hearing that news, my stomach was turning, all good but in a way of just pure shock and adrenaline. The guy at the drive thru says to me, “Sorry maam, you gave me the wrong card.” FLUSTERED I was handing him a card that was not about money LOL and it looked like I had tears in my eyes so he just smiled and I said, “I'm so sorry, I just heard amazing news, be patient with me.” LOL. Anyone who knows me well knows I will strike a conversation up with just about anyone.

Poor Michael is sitting there on the other end in the middle of his stress and he is like, “I am not surprised. Anytime we think something else is going to happen, it goes the opposite.” lol. He is calm, annoyingly calm but I understand why.

I end up calling people, no one is available. I felt like I had news to share and no one to share it with. So, mothers I know you know what I am talking about when your whole physical self feels like it is going to explode with what the heck just happened?! I sat in my car in the drive way, then stood on the outside, realizing the first two people to really hear all of the news were my neighbors who happen to be standing there who I do not know well. YUP, they got an ear full. Poor ladies. LOL.

So, in the last 25 hours, I have had a referral, a full medical consultation, a referral acceptance, travel packet and have barely stopped to be able to write this little tale of what happened.

Lesson learned: When you think something is going to go one way, better be prepared for a change of plans.

That's all I can say for now..... :)