Thursday, December 31, 2009

christmas 2009

What a difference a year makes. I know this is so cliche.

Last year in December, D and I got our first situation. What we didn't realize at the time was this would be the first of many "situations."

A "situation" is what our American agency calls it when we, along with other hopeful couples, are preliminarily matched with an expectant mom. We then wait to hear about her decision in choosing to parent or choosing a family to place her child. Sometimes we waited a day or two, but most of the time we waited for weeks.

One year ago we were naive and Innocent to this process. When we got that first call from our agency we thought this was really happening for us. I remember telling family and a few close friends with excitement. And I definitely remember what it was like to feel that Innocent joy that believes in possibility.

Last year around Christmas we found out that we would not become parents in 2008 like we had so desperately hoped. This made every family gathering and get together extremely difficult as moms, babies, and children were everywhere.

This year was different. This year I too was a mom. This year I too had responsibilities that went beyond eating too much and opening presents. It's hard to find the right words to accurately describe how this felt.

It was sweet joy.

At an extended family gathering where my aunts and uncles met baby T for the first time, I think I glowed just a bit. Maybe no one else saw it, but I felt it. D didn't get to hold T much that day, I needed to be the mom and bask in the wonderment and newness of it all.

This holiday season I caught a glimpse of the vast, unconditional love God has for me. I have fallen in love with my son and that makes for the absolute best Christmas gift.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

oa roundtable

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. Click here to link to what other bloggers are writing about this topic.

The instructions this time around are to write about open adoption and the holiday season.

I must admit that with my current reality of working part-time and becoming a mom I hadn't put much thought into the holidays and our open adoption. At the best of times I'm scattered at Christmas and this year has left me much more disorganized.

I had been thinking about how different the holiday season is this year with baby T -- pondering traditions we want to build as a family and how it feels to actually be a family this year. I'd been thinking about how this is T's first Christmas and how I want to make it a special experience for all of us. Then Heather's OA question brought me to a different place. Even though I think about T's birth mom all the time I hadn't fully thought through her holiday experience this year and how that will impact my own.

We have limited contact with J. We send monthly letters and pictures to our American agency who forwards them to her. We exchanged email addresses with J but except for a couple of texts in September we haven't heard from her. So I feel disconnected from J. Earlier this month I inquired at our agency if any of our packages to J have come back, none have, so I assume she is getting them. This is good news.

This week, D, T, and I went Christmas shopping for J and her daughter (T's half sister). We got them both special gifts that I'm pretty sure they'll love. I wish I could hand deliver the presents and see their expressions as they open them. But for now this is our reality. I hope things will change in the future and our contact with J will be more open. There are some good reasons why we have limited contact with J at this time but that doesn't make it any easier. She is a very real part of T and that makes her a pivotal member of our family.

Our experience of what family means and looks like is now different. So while we celebrate the holidays with mine and D's families, it will be apparent that an important part of our family is missing. It will be fulfilling to experience Christmas as a mom, but I am aware of another mom who will have a different Christmas holiday this year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

my sad dad day

Today is the anniversary of my father's death. I can't believe it has been 8 years since I heard him laugh, listened to his funny excited noises while watching sports, watched him maneuver a toothpick like some sort of pro, or smelled his aftershave. I miss him.

I would have loved to have had the opportunity to introduce my dad to baby T. I wonder what he would have thought. Would he have had questions about adoption or about our openness to race? What would he have done when we arrived home with T? I would have loved to see my dad as a grandpa. He would have been excellent.

The days leading up to today have not been as difficult as usual. I am now somewhat distracted! I didn't even loathe Christmas shopping like usual. Having T in our lives does bring new perspective to me at this time of year. Slowly my experience of the holiday season is changing from grief filled to one seen through the eyes of a child. For this I am thankful.

I will never forget my dad and how my life changed significantly on this day years ago, but the grief continues to be reshaped as time marches on. And someday I will introduce T to my father, I will tell him stories of growing up with a great role model and a caring, loving dad. My prayer is that T grows up to be the kind of man my dad was.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

tee time

We have many friends who live far, far away who would love to be closer to see and experience baby T growing up. To help our friends and family who aren't able to pop by for regular visits feel included in our lives, I have set up a private blog where pictures of T will be posted.

Please send me an email at eyeswideopenmotherhood[at]gmail[dot]com or my personal email if you would like an invitation to view his blog. As long as I sort of "know" who you are, you'll be invited!

Friday, December 11, 2009

out and about with baby T

It is a rare thing to find me at home. For most people to have a baby means becoming somewhat house bound. From day one with baby T we needed to be out and about. There was adoption paperwork, legal paperwork, a court appearance, passport application, plus the need for D and I to stay fed and watered. Because we were many miles away from home there was no support in the form of meals (that came later and boy was it appreciated!) or available arms to hold T when D and I desperately needed to nap.

However, the fact that we were on our own away from the comforts of home was also a blessing. We had no choice but to go out with a 3 day old. We quickly became accustomed to feeding in the back seat while stopped in a parking lot, to diaper changes in the lawyer's office, to using Harvey Karp's calming techniques in the aisles of Target.

Although...I do vividly remember our first real restaurant experience with T. We had scoped out a popular local place and without thinking (let's blame baby brain!) we went on a saturday evening. T was sleeping soundly in the car seat but we of course had to wait quite some time for a table. Once inside we were seated at a table beside a loud cooling fan for the kitchen. And unbeknown to us there was a live band...which was way too loud. I became extremely nervous. We had already waited so long for a table and now were sitting in less than ideal surroundings. D asked the waiter to turn down the fan and then we talked through our plan of action should T wake up (he was feeding every 1 1/2 - 2 hrs). We formulated a plan for every possible scenario which helped, but I was still wondering why we had been so stupid to try this restaurant on the weekend! D and I basically inhaled our food and high tailed it out of there as fast as we could. And of course, T slept through the entire event, completely unaware of all the drama. Our next restaurant experience that week was much less anxiety producing and by now we're old pros at it!

The 2 weeks we spent in the States contributed to our willingness and ability to go out with T and feel comfortable in most situations. But I think the reason why I am often vacant from home has less to do with comfort and more to do with my exploration of motherhood. I think I feel this need to be out in public, to have people witness me caring for T, to feel like a mom. I'm not trying to be attention seeking, this is totally different. When I'm out there are people thinking about me as a mom which causes me to think the same of myself. I want to be clear though that in no way do I want my role as mom to define who I am - I am so much more than that - but in this moment of time I need to feel it.

The irony found in that I currently need to be seen with a baby when just a few short months ago it was torturous to see moms and babies all around is not lost on me. Life is strange and difficult. I do continue to think of the women who are living the reality I lived this past year. But at the same time I have to care for myself and know and understand what I need. It's just interesting to me that traipsing T all over the countryside will play a significant role in my journey into motherhood.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

too funny

D goes to a local Healthy Baby group every Tuesday morning with baby T. We think it is both hilarious and great that he goes! Today at group T got his first "marriage proposal" of sorts. One of the moms commented on how cute he is (let's face it, he's quite the gerber baby!) and that perhaps an arranged marriage with her daughter could be planned! Ha ha! Too funny!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


My sister and I made these super yummy chocolate sugar cookies for a Christmas family gathering today. These are my ABC* cookie cutters that I received from a dear friend of mine.

*Already Been Chewed...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009