To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Conflicts of Interest

I can't lie, this past week has set me on edge.

Seriously, I have begun to feel that I'm being pulled in a million different directions.  Mostly, this is a good thing; because for a long while I had been feeling as though God had stopped opening doors for me - in my friendships, in my career, in my health, in our desire to become parents, etc. etc.  Now, however, I feel as though there are so many doors opening that I don't know which one to walk through first; and what's worst of all is that I simply cannot walk through them all - that whole time/space/being-in-two-places at once thing hasn't really been worked out by top physicists yet.  Not to mention that I simply do not have a never-ending supply of financial funds at my disposal.

*Le Sigh*

So, I'm being forced to say "no" to some things that I would actually really like to say a resounding "YES" to; and honestly, it really sucks.

First on the list is a competition in my hometown called "Superstars of Singing".  Essentially, there is "round one" which is the audition stage to make it to the top 12 singers.  If chosen, you will prepare 3 songs for the actual competition.  In "round two" (actual competition night) you sing your first song, if the audience likes you enough to vote for you, you move on to the top 5  where you sing your second song.  If you are lucky enough to continue from there, then you will compete in the top 2 where you sing your final song. 

I made it to the top 12!

Fabulous, right?  Wrong.  I can't make it work.  Not only does my mom now have to have TWO operations for her gall-bladder; I myself have to have a biopsy done a mere 4 days before the actual competition.  Did I mention the biopsy's on my cervix?  Yeah, it is.  And, the scariest part of it all is that last year around this exact time I was having my surgery to remove the stage 3-C pre-cancer from my cervix.

That was only one year ago?  I can't help but think and then worry...

What if it's back?  What if it's worse?  If something is wrong, the adoption will be put on hold...AGAIN.  I can't take the pain of it all.  The worry.  Honestly, I am more worried about the adoption than myself.  I just DO NOT want it to be delayed anymore.  I want to move forward for once!  In the back of my mind, I know God is watching out for me; but I'm terribly human...I fail in the worrying too much department all the time.  Ugh!

Making matters worse is the fact that my accompanist only has time for ONE (count it, ONE) rehearsal before the show.  One rehearsal to get THREE songs down?  I don't think so, Tim.

It wouldn't be such a big deal to not do the competition really, but first prize is $1,000.  At any stage of an adoption, extra cash of any amount can always be put to good use.  I would LOVE to have an extra $1,000 lying around to use towards our home study or dossier documents, etc.; but it's not going to happen now.  Now, I won't even get the chance to try for that money - not even second or third prize - any of which would be better than none.

While I'm upset about this, I'm trying to not be too terribly down-trodden.  There is much to keep my mind busy.

M and I are heading to Iowa tomorrow to get everything (that's right...everything) that's left to be done for B's baby shower in October finished.  Are we crazy?  Probably.  But, it's the only real chance we'll have to finish things up before the shower - including the invites; which need to go out by the end of this week - wowza!  We're making nearly everything by hand for this party; so, I know it will be beautiful, but will we have the time to finish?  Ask me on Friday.

As of today, I've officially ended my first full week of training towards the 1/2 marathon in Nashville in April.  I felt pretty good after each of my runs last week, but it's always harder to keep on task with my work-outs when in Iowa; so, we'll see how this goes.

Exercising more has meant that my blood sugar issues have gone from under control to whatthe$#*&*(?!?! in just a few days.  By Thursday, I was feeling so lethargic that I had to find help.  Luckily, I found this site which gives diabetics some really good advice about training for events like this while keeping their sugars level.  While I'm not full-blown diabetic, I do have insulin resistance; and I noticed with the two writers' suggestions of carbo-loading and glucose tabs throughout a run, I was doing and feeling much better.  Guess they were right. ;-)

I also finally started getting the hang of monitoring my blood sugar levels with my meter.  This is a huge feat for me.  Throughout our fertility struggle, I would have to get shots, get my blood drawn, have crazy (and very unpleasant) gynecological procedures done, and have to give myself stomach injections.  For some reason, NONE of this bothers me as much as pricking my finger to get a "good drop of blood" (see, even the phrase makes me feel a bit woozy!) for a test strip. 

But this week, I was determined.  I was GOING to do it, do it right and figure out what the levels mean for my body and life.

And you know what?  It worked.  It really worked!  I was kind of shocked.  I even got over the terror of pricking my finger.  After all, the lancet kits are so swift and make such tiny holes, I really didn't even notice after a while.  So, clap on the back for that one - good job, Mandie!  You can do this, old girl!

In the midst of trying to figure out how Mr. C and I were going to balance mom's two surgeries, my own biopsy, the show (which I thought I was still attempting to do at the time), the baby shower, and our anniversary coming up on the 18th (which we promised ourselves we'd go on a wee trip for) I was notified that BlogHer was hosting a writer's conference in New York City at the Hilton on October 20th and 21st.

ARGH!  Are you kidding me?!?!

What else can I try to jam into this month?

It really sucks, because this conference is going to be amazing.  AMAZING.  Penguin Publishing group is a sort of "sponsor", which is huge; and it also means that they're bringing in the big guns.  As in, tons of publishers, editors, literary agents, and more.  The keynote speakers look really good, and even if I met nobody interested in my book series, I would probably learn how to market myself well to these people in a few months when I have the first book (*hopefully*) done.

I'm still trying to justify the trip.  It would be amazing to go and just soak in all the fabulous information and advice these people are no doubt going to be doling out to everyone there.  I can't decide, but I sincerely want to make it happen.  I've wanted to publish all of these crazy stories in my head since I was a tiny, tiny kid.  The first two things I remember about my life ever are writing a short story and singing.  So, this has been waaaaay up there for quite some time.  I'm still trying to figure out if I can make this work...hoping I can.

Then there's the Beyond Borders International Adoption Conference.  

It's being sponsored by the fabulous Great Wall China Adoption Agency.  If we were still interested in China, this is the ONLY agency we'd even consider.

They, along with their sister agency, Children of All Nations (CAN), always host a fantastic adoption seminar in Austin, Texas for perspective adoptive parents, couples in the process of adopting, or families that have already been brought together by adoption.  I've heard great things about this conference, and Mr. C and I have wanted to go for a long while.  This year, it's October 29-30th.

At the conference, you can earn up to 10 Hague credit hours (classes you must take on adopting and international adoption before you are allowed to adopt and parent a child from over-seas) - this is pretty huge and would take a considerable weight off our shoulders in that department.  Not only that, but we'd be able to pick the brains of those who really count - adoptive parents who have been through what we're about to go through.  I can't think of anyone I'd rather talk to that these people, if they're willing to talk, that is (and I've never met one who wasn't - they're so passionate about their kids).

So, do we go?  Do we not go?  I'm left twiddling my thumbs and trying to decide how to make all of these possibly life-changing trips happen in one, small month when we're starting an adoption right, smack in the middle of them's not looking good.

One fabulous, and totally NOT confusing thing that happened last week was our dinner meeting with Matt and Sarah Watson from Elizabeth's Journey.  You may remember that we decided to officially quit doing fertility treatments due to a conference called Your Journey that we attended back in late May/early June.  Both Dr. S and Dr. L talked us into going to both the adoption and infertility conferences (they were back-to-back nights, a Friday and a Saturday). 

Once we listened to all of the speakers on the adoption night, we just knew we were tired and over our seemingly never-ending struggle with trying to have a biological baby - we were ready to adopt once and for all.

Matt and Sarah were kind enough to meet us in Springfield and eat dinner with us.  While we ate, they really shared so much of their own infertility journey with us as well as their two adoption stories (they have a little girl and boy, both through adoption, and they are just precious!). 

When we were driving up to the restaurant, I told Mr. C that I was fairly certain we were going to come out feeling completely conflicted as to where our interests should lie - international or private domestic adoption?  Which is best?

Matt and Sarah went the private, domestic adoption route for both of their children (after battling through some unpleasant scenarios with Missouri's foster system); and had (obviously) great success.  Mr. C and I had never felt very drawn to domestic adoption, at least not for the moment; but we are getting down to the wire, and we're willing to listen to anything and anyone who might be able to help us become parents.

After a great night of sharing, I was shocked that not only did Mr. C and I, but also Matt and Sarah felt very strongly that we should continue down our original plan path.  I didn't walk out of that restaurant feeling good...I walked out feeling GREAT.  I just know we're making the right decision now.  I just thanked God out loud in the car for the guidance and peace He had just given to both of us - what a precious gift after so many years of uncertainty and confusion!

So, that's where I'm at...trying to wade through a pool conflicting interests.  Trying to decide where to put my priorities - adoption conference or writing conference?  My biopsy or a singing competition with money on the line?  My mom's surgeries or a baby shower?  The list goes on and on...hopefully, it will all work out quickly!

Much Love,


  1. Congrats on adoption path clarity, yay! Sending positive prayers for all on your plate (yes, it IS a lot, wow!). And I hope another opportunity to sing come up very soon!

  2.'s a good thing the contest didn't work out. My grandmother, mom, and sister all ended up in hospitals/ER's/ICU's the past few days...not good. So, I guess it's a good thing I didn't feel right about forcing the contest to work; I would be losing my mind right about now.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.