So, this afternoon, I was told by the agency that I am not allowed to write a blog about this journey. Nothing at all that can be seen publicly. Not one word.

Well, I cannot stop writing this blog. It has become my therapy and I will continue to write it for as long as I need to. I have to have a place to put down in words how/what I am feeling. That’s just the way it is. Sorry. If I must make it private only to me, then so be it. But I will not stop writing.

Which brings me to this… if you would like to continue to read my posts I need you to contact me personally and privately. After we are clear that nothing can be re-posted or shared without permission then I will give you the password to the protected posts. It is important to me that this is available to friends and family. Talking about it over and over again to everyone who calls to see how things are going is very difficult. I want all of you out there who love us to be a part of this journey, I just can’t talk about it daily, it is too stressful and too hard.

I will continue to make public this post and following posts which have nothing to do with details about the birth family or our current situation.

Anyway, now I am totally freaked out (again) after talking to the agency. At first when we voiced our concerns they kept saying how this was going to happen, not to worry, everyone involved was committed to this adoption taking place,  we are “moving forward” and that everything was fine. Now, I get the call saying not to talk about this publicly, not to buy anything yet, not to plan on sending out birth announcements until everything is final and that everyone is still “processing”. WTF?

Looks like another sleepless night for me.

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Snowmageddon #2

Well, it only took us 4 hours to make what is normally an hour drive up north this afternoon. It was awful. The highway was CLOSED for about an hour of that because of a multi-car crash. While sitting in that traffic, John broke the windshield wiper trying to get the ice off. I mean, he broke it. As in broken off completely. No drivers side wiper blade at all. In a snowstorm. Good times. Thank you to my sweet friend who lives nearby who came to the rescue with a complete set of new wiper blades delivered to the agency while we were meeting with birth Mom. What a day.

The meeting went… I don’t know how to say it went. They certainly weren’t kidding when they said she was detached. About 4 words were said about the baby at all. The walls this lady has up are impenetrable. It was a pretty awkward visit. All of you who know me well, know that I am very open and honest. I have trouble dealing with people who aren’t, it makes me very uncomfortable. I felt like I had to filter my own personality with her, which made me feel like I was not being open, which in turn made me feel like crap. Just to be clear, we still are moving forward with the process, our fears are not about her commitment to the adoption. Our fear is in the relationship between our part of this family and hers. I am terrified that she will be a very distant part of our lives after the baby is born. This outcome has always been my greatest fear.

In one of the 4 words she did say about the baby, she let the secret out about the sex. I really wanted to be surprised, but in her defense – that is a hard secret to keep. The baby is a boy. I have always wanted a son, and I am thrilled to hopefully bring one into our lives this summer. Ivy is excited to have a baby brother, and John is smiling from ear to ear too. The surprise would have been nice, but planning will be nice too. Also, we can give all of Ivys old clothes/toys to the birth mom, as she is raising a little girl who is younger than Ivy and could really use the hand-me-downs.

I am feeling very overwhelmed at the moment, so I will post more another day after I have had some time to think. Thank you all for the support and positive thoughts.

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Snow? Again? Seriously?

So, they are predicting a snowstorm AGAIN for this weekend. Just for the record… I WILL GET TO THIS MEETING. I do not care what the weather decides to do, damn it!

Anyway, I am starting to feel a little numb over meeting BM. Every time I talk with the agency about her, they use the word “detached” to describe her. As any of you who know me are aware, I am about as far from “detached” as a person can get. I worry that I will overwhelm BM with my personality. So, now I feel like I have to filter my emotions with her. Tone myself down a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand her need to protect herself from the pain that she knows comes with relinquishing a child. I would too, if I were in her shoes. But at the same time, I really want and hope for a close relationship with this woman and her other children. Maybe I have to just let go of reaching for that goal and let it come if/when it will? Even then, how do I let her know how important that is to me without her feeling as though I am a needy-crazy-lady? I want to give her the space she needs, and still somehow reach out and let her know that we ache to be a source of love, support and understanding for her and her children. People say “Just let it go, worry about yourself and your family” and they are right. But, still these birth families are just that – FAMILY. Just the same as any other extended family is. They are aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, siblings and birth Moms & Dads. Our family tree is just like yours, only we have many, many branches (and more than our share of nuts!).

Open adoption is something that we truly live, not just talk about. I know of plenty of “open” adoptions where the adoptive family walks the walk up until the adoption is finalized, then they just stop trying to include the birthfamily. It’s like something they had to do for a while, then they almost breathe a sigh of relief when they can finally stop. That makes me sad. Although, admittedly… I know the feeling. With our daughters birth Mom, I made (forced) myself to follow through with communication for the first few months. I kept telling myself “This is for the best, this is for the best…”. then, one day I realized that I wanted to talk to her BM. I wanted to see her and spend time with her and support her. I realized that I loved her! Not only because she is the woman who gave me a family, not because I owe her something, but because I love her, just as she is (crazy, immature behavior and all). She is a wonderful addition to my life as well as to our daughters’ and I treasure her every single day. I think a lot of adoptive families miss out on this wonderful opportunity purely out of fear. Fear that the child will love the BF more, fear of negative influences caused by some BP’s choices, fear of scheduling ANOTHER person into their already busy lives, fear of “too much” contact and fear of the negative reactions others sometimes have regarding open adoptions. Well, I tell you this… YES, it is hard. Everyday. But nobody ever said parenting would be easy, did they? These BF’s are a treasure and should be valued as all other family members are. There is no such thing as too many people to love.

As I read over this I realize that when I get on a rant about how wonderful open adoption is that I will scare this poor BM to death. Ugh! I just need to settle down and relax, Keep reminding myself that I don’t have to have all these conversations in this first meeting. There is time. There is time. There is time…

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Meeting with Birth Dad

We finally got to meet with Birth Dad (BD) yesterday. The meeting went very well. He is an extremely nice guy and seems comfortable with his descision. His sister joined him for the meeting and she is clearly a big source of support in his life and, while she wishes she could be the one to adopt this child (she has other adopted children in her family already) she and her family are just not in the position to take on that responsibility at this point in their lives. BD and his sister have very strong family values and the open adoption seems to be just as important to them as it is to us. I think after the grieving period, BD and extended family will want to be as involved as possible with our family too. This is a huge deal to me, because my greatest fear in this second adoption is that the birthfamilies will just disappear out of our lives forever. We really want a true open adoption and believe “the more, the merrier” when it comes to family – even when we may not be related by DNA.

I am still very nervous about waiting another week to meet BM. I get the impression that she will be the most detached and that will be hard for me to deal with as, again, I really want to develop life-long relationships with both Birth parents. I also learned that she is parenting two other children, so this is her 4th pregnancy at the tender age of 25. Her life must be so stressful! I can understand her wanting to protect herself from what is a very difficult and painful experience, especially considering that she has relinquished a child before. She knows what it feels like and is preparing herself for that experience. After all, she has other children to think about just like I do, she will not have the luxury of breaking down in front of them either. I can understand her detachment. She must be incedibly strong. I am told that she has an open, good relationship with the other adoptive family,and they support her choice for this adoption. They are out of state, so I don’t know how much contact they have, but I know they have some. That is encouraging, so I will hold onto that hope that she will want to have continued contact with us as well. I hope that we can develop relationships with her other children (including the other adoptive family) as well. What a great experience for all the kids to have such large extended families! You can’t have too many people in your life who love you, right?

I am going to work hard not to let the stress get to me too much this week. I am going to try and focus on the positive meeting we had with BD and not get worked up over next Saturday’s meeting with BM. I plan on getting to the gym as much as possible and getting the stress out that way, rather than dwelling on all the what-ifs. Wish me luck!

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I don’t even know what to write. I just got a call from the agency. The birth Mom and birth Dad are having trouble communicating and want to do separate meetings with us. Birth Mom has cancelled for tomorrow and we will meet only with birth Dad and his sister instead. We will meet with birth Mom next Saturday.

I am feeling… I don’t even know what I am feeling. Is this a sign? TWO cancelled meetings in a row. What am I supposed to make of this? I have been terrified for three weeks straight, and now I have to go another week before I even meet her. And then another 14 weeks after that before the baby is due. How am I supposed to survive this? I am not strong enough. But, still I have no choice but to pretend to be strong enough. I have to do it for my daughter. I do not have the luxury of emotionally checking out. First and foremost, I am a mother and just because I am completely freaked out about the process of adding another child to our family, I must not forget to do my job the best I can for the child we already have in our lives.

I would really like to write more, but at the moment I am all a jumble and am in serious need of a glass (or ten) of wine.

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My thoughts on Mothers and how strong we must all be…

I have known many very special women in my lifetime. Three in particular come to mind tonight when I think of bravery, strength and courage.

The first is my beautiful daughters’ birth Mom. She was 18 years old when she made a choice that I cannot even begin to imagine having to make. She put the child that she had given birth to only days before into the arms of strangers and somehow found the  courage to believe that we would be good, kind and loving parents. She trusted us with the most precious of gifts. She gave us her daughter. Think about that for a second. I mean really think about that. Could you have done it? She handed this beautiful little creature to me and then watched as I got into my car and drove away. How she found the strength not to chase after my car screaming at the top of her lungs I will never know. In my opinion, that is the ultimate in selflessness. A descision made purely out of love. She changed the lives of so many people with that decision. Hers. Ours. Our daughters. Our daughters children someday. Everyone who will listen to my re-telling of her brave story. Whatever happens in her life or mine, she will forever be the absolute bravest woman I have ever met. She gave me the gift of motherhood. If I live to be a thousand years old, I will never be able to thank her enough for that.

The second is a friend of mine who lost her son to cancer. He was three years old when he passed away last year. He fought longer and harder than many adults could have – and he did it with bravery and courage beyond his years. But this story is not about that sweet little boy. It is about his mother who has amazed me at every step along the way. In her shoes, many of us would have sunk into an inescapeable depression. Drugs. Alcohol. Anything to numb the pain of that kind of loss. But not my friend. She has given of herself, her time, her money and tomorrow – her hair. Tomorrow, she is shaving her head to raise money and awareness for all children going through this terrible disease. In hope of finding the cure that will come to late for her sweet boy. She is, quite simply… amazing in her strength. She might not know this, but her story gives me courage every day. If she can survive the loss of a child, then I can certainly make it through anything life can throw at me. All of my sad stories seem pretty lame compared to that. She is a hero, a champion of mothers everwhere.

The third I met just this week. A teacher at our daughters school. I found out recently that she is a birth Mom. She came over for dinner tonight and shared her amazing story with us. She listened as I told her our adoption journey story, and we enjoyed discovering that – as two opposite sides of adoption – we shared many of the same feelings of fear and self-doubt. We both felt sad and happy at the same time. She validated a lot of the fears that I am struggling with right now and talking with her was wonderful and needed. Towards the end of the evening she kept saying how she wasn’t sure she could have the courage be an adoptive Mom. How brave she thought adoptive moms are. How brave I was. Me? Seriously? I am not brave. Or strong. I am terrified. I am hanging on by a thread. For her to say that she thought my side of the adoption story is the tougher one… I dont even know what to say to that. I am in awe of women like her, women who can give the gift of family to someone else. Amazing.

A lot of birth Moms do what they do without the love and support family. A lot of them do it completely alone. All of them do it out of pure love and the desire to do the best for their child. Many people I have come across in the last few years seem to think that women “give up” their children because they are not able to parent them properly, or because they don’t want the responsibility. I say that they are doing the very best parenting that can be done… that is the selfless act of doing what is in their child’s best interests and ignoring the pain that sometimes comes with that choice. I say they are all heroes.

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Great. So, we were supposed to go to meet the birthparents tomorrow. But, instead we had to reschedule the meeting for next Saturday because the forecast is calling for high winds and up to a foot of snow to fall in our area starting tonight and through the day tomorrow. Normally, I love the snow. Especially when it falls on a weekend. Hot cocoa, snowmen and all that crap. This time? Not so much. I really need to get past this first meeting so I can get a feel for the birth Mom and birth Dad. I am so very nervous right now – I just need to see their faces, talk with them and get the “vibe”.

On a lighter note… we had our first talk with our daughter last night and it went very well. We told her that our family had been chosen by a birth Mom and Birth Dad and that we might be adding a baby brother or sister to our family… her little face just lit up like fireworks on the 4th of July! She was so excited! I loved seeing the energy in her face and answering her questions. Today, we told her friends and teachers about being chosen and hopefully there will be some opportunity to help more folks understand the process as we go through it. She was excited to share the news about meeting the birthparents and I know she will probably talk their ears off when we do finally meet.

So, tonight I am going to pour myself a second glass of wine and try to relax. I have been so worked up over this meeting and the thought of having to wait ANOTHER week is making me crazy. I really just need so badly for this first step to be over. Please let this week go by quickly.

I probably sound like a nut-case, but when I decided to write this blog I told myself that it would only be worth doing if I was authentic and true to myself with every word I write. That is what I am trying to do.

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Week Two…

So, it has been about a week since we got the call from the agency. I still feel really scared and even though we have been waiting for this for almost two years now… I almost afraid to be happy/excited about the prospect of adding another child to our family. I feel somewhat better than I did last week, probably because I got a bit of sleep finally! (Thank you, Valium…) But I am far from feeling really good about it. I know in my heart that I will get to a good place with this, just like I did when we went through it with our daughter the first time, but I’m not there yet. I am trying hard NOT to feel guilty about my lack of enthusiasm, but that is a work in progress as well. Wish me luck…

We have made arrangements to meet with the birth parents this Saturday at the agency. I. Am. Terrified. So many questions. All of them hard to ask and hard to answer. These are strangers that we are forced to be emotionally intimate with from the moment we meet. We have to be totally honest about everything, while still maintaining a level of distance and boundaries that will be comfortable for all involved. We have to do everything we can to protect our family, while still working to integrate these two new birthfamilies into it. All of us -my husband and I, as well as the birth Mom and birth Dad- have to be brave and strong enough to trust each other throughout this emotionally charged process and all the ups-and-down that come with it. We have to do all of this and more, the whole time knowing that everything about the outcome is completely out of our control as the hopeful adoptive family. We just have to be who we are and trust that it will all work out.

Oh yes, and we have to do all of this with our daughter along for the ride. She is a part of the process too, we have been as honest about it as we can without giving her too many grown-up ideas to deal with. She knows that we are hoping to adopt a sibling for her soon, and she has a four-year-olds understanding of the process. We have not told her that we have been chosen by a birthfamily yet, we plan to do that on Friday evening so that she can absorb it a bit and sleep on it. The agency is about an hour away and we will have time to talk more on the drive Saturday morning. She is well aware of her own adoption/birth story and I am sure she will relate her story to this new one as only a pre-schooler can. Probably with a few awkward statements along the way. She is a precocious little thing who is very articulate & smart and has no problem saying what is on her mind and in her heart. I can only hope that they will be understanding of her and willing to answer her questions as well.

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Week number one…

My husband and I adopted our fist child in January of 2009 through an open adoption. The process for domestic open adoption is, as I like to call it… NOT for sissies. We adore our childs birthfamily and love having an open relationship with them. It truly is a blessing to have so many in our lives who love our child. We would not have done it any other way the second time around, but it is hard. Really hard.

We have been waiting for almost 2 years to get the call that we had been chosen my a birthfamily for a second child. That call came on Saturday, February 23 2013.

I want to be excited about this, really I do. But at this moment, I don’t see the joy of the journey, all I see is the shit that can go wrong. And I feel guilty because I don’t feel excited. I should be giddy! I should be shopping for onsies and painting the nursery, but instead… I can’t even make myself tell anyone yet. I just feel so scared right now.
We meet the birthparents in about 10 days, maybe that will help ease my mind a bit? Maybe then I will feel like a real choice has been made and that we are really going to finally be a family of four. Maybe.
Thanks for listening, wish us luck 😉

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