adoption · family

All The Feels #heart

Last year, my 2016 Mother’s Day was difficult.

Tee and I spend every Sunday from May through November at the Catonsville Farmers Market.  Which I love.  However – any farmers market is a hot bed of pregnant women and young mothers.  Last year, when I was an Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting – and had been for over two years –  I spent the entirety of the market wishing others a happy mother’s day to others and then desperately seeking reassurance from the universe that Our Baby was coming.

Because it felt like Our Baby would NEVER EVER EVER COME.

Now, Our Baby is home.  And he’s sweet and smart and wonderful.  And I feel a tremendous amount of joy just being at the farmers market, watching Teddy crawl around and climb into vegetable crates and (oops) eat fistfuls of dirt out of a pepper plant.

But today – sitting at market, watching Teddy, and surreally receiving happy mother’s day greetings from everyone I saw – I couldn’t help thinking of last year.  Of how sincerely desperate and sad I felt.  Because, while Teddy was completely and totally worth the wait – that period of sadness and longing was no less painful because of the wonderfulness I have now.  It was heart-wrenching to be a wannabe mom waiting for Her Baby.

As a member of the DPS, I always have an awareness on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day of people who are feeling the pain of being without a living parent.  But this year, I wish I could find all the moms-waiting-for-Their-Baby in the world and give them a hug.  Even knowing that if the mom of a ten-month-old had tried to console me last Mother’s Day, I would have kicked her in the shins pretty hard.

Anyway – today, on my first mother’s-day-as-a-mother, I am joyful and grateful for all my blessings.  And I am filled with empathy for those still waiting for Their Baby, and I wish I could fill them with the faith that I could not grasp on all my mother’s days as an Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting.

Oh – and thank you, sweet Teddy, for giving me my faith back.  ❤

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adoption

#heart #heart #heart

The month of March is an emotional roller coaster every year.

There are lots of birthdays in March – Tee, two of my nieces, and my dad and my nana, both deceased.  The anniversary of my dad’s death is also in March, and that’s a heavy day each year.

So, there’s a lot to be happy about.  And there are days that are really hard.

This year we added another significant date to the month – the date Teddy’s adoption was finalized in Baltimore County Court!11245657_1608710202730350_919356414_n

I’ve been to family court in Baltimore City and County many times.  Several times, I’ve been there with the privilege of witnessing a child adopted into their forever family.  Other times I was there for less joyous, more stressful situations.  But early this month, I was there so MY son could be legally adopted into HIS forever family.

It was incredible, and also insignificant.  Teddy’s been ours, truly, since the moment he was born.  He is ours and we are his.  But my eyes of course filled with tears as the judge held him and read the adoption decree aloud.

We spent years waiting for Teddy.  Throughout that wait, I constantly prayed for patience and acceptance and for the ability to trust the timing of my life.  The universe did not disappoint.

adoption · family · parenting

Be The Person You Want Your Kid To Look Up To #heart #body

So I have a son now.14812631-toys-teddy-bear-stock-vector-cartoon

I know – it’s incredible.  There are no words.

Life is very different.  And it’s causing me to think a lot about my habits.

Today, I had a TV show on in the background while I was feeding and burping my little teddy bear.  When we were done with snuggly second breakfast time, I noticed that his eyes kept travelling to the computer screen.  And as much as I love Jane The Virgin, I don’t want my infant son to be watching television.  And I definitely don’t want my teenaged son to watch as much TV as I’ve been watching lately.

There are so many bad habits I don’t want Teddy to learn from me: eating junk food, getting stresse13501638_1112395762154994_8178056772099331938_nd, binge-watching TV shows mindlessly.

And there are so many GOOD habits I want him to learn from me!  Exercise.  Healthy eating.  Mindful living.

Is it problematic if the only reason I get motivated to work on a habit is to
be a good role model for Teddy?  I don’t think so.  I think that any impetus to get motivated is a good one.

I’m the same person I was before Teddy came home.  The difference is that now I want to be better.  For him.  Which I imagine is what every parent wants.

I heard this said recently: “Your kids will never listen to what you say, but they can’t help but imitate who you are.”  I am definitely convinced that this is true.

adoption

The Adoption Wait: An Update #body

Before we moved to the new farm – years before I even knew there would be a new farm – I used to run by our farmhouse all the time on my evening jogs.

I barely remember it now.  In fact, I only remembered this fact after we’d been at the new farm for a few months.  Usually, when I’m going for a run, I leave the house and I jog north on the NCR Trail, toward New Freedom.  (Yum – Bonkey’s!  Running in the direction of ice cream is always a good idea.)  One day, instead of running north, I started to head south on the trail.  I ran about a mile down until I reached a parking lot, and then turned to head back to our house.

The deja vu hit me as soon as I started to run in the direction of the new farm.  I realized that, years ago, I’d come to this parking lot several times a week to go running.  Then, as I got back to the new farm, I remembered how often I used to run by it.  There were horses here, at that time; and I loved that the house sat right on the trail, and I daydreamed about being able to roll out of the house and immediately hop on the trail for a bike ride.

That was years ago, and I never would have dreamed that one day I’d live in that beautiful white farmhouse I would run by every day.

You never know where your life is going to take you.

The adoption wait continues, and it sucks.

I’ve been making my peace with the wait, day by day – but in general, it sucks.

My life has taken me right here, to this moment, and it will continue to carry me through until I get to the moment when Our Baby comes home.

When I get overcome with sadness and stress – which happens – I think about running by this house, and how I never would have dreamed I’d ever live here.

We don’t know which ways our life will go and when.  That’s why we have faith.

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adoption · self-care

Seeking The Faith #heart #soul

The other day, a lady I barely knew walked up to me in a room full of people and bluntly said, “Hey, did you get a baby yet?”

I said no softly, and the woman walked away.

That was it.  The entire interaction.

My wise and gentle friend was at my side, and she took my hand intuitively as I started to cry.

At first, I was angry.  How can people be so insensitive?  I’ve had my feelings hurt many times throughout the last 17 months (and the 30 years before that), but a lot of the time, it’s not the other person’s fault.  Unless you’re also experiencing the adoption wait, you don’t know which comments could hit a nerve for an adoptive-parent-in-waiting.  And when you’re oversensitive like me, other people are inevitably going to hurt your feelings unintentionally and unpredictably, through no fault of their own.

However, this interaction made me mad.  This one seemed obvious.  It shouldn’t take a mind reader to know that you shouldn’t ask a question like that so bluntly – right?

I knew my frustration and hurt were justified.  That’s a dangerous zone for me – when my negative feelings are justified, I can get swallowed whole by them.

Luckily, my wise and gentle friend was right there with me to help me through that moment.  We talked quietly, in the same spot where the drive-by unintentional cruelty had occurred.  We talked about how that woman served a purpose for me.  Maybe it was a prompt for my friend and I to have a heartfelt talk about the pain I’m experiencing these days.

“Or maybe,” my wise and gentle friend suggested, “the universe is trying to tell you about something you are missing.  Like patience.”

As soon as she said that, I knew that I was missing something, but that it wasn’t patience I lacked.  slide-9-lamott-quote

It’s faith.

I am lacking in faith.

I don’t have faith that things are going to work out the way they’re meant to work out.  I don’t have faith that everything’s going to be okay.

Anne Lamott says, “The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.”  That quote keeps swimming around in my mind, and I’m not sure exactly what it means.  It will probably have to rumble around in my head for a while longer before I truly understand it.1394365_10151852322103719_2046454664_n

For now, what I understand is that the future of my family is uncertain, and that my absence of faith is causing me pain and hurt.  I’m not very religious, but I do pray.  And lately, my prayers are all mixed-up versions of the same message: “Please fill my heart with intuition, faith, and trust.  Please, let Our Baby come home today – or, if not today, then grant me the strength and the serenity to wait another day.”  Logically, I know everything will be okay – but in my heart, I need some faith.  ASAP.

adoption

Telling Myself Stories #Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting

I’ve always had a vivid imagination and a strong sense of romance and story.  I believe in happy endings and fairy tales.  I believe in magic.  If something “would be a good story,” I go for it.  I love hearing stories about how people met.  I love telling myself stories of how things are going to work out.

This storytelling tendency may be one of the quirks of being a writer – like carrying a journal everywhere you go, or ordering special pens from Staples.  (Pilot EasyTouch Fine Point.  Perfect.)  Or it could be part of being human.  Brene Brown spoke in one of her talks about how the brain loves a good story; our brains latch onto stories, regardless of whether or not they’re true.

When I tell the story of my life, it’s a serie118fef0ea22d12fe20155b1a71dfca82s of meant-to-be moments -the good stuff and the not-so-good stuff.  I graduated early from college, so my dad got to see me give my graduation speech.  I spent a weekend in DC with my AmeriFriends, so I was together with my sister and my brother on the day my dad died.  I stayed in Maryland to be close to my baby nephew and met my better half two weeks after his birth day.  Everything makes sense.  Everything has rhythm and reason and rhyme.

This story-telling has made things really difficult during the adoption wait.  Because I always have a story in my head about how things are going to fall into place.

We’re waiting to hear about a possible placement, and it’s three days before Christmas!  The baby will come home on Christmas Eve.  My mother, my sister, Tee, and I will scramble all around to gather together what we need, and we’ll spend Christmas Day cuddled up and warm inside our home, with a precious baby girl being passed around like the best gift ever.

It’s Father’s Day, and I can feel my dad’s presence.  My dad is working together with the universe to bring Our Baby home.  The baby will probably be born on Father’s Day – or come home on Father’s Day – or we’ll get the call on Father’s Day.  Definitely something like that.  And the baby will be like a gift from my dad. 

storytelling-instagram-wersm-657x360This weekend, I’m flying to Houston for a friend’s wedding.  But – maybe I won’t be able to go.  The baby will come home early this week, and I’ll have to call my friend and share the news – and I’ll be somewhat disappointed, but it will be completely overshadowed by my joy. 

My baby niece will be born any day now!  And we’re waiting to hear about a placement.  If they were born during the same day/week/month, it would be so wonderful; they’d be as close as I was with my cousins growing up, and we’d take adorable photos of the two of them side by side.

My mom is in Europe, and we’re waiting to hear about a potential placement.  This baby was born weeks ago; if this is Our Baby, I’ll trace back and I’ll remember what I was doing and thinking and feeling on the day Our Baby was born.  This baby will come home, and I’ll call my brother and my sister; my sister will come visit and I’ll cry with happiness the whole time.  We’ll FaceTime with my mom, all together, so that she can see the baby; and then she’ll fly back to Maryland and come straight to our house to meet the baby.  (And to take over our kitchen making sauce, meatballs, lasagna, and sausage and peppers.)

The list is endless.  There are hundreds of stories I’ve told myself, and my brain latches on to those stories, as brains do.  The most dangerous stories I’ve told myself involve things I can do to make the adoption happen faster.  One of the stories I’ve made up is that if the baby’s room is ready and I’ve practiced diapering, the baby will come home.  One of the stories I’ve made up says that if I am peaceful and content and serene, the universe will know I am ready and Our Baby will come home.

Sometimes, we are the authors of our stories – and sometimes we’re not.  I can write the story of how I live my life today, but I can’t write the story of when Our Baby will come home.  Which sucks.  But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a beautiful story.  10387547_820576321357818_237653967991284127_n

adoption · self-care

#Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting #hopes #woes #strategies

Sometimes I find it difficult to balance being positive and grateful with being honest and authentic.

Positive & Grateful KEM says that you have to trust the timing of your life.  Our Baby is coming home to us, and Our Baby will come at the perfect time.B_WV0x7VEAAkOrI

Honest & Authentic KEM says that waiting is really hard and that being patient has never been one of her strengths.

I think there is merit to each of these approaches, but I find that I am happiest when I choose positivity and gratitude.  Subsequently, I will start with my hopes today.

Hope Number Two: Tee and I are insanely grateful to all the family and friends who’ve passed onfour-hearts-7529657 clothing and other baby accoutrements to us!  I’ve spent many happy hours going through adorable baby clothes and trying to get things organized and tidy in Our Baby’s room.  The most recent gift is a bassinet from my sister-in-law and my brother – the bassinet that my wonderful nephew and my three wonderful nieces all slept in as newborn babies.  I can’t think of anything more special.

Woe Number Ten:  This feeling that everything in life is on hold.

It’s so hard not to think of things in terms of “when Our Baby comes” or “after Our Baby comes.”  I’ll think about meeting up with an old friend from out-of-state, and I’ll think, “We should make a plan to get together, after the baby comes.”  “We’ll throw a big adoption party, after the baby comes.”  There are bigger things, too – Tee and I are conthere-is-only-one-way-to-happiness-and-that-is-to-cease-worrying-7sidering finding a new house and relocating the farm, both of which seem daunting to do before Our Baby comes.

Of course, this isn’t the way we want to think about things.  I want to keep myself in the present moment – I want to enjoy life right now, not just anticipate something wonderful that’s going to happen in a few months, weeks, or days.  But – it’s a woe that I’m struggling with.

Survival Strategy # 2: Creating rituals around problem situations.

So I figured out that Friday afternoons and evenings are difficult for me.

When we get e-mails about potential adoptive placements, they usually come between 9 and 5 on weekdays.  On Fridays at three-ish, if I haven’t gotten any adoption e-mails, then I know that Our Baby is most likely not coming home anytime in the next 72 hours.  I get real sad when that realization washes over me.

When you identify a problem, you are empowered to solve it.  With the help of my fabulous older sister and Tee, I’ve decided to begin a new ritual – Friday afternoon adventures.  Every Friday until Our Baby comes home, Tee and I are going to plan an outing that would not be possible to do with Our Baby.  There’s not a lot on our list – most of our day-to-day activities are going to include Our Baby.  We started brainstorming ideas while tubing on Sunday, and tubing is definitely on the list – we decided that it wouldn’t be safe to tube with Our Baby until they were at least a few years old!  Climbing is on the list, too, but we struggled to come up with more ideas.  I’ll have to do some polling to come up with more suggestions.  I’m hoping we won’t need too many.