The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.

Lo, I’ve been having bouts of fear lately. It’s not even completely on a conscious level, but fear is staring me down and I’m trying hard to stand up to it.

Lately I’ve had these repetitive nightmares where we’re in the hospital, ready to adopt, and something terrible happens- usually a car accident or a fire, something horrific and unavoidable. I know what these nightmares are really about, I’m terrified of something out of my control going wrong. That something will stand in our way to the end result of us being your parents.

I know it will all work out, and I try to tell my subconscious to relax but fear tries to creep in every time. It’s almost like it’s freezing me lately, making it hard for me to allow myself to enjoy the process. Right now, we’re still waiting to wait. We’re still waiting on getting our home study paperwork back, and I think once we have that back the fear will subside significantly. But the waiting to wait is what feels like an eternity.

This morning on my way out the door for work, I let myself feel hope. I stopped at the outside of your soon to be nursery, looked in and imagined it. The walls, now white and bare, were painted in my minds eye a sweet yellow and green, perfectly gender neutral, perfectly babyish. I imagined your crib and changing table and pictured which wall they would be against. I imagined the one wall we’d paint a mural on, a scene of a meadow with deer and trees with little owls curiously sticking their heads out of the trunk. I let myself feel it, and it felt amazing.

I need to tell myself that feeling like it’s all going to work out, while terrifying, is okay. It’s okay because it’s true. The path may be long, it might not always be smooth, but we’ll get to the end, together as a family.

Letting go of the fear is empowering.

Your Dad and I were glued to the TV all weekend taking in the spectacle of the Olympics. During the US women’s gymnastics, the shoe-in for the all around didn’t make the cut. She was the reigning world champion, but one little mistake cut her out of her Iife-long dream of taking home a gold medal. Today, three days later, they won the gold as a team. Sometimes your dreams can feel so far away and distant, but a few days, hours, even seconds- can completely change all of it. When you least expect it, life gives us amazing surprises.

Last weekend your Dad and I stopped our Olympic watching marathon and ventured out to a local park for a family reunion on his grandmothers side. It was nice meeting people from his side of the family that I’ve never met before, seeing his Grandmothers face light up reuniting with nieces and nephews she hasn’t seen in a year.

As I sat there under the pavilion looking around at this extended family, I had quiet moment of worry. Will you feel left out at events like this? Will you feel like we’re not your “real” family, because the blood lines aren’t there? But then I looked around again, I saw it differently. I saw a family bound together by love, not genetics. I saw family members that had adopted children.

Then I saw the trees.

Trees, like adopted children, have deep, sometimes hidden roots. While these roots mean a lot to the trees well being, they are only half. What shows in the tree is the large solid trunk, the leaves that sway in the soft breeze, the branches that weather the tough storms. All of these elements are largely dependent on the outside environment, as much as the roots. If the sun is shining, the rain comes when it needs to, and the air is free, the trees sprout up healthy and full of life.

It’s a combination: roots, and environment. When they work together, nature is beautiful.

I know I’m rambling on quite a bit here Lo, and these thoughts might not even seem connected. Bottom line, I’m not afraid of giving you the right environment to thrive, I’m afraid of never having the chance. I know that once you have the solid roots of your biological family who no doubt loves you, and the environment of me and your Dad continually giving you our rays of sun you’re going to grow up to be a strong, gorgeous tree, ready for any storm.

It’s waiting for the forest that seems to be taking forever.

One day soon though, your Dad and I will get the gold. It’s just a matter of waiting, and staring down the fear.

 

Facing down the fear,

Love,

Mom

When we suffer anguish we return to early childhood because that is the period in which we first learnt to suffer the experience of total loss. It was more than that. It was the period in which we suffered more total losses than in all the rest of our life put together.

Little One, this is difficult for me to write, but I feel like I need to tell you this. I have written this letter to you over and over again in my head, but cannot seem to find the right words to fit. Regardless, I’m going to make an attempt.

 

I’ve been reading a lot of adoption parenting books lately, and I want to make something abundantly clear to you: it’s okay to be sad that you’re adopted.

 

This is why this letter is so difficult.

 

We’re ecstatic to be adopting, Lo. We’re over the moon about having you in our lives. But with the excitement and joy of adoption also comes the underbelly that no one likes to discuss: loss. In the first moments or years of your life, you’re going to suffer a major loss that not many people will suffer until they are much, much older. You will lose your biological family, in a sense. Hopefully not forever, since we’d like an open adoption scenario if possible- but nonetheless, you will have a loss.

And it is difficult to write this as your Mom who is excited for you to be in our family, because I am also sad for you because of this. I know that it will most likely cause some pain down the road, and being your Mom I wish you never had to experience pain, even for an instant.

But I want you to know this, sweet baby, and I will repeat it a thousand times to you: it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to miss your first Mom and Dad. It’s okay to ask questions to us, to tell us you want to know more about them, to tell us that you are sad that they aren’t your Mom and Dad everyday like we are. This will not hurt our feelings. We will understand.

We want to be the type of parents who have a completely honest and open relationship with our children, built on a strong foundation of trust and understanding. We don’t ever, even for a millisecond want you to think that you’re not allowed to talk about your loss or concerns. I promise to you that we will never get angry or upset, that we’ll never lash out or be disappointed.

 

What we will do is grieve with you. We are both experiencing some form of grief in this. I will always wish I had you from the very start, that I got to hold you in the depths of my body and experience giving birth to your unique and beautiful soul. I will always miss that, the same way you will always miss having a “traditional” family. That is okay. It doesn’t ever mean that we don’t love each other like I didn’t give birth to you or you didn’t come from my DNA. All it means is that we’re human, and we’re allowed to be sad for things that hurt us inside.

 

If on your birthday, you want to have some time to reflect, we’ll honor that. If you want to talk about your first family, compare noses or personality traits, we’ll encourage that. Just because we love you more than anything and know that you ARE our son or daughter, we want to be there for you in every way possible. I hope this makes our parental bond strong, and that it leads to us being a better family because of it.

I don’t ever want you to feel like you cannot talk about these feelings. I don’t ever want you to feel like you owe us something, that you were “lucky” to be adopted, that you should be grateful that we adopted you. I just want you to feel the love of family, our open arms embraced around you in the good times and the bad. I want you to know deep down that it’s okay to be sad sometimes, that you can talk about it to us without hurting our feelings,

 

It’s difficult to write this post because I’m a positive thinker to a fault. I focus on the positives in every situation, good and bad. For me, the glass is always half full- and when it’s not half full, it’s brimming over the top. So it’s hard for me to write about something we’re so excited for and so grateful for in a negative light. But that is the situation Lo, and sometimes with beautiful and amazing positves come negatives. Despite this, I think the positives of this adoption will far outweigh the negatives for all of us.

In a lot of these books, adult adoptees discuss feeling like something was always missing, or something just wasn’t right. They felt that they couldn’t discuss it with their families for fear of hurting their feelings or coming off as ungrateful. Know that we will never think that of your feelings. Your feelings about adoption, good and bad, are completely valid. I promise that we will never dismiss them, and we always want you to voice them if you feel like you can. And if you feel like something isn’t right and you cannot put your finger on it, you can talk to us about that too. Together as a family, we will work through it.

 

Never feel alone, Lo. You’re not alone at all. Your Dad and I are here, day and night, forever. If you are fifty two years old and wake up in the middle of the night needing to talk, I’m here. That is what parents are for, Lo.

I know I talk alot about how our lives will be with you. This is not to put any pressure on you at all. Always be true to who you are deep down inside, never what anyone (including us) expects you to be. I’m not planning any kind of grandiose future for you, that is up to you, sweet baby. And we’ll support you no matter what you decide. The only reason I talk about how much our lives will improve with you in them is so that you know how excited we are, how loved you are already, and how much we have wanted you to be our child from the very start.

You were never for a single second unwanted or unloved. We have always wanted you to be our kid, and we have always loved you.

 

Keep in mind that everyone has their thing. For you, it might be that you’re adopted. For other kids, it might be that they are being raised by a single parent, or they have an illness, or too much pressure at home. Life seems perfect from the outside for a lot of people, but looks can be decieving. Even when you feel alone for being adopted, remember that. And remember that it is okay to be upset, sad, or simply curious about your journey into our lives.

 

We as your parents will not judge.

 

Our goals in parenting you are pretty simple, sweet baby. In no order: 1. Keep you safe, 2. Keep your emotionally happy and secure, 3. Love you always. To accomplish these goals, we need you to come to us when you have feelings of sadness and talk about it with us. That is what Moms and Dads are for.

It’s hard when you’re young and you cannot voice the nagging feeling in your gut that tells you something is different. That is why we vow to always be one hundred percent honest with you about your adoption journey. We will never hide or conceal information from you. We will always tell you (in an age appropriate manner) how you came to be in our lives. We will always have an empty lap and long arms to comfort you when you’re sad, even when you can’t put your finger on why.

When you are older, we promise to let your adoption story be your story to tell or not tell. There might be times where you don’t feel like explaining it or being labelled as the “adopted kid.” We will always respect and honor that decision, and we’ll never take it as a slight to you being embarassed or ashamed of your adoption status. Your story is your story, and who you do and do not share it with is your decision, not ours.

At a wedding last weekend, a stranger sat at the same table as us. We got to know him throughout the night, and he heard us talking about our adoption for hours (we’re pretty obnoxious about it sometimes- you never know who might know of someone is our theory). Hours later, after he felt comfortable with us, he explained that he himself is an adoptee. He shared his story with us on his terms, in his timeframe. We appreciated that he gave us a viewpoint we don’t often get- that of and adult adoptee. We told him about our blog, how we’re writing to you to let you know of our journey and he thought it was a great idea. It made us feel a lot better that someone who has been on the same path as you will be gave us insight.

 

Our grieving together will only bring us closer together and make us stronger, Lo. And being sad about something doesn’t mean you’re not happy about most things. Even though there will always be a part of me that is sad that we didn’t get to experience life with each other from the very start, my love for you and how you came to be in our lives will always far outweigh that grief. I hope the same goes for you, and you feel the same way.

But no matter your feelings, our ears are always open and ready. Our hearts are ready for your feelings, our minds ready for your thoughts, our bodies ready to comfort you.

 

 

No matter what, Lo, we’re here for you.

 

 

Love forever in good times and bad,

Mom

The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults.

Image

                                                   Our Wedding Day

Little One, July has always been a big month for us. Afterall, it was July 4th that we had our first conversation over the phone, July 8th that we went on our first date (and decided immediately that we wanted to be exclusive) and three years later on July 18th that we got married.

Today is our third wedding anniversary.

Image

   Our first summer together

When we were dating, your Dad and I would spend our July summer nights on what we dubbed Our Hill, a hill by your Dads childhood home where we’d park ourselves on the grassy knoll at night and talk for hours about our pasts, our presents and our futures. We’d wish on falling stars and cuddle in each others arms, nothing around us but the quiet of the night air and the ambient light of the stars and fireflies. We had long talks about how we envisioned our future while on that little piece of earth… and I have to say Lo, they all included children- but they never included children that shared our DNA.

If you had asked me three years ago on our wedding day where I’d hope we’d be by now, a lot of my visions would ring true to where our lives have ended up so far. Happy, stable, still as crazy in love as that day three years ago. We’re all three of those. The only thing that is missing in our lives is children. Three years ago, I would have hoped you’d be here by now. I still hope you were here by now, but alas that is out of my control.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was hot out, but the sun was shining and the sky was as blue as I’d ever seen it.  I was calm…excited, but calm. When your Dad saw me step out of the limo, he was completely speechless and so was I, we both just stared at each other in amazement and after a few moments of silence that felt like years, we both looked at each other and said you look so amazing. I remember our first dance, all eyes on us but all we could see was each other.

Image

                                            Our first dance

I remember a point where my two flower girls were seated on my lap, and one of my bridesmaids said gleefully, “Maybe thats a sign of things to come! Maybe you’ll have two daughters!” I smiled, and hoped in my heart it would be true- that we’d be able to have any children in our lives in the future, even with our infertility diagnosis.

I’m hoping that it will still be true one day- though it doesn’t matter if it’s daughters or sons. I just hope we get the opportunity, the gift, the miracle to parent.

In three years when we’re celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary, I hope you’re here to celebrate it with us. Our lives are so rich and beautiful together already, but the amount of amazing that our lives are going to be engrossed in when you come is immeasurable.

I hope that when you’re old enough, we can take you back to our hill, have picnics and talk about what you see for your future. Then it will evolve from our hill as a couple to our hill as a family.

And on your wedding day, we’ll hold your hand and be excited for you the way our parents were for us. Or if you decide to never marry, then we’ll be there for whatever life event is important to you. The biggest most important thing in life is to be happy, Lo. And all we want as your parents is for you to be happy.

Because together, we’re one happy family.

Waiting for more anniversaries to celebrate,

Love,

Mom

 

he brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.

We’re more than knocking down those brick walls, Little One – we’re taking a wrecking ball to them. We are pushing onwards and upwards, as much as humanly possible.

At this very moment, your Dad and I are sitting side by side in the lobby of a beach front condo complex, laptops in hand, doing online adoption courses required for the homestudy. We thought we had enough credits, but last minute it was discovered we had to add more in- so we’ve been sitting here, swapping out computers for each other to watch the presentations the other has just seen. The air smells like sea salt and we still have sand caked in our hair from our day getting to know the belly of the ocean (that kind of sand that doesn’t want to leave your scalp even after two showers). And even though we’ve spent the entire evening and most of the night in this lobby on our vacation, it is so incredibly worth it.

We’ve gotten a few crazy stares, and just moments ago I actually had to stop feverishly typing to field questions from another condo goer who asked if working on vacation was my hobby (in his defense, your Dad was in the bathroom so it looked like I have two laptops at midnight alone here, which would definitely signal an unhealthy dependency on technology). Once I explained to him the situation, that we’re trying to adopt, his eyes gleamed and he smiled a mile long and wished us luck. 

Life has been kind of crazy lately, sweet baby. Mainly it’s craziness at work, busy time at home and feeling like there are too many things on the to-do list and not enough minutes in the day. But in the end, your Dad and I get it together every time, and we always will. 

You’ve been on our minds quite a bit lately –  though you never really leave our minds. You’re always there at the surface, and even when we’re on vacation and trying to leave all our worries behind, I worry about you. I worry about where you are, have you been conceived yet? Are you on this earth right now? Or I am I just writing to your soul, and you’re waiting to hitch a ride in the right body at the right time? It’s an odd place to be for a Mother, because I know I’m your Mom. I know I’m meant to be, and will be your Mom. But you’re not physically here yet, at least not to my knowledge, and I worry about you like a toddler running headstrong into the surf of the beach. 

I had an in-depth conversation with my Mom a few weeks ago about how hard the unknown part of this process can be. We talked about how .when I was young and had to have a very involved surgery, my parents held me in their arms as the doctors anaesthetized my tiny body. I collapsed in a heap, and they begrudgingly handed me over to a surgeon and gave my life to his hands, my soul to a black abyss made up of half faith and half science. My parents talked my whole life of how traumatic that moment was as a parent, how much it hurt to give their precious gift over to a relative stranger. It’s not the same as our situation, but it has the same nuances. We’ve done what we can do so far: the rest is up to a lot of strangers- social workers, lawyers, potential expectant Moms. We’ve handed you over, and now we’re anxiously waiting for the okay from an over-the-moon portion of this equation. My parents got their okay so many years ago, and I know we’ll get ours one day also.

But this is a test of patience, a test your Dad and I desperately needed. Patience is one virtue neither of us possess, but we’re learning. Well, we have patience for a lot of things – each other, other people- but not situations that are out of our control. Things we can’t plan for, that don’t have a date in the calendar- those are the things we have difficulty with. Your Dad and I are planners, thinkers, reservists. When things are unknown, it drives both of us crazy. But we’re learning that it simply cannot be that way, not just in adoption but in life. Life isn’t planner friendly, and sometimes the unexpected happens for a reason and it’s the most wonderful outcome possible. 

We didn’t expect to spend our night in the lobby, but we’ve learned a lot of valuable information from these presentations and it has brought us closer together. And now that they are all completed and we feel accomplished we’ve decided to take a moonlight stroll on the beach just the two of us. 

We’ve been coming to this beach for three years in a row now, almost our entire marriage. Sitting on the beach with my sister today, I remarked how weird it was that when we were on the beach last year she had just found out she was pregnant with her second son, and now he’s here, a big four month old taking a peaceful nap as the sound of the crashing waves lulls him to sleep on his mothers chest. So much can change in a year, she said, Maybe next year you’ll be sitting on this beach with LO, saying isn’t it crazy that this time last year we were finishing our homestudy? 

I sure do hope that is the case, Little One. Because there are so many memories that I can’t wait for you to be a part of. Hopefully next year you’ll be sleeping soundly on my lap, and my motherly worries about your whereabouts will be put to rest. Until then, I need to keep thinking of the waves along the shoreline- they don’t stop, they just keep crashing until the tide comes in when the timing is right. 

 

Until then, I’m waiting for you.

 

With four footprints in the sand, waiting for six, 

Love,

Mom

I’ve learned the hard way that some poems don’t rhyme and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.

Image

Little One, life has thrown some curveballs at us recently. I’m not a big fan of change and unpredictability, but with change comes opportunity. The changes we’re making right now might even lead us to you one day, and they will all be for a reason.

Last Friday a terrible storm slammed the entire east coast. It was 600 miles long, spanning across several states. Trees fell, hundreds of thousands lost power, and unfortunately, people died. We are incredibly lucky though, Little One. Even though I was mad that our power was out for three days and that we lost all of our food in the fridge and freezer, we’re still lucky. We were camping over the weekend, and all we heard was the soothing pitter patter of raindrops that fell on our camper roof, lulling us to sleep. Incredibly bad things could have happened to us, but they didn’t. Sometimes the curveballs that are thrown at us are for the better, even if we can’t see it in the moment. 

On Saturday night, the campground pool was open late. They held a pool party with a DJ, and there on top of a mountain your father and I swam. Nothing above our heads but the clear night sky, the stars shined like diamonds. Off on the horizon fireworks went off silently- too far away to hear the noise, but close enough to see the spectacle. Your Dad and I danced, laughed and swam to the sounds of the DJ, the smell of honeysuckle tickling our noses and the summer air blowing through our hair. 

 

And on this perfect summer night, all I could think of was you. 

 

Will you like swimming? Will you be the one dancing to the music or sticking to the side of the pool wall watching? Will you think we’re crazy to be your parents, or will you love our passion for fun? 

Life is so unpredictable, Lo. Right now, you’re so unpredictable. In a way, that is scary for me. I’m a planner by nature. I like to know the whens and wheres of life, and if there are none I like to find them and put them into place. But over the past week, as we’ve been thrown things good and bad, I’m remembering a very important life lesson: it’s all in perspective. Bad things are only bad if you make them that way, sweet baby. A lot of things in life are out of our control, but how we react to them and how we view them in this world is the one thing we do have control over. 

Unfortunately, as an adult, you want to control everything but you just simply can’t. And sometimes no matter how hard you work or how much effort you put forth (especially if you enter the corporate workplace), someone is going to try and trample all over you. Stick up for yourself, don’t let anyone ever hurt you – and take as much control as you can. What you don’t have control over, have faith in. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, have faith that it will all work out in the end, and if it’s not worked out yet, it’s just simply not the end. 

Sometimes, it’s hard to see the success you’ve already met. Success and opportunity are like icebergs: you only see a preview, a portion of what is to come. And when you least expect it, the larger and greater good beneath the surface will emerge. I feel like the changes we’re experiencing now are just the tip of the iceberg, that what lies ahead is far greater than what we can see in the immediate future.

 

We’re still in the waiting to wait phase, but it is quickly coming to an end. We should have the homestudy back in our hands in less than three weeks. I feel like now this time seems to be moving incredibly slow, but that life will move a lot quicker soon and that this time will feel like a blink of an eye in the future. 

 

But now we’re prepared to get our profile up. Last weekend, your Dad and I got pictures taken in the park for our profile. It was lovely, and I love the way they turned out (here is a preview): 

ImageImage

And my favorite: Image

 

 

I see the tip of the iceberg, sweet baby. Now comes the time to wait for the rest.

 

With delicious ambiguity and lots of love,

 

Love,

Mom