A Journey Together...

I am branching out from my family blog, and have started this as a separate forum to discuss a topic that is so very close to my heart, and may be to yours, as well: Adoption! My amazing husband of 9 years and I have been blessed, three times over, by the gift of adoption. As many more of our friends are building their families through adoption, or considering adoption as a way to build their family, I have been feeling more of a desire to have a forum where we can share our joys, struggles, and insights with each other. My hope is to also provide a way for those who are interested, to learn more about adoption. A place where you can ask questions, and a place for your friends and family to learn how to ask questions! The more we educate ourselves and those around us about the beauty of adoption, the better we can raise our children in healthy, open environments that embrace all of who they are, all that God has created them to be. Feel free to leave your comments and ask questions. I look forward to sharing more with you!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Meeting

We made a trip to our local aquatic center yesterday, eager for warmer weather, and thankful for the indoor, heated, energy expeller. After we arrived, I noticed a beautiful Caucasian woman enter the pool with her beautiful Chinese daughter. I never want to make assumptions about how families are created, or who is who. But I can't help myself, I gravitate towards those who may, just may, have experienced the beauty of adoption, as I have. I swam close by them, the two distinctly beautiful girls, enjoying each other; mother and daughter. They, oblivious to their racial differences... me, keen on them, and feeling magnetic towards them... longing to hear their story. And hoping they ask mine. We make small talk. And, as I usually do to hopefully peek further conversation, offer up right away that we were blessed to adopt our three beautiful boys. She smiles, knowingly. Her daughter asks for help, she, appropriately, leaves immediately to go to her. We look back at each other often, as we swim near our children, ducklings really. This new experience of gliding in the water. It strikes me, once again, as I touch the beautiful dark skin of my Hawaiian/Japanese boys, that our touch, the familiarity of it, the comfort, knows nothing of the biological difference. The ethnic diversity does not exist in touch.. only our shared closeness exists. I look back at the mother, she asks if I would mind sharing how these boys came to be mine. These precious little ones that were, at one time, so completely not a part of us, but of another. And I share. And she is in awe. And she shares her story, and I too, am in awe. She said she always thinks of that Scripture that talks about God making beauty from ashes. The deep moving of my spirit cannot be ignored. We thank each other, for sharing. Not just our stories, but the whole of it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Two Mommys

I have talked with Caleb for five years about his adoption, and how wonderful it was, and how thankful I have always been for the gift that God gave us in him. And, in truth, as I have talked about it, I fully recognize that I did so, more for myself, than for him. Really, at age 2,3, 4... they can't really grasp the idea of what it all means. But I have done it, with joy, to ensure that I am so familiar and comfortable with it, that it would be a natural part of our family, and our conversations... a celebration of truth. And loss, and joy, and brokenness, and togetherness. All that adoption is, which, really, when dissected, can be a microcosm of our journey through life... filled with all of those things, over and over.
The other day, after re-organizing my files, including the boys' adoption files, I pulled out one of the pictures we have of Caleb's birth mom. I, as always, took the photo over to Caleb, and our conversation went like this...

Me : Caleb, isn't it amazing that you grew inside K's tummy?!
Caleb: Caleb grew bigger and bigger, than Caleb came out on his birthday and the people gave all the presents!
Me: That's right! And you know what?! On your very first birthday, Mommy and Daddy got the BEST present of all! We got you!...
Look there at K's beautiful eyes! You have eyes just like that! Because when you grow in someones tummy, sometimes you have parts of you that look like them!
Caleb: YA! Caleb has chocolate eyes, and K has chocolate eyes!
Me: YES! That is so special! You share some really special things with your Birth Mom...
Caleb: Ya! Caleb has two Mommies!

And it hit me. It really hit me in a new way. My son... the one I have held from the moment of his birth, literally. The one I have protected, and cuddled, and nurtured in every way any loving mother would, proclaimed it, for himself, for the first time: Caleb has 2 mommies.

I share you. There was something that another woman has done, that I did not do for you. Things she gave you, that I will never be able to lay claim to. This beautiful, strong, selfless woman gave you life. And your beautiful chocolate eyes. Yes, my son, you have 2 mommies.

And I started to feel those old feelings. The ones I had before I had become the educated, strong, confident, adoptive mother I am. You know... the ones in the beginning. When all I wanted was to take my baby and run. And if anyone wanted him back,the ones that would have led me to flee to the ends of the earth with him. To hold him as close to me as possible, and never let anything, or anyone take him away. I had that old feeling of fear. Of inadequacy. Of failure. And I realized that this was part of the journey. Actually, maybe where it really begins. Where the "rubber meets the road". You see, it has been easy for me to talk about it all since my boys have been so little, that it means very little to them. They don't get it yet. They have not yet wrestled with their place of belonging. Of their own feelings of loss... But it begins with embracing truth. The truth that yes... you do have 2 mommies. It is a huge part of who you are, and who you will be. And once again, I am slapped with the reminder that it is, in fact, not about me. But about you. And your story. And the person that God has created, and is at work in, even now. And I love that. And sometimes it's really hard. Because there are times when I want to take the glory. The glory in who you are. Whether I give birth to you or not. Whether you have a genetically familial trait or not... you belong to the Lord. And He made you just as He wants you. For His plan. In His perfect way. And I remember that I have been gifted with you. Entrusted with you. To show you that it's not about me... My hopes, my dreams, my ideas of what my child should look like, or be, or accomplish. You are a melody in the orchestra that God Almighty is writing... And each day, I get to hear your song. And your song, has two mommies. And that, my son, is beautiful.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Loss

We just received a letter from Caleb's birth mom. It's a surprise to hear from her, because she rarely initiates contact with us. But when she does, I treasure it.
As I read her letter, my heart broke for her, once again. She wrote to let us know that her dad had passed away. She has always been so very close to her Dad. She was his girl, and he walked with her through the good times, and the hard times.
He was the one at the hospital with her when Caleb was born. He was the only other member of her family that I have met. I know that he cherished her, and felt a strong desire to protect her.
She wrote "At times, I think that he's with me, because I can almost smell him and feel his touch so tender on my head when I sleep."
She opened up to us in such an intimate way in her letter, and I love her for it. This woman has faced such loss in her life, and has experienced great heartache. It reminds me of the fact that this journey is laden with struggle, and loss, and deep pain.
I pray for you, My Dear, that you may know the peace of your heavenly Father, and that you may feel His tender touch upon your head, upon your soul, as He carries you through this difficult time.
If you think of her, please pray for her. She means so very much to our family.
I have withheld mentioning our birth mothers' names, for their privacy, but the Lord knows who they are, and I thank you for lifting them up to the Lord.

Surgery Updates:

Scroll down to:
Explaining the Unexplained
Saying Goodbye, Again
For information on my recent hysterectomy

In the hospital a nurse said...

"I can't believe you have twins, and have no stretch marks... You look incredible."

Ah ya.

The perks of adoption.

(I did, of course, tell her the truth. After she stewed for a few seconds.) ;o)

Explaining the Unexplained

All went well, as I said "Aloha" to my uterus on November 3rd. I was all prepped and ready to go in for surgery. The weekend before was filled with celebratory events, to commemorate the big event. Emily and I prepared a Thanksgiving Like feast for our families, my mom and her husband Ron. (My mom came out to help with the boys during and after surgery...) Emily and I also ran in a race around the bridges (just over 4.5 miles) on Saturday. And I made a delicious adult beverage, Carmel Apple Cocktails, to toast. ;o)
I was a little nervous as I went in very early Monday morning, but I am pleased to say that it all went fairly well. And when my doctor came in to brief me on how things went, it became even more clear, that this was a wise decision. Apparently, the endometriosis was much more severe than he, or any of my other doctors had thought. The scar tissue had ravaged my uterus, and one of my ovaries as well. He actually had to remove my right ovary, as it had a large tumor on it, and was not even functioning. He found a few small fibroids in my uterus as well.
When Matt and I went in for our initial fertility work-up, about 6 years ago, they performed an HSG test on me that didn't show any blockage. After they completed their tests, they diagnosed Matt and I with unexplained infertility. However, after surgery, my doctor said that the endometriosis was so severe, it would clearly be the cause of our infertility. Often, they offer a surgery to women to clear out scar tissue in an effort to create a better environment to sustain a pregnancy. My doctor said that my case was so severe, that that would not have even been an option for us. I am thankful that my right ovary is still healthy enough to remain in me to produce my own natural hormones. But I think if we had waited much longer to have the surgery, the chance of that ovary being effected by the endometriosis would have increased greatly.
I sit hear today with a heart full of thankfulness. I am overwhelmed at how the Lord has provided for us, and protected us. He knew, in His sovereignty, that we would never be able to carry a child. And He so clearly directed our hearts towards adoption. The Lord allowed us to see, early on, that His plan, though different from ours, was greater than we could ever imagine. He protected us from years of fruitless, difficult fertility treatments. He gifted us with miracle stories that show how He, and only He, can turn brokenness into something beautiful.
You see... it was God who gave us the desire to be parents. And it was He who, in His beautiful plan, brought children to us. Our story is more precious to me than anyone can imagine. Because it's ours.
I am also so thankful that we live in an age where doctors can help people like me free themselves from pain! OH MY! I can't tell you how thankful I am for this surgery. That it was an option for me. The second day when my doctor came in, it hit me. I nearly cried when I thanked him for helping me. Yes... it has been that bad. And I look forward to living a life free from the bondage of pain that I have struggled with for many years.
My recovery is going pretty well. I am taking it easy, and trying not to freak out about my break from things like lifting my boys, running, and doing laundry. Okay, that last one isn't hard for me to release for awhile. ;o) Thank you for your prayers. It has been a long journey, and I am thankful that I am through the rough part, and on my way to feeling a lot better.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mama... Tell Me Again

Five years.

That is how old my sweet baby boy is now. Another beautiful September brought the joy of celebrating another year with our first gift, Caleb.

For those of you who know Caleb, you know his charm, his amazing intelligence, the way he can smile and melt your heart. Caleb has taught us so much over the past five years.

Here is some background on our growing boy...

It was early on that we noticed that Caleb struggled with some things. His speech was always a challenge for him. Along with his speech, his gross motor skills and some social abilities seem to lag behind those of his peers. After much medical testing, and months of therapies through the local 0-3 program, Caleb was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech, and was found to have an atypical chromosomal combination in chromosome number 5. Apparently, a 'G' became an 'A', and an 'A' became a 'G'. It is all part of the way that God made Caleb, and we marvel almost daily at the things he can do at a higher level. And we are always working on ways to encourage growth in the areas that are struggles for him. Caleb has been a constant source of wonderment for us, and for the professionals that have worked with him. A respected child specialist told me that she didn't think Caleb would ever be able to communicate clearly or accurately enough to carry on a reasonable conversation with anyone. Ever. At age 5, he has certainly disproved that! His verbal capabilities are increasing all the time! His memory is one that leaves us in awe, as he often remembers things from when he was very small, and puts associations to experiences he had as a baby. Amazing! And though we struggle with various things, we realize that parenting children, whether they have special needs or not, is not a sprint... It's a marathon.

But because of the struggle Caleb has had with his speech, I still sit in amazement as he climbs in my arms, and begins telling me the things he is thinking of. He was over three years old before he could say "Mama" clearly, and it is partly because of those obstacles that my heart leaps with joy when he verbally connects in such meaningful ways. As Caleb's birthday approached, he has had an increasing interest in hearing about the day he was born. We talk about it often, but it is only recently that he has expressed an interest in it, too. It's pretty basic now, but I love how he crawls up into my lap, and just like the beloved children's book, asks me to tell him again about the day he was born. We talk a lot about his birth mom, and how I think he has her eyes... "Because when you grow inside someones tummy, you sometimes come out having things that look a lot alike!"

And we talk about how much Daddy and I prayed for him, before we even knew who he was, or where he was. And about how his birth mom was praying too... for just the right family for the special baby growing inside of her.

He loves to hear about how I was there to hold to him...

"Mama held cute and beautiful Baby Caleb!"

Yes, my sweet boy. I held you first. Oh, the gift that was to me.

I tell you often, Caleb, that you are so special to me, because it was you who God chose to make me a mother. Saying that I am thankful for that, does not even begin to express my heart.

And so it begins. Telling my son his beautiful story. Again and again...