Wednesday, October 1, 2014

If my child is yours also.....

I recently read a beautifully written blog post, "If my child marries yours," written from one mother, speaking to another mother. Not just any random mother though, she writes specifically to the mother of the child that HER child will marry in the future. It left me so speechless and inspired within my heart that the overflow my my heart leaked out my eyes. Then, my wheels and cogs in my brain began spinning. I pray that she won't be mad that I used her post, original idea, a few phrases, and her writing style as inspiration and applied it to our adoption situation; hopefully she will feel honored and touched by my writing. I'd like to dedicate this to our son's birthmother, our daughter's entire birth family, and hopefully two more people out there that will come to be a part of our family through adoption...we already pray for you and love you!

If my child is yours also...

I just want you to know that I'm praying for you. 

I've prayed for you since the moment I knew in my heart that adoption was for me. I was 17 years old.

When I'm awake at night - feeding the baby, burping the baby, giving tylenol and ibuprofen to a feverish toddler, changing bedding covered in the entire day's meals, turning off Alvin the Betta fish's tank light- I think of you. Because chances are, you're awake also, but you're probably missing all these little things that you've allowed me to do for our child. I'm taking care of this beautiful tiny child that I love so much my heart could burst at any second, and I'm cherishing and carefully filing away every single detail into memories, as much as I possibly can, because I know that not so long ago, you felt this little heart that is beating against my chest tonight, beating against your chest.

I'm praying that you'll know how diligently I try to stand firm against the pressures to overcommit and hyper-schedule, and to completely ignore the voices that tell me I'm not doing enough, that our child isn't doing enough. I pray that you'll stand firm when ignorant, cold people judge your choice to place your child in our family, and you'll look them in the eye with your heart of gold and know that no matter what they think or say, your choice is enough, you are enough. 

I'm praying you'll have the wisdom to know when teach those around you about the beauty that adoption can be, just as I try to also. That your words will open their minds and soften their hearts, and they will leave your presence a better, kinder person because of how you taught them with such poise, love, and kindness. Their humanity will be so greatly increased because of your efforts. I pray with my entire soul that when you must walk away from those that just cannot understand your decision to place your child, you will walk away with integrity, confidence, your head held high, and a clear and firm knowledge that their words do not define you, your heart does. You won't be able to inspire and change everyone.

I'm praying that you will know how much your Heavenly Father and your Savior love you. So completely. They love every single cell in your body, they love every personality trait you have (and have given to our child), they love your pure heart, your kind heart, your bold heart, your shy heart, your angry heart, your broken heart, and your flaws. So do I. They are my favorite things about you, they make you a real person, not a plastic, perfect, fake barbie. I'm flawed and broken also. I pray you'll remember that I will most certainly make mistakes, probably often, throughout the years. Please know that I'll always wonder if I've done something not good enough when we don't hear from you. My brain and heart know you'll probably need time and space to cope and process on your rough days and weeks, but I'll always worry about you. And our relationship. I pray you'll kindly teach me how to do better and forgive my flaws, shortcomings, and mistakes as I come to you to ask forgiveness when I make mistakes.

I'm praying that, if you haven't, you will find love. I pray that when you tell that person that you once experienced an unplanned pregnancy and chose to give that child life, love, and placed them in our family, I pray that person will see the overwhelming beauty of your choice. I pray they will see the strength it took to do so, that they will see the heart break you've experienced because of it, and they will know that you deserve so much better than they will ever be able to give you. In our eyes, only the purest, most loyal, kind, forgiving, accepting, man will be worthy of you. We expect that man to treat you like a freaking Goddess. I pray that your love together brings years of commitment into your marriage, commitment that will swell with each year you're together, that you will grow to love the legacy you are creating just as much as you adore the person you're creating it with. I pray that legacy includes our child, because they are and all ways will be a part of you.

I'm praying that you take lots of pictures of the children you'll have with your spouse, that someday, when we're old, gray, and grandmothers, that we'll sit together looking at pictures of our children (yours, mine, and ours!), laughing at the memories, and pointing out where our grandchildren got their sticky-out ears, their mischievous grins, their mood eyes, and their adorable dimpled cheeks.

As Em stated, "I'm praying that Jesus will give you just enough strength each day to keep you from losing it but not so much that you forget Who that strength comes from."

I'm praying that we will be friends, but also that we'll be much closer than friends. I'm praying you'll know that "friends" is the stupidest term for what I pray our relationship is and has the potential to become. Right now, I regard you as a sister, because it is the closest definition that can define our relationship.... even then, what I feel for you doesn't have a description in existence yet. When you're having a rough day, I pray that you'll remember how much I love you, how much WE love you, and that you'll remember how important your presence is in our lives, our child's life, and our family. 

Will you pray for me also? 

I am so terrified of not living up to what I think you wanted for your child before we met. I know you wanted the best, and some days, I don't feel like I'm doing anything remotely right, let alone "the best!" I feel like I should somehow be better, perfect, and this superhuman mother. Please pray that I won't forget my own humanity and that I'll be able to remember that real people make mistakes and struggle and try again the next day. 

I also pray for our child, continually. I pray that we will know how to raise him in a way that will bring you peace, joy, and honor that decision to place him/her in our family. But chances are, your child, who is so much like you, will be just fine. And chances are, a lot of the time, you aren't. Chances are, if you're anything like me, you're very tired. And some days, you get so discouraged and miss this little one. I hear that birthmothers never heal from the loss they experience as a result of their decision. Sometimes, you cry yourself to sleep and your throat becomes tight as your arms ache for them. You grieve the millions of moments that you gave to us; first day of school, piano concerts, kissing scraped knees from learning to ride a bicycle, fighting with siblings, rocking them in the middle of the night and serenading nightmares away with lullabies. The emails, texts, and pictures we send of every "first" is bittersweet, as are the times you spend in our home (and us in yours), celebrating birthdays and holidays. As adoptive parents, we can only imagine these heart breaks you feel, but know we pray for you and do our best to feel empathy and to respect you as you need time and space to cope with your loss. I pray you'll feel how desperately I wish I could bear these burdens with you or some how have them removed from your mind and heart because of how much I love you and want for your life to be beautiful and happy. I pray that you'll know how much I love seeing you enjoying life and the beauty you create in our family with your presence. So it's you I am praying for right now, in the still darkness, with this baby fist pressed up under my chin and this sweet, sleepy breath on my ear. May you feel these prayers and love when you need them the most.

We are in this together, you and I (and the hubbies). We are building something beautiful with each onesie folded, each cuddle given, each trampoline flip contest, each slobbery "miss" (kiss) and "mooch" (smooch), each visit and Skype session, each step forward, each birthday and holiday, each email and phone call, and each time we tell our part of our adoption stories.

You don't know how much it means to me that you give your life everything you have, every single day...even on days when it's not much at all. Because our child gets that from you. And you both inspire me. Our child will fall, will make mistakes, will question where he gets his fiery spirit, her mood eyes, her quiet, shyness when meeting new people for the first time, and where they get their sheer will and courage to do hard things. There will be days when they'll just need to talk to you, to feel your strength and love. I want you to be there when our first grandchild is born; we'll celebrate together. And when they face the darkest days of their lives, it will be you, me, and our spouses, praying with every ounce of faith we have in our bodies that our child will come through this struggle with more life experience and as an even better, stronger, wiser person.

I promise to tend to these hearts with utmost care, to plant in them humility and peace and unconditional love for all people and selflessness...especially selflessness. I promise to teach them about Jesus and Heavenly Father every chance I get. And I promise to keep praying for you and to teach them to pray for you also.

I promise you that I will hug our little one tight when he's sad or lonely or scared or hurt, once for me, and once as a "temporary hug" for you until you can give them your "permanent hug" yourself next time we see you. Because someday, this little one - all grown beautiful with babies of their own - will be sad or lonely or scared. And they'll need to know how to hold their babies. Teach them. And have all these saved up hugs to give them. In that moment, BOTH of our love will matter.

But until then, I'm sitting here in the dark with this baby in my arms.

And I'm praying for you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Grader!

Name: Andrew Justice

First Day of First Grade: August 19, 2014

Teacher: Miss Hahn

Favorite Color: Blue, Yellow, and Red

Favorite TV Show: Mickey Mouse Cartoons

Favorite Movie: Frozen and Epic

Favorite Breakfast: Cereal or Pancakes

Favorite Lunch: Ramen

Favorite Dinner: Spaghetti or Basagna

Favorite Book: Frozen (4th grade reader)

Favorite Letters: A. N. D. Y. (Mommy laughed hard)

Favorite Number: 100! It is the coolest of all the numbers!

Favorite People: Olivia, Daddy, Mommy, Grammy, Grampy, Baba, Bibi, and my cousins. I love everyone!

What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor and a Daddy!

What else do you want to remember about today, Andy? I'm going to ALL DAY school! I'm excited for more than one recess and excited to show all my friends that I lost FOUR teeth over summer break. I'm excited to meet my new teacher and friends too. I get to start piano lessons next month and my first soccer game is THIS Saturday!

Last year's photo and questions.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tooth Fairies

Last August, Andy started kindergarten. Not even 2 months into school, one of his friends lost their first tooth and it quickly became a kindergarten trend for the cool kids. Lose a tooth, join the club! Peer pressure at its finest. Andy's two, top incisors were a little loose and wiggly, so for almost 2 entire weeks, and various times when a classmate would lose a tooth, he'd pray each night to lose a tooth. Then, his cousins began to lose teeth and he was just beside himself hoping to lose his teeth! He wiggled them. He ate crunchy foods. And nothing happened! As a parent, it was kind of hilarious to watch his obsession with losing teeth.

About 2 weeks ago, I noticed a bottom tooth had a little more wiggle than his top incisors. His focus immediately shifted to the bottom incisor, UNTIL it began to hurt when he ate. For 2 full days, his tooth was so lose he could have sneezed and it would have hit the wall across the room. I finally talked him into letting me feel how loose it was. Then, I finally talked him into letting me try to pull it out. It took two tries (first one, slippery tooth, second with a washrag) and it came right out! He was ecstatic; not even concerned about the mild blood! First tooth lost June 18th, 2014!
We promptly texted family and began prepping for a visit from the tooth fairy. He kept piling on more and more questions and requests for the tooth fairy, so I finally told him to just write a  note. With sheer exasperation, he looked at me and exclaimed, "MOM! I can't write a letter! I am just too excited! LOOK AT ME!." Point taken. Point to the kid.
This little boy has a heart of gold. He wanted to leave some tapioca pudding for the tooth fairy, just in case he was tired and hungry (his rationale: Teeth are so BIG for a little fairy to pack around all night. So are quarters. He probably gets hungry!). He also wanted to make sure the tooth fairy gave Olivia a kiss so she wouldn't feel left out. Heart. of. Gold.

The tooth fairy did, in deed, come and left some smoochy sparkles on Olivia's cheek, a WHOLE dollar in quarters (in a cute little envelope), a T.F. written letter, and ate his/her tapioca. According to Andy, he can't WAIT to lose ALL his teeth!


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