Saturday, 20 December 2014

Part 2: Our Adoption Story

Babykins was born at 3:13am.  The next day was a busy and important one.  It was our first day as parents!  We were running on zero sleep from the day before.  We wanted to savour every moment with our precious newborn, with Carla, and her family.

We didn't know how much contact they would all want in the future, so we felt like we should absorb as much as we possibly could, to pass along to Babykins when the time was right.

We weren't sure if it was appropriate if our family visited at the hospital, especially because I have a large family.  We wanted to allow time for Carla and her family to spend time with Babykins on their own, without a crowd.  We talked with the hospital social worker about it and she encouraged us to invite a few people to come, and so that Carla and her family could also see the support network that we had, and the excitement for our family that surrounds him becoming a part of our family.

My Dad, his fiancé, and D's parents and his 90 year old Grandma came to visit.  It was the day we had waited for for seven years.   We beamed with pride.  I swear our pride could have burned holes through the concrete hospital walls.  Everyone was in awe of how sweet every little part of him was.   "He is just perfect", everyone said, and we couldn't have agreed more.  We couldn't believe that such an amazing little boy was in our arms.

We invited Carla to meet our family.  We told her there was no pressure to do so.  That we would completely understand if she wasn't feeling up to it.   And my goodness did we mean that - walking into a room of strangers only a few hours after you have given birth, and have placed a child for adoption is a huge thing.  We didn't have any expectations of her to come, but hoped she would.

She bravely accepted the invitation, and joined us.  She walked into our room and said hello to everyone.  She was smiley and laughed and joked with everyone.  She is so personable.   Everyone told her how amazing Babykins was, and she beamed with pride.   I love that our families got to meet this amazing woman, the one who has changed our lives forever.   It is hard to describe just how awesome she is.  We loved that they could all meet her for themselves.  It was such a special time and an amazing privilege.

During the meeting of our families, D's mother said some really beautiful words to Carla.   I didn't know she was planning to do this, but I am so glad she did.  She quietly told her about how D was their only child, and that this boy is their only grandchild.  She told her that they would treasure him so much.  She told him that she was not only changing our lives, but theirs too.  It was beautiful to hear, and I am so grateful that someone was able to verbalize our family's feelings to her.   She spot on with every thing she said.  We love this baby AND Carla so much.

We also spent part of the day visiting with Carla and Mark's family.  We met with Mark's sister and her friend.  His sister brought a nice gift of clothing and a stuffy.  We took some pictures.  Carla's Mom also came with her husband.  Her husband shared how he thought this adoption was a beautiful thing, and that he was so happy for us.   Carla and her mother gave us a gift of clothing for the baby and the book Love You Forever by Robert Munch.  Carla's Mom said that she read this book to her girls all the time when they were growing up.

Have you read this book?  OMG.  It is a tear-jerker.  If you haven't read it, it's a story about a Mom who tells her baby "I'll love you for always, I like you forever, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be".  As he grows, she sneaks into his room when he's a toddler, a young boy, and a teenager to whisper the same thing.  Later, when he's an adult, she drives over to his house in the middle of the night to cuddle him like she did when he was a baby - he was a sound sleeper! At the end of the story, she calls to tell him that she's very ill, and he goes to be by her side.  She starts to say the same words to him that she always did, but she cannot finish.  He instead finishes for her, and tells her that "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my Mommy you'll be".  She passes, and he goes home to his new baby and says the same words to her, that his Mom always said to him.  *Tears*

It's such a beautiful story.  Oh my goodness though, I don't know if I'll be able to read often it to our Babykins because every time I do, tears pour down my face just thinking of the message of this story, who gave it to him, what it meant for her to do so, and how much my heart explodes for this precious little boy who I will love for always and like forever, until my last day.

Later that day, Carla's Dad came back to meet the baby.  He gave a beautiful card (the one I wrote about here) and a gift card for the baby.  He just loved looking at the baby, as we all did.   He talked about how happy he was for us.  Hearing that was so amazing.

Carla popped in to visit and snuggle the baby throughout the day.  It was so nice to see her with the baby, but also very difficult as well.  It was difficult because we had strong feelings of guilt, and sadness for her loss.   D felt like she had her life together maybe better than she gave herself credit for.   No, she hadn't gone to college, didn't have a job or a car or a lot of material things... but she had what we felt was most important for being a parent -  she put her son's needs above her own.  She proved that by making one of the hardest decisions that anyone could make.  She showed so much grit, and selflessness.  She cared for his wellbeing and future as a good mother would.

And you know what - as I write this now,  I've had an lightbulb moment.  I realize that it's not that she isn't his mother anymore - she will always be his mother.  His B. Mama as we think we will call her,  IS his mother.  And I'm his Mama too.  This lucky boy has two women who love him so much, that they would do anything for his health, happiness and well being.

When we tried to thank her for the gift of being chosen to be his parents.  We struggled to find the words to adequately express our feelings.  How do you thank someone for such a huge sacrifice? How do you thank someone for a human life being entrusted to you?  Even though our thank-yous seemed inadequate to us, she beamed and was genuinely happy to hear about how she was changing our lives so much.  She also thanked us for being his parents.  She said she was getting a second chance at her life.  She said she was going to enrol in school, and we learned that the very next day, she did.

We texted about her starting college in January.  We told her that we were so proud of her.  And we knew Babykins would be so proud of her too.  She wrote back that that is all she ever wanted, was for him to be proud of her.  It melted our hearts.

After a day of visiting, Carla was ready to be discharged and to go home.  After all of the hospital time leading up to the birth, she was especially ready to go home.  She had recovered very well from the birth.  Mark came to get her.  He came into visit with the baby. He was still very shy, and it was hard to get a read on how he was feeling about everything.

The social workers told us they wanted to do an entrustment ceremony before Carla went home.

So, in our little crowed hospital room, the social workers set up ceremonial candles (that we didn't light for obvious reasons).  They read through some poems and said some words about open adoption, about Carla and Mark and D and I.   The ceremony was to represent the unofficial entrustment of Babykins care to us, from Carla and Mark.   Carla's Dad was there too.  There wasn't a dry eye during the ceremony.   There was so much sacrifice, pain, beauty, hope and, so much love in the room.  All for this precious little boy.

After the ceremony, Carla and Mark went home, and D and I were left alone with our Babykins.  We were running on fumes after 40 of the most emotional hours of our lives.   We marvelled at the baby, and felt a honestly little bit intimidated about being responsible for his care.  We tried to get some sleep, but babykins had other plans.

As it turns out, he's a noisy little baby.  While he doesn't cry often, He loves to make goat noises as we affectionately call them, even in his sleep.  As new parents do, we were constantly checking him in his isolette making sure he was comfortable, and yes, a thousand times to see if he was still breathing. :)


Carla and Babykins  <3



Less than 24 hours old


First afternoon at home 


My best friend's kids made us this to welcome us home - how cute is that!?!?



Thursday, 20 November 2014

Part 1: Our Adoption Story

For me, there were frequent little showers of tears in the weeks and days before he was born.  Could this really be happening? Is it going to work out? As some of the denial and anxiety lifted, the thought "Am I really going to be a Mama?" slowly moved into thoughts of "I am going to be a Mama!"

There was a lot to do to prepare for his arrival, so his birthday approached quickly.  Wrap up our renovations.  Close the cottage.  Re-establish ourselves at home.  Buy all of the things we need for a nursery. Wrap our heads around how our bad luck in the baby department could finally be changing after seven long years.  Think about parenting and infant development.


The day of his birth, we finished packing a small suitcase of things that he may need at the hospital.  It was strange and exciting looking at the various sized sleepers and onesies, and other items intended for a boy that would become our son.


We then drove a few hours to get to the hospital where he was going to be born.  It felt like D was driving so slow (even though he wasn't).  I was so anxious to get there. 

On our journey, we hoped and prayed that he would make it into this world safely, and that the delivery would be okay for Carla.  We had not heard if she had opted for a vaginal delivery or a c-section.  She had been seriously considering an optional c-section the last we had heard.  

We arrived at the hospital just after Carla had started her medications to begin inducement.

We had been texting Carla a little bit all day, which started out with a message from her saying  "today's the day you're gonna be parents!"  Reading this was so incredible.  She was so happy for us.  We were so happy.


When we arrived at the hosptial, we weren't sure what to expect.  Would she and their families want us nearby or to give them space? There was talk that we may be given a room, but we weren't sure  how that was going to work.  After the birth? Before the birth? Maybe not at all?  We were prepared to camp out in a random waiting room somewhere in the hospital. 

We introduced ourselves and met the hospital social worker and the doctor that was going to be delivering the baby.  The social worker showed us to our room on the maternity floor.  It was a  private room with a twin bed. We were so grateful to have a place to put a few things and to have our own washroom. 

We texted Carla to say that we were at the hospital and she invited us up to her room.  She was there with the birthfather, Mark, and his Mom.  We were also joined by Carla's mother and father.  She introduced us all and we talked.  

It was completely nerve wracking being on display to all of these important people who we had never met, despite the fact that they were all very kind and welcoming.  We were so excited for ourselves and yet sad for them.  We worried that the emotions surrounding the birth may change the adoption plan.  We were wondering if Carla's and her family's feelings were as the social workers had assessed and portrayed to us.   Were there going to be any surprises? 

Carla's labour progressed as the doctors expected, albeit slower than she would have liked.  She was so strong and positive.  We learned that she is very funny, even under pressure. Throughout the night and into the early morning,  she laboured with the help of an epidural, and Mark.  We spent the time visiting with their families. 

We spent time with them in a group, and then later, as people went to get coffee or snacks, etc., it worked out that we got to have one-on-one time with each one of them. 

It was a magical night. I am crying right now just thinking of the beautiful time we spent with them, getting to know them.  They are all sacrificing so much for us too.  They told us about themselves, and gave us a further glimpse into Carla and Mark from a parent's perspective.  It helped to ease some of fears. 

I always thought (secretly) that the open part of the adoption plan was something that we would just need to tolerate.  But these were very likeable people!  Friendly, nice, intelligent, thoughtful.   I told my family later that they were the kind of people that I could imagine having relaxed summer drink on a patio with. 

Each one of them, in their own way, during our visits told us something important. 

However, the conversations that night that stood out the most was with Carla's Dad.   

He told us the story about Carla's pregnancy.  Carla was living with him when she found out she was expecting.  He told us that she was originally trying to be excited about being pregnant about being a parent.  He told us about how her morning sickness was unrelenting in the first few months.  He told us about how as her pregnancy progressed that she did a lot of soul searching and came to tell him that she didn't think she could or wanted to parent.  She told him that she was wanted to place the baby for adoption.  You could feel his sincerity when he told us about how proud he was of her for making that decision. 

His support and pride in his daughter was beautiful.  It is an example that we will aspire to in our parenting.  It was so pure, supportive and non-judgemental.  It am so glad we got to bear witness to it.   Experiencing that changed me. 

He told us about how different each one of his daughters are and how parenting is such an amazing journey.  He told us that he looked at our profile book. That he was happy that we believed in God and he told us that he was so glad that he met us, because he felt so much more comfortable about where this baby would be going after meeting us.  He was encouraging and supportive of us.   He told us he felt joy for us. 

What a strong man, that in the midst of everything that was going on for him and his daughter, that he could feel and express such beautiful sentiments to us. 

He had to leave for work before the baby was going to be born.  We asked if he was coming the next day to meet the baby, and he said he didn't think so.  To our surprise, he did return and he gave us a card with a gift for the baby and a card.  This was the message in card:



"You were meant to be a family.
Nothing could have stopped you- you've chosen this journey, 
with all of its joys and challenges
because it was your destiny 
to become a family.

Words can't begin to describe the happiness of seeing you with your child
and fulfilling your dream of becoming parents. 
Congratulations,"
Papa

I'm not sure just how many times I am going to cry writing this out, but there I ago again, lol.  See what I mean? Simply amazing. 

We shared the small waiting room with another family waiting for a birth.  There was a lot of conflict with them.  For example - one person was very mad and embarrassed because her friend outed her for smoking her bong every night.  That guy then proceeded to sprawl out onto a couch and mumble grumpy things to everything that popped on the TV for the next hour or so.  There was a lot of Jerry Springer style commotion, fighting and stress on their side of the waiting room.  They were equal parts annoying and entertaining as we waited into the wee hours of the morning.

We would have been grateful for any family that allowed us into their lives through adoption.  We knew that we could have just as easily been sitting there with that family.  But we weren't.  It made the heartfelt moments we were having with the birth family feel that much sweeter.

At around 2:30 am, Mark came quickly into the waiting room.  He told us the doctor's said it was time!  As planned, Carla's Mom, Mark's Mom, D and I went into the room next door to where Carla was starting to push. 

We could hear her labouring. "Ow!, Ow!, Ow!" And, "I can't!"  I didn't expect to hear anything, or for  her to be in so much pain after having an epidural.  We all felt so helpless.  We winced when we could hear Carla suffering, especially the Mothers.  Mark's Mom had to leave the room because she couldn't bear to listen to her pain.


We listened to stories about their labours.   We learned that the doctor delivering our boy was the same one that delivered Carla!  

Then, 45 minutes later, the room next door went quiet. We wondered if that meant that he had arrived? We intensely listened for any sounds of a baby crying or someone saying something.

After a few long minutes, the nurse came in and told us the baby was here and doing fine. 

Mark entered the room.  He looked at his Mom, and fell into her outstretched arms.  They embraced powerfully.  He said, "Mom, I think I'm going to cry".   

I don't imagine that he has cried in his Mama's arms for many, many years. It was difficult to witness, yet I am so glad I did.  This experience was life changing and difficult in so many ways for him too.  

He returned back to Carla's side.  A short time later, the nurse came in and told me to get ready for skin-to-skin.  I unbuttoned my shirt and undid my front clasp bra. 

Then, the nurses brought in our son. They laid him on my chest and covered him with a blanket. His face buried into my neck, in a similar way as how he does when he's tired now.  We could only see a mass of blonde locks because his face was squished into my chest. 

In that moment, I think I was in shock. I wanted to bawl happy, ugly tears to release the emotion I was feeling and to show Carla and Mark's Mother's just how life changing this moment was for us.  But all I could do was smile and hug my little boy tightly.    

I could have cuddled with him for days.  But I know how excited the Grandmothers and Daddy were to hold him too.  So after about 20 minutes on my chest, both Grandmas got to hold him.  They both cried.  We felt so sad for their loss.  We know even if they are a part of his life, it won't be in the same way as if he was being parented by Carla and Mark. 

We were invited next door to see Carla. When I saw her I gave her a big hug.  She told me that I always give her strong hugs.  Here's a picture of that moment.  I have never felt so grateful or so in awe of another person.  She was so brave.  So strong.  I love her so much.





Carla held the baby again.  We told her how beautiful he was and she looked so tremendously proud of her son.   

Mark was sitting in the chair and we asked him if he wanted to hold him.  He said yes, and we placed him in his arms. 

We all were so mesmerized by him.  He was so perfect. So beautiful! And oh! That head of full blonde hair was certainly the talk of everyone, including the nurses.  When we passed him around he had a nervous sounding little whimper that sounded to us like "hahahahaha  hahahahha" it all made us  giggle.  He came out laughing.




D waited patiently for his turn to hold his son.  Mark's Mom initiated putting him in his arms.  He fed him his first bottle.





It was time to give Carla some space, so we all moved back to the room next door.   The nurses quickly ushered us up to the maternity floor with the other recovering moms. 

We did more skin-to-skin, and soaked up the his amazingness. We were PARENTS.  And to THIS boy.  We felt like (and still feel like) the luckiest people in the world. 

...to be continued! 



Saturday, 25 October 2014

Grateful

Whoops. I didn't mean to be away that long, from reading about your lives and telling you about mine. 

As most new parents, I've spent most of the past two weeks awake, and baby spent those two weeks sleeping, yet free time has been very elusive.  

Sorry to have left you all hanging. 

Friends, he is so amazing. He is a healthy, happy little boy. The adoption experience has been so tremendously positive. The birth family are genuinely some of the most amazing people I have ever met.  We are so, so lucky. 

A friend asked me what's been the most surprising thing about being a new mom. I told her it would be something adoption related. After thinking about the question more, I've realized it was something else. 

I never in my wildest dreams imagined that the pain of 7 years of infertility and loss would melt away in the way it has.  Don't get me wrong- it is still there. I have not forgotten the pain of my journey, nor the pain of yours.  I never will.  It's just that my love for Carla, birth dad, their families and this precious, amazing baby boy is so shockingly abundant, so powerful, and so surprisingly healing. I could have never imagined anything this wonderful for us.   Life feels pinch-me good, for the first time in a long time.  I'm savouring every moment. 

I will write a full account of his birthday and the time we spent with his birth family. I want to remember and cherish every detail, so I promise not to wait too long to do so before the memories fade anymore. 

With love, 
J










Friday, 10 October 2014

He's here!

We are so in love. With Carla, birthdad, their entire amazing, supportive family. And of course with this lil' guy. 

Born yesterday 7lbs 8oz.  He's doing well. Hoping to go home tomorrow. 

My heart is exploding with love. 




Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Just a quicky

To say that Carla is being induced tomorrow afternoon! :)))) 

If you are the praying type, please say a prayer for her. 

Will update you all again when there is news. 

Xo

Sunday, 5 October 2014

What a weekend.

My heart is full.

We had a surprise hour long phone call with Carla. She's so genuinely lovely. So sincere. So great. I love her. She's feeling much better and we are happy for her.

Then, shopping and buying things for the baby and setting up the nursery. Every package I opened, i had a tinge of "maybe I shouldn't in case this has to go back", but I took the plunge and did it anyways. When I see the baby stuff in our house, I can't believe it's real.  I love looking at it all.

My BF and MIL planned a surprise shower for us today.  It was just our closest friends and and family. It was perfect.  No games, just good company, yummy food and lovely gifts.

We also spent time with Lainey, Paul and their infant daughter. We ate an apple tart that I made and enjoyed hearing about their parenting & adoption experiences and snuggling with their daughter (and their cuddly cats too!).

I'm savouring this moment. I am so grateful to Carla. Because of her, and her choices and sacrifices the world is a sweeter place.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

To you

Scrolling through the blogs I read I was really struck (once again) today. 

Because, you know what? You are all awesome.

The things you have fought to get through. The battles are fighting today. The healing that you have Worked to achieve, the support that you have offered to your partners and to your friends.  I feel lucky to have a glimspe into your lives, and for you to be a part of mine. 

I am impressed with your strength. I and I am equally impressed with your ability to be real, and be vulnerable. 

I'm glad you are a part of my life. 

Xo