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Oh sweet baby. Mothers Day is Sunday, and to say that I’m not taking it well is an understatement.
Part of me wants to scream. I want to scream out to the world to get them to understand that this isn’t right. How they can keep on moving when my world has been shattered so much? I want to scream until there isn’t a single breath left in my lungs, until they sting with the energy I’ve expended and my words hang in the air for all to hear. I should be a Mom by now. It was my turn. It’s been my turn so many times….and yet here I am, at this junction again- a childless Mother on Most Definitely Not a Mothers Day.
The part of me that doesn’t want to scream wants to curl up into a ball and pretend this isn’t happening. I was supposed to have not one, but two bouncing babies on my lap this year. This year was supposed to be different, it was supposed to be my first mothers day.
And to be honest, this holiday is not just full of sadness this year- but it’s also full of fear.
The fear that I will never be a mother hangs over my head like a storm cloud following me around. It’s the little voice whispering in my ear when I’m searching the greeting card aisle, taunting me, “will you ever get one of these cards?” It’s the lump in my throat that chokes on the tears whenever I hear another pregnancy announcement or adoption match announcement, not because I’m not happy for them or excited, but because I wonder- again- if I will ever get to be in their shoes. Will I ever get to be a mother? Will I ever find you?
It’s the disdain for every greeting card, every TV commercial, every restaurant promotion, every radio ad, every magazine cover… all of these reminders that I am not, in fact, not a mother. That I failed. That what has come so easy to so many others is still an every day battle for me. That I don’t have my precious baby to spend this holiday with, that I am once again knocked down, because I let my hopes get so incredibly high.
It’s the reminder that another year has passed without you here.
That hurts most of all.
I know that it will all be worth it. You mean more to me than any holiday, any time table and every heartache we’ve endured. I know that this is just part of the journey to get to that elusive finish line, that even if I cannot see it, I feel that it’s there somewhere in the distance.
The other day I reread one of my most favorite poems, If by Rudyard Kipling. A lot of the words spoke to me now more than ever:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
Right now, there is nothing in me but the will to be your Mother. That is my will telling me to hold on, to not get caught up in the loss and get tired of waiting. I refuse to sink, because sinking means not getting to you- not being your mother. I refuse.
So I’ve been thinking of my own If’s for this Mothers Day.
If I can wade through the greeting card aisle, and focus on the positives, like having my own mother and mother in law who support and love us every step of the way. If I can hold my head up, and count my blessings. If I can believe, really believe that you’ll be here soon. If I can pick myself up ten times after getting knocked down nine. If I can tie a knot and hold on with everything that is in me. If I can keep preparing, keeping moving in the direction of our dreams. If I can let myself feel that deep down, this waiting and heartache will end. If I can let myself let go of the pain, let go of what was supposed to be and what isn’t and prepare myself body and soul for the goodness that is coming down the road if I just keep on walking.
If I don’t give up.
Then mine is the earth and everything that’s in it,
And- which is true – that is you, my daughter or son!
And if you’re not here next year, I will just keep trying. I will never give up on you, on us being a family. I will push through all the hurt and pain and glaring reminders. I will silence that little voice of doubt in the back of my head, and replace the if’s of doubt with the if’s of reassurance.
I will be a mother. I will find you, sweet baby.
No if’s, ands or buts.
Waiting for the earth and everything that’s in it,
With love and unwavering hope this Not Yet a Mothers Day,
Little One, we’re only given this one life. Just one… and if there is one thing I want to teach you in this world, it’s to find your purpose and appreciate everything in this beautiful journey we’ve been given.
Appreciate the quiet calm of a sunset. Appreciate the purity of the air that fills your lungs and sends oxygen to your beautiful brain. Appreciate that brain of yours- marvel at the intricate, mysterious way it works without us even knowing how or why. Appreciate your sense of wonderment and your talents.
Appreciate waking up in the morning- even on the days when you’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed, even on days you don’t want to get out of bed…appreciate waking up. It’s a luxury many see come to an end far too soon.
Appreciate the bad time, for they are the shading on the bright focus of a picture. Without the bad, we wouldn’t see the beauty in the good. I want you to believe that there is good in everyone, as hard as it is some days. I want you to see beauty in the darkest of places, because that is often where the beauty of life is hiding.
I want you to live. Really live. I want you to take the long way home, driving with the windows down as you feel the wind tickle your hair around your scalp, sending shivers down your spine. I want you to see and do everything on your bucket list. I want you to try new things, even if they are scary or foreign. I want you to never stop learning, to want to know more always, to seek out the truth and meaning behind everything.
I want so very much for you, Lo.
I want you to have the best life possible.
I want you to find your purpose, because once you do- you are really living.
My purpose is to be your Mom.
My distinct feeling throughout this whole process has been just that… I was put on this earth to find you, to be your Momma. My purpose is to give you these things, to show you the beauty of this world and teach you everything I possible can….
And above all, my purpose is to love you. Sweet baby, I am going to love you in a way only a parent can- that fierce kind of love, the kind of love that would stop a freight train. That is my purpose in life. My purpose is to be a mother.
But I know I am more than that. My purpose to be a mother was not accidental. My purpose to be a mother was set apart from the rest, because I will be a mother through this miracle that is adoption. It’s a purpose I don’t take lightly, baby. It’s a purpose I appreciate and try to learn from every day.
I will not know motherhood the way most women do. I will not know what it’s like to feel the cold jelly of a sonogram machine on my stomach to find out your gender. I will not know what it’s like to feel your kicks from the inside, or to hear your heartbeat for the first time.
I will know motherhood in a completely different way. In what is possibly the coolest way. My motherhood will be so instant, and at the same time so gestational. I get to experience what most other Moms don’t. I will get a call to know your gender. I will be able to hold you, this tiny person already formed, whose soul I’ve been connected to for so very long, and get to know you in a way most mothers can’t understand.
My purpose is to advocate for that amazing miracle. Once you’re in our arms, adoption will still be ever present. It will be in our lives every day, in one way or another. It won’t always be front and center but it will be part of the background scenery forever. My purpose is to be there for new adoptive mothers, to be a sounding board and help them through this scary process. I am so thankful for the brave women put in my journey so far to help guide me, that I want to give that back as much as possible.
Once you’ve found your purpose in life, there is a fire lit from under you that cannot be extinguished until it’s fulfilled. It’s a drive that takes over you, body and soul, and consumes you. It’s a beautiful energy that comes from nowhere. It’s the will that tells you not to give up when you’re exhausted from trying. It’s the whisper in your ear telling you to keep on hoping after another failure.
I appreciate the purpose.
I don’t know what your purpose will be, sweet baby. That is for you to find out… but just know your Dad and I will support you in the journey to find out, and we’ll always be here patiently waiting to see what you find. We’ll do everything we can to support you following your dreams. Maybe in thirty years when you look back and read this you’ll think, “Really Mom? I was your purpose in life? Dream a little bigger next time…. I mean, I am going to be President*, and all you wanted to be was a Mom and adoption advocate?” (* or doctor, or lawyer, or sanitation specialist—again, that part is up to you!)
But then I’ll look into the eyes of the beautiful child that I worked for five (or more) long years to bring into our lives, the one who appreciates life and learning and the pursuit of their own happiness… and I will smile and tell you how very worth it it was.
I will always appreciate you. You are my purpose in life, and I will appreciate every breath that fills your lungs, and every thought in your amazing brain.
Being your Mom is going to be the most amazing journey I’ve ever embarked on.
I can’t wait to fulfill my purpose.
With love and wind in my hair,
Love always and forever, sweet baby,
Little one, I’m going to admit something that I’m sure you’ll hold against me in the future. Your Mom is kind of a brat.
Yep. That’s right. I said it. I am kind of a brat.
In talking to your Dad tonight, I came to a realization… I like to get what I want- and so far, I’ve been pretty good at it getting what I want.
When I see a job I’m really interested in, I apply. If I get to the next step, I usually get the job (unless it’s President of the United States..haven’t quite landed that one yet). I study the company, look for things they value in the employees. I research and research until I feel I have it down. I practice my interview skills in front of a mirror, the dogs, Rick- anything and anyone I can. I go shopping for a new suit that screams whatever I need it to scream, “rockstar professional” or “laid back creative type that will still show up on time”. I show up early for the interview, crisp copies of my resume on expensive resume paper in an envelope with the company’s logo sealing the outside. I shake the hand firmly of the person interviewing me, I look them directly in the eye and appear extremely interested in the position even if what is running through my head is actually my grocery list or my ongoing mental checklist of all the movies I’ve ever seen (I do this when I get nervous sometimes…it’s less noticeable than sweaty palms in situations such as these). I smile, I nod. I ask questions when it’s my turn in order to prove I was paying attention and I have ambition. I ask about follow up communication. I leave, and usually within a few days time I get a call with an exciting HR person on the other end offering me the position using pithy HR talk like “bring you onboard” and “can’t wait to have you on the team” like the real position is playing shortstop on a Navy ship.
But of course, that is not always the drill- there have been foibles (like the time I accidentally sat and waited in the wrong building for over an hour and missed my interview when I was fresh out of college), and sometimes when I really really wanted a job, I missed the opportunity. But it was always for good reason…sometimes, a short time later I would get a better job that suited me more than I could have ever dreamed.
But generally speaking I try hard, work hard, earn hard.
When I was dating, I would go on one date with a guy and know whether or not I wanted to continue within the first hour. I would put on my best dress and spend hours battling my overly thick frizzy hair against Maryland humidity using a straightener or curling iron as my weapon of choice. I’d make sure I asked questions about them and focus on their wants in a relationship while keeping it light. If I wanted the guy, in most cases it worked out (for a while, at least…until I met your Dad and learned what knee-shaking, soul awakening love is really like).
But I’m frustrated because I can’t do this to get what I want in this situation- which is you. I am trying my hardest. Every single day, twelve months into this process, I am researching situations, agencies, lawyers, consultants. I am calling them and giving them my best interview voice. I am constantly re doing our profile, thoughts running through my head that maybe it was too serious, maybe it was too humorous, maybe I focused too much on family, maybe I didn’t focus on family enough.
I can’t know within an hour if a situation is right. I can’t know if I can just get in for an interview, I’ll land it. It just doesn’t work like that.
There is no control, and for a control freak such as myself, it’s arduous.
I can look at this two ways:
1. This sucks. I have no control. I want control. Why can’t I just have control? I’m going to get depressed and drown my feelings of self doubt and lack of control over life in mindless TV and junk food. I’m going to sit back and wait for the right situation to come to me. I hate rejection, and every time we see the numbers creeping slowly up on our profile views and each time we submit for a situation where a family gets chosen or we talk to an expecting Mom who suddenly disappears is another painful experience, a reminder of the rejection that stings so badly. Every day is harder and harder.
2. This is a new adventure. How beautiful is it to have things in life that can still surprise us? How many of us are lucky enough to have the chance to have something new to look forward to every single day. In a world controlled by planners and iPad calendar apps and dinging phone reminders- we are in a situation right now where all of that doesn’t matter, because life is in fates beautiful hands and all knowing timing. I am going to work hard, never give up, keep on going. I am going to look at this from every angle and figure out a way I can network more, work harder, work smarter. I am going to be a mother, come hell or high water. I am going to make sure the baby or babies that were meant to find us do. Each time we feel rejection will be motivation to keep going. Each time we talk to someone that doesn’t return our communication was for a reason- maybe we helped that woman with her decision in some way shape or form. Time isn’t being wasted because we’re working towards a goal, and that time would have passed regardless of our efforts. We’re planting the seeds that will bring in the flowers down the road. We don’t know the whens wheres and whats, but that is what makes this journey so unique and beautiful and amazing.
Guess which way I’m going to look at it?
Answer key: If you guessed 2, you’d be right.
Positive thinking always, Lo. It makes a world of difference. And you can’t always get what you want. I didn’t always get the job or the guy I wanted in the moment… But you know what? If you just keep working, keep trying, keep staying positive- you just might find you get what you need. And maybe what you needed was something you never even saw in that moment… a different job you didn’t know about yet, or the person that you’re meant to be soulmates with and marry. Life can be funny that way.
I know that we need you and you need us. And we’re going to keep on trying until we get what we all need.
And remember: as your Mom- I want you to always choose the second option in life. Positive thinking leads to positive results. Always keep your beautiful head up sweet baby.
With love and determination forever,
Little one, it’s been too long. I’m sorry about being MIA. I have not been MIA from this journey, just from writing to you. In fact, this journey taking so many twists and turns is the reason I haven’t been writing to you.
Let me try to explain.
Today marks one year since we’ve been on this journey. One year since that car ride with my mother, where I learned about the situation in New Jersey. One year since I frantically busted through the door when I got home, eager to tell your Dad about our new life plans. That night your Dad and I made the decision to adopt while our friends were waiting outside our house in their car for us to go bowling on a freezing January Friday night. One year since we couldn’t stop smiling while continually bowling gutter balls because our mind was on you- and our friends asked us what was up with our game.
One year since our lives changed forever.
But I’m not the same person, at all.
I’m not the same person I was one year and one day ago, either. That version of me was sad. Sullen. Heartbroken. Lost. Hurt. Confused. That person was overtaken by the grief of infertility with seemingly no way out. That person was bitter. She loathed going to happy bubbly baby showers. She would dig her heels in when going to family gatherings with children. Her heart sunk when she walked past a baby aisle in a store.
I’m definitely not her anymore.
But I’m also not who I was this time last year. I cannot be, because I’ve been through too much. I’ve seen too much, felt too much, talked to too many people and learned too much. I am not that hopeful person that looks at each new day as an exciting opportunity. I’m not that nervous girl frantically cleaning every crevice of her kitchen counter before her first homestudy visit. I’m not that woman who wished on stars and imagined that they could actually come true.
I’m now the woman who has had five fall throughs in one year. I’m the person with all the failed matches. I’m the one who has spent countless nights this past year lying awake, wondering what went wrong. I’m no longer bitter about baby showers- I’m bitter about other peoples fast matches. I’m hurt, and a little broken. I’ve seen the dark, painful underbelly of adoption.
One year to date and still, I’m the childless mother. I’m the one who has had so many women tell me I’m the one- only for them to drop off the face of the planet, or send an email mere hours later telling me they’ve gone a different way. I’m the one on the other end of the phone while a mother in crisis screams at me because I legally cannot pay her living expenses, and then threatens me with physical harm. I’m the one answering heavy breathing phone calls from sex offenders calling our adoption phone line in the middle of the night. I’m the one losing faith in humanity, in how much strength I once had, in myself.
And yet sweet baby, I’m still your Mom.
I’m still the woman who has hope.
A glimmer of unwavering faith.
Endless love and determination for you.
I’m not going to say this past year has been easy. It just plain hasn’t. There have been endless sobbing tears into a soaked pillow at three in the morning. Sleepless nights, lying awake wondering and hoping and wishing and praying for an answer, if you added them up I’m sure it would be a full two months of those nights.
And it’s difficult, because with each fall through and scam we’ve experienced, a part of it feels like a miscarriage. Only it’s not at all. Those babies are in homes, they are loved. But they have no idea about me- about the other way their life could have gone. They have no idea that before they were born, at one point in their lives they had a stranger who loved them. A mother who knew nothing of the features of their face, but held them in her heart and loved and cared about them mercilessly.
And it’s difficult to mourn these children who will still go on to have what I’m sure will be beautiful lives. In doing so, my grief is selfish- I’m only sad for myself. That isn’t fair to them.
Adoption is not for the faint of heart, and I knew that going into this- but I also had no idea the year that would lie ahead. Despite this, it has been one of the best years of my life- because it’s leading me to you.
I think it’s been so hard to write to you because unbeknownst to you, the idea of you just keeps changing. Throughout this year we’ve had so many names for you, so many names for your first mother. It feels endless. I feel like I’m failing you by not getting to the finish line.
It takes a lot of strength for me to come back to the place where I need to be. I know that those babies weren’t you. Those babies aren’t our babies. Those little faces I’ve loved so much that I’ll never see- they aren’t the faces we were meant to love forever.
And I can tell you this, sweet baby- it will be worth every. single. second. Every molecule of every single tear that has streaked my face for the past three hundred and sixty five days are worth all that you are and all that you’ll be. You are so worth every heartache, every wrong turn, every misstep. You are worth a million days of walking through the desert without a drop of water. And sometimes, that is what this journey feels like.
I have to keep reminding myself that one day- it won’t feel like that anymore.
One sweet, beautiful, incredible day- you will be placed in my arms. I will physically hold you. I will see your tiny nose and your soul through your eyes. I will rock you,sweep the whisps of hair from your forehead and cry a thousand tears of a joy so deep and meaningful- and you will forever be a part of who I am in a way that I can’t even picture yet because it seems so far away. But I know one day, it won’t be far away. One day, it will be THE day.
And I’m not letting my heartache be the roadblock to that amazing day.
I wish I could adequately put into words how much I love you, how much you mean to me. I wish I could explain the feeling in my heart when I think about being your mother- and the soul crushing fear that overcomes me when I fear that it will never happen. But I don’t think there are enough words in the English dictionary to cover those emotions. They are far too deep. Just know this sweet little one- I am never, ever giving up.
I am blessed by this journey. Though the road has been broken, it is the right road for us. It is the road we will keep traveling down until we reach you. No matter the pitfalls, the detours or the wrecks along the way- we won’t stop until we reach you. But for that, I am thankful. I am grateful that I will never for one millisecond take for granted the gift it is to be your mother. I will study your amazing personality, I will stand in awe of your existence. Because I have seen what it takes to get a miracle, and the hard work that goes in behind the scenes. I will be a better mother because of everything we’ve been through.
And it hasn’t been all bad, either. This year has brought me some amazing gifts in the form of women I’ve talked to who are going to make (or already are) great mothers who’ve decided to parent. I’ve bet first mothers who have placed, who I’ve connected with in the kind of grief only those in the adoption triad understand. I’m leaving this year with great friends by my side walking the same path as me- some who already have adopted their little ones, others who are in the trenches like us.
I’m definitely coming out of this year with lessons learned, friends made and support.
And sweet baby- let me just say this- your Dad is so very amazing. We have been in this together, every single step of the way. He is taking each and every painful experience to heart just as much as I am- only he’s also being the one to hold me and tell me it’s going to be okay. He’s the rock that keeps me grounded when I feel like it’s never going to happen. He is the cheerleader by my side, whispering to never give up. He’s downright amazing, and he’s going to be an amazing Dad to you.
No matter how hard this road gets, we’re not giving up. We’ve made it through the first year alive, and nothing can stop us now.
I keep listening to this song by Jason Mraz every time I feel down:
And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?
I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not, and who I am
I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up, still looking up.
I won’t give up on us (no I’m not giving up)
God knows I’m tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We’ve got a lot to learn (we’re alive, we are loved)
God knows we’re worth it (and we’re worth it)
I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up
I can’t wait to sing you to sleep with that song.
After a year on this road, I’m not giving up. God knows I’m tough enough.
And God certainly knows your worth it.
Not giving up, even for a second
With unwavering love forever and ever, and still looking up-
Little one, the past few weeks have been a huge mix of emotions. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’m not going to get into it right now, but this journey has been a rollercoaster.
Going through the past week has prompted me to reflect quite a bit. I went back and read some of our old entries, the very first ones in January and February. I have to say, it was a bit painful to read and tears were shed- but it helped.
I realize when reading those words that were written only ten and eleven months ago, it feels like a lifetime has passed. And it has. A lifetime of experience, anyway. Reading back I can see the hope we had in the beginning that everything would work out like clockwork, the images in our head that we’d have a baby born in June and that we’d get the storybook ending. I see the trust I had in this before. I see how crazy naive we were back then.
But that is not an entirely bad thing, Lo. Being naive and not knowing the outcome gave us the strength to even pursue this, and now that we’re in it- we’re in it until you are here. Besides, a storybook ending really is not our style.
And when I look back and read all of that, how we were taking baby steps and thinking it was all going to work out great, it makes me both happy and sad. Happy, because with reflection comes knowledge and perspective. We’ve come so very, very far in this journey. We’ve gone through things we’d never dream we’d have to go through, and we’re still fighting. We thought we’d have a bouncing six month old on our laps for Christmas this year, and that life would just go on like nothing happened. But as you know, that is not how this story panned out. Oddly though, that part doesn’t make me sad.
What makes me sad is the amount of hope and trust we had when this all started. I feel like with the experiences we’ve had as of late with failed matches, with scams, with hurt…it feels like the hope and trust we once had a mountain of in our hands is now slipping through our fingertips like sand. I’m clenching my fingers tight to keep any semblance I have left, but it just keeps pouring out.
That is the saddest part of all.
We’re not losing hope or faith in you, sweet baby. We’re not losing our sense of you being in our family. That we will never lose. We’re losing our trust. Every connection we make, I have to guard my heart. If I let myself feel attached and get invested, I ultimately end up getting hurt as I have every time. So to guard myself, I try to look at it objectively, logically, without emotions.
But I’m not a robot, baby. I cannot help but fall and let myself feel every ounce of hope, trust, faith…and then it all comes crashing down on my head again. It’s like filling a balloon with your entire self: your love, your hope, your faith, and someone just keeps popping it with a pin and letting all the air out. I’ve repaired it so many times, and I promise myself I won’t let it get filled up again, but it does. I can’t help it.
I can’t help it because it’s so personal, so close to my chest. It’s you in that balloon, sweet baby, because it’s you in my heart.
When I think back to the person I was earlier this year, I barely recognize that person. She was excited about this, she was learning new things every day about adoption and taking each day as it comes. When I put that person that I was next to the person I am now, it’s easy to spot the difference. Now I am tired. I am running myself ragged. I am hurt. I am healing. I am trying to take each day as it comes- but it’s harder than it has ever been.
I knew this journey would be hard, but I don’t think my head or my heart were prepared for it being this hard. This doesn’t change anything with us wanting to adopt, with us fighting for you as hard as we possibly can. It just means that your Dad and I are far stronger than we ever knew, far braver than we’d ever realized, and so in love and in this together than anyone could ever imagine.
I love the saying that it is always darkest before the dawn. We didn’t know this journey would get this dark, we didn’t know it would take this much out of us. But we’re strong, and so are you sweet baby. Your soul will find a way to get to us, no matter what. You are meant to be with us.
That is what this is all about, and all it’s ever been about, Lo. It’s about you. It’s not about our desire to be parents, our wants or needs. It’s about you, your life, your future.
I wish I had all the answers. I wish I knew why things happened when they happen. I wish for a lot of unfathomable things, especially lately. I just hope you’re not unfathomable. I hope that someone can open up their trust to us as we will to them. We’re ready. We’ve been ready for months now. Our hearts are still hurting from all the pain we’ve experienced lately, but we’re not broken. We’re ready with our arms wide open, but we need the other side. We need someone who is going to open their arms up and trust us just as we will trust them, and clasp our hands tight to form a circle of love around you.
Because this is all about you, sweet baby.
It’s always darkest before the dawn. I’m hoping to see that sunrise soon, Little Darling.
With love, reflection, and a renewed sense of trust and hope,
Never ever ever ever ever ever giving up.
Little One, we must learn from others. Others experiences, others journeys- they will teach us more than any textbook in this world.
So when the opportunity arose to participate in an interview project with fellow adoption bloggers, I jumped at the chance. I never knew I would be so lucky as to be paired with Lori Lavender Luz from Write Mind, Open Heart. Lori is a soon to be published author (check out her book debuting in March 2013 and preorder here), a mother through adoption and an open adoption advocate. She knows far more than I do about the open adoption journey, and I learned so much from my interview with her.
Please read the following interview with Lori, and learn as much as I did about this amazing beacon in the adoption community:
STBH: What motivates you to write? Have you ever faced writers block, and if so, how have you overcame it?
May I address two misconceptions? The other is that love can ameliorate all possible adoption-related issues for the adopted child. Some people are probably wired to be relatively issue-less, and others not so much. Parents (biological and adoptive) don’t know which they are getting. I remember thinking that my children would come to me as blank slates whom I could fully influence with my love and guidance (and my husband’s). I forgot that they come to me with 23 pairs of other people’s chromosomes, which — surprise — pack a punch! These babies already had personalities by the time I met them as newborns — shocker!
I wrote about this topic once regarding whether it matters if I say “we adopted my son” (which indicates it’s something we did — or “my son is adopted” (which indicates it’s something he is). He seemed to pick up on this distinction, as I found out one morning at Take-Your-Parents-to-School Day. But does it really matter? Some adult adoptees have said that being adopted IS who they are. Or at least a part of who they are.
As for language affecting how our children feel about our family structure, yes, I believe it matters. The more secure and issue-less I can be about the way we became a family, the better the soil from which my emotions and words grow, and the more secure and issue-less our kids will have the opportunity to be. For then they can be left to deal with only their issues and not mine.
Lori Lavender Luz
Again, thank you to Lori for the amazing interview. I cannot wait to read your book when it comes out!
We can learn so much when we just open our eyes and ears to others experiences, Lo.
With my eyes and ears wide open,
This post is a part of the Adoption Blogger Interview Project. To read more about the project or to read other bloggers interviews, please visit the projects page . To read my interview with Lori, please visit her post.
Little One, the quote above is from the late Steve Jobs, a fellow adoptee who undeniably changed the landscape of technology forever. How did he accomplish so much? He followed his heart with a level head.
If there is one thing I want you to learn in this world, the most important lesson that I am relearning everyday, it would be this: follow your heart, and trust your intuition.
I’ll say it again.
Let the words sink in.
Follow your heart.
Trust your intuition.
We have been presented with a few situations where it was a tough call so far in this journey. At times, we’ve had to make really, really tough decisions.Hard things to face. We’ve had to say no to some things, some people- and it’s been incredibly difficult to make those decisions. But when something doesn’t feel right – you need to trust your intuition. And when something feels so right that no matter how much thinking you do about it, you can’t get rid of that indescribable, airy feeling of hope- trust your heart.
It’s been a lesson we’ve learned a lot recently, and it can be applied to almost everything in life. It’s tough to balance the logic of your brain and the flood of your emotions. It takes some fine tuning and finesse to be able to detect which one is leading you where at what times. But there will be two very distinct feelings you can never ignore.
The first of which is that feeling in your gut. The one that gnaws and tears at you, no matter how good you may think you feel about something. It’s the voice in the back of the theater screaming fire while you’re blissfully watching the movie play out in your head. It’s the friends advice your ears won’t let you hear. It’s that outside perspective. It’s that fight or flight feeling. It’s your intuition, your sensory point of danger. Trust it. Put your life in it. You won’t want to hear it a lot of the time. You’ll want to drown it out with positives, put a new spin on it, get your emotions involved. It’s incredibly hard to ignore, and at the same time, incredibly hard to listen to. In my life so far, my intuition has been a beacon, a lighthouse that brings me back home in the darkest of storms and roughest of seas. It’s the keeper of the logic, the neutral safe place in your head that gives you another perspective- not for any reason other than to keep you safe. It’s the cold armor of truth round your warm heart.
And then, sweet baby, there is your heart.
Trust in your heart. Follow your heart. When someone says something is impossible, trust in your heart to guide you. Your heart is not the booming voice of intuition, it’s the tiny whisper that you have to slow down to understand. It’s that little voice inside of your head that when you’re so down on life, it softly tells you to try again. It’s your soft side, the ship that will take you to the lighthouse. It’s that gnawing feeling that you need to stop thinking and make the leap in the zero hour. Sometimes it’s the illogical decision that no one understands but you. Sometimes it’s going against the grain.
Don’t follow trends, Lo. Follow your heart instead.
And they need each other, these two. Intuition needs heart, heart needs intuition. There may be times where it hurts so much to take this advice. Where it feels like the world is crashing down because you are following one or both of these feelings. But know that it’s not.
Following your heart is following hope.
We have been burned so far. A lot. But we follow our hearts. Our hearts are telling us to not give up, to keep going, that maybe we’ve already made the contact we need to make. Our hearts are telling us that this is not a matter of if, but when. That when may not be this month, next month or the following month, but when is when it’s meant to be. Our intuition guards our hearts from the people who could potentially hurt us, but lets its guard down when something is safe.
Together, trusting these two feelings will help us find you. And once you learn to trust in them (which is something we’re still learning every single day) they will help you find peace, acceptance and where you’re meant to be.
And you’re meant to be here with us, sweet baby.
With trust, love, and a gut feeling about this going right,
Little One, we weathered the storm. This Monday hurricane Sandy hit, locking your Dad and me in the house until this morning. Monday night was one of the hardest we’ve been through together. The eye of the storm passed right over our house. We slept in shifts on the couch, one of us asleep lulled by the sound of our hand cranked operated weather radio, the other holding a flashlight, vigilant to any noise of creak that could signal a tree about to crash onto our home. We huddled on the couch as a family, your Dad and I and all the pets. We protected each other.
In the quiet hours before the storm hit, but after the electricity had gone out your Dad and I made the best of it- we played pictionary, did crossword puzzles as a team and made hand shadows on the wall. We attached glow in the dark neon wristbands to doorways and the staircase to be able to navigate our own house. It’s such a weird thing when there is no light- you’re in a place so very familiar and yet it all looks so different, so alien. It’s like meeting someone you forgot you met the first time- so familiar, yet so distant.
When the light of morning hit, we braced ourselves to open our front door and assess the damage. Walking hand in hand out the door, we were at the ready to call insurance agents and discuss deductables. Miraculously, nothing was damaged. There were branches, leaves, even garbage cans littering our front yard- but no damage.
We weathered the storm.
The most eerie part of it all was when our home was directly in the eye of the storm. It was one of my shifts to be awake, and as I stood looking out into our front yard, the hum of the generators making the air feel electric, everything suddenly fell quiet. No gusts of wind that howled like freight trains as there had been all night, no rain drops pelting the sidewalk with force- nothing. Just calm. Eerie, scary calm. It’s that calm that comes right before an accident. It’s that calm you remember last before you’ve forgotten everything else. It’s the calm where all you can hear is yourself.
And I realized while looking out that window pane, that it’s the calm we’re in right now.
We’re in the eye of the adoption storm.
The homestudy was hustle and bustle, the fall through and the scam were a mixture of hurt and picking ourselves back up and dusting ourselves off. We’ve stood strong in the wind and rain, and lately it’s been calm. Quiet. Waiting.
But I know that soon, the winds will pick up again. The rain will soak through to our bones, we’ll have to stand strong like we always have. But after that, it’s over. The storm is gone, and the sun shines again.
We can’t wait for your sunrise, LO.
Today is Halloween. It doesn’t even feel like halloween, because your Dad is working late to make up lost time from the storm and we have barely any trick or treaters. And yet, I’m still lonely from it. I miss the children dressed head to toe in costumes, holding out bags asking for those sugar packed candies with bright eyes. I remember the days of my youth, going out with my parents in gorgeous homemade costumes my mother had spent months stitching together. Then, as a teenager- opting for the pop culture references that adorned the party store walls. I’m ready to be on the other side. I’m ready to cross over, to be the holder of the little hand across the street, the pusher of the stroller, the impromptu coat rack when costumes get too tiresome to wear at the end of the night.
I hope that next year, we’ll have our little sunshine to dress up. I hope next year, I can cross over.
I hope that we’re out of the eye soon, because we’re well rested now.
We’re ready for the wind now.
Waiting for you sunshine,
Little One, this blank page is haunting me. I’ve been trying to write to you for weeks, and the words just aren’t coming. I’m not really sure why, but I think I have an idea.
It might sound insane, but a fraction of me feels like with every passing week that goes by that you’re not here, I’m failing you. I’m doing something wrong. I’m not doing enough, I’m doing too much, I’m looking but not finding. Every day that goes without you here, I feel like I’m not living up to my full mother potential.
I know that sounds insane. I know, logically, that I cannot control a lot of the aspects of this journey. But for some reason, I can’t help feeling like a failure when people ask if we’ve adopted yet, and I tell them no. Or when I open up the door to your nursery, and I can almost physically feel the emptiness of the room hanging in the air. Or when anniversaries pass– which seem to be happening more and more often. We thought we’d have you in June, but no. Then we thought you’d come into our lives in October, and we would get to buy your first Halloween outfit. But no. Then we thought, okay- by Thanksgiving- this match should come through.
Week after week after week.
Holiday after holiday.
Ridiculous date after ridiculous date.
And the craziest part about all of this is that we’re making up these insane deadlines in our head. Yes, we’ve talked to potential matches in every one of those scenarios that haven’t worked out for one reason or another (fall throughs, scams, lost contacts). But it’s not the other person that is putting these ideas of a timeline in our head- it’s us. We’re the ones who are putting this pressure on ourselves.
And it has to stop.
You’re going to come into our lives when you do. If a situation doesn’t work out, then it just wasn’t the one that was meant to be. Then it wasn’t you. It’s so hard to remember that, but we have to in order to keep a level head. When I think of these dissapointments, I try to remember the red thread.
I’ve talked about the red thread in here before: but basically it is the idea that an invisible red thread connects us all in the adoption tried- us, you, and your biological family. We’re all connected by this invisible thread, and it will come together when it’s meant to be, because that thread is unbreakable.
And yes, I obviously wish I had a blacklight that would light up this invisible thread and we could follow it to you. But it doesn’t work like that. I am a firm believer in things happening for a reason, and though the wait is hard I’m not giving up that idea. When we have hurt, setbacks, pain and heartache- they are all for a greater good. We might not be able to see that good in the present, but in the future we can look back and realize how much we learned and grew in this time.
Just the other day I heard a song on the radio that took me back to my college days. More specifically, this was a song I listened to on repeat after a particularly bad breakup. And it made me think (the way music often does), that if time wasn’t so linear I wish I could jump back to that time, to face that young college kid and explain to her that her tears are for nothing- because in just a few short months, she would meet the man she’s going to marry- her true soulmate. That very quickly in the scheme of things, she’d be married and own a house with this wonderful man. That her life is going to be more amazing than she could ever imagine. That she is crying tears over something she doesn’t even understand yet- because when she meets this man she’ll finally understand what head over heels, earth shattering, life changing love feels like. That she’ll be happy, very soon- for a long time.
And it made me wonder- in years down the road, will I want to travel back to this time to tell the present me that I’m worrying for nothing? To not waste the tears? That this is going to happen, soon, and that this whole waiting process will feel like a blink of an eye?
I sure hope so, LO. And that is one reason why I want to push myself to continue writing to you, no matter how hard it might be for me. I want you to be able to read these words and have your history with us, even before it begins.
Because though you’re not here yet, you are here in so many ways.
And this way, you’ll be able to look back and read and understand just how much we loved you before you ever came to be in our lives.
Though the wait is long, my dream of you does not end.
And it never will.
With love and hope,