2014 A year to remember

2014 was a year that would change my life forever and while it wasn’t my favorite in all the years I have experienced so far in my life it had some of the biggest and best moments of my life so far.

I desperately wanted Joseph there for the birth of our baby so we filled for a visitors visa hoping he could come for a visit right at the time the baby would be born. US Immigration stated that one could file for a visitors visa even when there was a pending immigration visa, but that it would be up to use to prove adequately that he would return. We gathered pages and pages of documents, everything we could find showing that he had every intention of returning back to Uganda after his visit to wait for his visa, and really it would have been ridiculous not too since by not returning it could make him ineligible for the immigration visa which would not be issued unless he appeared at the embassy in Nairobi. However, when he went for his interview he was denied without the embassy official even looking at his thick envelope of evidence.

I was so mad. They simply told him that there was nothing that would be adequate proof that he would return. It seemed so wrong and cruel to me to state that we could apply (and pay the $175 non refundable fee) if we could prove he would return, only to then turn around and tell us that there was nothing they would consider sufficient evidence that he would return. The injustice of it burned.

It was around the middle of February I believe when I was sitting at work in a marketing meeting and I started to feel extremely light headed, hot, and nauseous. Afraid I was going to be sick I tried to leave the room but only made it as far as the doorway before everything went black and I felt my legs give way beneath me. When I woke up I was lying on the floor and I heard someone shout for someone to call 911. I begged them not to and assured them I was ok.

But in the days and weeks that followed this episode repeated itself several times and I found I was having a very hard time carrying this baby and getting enough blood to my head. I decided that maybe this could work in our favor and I called US Immigration to explain the situation and to ask if there was any way to hurry along Joseph’s process.

The man I talked to was extremely helpful and he filed a petition to expedite based on medical emergency. It was all done over the phone in a matter of minutes and about a week later I received a phone call. The man told me that Joseph’s visa application had been denied. I was stunned. How could they deny my husband the right to enter the country and what would that mean for me and our baby?

I started to cry and the man quickly tried to console me. Its not a permanent decision he told me, You simply don’t have the proper seal on your marriage certificate. You need to get your husband to go back to the government and get them to put the seal on and then reapply. My head was spinning and I couldn’t hardly breathe. Start the process all over reapply meant after 7 months of waiting and over $1000 in fees we were being told we had to start over. I started to blubber like a baby. I grabbed the envelope with our documents off the dresser and looked for the seal. It was there however slightly off center at the top of the page. It’s there Im looking right at it I told the man. You can’t deny him. Our baby will be here in a couple of weeks, you can’t do this to us right now I begged.

There was silence on the line and then he spoke. If you send me an email with a scanned copy of your certificate right now while I am on the phone and I can see the seal I will approve the visa, he told me. Quickly I scanned the document and waited for him to receive it.

“Its there I see it” he told me. I began to breathe a sigh of relief. “In the next few days you will receive a letter telling you that his application was denied. You can ignore that letter and and shortly after that you should receive another telling you it has been approved. He told me. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. A minute before my whole world had come crashing down and I didn’t know if I would ever see my husband again and now he was telling me that we were done. That his visa had been approved and he could come home!

It wasn’t quite as simple as that. He still had to travel to Nairobi, have his medical exam, his interview and vaccinations and receive the actual visa. But the hardest part was done.

I began to hope he might make it in time for the babies birth. But it wasn’t meant to be. On May 9th just before he was scheduled to travel to Nairobi our baby boy was born with his father watching over skype. That day was one of the best of my whole life. It was the day I first became a mother and I will never be the same. Every dream, every hope I had ever had about having a baby was surpassed when he entered this world. His birth story is here.

https://acowintheocean.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/birth-of-baby-preston/

it would end up taking another 10 weeks before he would actually receive the visa and fly home to meet his son for the very first time. That day was another best day of my life kind of days. I wrote about it here.

https://acowintheocean.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/families-can-be-together-forever/

He arrived ironically on July 17th, further endearing the number 17 to us and establishing its significance in our family. a couple weeks later on the 27th of July we celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary with a delayed wedding celebration with all my family and friends. 10635706_10154585285035344_1044551109458445231_n

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The months that followed would be full of change and adjustment as Joseph adjusted to life in a new and very different country, a new culture, a new wife and a new role as father. I adjusted to a new husband, a new way of life and my new role as a stay at home mom. It was a lot and I wont lie and say that it was fun or easy. There were moments I wondered if we had made a gigantic mistake. But with time we worked through some of those things.

Joseph got a drivers license, a job, and enrolled in school. I settled into raising our baby and keeping house, only to discover when he was just 4 months old that I was pregnant once again. We weren’t really surprised as I had felt the spirit of a girl present through out the first pregnancy and wrongly assumed it was a girl. Joseph had heard a little girls voice saying she was coming soon and so when Preston had been born and truly was a boy we knew that a little girl wasn’t far behind.

As morning sickness settled in with a vengeance I wished that I had a little more time. I felt guilty that my son was being robbed of his position as the only chi`ld too soon. As I kneeled in front of the toilet day after day losing what little food I had managed to get down he sat on the living room floor screaming in fear not knowing what was going on. It was a hard time for our little growing family.

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The New Me!

When my husband was serving his mission in South Africa, Dr. Hartman from the Color Code came and gave each of the missionaries the color code test. He then talked to them about the colors that they were and how they had developed either strengths from those colors or weaknesses.

One day as we were discussing this together and talking about our various colors and how we exhibit them in our lives,  I realized that he saw me quite differently than I saw myself. It made me wonder if he actually knew me!

As we talked we both had a bit of an aha moment. Even though my husband had in the last year, married, moved away from his home country of Uganda and come to the US. become a father, started a new job and began attending University here I had actually under gone more changes in terms of identity and life style than he had.

He still was doing all those things that he loved and that made him who he was. He was learning, he was interacting with others on a daily basis, he was working to provide in a career that he loved and was passionate about and he was leading out in our family.

On the other hand, I had gone from having a fulfilling career to being a stay at home mom. I used to put on my heels and get ready for the day and go to the office where I was interacting with others, making decisions that affected a multi million dollar company, facilitating meetings, and managing a team etc. I made and spent my own money, I had time for friends, hobbies and relaxation. I played the piano, was writing a book, and directing musical programs. I was traveling the world, trying new things and having adventures.

Now I stay home. My husband takes the car and is gone all day and I stay home with our adorable baby. I rarely talk to anyone throughout the day. I often don’t even bother to get dressed properly because on a cold day we may not even leave our two bedroom apartment. I make decisions like should I do the dishes first or the laundry? I am completely dependent on my husband for all my needs. I have a few precious hours when my baby is sleeping that I can choose to either clean the house, cook, take a nap myself, or do something just for me. I usually choose to cook or clean because that is something that has to happen. Basically NOTHING in my life is the same. I often feel dull, old, fat, ugly and dumb. It’s no wonder then that I felt like my husband saw me that way. It’s because I actually saw myself that way. And its also no wonder that my husband felt like the woman he had fallen in love with had disappeared and left a knew one in her place.

As we talked my wonderful husband realized how devastating it can be to so completely lose your identity. He knew from the changes that he had experienced that it can be really hard so he could see how hard it had been for me. “It’s no wonder you have been so unhappy” he told me. “We need to do something to change that.”

We then talked about possible options of ways that we could bring back the girl that he had fallen in love with.

It’s funny because I had always heard women who choose to stay home with their children talk about feeling as though they had lost their identity. I thought I understood that and yet this was a huge awakening moment to me to realize that I was experiencing this.

10411160_1614386682115634_183894752115933670_n-1Now I have to say. I LOVE staying at home with my baby. It has been a dream come true. But that doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly hard and that it doesn’t require some sacrifice and hard work. But I need to find a balance. As part of that we have decided that I would write more. I will explore new experiences and ideas associated with being a mother and I will find ways of bringing out the woman that I was in new ways. So you might say that the old me is back, but thats not at all true. The new me is coming and I am excited to share my journey with you on this blog!