Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Far From Religious but Near to My Heart

In the last few weeks, I have been working a ton of hours and haven't posted anything new. Really, life is just humming along for us, in a good way. Bill and I both have good but very time-intensive jobs and Dylan has a routine that he seems to like which includes his days at his fabulous daycare. We spend our weekends doing normal family stuff around the house, and have managed to spend a little time with friends and family . It is just nice to have this normalcy after the excitement of the holidays. I felt that for weeks, I have had nothing to blog about, or more like I have had no energy to even consider writing a blog post.

However, today, I am sick with a bad cold, but oddly motivated to write this post. Bizarre, but I'll go with it. While I am sick again with a bad cold, Bill is getting over a 2-week long cough, and Dylan is on antibiotics again for his second double ear infection since getting home, we are home together. We are just your typical American family, with its joys and its challenges.

What is really on my mind a lot more than I have admitted is the adoption situation in Kyrgyzstan and how the adoptions have been stalled for the past few months. I feel like we just eeked through the cracks and got Dylan home by no more than a tiny ounce of luck. Some people have said things like, "this was meant to be", or "it was in god's time" or "it was destiny". I don't know exactly what it really was. I am neither religious or superstitious. I am just very appreciative that it happened for us when it did.

At the same time, there is a bit of guilt that we are home enjoying every happy, exhausted, trying, exhilarating, hilarious, sweet time with Dylan. He is definitely an active boy. He is also very bright, which makes for a challenging toddler. He is the classic text book example of one who pushes the boundaries to see where they are. He has also developed a healthy attachment to us and knows the difference between mom and dad versus everyone else. He is developmentally right on track, babbling a few words, running, starting to climb, dances, kisses, gives high fives, knows a few body parts, and all sorts of fun other toddler shenanigans. He is also very sweet at times yet contentious at others, just like we all can be. He is certainly developing into his own complex little person and being challenged by his new understanding of the world. For all those things, I can't be more thankful.

Yet, I can't live in this bubble of bliss alone. I can't help that my heart aches every time I think of all the other families who have spent months waiting to bring their precious kids home. Their stories cling to me and I follow along on their blogs, watching the group posts, just waiting for the good news that they can go back to Kyrgyzstan to finally take their babies home. I find myself unexpectedly shedding tears on my way to work while thinking of how they must feel. I feel a deep empathy, likely because I know it was excruciating for me when we spent 5 months being told of one delay after another. I knew in my heart I could not have spent another minute without seeing and holding Dylan. I can't imagine what it is like for those who have been waiting much longer. These families are near to my heart.

While I am not religious and I don't answer to a higher being called God, or Yaweh, or Allah or Buddha or whatever, I feel like the universe gives you back what you put out so I live by those moral rules for myself. In that vein, the other Kyrgyz thing I follow is the story of John Wright and his family. While his motivations are coming from a different place, I spent a considerable amount of time with them while in Kyrgyzstan last summer and found their work with the disadvantaged people of Kyrgyzstan (and believe me that there are lots of them) to be nothing short of phenomenal. I am talking literally, John is a phenomenon in Tokmok, possibly even Bishkek. More people there know of him than you would think. His work is far reaching and truth be told, he is probably more memorable because he just doesn't have the ability to blend into the Kyrgyz crowd, even if he gave it his best shot. And that is a good thing. But I digress...

Since coming home from Kyrgyzstan in June, I noticed that my perspective has changed about needs and wants. I noticed that I tend to be less concerned about wants, perhaps because I see that so many others cannot even get their needs met. Now, I was really never one to keep up with the Jones' to begin with but I like what I like and if I had the funds to spend, I would spend it without much hesitation. Fortunately, my wants are never that pricey and we lived pretty modestly even prior to this trip to Kyrgyzstan last May/June. I searched for ways I could cut some luxuries (like my Peet's sugarfree non-fat vanilla lattes) out of my life so I can use that fund to help someone in need, whether an orphan who needs to be sponsored in order to go to school, or an elderly who needs care, or kids who need dental work but cannot afford it. I have questioned why I care so much about the people of Kyrgyzstan when there are those who suffer right in my backyard. I don't really know the answer right now. Perhaps I feel a closeness because I feel EXTREMELY grateful to this country that allowed us to have one of their own to call our own.

The nice thing about having a bunch of luxuries is that there is a lot to work with when you need to cut something out. Since I didn't have that much to start with, I am now scrambling to cut something else out. I have cut out Netflix, lattes, fine dining (though this is a natural consequence of having a toddler but I'll claim it), ski trips (ok, this one too is driven by circumstance), expensive shoes, expensive teas (not entirely but we buy a lot less). The economy is suffering so I know I won't get a salary increase this year. So what else can I do to help?

What I really want to do is have 2 of me, not because I think I am great. Nothing like that. It is because I love my life with my family, but at the same I feel like there is a great big magnet pulling me towards Kyrgyzstan so that I can offer my help in whatever capacity needed. As circumstances would have it, this isn't possible right now. Dylan is way too young and we are still entrenched in too many commitments. I am hoping that one day, this dream will come true for me. In the meantime, perhaps the best thing to do is to share how anyone who wants to help fulfill some dreams can help. I am not one to affiliate with a religious organization. You'd fine me screaming naked into the night before that happens (ok that kinda sounds like fun) but John puts it best when he says, "We are not missionaries ... we are philanthropists...." I buy that!

Now go check out how YOU can help. I swear to you, giving hope and fulfilling dreams is addictive. Maybe you too will find yourself giving up a small luxury to become a philantropist.


Unknown said...

Ivy.. You have me in tears. I can not thank you in person but I am sending huge hugs your way. Dylan is so handsome give him a squeeze for me!

Hilary Marquis said...

Thank you Ivy! John needs all our help so he can help where we cannot go right now :) Dylan is growing like crazy, he is adorable!

Maria said...

Ahhhh, you are such a sweet one, Ivy!! Your post rings of empathy and love and I know just where you are with it as I share the same feelings and struggles of which you write. Dylan, as always, is a doll!

Karen D said...

I couldn't have said it better. I think people must get tired of me talking about Kyrgyzstan, but like you, it is deep in my heart.

Can't wait until we can get all our Kyrgyz cuties together.

Monica said...

Your son is just precious and truly where he belongs with you. I remember it was such a hard and long journey for you to get him home. I hope that you will participate in the letter project that JCICS is orchestrating to help show the Kyrgyz officials that the children already home are THRIVING.

Thx for continuing to share your cutie with us!!!

Jackie said...

Ivy, your blog is wonderfully stated. I could not have said it better myself. I think of these waiting kids and families every day and I cannot imagine the wait that they endure.

I look forward to supporting John's efforts as soon as I possibly can. Mark my words!!

Thanks for such a great post.


Jackie said...

PS...Dylan looks great. Gosh, such a darn cutie pie!!!

Suzanne said...

What a heartfelt post, Ivy. Thank you for writing all that. It touches me profoundly that you are feeling our pain. I remember so clearly the day I found out that you were going to be able to bring Dylan home. I was in my office, reading your blog, in tears. So I understand how emotionally bound together we all are.

Thank you, also, for reminding me to make another donation to John's organization.