Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Simple Times

This blog has been sitting in my draft folder for a few weeks.  I usually don't sit on posts for that long.  I'm not sure why I'm nervous about this one.  But it's something that has been on my mind a lot, and I finally decided to publish. Out of my brain, and into the blogosphere...

Image courtesy of Andrew d'Entremont

Sometimes I wish this could last forever. This stretch of time where I'm everything she needs; I'm the center of her world and she's the center of mine. When she's sad or upset, a hug or a kiss from me will usually do the trick, and all is right again. But at some point, she's going to grow out of this stage. And I won't be all she needs anymore.

We have an open adoption, and Aria has a relationship with her birth mother. And at some point, there will be questions that I can't answer. She may feel hurt, curious, angry, sad, confused, or a combination of all of these things. I think about this a lot, even now. She will have a right to these emotions, and I will give her space to feel them. It's impossible to tell when or to what degree she will feel these things, and my hope is that when she does, she never forgets how much she's loved.

We're already showing her pictures of the adoption, and telling her stories about it. But right now it's just words and images that she can't comprehend. Will there be a pivotal moment, a sudden realization that she's adopted? Will it be gradual, or just become a part of who she is without remembering when she was first told? I don't know and I hope I'm doing this right. I hope I don't share too little, or too much. Too soon, or too late.

My biggest fear, is that she will question her "belongingness". I hope she never doubts herself, who she is to me, and to our family. She is my rainbow after the storm, my wish come true, my greatest hope and dream come to fruition. She is my whole world and my love for her is boundless, and it makes absolutely no difference that she wasn't born from my belly. She grew in my heart and I love her more than anything in the world. I never want her to doubt that.

But despite all of that, she will eventually grow up. Hugs and kisses won't be the answer to every heartache. She may want to explore her heritage, find her birth father, search for biological siblings, and try to patch together the tapestry of her ancestry. And I'll support her along the way. It's my responsibility as her adoptive mother to encourage her to find the answers to whatever questions she may have, and advocate for her no matter what.

Adoption is beautiful, and I'm so grateful. I have faith that everything will turn out alright, and that love will carry us through it all. But I can't help but worry for her. I want the absolute best for her, and I will do the best that I can, as her mother. I may not be perfect, but I hope I get this right.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Listen Up!: For Waiting Mothers

Image Courtesy of Elton Harding on Flickr
Motherhood is complicated.

It's messy, stressful, and difficult. And it can also be very lonely.  Especially for those mothers who are still waiting for their children.

Do you remember the Friend's episode, when Chandler is talking about Monica and their struggle to start a family?  He says "She's a mother, without a baby."

So many mothers, and fathers, are in this position. They know in their heart that they are already a mother or father. They have made space. They have carved out a section of their heart and soul for a baby that hasn't yet come.

And waiting to fill that space is one of the most painful things anyone can endure.

I adopted my daughter last year after 5 years of infertility. I wondered, would I be surprised? Would the love I felt be something brand new?

For me, it wasn't. It was profound and deep and wonderful and so beautiful, but I was not surprised by it. And I think I know why.

I had loved her all along.  I had been waiting for her.  My heart had a space just for her, waiting to be filled.  And once she came, and my heart filled up, it wasn't new. The love was there all along. It just finally had somewhere to go.

And this is what made infertility so painful for me. I had so much love to give. I had opened up so much of my heart for this child, and the waiting and wondering if she would ever come was the hardest thing I've ever experienced.

I hate that so many of my friends, and those in the infertility community, are still in limbo. Wondering if their love will have somewhere to go. If they will ever be fulfilled. If their heart will ever feel whole again.

What kills me is knowing that for some, it won't. Infertility treatment is so expensive and draining in every sense. Adoption is even more expensive. For many families, their desire to have a child is completely dependent on the size of their bank account, and this is heartbreaking.

Families are important. These mothers and fathers without a child are important. Their story matters. Their pain matters. And unfortunately it's a fact that infertility is often seen as an "optional" state.

But it's not optional for us to want a child. It's inherent. It's in our culture and DNA. It's a huge part of who we are and who we hope to become. And neglecting that part of ourselves will only cause pain, depression, and isolation.

So, it's time to Listen Up. Affordable infertility treatment, adoption tax incentives, and access to healthcare are all critical for our families. And we have the power to change this. Call your local Senator. Talk to your employer. Ask them to listen, because what you have to say is important and meaningful and will have an impact not just for yourself, but for the thousands of waiting parents with an incomplete heart.

For more information, please visit http://www.resolve.org/get-involved/

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

One Year Later

When they say time flies, it really does. Like....fast!

It's been a year already, and looking back I can hardly believe how much my life has changed in that amount of time. Or how much my baby girl has grown!  It's crazy!

I love the age she's at right now.  Her personality is starting to shine through. She loves to talk to herself in the mirror, throw food off the tray of her high chair, and lick the windows.  She has two bottom teeth and the top ones will make their appearance very soon!  She has taken steps by herself but still loves to crawl; she gets around faster that way. And she loves to cuddle with her mom and play with her dad!

We had her birthday party the weekend before Easter, and it turned out well except that both Aria and I were sick and didn't have much energy that day. But it was so nice seeing all of our friends and family there to celebrate her first birthday with us. She received so many presents and new toys, more than she has room for but I have to admit, I love the mess!

Now that she's a year old, we've started to make a point of telling Aria her adoption story a few days each week. Of course she is still too young to understand, but I want her to be familiar with the words. We have a few adoption/infertility books that we read to her as well (our faves are Sweet Moon Baby and Wish).

It's a little awkward sometimes because I feel like I'm sharing a big secret but she has no idea what I'm talking about! I'm sure she will start to understand soon enough, and the word adoption will be part of her vocabulary. But it will take time for the meaning behind that word to really sink in.

My hope is that she will know we loved her before we even met her, and that she may not have come from my body, but I still love her as if she did. Being adopted doesn't change any of that. She is so very special and her family loves her to pieces! She is absolutely the greatest gift I have ever and will ever receive in my entire life.

Aria's smile and laugh make everything better! We are so very grateful!