Adoption and the issues that come with it

Well the Medicaid debacle has been resolved! After resubmitting paperwork three different times, little guy was finally approved for Medicaid. Praise God...this is such a huge burden lifted from our shoulders. Because this was remedied, we were able to set an adoption date. J officially becomes a Helzer on March 6th. We've taken the whole day off and have invited our immediately family to join us in the courtroom as we make this thing official. We cannot wait to make that day special for J--one he will remember for the rest of his life.

As we prepare to make the adoption official, there have been some interesting things to think about come up. First, our adoption date was scheduled for the day of parent-teacher conferences. When I first talked with our immediate supervisor about it, I was told to "come when we could" to conferences. We politely explained that we would not be at conferences because it is J's special day, and family, of course, is our first priority. Our supervisors were okay with this, but they expected us to "make up" conferences some way. Initially, we were more than willing to "make up" conferences by meeting with parents that next day (a half work day for us). But the more I think about it, the more I realize how crazy this is. I realize that growing a family through adoption is not the same as growing a family "naturally," so maybe my comparisons are off base--but if I were to squeeze out a baby the day of conferences, I'm sure Nate and I wouldn't be required to make up the time to meet with parents. I'm almost certain we'd be told to take care of our family. Instead, we're expected to return the next day and do our jobs as if nothing has changed in our lives. A colleague asked if I would take maternity leave after our adoption. "Uh...probably not. J's in school; what would I even do?" I responded. I hadn't even thought of taking maternity leave until she asked me. I did some research this weekend and realized that we are allowed up to 30 days of leave for the adoption under FMLA. I thought about how nice it would be to take even two weeks off wrap up a few things--to make a scrapbook for J; to read about ADHD, parenting traumatized children, etc; to go through his stuff; to begin to clear our second bedroom to make way for another foster child or to have available to provide emergency respite; and honestly...to just let this sudden growth in our family sink in. J moved in with us three days before school started. We didn't have a nine month period to acclimate to the idea of having a child. Part of me feels silly for wanting to take this leave--part of me is afraid I'll have to justify this to people who will think it's ridiculous that I take the leave, to people who will probably never understand the difficulties of becoming a parent to a child who has been traumatized and is old enough to remember this trauma. There's also the reality that if I use more than my allotted leave time (10 sick days a year), I could be transferred to a new school. Because of my vocal chord problems, I've already used 5 sick days this year (more than I've had to use in my 5 1/2 years of teaching!). I only have 5 sick days left. I don't know what the likelihood is of the aforementioned transfer, but I'd hate for this to happen. For the first time in a few years, I enjoy where I'm at and the classes I'm teaching.

All this because we chose to adopt a child...I'm thrilled to be making J's adoption final, but I'm not thrilled to have these other issues clouding the joy.

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