Sunday, October 27, 2013

I've been thinking....

So let me start with a strange feeling that came over me.  Then I might go back and explain where I think it came from...although I'm not sure it matters.  In the middle of the night Friday night (or rather very early Saturday morning), I woke up and began planning how I could help children this Halloween who would not have the kind of special experience that I would make sure (have already made sure) my kids would have.  I had a dream about a shelter for foster children, orphans who had no place to go.  Jason (my husband) and I were there and we took home 2 children, a teenage boy and an elementary aged girl, just to take care of until they found homes.  I had such an intense need to help in my dream.  As I laid in bed after I awoke from this dream, I felt shame because one of my big worries going into the weekend was how I would get to the mall to get the boots I had been eye-ing.   I knew I had to do something. And my half-asleep brain could only think about Halloween, about so many children who would not get to decorate pumpkins.  So I hatched a plan at 2:30 in the morning to bring pumpkins and decorating accessories to either the children's shelter outside of town or the domestic violence shelter in town.  After an hour of planning in my head of where I would buy things, where I would go, what I would say...I finally fell back to sleep.

I woke up Saturday morning to a busy morning.   Jackson had a soccer game, and his birth-grandparents were coming to see him play.  We also had park time planned and lunch after that.  Surprisingly, my mid-night planning did not leave me.  It kept rising to the surface.  So, while the kids played with grandparents at the park, I got on the phone and called the shelter.  They had 5 children there, and I was assured they would love to decorate pumpkins.  When our lunch was over and the kids were (finally) down for naps, I left on my mission.  I was compelled.  I had to do it this weekend, I just had to.  So I did.  I shopped, I dropped the stuff off, was thanked by the staff, and I drove away.

Here's the thing, as I drove away, my mind went to what these poor children in transition would do with these pumpkins?  Who would take cutesy pictures of them with their pumpkins, post those pictures for friends and family to adore, and store them in multiple places to make sure the memories were kept forever?  No one would.  No one held them in one held their stories.  This is the tragedy, the heart ache that kept me up in the middle of the night.  These children have no one to hold their experiences, their joys, their firsts, their lives.  No one.

My children will have costumes and parties and pumpkins and crafts and pictures and we will talk about it for weeks.  And when they are 10, we'll talk about when they were 3 and were so cute saying trick or treat.  And when they are 20, we'll talk about how mom was a goof and dressed up as Eeyore and they laughed at me.  And when they are 30 and have their own children to take trick or treating, we will reminisce together about our Halloween adventures and about what beautiful children they were, and how blessed I am to be their mother.  I hold their stories.  They hold mine.  No child should be left with no one to hold their stories.

So, daily, I cry.  My heart aches.  As I write, tears stream down my face.  I know I have to do more.  I don't know what more is yet.  But I will be in touch with the shelter, and I will find out what they need.  Surprisingly, I work with foster children stories every day in my line of work, and I don't often feel this overwhelmed with sadness...or actually, I do.  I just don't feel so compelled to do something like this.  I think this all began with the story of the teenage boy who so publicly begged, he begged, for a family.  Then I read the stories of the other children, some who were so close to 18 and aging out of "the system" but still desperately wanted a family to come home to, a place to belong, a family to hold them in mind as they moved out into this big world.  No child should have to do that alone.  But so many are.  We can't adopt one now.  Maybe not ever.   Who knows what life has in store for our family.  I can assure you, though, I am going to do more for these kids than I am doing now.  I live such a selfish life where boots and pedicures and headbands for Addy and soccer practice for Jackson often dominate my mind.  It's not ok.  Not for me.  I will do more.

So, I will post cutesy pictures of my kids in costumes with adorable pumpkins in the background.  I will go on and on about the amazing energy and joy they bring to my life.  I'll even complain about how freakin' hard it is to parent these little human beings.  That's what I do, that's what they deserve - a mom to love them.  But today, this story, this post is for them...those children who may not even take the pumpkin with them to their next stops, who won't have anyone to enjoy this Halloween with them and who won't have anyone next year who will remember what this Halloween was like for them.   They deserve to have their stories told too.

So, I've been thinking....what else could we all do for them?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

With Hope, The Odds Don't Matter!

After my last post, a reader reached out to me and asked me to share her story in honor of Mesothelioma Awareness Day on September 26.  Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma 7 years ago when her daughter was 3 1/2 months old.  She was told by doctors that she would have 15 months to live.   She fought, she lived, she beat it and now she is spreading hope.  I am amazed by her story and I thought you might be too.  As I write this, I am struck by the title of MY blog, "Nurture Your Hopes."  I clung to stories of hope in my dark years of infertility and loss.  The quote under my header really held me up when things seemed so hopeless.  I was told that my husband and I had a 7% chance of conceiving a child on our own and carrying her to term.  We have Addy now (conceived with absolutely no medical support), who is 2 1/2 years old and full of LIFE!  Please visit Heather's website,  read her story and maybe spread some hope on your blog, facebook page, or whatever social networking site you find most appropriate:).  Her site is:

"Deep inside us, we have a spirit of energy and determination, a spirit that refuses to be broken - and we call this hope.  Even when life's challenges overwhelm us our hope inspires us to rise to new heights."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our Baby Boy Turned 3!

Gosh, it has been SO long since I've written.  I want to, I love to write...but to find the time and energy seems impossible.  I have never been so overwhelmed and "under water" than I have been lately.  But...enough about that!  Our baby boy is 3!  I still remember the posts I wrote (and the wonderful comments from you all) when Jackson was born....and when the papers were signed....and when I got to meet him for the first time.  In some ways it seems like it happened just last week, in other ways it seems as though I have lived a lifetime.

This boy brings out the best of me, and the worst of me!  He is 3, and he knows exactly how to push my buttons!  But look at that smile - what  a sweet boy he is!  Everyone adores him and he makes friends wherever he goes!

Jackson started preschool 2 weeks ago.  It is still surreal to me.  He goes 2 mornings a week, and there have been some tears (his and mine), but I suppose this is all part of growing up and moving forward...for both of us.  He and I are struggling with new roles - sometimes he wants to be a baby still while I just want him to leave me alone and be independent, and then sometimes he just wants to assert his individuality while I just want him to be my baby again.  This parenting thing is tough.   And I'm not sure I'm doing a good job most days.  We both keep trying, though.  And we love each other more than anything in this world, that is one thing I DO know for sure.  Since going to preschool, Jackson has become so much more affectionate.  He runs to me and holds me tight when I show up to pick him up.  He randomly kisses me and tells me he loves me.  He has begun to want to snuggle on the couch more.  He is still my baby.  He always will be.

Little Miss Addison knows that she can go to preschool when she is 3.  Sometimes she wants to stay with him, most times she likes that she gets to go with mommy.  She is doing really well with the separation and I am always amazed by her courage, strength and tenacity.  She also presents some challenges - pushing to be a "big girl" and independent, then falling apart crying and whining for long periods of time.  It is exhausting to try and keep up with her!

These 2 love each other so much.  They know they are "sister and brother" and they always want to know where the other one is.  They are as bonded as any sibling pair I have ever met.  I love to watch them when they are playing (calmly!) and talking to each other.  They say the cutest things when it's just the 2 of them:).

Jackson truly is my sunshine.  I feel so blessed to have him as my son.  I am still in touch with his birth mom and it just feels good to know that I have her "blessing" to be Jackson's mom.  She has stepped back and supports me in my role.  She loves us, but she has her own path now.  When I package up some of Jackson's art projects to send her, I am in awe that I am the one who gets to see ALL of his art projects - every single scribble, paint stroke and hand print.  He is the greatest gift.

I'm going to be really really honest (because I don't write enough so I don't know if I'll get the chance to write again), this is HARD.  Having 2 this close in age is pushing us to every single limit we have in this family.  I continue to not be the mom I hoped I would be.  I keep trying, I keep growing, and I keep loving.  I adore my family, I really do.  If you are still around, reading, I want to say thank you.  This blog is so outdated...but for good reasons!  I started out writing because I needed to put all my unused "mothering" energy towards something.  Now all that energy and ten times more is being expended in just one hour of my long days!  There is no energy left over for writing unfortunately.  There will be again someday, I just know it.  Until then, I will check in when I can.  I have so appreciated your support and love throughout these past 4 years since I started this blog.  Thank you!

Sunday, June 30, 2013


As another June passes, my heart becomes lighter.  Every June, usually sometime mid-month, the power of the month hits me.  It was June 10 that I got the positive pregnancy test that would forever change my view on hope and miracles...and grief. 

Two weeks later, on June 24, our social worker called us and left me a message saying, "I have a situation I'd like to talk with you both about." I also had a message on that same day from the nurse telling me my HCG number (after it had not doubled the 2 tests before) and saying, "These are great numbers.  Congratulations!"  I was at a meeting for work and my boss (and now very close friend) and I drove back from the meeting as I tried to make sense of all of this.  I was so sure I would lose at least one of these babies, probably both.  So, I did what any expectant mom would do...I set up a nursery and I hoped and I prayed and I did something I had become very very practiced at doing:  I waited...

You know the rest of the story.  It wasn't an easy couple of months...the hardest of my life actually.  I was perpetually sick with anxiety and worry.  I had migraines daily.  I should probably have been blissfully happy in my first trimester, preparing for my first baby to come home...but mostly I was just terrified.   Terrified to lose them.

Three years later and I'm still terrified to lose them.  I am up nights worried about them.  If they are coughing, I get sick to my stomach and can never go to sleep until I know they are peacefully asleep and well.  I can't watch  movies or shows where people's children are in danger.  I don't go to parks, play dates or outings and chat with the other moms.  I stay with my kids, stand behind them as they climb, watch them as they play and do anything and everything I can to make sure they stay safe.  My babies.

Jackson is sitting next to me as  I write. He pointed to the picture above and said, "That's my mommy!"  Wow - I was writing on this same blog 3 years ago, but the story was very different.  I dreamed of a moment like that.  He also looked over at me 5 minutes ago and said, "Mommy?" and I said, "yes?" and he said, "I love you" and then kissed my arm.  I am now the mom of this sweet, beautiful, kind, incredibly charming and funny almost-three-year-old who is not afraid to show his love and affection.  He is almost potty trained and ready to go to preschool in September.  When I take him places, he now lets me out of sight and loves to play with other kids.  When I watch him from afar, I see his body posture and he looks just like a little man.   He loves to annoy the crap out of his sister (and all of us) just to see the reaction.  He also adores tractors and trucks, especially garbage trucks.  One of his favorite activities now is art, mostly paint.  He has a creative streak that astonishes me.  I get to be his mom. 

If that wasn't enough...I am the mom of a tenacious, hard-headed, passionate, determined and insanely intelligent 2 year old baby girl who reminds me so much of myself in some ways that it is actually creepy.  She is not quite potty trained, but trying hard.  She talks like a 16 year old, I swear.  She picks up on concepts and words after hearing them once.  She loves her mommy and still has to be attached to me wherever we go.  Nursing is still her favorite activity.  She is the most active little girl I have seen in a long time, and bounces, runs, or jumps everywhere she goes...which results in lots of bumps and bruises.  She has many ideas about what clothes she should wear, what cup she wants to use and how she wants to do just about everything.  I can only hope that in my frustration and impatience, I don't squelch her beautiful self-concept or her desire to speak her mind, no matter the consequence. 

I will be honest.  The days are long, and I am not the mom I always dreamed I would be.  But they ARE the children I always dreamed they would be.  They are more.  They are everything.  Three years seems like such a short period of time - but it is literally a lifetime.  There will always be "before June 2010" and "after" in my world.  I love the "after." 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Livin' The Dream

Wow, it has been SO long since I have gotten on here to write.  My life is full.  Very very full.  It is full of things I once dreamed of, like visiting preschools (Jax will be 3 in August!), going to play dates, scheduling doctor's appointments, talking to other mommies and researching about discipline and potty training, figuring out how to get my kids to eat healthy know, the usual.  There are so many decisions to be made when you have children, so many things to consider.  Am I yelling too much?  Will he be ok with that teacher or this one?  How many days should he be in preschool?  Should we go to that play date, I don't know if we should because that one boy is a monster to them and it drives me crazy?!  Should I buy organic strawberries or can I go non-organic this one time because they are on sale for $.99 a quart?  Are they ready to potty train or will it be a disaster?  Can we handle a trip back to visit family or will it be a double disaster?  When should I finally wean Addy?  Can I handle the tantrums?  Am I doing enough crafts with them?  Are we always too busy and am I making my  kids suffer because of it?  Phew!  I could do this for paragraphs and paragraphs, but you get the idea.  So when I sit down to write, my head is swarmed and I just give up!

Let me just tell you that I have two beautiful, perfect, healthy children and for that I am so grateful.  My days feel exhausting and draining, but in the end, I am beyond blessed.  Jackson is joyful, energetic and pretty laid back. He is also very sensitive and while he doesn't get his feelings hurt often, when he does, it is epic and breaks my heart.  I see my nurturing spirit in him now.  When Addy gets really upset, he tries desperately to calm her either by reminding her of the rule she got in trouble for or trying to give her a big hug.  My heart just soars seeing his kindness - I know that must mean that, in the midst of me struggling through parenthood, I am doing some things right.   Poor Jax has had strep this week, and seeing his sad cry is just too much!  I also finally made his "My Story" Shutterfly photo book and could not be happier to finally have the basics of his adoption story written down and documented for him to read over and over again. I've been creating that book in my head for almost 3 years!  Jackson got to see T (his birth mom) in January and it was a beautiful time for all of us.  I keep in touch with her and we are building a unique and incredible relationship.  She told me recently that she and A made Jackson for me, Jason and Addy.  She also told me that she does not regret her decision to place him with us even one little bit.  I can't explain to you, unless you are an adoptive parent, what that means to me.  I dreamed of hearing my child's birth parents say that to me when I was waiting to be a mommy.  And our time has come!  Every time I look at Jackson, I can't get over how beautifully and perfectly we all came together.  He is our sunshine and our family could never be complete without him in it.  Our story was clearly written long before we knew it.  There is no other way to explain how right it all feels.

Addison is my little mini-me. This girl is smart as a whip, a quick-thinker, determined to get her way no matter what, bossy, and rule-oriented.  She remembers a rule after the first time I tell her (and by "remember," I mean she can recite it, not necessarily always follow it:)).  She tells me "No hit Jackson, hitting is naaaaughty!"  Or she will tell me, "Don't go in the street, stay on sidewalk where mommy and daddy can see you."   She just recites rules out of the blue!  Recently she has been "yelling" at her dollies and does the "uh uh" (in a very mommy-is-mad tone just like mine lol).  Then she says, "Don't do that, that is naaaughty, you go to ty-oup (time out)!"   She was kicking me the other day while I tried to change her diaper and I finally swatted her on her diaper-padded butt (yes, I know, not the right thing to do but I get desperate sometimes) and told her "You don't kick mommy!"  She came right back at me, "Uh-uh, Mommy!  You don't hit me!  That is not ok!"  Oh goodness, this girl is something else.  I tried not to, but I had to laugh.  To be fair, she was right.  They teach me so much every single day.

Together, these two are insanely cute.  They now have conversations and play together (often ending in tears, I might add).  The other night Jackson said to Addison, "Addison, stop bugging me!" and Addison said back, "I didn't mean to bug you!"  I cracked up.  They fight a lot too.  We are in the isn't-it-fun-to-hit-just-for-the-sake-of-hitting phase.  Not fun.  One or the other is often screaming after being hit or pinched by the other.  Deep breaths, we will prevail!    They also show a great amount of affection and love to each other, as you can see from the top picture.  Those are the moments that get me through the day.  Addy loves to kiss Jackson goodnight before bed and then she often greets him in the morning with a big, happy "Good morning, Jackson!!"  I love it!

Overall, life is busy but good.  I am learning a lot about letting go - of lists, of expectations, of rules, of my plans in general.  Each day, I have to re-learn this. It's hard to have your life completely consumed by two little beings.  They are adorable, cute, wonderful, smart, funny miracles.  But they are EXHAUSTING.  And I am not a selfish person, but sometimes they do take too much from me, and that is my fault for not setting boundaries for myself.  So I am working on balance.  Between my kids, my job and my volunteer Board work, I need "me time" too.  I haven't figured out how to get it, but I am working on it.  So that is a very short update on how we are - living the dream over here:)!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I Did It, Mommy!

I had the  most amazing experience at the park this week with my baby girl.  I just had to share.  The story begins with a tunnel at the park that slopes upward.  Addy has always wanted to climb up this tunnel but has never been able to do so.  She tried this time too.  She kept sliding back down just short of the top.  She would pout and then tell me "I can't do it.  It's too hard!"  I told her, "Keep trying, baby, I think you can do it!"  I struggled with what to tell her - I wanted to encourage her, to show her I believed in her...but I also didn't want to tell her she could do something that she wasn't ready for.  I wanted it to be ok for her if she couldn't make it to the top this time.  I told her that she would be able to someday, when she was bigger.  But she kept going back.  She would pull herself up with her arms, dig her feet in, and huff and puff....

I stood there at the bottom of the tunnel, just cheering her on, telling her she could do it and to keep trying.  And then....SHE DID IT!!!

She looked down at me and said " I did it Mommy!!"  Of course you did, baby girl!  You worked so hard! I knew you could do it!  I could have cried with joy for her.  I felt silly.  I mean...really, she just climbed a tube.  She struggled to do it a second time, over and over and over again.  She kept going back and kept falling down.  She was SO frustrated.  She told me again she couldn't do it and it was too hard.  But this time I KNEW she could.  So I told her so.  She must have tried more than a dozen times before she got back up there.  And when she did, she said, "I did it, Mommy!  I told you!"  I assume this is because I tell her all the time after she gets frustrated and tries again, " I told you that you could do it."  It was hilarious to hear her repeat my words.  

Watching this sweet girl of mine go back to that sloped tunnel repeatedly, even after falling down over and over again, made me so proud.  My heart literally swelled.  She gets frustrated easily (like her mom) but she will NEVER give up until she gets what she wants (like her  mom).  To see my own traits reflected in her was indescribable.  I do so many things wrong, I mess up every hour of every day with my two kids.  But I didn't mess THIS up.  She kept trying, and she got to the top!  And she knew her mom was there to cheer her on, to empathize with her frustration and sadness, to hug her when she slid down and felt like giving up, and to celebrate with her when she finally made it.  She will always know that, no matter what.  There is nothing this girl can't do.  Nothing.  

Addy got to slide down that tube, her pay off for all her hard work....

As she gets older, the slopes will be steeper, the falls more painful, and the accomplishments more grand.  I want to remember our teamwork on this particular task.   We will need the same simple ingredients each time.  Her tenacity, and my belief that she can do ANYthing she puts her mind to.  I hope as the obstacles get more complicated, I don't get lost in the chaos.  I will always have these pictures and this story to remind me of what she needs from me.  I can't wait to see what this life holds for her -  for both of my babies.   What an honor it is to stand beside the tunnel and to cheer on this precious little life.  So many have stood beside me and encouraged me to be the best I can be....and now I get to pass that on.  This is one of the best gifts motherhood has given me so far and I could not be more grateful.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Addy's 2 Year Photo Shoot

These pictures turned out amazingly well (and these are less than half of them!).  I am so blessed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Baby Girl is TWO!

Yes, it is true.  I no longer have babies, just toddlers...very independent, very outspoken, VERY adorable toddlers!  On February 15, Addison turned two and I would be lying if I told you I didn't shed a tear or two.  You all know why, no need to go on and on about it.  

Striking a pose...but refusing to smile:).
After finding this adorable dress on clearance last November, I decided to do a polka dot party.  Simple and cute.  While all my polka dot party decorations were not perfectly coordinated, I'd say it all turned out just fine.  Big parties are still not my thing....but I do it every time!

The polka dot girls on the day of her party.

No post would be complete without this sweet face.  Can you believe how big he looks here?

Make a wish, sweet girl!

Addison has become such a smart, engaging and funny little girl.  She was incredibly serious as a newborn, it took her 3 months to really smile much at all (as opposed to Jackson who was literally laughing at 1 month old!).  I have become so reminiscent since her birthday.  It's like we made it through an obstacle course - 2 infants non stop for 2 years.  I look back and have balanced feelings - aching to hold them in my arms as newborns again and relief that I don't have newborns again!  Here we another obstacle course.  Parenting two toddlers is challenging all of my confidence and beliefs that I am a good parent. I've got a lot of work to do.  That is for another post.  Addison now goes to sleep so well, and sleeps through the night no matter what.  She even has a terrible cough right now and has coughing fits...but when I go in there, she's half asleep and I have to wake her up to give her medicine and she just lays back down sleepily and goes back to sleep.  LOVE her!  She eats so well now too.  She's still a little picky (won't touch any veggies lol) but I never worry that she isn't getting enough to eat.  Her favorite by far is mac n cheese ("ma chee cheese").  Addison talks like she is 16, I swear.  She sometimes has 5 and 6 work sentences!  Last night she told me, "Mommy go nuh-night in the rocking chair."   This was after she said, "Aww, mommy tired?" and rubbed my cheek.  Seriously, people, it doesn't get any better than empathy from your two-year-old.  Addison has a mind of her own and is most often heard saying "My do it!"   She has also learned the art of negotiation.  When it is time to eat or to do something, she will say "play couple minutes, mommy."  When I am nursing her at night (yes we still do that, for better or for worse!), and I ask her if she's ready to go to bed, she will say "Soon nuh-night" or "Nurse one minute."  Addison engages in pretend play quite regularly.  She feeds babies and animals (and talks to them), cooks food, talks on the phone, etc.  When I ask her how much I love her, she says, "so, so, so much" or "All the way to the moon and back."  Yep, she's right.   I am just amazed by her daily.  Seriously amazed.  Blown away really.  I can't believe she is MINE!  I can't believe either of them are.  So, on to the next phase - raising two two-year-olds without losing your mind!  Happy Birthday to my sweet baby girl.  My love for you is unending. There are no words to even describe the depth of my feeling for you.

No party is complete without a family picture that inevitably is missing one of the kids looking at the camera!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Visit

So many people have asked how the visit with Jackson's birthmom, T, went.  It has become a pretty normal part of our lives, these relationships, so I forget that other people find it all very fascinating.  The visit went, in a word, beautifully.  Jackson took to T immediately after not seeing her for a year.  T clearly was working hard to contain her emotions, and I so wish she didn't feel the need to do so in our presence.  I hope we can build our relationship to a point where we have complete openness and honestly.  Like all relationships, ours is a work in progress.

Jackson enjoyed showing T all around the aquarium and mall....and then feeding her french fries at lunch.  It could be in my head, but he seemed to grasp how special she was.  He kissed her on the cheek and "hammed it up" for her.  She pointed out different characteristics of his that she loved...and how he had her skin and her eyes.  Yes, he sure does.  I wish I could post pictures here - I have the most amazing photos of them (and all of us) together.  But I have not gained her permission, and I'd like to keep my blog as my own place for now (and not share it with Jackson's birth family...yet).

My friend today asked me how I felt about it all...she seemed to not know how she felt about it when I showed her the pictures.  While I see the pictures and my heart just swells with love, others see them and seem conflicted.  It's like they are holding back...not sure if they are supposed to love the image of my son kissing T's face.  I try to model pure love and acceptance, but there must be something in this society that says a photo of a little boy sitting in between his mom and birthmom carries some...what?  Sadness?  Pain?  Competition?  Jealousy?  I'm not sure.  Because none of that is true for us.

I suppose I have grown into this place, if I am being honest.  I shared with my friend that the visits in the first few months of Jackson's life were harder.  Our relationship was not yet fully established...I loved him with everything I had, but I didn't yet have the feedback from him that he knew I was his mom, his forever mom.  Infants don't always give that right away.  And he had been in her womb longer than he'd been with me.  I was a shaky mom, unsure of who I was in this role.  So, yes, seeing their bond and hearing others call her Jackson's mom unveiled my vulnerabilities.  But this time, it was different.  Jackson and I have been through so much - the fussy infant stage in which I walked and rocked him for countless hours, and my voice was often all he wanted, the new toddler stage in which he looked to me before he made any move to make sure he was safe and cried whenever I had to leave him, and the two-year-old stage in which we butt heads daily and still snuggle each night before bed, reliving our days together in words and stories and grand gestures (from him usually:)).  Our relationship is solid.  Jackson having another mom does not take away from my role as his mom, it only adds to his sense of being loved and cherished.  And it is his reality, pure and simple.  If I denied it, did not allow him to see her, did not talk about her or talk about his 10 months in her womb....well, his reality would still be the same.  I would just create conflict, fear and uncertainty in his little heart.  No thank you.  She is his birth mom, I am his adoptive mom.  Our roles in his life differ, but both roles are crucial in forming the man he will someday become.

So, there you have it, that is how things went on our beautiful visit with T!  And she loved her necklace:).  Jackson's birthdad, A, has still not re-initiated contact.  He tells his parents (who tell us) that he's just not ready yet.  That's ok.  We'll be here when he is.  Thanks for your questions and interest....your thoughts and wonderings help me to organize mine:).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Gift

We were never able to give Jackson's birth mom a gift after she placed him with us. Her circumstances made that impossible. So when we FINALLY got to see her this past weekend under different circumstances, I was so excited to bring something tangible to give her. But what do you give the person who birthed your son (her son) and then placed him in your arms? I mean, there really is no gift that says what needs to be said. I have recently acquired the rights to the digital photos that she had taken in the hospital of her and a very sweet newborn Jackson, so I wanted to do something with those photos. Nothing seemed right. Photo gifts consist of mugs, mouse pads, blankets, etc lol! Nothing quite fit. Shutterly did have a necklace, but it was $50 and that is above our financial threshold for gifts right now if you know what I mean! So, I searched. And I found this:


It was beautiful, affordable, creative and...well, perfect.  It was small: she could wear it, display it, or tuck it away for the days she may need reminding of  how much she is loved.  When I ordered it, I told the artist who created it what I needed it for, and that I did not have a lot of time (it was a last minute visit that just worked out).  She was so sweet and understanding and she made sure I had the gift in time - including adding priority shipping at no extra cost to me.  It was a wonderful experience, buying this special gift from her.  So, if you are looking for a very touching and special gift on a tight budget, I would HIGHLY suggest this etsy seller!  Her website is:    She makes so many cool things other than this as well!  Happy shopping:)!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Memories Come Flooding Back

I have been having some irregular bleeding for the last two months (shocker, I know, coming from someone who went through years of infertility), so my OB/Gyn sent me for an ultrasound. She sent me to the same place that confirmed my first miscarriage, back in 2008. I have walked by that office in the past couple of years going to another office a few times, and each time my stomach flipped. So I knew I would have a reaction, I just wasn't sure what to expect. The circumstances were so similar - fill my bladder so that it feels like it will burst any second, do a trans-abdominal and then a trans-vaginal ultrasound. I was lying there on the table while I heard the "click clicking" of the ultrasound machine and felt the familiar pressure on my belly, and the tears started coming. Luckily the ultrasound tech was very professional, kept his eyes on the screen, and didn't pay attention to me. How could I have explained those tears to him? There was something about lying on that table, seeing the screen and hearing the clicking, feeling the probe, smelling the office, etc that brought me back to not just that fateful day in April of 2008, but to all of the terrifying ultrasounds I endured in those years before Jackson entered my world and lit it up with joy. I kept taking deep breaths, talking to myself in my head, reminding myself that my two sweet babies were waiting for me back home....but the pain just swept over me. The grief, loss, and trauma of those miscarriages has, for the most part, faded into the background of my life. While none of it could ever be forgotten, I can go most days without thinking deeply about it all. Every day, when I see the faces of my children, I think about what we endured for them, and I celebrate. But that's usually as far as it goes. I don't usually cry, I don't feel the need to dwell on the past, and I choose to relish in my blessings. But, today, lying on that table, it was as if I was right back in the middle of those "dark days." Every emotion I was experiencing made no sense - it was almost like I couldn't even believe my two children were back at home taking their naps. No amount of self-talk was adding any logic to this wholly visceral experience for me. It was quite astounding, to tell you the truth. The pain of the past seemed to just overwhelm me. I suppose that the timing has something to do with it, as we just passed the holidays. Every Christmas, I think about (and we often mention it at least once in our home) our Christmas-that-was-not-to-be. In 2009, I found out that our second baby had passed just 6 days before Christmas. And 4 days before Christmas, I underwent surgery to remove her from my body. So, every Christmas, that pain is just slightly closer to the surface for me. Again, I don't dwell, and I mostly use it to remember her, remember where we came from, and remember to enjoy every second of where we are. But it is there, as well it should be. Those babies were MY babies. They deserve to be remembered as such. Everything I experienced is textbook for a trauma-related reaction. Those of us who have suffered through infertility and/or loss KNOW that it is a traumatic experience, or series of experiences. Today was just a reminder. And the memories came flooding back. I'm glad they did, though. I need to remember where I have been, to truly appreciate where I am. And where I am is completely and totally my dream come true.