Saturday, May 18, 2013
When they pulled up to the front of our house on a chilly Sunday afternoon I was spying on her through the front window blinds. I wanted that one last second to look her over for any obvious changes since our last visit seven months ago. Nope. Still the same leggy, confident and pretty teenager who happens to be an orphan and the mother of my child. This time ya'll? She ran. She swung open that van door and literally dashed across the street up to our front porch. Completely uninhibited by any "will she remember me's?", "will she like me's?", "will Kari and Tyler be weird with me?". This is one of the reasons why I love this girl so much. She's just such a freaking game changer and she doesn't even know it yet! The extrovert, the boldness, the necessity is so much my personality it's literally the coolest thing ever. This one image of her running across the street to our house brought tears to my eyes and I basically had to punch myself in the face to stop. I looked at Tyler eyes welled up and said, "Tyler...she's running to the door." These moments bring on so many thoughts for me. First, thankfulness then working our way towards happy, then almost always pride in how cool of a kid she really is and almost always guilt. It's weird though the guilt thing, because it's more like guilt that I don't do enough to maintain those large gaps by holding up my end of the "bargain". The emails and random photos sent through an emails, I mean heck I usually feel guilt in regards to the !,000 miles I just put between us when originally it was only supposed to be about 120. I almost always wonder how she really feels about us. I wonder what she says to the other girls she lives with. It could be that maybe she doesn't think about us that often I suppose. Maybe I'm giving myself too much credit. I can't wait until these kinds of stories have meaning to our girl although if I'm being honest the simple act of typing those words out gave me a nervous feeling in my stomach. Those future talks, the ones I know won't always be pretty. The ones that will leave my girl feeling a little less ok with being adopted at times, pining for someone who looks like her and has traits that are because of genetics and not because of environment. For now I'll remember the run to the door, still such an innocence even after all of her heartbreak. She's my hero.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
It's Mother's Day today, our third one together actually. Do you know how amazing you are? Do you know how beautiful and smart and caring and intuitive you are? Do you know how lucky people are to know YOU? I know I'm lucky to know you. I know that out of all the kids on this whole earth God chose you for ME. He knew I'd need you. He knew that you'd need me. You see this works both ways pretty girl. I needed you to fill the void of mama which you have done above and beyond, I needed you to fill the need I had to parent a child whose own parents couldn't. I needed you to show me that I can make mistakes and flub this "mothering" stuff up and you flat out don't care. Eventually the reality of being adopted will make its way into our every day conversations. You'll ask questions. You'll feel the loss. You'll be confused and maybe even hurt. You'll need me then sweetheart. You'll need me to tell the stories of how we came to know you that Friday night in October. You'll need me to tell you that I constantly checked your breathing on the way home because you were so quiet in the backseat that we forgot you were there. You'll need me to show you the pictures of you in your first mama's belly and tell her super hero story. I'll eventually need you to tell me that you love me just the same. I'll need you to tell me that you get it, that even though it hurts you totally get it. These are my prayers for us on Mother's Day. Our need for each other will come and go in just the right moments because you and I? We're clutch like that. Sweet Emery, it's my greatest privilege and honor to have you call me "mama" every day. I can not imagine my life without you in it. You are the smartest, funniest, sassiest, most beautiful, stubborn and caring little girl I've ever had the fortune of knowing. May you always know that the most important thing is how you show your Savior's love to others.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
2012 was a defining year for us. Normally I'd be able to pinpoint a certain defining moment, that actual incident that was the definition of what was most certainly the hardest year of our lives but alas we were worked over pretty much nonstop. My silence on this blog recently hasn't been because I have nothing to say anymore in fact it's quite the contrary. I have a lot to say about what I've learned about marriage, rolling with the punches, parenthood, what makes me happy, what makes me sad, and who I really want to be as a wife, mother, sister, believer, and friend. Several times I'd sit down poised and ready to just let go of some things because writing/journaling is unbelievably cathartic for me but I couldn't follow through. It was too much. Too many topics. Too much complaining or too much offending (which generally the offending thing doesn't usually stop me). Instead, I'm going to focus on the fact that 2013 is a freaking "do over" year where things start fresh, we'll stop taking score, we'll mend, we'll break free, we'll actually affect change and maintain. ....So, I started this post on January 1st of this year. I didn't finish because I think I was interrupted or even sometimes I leave it alone for a bit until the juices that are flowing start to form a little more cohesion. Consider this. Cohesion formed. Juices now have direction. We've seen God bless us in amazing ways over the last few months and oddly enough very few of those blessings have to do with "stuff" or things we thought we needed but more to do with what we didn't realize was missing in the first place. He's cool like that. Sprinkling little bread crumbs in front of us leading down the path he had planned for us all along. Or at least for now. I'm very thankful and grateful for a Father who knows and meets my needs before I realize the need exists.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Ten days ago I was a part of something magical. Scratch that. Two years ago I was a part of something magical. First, becoming a mama and then just recently watching the beauty that is our open adoption. I'm careful to say that open adoption isn't for everyone. There are MANY variables that make each situation unique but for us...open adoption is amazing. From the beginning FM has had the privilege of being a part of our girls life. Whether it's through pictures and emails or an hour or two every few months. For us. It works. I will tell you though that there has always been this little part of me that hoped for something more from our visits. For FM more than for me. We've met at a library, a couple of parks, and a conference room. Every single time I wished for normalcy. I wished for her to be in our home in a casual environment and my dear friends it finally happened! Through a process of extremely weird circumstances our dear sweet FM sat here in our living room and played with Em for two hours. It was magical. I was in awe with how natural it was and there was an underlying, unsaid sort of knowledge that this is the way we've always wanted it to be. We shared in the happiness that in the future our visits will become more of what she needs and more of what I want. All of this aside, I was privy to some information that I've been wanting to know for two years but didn't want to monopolize our visits for my own selfishness. I have always wanted to make sure that certain aspects of Emery's story remain private and very much only hers to tell so there are some things that you just won't know. What I learned was something that in the future will benefit Emery so much. The truth is, I always knew that FM tried to keep Emery at first. I was just very unsure of the timeline and the struggle she faced to make the final decision. I'm so thankful for the way God has woven together our special story and I was even more thankful to discover that when times are tough and my girl is struggling with her identity I will be able to tell her how her first mama fought for her. Her first mama worked through 3 months of dealing with a newborn who had acid reflux and had no one to turn to. No mother to call. No mama friends to ask for advice from. She had no one...except Emery. In the end it was just too much, as it should be for an orphaned 13 year old in a state run home for teen mothers. But you guys, she freaking fought for that girl. She worked through exhaustion, through unrest, through unfamiliarity, thru loss and in the end made the wisest most unselfish choice she could have ever made. Gosh I love this girl. I love this girl who looked at my photo and my written words on a page and decided that I could parent her child. I love this girl who expressed her dream to become a famous singer and stated her fear for Emery having a boyfriend later in life all in the same breath. I love that she believes in me. I love that we both love this little firecracker that has her genes but hugs my neck every night. I love this girl who by making a sound, wise and incredibly tough choice just made it easier for me to explain to my baby girl that her birth mom was a super hero. A freaking rock star. There were other things that were learned that day. One thing though, we're very different in age and ethnicity we're both very much the same in the way we love. Hard and fast.
Monday, September 24, 2012
These last five-ish days have been super reflective for me. After FIVE months (to the day) of applying for jobs and interviewing I was hired on at a doctors office! I'm super pumped to get back into our "normal" and for us to be in a better place financially. Honestly this time around it was much different. We had to factor in so many things before I could commit to a position (pay vs. childcare vs. time away from Em) and spent months and months praying for the right one to come along. I'm so excited to use my brain in this specific way again but I'm going to tell you something. I will miss my girl. So much. I've had most of my days with her for the last year and a half and I loved it. We have our own rhythm, our own language, our own understanding. We can make each other laugh and at the same time make each other cry, I just love it. This new job means that she'll be in the hands of someone else for approximately 36 hours a week, and it has me counting the amount of hours I get to spend with her in comparison. Which started my adoptive mama fears rolling in hard core. Fear #1, attachment. This was my fear in the very beginning. Bringing home a four month old that had already been cared for by multiple people had me terrified out of my mind that she wouldn't know that Tyler and I were IT. We were there forever. The first few days and months brought about a lot of little freak outs and definitely reading into things but we adjusted and her attachement to us was undeniable. I often doubted if I had taken enough time off of work (I actually believe I should have taken longer), but was certain we would get thru this time. There have been little circumstances here and there that cause me some insecurity and each time my girl comes back around and only has eyes for me. Now I'm back to square one. Will she misunderstand why I'm not around all day? Will she miss me? Will she be happy to see me when I arrive? We've done all the major developmental milestones together so really this should be ok right? So much of what I blog about is trying my best to not separate adoptive mamas from bio mamas, trying to bring these woman together in solidarity but sometimes it just can't be done. Sometimes these parts of adoption suck and I know it won't be the last time some parts of adoption will suck. Sometimes these fears get the best of me and sometimes I give in to them spiraling downward until I'm a mess of tears. There are still some days where I have to convince myself that she will always love me the way I always love my mom, there will be days where DNA won't be a factor and the fact that I didn't carry her in my belly and know her the minute she was born won't unpack their bags in my mind. But for now, they still occasionally do and that makes things pretty hard.
Monday, September 3, 2012
*If I can get through this entire post without any typos it'll be a miracle. My eyes are swollen, snot is dripping down my face...in other words I'm dead sexy right now* I just finished a skype conversation with my big sis who was literally heading out the door to the hospital. It's time. My big sister and very best friend is headed to the hospital right now to begin her "cervical ripening" (read, eww) for her induction in the morning. I love this girl more than quite possibility anyone in the world (sorry Tyler, j/k). Her journey to become a mama is not short of complications and heartbreak. In these last three years she has watched friends, relatives and me become what she had assumed she'd become the first time she was pregnant. What you should know is that she endured three miscarriages (one of which was twins), one D&C, and three colossal blow offs from "professional doctors" in regards to her lack of progress during pregnancy. One said, "you're just unlucky" another mentioned that she'd have to endure yet another miscarriage before they could "diagnos the issue". Thus some of the reasons for my lack of trust in most doctors. My sister? She fought for this baby. She did research, she withheld certain foods (hello gluten free!), she straight up located a doctor ON HER OWN who helped diagnose her issue as a diet change and a bit of a wonky thyroid. SHE found HIM. Once she did become pregnant she discovered she had a blood clotting disorder that required twice daily shots, but did she give up? No way Jose. Of course she had her meltdowns but I'll tell you right now, this woman? This woman is strength. This woman is grace. This woman is a shining example of how to make it through difficulties without losing yourself and boo hooing the entire time. The only time I really ever knew she was struggling was if I asked her point blank..."dude, are you struggling with this at all?". I love her and oh my stars am I going to love her as a mom. And oh my gosh is this child going to experience love and gratefulness like no one else has on this planet. Life has a funny way of stepping in and showing you really who's boss and this time...life didn't allow me the privilege of being there for the birth. Which if you know Kel and I, that's a big freaking deal. We're there. We always show up for each other and just the other day when I was on the boo hoo train I said to her, "Not that you'll actually 'need' me but our relationship is such that there are times when I know I can get through it without you but I'd rather not." That pretty much sums it up. It's not a total sob story because Em and I will be there by Sunday but one thing you should know about me is that I'm totally clutch in situations like this. Pressure? I'm your girl. I'm in there like swimwear finding solutions and working through the miscommunications. I'm like a silent ninja working behind the scenes to obliterate problems before they become problems to those who don't need them. Need food? No problem. I'll drop my People magazine like a bad habit and run to the store to get you your favorite snack food, candy bar and drink and the real ninja-esque part of that is I won't even have to ask what those favorite foods are. This is how I show love to people in my life and I have one really super important person who is bringing my very next favorite important person into the world and I'm literally 1109 miles away. Here is what keeps me from diving head first into a gallon of ice cream while watching Steel Magnolias...the reunion. Next Sunday when she picks me up from the airport and I get to feast my eyes on that little, squishy, delicious smelling miracle. Oh I'm certain there will be tears, because ninja mode will be turned off and doting aunt mode will be turned on. Oh sweet litte baby, you will always know how much your mama and daddy love you. How thankful they are for you. You will also know how much you mean to me as well, and how much I love you. And to my sister and best friend, your poise and perseverance during this time is unprecedented. Your ability to smile through the pain of loss and push through to this final result is nothing short of award winning. Your care, your spirit, your humor, your grace during these last three years is something that I will always admire in you. You are consistently my ninja. My very favorite friend. I love you.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
I know sometimes I gush and gush AND gush over my little girl...I make no apologies. She is hands down the best thing that has ever happened to us. Her smile has the ability to melt me into a million pieces. And her laugh? Forget about it. I'm done once she lets that sucker loose. I love that I can see her thinking and learning and you know what? She is really such a good kid. Do you know how proud that makes me? Do you have any idea what it feels like to see your child make good choices? To see her little wheels turning and things making sense? She says "I love you" to me first now, instead of repeating it back to me. When we were at the store the other day she learned forward in the cart and hugged me while saying..."sweet mama". She skips over to see me when I come home after being away. But you know what really makes my heart melt these days? Watching her be a mama to her babies. She is so gentle and patient with them, she whispers to soothe them and tells them "it's ok sweet baby, it's ok". She tells them to go to sleep and holds them close. It's weird that I find myself being proud of her mothering techniques to fake babies but it's true I am SO proud of her. Her love of music and dancing is probably one of my favorite things and even though she does not share a single gene of ours she is undoubtedly just that...OURS. I know these days of simplicity will soon be complicated by plenty of angst, disappointment, confusion, and heartbreak but what I hope to build with her over these years is something that I'm sure she'll return to in those hard times. She is the one who made me a mama. She is the one who God chose for me. There is no greater love.