We live in a two-bedroom apartment in a beautiful city. We have the space for the kids we’re waiting for (in an urban kind of way) and sometimes, like any expectant mum, I get the urge to “nest.” You know, get the nursery all ready so I can sit in it and imagine my future. Paint it muted colours and put a rocking chair by the window. All that soft stuff that we imagine new parents doing.
But here’s the thing: I’m not expecting. Not in the traditional sense. My husband and I have decided to adopt one or two kids from foster care between the ages of four and seven. We applied to adopt through our local government agency one year and three months ago. In that time we have done the mandatory training program, I have taken a special course on adopting children of aboriginal heritage (a large percentage of children in foster care in Canada are First Nations) and we have waited and waited for our names to move up the wait list for a home study.
But just because there is no baby in my belly doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the need to make a home for my kids.
I watch the herons fly by my window with twigs and sticks so they can make a safe spot for their babies. I want to create a safe spot for mine. The problem is that we don’t have a nine month wait for our family expansion — we could be waiting for years. It would be a little ridiculous to have a room all set up for our kids for years before they come home. Besides, our kids might want to have a say in their choice of bedspread. (Unless they choose Hannah Montana. No Hannah Montana.)
So how do I nest? I’ve turned inward. The most important thing that I can give my children is a safe and stable family. That means a mama who is ready to help them battle their demons. To be that mama, I need to be at my best when my kids come home so I am using this time to prepare. I am learning about my emotions. I have come to terms with my past. I have learned to eat better. I am drinking more water. I am exercising more. I am prioritizing. I am creating my support network. All these things take time and as a non-goal oriented, champion procrastinator, I am thankful for the time I have.
Inward nesting has another benefit. It is slow moving and personal and as such, its greatest reward might be learning to be patient with one’s self. My moody days aren’t going to disappear over night. My downward dog might be shaky for months. There will be times that I will drink a little too much wine or eat a few too many French fries. That’s ok. I am not trying to create perfection. I am not planning on being a perfect mum. I am planning on having the patience to know that improvement takes time and perfection is impossible.
You know that quote about the journey that matters more than the destination? Well, insert that annoying inspirational poster here. I think they got it right.