*To protect the privacy of our birthparents, in this post I will use “BF” for birthfather and “BM” for birthmother.
Today Sage is one week and three days old. She is so alert for a newborn which I didn’t realize until everyone who sees her says, “She is so alert for a newborn”. When she wakes up to eat she opens her eyes big and gives me plenty of “uninterrupted eye contact” (Baby Mama). I like to think her curiosity comes from BF. The times I have spent with him I have discovered that he is very inquisitive. For example, during BM’s labor, he and I were looking at the fetal monitoring (baby’s heart rate and mom’s contractions) and he quickly learned how to read the graphs and pointed out patterns of BM’s labor progress. I can already tell that Sage has this quality.
I would like to say that our lives have changed drastically because of Sage, it’s changed but like Doug says “doesn’t it just feel normal that we have a baby now?”. It does feel normal. I think all the years of waiting and wanting is the reason it feels normal. We were prepared for Sage. A lot of my friends who have adopted kept telling me along the way “it’s hard now, but it will be worth it when you have that baby in your arms”. At my hardest moments in waiting I never thought that I would say those words BUT in the quiet moments during night feedings my thoughts are “it was worth it”. Sage is our baby and BF and BM are our birthparents. I’m amazed and glad I didn’t give up.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about BF and BM and what they have done for us. There aren’t enough words or ways to thank them. I love to brag to my family and friends about how awesome they are. I even have friends say things to the effect of “I don’t know Sage’s birthmother but I love her”. Here is just a small example of how awesome BM is, during labor and right before she was about to push, she looked at me square in the eyes with confidence and said to me “I want you to be the first one to hold her”. Then shortly after the birth of Sage, and I mean minutes after, everyone was crying and I looked at BM with tears of joy and tears of sadness, and again with confidence she said “BF and I will be OK.” Not only do my friends love her, but I love her too and I hope that one day Sage will love her in the same way.
We love our baby girl so much and can’t imagine life without her, because with her “it’s normal”. This is our new normal:
- Instead of taking pictures of my dog, I take pictures of Sage; at least 50 a day and try really hard to refrain from posting them all on instagram.
- Wanting to be near her at all times, whether she is asleep or awake.
- Doing dishes before bedtime because I will need bottles throughout the night.
- Thinking we can take our newborn to a movie, but as we are walking out the door she barfs everywhere and we take that as a sign not to go.
***Keep watch for Sage’s birth story in the coming week.
Our baby girl is due in 11 days. You heard me, 11 days! It is surreal that our lengthy struggle will come to an end in a matter of days. Even though we only have 11 days left, these last few weeks are proving to be the hardest stretch of our wait. Mainly because the harsh reality of adoption (that the birth parents might change their mind) can also happen in just a matter of days. So what am I doing to stay sane? or not sane, some of these things are actually making me a little crazier than usual.
– I always make sure my brows are plucked and hair is straightened, you know in case we have a late night call to the hospital. I need to look good for the pictures. I am sure pregnant woman do this too.
– I turn my phone off several times a day for an hour at a time. Pretty risky, yeah?
– I write out sappy texts to my birth parents about how much I love them and then delete them before I have a chance to send them. I have great self-restraint.
– I knit. Surprise surprise.
– I’m getting into minimalism and reading Zen Habits daily. Check it out. I mean I’ve already parted with books and softball jerseys that I’ve carted around in the last 4 moves. It’s been pretty liberating. Tomorrow I go through the medicine cabinet.
The biggest source of stress for me as I wait to adopt is my CELL PHONE. Is it charged? Do I have service? Is my voicemail box roomy? Is it on vibrate and in my pocket at work? Are my calls coming through? Do I need to do a test call again? And, if that’s not enough, I imagine various dramatic scenarios of when I finally get “the call” (as called in the adoption world when your caseworker calls you to tell you about your baby for the first time) on my cell phone from our caseworker.
No. 1, I am at work preparing a med in the small med room when my phone vibrates and I see Colleen’s name (our caseworker) on the screen, of course I answer and she tells me that my baby is being born as we speak in the very same hospital I am currently working in.
No. 2, I am on vacation in some tropical location (I dunno, Hawaii?) when I get the call that my baby has already been born, meaning I will have to catch the next flight out of there.
No. 3, My phone is dead or on silent. I miss the call. Colleen has to call Doug, he misses the call. Colleen decides to call another adoptive couple because we were too hard to get a hold of.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) when we finally got our call it didn’t fit any of those scenarios, BUT I will say it was just as dramatic!
Stay tuned so you can hear about “our call”!
Doug and I are constantly saying that we really need to relish this time together before the baby comes. We have done a lot of things in the last seven years that we wouldn’t have been able to do if we had kids, but I wouldn’t say we “relished it”. So, with that said, here is our Before-Baby-Bucketlist (in no particular order):
1. Go on a trip. Not just a trip to Utah to visit our family, but a trip that we won’t be able to take after baby. After brainstorming a few places, I came up with New Orleans. Doesn’t a trip eating local cuisine and cruising on bikes sound awesome?
2. Run a race. We could probably train for a race with a baby, but the sleep deprivation might interfere. In September we will be running the Big Cottonwood Canyon Half Marathon in honor of a dear friend who recently died from cancer.
3. Eat out a lot. Let’s face it, I will probably do this even when I do have a kid.
I thought my bucket list would be WAY longer…I guess this means I’m ready to have a baby?
I used to feel like I had to justify my answer to this question to strangers and family and friends alike. There have been so many times when I have confided in someone willing to listen to my struggle who then say “Why don’t you just try adopting through CYFD? There are a ton of kids who need homes.” While I agree with the latter part of this statement I am always surprised by the first. Foster care and adopting through the state are not the same as “adoption”. When I hear this my instinct it to immediately fire back with “Why don’t you try adopting or becoming a foster-parent? There are so many kids…”, but I don’t. My reason for this is because you don’t have to be infertile to foster or adopt a child through the state; anyone can do it! On the flip side, “traditional adoption” doesn’t require you to be infertile either, but I will say it is probably the preferred path of someone who wants to start a family just like all the rest of the people in this world who can just get pregnant when they want to start theirs.
I will say that fostering and adopting through the state is a very noble path and I have nothing against it. Doug and I just know it is not the right fit for us. We have had over 50+ hours of training, home visits and meetings with CYFD to make this decision. Here are some of the reasons why:
- I am selfish. Just like someone who gets pregnant I want to be the very first (or second or even third) person to hold my baby. I want to be there from the beginning to change the first diapers, give the first bath, see the first smile, and hear her say “dad” for the first time. Could you imagine carrying a baby for 9 months and not seeing your child until its 5th birthday? What do you think it would feel like to miss out on those 5 years?
- I want the birth mom to choose us. It is very special to me that the birthparents can choose who parent their child. They will choose us because they trust that we will do the best we can. Much thought and intent goes into this life-changing decision. A decision like this can only bond someone in a positive way, for life.
- I need someone to advocate for me. I have never adopted and am inexperienced in the intricacies that adoption bring. I know that it will not be easy and because of this I need a caseworker to hold my hand along the way; just like a doctor or nurse would during an entire pregnancy. I have no doubt that my agency will do just that, I know this because they already have. During our time with CYFD we realized very quickly that there was no one there to advocate for us.
- I want my child to know that they were placed for adoption with the intention of love. I want them to know exactly why they were adopted. I don’t think I am capable of explaining to them that it could have happened in any other way, i.e. a series of negative events that brought them into the system. I just don’t have the strength or emotional disguise for this.
While some don’t agree with my reasons, that’s ok. It took me a long time to understand that I am not selfish for wanting to start a family in the way I have chosen.
Thanks for reading.
Today marks one year of waiting to adopt, and…we are still waiting. Better things are coming in year two!…Also, excuse my boring monotone voice. I desperately need to work on my video presence.
Adoption hits close to home to Doug and I, obviously. Yes, we are trying to adopt, but before us there were others. Doug has an older sister who was adopted at birth (I hope she is ok with me sharing this). His parents have been open about the fact that she is adopted and I believe she has known from an early age. I am so thankful that I have an example of adoption this close, not only do I feel closer to his parents because of it, but I feel closer to his sister too.
Today I called Doug’s dad to thank him for the birthday money he sent me. Our conversation turned toward adoption, as most of my conversations typically do. I asked him a few details of when they adopted Doug’s sister. I will share a little of what I got.
Denny and Judy (D&J just like us) had been married for 8 years before they had any kids. They were unable to have kids of their own and eventually decided to adopt. Denny says that they waited around two and a half years from the time that they started the adoption process to when they finally were able to welcome their baby girl into their home. I hope I don’t have to wait that long. They only had 2 weeks notice before she came home, when they got the call she was about 4 weeks old, and then she finally came home when she was 6 weeks old.
The sweetest part of the conversation was when they he told me about getting her nursery ready. They had prepared a gender-neutral nursery for her. A friend made them a lamp with her name on it. Someone donated a crib. And Denny worked many hours straight until he got all the wall-paper up. I can imagine the emotions they were feeling when they put together this nursery, hope for a baby and fear for the unknown of if and when.
As I write this I realize I have so many more questions for them about their adoption, check back for part two.
I thought I should post a pic, because let’s face it, blogs without pics aren’t as good.
As I have been waiting for our adoption placement I feel that I have lost all control of our adoption, meaning I don’t control when or how our adoption happens. I am completely dependent right now on LDS family services and their ability to get me a baby, their abilities are pretty limited. So, because of this I feel I need to take matters into my own hands and try and find a baby on my own. In case you are wondering, no, I won’t be going up to pregnant girls asking them if they have considered adoption. I have a few other ideas instead:
- Registering with Parent Profiles. PP is like facebook for birthmothers and adoptive couples. It is a small monthly fee to post on their website.
- Learn more about foster care. I am not 100% on board with foster care, but am planning on attending an orientation next. It wouldn’t hurt to learn more about it, cause who knows, it might be a good fit.
- Tell everyone I know that I am adopting. When we first met with our caseworker a few years ago she mentioned that we should make “pass along” cards to hand out. I don’t really like the idea of self-promotion, but I feel like it wouldn’t hurt. Honestly tho, I am the type to make them and then never hand them out.
Those are all the ideas I have for now.
I think I may be making waiting for a baby harder on myself than it needs to be. Things that I do that I should stop doing:
- Every time I go into Target or Old Navy I go straight to the baby stuff.
- In our spare bedroom, I have a corner of baby stuff that I look at and get excited to use…a stroller, car seat, clothes, toys, and blankets.
- I tell people that it is hard and I am sick of waiting, rather than telling them that I am excited and hopeful.
- I check my adoption profile often (when I say often, I mean about 5+ times a day).
- When I am at work (I am a school nurse at an elementary where it is 95% hispanic and the dark skinned bi-lingual kids are adorable), I imagine and hope that my kids will be as cute as my students.
- I only hang out with friends who have kids (I love all my friends who have kids, but a friend without kids might change the conversation a bit).
- I live my life in terms of “We can/can’t do that because we might have a baby then”.
So, I am going to try really hard to do the opposite of what I have been doing to see if I become less obsessed with adoption and more obsessed with living my life.