After a week of jet-lagged misery, I am finally over whatever nasty bug I brought home with me and feeling human again. Even so, I don’t think the enormity of the move has fully hit me yet. I am going to take this window of opportunity to share my thoughts before the logistics of a cross-country move take over my waking hours.
As many of you know, the last couple of years have been very difficult for us. The seemingly endless state of limbo while we continue to wait for our baby has been slowly sucking the joy from our lives. I had resigned from all of my volunteer and board commitments when we started the adoption process to make room in my life for a baby. That left me with too much time on my hands. Early on, I used that time to be creative, but as time passed, my creative energy dissipated until it was essentially gone.
Meanwhile, David continued to apply for select rabbinic positions. He got close a few times, but nothing came through.
Right before Passover, David and I were invited to spend a weekend at Temple Beth Israel in Plattsburgh, NY. David was really impressed with the community members he had been speaking with during his Skype interviews, so I was eager to meet them.
We had already planned to spend Passover with David’s family in Boston. We had even booked our tickets. All we needed to do was take a weekend jaunt up to Plattsburgh. But that was easier said than done.
Long story short, it was fortunate that the airport we got stranded in was JFK. We were able to hop a cab into Manhattan, spend the night in a hotel (last minute hotel booking sites are awesome, we found a great deal at a hotel just 3 blocks from Penn Station) and take the train to Plattsburgh the following morning.
To say that we received a warm welcome in Plattsburgh would be an understatement. Everyone we met, both within and outside the congregation, was wonderful.
The congregation is comprised primarily of transplants, many coming from one of the 5 boroughs. One comment we heard over and over again was how people had moved to Plattsburgh for work, intending to stay just a couple of years. They then surprised themselves by staying for the next 20 to 30 years (and counting). To me, that speaks very highly of the community. I am eagerly looking forward to getting to know these people better as we settle in to our new home.
In addition to the ubiquitous strip malls, Plattsburgh has a historic downtown that has been revitalized with restaurants and shops. They have a newly expanded co-op that David has made me promise not to join the board of (at least not right away). There is also a used book store and a children’s book store to keep us entertained throughout the winter.
We were originally concerned about the weather, but since Plattsburgh is in a valley, the weather is more moderate than in the Adirondacks. The average low is 8 degrees Fahrenheit and the average precipitation year-round is 2 – 3″ a month. Yes, we will need to revert to having seasonal wardrobes (as opposed to what we have in Portland, which is one set of clothes that we either layer up or down), but all in all, it is not too terrible.
The one thing I have not mentioned is how this move will impact our adoption process. The answer is that we don’t quite know. Adoption laws in New York are more restrictive than Oregon. Our secondary adoption agency has already removed us from their pool because they are not registered to place in New York. We have a call with a New York adoption lawyer on Monday to discuss whether we can continue to work with our primary agency. Either way, we will also be discussing next steps so we can do what we need to to put the adoption process back on track.
At a minimum, we will have to get a new home visit and do a new criminal background check in New York. Worst case, we will need to redo our entire home study. Our incredible adoption attorney in Oregon, Robin Pope, has connected us to some highly recommended lawyers in upstate New York, so we feel like we are in good hands.
All in all, I am choosing to be optimistic about these developments. As a wise friend told me when we told her about the move, this is why we haven’t ben matched with a birth family yet.
David and I are planning on having some kind of farewell gathering before we leave. We will set a date as soon as we have worked out our travel and move schedule. Keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for details.
There is also a (likely) final #PDXBreakfast (unless someone volunteers to take the reigns) scheduled for 8:30am, May 18th at Mi Mero Mole in Chinatown.
Last but not least, we really do want to see as many people as possible before we leave. We will do our best to remember to reach out and schedule times with people individually or in small groups. However, our to-do list is long enough that it is very possible that we will find ourselves completely overwhelmed and completely lose track of time. Therefore, we are relying on you, our friends, to help us by reaching out to schedule a time to see us before we go. Believe me, we will welcome the forced breaks and the excellent company.