Our Adoption Journey

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MINI Pooper turns 3!

Dear LittleMan,
Today you are THREE. It’s so hard to believe. It’s also hard to believe that you came home to us just ten months ago. It seems like you have been here forever. I don’t think you will ever know or understand the happiness and utter joy you have brought to our lives. When I say you “have charisma” I mean, everyone who meets you smiles just because they have seen your sweet face.

You make us laugh all day, everyday. You are constantly learning and saying new things. Like just today you told us you were going “ice kating” and began twirling and jumping around the living room. We didn’t even know you knew what ice skating was! You are such a thinker. If you see or hear something new you stop to study it or repeat it. You move your lips quietly to repeat what you have heard. We can see in your eyes that you are thinking. As a matter of fact, just the other week you were doing a puzzle and you told me, “Mama, I hafta concentrate, dat means pay attention.”

Your favorite thing to do right now is to play with you cars. You put men in and out of them, they go to the store, or the post office or the gas station. Sometimes you stage accidents and take the cars and people to the “hostable.” You have a vivid imagination and it is our prayer that that never changes. You rarely watch tv, it’s just not interesting to you unless there is a car commercial on. You do like to watch Sesame Street once in awhile and have quickly learned about all the characters! You LOVE to read and will sit on a lap for over an hour to read books.

You are so loving and affectionate. You stop several times a day and randomly say, “Mama, I wuv you” and give me a great big squeeze. You do the same to Daddy and Bramma. It is in these sweet and quiet moments that I am reminded of what an amazing little boy you are. This year has been a year full of change for you, yet you have still accomplished so much. None of the challenges you have faced have slowed you down, they have only made you try harder. You are the strongest and bravest little boy I know. You have a joy for life that I have never seen in a child so young. I am honored and humbled to be chosen to be your mother. I think I’m the luckiest mom in the world.

God has a very special plan for your life LittleMan. I know that I’m partial, but so many of our friends and family have said the same thing. There is just something about you that brings immense joy and happiness to everyone you meet. You are unique, you are perfect, and today you are three. I love you buddy! Thank you for being you.

Always and forever,
Your mama

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Birthday Anticipation!

We have been telling LittleMan that ‘After your Cousin K has his birthday party and birthday cake then it will be your turn to have your birthday party.’

So, yesterday was Cousin K’s birthday party. Cousin K blew out his candles and immediately LittleMan comes running through the room towards me yelling, “Ok mama, time to go to my birthday party and have my birthday cake. Come on Mama, lets go!! Get da shoes on!”

It could be a long week waiting for next Sunday to get here.

Last month, we would tell him that his birthday was “in December.” One day we were pulling out of the driveway and LittleMan piped up from the backseat, “Mama, let’s go to December now. Let’s go to my birthday. December is that way.”

Pictures and stories from LittleMan’s “MiniPooper” Birthday Party will be coming up next! Stay tuned!

Settling In

Our BabyMan has been home for 19 days now. I guess that means we are ‘getting used to this.’ Although, I think that maybe we are still in a state of shock and awe. We just keep saying, “Two kids in one year, how did this happen?” Suffice it to say that we are running on adrenaline. I’m not sure it even feels ‘real’ yet. At any rate, this is real folks. Very real. We are parents again and our LittleMan is a VERY PROUD big brother.

We are busy figuring out what ‘baby gear’ is actually necessary and helpful. There has been some trial and error. Three swings later, we’ve found one that comfortably holds a 5 pound baby! We are figuring out which bottles are best and which binky he likes. We are switching formulas to make his gassy tummy feel better. We are figuring out how to meet the needs of two very busy little boys. But, more than all of that, I am figuring out how to share my son with his tummy mom at twice weekly visits. I am learning to validate her as a parent, even though I feel like I am his mom. I am learning to trust a system that I have NO faith in. I am figuring out how to leave the planning and the analyzing and the ‘what ifs’ out of my constant stream of thought. I am trying not to drive myself absoloutely crazy with worry about where our BabyMan will spend his forever and who his forever Mommy and Daddy will be.

It’s not easy.

But, nothing worth doing is easy.

For now, we embrace this adventure, snuggle our blessings and take it one day at a time.

Torn

I was not prepared to feel this way. It’s a feeling I’m not sure I thought about. I didn’t realize that meeting an actual ‘tummy mom’ of one of my children would make me feel so conflicted.

We met BabyMan’s tummy mom at the hospital yesterday. She was feeding him when we arrived. We talked for awhile and what was apparent right away was that she loves her son. She wants to parent. She can’t right now, but she wants to keep trying. So somehow or another we are going to “co-parent.” The selfish “I want a second son” part of me struggles with ‘sharing.’ But, the mom in me breaks in pieces for her. I want to protect her, hold her, hug her. Figure out how she can put a lot of bad decisions behind her and somehow become a capable and competent full-time parent to her children.

What now strikes me is that when we leave that hospital today our families will celebrate. Our son will be a big brother. We will become parents for the second time this year. We will celebrate baby’s 1st Thanksgiving and Baby’s 1st Christmas. We will embrace sleepless nights and enjoy every newborn snuggle. Today will be a day we look back and remember always, it will be a day of joy.

But, today, tummy mom will grieve. She will lose what she lovingly carried for the past 8 months. She will lose a part of her. In someone who is already so broken, I can only begin to comprehend how that hurts. She will face the feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, loss and anger. Though tummy mom is a year older than me, I want to protect her. I want to ‘mommy’ her. I want to find a way to make this hurt less for her. Yet, there is nothing I can do. I am helpless. I want to fix what is broken, but I cannot. It is very likely that she cannot either.

This leaves me broken and hurting in my joy. How can I celebrate in the midst of her tragedy and grief?

Today, we step out in faith on a journey where we have no light to see beyond the next step. We trust that God has a plan for each of us, even tummy mom. We are willing to be whatever part of that plan he needs us to be, even if that means pain or loss for us along the way.

We are scared.
We are excited.
We are anxious.
We are overwhelmed.
We are honored.
We are happy.
We are sad.

But, we love two amazing little boys and that is what is going to carry us through.

And baby makes four…

Yes, you read that right. The past several hours have been completely unexpected and have left us speechless. We are in awe of God’s ability to build families.

We decided over the weekend that we were definitely ready to be in touch with our Adoption Agency to tell them that we were ready to start the paperwork process for child #2. We had chosen to become Foster-to-Adopt parents, knowing that we are putting our hearts on the line as children placed into this care still have the potential to be returned to their biological families. We made this choice for several reasons.
1. We want LittleMan to have a story that is similar to his siblings. It’s not a ‘typical’ adoption story in the sense that he wasn’t home with us right away and his mother didn’t ‘choose’ to not parent.
2. We want LittleMan to know what foster care is and to have a personal experience that he can correlate the term too. “Foster care” has such an awful stigma in society and when he figures that out, we want him to have a positive reference point. It’s less scary to realize that “Foster Care” just means, loving parents, like mine while a tummy mommy figures out if she can be a good mommy or not. If she can’t than my “foster parents” can be my forever mommy and daddy.
3. Financially, we may never be able to afford a private adoption, so adopting after fostering is more feasible.

Ok, so given all of these facts, and probably some others, we contacted the agency via email on Monday morning. We assumed that since we were being ‘picky’ with our criteria, we would have quite the wait. This was fine because we were in no rush for baby #2.

Yesterday at 11:30am the agency calls while Little Man and I are eating lunch. She says, “Sarah, how would you like to bring home a healthy, white newborn baby boy. Today.” I swear I felt like this had to be a joke. NOBODY tells an agency in the morning that they will foster and gets exactly what they had in mind hours later.

Also, without divulging more info on a public forum than I should, let’s just say that it is highly likely that this will end in adoption and potentially very rapidly. Now, with that said, fostering is still a world of unknown. Anything can happen and the ball is almost never in our court. We are at the mercy of a system that I place very little trust in.

At any rate, the new baby man should be discharged from the hospital sometime today. (If he gains weight, so cross your fingers!) LittleMan is ecstatic and is already planning all of the things he will show the baby and do for the baby. “But he will not sleep in my big boy bed because his legs are not big enough.” “He will like to play with my mini Pooper’s and I will share them, but he may not take dem from me.”

We can’t wait to go meet him. The car seat’s installed, the bottles are sterilized, baby clothes are washed and we are mentally preparing for the sleepless nights to come. It’s a strange feeling to know that this may be our son, but it may be a baby that needs us to love him, if only for awhile. Either way, we are prepared to follow wherever this path may lead. We know that this is only the beginning of what could be a bumpy road, but we have faith that the outcome will be God’s plan for each of our lives.

Someone else opened their hearts and homes to keep our LittleMan safe in the two years before he came home to us. Maybe it’s our turn to return the favor. Or maybe this is our son. Either way, elation is an understatement.

So there you have it, my emotional, frazzled update, because the odds of me being back on here anytime soon probably AREN’T good!

I should be kicked out…

You heard it…I admit it. They should kick me out of the ‘blog-o-sphere.’ I am soo painfully bad at this. And then it gets to be like one of those friends you haven’t talked to in awhile. The more time that passes, the more guilty you feel, so it’s easier to just avoid it and not talk to them. Yep. That’s me. In real life and in blog life. I’m not making any new promises here. Just going to conjure up a little update here. That’s the best I can do, because I am a slacker. Because I have good intentions and poor follow through. Because I am a mom of a toddler….. and that my friends.. should be an excuse for just about ANYTHING!

We are still enjoying every minute with our LittleMan. He’s HYSTERICAL right now. The things he says continually crack us up. So I’ll let you enjoy some of his humor in this post.

–We found a dead stink bug inside the front door. He said, “Dat’s not moving, I think it needs batteries.”

–My car wouldn’t start (because I am an IDIOT and didn’t turn the key the whole way and proceeded to flood the engine..but I digress) LittleMan chimes up from the back seat, “Maybe it needs some gas mama.” When I told him it had gas he said, “Ok, then it just needs to take a little nappy.”

–He has now started directing me in what I should say and do. Wonder where he gets that bossiness?! Today I was on the phone when we came in the house and he said, “Mommy, you’re apposed to say ‘Good Job closing the door little man-y, thank you for helping.'”

–He was crawling around the floor and happened to drool onto the floor. He looked up in awe and said, “Hey mommy, look at dat, my mouth is peeing!”

–He told us that his little cousin wasn’t allowed to sleep in his big boy bed because his legs aren’t big enough yet.

–We were walking towards a bonfire the other night and all of the sudden he yelled, “I just can’t wait to see it!” And now that’s his new line. “I just can’t wait to…

–Today we were looking for paper towels at Target, I couldn’t find the kind I wanted so I told him we would just get them at the grocery store another time. Well two stores and an hour later we are in the car on our way home. Little Man starts whining that he wants to go to the grocery store. I said we didn’t need anything there, what exactly was he looking for. He said, “Paper towels mama, you’re apposed to buy the paper towels.” His memory is scary sometimes.

–Our nephew stayed with us last week. (Good times–a one year old AND a two year old boy) One morning I put a pair of pants on him and commented that they were too big. LittleMan said “Take dem off mama, we take dem to da store and buy another one.”

–We were backing out of the driveway and LittleMan pointed to our house and said, “Bye Little Man-y house, see you later. *points to neighbors house* Hey mama, look, that one looks just like LittleMan-y house!” This one made daddy sad because, as an architect, living in a townhouse is NOT COOL. And even the two year old has figured it out!

I know there are more…but I know that everyone has children who say and do cute things and they don’t feel the need to blog about it. I just can’t help myself. This boy has so much spunk it’s ridiculous. We love him and pray that he never loses his unwavering zest for life and happiness.

I leave you with some recent photos.

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Mr. BossyPants

The other day we were sitting at a traffic light and a few cars ahead was a big tow truck. It was the kind of truck where a car can sit on the roof and one can sit on the flat bed. LittleMan must have seen the car on the roof from a distance (it probably looked like it was flying!) and in a very concerned voice he said, “Get down car, get down!! Doooon’t fall!! Get down before you fall! No get hurt. *now shouting* LittleMan-y say GET DOWN!!”

It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that not EVERYone listens to you…