I need another billboard — The Bump

I need another billboard

Most of you know our adoption story, and how my husband and I were literally led to our boys by signs--billboard signs.  Well, we're at a crossroads, and I could really use a billboard or two to tell me what we should do.

As I've said, I'm supposed to quit my job this Spring, to stay home with the boys and start planning our big move to rural life.  Although we don't usually tell the boys about big events more than a short while in advance, they saw us looking at houses online and asked a bunch of questions, so we let them in on our plan.  M's been really torn-up about it and the prospect of losing everyone he's grown close to here.  We've explained that this won't happen for another two years and that unlike when he left Peru, we'll continue our relationships with these people, but it's not making it any easier for him.  That was our first sign that we might need to revisit our plan.

This weekend we took a trip up to Maine to scout out some neighborhoods and look at some houses.  We found some places where we might be able to have a happy life.  We started looking there because it's similar to Vermont (where we have our ski house, I teach adaptive skiing, and we've developed some friendships and have some roots), but you can get much more/nicer house/property for your money and taxes are cheaper.  (This is important to us because this is the last home we plan to buy and our income will be severely reduced when we leave NJ.)  So, I started investigating the school systems in Maine with an emphasis on special education, and am disappointed in what I've found.  That and the six-plus-hour drive are making Maine seem like it's less of a viable option for us.

So that makes me think we should go back to focusing on Vermont.  There are more job opportunities for us there, and I really love the state.  I think the special education services, as well as services when individuals leaves school, are better there.  There are a million reasons why I could say it's the place for us.  The homes are more expensive, most often come with less land, and are far less likely to have pools or lake access (something that we really would have wanted, but I guess we can give up if everything else is right) and the taxes are higher, but if it means access to better services, it'a a trade-off we might be willing to make.  Of course, we'd still be talking about a 5-hour (or longer) drive to visit friends, but I get the sense that since M's spent a lot of time in VT and loves it, that he'd be more okay with moving there (in fact, he's often asked to move to our home there after fun weekends/vacations).

Of course, we won't make our decision just on what M wants.  But I will not subject him to the anguish of losing everything he's known about life in the US.  He's had too many losses, and I just won't do that to him again.

Still, we need to leave NJ.  My husband needs to leave banking.  His industry is dwindling, and the stress of the job has taken its toll on his health over the years.  Neither one of us wants him to continue like this for much longer.

So, we've floated the idea of the Poconos, in PA.  Closer to NJ, but we can still find a rural life there.  The skiing isn't great, and it's not what we dreamed of, but if it is what's better for all of us, then I'm sure we could be happy there.

My husband has also suggested I not quit until we know for sure we're leaving.  He's talked about us staying in NJ even if he's no longer banking.  But if he leaves/looses his job, I cannot support the family living in NJ on my income alone.  I don't even think I could do it if we moved to a cheaper area of Jersey, because the taxes are so high.

It's all that's on my mind, except the day-to-day things (looking down at other post), but my husband is of the mind that we should just think and pray about it.  I am doing that constantly, but reminded him last night that we need to decide something by the end of March, since that's when I was planning on giving notice at work (giving them two months notice so they can find a replacement for the busiest season before I leave).  He seemed shocked by the realization that this isn't something that we could put on the back burner for a while.

I guess I'm just putting this out there more as a vent, since I know no one can make these decisions for us.  When we adopted the boys, I constantly felt like I was floundering--similar to now--but somewhere along the way the signs became clear and I was overcome with peace and the knowledge that this was the path we were supposed to take.  I could really use some signs now, but I have a sinking feeling you can't just request them.  I just hope something starts to stand out soon.

Re: I need another billboard

  • So sorry for the stress you are feeling! I know what you mean about signs; that would be helpful! Praying that the right path will become clear and that the boys will transition smoothly, no matter what you guys decide.

    Our Adoption Blog & Fundraising Efforts

    Heading to China in November 2014 to bring our son home!

  • It sounds like you guys are doing a great job of carefully considering the options, and I think the boys will have a great childhood growing up in any of these places, especially with such great parents.

    As a personal note, and I feel bad saying this since I know the Poconos are a large area so not even sure if my experience is applicable, but we lived in the Lake Ariel region for about a year and a half and had a bad experience with the school districts. We moved from Wisconsin where it turned out we'd already learned everything in middle school that they were teaching in 9th grade. When we moved to NY I was so behind and it took about 2 years to make up for the curriculum discrepency.  I'm not sure how the special education was, my mom has worked in special education for decades, but she couldn't get a job there since it was so rural she had to drive us 20 minutes to the bus stop, and then it was an hour to the school. 

    Again, I'm not sure which areas you're looking at so completely ignore me if not applicable, I just wanted to mention our experiences just in case.  Also, it's gorgeous there and of course if it's what fits for you and your family then that is what's important.  Also I apologize if I offended anyone out there, the Poconos is a really beautiful region.

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  • We left the Poconos in 2011, and I was not a fan. Just sayin'

    How about NH? I know the prices are lower there, and it's closer to VT and NH. I have no idea about educational services, but it might be an option.

    GL with your decision. I'll be hoping for that billboard for you soon.

  • Again, no advice, but I am totally praying for you guys! I hate those times when you are transitioning and having to make big decisions. I always rely on signs too, but alas, they come as they may. *shrug*


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  • NH was on our short list, but we ruled it out because they have quite high property taxes (because they have no income or sales tax).  Since our income will be greatly reduced (especially since my husband won't be working) and we plan on living well within our means on a (hopefully) large parcel of land, we are looking for a place that will have lower property taxes, even if it's in exchange for somewhat higher income and sales taxes.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts and well wishes.  I hope we'll be able to see a clear path soon, and I will never be as excited as when I get to announce it to all of you, who are always so incredibly wonderful and supportive.

  • Have you thought of moving south? I've heard people can sale their house in the north and pay for a nice w/ land in the south. They usually have no mortgage or a very low one. Just a thought. Good luck!
  • There's always Pittsburgh! It's super cheap out here, and Pittsburgh is one of the most liveable cities in the US (according to some report that I read at some point haha). Plus, you can live in the suburbs or in the country and still be in pretty close proximity to the city.

    But, really, I know that no one wants to move to Pittsburgh. At least, was this good for a stress-relieving laugh? :)

    Our Adoption Blog & Fundraising Efforts

    Heading to China in November 2014 to bring our son home!

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