We were very blessed that when we found out about Charu coming home (remember we were prepared to wait A LOT longer), my principal was unbelievably understanding and supportive.  I was blessed when they allowed me to take the rest of the school year off.  At that time, I knew that I wanted to request the next school year off as well even though I didn't know how we would make that work financially.  

Since meeting Charu and bringing her home, I've enjoyed every second with both of my daughters.  Even on the days where I've gotten little sleep (Charu still has some bad nights) and I'm exhausted, I still look at them and get tears in my eyes when I think about how lucky we are.  They are both gifts from God and I struggle to think about leaving them each day again.   

We decided that I was going to request the 2012-2013 school year off.  

I submitted this letter to our school board.  

March 29, 2012

Dear **** School Board Members,

I’d like to begin this letter by thanking you from the bottom of my heart for granting me an extended maternity leave that currently runs through the end of the 2011-2012 school year.  Bringing a child into our family that was already two years old has been both challenging as well as the most rewarding experience of our lives thus far!  Being able to establish a solid routine, begin bonding with our newest daughter, and growing as a family of four has truly been priceless!  These things only happen with time and patience, so I am very thankful for the time I’ve been given with both of our daughters!

Before we left for India, Cory and I talked at length about how bringing any child into a family is a leap of faith.  However, bringing a little girl who has spent the first two years of her life in an orphanage with people constantly coming in and out of her life is an even bigger leap of faith.  We trusted in God and in our hearts and told each other that if need be, I would request more time off to continue devoting my time to Charu, Allie, and our family. 

India was amazing and Cory and I fell in love with our daughter immediately!  Charu was raised in an amazing orphanage and (unlike many orphans) she understood how to love and be loved which we will forever be grateful for.  After arriving home from India, we began adjusting to life as a family of four and at the same time tried to teach Charu what it feels like to be in a family.  There were days along the way that were very difficult.  On one hand Charu was a typical two year old and on the other hand she was experiencing things like a newborn.  Everything was new to her and she had no sense of danger, which made our jobs as her parents quite challenging!

Overall, we are amazed every day at the progress Charu has made and we are constantly reminded at how far she has come.  She has developed a strong attachment to each one of us and you can tell has begun to trust us for her every need.  This trust is so important to our family and to who Charu is as a person.  

This brings us to the reason for this letter.  All in all, Charu spent two years and three months in an orphanage setting and has been with us for just over four months.   When school starts next year, Charu will have been with us for 8 ½ months.  We are concerned that if I return to work in August, Charu may regress dramatically.  We have worked very hard to get to where we are and we’re finding it difficult to think about putting her into a daycare setting for most of her day. 

With that said, I’d like to request a one year leave of absence from teaching.  I’m not asking for any pay, benefits, or any steps and lanes.  All I’m asking for is to be able to extend my maternity leave through the 2012-2013 school year with me returning for the 2013-2014 school year.  By staying home one more year with Charu, we feel that we’d be able to continue to establish Charu’s understanding of family as well as continue to develop the skills that she didn’t get at her orphanage. 

Thank you very much for your time and for considering extending my maternity leave!

Nichole ********

They denied my request last night at the school board meeting.  

I understand where they are coming from and I know that due to our contract, their hands were tied.  

I love my job, but I love being a mommy more.

I'm heartbroken.

I know that in the grand scheme of life this is such a tiny issue, either way we have each other and that's what's important.  However, I just want to make the decision that is for our family today, tomorrow, and in years to come.

Do I go back to work and risk harming our attachment or do I resign from my teaching job and risk not having a teaching job (aka money) a year down the line?  Financially, how do we live off of one income?  We don't lead frivolous lives, but is it possible to make it work on just Cory's income?  Are we willing to put off starting adoption #3 so that I can stay home?  When I'm ready to go back, will there be positions open and would I even get hired back?  

Ugh!!  So many decisions....  


Peter and Nancy said...

These are very hard decisions, indeed. And there are so many variables -- for instance, in our part of the country and in our small city, it is still possible to live on one income. I know that many who live in larger cities cannot afford rent/mortgage payments on one income. How I wish the school would've approved another year for you! Any possiblity of part-time teaching or team teaching in your district? I will pray for you as you make these tough decisions.

Julie & Patrick said...

Only you will know what is best for your family, but
if the right decision is to go back to work, don't be too hard on yourself. We had to make that difficult choice for me to return to work after Treya had been home only 3 months (also coming home at 2 years old). Yes, times were difficult before I went to work and after, but we managed. And surprisingly, Treya did the best of all of us in the transition. She had no regression and if fact, I think the situation made her bond with me that much stronger.


Sarah said...

Oh Niki, I'm so sorry that they did not extend your leave of absence. ugh! I'll be praying for you, that you would know the best thing to do and have absolute peace in your decision.

Brad and Renae said...

I pray God leads you clearly to the precise plans He has for your family and gives you peace beyond all understanding. I know this is hard, I'm dreading a similar challenge. It's so hard to know because some children do so well adapting to a daycare environment and love interacting with other children... yet other children do better at home. I know God will lead you... we will pray for this specific direction. {Hugs}, Renae.

Brad and Renae said...

p.s. - one other thought -- when God leads us to a plan, he also brings with Him the total provision power ... so if it is to stay home, he is certain to provide (finanically and otherwise if daycare is the option). Look for him to reveal his plan ... and maybe even miracles to happen in the journey (beyond those already that have occurred) :)

No Greater Love said...

Oh Nikki....I am so sorry. I will be praying for you to really hear the Lord's direction in all this. I know that He will provide for you so completely. So, if it means living off of one income, He'll provide. If it means going back to work, He will totally make a way for your family to keep moving forward in attachment.

Love you friend.....


Ryan and Ann Schlenner said...

I can't believe they didn't approve your LOA! I am very sorry! But, then again I would take this as a sign...this is your opportunity to stay home with your babies!!!!!! I truly believe if you can stay home...DO IT! You can make it work. There's always a way! Please let me know if you need a shoulder. I am hear to listen and support. But, I would look at this as a huge OPPORTUNITY!!!!! You know what I always say...when life hand you lemons, make lemonaid!!!!!!

Hugs, Ann

Nikki said...

Thank you SOOOOOO much ladies! Every comment I received and/or e-mail was appreciated more than you'll ever know! I cherish each one of you! Hugs!