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Friday, August 20, 2010

I. Am. Pooped. Sheesh! We’ve been running around like mad packing for our week long camping trip to Ocean Shores with the bff’s. It’ll be a GREAT time – the forecast could be a TOUCH warmer, but it doesn’t look like it will be too wet (thankfully). And the good news is – as opposed to our last camping trip – we’ve got the boys’ duffle bag of (warm) clothes packed and we’re ACTUALLY gonna put it in the car and bring it with us this time. Genius, eh? Who knew?! The packed clothes work MUCH BETTER if you BRING THEM WITH YOU!

(Whooo! I’m a little punchy in my fatigue. Pardonnez-moi).

We’ve had a big couple of days too. In addition to packing for 7 nights ‘o camping fun, I also went to an ultrasound yesterday AND we went to the park this morning so Mia and the boys could meet for the first time. The ultrasound was amazing yesterday. It’s definitely different being a spectator and not the one experiencing the warmish goo-gel slide across your belly. There’s still something very surreal about the whole experience and I know that really, until that baby is in our arms and coming home with us, it won’t sink in that this is all happening. Baby right now weighs 2.5lbs. (at 26 weeks) which is awesome considering when I went into preterm labor with Zachary at 28 weeks he JUST weighed 2.5lbs. Mia will likely have no problem growing this baby – apparently Mia and her half-siblings were all BIG babies. Mia’s 7 year-old half-sister weighed TWELVE (yes, 12) pounds. The doctor actually induced Mia’s mom lest she end up having a 15 pound baby. AND this amazing/crazy/poor woman had all of her children naturally! (I didn’t do that and my bebes were only five pounds! Really, I shoulda/coulda just sneezed ‘em out).

We got some amazing photos from the ultrasound (and if I was savvy and had the energy or just had the time and asked Mike to do it, I’d scan and post them for you….but it’ll have to wait). And we saw the baby yawn! She looks freakishly gorgeous even in the womb! (Just sayin’).

So, this morning, as I said, we went to Green Lake for the boys and Mia to meet. Really, the boys could not have behaved better/more cute (cutely? That’s really a word!?) had we bribed them (which for the record, we hadn’t). Well, no I take that back, we did say that after we went to the park we needed to go to the grocery store where they could have a cookie (but that wasn’t contingent on good behavior. It was contingent on whether or not the bakery was handing out free cookies). ANYway, they WERE insanely cute. Like bizarrely/abnormally sweet with one another. At one point, Zachary was on the merry-go-round, and Matthew hopped on next to him. When Z noticed M, he lit up, grinning from ear-to-ear and threw his arms around Matthew in a tight hug. They proceeded to ride the merry-go-round together all brotherly-embraced. It was adorable (and again, slightly abnormal. I’m a little concerned). They really have been playing well together the last couple of days though. They even asked me tonight (as I double-checked their packed clothes): “Mom, can you please leave? We need to focus on playing.” (I reminded them that my getting their duffle bag ready for camping WAS actually fairly important and they could try to focus while pretending I wasn’t there).

Mia said the boys were just like the pictures she saw of them “cute and genuinely happy.” I like that description of us. I’ll keep it. I hope that by the end of week-long camping we’ll still be cute (though dirty) and genuinely happy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Last night Zach suddenly asked me, “So, when are we moving to a different house?”

“Um,” I said, “We don’t plan on moving. Why do we need to move to a different house? What’s wrong with this one?”

He sighed with exasperation. “I just want all the new toys.”

I explained to him that moving to a new house does not mean that you get new stuff or new toys. You take all YOUR stuff with you. Zach’s jaw literally dropped and he said, “That’s A LOT OF STUFF to put in the car!”

* * * * *
We were supposed to meet up with Mia this morning at a park so that she could meet the boys, but I got a call that she was sick and would need to reschedule. I ALSO found out that I’m invited to attend a doctor’s appointment/ultrasound with her on Thursday afternoon!!! This will be SO super exciting (and a little nerve-wracking)! I’ll keep ya posted.

* * * * *
Check us out and our craftiness. I’ve been on a mission to beautify a section of my back garden that I call my “sanctuary.” (Right now my sanctuary just annoys me because we haven’t hung up the tile mosaic that I did yet and it’s in desperate need of being weeded, but I know it will be great once it’s complete. This table that the boys helped me with will go underneath my mosaic – which will hang on the fence – and between two chairs the exact same shade of blue as my favorite hydrangea bush. I have checked and this table – with the chairs – makes for a perfect margarita glass-placing and drinking location). I'll (eventually) have a picture of the finished Sanctuary to show you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oops, I had to think about the date for a second – doh! And Mike JUST walked out the door for work saying oodles of “I love you’s” and “Happy Anniversary!”(s). Today is our 9th wedding anniversary and quite frankly it’s the BEST (9th) wedding anniversary EVER! 

Last night we met the birth mom, Mia, and her parents Norah and James. Basically, we could not have asked for things to go better. They exceeded my most fervent prayers and best dreams. It was as natural and normal and amazing as I had so hoped (and kinda knew) it would be. As we first sat down I stated the obvious, “Well, this is like the most-crazy, ultimate blind-date!” I think that helped break the ice a bit.

Mia is SO AWESOME and, uh, to sound really humble here, she is SO much like me!! Seriously, the whole time I just kept thinking, “Yes, thank you! Yes, thank you! This IS as perfect as I thought it’d be.” I’m so, so thankful. I don’t even feel worthy of such a wonderful birth family and (hopefully!) ideal situation.

Now, obviously as we move forward with Mia she still has until 48 hours AFTER the birth to change her mind. But the more we get to know her and the more comfortable we all become, the easier it will be for her to hand that dear little one over. And it certainly won’t be the last time Mia sees Baby Girl. We would LOVE to have Mia as a part of our daughter’s life. This really does have the potential of being the BEST case adoption situation EVER….which is a little scary. Mike even said afterwards, “It’s almost TOO perfect.” I’d rather just forget the risks (if possible) and throw myself 100% emotionally in….that’s the only way I know how to do this now. And I’m pretty darn sure that Mia and her parents are going all in too.

Even the two counselors – Mia’s and Cynthia who was stepping in for Joy (as Joy is on her honeymoon and we VERY graciously ‘allowed’ her to go – sat back and just kind of watched in amazement. At one point, Alethia (birth mom counselor), shook her head and said, “Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more perfect match.” Afterwards Cynthia – who hardly got to/had to say two words – told us that she’s never seen a match meeting go so well (and she’s been in the biz for a LONG time).

Do you know the movie ‘Juno’? (Teenage girl gets pregnant, gives baby up for adoption). Joy had told us that that movie has made things so much harder for them. “Everyone comes in saying ‘we just want a Juno,’ and rarely are things that easy.” Well, Juno – eat it – ‘cuz our Mia is the awesomest birth mom EVER. We got our Juno….actually WAY better than Juno.

(So, now we’ll just pray that the doctors are RIGHT this time and it IS a girl, that she stays healthy and for Mia as she moves forward on this difficult journey). AMEN. Yay God!

Friday, August 06, 2010

What. A. Ride. Yesterday afternoon, we were in the front yard so the boys could do the slip-n-slide. I sat in the shade and sobbed as I talked to our social worker, Joy, on the phone – because I was just SO SURE that Birth Mom would pick us. I just kept wondering how it would ever feel so right when I really, REALLY believed this was The One!! Anyway, Matthew -- all dripping wet -- came and put his arms around me. He rubbed my back and said, "Mommy, we'll get picked soon. I just know it." Ahhh, that kid. Seriously. That kid speaks the voice of God more than any little booger I know.

I sobbed for two hours. Then at 5:30, Joy called.

“Hey, Jenny,” she said. “I just wanted to check in and see how you’re doing.”

“I’m OK,” I replied. I had, in fact, stopped crying – not because I’d run out of tears but because I’d run out of time. We were just about to walk out the door to a neighborhood party at the park. I was going to attempt to put on a happy face.

“Are you alone?” She asked.

“Um,” I looked around the living room at the boys jumping around excitedly as we were about to leave. “I could step out on the deck.”

“No, that’s OK. You’re home. I just wanted to make sure you weren’t driving or anything…’cuz….You ARE it.”


Wait. Wha….? The….? Wa-Huh???

She went on to tell me that she hadn't realized just how close it'd been between us and this other family. But Birth Mom – for whatever reason HAD picked the other family although it’d been a difficult choice. In the end, however, the other family decided that they weren’t the right match after all. Thankfully, Birth Mom was NOT disappointed at all; she’s thrilled that WE’RE IT!!!

Part of the issue was that the other family did not feel confident in supporting and promoting this baby’s different races. (Baby will be mostly Caucasian with a little AfricanAmerican, a little Hispanic, a little Native American and a WHOLE LOT GORGEOUS). Joy – God bless her – assured Birth Mom that despite us looking as white as white can be and only having pictures with white friends and family in our book, we were ecstatic and enthusiastic about transracially adopting. And needless to say I AM ecstatic and enthusiastic.

All afternoon I just couldn’t shake the feeling, “But it felt so perfect. How is ever going to feel as perfect?! I was SURE this was it.” And I was right. Yay!

Obviously there are still several go’s on this rollercoaster ‘til all is complete. We’ll have a face-to-face “match meeting” with Birth Mom and her parents next week. If all goes well (as we’re confident it will), then we can move forward. Birth Mom could still – of course – change her mind at any time (up to 48 hours POST birth), so please keep her in your prayers as I cannot IMAGINE what a difficult process this is for her.

Sometime near November 25th (hopefully!) our baby girl will come home with us. Now, THIS will be a Thanksgiving we’ll never forget.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

So, we found out this afternoon that after debating for several days between us and another family, Birth Mom went with the other family. We’re her “Back-Up.” Me thinks that makes it hurt even more. If only she could’ve met us. I felt like we were such a perfect match as did our social worker. She was convinced that we’d be picked and even wanted to run out to the parking lot and ask Birth Mom, “Are you SURE?!”

Ahh, the what-if’s. If only….if only.

Being the “Back-Up” family means that if at their match-meeting, Birth Mom or Other Family, doesn’t feel like it’s a 100% match, then we’d be it. This RARELY happens, and I won’t hold out hope for it. I just REALLY, REALLY wish, we’d had different news today.

Sucky. Sucky. Lameness.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

My music-teaching, blogging friend Jessica sent me this ultrasound image. :) We don't know when/how baby girl will get to us, but we DO know she'll be worth the wait.
I had a revelation. And maybe it’s a little lame it took me this long to realize the specifics here. See, I’ve known for a while that I’m pregnant. (Woah, did I just cause a brief panic?! Meaning ADOPTION-pregnant, people, what did you think?!) So, through this pregnancy I’m able to run half-marathon(s), I can drink wine and girly froofy-drinks but no beer because I don’t like that anyway, and the beauty-beauty-best-part is that I don’t have to be lying in bed and/or locked in a hospital room for months. I can be up and about and living my (mostly, somewhat) normal, active life…except for these ‘bouts during the first trimester. See, this is what I realized: we’ve had three times now when we’ve waited to find out if a birth mom would pick us. The first two times, I was excited and definitely disappointed when it didn’t happen, but I wasn’t PRAYING that it would happen like this time ‘round. [Update: we’re still waiting for birth mom’s verdict. She requested more time because – uh, yeah! – it is KIND OF a big decision. She plans to decide by this Friday…as in three more days.]

The first trimester is often the hardest and most scary (unless you’re like me when you spend most of the 2nd-3rd trimester in bed trying to stop having the baby early…that’s fairly stressful and scary). So, for MOST women, the first trimester is a bit of a nervous time and typically you feel like crappola. You get nauseous (OK, don’t have that, but definitely do get the nervous-pit-in-the-stomach-slash-butterflies feeling). You don’t sleep well (check! CanNOT stop thinking about this and all the what-if’s which are constantly interrupted by my prayers of PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE PICK US. I’m tired). You have the deep, dark fear that since it’s so ‘early,’ there may be problems. You’re fearful that it might not work out and you don’t always tell everyone in the whole world that you’re expecting. (DEFINITELY scared it might not work out but DEFINITELY NEVER mastered the ability to keep pregnancy a secret until week 13).

So, what I SHOULD do is give myself a little bit of a break – take it easy keeping in mind that I’m on an emotional rollercoaster right now, and I have the right to be a little heapy-weepy, cranky and tired. (Sorry, Mike and the boys).
What I should NOT do is comfort myself with food and start gaining weight as if truly pregnant. (Not good). But, um, please excuse me while I DO help myself to an extra dose of morning antioxidants. (dark chocolate w/my coffee. That would be VERY good for both me and my family.)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Last night I threw a full on, kid-in-the-candy-asile-not-gettin’-no-candy tantrum. It was good. And impressive. And totally pathetic.

Here we are, yet again, taking another turn riding the Adoption Roller Coaster. To be read in a monotone voice with no actual enthusiasm:: weeeeeeeee. It’s funny – just like our personality traits – the thing that can be the best, the biggest blessing, can also be the worst and most pain-in-the-but causing aspect to this. It’s COOL that this is so out-of-our-hands. As a control freak, it’s very good for me – but very freakin’ hard! – to just give it all up and trust that everything will work out. (Yet, I know it will, and I know that’s what we’re supposed to do about everything).

So, a pregnant birth mom has come in to the Agency. She knows she’s having a girl. Everything looks good and healthy. She’s due November 25th (as in AFTER the National EE Convention we’re working on). The description of Birth Mom’s personality could’ve been someone describing me. And Birth Dad sounds like an imitation Mike. Birth Mom’s hobbies include: computer games (Mike), art (more Mike than me, really), writing (uh, that’d be me), reading (also me), animals (more Mike than me, I suppose but sorta both of us) and music (yep, right here). Oh, and unlike a situation we found out about last week (from which we were disqualified), this Birth Mom WANTS the family to already have kids. To make the situation even more enticing there are some other aspects to Birth Mom’s personal life (that I shan’t share here), that sure seem like this is the most PERFECT situation yet. It really does have everything that we’ve been praying for. So, I’ve been praying for it. And I mean, PRAYING THAT SHE PICKS US.

I haven’t done this yet. This one feels different. I WANT this one. I feel like I NEED this one. I DESERVE this one. (Yeah, do you hear the whiney kid-in-the-candy-aisle kickin’ in? She’s here!) With the other adoption situations that we’ve been presented with, I’ve gotten excited, but I never thought: This is TOTALLY it. I never actually prayed, “Look, here’s the situation: I really want this one. Please, please, please can we have it? Please can this be The One and have Birth Mom pick us, k? It’s everything we’ve prayed for. This MUST be it!” No, I’ve been a good patient girl (OK, not really), and just prayed more for my acceptance if things didn’t go our way. (Is that a sign that I must’ve known DEEP DOWN that it wasn’t “The One? Whereas with this one I’m just BEGGING that it be The One and make it so!)

So, I’ve tried to push all doubts from my mind. We are, again, one of 10 families in the running for Birth Mom to choose. We are family #3 in the stack (just based on how long we’ve been in child search). So, there are two families’ books above ours, two families who have waited a tad longer, but she can still pick any family 1-10. Yes, so there’s still only a 10% chance that we’ll get picked. [whiney] BUTIWAHNIT.

Finally, last night, after we put the boys to bed, I gave in to the doubt. And then it became a whole discussion of faith. I started crying to Mike that really, if we – obviously – will get The One that is intended for us, then what’s the point of even praying that this be The One?! We’ll get The One whether we pray for it or not, right? (I realize that I’m watering everything down and that obviously there is point to prayer, but in the depths of my dark realization that after this week of praying and pleading and petitioning….I still might not get my way). I even start questioning the whole process: Am I being selfish asking for this specific thing? Do I not DESERVE it? I don’t ask for much personally, so come on! But we do have two healthy children already, so who am I to deserve another? Is this the equivalent of me asking that our very comfortable income suddenly double? (Which I’d never do). But am I being greedy? Maybe I don’t deserve to have three healthy kids including boys AND a girl.

Mike’s most comforting comment was the reminder that with each adoption situation that we’ve seriously thought about, they’ve gotten better. Every single one has seemed better than the last. So, IF this one, isn’t The One, then it just means that there’s actually one even better out there.

“So?” I grumble, folding my arms like an attitude-stricken-teenager. “I want this one. I don’t want those other ones. How could there be one more perfect than this?”

“But we’ll only know about those other ones if this one doesn’t work out,” he says.

“So, what are you saying?” I snap. “You don’t want this one to work out?”

“No,” he calmly assures me, “I’m praying that this is The One, also. And I WILL be disappointed if it doesn’t work out, but I know it means that there’s something better still out there.”

Yeah, yeah, Mr. Trusting-Oh-Faithful-One. I know that in my HEAD, it’s just hard to accept it in my heart.

Unfortunately, in the middle of my tantrum-emotional-outburst, Matthew wandered into the kitchen.

“Mommy, are you sad?” He asks quietly.

“I’m OK, kiddo. Just…tired and a little frustrated.” I didn’t really know how else to explain it.

Then Mike adds, “Mom’s just having a hard time figuring out what God wants.”

“Oh!” Matthew says, like OF COURSE, I should’ve known! “Well, yeah, God IS hard to understand.” Then my little mini-philosopher wanders back down the hall to his room.

A couple minutes later, as Mike and I continue to talk in the kitchen, I hear singing coming from the boys’ room. Matthew is singing – at the top of his lungs – one of my favorite songs, “I’m Yours.” It’s a Jason Mraz hit but was also covered by my favorite (a capalla) group Straight No Chaser and THAT version mixes “I’m Yours” with the Hawaiian (Israel Kamakawiwo'ol’e’s) version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It’s pretty much musical magic. (When I was in wallowing in the pit of post-partum depression, the second Mike got home from work, I used to go in the backyard and listen to Israel K’s song on repeat while trying to push out every last tear of grief…I never really ran out though). Essentially, it’s a song that – especially when sung by my six-year-old – can warm my heart and bring me to tears without fail (in a GOOD way).

I wander down the hall and see Matthew sitting up in bed. As soon as he sees me the singing stops and he grins. “I just thought I could sing it to help Zach fall asleep, and it did! And then I thought, ‘Hey! If I sing it loud enough mommy can hear too and it will make her happy.’ Did it work?!”

“Yes, it did.” I give him a hug and whisper, “You’re such a sweet boy.”

Matthew acts coy and says, “Well, you’re just going to make my heart fill up with love and explode, Mom.”

I know if this Birth Mom doesn’t pick us it will hurt. I know if this Birth Mom doesn’t pick us it will be OK. I know that I’m more than blessed already and anything else will just be sprinkles on the cake. (My cake already has LOTS of icing). But I would like some sprinkles too.