Yep, it’s true — as Abbey previously announced — we’re expecting! I’m around 15 weeks along, and we’re very excited! (And naturally somewhat terrified too, since this will be our first.)
To answer the first question everyone seems to ask, yes, this will change things with Benin.
We’re still going, and because we’re still going, Andy turned down his A-100 offer and will defer joining the Foreign Service himself until 2013. We realize this is a risk but are hopeful his high score will allow everything to work out in the end. We’ll see. But we really didn’t have any other choice. There wasn’t a job for him in Benin, so him becoming an FSO now and us being in separate places during the first few years of our kid’s life just wasn’t an option.
So, yes, we’re still going to Benin, but we’re no longer going in March. For the time being I’ll keep plugging along with French and other training at FSI, and to fill any remaining time before my due date in May, I’ll probably receive a temporary assignment at Main State. We’ll have the baby here in Virginia and then, most likely, head back to the Midwest to spend maternity leave time with family. And also to mooch free housing from them. See below.
Unfortunately, for tax reasons, we’ll have to move out of our current government-provided apartment no later than the end of March. (This blogger’s situation was a little different, but still, you can read more here if you’d like.) Finding and moving into a new place when I’m seven months pregnant doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to me, so if you have any leads about furnished housing options available for just a several month stretch, please share! (We’re good tenants — I promise. And we’ll keep Abbey in check too.) And ideally it wouldn’t be too expensive either, since we’ll be paying out of pocket. I know, I know. Paying for our own housing again, like normal people — rough life.
We’ll ship out to Benin when all the paperwork and medical stuff is in order, which people in the know seem to think should happen in late July.
Since my work schedule will likely be pretty hectic and it looks like Andy will be able to fill a new, cool-sounding job at the Embassy for spouses, I’m trying to talk my mom into coming with us rather than hiring a local nanny. (Any advice about traveling with a parent as an MOH is certainly welcome!)
I’m pretty sure if we were heading to a tropical island my mom would have already made me put this offer in writing and started stocking up on swimsuits and sarongs, but, alas, Benin isn’t quite as much of a draw. I pointed out that Benin does have beaches, and she pointed out that they also have a rainy season that leaves a foot of water on the streets. So… negotiations are ongoing. Time will tell how skilled of a diplomat I really am. In all seriousness, though, spending time with her first grandchild is obviously a big draw, but coming with us would mean major life changes: closing down her used bookstore most likely for good, moving far away from my sister and so forth. Fortunately we’re going to a part of the world where childcare is affordable, so that’s a feasible option should we need it.