Tuesday, September 15, 2009

1 Day - top 10 concerns while traveling

There are lots and lots of concerns to be had. Here are my top ten, not necessarily in order of intensity.

1) The cats. We lost Trixie once, for five weeks, and it was not a pretty experience at all. A cat as dumb as her is an easy victim for coyotes. It's five weeks of miracles that she didn't get eaten last time, and this time, we have all sorts of people wandering in and out of the house while we're gone. My heart does flips every time my father says, "Shouldn't we let the cat out? She must hate being cooped up all the time." He hasn't said that in years, though. I trust that everyone understands how dumb Trixie is, and doesn't let her out. I mean, she can't find doors. At all. She's pretty dumb.

2) Illness. Not swine flu so much, but bronchitis, food poisoning, and general exhaustion. I'll regularly catch things my husband brings home from school, even if he doesn't show any symptoms himself. I'm not the most fragile person ever, but on the other hand, pollution is one of my catalysts for illness.

3) Unexpected emergencies. I can handle the typical ones, like flight delays and flat tires and the kid vomiting on my shoulder. I won't be thrilled, but I won't fall apart either. The emergencies that get me are the weird ones, totally out of nowhere, that I haven't even been able to imagine yet. And mostly I'm only worried about them because we'll be so far from home. If the kiddo takes a flying leap off the bed and breaks his nose at home, I can cope. In China, I can only hope my support people are there for me. The agent says they will be.

4) Mementos. I'm not much of a memento collector. I'm going to have to continually remind myself to think in terms of mementos. The kiddo will want them later.

5) Communicating with AwesomeCloud. I shoulda learned baby sign language. I shoulda practiced baby-friendly Mandarin phrases more. Shoulda shoulda shoulda. I'll do my best.

6) Communicating with the adults. We'll have English-speakers at our service; that's not my worry. My worry is that they're used to the adoption process and to Chinese customs and I'm not. And that they'll expect me to be on the same page with them when I am absolutely, positively not. It happens all the time. I don't know what they're doing, and they do, so they're going to have to keep on top of things for me. If they expect me to understand what they're doing, they'll be disappointed.

7) The basement flooding. Or the house burning down, or one of the builders dismembering himself with the power tools, or a crazy driver slamming into my parents as they pull out of the driveway... well, I pruned the sassafras just now, so the blind spot isn't as blind anymore. Or my parents trying to haul the furniture out of the basement and injuring themselves. Or injuring a cat. Hey, everyone had better be in one piece when we get back!

8) Paperwork. Not as much of a concern anymore. My husband seems to be on top of it, and the agent assures me she has copies of everything in case we forget something. Whew! Still worried, though. I'm phenomenally unlucky/incompetent with paperwork. Seriously.

9) My friend's pregnancy. Completely out of my control! But her pregnancy was so hard-earned that I can't help worrying. Come on, little fetus, grow grow grow! You can do it!

10) The kiddo's grieving process. This is a known quantity. He will grieve. It will be difficult. We've prepared ourselves. Not all concerns have to be what-ifs, you know. The expected difficult parts also count as concerns. The unfortunate thing is, the agent seems so convinced we'll fall apart, so utterly overwhelmed will we be, that now we're under enormous pressure to get through this part with awesome grace and competence. Okay, that attitude is going to bite us. We need to be genuine and honest, and not be so wrapped up in proving ourselves worthy that we refuse to admit we're having a hard time. We will have a hard time. Everyone does. We need to forget about people's opinions entirely and just concentrate on the family.

Oh hey, I'm done! Good. I can't think of anymore pressing concerns. There are some minor ones floating about. But we're packed, and most of the phone calls have been made, and reservations, and other details. The house isn't perfectly neat. A few things broke today - one kitchen drawer, and the lucky cat. Oh well.

Our budget is calculated - we won't be spending big in China, but we also won't have to worry about overspending.

We have baby stuff, and even if it's not completely assembled and organized, at least we have it.

We have petsitters and housesitters, and hopefully the elaborate housekey dance won't go wrong.

We're nearly out of perishables! We handled the food situation well by eating out a lot this week. (Not so good on the waistlines. Oh well.)

The thank you notes are still incomplete. Sorry.

I'm not worried about the houseplants. I have killed more houseplants than most people have owned in their lifetimes, and I still give away 5-10 of them a year. Just be gentle with the orchid, please.

I just went around the house, and all in all it doesn't look bad. I never installed the doorknob without locks on the bathroom door. I never washed the windows. But I did do a bunch of little things, and the builder said he'd dab a little caulk onto that loose brick while we're gone (so the baby doesn't get the idea of dislodging it and dragging it somewhere dangerous, like the top of the basement stairs) and I think it's all under control.


  1. Oh, I'm so excited for you! I hope everything goes just as smoothly as possible for you guys! My thoughts go with you in your journey. And I am so touched that one of your concerns are for me. I hope that by the time you come back, I will have nothing but good news to tell you about. Happy travels, and enjoy yourselves!

  2. Having been through one adoption journey trying to anticipate and control everything my advice I'd just go with it the in country coordinators do this all the time and they are experts they check and double check and correct all documents as far as things for the baby you will be able to purchase what you need to get you through until you get home. I will be looking forward to
    following your journey from here and can't wait to see you with your son. All the best for safe speedy travels. Kate