Out with the old, in with the new

I hope everyone has been enjoying the holidays! Can’t believe it’s almost 2014. What a year this has been. Such a transformational 365 days for me filled with personal growth and healing. I’ve been so very blessed this year with so many things–most importantly, an incredibly supportive and loving husband who has proved time and time again that marrying him was the smartest thing I’ve ever done.bowlingparty

We were fortunate to spend Christmas with family in Chicago, and had such a great time with Jamie’s sister and husband and our niece and nephew. It’s always fun spending time with them. They love to laugh and are such a tight-knit family. They’ll be such wonderful aunts, uncles and cousins for Charlie. He or she is going to be a lucky kid with all of these loving, and fun-loving, relatives ready to welcome him home.

photo-22We’re also pretty excited because we’ve started accumulating stuff for Charlie. One set of parents got us a carseat and the other set got us a bassinet (thank you all!). Two major things we need to have on hand, because we could be getting “the call” any day. We also got a surprise gift in the mail from my cousin Jennie–the cutest little kimono-style outfit for Charlie.

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Jamie and I have started picking up random things for the baby and the nursery, too. Like an adorable stuffed turtle that absolutely kills me it’s so cute. I can totally picture Charlie carrying it around, long green neck stuffed under his chubby little arm.

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The matter of black and white

Mother Care My feelings on adoption have been evolving so much. As I learn more and more, I can feel my heart open wider than it has ever been. When we first started considering adoption, I felt differently about things than I do today, just half a year later. This is true about so many issues, but today I’m writing specifically about race.

When we first started the adoption process, Jamie thought we should be open to any race so people would never have to ask if our child was adopted. He wanted it right out there, unspoken. I knew that I could certainly love a child of another race, but I also knew that having a caucasian baby would be much easier for both us and our child.

My reasoning was that it’s hard enough for a child to be adopted–I wasn’t sure we should shovel issues of race onto that pile of difficulties. If we adopted a caucasian baby, he or she would look like us, at least in regard to our skin color. I figured people wouldn’t stare at us and our adoption wouldn’t always be so obvious. So we told our caseworker that we wanted a baby of our own race. But somehow this never felt right to me. For some reason, it felt wrong to be open to adoption and only be open to adopting a baby who looked like us. I mean, adoption at its very core is about loving a child who is not related to you and who doesn’t have your eyes, your nose or your smile. Why should skin color make a difference? I had a feeling like maybe we were putting limits on the person Charlie was meant to be. It felt almost like we were not being truly open to the possibilities that an inability to conceive a biological child had opened up for us.

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Two Months In: Our 2nd monthly agency update

2-monthsIt’s been a full two months now since we’ve been actively presented to birthmothers and have been waiting for a match. Yesterday we got our second monthly update from our caseworker telling us how many birthmothers we were presented to in November and the status of those presentations.

I look forward to this email all month (even though receiving it means we haven’t yet been chosen). We’re pretty removed from this part of the process, so it’s nice to know what’s been going on behind-the-scenes.

The Update

Our profile was shown to nine birthmothers this month, one every few days in November. That’s one more than last month. ย Five of them were matched with other couples, (one already had the baby!) two fell off the radar, and two have not yet chosen a couple.

The cool thing about this month was that out of the five birthmothers who were successfully matched, one actually picked us as their third choice. So if her first and second choice matches said no, we would have gotten the call! She was successfully matched with her first choice, but hey, at least we were chosen as runners-up. Although third is not first, it feels like getting chosen at all is a step in the right direction. It’s a reminder that it could happen any time. Our caseworker told me that she was surprised to hear our names come up so fast and that even a 3rd choice after only two months of waiting is good news. That made us smile.

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Enjoying life during the wait for a match

In the adoption info booklet we got when we became officially active with our agency, they told us that waiting for a birthmother match is a very stressful time for adoptive parents and that we should take care of ourselves and try to relax.IMG_1559 But one of the things that has surprised me about our wait so far, is the lack of stress and anxiety I’ve been feeling. Mainly, I’ve been feeling excitement and anticipation because I know there is a baby in our near future. This is much different than being consumed by trying to conceive. Now that we are well on our way to adopting, I’ve realized that we should take full advantage of this time before the baby comes to enjoy life and each other while it’s just the two of us. Because just the two of us is pretty darn special, too.

Our agency gave us a list of things to do while waiting for a birthmother match. Mainly, the list consisted of sleeping, keeping busy, sleeping some more and taking vacations. Well, we’ve been busy, gotten sleep and taken a couple great vacations to Vermont and California and will be going to Chicago for Christmas.ย IMG_5201But there are a lot of other things we’ve been up to that are making the wait pretty enjoyable. I’m trying to make sure we have fun doing all the things we love to do together that will get trickier, or impossible, once the baby arrives. And I’m also taking some time for myself and the things I love because I know my me time will soon be limited.

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Please, no more adoption horror stories

great loveAny time you decide to grow your family, it requires a tremendous leap of faith. When you conceive a child, you take a big risk in hopes that your pregnancy will be uncomplicated and successful and that your baby will be healthy, happy and born with ten fingers and toes. You hope the “good” genes will get passed on and the less desirable ones won’t make it into the mix. But you never know. Baby-making is a gamble. So many things can go wrong.

It’s the same with adoption. Only with adoption, in addition to worrying about the health of the baby and all that comes with that, adoptive parents have an additional concern. An adoptive parent’s leap of faith is more like a catapulted canyon vault of faith because none of it, is, ultimately, under our control. We hope our baby is happy and healthy, of course, but we also worry about the birthmother suddenly deciding our baby is not really our baby after all. Our biggest fear is that we will get attached to a baby only to have the birthmother change her mind after birth. There is always a chance that could happen, and that would surely be painful, but I try not to think about it because all I can do is trust in our journey. Living in fear of what could go wrong won’t do anything but drive me crazy.

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Here in spirit: Charlie’s “first” Thanksgiving

mekidsWe had such a wonderful time visiting with family over Thanksgiving. It’s always special when we all get together and this year was even more so. For one, everyone knows we will be adopting some time this coming year, so it was fun to talk about Charlie. I also got to meet my beautiful new niece for the first time (that’s her on my lap) and spend time with my older nieces and nephews, who I adore. As a super special treat, my cousin Jennie and her husband stopped by with their sweet, adorable daughter, who they adopted as an infant almost five years ago from the same agency we are using.

Jennie and Eric’s daughter, I’ll call her “D” (in case they’d rather me not use her name) was so sweet and I’m so glad we got the opportunity to spend time with them all. They even brought me a few gifts for Charlie. D was a little shy at first (a lot of new faces) but then she read me a couple of the books they brought, On the Day You Were Born and On the Night You Were Born. It was so touching when she went through photo-15the book and pointed to and named her mom and dad and then her birthmother and her birthmother’s husband. She didn’t seem confused about the situation at all–it was clear she knew she grew in her birthmother’s tummy because her momny’s tummy was broken. But that she had grown in her mommy’s heart all along.

Jennie also brought D’s adoption day story books with them to show me and it gave me some great ideas about things to create for Charlie when the time comes. I think it’s so important that D has those books and you can tell they’ve been read a thousand times. I’ll definitely do something like this and it’s a good reminder to be sure to have someone get precious photos of our adoption day when it comes and to write in a journal (or this blog) about the experience.

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All I want for Christmas…

elfshelfIt’s that time of year again when families decorate Christmas trees, kids write lists for Santa, and parents place those Elf on a Shelf dolls in crazy poses around the house and take photos to post on Facebook or Instagram. As someone who loves the holidays–I mean, really loves them–I yearn to create Christmas magic for my own children. As much as my husband and I enjoy our holidays together, this time of year has been tinged with moments of sadness for me the past few years. There have been no excited shrieks at our house on Christmas morning. No cookies left with milk by the fireplace on Christmas Eve. And no Elf on a Shelf taking some “me time” in a Lego beauty parlor or enjoying a soak in a marshmallow hot tub.

Last year was particularly difficult. We were trying to get pregnant and I was in the midst of an acupuncture, vitamin and clean-living regimen. Every month I was getting my hopes way up and then being absolutely shattered by the reality of yet another negative pregnancy test. I was drinking whole milk on the advice of my acupuncturist, not drinking wine and not eating any sugar. I wasn’t running or breaking any kind of a sweat in fear that it would hurt our chances. I was gaining weight (not exercising and drinking whole milk will do that to you) and feeling pretty terrible about myself in general. I was making Jamie take crazy supplements, eat kale and abstain from this and that and the other thing. I was so serious about everything. I was pretty miserable, truth be told.

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