Monday, August 29, 2011

Guest Post: Cousin Boo

Today's guest post is from my amazing cousin who is pretty much my hero. Before she adopted her third kid, before she rode bikes with her kids the the farmer's market, before she adopted her kids, before she moved to AZ, she lived in Washington D.C. Oh and before that she served a mission in Russia. Not even kidding you here folks. I never really knew her well growing up but happened along her blog and we became legit friends. I love the internet and blogging and all it has done for me. Now I'm excited you get to partake in her awesomeness too.

Ten years ago (has it been ten years???) I received a letter in the mail from the FBI notifying me that my background investigation had been completed and that I would be hired for the job I had applied for nearly a year previously. I had wanted to work for the FBI for years, since high school, since the X-Files. Yes, I know the X-Files isn't real, but it introduced me to a job I probably wouldn't have considered before, and it motivated me and drove me, and here I was, eight years later, getting an acceptance letter from Washington, DC, and starting the work I wanted to do.

I reported to work (entered on duty, in Bureau speak) a few weeks later. I filled out pages and pages (on top of all the original pages) of paperwork and took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I went through months of training in the DC suburbs.

I loved my job. Like any job, it had its drawbacks. I never liked seeing the dark side of 4am on my way to a 5am surveillance. There were "legacy" bosses in every division who were biding their time to retirement and making it hard on the rest of us, the young ones who were still excited about the work and hoping to make a difference; there were the lazy ones who were disillusioned and tired and didn't want to do it anymore.

But there were also the good days, when the work yielded something, when we caught the bad guy. There were hard-working, dedicated people who wanted to do the work and who were good at it. And there was the covert off-site office and the badge and the answer "I work for the FBI" when people asked, "what do you do?" I loved my job.

In the course of receiving that letter and moving to DC, going through the training and starting my real job, I met and married my husband. About three years after we were married we started to wonder why we weren't having babies. A couple of doctor visits revealed to us that we probably wouldn't be having our own kids without some "help." When my doctor referred me to the fertility clinic, we sat down and had a serious discussion about where our family was going and how we wanted to get there. We both felt that fertility treatments were not right for us at that point, and we decided together that we would pursue adoption.We talked about what life would be like when baby came, and we made a commitment to ourselves and to God that if He would send our child to us, we would make the sacrifice to have me quit my job and stay at home to raise that baby.

We did months and months of paperwork (again) and background checks (again). It felt like it was taking forever. (Again.) Meanwhile, life went on. My husband was doing well at work; I was doing well at work. I had gotten a couple of prime assignments that I absolutely loved. I was traveling and seeing the country, feeling like I was making a difference. We were excited by the idea of having a family, but we were also living the yuppie dream in DC with relatively prestigious jobs, good friends, and enough time and money to do things we enjoyed together.

A little more than four years into my Bureau career I applied for my dream job with my division. Literally, my dream job. I thought I might have a chance at getting it because of my experience and educational background, but I was ecstatic when I heard a few months later that I got the job. I was chosen for the exact job that I had wanted before I even knew it was a real job. If I could have made up a job in the world that I wanted to do, this was it, and now I would be doing it.

I started the paperwork (what, more paperwork? yes, more paperwork) and more training. This was it. I was big time. I had the paperwork in and was waiting for my new credentials to come in so I could start the job when...

We got a phone call. The (other) phone call we had been waiting for.

A baby was at the hospital and could we be her parents? She was ready to come home today.

I called in to work with a "family emergency" (didn't want to jinx it) and went home to start in on the paperwork (is this a theme?) we would need to have completed to have baby come that night. She came home to us from a town about three hours away through a raging thunderstorm, and by six o'clock that night we were parents.

The next day I called into work again and told my boss I needed to start maternity leave. I took my leave knowing in my heart the commitment that I had made to the Lord, and when that time ran out they called to ask for a return-to-work date. I told them I wouldn't be returning to work. It was a sad day when I turned in my badge, but I came back home that evening to a calling more precious.

Now it has been nearly five years and two more kids (both also adopted) since the day I turned in my badge. There are days that I miss the professional world and the work that I was doing. I miss the good friends that I made at the Bureau. I still sometimes wonder what I might have accomplished if I had stayed at work and continued in my chosen field. I think about maybe returning to work someday when my kids are bigger.

I love spending my days with my babies (most days). I love teaching them things and watching them learn. I love taking them out to experience new things. I love being able to welcome my oldest home from kindergarten and being home with her in the afternoons while the babies nap. I love one-on-one time with the middle baby, hearing him play and laugh and then pitter-patter over to me to show me something he figured out or tell me the word he just learned. And I love snuggling our newest baby after the other two have gone to bed, looking into her eyes and trying to see her future.

I know I am lucky to be able to do this. There are circumstances and situations that sometimes preclude people from being able to choose this job over one that sends home a paycheck. I have an amazing husband who works hard to make this possible for us, and I am so grateful to him for allowing and encouraging me to be at home with our children.

So we made the right choice, and I know we have been blessed for it. I know it's not for everyone, but it is right for us. This is my new dream job.
And someday, if it's right, that other job will still be there.


Shane, Meg, CJ, RJ, and AL said...

I love Shane! This blog post makes me love her even more. So glad you shared your story! You made me all teary. Good thing I'm at home with my munchkins doing my dream job too!

Elena said...

It's cool to hear your story Shane, and your kids are super cute :)

ACW said...

As a part career mom, I tell you that no job is better than being with those babies. And when I see all your beautiful children, I feel something magical that the FBI could never offer. And what was the dream job? Are you at liberty to say?

shamers said...

sorry, acw, that's classified. don't you hate that answer? i even googled it to see if it's out there at all and it's not. :(

jeanene c said...

I love this idea of guest bloggers, especially because I can't get on your blog any more. No idea why. Another computer mystery. I love the photo of the three darlings!So beautiful.

jeanene c said...

I meant I can't get on Shane's blog anymore.

Katie said...

What a great story! I love meeting Moms who choose to stay at home in a world where the role of motherhood is often downplayed. Your children are adorable and you are wonderful! (And I think it is cool that your FBI job was classified!)


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