Friday, September 30, 2011

The most fabulous Friday of my life...Part Deux.

Prior to actually "hitting the road" to home at around 10:00 PM, we had to stop at Walmart to pick up at least a couple things that would get us through our first night with Emery. I purchased, a pack of bottles, pacifiers, Funyuns, bottled water, and beef jerky. Obviously the last three were for us. Meanwhile back at the ranch my two sisters and brother in law were eagerly awaiting our arrival, even if it meant that we wouldn't get there until 1:00 in the morning. When we pulled into our driveway they had decorated the mailbox with "It's a girl!" balloons! They (and my mama, and my friend Fran) had also gone to Target and stocked us with diapers, wipes, blankets, bath stuff, and clothes...it was so amazing. Once they had gotten a chance to hold her it was bed time. Which was the strangest part of the whole experience...I was heading down the hall to a bedroom that I inhabited with only one other person and tonight there would be a little stranger in the bassinet. It was so surreal. It was probably a good thing we didn't go to bed until 3:00 because I probably would have tossed and turned until then anyway. The next morning we woke up and brought her into bed with us, it was magic. Then I realized very quickly that I had a baby that was relying on me for everything and thus began freak out mode. . This day is one that I don't ever want to forget. The enormity of becoming a parent is something I never want to forget. Here we are the three of us, one year later and I couldn't imagine my every day without her in it. I have learned so much about myself because of her. I am capable.
The amount of support we received from friends and family during our journey is honestly something that I can't speak enough of. To know there were people who we didn't even know praying for our success in starting our family through adoption is overwhelming. There are so many people who love our girl, so many people who will play an important role in her life and her story. She is loved beyond measure especially by this mama.
To my little lovey: You have made more happy than I could have ever imagined possible. Your belief in me has strengthened my belief in myself. You will always know and hear that we love you and could never have lived another day without you.

The most fabulous Friday of my life...Part One

Ok so technically the actual date was October 1st BUT it happened on a Friday so I'll be pretending like it was today for the sake of a realistic timeline. On this morning I remember waking up and getting ready for work...while I was in the bathroom Tyler was skyping with his brother in the other room. I remember him explaining that we should find out whether the birth mom chose us around 2ish and then that means we would have woken up without a baby in our room and would be going to bed that night WITH a baby in our room. I remember wishing he wouldn't have said that. It was too optimistic and made for one more "clean up" conversation if we ended up without her at the end of the day. I remember reliving the pain of our almost baby and not wanting to deal with such a loss again. I was thankful to be going to work so I'd be distracted by my Friday's which were ALWAYS chaotic. I honestly can't even remember what I said to Tyler when I left other than "Text me if it's no, CALL me if it's a yes". I had told our social worker to call him instead out of fear that I'd miss her call. We had only told a handful of close friends and family about this possibility and only one person at work knew this was even happening. I can't even believe I got through the day. People probably thought I was wacko because I was so distracted and nervous. Around 1:45 my sister, Kelly, started texting me. I had to put an end to this because every time my phone lit up I was certain it was Tyler with a "no" text! Basically..."I LOVE YOU BUT STOP TEXTING ME IMMEDIATELY!". Then, at 2:05 the phone at work rang. Which you should know is not strange given the fact that it's a salon and day spa and our patrons generally phone in their hair requests. I picked it up and saw Tyler's number on the caller id...almost instantly I geared up with an angry tirade of "I TOLD YOU TO CALL ME IF IT WAS A YES NOT IF IT"S A NO!!!!!". Before I could say anything, he uttered the most fabulous words I've ever heard in my life. "Kari, she picked us...she totally picked us. We have to leave right NOW to pick her up!" All I remember saying is, "No way. No way. No way. Are you serious? No way. You're kidding me. Seriously? I can't leave yet, I have to tell my boss!" First, I needed some fresh air (aka, I needed privacy to emote). I walked outside and called Tyler back, and I just cried. I couldn't believe it. I honestly could not believe it. Because I still needed to talk to my boss(es) about this new development Tyler got to make all the fun phone calls to friends and family...honestly this is one thing I wish I had been a part of but I was not thinking clearly at that point in time. I'M A FREAKING MOM! I will have a baby in my arms in approximately 3ish hours. OH MY GOSH I'M GOING TO HAVE AN INFANT TO CARE FOR IN 4ISH HOURS! Sorry for so many "all caps" sentences but I feel it's the most effective way to demonstrate urgency. I cried with my coworkers and waved goodbye to them, headed home to pick up TZ and head to West Palm Beach to pick up our daughter. When I arrived home I found Tyler pacing around the living room, screaming things like "we have to pick a name for her, like now so Jan can start the paperwork before her doctors appt". We hugged and stared at each other in total disbelief that this was even happening. We had nothing set up. We were, by all intents and purposes completely unprepared. I rummaged around a few bags of clothing I had purchased for our potential foster kids and found a three month sleeper with polka dots on it. I didn't have bottles, formula, diapers, wipes nada. I jammed her pj's in my purse and just looked around our house for the magic "you just found out at the last minute you're bringing a baby home and need all the essentials" fairy but when she failed to appear Tyler fumbled around with the car seat before exclaiming "oh forget it, we can figure this crap out when we get there!" we hopped in the car snapped this last photo...
And headed to our girl. Jan was begging us to pick a name so she could start the paperwork and if you know me in depth you realize this was a problem. I'm a name freak. I have had names picked out a for a few years and I just love a good name. Hopefully nothing common and certainly nothing trendy. Well because I was travelling and all my name choices were on my computer at HOME I was at a lost...and resorted to calling my sister at work. We searched google and had a few that were in the mix before we settled on Emery. We liked Avery and I liked Emerson...twas a happy medium says I. And my middle name is Brooke and we thought that it fit perfectly...Emery Brooke. Once we were on the interstate after some nasty traffic in town, our phones rang non stop. Tyler blew past the turnpike (by 20 miles, distracted much eh?), and around 7:45 that evening we met her...for the first time. I was so nervous. I kept saying over and over again..."Hey pretty girl...you're so pretty. So very pretty." She slept the whole time we signed paperwork, and finally when all was said and done we changed her. Tried to feed her a bottle. Then packed her in the car to head home. For the very first time...the THREE of us.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I remember this day...

This day last year I remember meeting my mom for lunch. In fact that week I managed to have lunch with my dad ALL BY MYSELF (which as the second of seven children has probably only happened ten times in my life), AND then mom the very next day. Anywho, at this point in time I was feeling very anxious and really very discouraged. I had to remind our social worker that we had moved since she last finished our home study which meant she needed to come and do an addendum. This meant that she had to drive two and a half hours to spend only about 30 minutes at our home, to drive two and a half hours back to spend however long it takes to type up a new home study all for a "don't get your hopes up scenario". Then she asked me, "Do you still want to move forward with this?". I was frozen. I mean, did I? It seemed that there were so many barriers that kept creeping up and I just didn't get it. I didn't want to move forward because I didn't want our hearts broken again. I couldn't imagine going through these extra steps and then having it not matter. Moving forward meant I was hoping, and it was hard to come to terms with hoping. I picked up food from mine and mama's favorite place and we proceeded to eat together, in my car...in the parking lot. The conversations we proceeded to have were more one sided than anything. I expressed doubts on whether or not we should continue, was it really worth it? Was I potentially removing an infant from a foster family who loved her? I struggled with that a lot actually. How would I feel if I had a momentary lapse of judgement (they turned down adopting her because they didn't want an open adoption) and then lost the opportunity to keep a child I had cared for at length? This was a huge internal struggle for me. Jan had always been very honest in the beginning about the reality of this not working out. SO, over sweet and sour chicken it was decided that we would move forward. That the barriers we had faced up until this point were smoothed out and that this was just one more issue that needed smoothing. I contacted Jan and said lets do it. She was scheduled to arrive the very next morning, a mere five hours before we would find out we were parents. I know I've said this probably a million times but it honestly NEVER gets old to focus on how perfect God's timing was in this whole thing. I mean, every little detail was orchestrated perfectly and all for our sweet girl. I'm surprised at how much I've thought about it this week, and yet I'm not. It was and continues to be an amazing journey...and I have the most precious gift to show for it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reflection...

This week sneaked right up on me. I kept thinking to myself that when it finally arrived I'd have some elaborate plan in motion for a celebration, but alas limited funds and time will prevent me from doing so. I'm all about the remembering. The nostalgia, it's probably one of my favorite things. Seeing forward motion and progress is inspiring! This week begins Emery's "birth story". It's sorta strange for me to call it that because if there's one thing I don't know at all about my little love it is in fact, the story of her actual birth. I wasn't present for that. Her story is amazing, you can find it here. It wasn't until just now that I found myself revisiting the events of that week leading up to when she became ours. Boy was I emotional, just revisiting my thoughts that week in regards to her and the fact that she was a perfect stranger to me then was so weird. I didn't know her, but I loved her. I didn't know I needed her as much I know I need her now. She has filled a special little compartment in my heart that was made for my first born. For her only. As I reread this post my heart ached because I remember the uncertainty and the pain I was feeling that day. Hoping and praying so hard for this thing to work out and just not believing that it would. Then I read this one and was reminded about a few select friends and family whom we told during that week in order to envelope this entire scenario in prayer. I am still to this day so very thankful for them. But mostly, I'm thankful to my Savior. He promises good things to those who wait, and while we endured little mini heartbreaks here and there he always knew that our life was meant to be shared with Emery. He always knew that she'd fit perfectly and change our lives for the better every single day. I have much love for this land of adoption. I have much respect for people who choose this path. And as always I have the utmost gratitude for a teenage girl who recognized a deficiency in herself being unable to properly care for her own child and then place her in our arms.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pain in all forms...

Two weeks ago, I received an email that was unprecedented. One of my dearest friends, who was a pioneer for our adoption and a faithful blog stalker was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. It was so surreal. I was in complete denial, and true to form I retreated into silence for a several hours before I even spoke to her. I had to process. I must process. I was afraid for her, and the emotional pain she was feeling at the time as well as the physical pain she is going to endure in the following months. It's sometimes so weird to me that one little word can completely change someone's life. Since the day she was diagnosed most of her time is spent at doctors appointments, researching her treatment options etc. and you know what? It's just not fair. Just yesterday while I was skyping with her and my sister Kelly it sort of hit me. All three of us have experienced pain in all different ways. Miscarriages, almost adoptions/job losses, and now a disease. I looked at the two of them and all I saw was strength and resilience. There is still no baby for my sister, but she fights for that baby every day. And now my friend, who will begin her fight on Friday when she arrives for her first session of Chemo.

Here is what I know about her:
1. She is HILARIOUS.
2. She has the best laugh of all laughs on this planet.
3. She is no nonsense.
4. She is a lover AND a fighter. =)
5. She is encouraging.
6. She is an UNBELIEVABLE cook.
7. She will beat this. It will not beat her.

I'm struggling with how to be there for her while I'm one thousand miles away. The way I show my support is by actually showing up. Helping with transportation. Random surprises of flowers, or favorite candies etc. While some people might have been relieved to not actually have to see the pain take its toll. I am not. I am trapped by a distance that takes me 18 hours to drive or 2.5 hours to fly. This will be a learning experience for me. How to show love and support and pain and all of that at a distance. Please pray for my friend. Pray for healing and for her body to fight this disease with all that it has.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Similarities = Comfort

On the tail end of my last post where I semi-discussed things like roots and such I forgot that I had already started and not published this blog post.
In the strange land of adoption there are many things I find kind of hilarious. Even though I didn't birth her myself, homegirl is A LOT like her mama. She eats so slow, which if you've ever had a meal with me you realize I am the same way. My whole life, a slow eater. Last one at the table, every single time. She straight up takes a good 45 minutes to eat a PBJ and some blueberries, while her cousin Jackson who is two weeks older than her annihilates his food before his parents can even sit down and eat theirs. She chats. Takes a bite. Takes a drink. Takes a bite. Plays with the dogs. Takes a drink. Takes a bite. I mean it's pretty hilarious...SOLIDARITY SISTA! She's also wicked stubborn and kind of sassy...which she gets from Tyler. HA! For real, we are so much alike that if she weren't a completely different color than me she could totally pass off as my actual biological child. I love it. I love that God had a sense of humor and totally gave me a taste of my own medicine, however I do feel sorry for Tyler. =)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Roots...

Since Emery's personality has been ummm...really blooming lately I've caught myself thinking, "I wonder if FM was like this when she was little?". I've always focused on getting answers from FM in regards to her pregnancy, the birth, Emery's first weeks alive etc. that I've totally forgotten that there are answers I need from FM's mom. Which can't happen, since she passed away a few years ago. When I was little I remember asking my mom questions like, "What was I like when I was a baby?" to which she replied "Kari, you were one of my easiest births, and one of my most easy going babies". That made me proud, especially since my next sister was basically the most stubborn wild coyote ever whom no one could stand to watch because she'd cry the whole time. When I got myself all worked up in a tizzy over having to get some shots my mom would say, "Kari, you were my ONLY baby that never cried when you got your shots." All of these little connections, these little roots are fascinating when you have a child that isn't biologically yours. I'm curious what it's like to have a child that looks like you. Now hear me out, I don't obsess over it or get depressed about it and certainly it's something that is still a possibility but I think about it, nevertheless. Sometimes the gravity of the situation escapes me and other times I'm overwhelmed by it. So for seriously the FIRST time in almost a year I found myself pining for the advice of a dead woman I've never even met. I reached out to the social worker to see if there any pictures of my little love when she was a newborn. The situation was so tense and crazy in the beginning I knew it was a long shot, and while I haven't been given a firm no I've been told, "Don't get your hopes up." I was told that same thing when we first learned about a four month old little african american girl who later became our daughter. Hope away.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

And just like that...

We're out of baby land. She's done with bottles, formula, baby food and morning naps, and I'm not going to lie...I put it off for as long as I could until the thought of me carrying around my ten year old who's clutching her bottle of milk became something of a TLC reality show in my mind. I walked down the baby aisle today sort of instinctively and then thought to myself, I legitimately don't need anything from this section. Boo. When I returned to Indiana after an extended visit home to Florida I seriously put off packing her bottles up for at least a week, and then cried while I was doing it. Her actions are becoming so much more toddler like and purposeful, and while it's seriously so endearing and my favorite thing in the world I just can't believe how fast time has gone by.
I can't believe we already went from this...

To this...

Her little personality....ahem, her BIG personality is as follows. She's stubborn, bossy to the dogs, sensitive, SMART, and pensive. When you first meet her you might think she's trying to laser you to death with her stare but don't be alarmed. She does that with EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. She makes you earn her smiles by acting a fool, trust me, it works. She still loves music and will dance and sing to almost anything she hears from Chris Tomlin, Sugarland to Beyonce or The Black Keys. She's into stacking blocks, and taking things out of something and putting them back in (laundry out of baskets back into baskets is her favorite...not mine). She jabbers all through her dinner, snack time and most of her play time and can say lots of words! Mama, dada or dad, yaya, nana, pop, keke, guh-guh (guster), no (known that one for a LONG time), and uh-oh. I'm probably forgetting some too, because she's a genius I pretty much lose track. = )
We are blessed with this little soul to care for. She makes us happier than we ever thought possible and has brought the very best in us as people. She is the one who made me a mama, and that will be something special her and I always share as my first born. My little lady is growing up, although she still is completely refusing to walk (which given my current slow the heck down state) I don't care one bit. Take your time little love...there is certainly no rush.