You are not the momentary whim of a careless creator experimenting in the laboratory of life. . . You were made with a purpose.

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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, 

 

Mom 

The real person smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.

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.

Love,

Mom

A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.

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?

Lori: I’ve always been a wonderer. I’ve always liked to see the same thing from different angles to understand it better. I find, when I’m writing a post, that in trying to be clear with my reader, I’m also finding clarity for myself. This is why some consider writing as therapy — it requires focus to take an idea or issue or emotion and reduce it to words. It’s the yoga equivalent of finding my core, of honing inward. Writing is introspective and causes me to be more honest with myself, with my motivations. I also like to write because it makes me more observant, more present as I move through my day.
As for writer’s block, I do get it every once in awhile. Sometimes I just take a short break from my blog (usually not more than a week). Sometimes I just sit down with a blank page and commit to be there for an hour. If it flows, great. If not, so what. Guess what…? Usually it flows when I commit to showing up.
STBH: If there were one misconception you could clear up about open adoption, what would it be?
That open adoption is super-hard, that only exceptional people can “do” it. True, parenting in open adoption can be more complicated than parenting in a biologically-built family, but with complexity often come unexpected gifts that you don’t get from simplicity.
Know what’s hard? Relationships! In them we don’t always feel we have the power we want. We don’t always know how to get our needs met. We fear someone else being a “wild card” that makes things be beyond our control.This isn’t unique to open adoption relationships, though the feelings may be heightened in OA because of strong swirling emotions — guilt, fear, debt, regret, anger, sadness, envy.

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!

So, because your child may have issues with identity formation as s/he grows up (and really, who doesn’t?) you might as well provide what you can to them about their birth parents. Maybe that’s contact, maybe it’s open-hearted conversations, maybe it’s just you not being threatened by their wondering and processing.
STBH: How do you feel about PAL (positive adoption language)? Do you think it affects the way your children view their family structure? 
I’m all for being mindful, for choosing one’s words deliberately. But if we’re too careful, if we tiptoe around the realities of adoption, we indicate that there is something to hide and that there is shame around adoption.For example, I don’t say to my daughter, “Crystal put you up for adoption.” It sounds so careless and impersonal, like you’re talking about a discarded toy. In reality, Crystal’s decision was anything but careless and impersonal. Instead, I would say, “Crystal couldn’t parent a baby at that time in a safe way, so she decided we would be your parents and she placed you with us.” I try to understand how the words would feel to my child.

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.

STBH: What has been the hardest part of your adoption journey so far?
Once we set out on the adoption journey, back in 2000, most everything seemed to fall into place relatively easily. It was the infertility process that brought me to my knees. Once I learned how to relax the grip I had on controlling my life, I was in a better position to yin-yang my way through the adoption process and now the parenting process. I was always good at the yang part — making things happen; I had to get comfortable with the yin part — letting things happen.
STBH: What do you like to do to relax?
I enjoy practicing yoga. For an hour I try to bring my awareness to the confines of my mat. It’s a practice of focusing attention, of taming the wild-child that is my mind. It yokes my mind to my body and helps me remember to be more present even off my mat. Through yoga, I’m beginning to “get” that life is a journey and not a destination and shed the “I’ll be happy whens.” It’s still a process. In yoga, everything is a process and no pose is ever perfected.I also love to read  and write and do cool things with my kids like paint pottery. My daughter, 11, plays volleyball and my son plays whatever sport it’s the season for, so Husband and I spend a lot of time cheering them from the sidelines.

STBH: Being a self proclaimed new age libertarian, how do you feel about the upcoming election? 
I wish we could break free from our two-party system. The way it is, a candidate doesn’t have to get you to vote FOR him (or her); he only has to get you to vote AGAINST the other guy (or gal). So campaigns are based on smear and fear and that makes everyone feel dirty.My family lives in a purple state (and a purple home!) and are thus bombarded with ads and robocalls and fliers that indicate only jerks, idiots and crooks want my vote. My kids have been told by the campaigns that no matter who wins, we’re all doomed — DOOMED I tell you! Husband and I have been doing some damage control surrounding these ubiquitous messages

STBH: Tell about your upcoming book on open adoption.
I was thrilled to announce that my project had a heartbeat last December and that I was going to give birth, metaphorically speaking. I spent the next several months gestating The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole with the help of a lot of midwives (and their male equivalent; midhusbands?). My daughter’s birth mom, Crystal, is a contributor to the book, as are a host of other adoptive parents, first parents, adult adoptees and adoption therapists and advocates who shared their insights, viewpoints and wisdom with me — many who are part of this Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project!The book will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in April of 2013, and if you’d like to be notified when the book is available, you can get on the contact list. Thanks for asking 🙂

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,

Love Always,

Mom

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.

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.

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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): 

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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 

When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

Little One, let me tell you about the day I knew there was still hope to find you out there. It’s going to sound a little weird, but it’s also the day we found out the expectant mom due in June has decided to parent.

That day is today.

I know it sounds odd, Lo, that we have found hope today. But we did. It is such a weird feeling that few would understand. We’re happy for that Mom. She gets the greatest joy in the world, the chance to parent. We actually feel blessed that we could be a part of that decision- that we could be a blip in her journey to decide how to make her family, because whether she knows it or not, she’s given the same gift to us.

That baby that we’ll likely never meet was a catalyst, a link, a tiny butterfly. They helped us learn that we wanted to, and could adopt right now. They are an important key in the journey to getting to you. And we’ve known all along it was a long shot (with adoption, it always is) but we protected ourselves and prepared for today. I’m not going to say my heart didn’t sink, because it did. I think that is a natural reaction. But after a deep breath, it rose back up and hope filled my heart once again.

I went outside to call your Dad and let him know we got word, and that it was a no. He was quite the same as I, sad, but happy at the same time. This is what was supposed to happen. This is how the pieces were meant to fall, and even though it may be hard to realize that now- it will all make sense one day. I’m a firm believer, in case you haven’t been able to tell, that everything happens for a reason. Nothing in this life is random. There was a reason we knew about that baby, and it was to get to you. Now we’re ready. Our website is up and running, our facebook page is active, our homestudy almost complete.

After hanging up the phone from RB, I stood alone in the courtyard at work. The gravel covering the ground is made of thousands of rocks, big, small, all different colors. My eyes glanced over the entire courtyard, and to my surprise there was one tiny shining penny, all alone. I picked it up and put it in my pocket.

You’re out there, Lo. Somewhere.

When I lifted my head and looked up at the sky, the gray skies parted and the sun shined right through them.

Our time is coming.

 

 

With unwavering hope,

Love,

Mom