As an afterthought, I hurriedly stuffed a bunch of suckers in my pocket and headed out the door. When I am on my “A” game, these suckers would be organic and naturally flavored from our local health store, but alas, today’s suckers of choice were anything but that. I made a mental note to thank the bank teller for the free sugar.
I remembered hearing at an adoption conference that suckers are calming for kids so after grabbing three or four of them, I felt pretty justified and proud of myself for incorporating this little bit of wisdom into my day.
The plan was that she would sit on my mom’s lap and quietly lick her sucker while I filmed. About 10 minutes before the event began I realized she was not on board with that idea. Instead, I found myself in one of my first video shoots since we returned home from China with a camera in one hand and my two-year-old daughter, Callie, in the other.
Let me back up. I am a freelance videographer and editor. I work part-time. I was filming a live event for our church where my oldest son was getting baptized and my husband had the honor of baptizing him along with ten other children as one of the ministers at our church. It was a dream come true because our two worlds of work were colliding. My husband’s ministry job with my video work.
Our families had come. The room was packed and buzzing with excitement from all the families attending. Grandparents had presents. Parents brought flowers. Siblings were holding homemade cards. My thought was that Callie could sit on my mom’s lap and watch the baptisms while I filmed. It had only been three months since we had arrived home with her but I would only be a few feet away on the stage filming the event and she was comfortable with my mom, so I thought she would be okay.
But that day she wanted nothing to do with that plan. She had a slight cold and the combination of not feeling great mixed with the activity of the room and the amount of people in the space forced Callie into shut down mode. There was too much going on for her little mind to understand and she sought comfort from the people she trusted most – my husband and me.
My husband wasn’t an option to help because he was baptizing all the kids and he couldn’t quite hold our daughter while he was also helping kids into the water. So that left me. With a camera in one hand and Callie in the other, I carefully pulled a sucker from my pocket and silently willed her not to talk, wiggle, sing, or move for the next 30 minutes. If she made a peep, the sound would pick up on my microphone and if she started to squirm the movement could knock over my camera. I was barely breathing hoping that my stillness would signal her to be still too.
Ten minutes into the filming, I thought my arm was going to fall off from the weight of balancing her, the tripod, my microphone, and the camera. But three suckers and 30 minutes later I let out a sigh of relief that we were done. Callie had stayed as still and as quiet as a mouse. I am sure I hugged her out of gratitude but since my arm was numb I can’t fully remember that detail.
We both survived but that night was a lesson for me. Work was going to look different.
With my biological kids, a few hours of work a week meant hiring a sitter. With my newly adopted daughter, it started to look like sitting in her bed and snuggling together while she worked on her toy computer and I set up video shoots on mine.
It looked like getting up a lot earlier in the day so I could sneak in a little work before she awoke. I wanted to be fully present to teach her I was a consistent figure in her morning routine.
It meant staying up to work after I had settled her in bed and reminding her I would still be there in the morning.
It meant holding her in my arms while I answered e-mails or coloring with her while I was on the phone.
It meant her curled up on the couch with me and looking at a book while I edited a video.
It meant working around my husband’s schedule so that she still had a sense of stability and love from someone she trusted when I was away.
Is working different with an adopted child at home? Yes.
Does it require extra disciple? Yes.
Do I still need creativity to figure out how to fit all my work into my day? Yes.
Do I get a little less sleep? Yes.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. All the time. Never looking back. Wouldn’t change it for the world.
Although we have adopted, I am still working. I am still a mom. And I am still a working mom. I just might happen to have a few suckers in my pocket at all times…
Courtney and her husband, Charles, live in Athens, GA where they are raising their three young children. Their eyes were opened to adoption after reading the Bible, blogs, books, traveling to other parts of the world, and even seeing the beautiful picture of adoption firsthand through friends and family. Their hearts went from wondering if they should adopt to how could they not? Their youngest daughter was adopted from China in 2014 and they are currently in the process of bringing home another child. Courtney is a self-employed producer, editor and videographer.