Sunday, June 17, 2012

First Father's Day (with photos!!!)

Happy First Father's Day to my wonderful husband!

We've had a fantastic weekend visiting with family, and celebrating my sister V's wedding! She was a gorgeous bride! Without further ado... here at last is Caleb Michael!!!

First Father's Day (yes, chopped & donated my hair!)

Baby Tux! :)

He loved looking at his beautiful aunt V!

Me, my sisters M & S

Little Man! 

Hanging out with Granddad

Who wants to take me to my first baseball game? on June 6th

Memorial Day weekend - 5 weeks old

New Catholic!! - May 20 (4 weeks old)

 May 17th

3 days old... I'm going home!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why I Love Open Adoption

I was on FB this morning and our adoption agency had a link to a great write-up in response to -what I think were- some major bloopers by the Tod.ay Sh.ow. I never watch the show, so I didn't see it when it was aired, but apparently the show was "ask the experts" and the "experts" were asked about closed versus open adoption. The "experts" were an attorney, an advertising exec and a physician. The only one who did have any experience with adoption had a closed adoption and her daughter had (it seemed recent because she didn't mention finding the birthmother) come to her to ask about her birthparents. Here's the link to the write-up, and a link to the clip from the show is in there as well. I thought the author's two children (both adopted) had the best response to the show!

If you had asked me when we first began exploring the option of adoption, my first reaction would have been that I wanted a closed adoption. I wanted complete severance - sure, maybe a photo or two, or the original birth certificate in a box hidden in the closet - if absolutely necessary, but I wanted to be in control--as one of the TS's 'experts' said. I wanted to KNOW that I was my child's mother. 

Fast forward two years...

I'm an adoptive mother. I love my son more than I even though possible. When people ask me how it feels... well... I never knew my heart could hold this much joy.

My son is blessed though, because he has two mothers who love him. C's birthmother chose life. She knew that she could not parent at the time he was born. So she chose us. I write this fresh from a recent meeting (this past weekend) with her. It was the first time she saw him since we were at the hospital together. And I saw the same thing on her face this weekend that I saw at the hospital. LOVE. 

When I first saw her at the hospital, all I could think of to do was give her a hug. And the first words she said to me were - thank you". Words cannot convey the depth of her gratitude evident in those first softly whispered words. Those were the only words I could think of to say in return.

Laura Bush has written on the subject of infertility:

The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only “I’m sorry for your loss.” But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?

Well, I'll say this about adoption. The English language lacks the words to express gratitude. How do you thank a woman who, generously, selflessly chooses life for her child in a society that encourages abortion... who carries that child for 9 months... and then generously and selflessly makes an adoption plan for her child, knowing that she will not be the one to see their first smile, hear their first word, take their first step? Knowing that her child will call some other lady "Mommy" and some other man "Daddy." 

I'm aware that not all open adoptions are of this nature. But I am so grateful that we chose an agency that only does open adoptions. Some birthparents do not want to keep in touch. DH & I are so grateful that C's birthmother does. As we left this weekend, she thanked me for sending all the pictures. She was happy to see even more of them on my husband's phone. I hope and pray that she continues to want to be in touch. I can only think, that when C is older, he will be able to understand her choice was one of love. Thinking I would have been "in control" by knowing nothing was a sham. It is so much better knowing her, meeting her and seeing the love she has for him. I am convinced that this was the best choice for C. I think the uncertainly would be so much worse; and most certainly for a child who wants to know where he or she came from.

Here is what an open adoption can look like - more people to love your child. Because of C's birthmother, I have a tiny hand to hold, a child to smile at me and call me "Mommy". I have watched the man I love and admire most in this world - my husband - become a father. I have watched my parents and my husband's parents become grandparents. I have heard my youngest sisters cry on the phone at hearing the news that they were becoming aunts and my brother-in-law's become uncles. Grandmas become Great-Grandmas. I have sung "You are my Sunshine" to him in the car to calm him down. I sing him "Baby Mine in the evenings as he drifts to sleep. His smiles come more and more frequently. I'm woken in the night by his sweet little noises. It's everything I longed for and dreamed of and prayed for, for nearly 5 years.

I'm a mom.

Because of her.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you Julie, so much for awarding me the:

I've so enjoyed reading Julie's adoption stories - and Julie I can't wait to see how your beautiful children grow! God has amazing things planned for them, that is certain! :)

Here are the steps to follow after receiving the award:

  • Share who gave it to you with a link back to their blog.
  • Write down 7 random facts about yourself
  • Give this award to 15 other bloggers
  • Let them know they've won
  • Pop the award on your blog
Random facts about me:

  1. DH and I met online via Ave Maria Singles. I met 3 guys in person before meeting DH... 2 of them were from the DC area... and after I met the second one (and it was a no-go), I told my mom all the single Catholic guys seem to be in DC. I'll have to move there! Little did I know... :) And, as I found out this past weekend, at a childhood friend's wedding - another girl heard about my DH and I meeting on AMS and ended up going on and met her DH there! Yay! 
  2. I lived in Pittsburgh my entire life and had no intention of moving until I met DH. While I like where we are now (awesome friends, great diocese), it's our intention to move back to PA and be close to family. I truly can't wait. 
  3. I earned my second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do in college. I LOVED it... I hope, that when we move back to PA, I'll be able to continue. I really miss it, but I only want to study in the system I learned originally.
  4. I love organizing. I love cleaning. It just makes me totally relax to have a clean house. I know... this makes me slightly crazy. Although, if you could see my house at this moment, you'd wonder where that girl went! I'm learning to do more and more things one-handed these days, but I haven't tackled dusting or sweeping!
  5. Pittsburghers have their own language, called Pittsburghese. While I do not use it on a regular basis, I always drop the "to be" and say for example "the dishes need washed" instead of "the dishes need to be washed". Rubber bands will always be "gumbands" and vacuuming will always be "sweeping" to me. :)
  6. OK, I don't ever want to own a mini-van. I know it's like the initiation into parenthood, but I just can't do it. I don't like riding in or driving in them - they make me slightly nauseous. (It may have something to do with riding in one when I was a kid that had towels in it that smelled like wet-dog, but...) It will have to be a non-environmentally friendly, gas-guzzling SUV. Sorry.
  7. I would love to adopt (or conceive) twins. My youngest sisters are identical; I have twin cousins, and although I would probably go insane with the lack of sleep, I really loved watching the "twin bond" as they grew up - and the strength of it even now!

And here are the blogger friends that I nominate for the One Lovely Blog Award!

  1. While I'm Waiting
  2. Rebecca at The Road Home
  3. Patiently Waiting Kinda
  4. Ania at The 411 on the 418s
  5. Hebrews
  6. One Joyful Day
  7. Call Me Mama
  8. Alison at Matching Moonheads
  9. Faith Makes Things Possible
  10. Hope Pray Trust
  11. Kaitlin at More Like Mary
  12. Nicole at Mom & Then Some
  13. Jenny at All Things
  14. Polkadot at Making God Laugh
  15. Refining Journey
Thanks again, Julie!! :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our adoption story, Part 1

It's 6 weeks today since we got the call about C. It's hard to believe it's been that long! My days are blurring together and I'm trying to soak in as much each day as possible. He's growing so fast - even day to day I notice differences, and I don't want to miss anything. Please forgive the sporadic postings, but I've been working on this one, and now that little man is taking a nice nap in his ErgoBaby carrier (this thing is AWESOME), I hope I can get enough written to publish at least part of the story.

I'll begin with "the call"...

Tuesday, April 24th was pretty much a normal day. I got up, went to Mass, came home, had one cancelled piano lesson, taught 3 more and waited around the house. I was going to go to the grocery store, but figured I'd stay home in case the call came in. By the time my third lesson finished at 2:00, I figured the meeting with the birthmother was over, as the agency was supposed to meet with her in the morning. I puttered around the house, and kept checking my email, figuring to see an email that we weren't picked. It never came. Time kept creeping by. I'm pretty sure I talked to my youngest sister (we talk very frequently - she's a physical therapist and travels to client's homes, and I'm the one home during the day to keep her company on her drives. :)) Anyway, she called to see if we had heard anything, and I said no. I figured it wasn't the baby meant for us. DH and I talked a few times as well; again confirming that neither of us had heard anything. Usually, I was the one who first saw the emails from our social worker about possible placements; but he had been the one to see the email on Monday.

Around 3:00 the phone rang, and I jumped... but it was a friend checking on something else. Time crawled by. I just wanted to get the email confirming that we hadn't been picked.

At 4:05 the phone rang again and it was our agency. My heart jumped a bit, but even then, I thought they would be calling to say that we weren't picked and that there was another situation for us to consider, or maybe a question about something else. It wasn't the social worker that I normally spoke with, although I had met her at one of the classes. She kind of dragged it out. They had met with the birthmother that morning... she was a real talker... they just got back from meeting with her... etc... etc... and "she picked you!!!!"

It took me a second... and then I started crying, laughing, gasping all at once; and alternately pacing and sitting down in just complete shock and amazement. She tried telling me other details and I interrupted to say - can I call DH?? She laughed, said yes, and told me to call her back.

I called DH... it took him a few rings to pick up (I knew he was probably in a meeting at that time - which he was - but it was fortunately in his office)... he said hello and I said...

"Hi, Daddy."

DH: Pause.... "Are you serious?!?"

Me (crying): "YES!!! SHE PICKED US!!!!!!!!

We talked a bit more - he told me he was in a meeting and I asked him if he could come right home so we could start calling our families.

He told me he hung up the phone, stood there for a second, looked at the guy in his office and said "Uh, I have to go!"

His co-worker said "Well, congratulations - I don't know what it is, but it sounds good!"

DH began packing up... and a minute later his boss walked in, looked at DH with his coat on (probably wondering what he was doing - they had a 2-day off-site meeting scheduled that DH and his boss were supposed to lead). He said "So, I'll see you tomorrow?"

DH: "Actually... no... my wife and I just got the call from our adoption agency and tomorrow we are picking up our son!!"

His boss was THRILLED for him - he and several colleagues knew we were waiting and have wanted kids for a long time. They knew about my surgeries, though not in great detail.

After DH and I got off the phone, I called our SW back and got more details about Baby C. We were going to be able to meet his birthmother at the hospital, and we needed to be there at 10 the next morning to sign papers and bring him home. She told me what we needed to bring and I had a stack of post-it notes all stuck together from all the notes I took from the call! They were all over the kitchen table, haha. :) I also called our financial planner to take care of that end of things. He was DH's college roommate and he and his wife - and their 8 kids, have been praying for us.

DH (it seemed like forever) got home quickly... I met him at the door and we pretty much jumped up and down in excitement! We wanted to begin by calling family - it was almost rush hour, and thus would take considerable time to get to the store and get back... so we began by calling my mom.

She answered the phone and we said "Hi, Grandma!" My mom was working at the polls that day and she said "this isn't Grandma", assuming we had dialed the wrong number. Our response "Oh, yes it is!!!!" She was so excited, and asked if she could share it with the friends she saw come in. We initially wanted to keep things quiet - for the 10 day waiting period - and that lasted all of a minute. After she got off the phone with me, a friend stopped by and the neighbor working the polls with my mom said "aren't you going to tell her your news?"

I can't remember in what order we called everyone - DH's mom was probably next - we could seriously hear her screams from California. :) Like my mom, we greeted her with "Hi, Memere!" She said "this isn't Memere." We said "Oh, yes it is!!" She was out in CA visiting family and she actually was with DH's grandmother, "Memere". She said it didn't register that it was her cell phone that she answered, not her mother's land line! We called both Dads - mine at work (he knew as soon as we asked him what he wanted to be called- Grandpa, Granddad, etc)... DH's dad leaving a golf course with DH's uncle. We reached my sister V at home, who started crying - we asked her if her fiance T was in town - he lives in the area where we needed to be and if we could spend the night at his place - fortunately he was and we did! We reached my sister R in the car, and she said she literally had tears running down her face. She was on the way to one of her clients' homes. (She's the PT)

We got a hold of everyone else .... my sister M in Nashville, sister S (the nurse who lead us to our agency in the first place) - we woke her up... she works night shifts so she was still a little out of it. I talked to her for a while on the ride down to T's place asking all kinds of questions about how to take care of a newborn!!

DH's brothers - and sister in law. So, so excited to hear our news, they all begged us to send pictures ASAP. His brother D was on the golf course too - he coaches high school  - and he said he didn't even care how his kids played after he got our news!

We called a few close friends, including our friends M & D (they live about a minute walk away on the next street over) who wanted to stop by.

We called my Grandma - she said she wasn't going to cry like she did when she got the call when I was born, but when she hung up, as she told us later, she realized her nose was bleeding! That was kind of funny. :) We talked to my Uncle J - actually, we reached him before Grandma - he said he already knew he was "great" but was clearly excited to be "great-uncle". He's amazing - great with kids. I'm sure Baby C will have lots of fun playing with him when he gets bigger!

While we were on the phone with my Grandma, M & D stopped by - huge hugs were exchanged and D actually picked me up - and DH too for that matter! They were so, so excited for us. (They're C's godparents, too, by the way.)

M was leaving for choir practice (where we would have been heading too!) - I told her to share the news and apologize to our choir director that I wouldn't be able to play for Confirmation the following night with the the Bishop! We were leaving for BabiesRUs, so they didn't stay long. Before they left, we recruited D's help the following night to assemble the crib!

To be continued.... :)
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