Sunday, October 31, 2010

Quote of the week: Questions of a child

A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer. - Unknown

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Christmas Gift Ideas: Recordable Books

It's hard to believe but Christmas is just right around the corner. And those of us in open (or even some semi-open) adoptions are beginning to think about what we should send our children for Christmas. 

It is such a dilemma when it comes to gift giving for holidays and birthdays isn't it? We wonder things like: Should the gift be sentimental? Should it be age appropriate? Since we are not parenting our children and giving them the daily things such as clothes, food, and shelter like other parents do I think ultimately that it makes the dilemma of gift giving even harder because we given our children fewer things.

So between now and Christmas I'll be featuring some different gift ideas that I think would be appropriate for birthmothers to give their children. Hopefully this sporadic series of posts will help you and you'll either use one of my ideas or they will inspire you with other ideas. If you have a great idea, please email it to me or write a post about it on your blog and email me a link to it and I'll feature it here.

The first gift idea I'd like to share are the Hallmark recordable children's books. I orginally heard about these over a year ago and instantly wished that they had been around back when my son was young enough for these type of books. 

This book was also featured in the season finale of MTV's Teen Mom. In the episode, Tyler and Catelynn, visit with their daughter Carly. On the last day of their visit Tyler and Catelynn give Carly one of these books. Carly's adoptive Mom helps her look through book and you can hear Tyler and Catelynn's voices reading the book to Carly. It was a precious moment! 

There are currently 15 different books in the Hallmark recordable books line including some holiday books perfect for the upcoming holidays like The Night Before Christmas and some everyday titles as well such as All The Ways I Love You, Bright and Beautiful, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

The books are simple to use. You simply open them up and there is a "record" button in the front. Follow the prompts and record the story in your own voice for your child. 

What a great gift one of these books would be - it's an age appropriate yet a sentimental gift.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finalizing Forever

“May the love hidden deep inside your heart find the love waiting in your dreams. May the laughter that you find in your tomorrow wipe away the pain you find in your yesterdays.”

You've signed the papers, you've given someone the gift of life, you've been that person to heal the hole in their hearts and you've been trying to move on and move forward and live your life. But what about what happens when you find out that your adoption is being finalized? 

Some people don't get the opportunity to hear or even know about the finalization hearing let alone given the option to attend it. When Trent and I first went with our open adoption our agency told us that there would be a hearing that we would be able to attend if we wanted to contest our adoption. And we immediately said, we don't want to know about it, we don't want to know where it is, what time it is, we personally just don't want the option to say "We want him back". I mean we spent the whole time making sure that we didn't get attached, that all these big things that would even give us the chance to go back on our agreement would be taken care of by the agency. We were set in our decision the day that we signed the papers, and never would have thought to say we changed our minds. But sometimes people do change their minds and that is normal, it's a motherly instinct. We, were just not those people. 

Well, we found out through E's adoptive parents that their finalization hearing is on October 27 and that's when they will be legally Ezra's parents forever, not that they aren't already, but you all know how the law works, it has to be written on paper. And I also found out that on October 30th E will be sealed in their life for eternity through their church. 

So, the reason for this blog is just to kind of go through the feelings. When I first found out about E's finalization hearing I was happy and excited for his parents but then I started thinking and I got sad. I know that I will always be his birth mom, I know that I will always hold a place in their hearts forever. It's just different because I sometimes feel like I should be the one he calls mom, but all it takes is looking at his pictures to realize, no, I was meant to be his birth mom, not his mother. That Trent was meant to be his birth dad, not his father. But looking at it from the outside looking in I know how people feel about these sort of things. I have had so many people ask me "If you love him why don't you just go get him", but what they don't realize is that our love for E runs so much deeper than all of the technical paperwork. Our love is a bond that will last a lifetime and he is being loved by the greatest people I know and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

When I found out that E will be blessed in their church I think I was more sad by that, only because we can't be there. Money is so tight so we are just wondering when we'll get to see him again. That's a really special day and we've seen other birth mom's be able to be there for their child's blessings, baptisms, etc. and it just seems like I am in this place where I'm wondering...when is it my turn. Then I have to sit and think to myself, I will get my turn, that things happen to us when He wants them to, not when we decide. And I also have to think that we are going to be at his 1st birthday no matter what. 

I also received some amazing pictures this past week. The first set of pictures were over the past few months and when I went to put them in E's album I realized I had ran out of room and I will need to get another album, probably a bigger one. I also received a photo book of their professional photos that they had taken for when E was 3 months. I feel completely blessed to be able to receive pictures and get to see him grow up.

Finalizing forever is like finalizing hope, finalizing your child's life, that he/she is going to be in the greatest hands that He could put them in. 

So, I leave you with this...

It's never goodbye, always see you soon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quote of the week: Past, present, future

You can't change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future. - Unknown

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My blessing...My story

Hello everyone, my name is Alicia and I want to give you an introduction into my adoption story, and my journey/search in finding the parents of a lifetime.

October 2009: We (my now husband and I) found out that we were pregnant. And normally when you find out that you are pregnant it is an exciting overwhelming happy feeling that just makes you so full of joy and bliss. Unfortunately that was not the feeling for us. When we found out we were pregnant it was a huge surprise, we were scared, upset, angry (more me than my husband), and feeling very much in denial of what was going on. My husband and I had just moved into a new apartment, I just started going back to school and my husband had been laid off from his job. Times were hard, we were just getting our life, and our kids' lives back to normal. We already had (in 2009) two beautiful children who had been through a rough summer and we just wanted them to be happy and be stable in one place. And since we found out about the pregnancy it was a complete shocker and we weren't exactly "thrilled to death"...more like "scared to death."

For two weeks my husband and I talked and went back and forth back and forth over what was good for us, this little being that was inside of me, as well as what was best for our two children. At the end of October we made our final decision that we were going to give our child up for adoption.

November 2009: We found the most amazing website that was so easy to go through and search for adoptive couples.
While we were searching for our adoptive couple we wanted to lay out what we wanted from our adoptive couple, what our hopes were, or our aspirations for how our child would live, and what kind of life that he/she would have. I think it’s very important while you are considering adoption to remember that while you are pregnant and making your adoption plan you are in control of what kind of adoption you want like open, semi-open, or closed and you have the option of how much information that you want to share, and how often you want to talk to your adoptive couple, or even if you want to share with them the experiences that you are going through such as doctor's appointments and ultrasounds. (Editor's Note: Open adoption isn't legally enforceable in most states.)

We wanted a couple that had no children because we wanted our child to be the first, to be that answer to a couple’s prayer. To be able to give the couple all of the firsts that they were looking for. First smile, first laugh, first diaper change, first feeding, well you get the point…just all of the firsts that most mothers and fathers get, and we wanted to find a couple who had been trying to conceive yet because of God, were not able to because He had a bigger plan for them. We also chose to have an open adoption. We wanted to be able to have pictures, phone calls, letters, e-mails, and to also know where our child was going to be placed and what the adoptive parents’ last name was going to be. We really wanted to be in the loop, yet out of the loop all at the same time.

On November 2
nd, 2009 we contacted a couple via the website we'd found because we read their letter and it made us so hopeful about adoption. The next day we received a return e-mail stating that they had already found their birth mom, but gave us the profile of two of their friends, Kris and Timmy, who have been trying to conceive for awhile but were unable to have a child of their own.

So, that same day we read their adoption profile and their birth mom letter and we KNEW. The moment we read their birth mom letter we knew it was meant for us. That we were meant to heal the hole in their heart. We immediately contacted them and let them know that we would like to talk to them more.

On November 3
rd we received an e-mail back from Kris telling us how happy she was that we contacted them and that we were able to find their profile and that it spoke to us the way that it did. Several e-mails and instant messages were exchanged in two days and by November 5th we knew that we wanted them to be our adoptive couple. We told Kris and Timmy through e-mail that we wanted them to be the parents to take care of our son/daughter. They were thrilled to say the least. Thrilled isn’t even a word to describe it...

Our main goal throughout the process, and the reason we chose adoption so early was because we wanted our adoptive couple to be a part of EVERYTHING. And by everything I mean, ultrasounds, the first heartbeat, finding out the sex and also being a part of the delivery experience. When I had my first ultrasound at 10 weeks we were yahoo chatting with webcam and we showed them the ultrasound and Kris cried and Timmy was elated. That moment just re-affirmed to us that our decision was the right one.

December 14: THE BIG DAY…Well meeting day that is. Kris and Timmy came to Indiana from Arizona to see us. And to also be apart of the doctor’s appointment that I had on that Monday. I can’t really give all the details of the visit but it was the most informational moment in our entire adoption. We learned so much about them, what they were like, what their families were like, their religion, their marriage, etc and so forth. Needless to say the visit was amazing. And, on that Monday we all went to my doctor appointment and they got to hear the heartbeat for the first time. I’ve never seen bigger smiles in my entire life. The moment that we had to say our goodbyes was pretty hard for me. Of course, my hormones took over, but I cried, Kris cried, it was just a very emotional moment because it was real.

Over the next months we talked on a daily basis. We kept in contact and we wanted to re-assure Kris and Timmy that we were serious about them being our adoptive couple. And the way that we are different from most, is because we truly feel like God sent them to US, not the other way around.

We also found out through these months that we were having a BOY. It was amazing to be able to give Timmy his first boy (I wanted a girl because they are so easy to dress up) but all we really wanted was a healthy baby. Another way that we wanted Kris and Timmy to be a part of the entire process was we wanted them to pick out the name, we wanted them to be able to design their own nursery and not be putting one together 2 days before he was born. And, my biggest thing is I wanted K to have a baby shower. I wanted her to literally experience everything that a mom experiences without being pregnant. And I’m so happy that her sister-in-law and church members were able to give her those things.

May 2010: By the near end of my pregnancy I was ready to be done being pregnant, I was ready for this experience to start for K&T and I wanted them to be able to hold their son. So, I convinced my doctor to have me induced on June 3
rd, 2010. I wanted to have our induction because I wanted K&T to be a part of the birth…now I know what you are thinking but I will clear that up.::

We talked to Kris and Timmy about being a part of the big day, and they were so supportive. We told them that we wanted them to experience it all and that even meant them being in the delivery room while it all went on….here is a breakdown of that wonderful day::

Tuesday, June 1, 2010: Such an exciting day. Kris and Timmy were flying out this evening to see come for Ezra's arrival. Needless to say I didn't get much done. I was trying to stay busy and keep focused and get some cleaning done but that just didn't happen. It was just a very relaxing and exciting day with so much going on I can barely remember it all.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010: This was just a great day! Timmy and Kris had arrived safe and sound and I would get a little bit of "day time" with Kris as well as get to have them around for my doctor's appointment. They got to hear the baby Ezra's heartbeat as well as get to be in the room with me while the doctor set up my induction time and pretty much made it official that we were having a baby the next day, bright and early! After the doctor's appointment Kris and I went to get pedicures. We wanted to get blue toes, I originally thought that Kris should get an E (for Ezra) and she could add some polka dots, but we had a NAZI nail lady who insisted that we get since the lady spent so much time on the flower I decided oh well I'll keep it. (Kris later went and covered her flower up. haha). After the pedicure we went to BabiesRUs and I showed Kris what it was like to park in the "Expecting Mothers" parking. We had to get a boppy and a boppy cover. After that running around we picked up the boys and the kiddos and decided to hit up my place of employment and have some lunch. I introduced them to some fried pickles (which because I was still pregnant they were AMAZING...and they still are!) We then decided to go home because they were coming over later. After dinner we went out separate ways because we had a long day the next day (at least we hoped it wasn't toooo long)

Later that night: So, I was supppose to be up at 4 am (I set this time because I wanted time to get ready) well...needless to say I had NO sleep....I think maybe 2 hours.

Thursday, June 3, 2010: D-DAY!!! (Delivery Day) Woke up at 4:15-4:30ish and got ready. At 5:30, we headed to the hospital to get ready for my induction! Around 6:30 I finally received my Pitocin. It was pretty awesome. It was perfection. I asked for the epidural before the doctor came in to break my water because I knew if the doctor broke my water before I got the epidural that things would just be worse. So, perfection means that when I asked for my epidural the anesthesiologist walks in and then the doctor walked in right after they started to put the epidural in. Wooo. So, I got lucky. Then after they did the epidural the doctor came in and broke my water and finally around 12:15 I started feeling like OMG I have to push. And finally, at 12:33 PM Ezra made his debut! And the only thing that I could ask everyone was "does he have hair"...and the reason that I wanted to know that was because I wanted to know if my heartburn had a reason! :D And of course he had hair!!! AND he has blue eyes. All the more amazing. That whole day was a whirlwind.

was told not to eat from midnight on the night before because right after I had Ezra I was suppose to have my tubal ligation and unfortunately because of ALL the babies that were being born that day (7 all together) and so unfortunately I didn't eat for 18 hours and was finally told you will have your surgery in the morning go ahead and eat. So, because Timmy is so awesome he went and got me some food! And I let Kris and Timmy enjoy some time with Ezra, and to make sure that they were able to get the most time of the feedings, and also the diaper changing they could. So, Kris and Timmy stayed on the couch in my room so that Ezra could stay in the room with us. After all of that was said and done I was exhausted and just passed out!

Friday, June 4, 2010: Bright and Early, because I was having surgery I didn't eat yet again! So, at 9:30 because I was still so exhausted I headed down to surgery (I had to have general anesthesia) so I get downstairs and I pass out because I'm super exhausted, but they wheel me in the room to start my surgery and they say breath this in (supposedly it was oxygen) but after about 5 or 6 breaths I PASSED OUT! Next thing I remember I am going back into my room and getting back into my bed and going back to sleep because I'm soooo exhausted. I wake up remember eating, and remember how much pain I was in, looked down at my belly button and realize it has these tape pieces on it. I didn't even want to see the incision. Friday was a dramatic day, come to find out that Ezra wasn't able to be discharged without a court order (just a wrench in the whole adoption thing) and I couldn't sign papers because I had been under the anesthesia and I wasn't able to make an "informed" decision until 24 hours after the anesthesia wore off. So, we ended up having to stay in the hospital until Monday.

Monday, June 7, 2010: One of the hardest days of my entire life. The night before, everything was okay, until Ezra had his first "hungry, unhappy" cry. And, then all of the sudden my "mommy mode" came into play and I started to bawl my eyes out. I tried to keep it on the down low, because I didn't really want to show my sensitive side. So, I cried, and then just went to sleep. So, in the morning Dave showed up around 10:00 to start the paperwork. Before this Kris and Timmy went upstairs and had their showers and so I called Ezra in from the nursery to have some alone time. So, when Dave, my social worker arrived and Maria, a support person was there as well and she read me this book that just made me cry some more. But finally, after time I was able to sign the papers (Ezra still in arms). There were so many people in the room it just felt really unreal. But after the papers were signed we invited Kris and Timmy back in the room and I wanted to be able to give her Ezra and say "Hi, Mommy" just let her know that it was official, the moment she had been waiting for had finally come, and it was official.

I was discharged from the hospital that day and so was Ezra. Leaving was hard. I slept most of the day, barely ate and pretty much cried whenever I saw something that had Ezra on it, clothes I had worn when I was pregnant with Ezra, and even his ultrasound picture, I bawled my eyes out. I had to sleep with the elephant that they got me just to feel "relaxed".

I will not sugarcoat this for you and say that it’s easy…because it is the hardest decision that you will ever make in your entire life. It’s one that you shouldn’t take lightly. But like I said in the beginning YOU are the one that can make the choices, the ball is in your court the entire time.

In closing of this introduction I want to apologize for how long it was, I do want to say that there is not a day that goes by that there aren’t tears, or sadness, happiness and joy. But adoption is bittersweet… it is bitter because you are giving away a part of you forever, but it is sweet because you know that you are giving your child the life that you yourself cannot provide. You are giving HOPE to a family that has a huge hole in their heart, an emptiness that cannot be described or felt by any other. I am happy that each and everyday I am able to hear about our birth son Ezra, and that I get the opportunity through our open adoption to see pictures of him and his smiling face. He looks just like me with the big blue eyes, but he has all the personality and laughter, love, and happiness of his parents. He is my Ezra, and I am his Alicia…and I am pretty okay with that

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Quote of the week: Timing

Life is all about timing. The unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable; attainable. Have patience, wait it out. It's all about timing. - Stacey Charter

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quote of the week: Be who you are

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Seuss

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Amazing Race Birthmother and Daughter

If you follow this blog you probably saw my post about Andie and Jenna, reunited birthmother and daughter who were competing in this season of The Amazing Race. Sadly, Andie and Jenna were eliminated this past Sunday in just the second leg of the competition.

There's a short interview with them in People Magazine. You can read it online here. There's also a good interview on MSN, you can read that one here. In the MSN interview, Jenna is asked what their relationship is like today since the episode was actually filmed months ago. Jenna answers, "We really achieved our goal that we set going into the race—we wanted to become friends, and we definitely have. We email back and forth—we're never going to have time together again like we did on the race. I always know that if I need to talk to Andie, I can. "

Since they don't live in the same area, Andie and Jenna say they don't see each other in person much but they do stay in touch via email, texting, and such.

While this reunion playing out on TV was definately unique and not typical it was interesting to watch and even though they were eliminated early, I think they did those of us in the adoption community proud.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quote of the week: Drop in the ocean

Each of us feels that we are just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less without that missing drop. - Mother Teresa