Friday, February 22, 2013

Dear Adoptive Parents

I can't even imagine what your journey to adoption has been like.  Tumultuous?  Long?  Involving more paperwork and red tape than Congress?  Full of heartache and failed pregnancies?  Or maybe easy-breezy, short, and completely unexpected?

This is one of many of life's unfairness-es.  That's a word, right?  It's not fair at all that I wasn't even trying to get pregnant, or thinking about it, and managed to become so.  Meanwhile you guys tried and tried, maybe even were successful a few times at getting pregnant, but then it didn't last.  That's not fair.  I'm sorry.  I'm sorry if your path leading you here was a prickly, thorny, jagged rock path and there were no shoes to be found.

As our paths join from this point forward, there are a few things I want you to know.

  • I want more than anything to see my child again.  From the moment I leave the hospital, an absolute emotional wreck, all I  will think about is "When can I see her again??!"  But I understand that you need time as a family to bond.  My guess is what you need me to know is that you need space.  Ultimately, I want what is best for her.  So if space is what you guys need, space is what you'll get.  But know that whenever you are ready, I'd love to see her again.  
  • Relationships are fluid, dynamic things.  Whatever our relationship starts out like, good or bad, it doesn't have to or get to stay that way forever.  By investing time and attention and effort, we can build a positive, healthy connection.  Hopefully we can be really honest with each other throughout the process about what works for us, what doesn't, and what we want/need.
  • Just like no two kids are exactly alike, no two adoptions are either.  While we can both gather support from others who have walked this path, our adoption is unique.  We will have to figure out what works best for us.  
  • There will be times, like when we first meet, that will just be awkward, no matter what.  You may feel like you need to come across as well spoken, put together, and definitely not crazy because if you don't, I'll change my mind and not place my child with you.  I'll feel like I need to come across as well spoken, put together, and definitely not crazy because if I don't, you won't let me have a relationship with my child later on.  All of that is baloney.  Facades don't work long term.  You be you.  I'll be me.  We'll build on that.
  • Most importantly:  I can be one of your biggest cheerleaders, if you'll let me.  You are raising my biological child.  I have a whole lot of interest vested in things going well for you and your family.  I want you to know I'm on your side, not against you.  If you ever doubt that, keep in mind that I chose you.  I chose you to be my daughter's parents.  I saw qualities in you, in your relationship to each other, that made me pick you above anybody else.  Please, please don't forget that!

A loving birthmother

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This Moment...

A)  Right this moment, there are two sleeping children in my house.  There are also two sleeping cats, but that's not nearly as noteworthy.

B)  For the second night in a row, I've had the immense pleasure of sleeping through the night.  A gift I believe to be straight from heaven above, delivered to me through baby Reese.

Because of (B), I am able to take this moment to write during (A).  Usually, my two kids don't sleep at the same time.  If they do, I'm so tired, I try to sleep briefly while they do.  So today I'm feeling particularly grateful for James and Reese napping at the same time and that I feel somewhat alert and awake.

I have so many things on my mind that I want to write about!

The transition from 1 kid to 2 kids.
Life with a newborn.
Life with a toddler.
My working life since I've returned from maternity leave.
Marriage in it's 4th year.
Apartment living with a family.
A million things related to adoption.

There are lots more thoughts that I just can pin down right now.

Maybe I'll make this a blurb-blog-post!  Just write a blurb about each topic!  Today I'll be a blurbologist.

1 kid --> 2 kids

I anticipated that doubling the number of children in our home would be challenging.  I didn't have (many) disillusions about that.  I figured that it would be hard no matter how old the first child is.  That being how I thought, we didn't wait long at all between kids.  James was 8 months old when I got pregnant with Reese.  He was exactly 17 months old when she was born.  Hindsight being what it is and that Reese is here, I'm realizing that it may, in fact, have been a little bit helpful if James was older.  Who knew.  He is getting so much more independent now.  He's communicating a little better, asking for things, telling you what he wants/needs in a slightly more understandable fashion.  This is INCREDIBLY helpful!  We are well on our way to only having to fake-it-til-we-make-it-guess-what-the-child-needs with one kiddo instead of two.  So there ya have it.  Live and learn. :)


I have really been able to enjoy Reese as a newborn.  Not that I didn't enjoy James as an itty bitty baby, but I've enjoyed her MORE.  It's all about perspective.  When James was born, I thought newborns were hard!  But thanks to James, I've learned that newborns are actually quite simple.  Labor intensive, but simple.  TODDLERS are the challenging ones!  I know all of you with teenagers are saying "Just you wait..."  Since I'm not to the teenager point yet, I don't have that perspective.  All I know is that my toddler is more challenging day to day than my newborn is.  I have appreciated my time with Reese since I know a little bit better now how truly quickly this phase goes by.


James is 20 months old now.  He is hilarious, busy, climb-y, attentive to details, curious, playful, smile-y, impatient, chatty but frequently not understandable, and will occasionally drive one to want to drink. I'm starting to see now what people may love about this stage.  The curiosity he shows about anything and everything and how quickly he learns things is amazing.  I love watching his little brain work out a problem.  In part because of how his cheeks practically rest on his chest when he's sitting down, looking down, working on something.  He has also gotten a little more cuddly than he used to be.  He will sit in my lap and let me read to him.  When he gets really tired, he definitely is more amenable cuddling, especially if he can hold on to one of his lovey blankets and suck his thumb.  I still don't love the throw down, thrash about tantrums that seem to accompany toddlerhood, but who does.  At least there are some redeeming moments in between to keep me from wanting to lock him in his room and throw away the key.


I returned to work on January 27th.  I was out on maternity leave for 12 weeks plus a couple of days.  I was ready to go back!  I was looking forward to adult conversation, earning some money, and using a different part of my brain as a nurse than I do at home.  I reduced my hours at work to part time.  For those not involved in the hospital nurse world, full time work is usually three 12 hour shifts per week.  Therefore, in two weeks, I was working 6 days.  Now in a two week time frame, I work 3 days.  This is very manageable.  I still get a TON of time with my kiddos.  I don't have to stress about pumping at work as much as I did last time.  I do have to pump at work.  I couldn't make it 13+ hours without pumping.  However, even if I don't pump the same number of times that Reese eats and my supply starts to go down after one day at work, she can nurse it back up the next day.  My parents keep my kids when I work during the week.  Scott keeps them on weekends.  I'm super comfortable with both arrangements, so neither one causes me stress while I'm at work.  All in all, so far so good regarding being a working mom of two.


Oh Scott.  We had no idea 4.5 years ago that our lives would be like this now.  "This" can be many things:  awesome, horrible, and everything in between.  When Reese and James are having bad days and Scott and I are exhausted, we tend to think "What the heck have we done?!"  But on the good days, when we're enjoying our family-ness, contentment abounds.  We do have to laugh when we think about what it was like when we dated and were soooo in love and all that mushy stuff.  We're still very much in love, but it sure looks more practical and less mushy now.  He appreciates it when I cook dinner.  I appreciate it when he runs errands and takes James with him.  It's just different than it used to be... :)

Apartment Life

We would love to be in a house and not an apartment.  Dave Ramsey recommends saving 20% for a down payment and getting a 15 year fixed mortgage.  This is what we plan to do, it just takes time.  In the mean time, we're living in an apartment.  I curse our upstairs neighbors when they are clomping around (in lead shoes, I'm sure) and wake up one of my kids.  I cringe and wait for a knock on the door from our downstairs neighbors when James is running around like a mad man squealing at the top of his lungs.  C'est la vie in an apartment.  Fortunately, we moved into a 2nd floor apartment (down from the 3rd floor!) in December that has an attached garage.  That is amazingly helpful when transporting car seat age children.  I can get one kid squared away in the car and come back upstairs to retrieve the other kid.  Before, when we were on the 3rd floor without a garage, I just wasn't comfortable leaving one kid in the car in the parking lot while I traipsed back upstairs to get the other kid.


Adoption consumes a fair portion of my thought life.  I think about Chloe all the time and what I hope our relationship can be like.  I think about Scott and I adopting in the future and what that may be like.  Sticking with the blurb-ness of this post, I'll keep this short.  Several weeks ago, Melissa asked if we could set up a time for Chloe to call me.  Melissa said Chloe had been talking about me a lot recently.  She (Melissa) felt like she (Chloe) needed to talk to me.  I thought it was a great idea.  She (Chloe) called me at the agreed upon time.  We talked for 20 minutes or so.  At first it was a little awkward and slow going.  Have you ever talked to an 8 year old on the phone?  You have to ask a LOT of questions to get them to talk!  Then it was less awkward and conversation flowed more readily.  When we hung up, I thought, "And so it begins..."  A new phase of our relationship.  Up until now, I've primarily cultivated a relationship with Melissa, because I felt that was the best thing to do.  But now, it seems we're transitioning to a time where Chloe and I will start to define our relationship.  It's exciting and scary all at the same time.  I wonder if Chloe thinks the same thing I do:  "I hope she likes me!!"

As far as Scott and I adopting, we haven't even begun to begin the process, if that makes any sense.  I think saving for a house is a prerequisite for us pursuing adoption.  We want to be in a home before we bring another child into our family.  We shall see...


Wow....I typed this whole post and both kids are still sleeping.  UH-MAZING.


Thanks for joining me here and sharing in my world.  Please feel free to leave a comment and include your blog address, if you have one.  I love blog reading!!