We have had a hard road (not in comparison to really poor people in other countries/ I have this in perspective), but we have never been rich. When we first got re-married I was a nanny and I completely supported our family on that income. I made $600 a month. I did this while M finished his pre-med courses. My oldest son was almost a year old and I brought him to work with me.
Then I got pregnant with my second son (we wanted our oldest to have a sibling friend close in age). Getting quite sick as usual in my pregnancies I quit my job. M worked construction jobs- like he had done as a teenager. We made a little more money than the nanny job. M wanted some medical experience though, so he quit that and became an orderly at a nearby hospital. He was also going to school full time. This job gave us more benefits, but less money.
I now had two kids and could no longer get hired as a nanny. I only had an associate’s degree at that time and didn’t feel like I could handle going back to school with two young children (not that we could have afforded it anyway- I lost my scholarship after I told them I could no longer travel around representing the university in speech competitions).
Then we moved to Chicago so M could attend medical school. So- now neither of us were working. At first we lived in this totally dumpy neighborhood in the south suburbs. Our dinners were like- here is a potato everyone.
Finally a few things happened. M joined the army and the army started paying us a stipend. My parents took pity on us and started sending us checks every month. We finally were able to afford a rental home in a nice neighborhood in the western suburbs (Oakbrook).
Let me tell you what a difference a high quality neighborhood and good schools makes in a parents life. Not to mention that we were even able to eat out once in a while. It was then that our third son was born and we were ending the medical school years.
We then moved to Maryland to start residency. This was side tracked though by the army wanting M to work as a general practitioner for a couple of years. Then we were back on track with the residency. So, for all of these years I have been a stay-at-home mom and feeling glad about that, but also just aching to do more and to be able to contribute financially to the family.
So, when I felt like my youngest was independent enough, I started back into school. (Well I tried medical transcription first, but that didn’t work). So now I am in the midst of finally completing my Bachelors degree and having the potential to work in a decent job after all of these years.
Then I took THE CLASS. THE CLASS FROM HELL. It was an Ethics computer class. This sounds like an easy class, and it was, but the teacher was psychotic. I was going through the class just fine, and then I was to turn in a research paper that was 60% of the grade for the class.
I had just watched this biography on TV about Hillary Clinton. The show was interviewing some of her professors. One professor that was interviewed stated that the thing that stood out about Hillary was that when she would turn in her written assignments they would usually be twice as long as required. He talked about how this made her stand out, etc. So I thought to myself- I am going to do that too. I am going to work extra hard and make my paper stand out. So I spent hours and hours on this paper and made it twice as long as required.
I was shocked when I got my grade. She had marked me down for a few ridiculous things, but largely because it was too long. I was furious. I had a 4.0 at the time and I had spent so many hours researching the paper. I knew then that I could not get anything higher than a B in the class- even if I aced the final (which I did). I felt inside that the true reason for the mark down was because she disagreed with my views.
This is the teacher that I referred to earlier that I sent several emails to a day trying to get her to reconsider to no avail. I went into a total depression for weeks. Finally, to find comfort I prayed to God to let me find forgiveness for this lady.
A clear message came into my mind that said, “Jen- You are worrying yourself over things that don’t really matter… There is a little one waiting to come into your home.” I then immediately remembered my earlier dreams of adopting internationally. My bad feelings vanished and I knew what I was supposed to do next.
When M came home I told him that we needed to start the adoption process. His response was, “So what you are saying is- not only are you going to have to put off your schooling that we have been pouring all of this money into- which also puts off your job that we were planning on you getting- and on top of that you want us to come up with over $30,000 to do an adoption.”
“Right.” I said. After awhile though, he conceded. “If you felt that, that is what God wants us to do, than we will find a way to do it.”
So that was the beginning of our adoption process. I really had given up the idea of ever having a girl and now it was coming true. Every day that passed I got more excited about this prospect. Even M started to anxiously fill out paperwork by my side.
The more we discussed the prospect of a new little girl in the family- the more excited our whole family became.
However, I am still struggling with the school- job issue. I am wondering if I could continue to handle taking classes or even starting a job with a little girl in tow. There is a pull that I want to finally get out from the money struggles and into normality. I mean I realize that when M finishes his residency next year and starts working as a Radiologist- our money issues will be lifted quite a bit, but there is something about having your own job and your own money that the feminist side of me desires. I am still trying to figure out what to do. I want to put my daughter first and my kids and family first, but it is hard to continue to deny myself this independence and financial freedom. This is my struggle.