Monday, June 30, 2014

Jay's view

                                          Jay's View

Since Father’s day has recently passed, and this was my first Father’s Day being a legal father, I thought it would be appropriate to make a guest appearance on the family blog to talk a little about my perspective as an adoptive dad.    I have never been mistaken as articulate, or well written so please bear with me. 

Many of you know that Ileah and I were in the process of adopting from Ethiopia before Jayden came into our lives.  We started the process nearly a year before his surprise entrance, but even starting the adoption process for Ethiopia was one we had many long talks about. It was something Ileah had always intended, and I was on board from the start. However, I always thought we would have our own biological child first, and then maybe adopt later on.  If I am being honest, a part of me has always been concerned with how I would treat, or think about, my adoptive child in comparison to a biological child.  Ileah and I hope to have a bio at some point, and this was a real concern that I was pretty open about with her prior to starting our paperwork journey.  I know this sounds very shallow, but it was something that I really struggled with.  I know Ileah has spoken with many want to be adoptive moms whose husbands cannot fathom the notion of raising someone else’s child. They want their own flesh and blood.  They think there will be a difference in how much they can love a child that is not “a part of them”. But here is the honest truth; I learned very quickly after Jayden’s arrival that a “difference” would never be seen or felt on my part. I can’t imagine loving someone more than I love him.   I think God works in AMAZING ways and makes great situations out of seemingly hopeless ones.  Even though we didn’t know it, he was preparing us for Jayden from the start.

Many times over the past month I have found myself feeling so blessed that Jayden is my son, and that I am his father.  In the adoptive community, they always talk about a child finding their “Forever Family”, but truly, I feel like it should be more like a family finding their forever child.  He is mine forever and to my ears, it just sounds too good to be true.  He is OUR blessing, OUR gift, OUR treasure. WE are the lucky ones!

So, how has the journey been so far….well, here are a few random thoughts that have resonated with me since becoming a dad:

-I always knew that I had great parents, but I never fully appreciated it until I became a parent myself.  I am so grateful for them being close by in Hilliard.  It is so fun to watch them be grandparents.

-It really does take a village to raise a child.  We have had so much help from friends and family.  Especially when it comes to people being willing to watch Jayden so Ileah and I can have date nights.  Also, from people providing us with clothes, toys, strollers, etc.

-Having a child has made our marriage even stronger.  You really do have to be a team.

-Kids are crazy, and sugar highs are a real thing.

-God is great and works in awesome ways.

-As a dad I have realized I really do need to watch what I do around Jayden.  He observes and imitates everything. 

-I wish life were as simple as a 4 year old makes it. 

-Daily I find myself saying things that my parents used to say to me.  I am still not sure how I feel about that.

A few more thoughts:
Before having Jayden I worried about how I would handle tough questions from my adoptive child.  Would I have the right answers?  How much should they know? I don’t want to tell them something that will hurt their feelings, or confuse them.  Ileah and I have read the books, and done the training on how to handle such questions, but I always wondered how I would respond when it actually happens. 

Since having Jayden I have learned that kids pick up on a lot more than you may think.  He is very observant and hears nearly everything (except when you actually want him to listen of course). I have learned that as long as you are doing your best, and have your child’s best interest at heart, you are doing the “right” thing, and even if you don’t necessarily say the “right” thing, your child will learn to trust you and trust is the building blocks for the really hard discussions you will eventually need to have with them.  You answer their questions honestly, and with enough detail that is appropriate for their age.  Couple that with reassuring them how much you love them, and you can’t ever REALLY screw up too bad.

Just like all parents I am sure Ileah and I are in for a wild ride with Jayden, and the rest of the kiddos that will enter our lives.  I get very excited when I think about the future of the Reichert family.  It also causes a little bit of fear and stress, but I can’t think of two other people that I would rather be on this journey with than my partner in crime, Jayden and my rock, Ileah. 

Once again thank you to everyone that has helped Ileah and I over the past couple of years.  We are truly blessed for everyone in our lives, especially the cute, blonde 4 year old that we thank God for every day!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Weights in waiting

I know I have been slacking in terms of writing this blog over the past year. Many of the blogs I follow tend to do the same thing…start off strong and with lots of “ideas” and “updates”, but then they taper as the weight of the wait keeps pressing on. We are well into 2 years of this wait and I think I may actually start to see a distant spot of shining light ahead. Our Dossier for China is 99.9% finished. 

I have collected every nuance of data on our family, had it notarized, trucked it down to down town Columbus on a very busy Monday morning, stood in multiple lines, finally had it county certified then state certified, copied it three different times, and happily, shipped the sucker off into the mail to be out of my sight and out of my mind, forever! I am happy to report it has made its way safely to Vancouver and is currently sitting on the desk of our case manager. The last remaining document will come from Immigration, and as you know, red tape is as thick as mud, so its exact date of arrival is still unknown.

Speaking of our case manager, we have heard that there are nearly 45 kiddos whose documents are getting prepared to be relinquished from the Chinese government to finally allow them to be adopted through our agency. She is very hopeful that in as little as 6 months, we will know and see the face of our little one. It seems unreal at this point. To think that early next year we could be traveling to China, meeting this little angle that we have dreamed about, and take them home to start our “new” family.  It’s exciting and scary and wonderful all at the same time. But for now, we keep preparing….and yes….waiting.

So, how is the wait going…Well, I have decided to be a little proactive in my wait. I could sit around and worry and grow anxious but I decided to do something constructive. In March I started focusing on getting my boys and myself, eating and living a little better. I started doing home workouts, for starters. You could say I started really getting into weights during my wait. 

And before long, I got addicted to them. I am using, which is a FREE personal trainer right in your living room, or in my case, my basement, who literally rocks you to the core with amazing workouts. I did not intend to loose weight necessarily, I just wanted to get a little toned, stop feeling so out of shape, and have more energy for chasing after my 4 year old, but I am happy to say I actually lost about 10 pounds and several inches in the process. I have more energy now than I have had in years. This is by far the best workout I have ever done. I soon canceled my gym membership, started saving a lot of money, and am actually starting to feel like I’m in my 20’s again! As a mom, I never thought I would give up my time with my little guy to do something for myself, but here is the thing, he loves to “work out” with me (you can tell by the video below). Kids love doing what you love doing! Ever notice how kids love playing on the computer, pretending to drive their little cars, pretending to mow the lawn with daddy? They love to do things they see us doing. When I work out in my own home, He is right there with me and sees it as a time we are spending together. I even got jay in on a few workouts. The best thing, these workouts are not time consuming. Many of them are 12 min long, but they really work you in those 12 min. Now some workouts are longer, but the website is packed full of great advise on not only fitness, but nutrition as well. 

I also started focusing on all of our nutrition. My boys love to eat out, especially my grown one, and the ramifications of eating out have begun to be evident in our overall health. I started looking into adding more locally grown produce into our diets. Fruits have never been issue, but vegetables are hard to get down all of us, particularly my little one. I heard through my aunt of a pretty amazing little company called Green Bean. They deliver locally grown, organic produce, meats, cheeses, nuts, ect right to your home weekly or biweekly. We are eating vegetables we have never had before and they taste significantly better than what Kroger has on its shelves. I am not sold on just eating organic, but I do love supporting local farmers and can see a dramatic difference in the produce quality. I am trying new recipes, we are all eating better, and I think we are actually saving money!

Well, that’s about it on the update front. I do have some exciting news, Jay has surprised me with writing a blog post of his own! I didn’t even ask him too! As much as I assume the role of writer on this blog, it is our family that it centers around and I am ecstatic to hear Jay’s thoughts as an adoptive father in the next blog post.

Please keep orphans all over the world in your prayers. If you have not already, please head over to the CHIFF facebook page and “like” the CHIFF campaign, and please take a moment to sign the petition to our government letting them know that Children EVERYWHERE need families. Lets right the wrong that hinders this. Children do NOT belong in an orphanage, they belong in a family.