I’ll be the first to tell you, that when it comes to public speaking, I think I’m pretty darn good. It’s a bit of a gift. Growing up doing musical theater, performing in choirs, participating in music competitions definitely helped my self-confidence when it comes to standing in front of a crowd. I still get a little nervous but nothing uncontrollable. Mike has even gotten quite natural in front of a group. No, he’ll never be the ham that I am – and he better not! There’s no way I’m sharing too much of the spotlight – but considering that on our Engaged Encounter retreats he can share personal stories in front of 70 people, it is pretty impressive.
Last night, we got to go to Amara, our adoption agency, and share our story and answer questions at one of the Information nights. This is the first thing that you do when considering adopting through Amara. I was SO looking forward to it. We even got to bring the kiddos – who THOROUGHLY enjoyed the play room, honestly it looked like 20 kids had played back there, but no, it was just our three.
The social worker introduced us to the group -- probably 20 people – and we introduced the kids who then ran out of the room (literally) to get back to playing. We shared our story – why we chose to adopt, why we went with an Open Adoption (continuing contact with the birth mom), what were some of our fears, what have the struggles been, the joys etc. I feel like we did a decent job presenting the information. We answered all the questions moderately well and thoroughly, but honestly, I just can’t shake the feeling that I blew it. The second we walked out of the room I was full of regret: thinking of things that I said that I probably shouldn’t have and thinking of things that I’d wanted to say but forgot. I was SO disappointed with how I did. And, I’ll admit, with my healthy self-confidence, I’m not used to feeling that way after a public speaking sort of event.
My two biggest regrets: I bragged WAY too much about how awesome Mia is. We did try to put it in a “we know that this doesn’t always work out this way, but…” sort of way, but I still feel like I came off as all sorts of our-birth-mom-is-better-than-the-one-you’ll-get-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah! But it IS TRUE, we did luck out/get immensenly blessed with a birth mom who’s fun and pretty darn down-to-earth, put-together, etc. But I certainly didn’t need to go on and on about her awesomeness as much as I did.
My second HUGE regret: I didn’t share my favorite story of pretty much all time. The story that will permanently be etched in my memory, that I usually can’t tell without getting choked up. That would be: the night we’d brought Kayliana home from the hospital, the boys sat in the rocking chair and held her, rocked her, and sang her lullabies. (We even got a great photo of the moment – it’s framed and on the wall in the upstairs hallway). Matthew looked up at me at me and said, “I like her MORE than love, like I don’t even know the word for it.” I immediately wrote it down – not that I ever could’ve forgotten that moment. But, yet, I forgot to share it last night! What’s wrong with me??! How could I NOT think to share that with a group of people trying to decide whether or not they’re going to adopt a child?? Are you kidding me?!! ARGH.
I suppose I could’ve told them that Kayliana is just like any other child – we love her like the boys (but also differently, just like you do with each individual child). She is a perfectly ‘normal’ toddler…although she is interesting in how she expresses her rage. Once, she tried to angrily throw my left butt cheek. Yesterday, out of anger, she ANGRILY climbed into the washing machine. Really? You’re mad, so you’re going to climb into the washer? Makes tons of sense. Last night, for the 2nd night in a row (thanks to the Ferber sleep techniques that we’ve been using), she slept through the night!!! But then has been nothing but cranky this morning – pushing me when I went into her room, she dumped her entire bowl of cereal on the floor and then smacked me on the head when I was down cleaning it up. Deep breath. Yep, we love her like she’s ours…because she is.
We did have a pretty funny moment last night: the kids were out playing in the playroom and Kayli suddenly realized that we weren’t there. We could hear her little voice, “Mommy? Mommy?” Not concerned, just curious as to my whereabouts. The “mommy” got louder and then she stood in the doorway, “Mommy?” And then she saw me, “Mommy!!!” She came running into my arms. We couldn’t have planned that any better, really. I picked her up, sat her on my lap, she looked out at the crowd, smiled coyly and burped. Yep, our little princess!