This Beautiful Moment

Life supplies a lot of twists and turns. Today is the due date for my fourth child who didn’t make it, and – quite a while back – I was crushed unexpectedly when I found out a friend was due with her son today (after I already knew mine wasn’t viable). I knew then it was selfish, but I had an emotional (and private) reaction. I found out yesterday she had her healthy baby boy a few days ago.

Today, though, is a very different day with a very different perspective. This morning, a dear friend delivered her baby girl. She is a friend who understands my perspective all too well, and gives me support and love on my journey. A friend, who has a story filled with lightness, reminds me today that miracles do happen. She is my Bullets to Blessings friend, a woman who has shared quite a similar journey. Once again, her story and her soul are giving me strength on a day I could be weak. She is giving me hope where it seems none remains. She is reminding me that miracles do happen.

This morning, she went through her first delivery with her fourth child. This is not the first baby she prayed for or named, but it’s the first one she gets to cuddle and kiss. Today, I am not jealous or sad, left to my narrow perspective. Today, I get to celebrate and revel in the truth that sometimes it does work out as planned. I know many who read this blog have had similar struggles, and may currently be going through them, so cement this story of hope into your being. Remind yourself that it gets better. And celebrate the birth of a new, sweet, little girl with a woman who deserves this beautiful moment.

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The Real Neat Blog Award

The Real Neat Blog Award

As my blog is slowly and organically growing, I feel a little glowy to be nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award by My Pink Champagne Life! Thank you so much! My blog is anonymous except for a handful or two of the souls dearest to me, so this nomination makes me feel like maybe I am not writing in vain. My Pink Champagne Life actually wrote and published a book, people! Her blog is filled with wit, humor, compassion, and perspective. She blogs about family (adopted and biological which is so cool for me), writing, PTSD and other generally awesome subjects you should check out. I am thrilled she thinks my blog is worthy of reading. So, enough of “Yay for me!” talk. Here are the award rules!

The Rules:

  • Put the Award logo in your post.
  • Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Thank the people who nominated you, linking their blogs.
  • Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blogs).

My questions from My Pink Champagne Life:

1. Describe your perfect day. Any perfect day? What a fun dream session. Okay. I suppose I will make it my husband’s birthday because he is so sweet and low key. It’s fun to have a day to spoil him. We would wake up on a chartered sailboat and have mimosas, toasting to him and our beautiful, imperfect life. Our dog, Hollywood, would be with us, too, just eating up the waves and sun. We’d sail until noon, catching glimpses of whales swimming beside our boat. Then we’d dock for lunch on an island with white sand, like in the Whitsundays, and have a fresh seaside lunch and share our dreams over delightful conversation. The afternoon might entail a deck-level nap under the gorgeous open sky and swimming, including a diving contest off the boat with Hollywood jumping and paddling alongside. By night, we’ll watch the stars take their place in the sky after a golden sunset and sharing a birthday dessert. This quiet, collective, and natural day would be the kind of day that invigorates me from the inside out.

2. What do you do to relax? Run, read, solve the world’s problems with my girlfriends, and play games with my husband (we’ve been on a Sequence streak and he wins with about 3-1 odds).

3. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done recently (that you’re willing to share)? I don’t get embarrassed too easily, so I will have to go back a few years. Having said that, I have recently written about how I have the best massage stories, and here is another one I’ve alluded to in passing only once, I believe, on this blog. A few years ago, I was working full time and my company was going through a huge changeover which I was primarily responsible in more than a few ways. I was also smack-dab in the middle of my graduate program that I did nights after work. I had zero time and was completely fried. I had a big push to get a new website up at the end of the week, and I didn’t know how I would make it through the next few days.

My husband and I had been the highest bidder at a fundraiser on a massage certificate that was about to expire. While neither of us had time to use it, I just couldn’t see it going to waste so I made an appointment, squeezed into a lunch I didn’t have time to take. I thought maybe the time taken would come back to me by being relaxed enough to focus on the next few things that had to get done. I don’t make a practice of talking in massages as they are a real treat to me (I don’t get them very often even though, from my stories, you’d think I was a regular). But, the masseuse was talking here and there, and then made a comment about how, “No one your age should be this tense,” and that’s all it took. I broke out into full out, not-able-to-breathe sobs, right on her table. I was mortified. Between gasps for air I explained to her how surprised I was by my emotions and how this had never happened previously. Long story short, she told me she’d seen grown men lose it more than I had and she gave me a sweet hug after I was dressed and was about to leave.

It still baffles me to think I was this keyed up. The only time I have ever cried in a work setting was 1.5 years later when this same company laid me off, shortly after paying for my grad degree (so I had no way of seeing it coming, thinking I was a valuable investment to them). Eh, well, life is full of surprises and that’s what keeps us growing. So, this is my go-to embarrassing moment, albeit a little sad, too. Actually, now that I type it all out, I was pretty darn embarrassed when I got laid off and then cried about it in front of the men doing the laying off, too.

4. Name three people you’d most like to eat dinner with (dead or alive). 1. Beyonce, for obvious reasons (in case you don’t know what those are, think after dinner dance party and karaoke sesh); 2. Pope Francis (I want to know what he REALLY thinks about gay marriage, birth control, and women leaders in the church); and 3. my dad’s father whom I never got to meet.

5. What would you change about your life? Easy. I would be on my way to meet my Haitian sweetheart and bring him or her home instead of knowing we have 2 years left, give or take, in process. I can’t say I would take back my miscarriages, even the one where I delivered my son. Life is weird that way; I want nothing more, but – yet – I know that just wasn’t either of our paths.

6. What’s your favorite ice cream? Does pastachio gelato count? I first had this in Sydney, a short walk from the opera house, back in 2003. The taste always brings me back to that truly magical oceanside night with the stars shining and fancy people dressed in fancy clothes, climbing the opera house stairs.

7. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you recently? I like this question. As My Pink Champagne Life and I have in common, we like to focus on positivity when we can. I might say that the best thing that has happened to me recently is that I have a new real-life friend. A fun person just moved into my area and we’ve been working out together by day and sharing tea or wine together by evening. Friendship is a wonderful gift.

My Nominations:

I have a small little blog circle along with my small little readership circle, but here are a few blogs that light me up. Ginjuh, Laura, and Frank, there is no pressure to keep this award going. Reply with a post if you’d like; skip it if you’d like. Thanks for being out there for us all!

  • Post Secret: This is a crazy cool blog that collects and publishes anonymously written secrets, mostly submitted on creative postcards.
  • Ginger’s Grocery: Touching and funny writing about kids, life, and the human condition. She doesn’t take herself too seriously which is something I like to be reminded to do.
  • In Others’ Words: She is an inspirational writer, dog lover, and abuse survivor. I love survivors, especially those trying to help others get through their shit buckets.

And Your Questions:

1. What’s Your Happiest Memory?

2. What Motivates You to Keep Blogging?

3. What Is Your Secret Strength (e.g. mine, randomly, is spatial skills)?

4. What’s the Next Place You Want to See?

5. What’s Your Favorite Quality About Yourself?

6. What Lights You Up?

7. What Holiday is Your Favorite?

Top 10 Things I Wish I Would’ve Known About Adoption

For my friends always wanting to know more about our adoption process and perspective…here is a great read to give you a little more insight to our process. Check out some of her other posts if you have time!

My Pink Champagne Life

I have four gorgeous children. Yes, I’m completely biased. I am blessed beyond measure with all these kids under one roof, even when I’m pulling my hair out at the noise or the mess. I don’t always remember that two are adopted and two are biological-they’re just all my kids.

Here are a few things that I thought it might be helpful to share with those who are hoping to adopt, things I wish I would’ve known before adopting. It wouldn’t have changed anything for me, but maybe I wouldn’t have been so surprised about a few things.

1.People have BIG opinions about adoption. No matter where you turn, you’re going to hear the opinions of others. If you’re in the adoption process, you may already get this. Whether you should do an open or closed adoption. Whether you should adopt a baby or an older child. Whether…

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39 Weeks

I haven’t been watching the calendar, but I had a reminder today that I could have/would have/should have been 39 weeks pregnant this week. I do not want to write another depressing post! So, I won’t. I refuse. Instead, I am going to write about all of the things I couldn’t have done or wouldn’t have been able to plan and look forward to if I would have been 39 weeks pregnant (you know…steal a little nectar…). Okay, here we go!

1. Wouldn’t be drinking all of that red wine I love. I mean think of it all. Buckets of the stuff, or maybe enough to fill up a bathtub, or a small wading pool. All of those 4 oz glasses times like a million days of pregnancy – what a total win!

2. Wouldn’t have paddle boarded for the first time this season yesterday. Can you imagine me wobbling, trying to balance on my board, not being able to pull my 50 pound pup up for the 102nd time like he needed yesterday after stealing swims out there on this beautiful lake? Yes, this is basically in my backyard. So lucky!

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3. There is no way I would have been able to travel this week to comfort a friend after her mom died. It turned out to be such a meaningful, warm, and important visit with her and her family and there is just no way I could have been that far away from my doctor.

4. And that reminds me of ALL of the doctor appointments I’ve avoided in the last 9 months. Oodles of them! I avoided all of those faces that know me because I am the “spontaneous aborter” as it so nicely points out on my medical history. I’ve avoided the anxiety of whether or not I will hear that heartbeat or panic over hcg numbers.

5. I wouldn’t have been able to go to the Masters again – on the final Sunday no less. Here is my grapefruit juice and club soda spritzer that I celebrated with a few days before the event to get in the right mind frame.

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6. I wouldn’t be going to Vegas to meet my oldest and most dear sister-friends for a long weekend.

7. I also wouldn’t have planned a Gulf Coast road trip with another girlfriend of mine that always has mischief on her mind and a wide grin on her face. I just giggle dreaming of the memories we will be making!

8. I wouldn’t have gotten that “couples massage” in Palm Springs last December with my friend after clearly requesting two separate massage rooms. I wouldn’t have gotten ridden like a rodeo bull as the masseuse pummeled my butt muscles with her knees and then got called a very large and beautiful lady. (Well, maybe I would have been called large and beautiful during the last nine months but not for the same reasons…this reason being that I am a 5’8″ Caucasian women with a very healthy BMI which also puts me naturally much larger than many other women around the world). I really do have the best massage stories; how could I be holding out on you guys for so long?

9. I wouldn’t have lost those five pounds this month. Okay, so maybe it’s three. And maybe it’s more of a water weight/pre-breakfast versus post-breakfast loss, but you know…it just wouldn’t have happened.

So, life is funny. It’s exciting. It’s lively, even when I am not having a baby next week. I am sure a 10th reason will come to me before my due date arrives uneventfully next week and there is good stuff in that. Dangerously refreshing, isn’t it?

Colombian Heart A-Crack

Today another tiny crack formed in my heart. I just can’t help but feel it there, wounded with sharp edges like a shattered mirror or broken ice. Today, I finally wrote our adoption agency and said we would not adopt the Colombian twins. I know we basically made this decision weeks ago, but that didn’t stop the tears from falling from my eyes when I typed and, eventually, sent the email that will stop a part of our journey with them.

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I say part of our journey because, in an abstract way, they will always be a part of our family. Not only did my husband and I fall in love with them, but our extended families did too. All of our hearts are yearning for them, although we are lucky enough to have our decision supported because our thought process and maturity are trusted by our loved ones. However, that does not take away the disappointment.

This disappointment leads to the big, unanswerable questions in life. Why is so much suffering tolerated? Why can’t we adopt them all? Why can’t love be enough? Why did my husband and I have a “God moment” when we saw their tiny faces for the first time and called our agency instantly? How can we be 100% sure we aren’t rejecting our divine opportunity to serve beyond ourselves?

I know we are expanding through this experience, but – if you readers are praying type of people, or sending positive energy type of people, or horoscopes or moon phase type of people – please keep these two little ones in your thoughts. These two affectionate, wild, beautiful children have endured a life not deserved, but maybe we can all send out some love to them in our own ways.

I, for one, will continue to pray that I feel the divine calling me with 100% confidence when the timing is right. I don’t know what all this waiting is about, but I am listening to the things that are hard to hear. I will continue to hold these two beauties in my heart, and know that – for some reason – we weren’t their forever family, but that family is out there, being prepared for them now.

You Need a Baby? I Can Get You a Baby – Quick!

The title of the post are words that were spoken to my husband about a year ago when the man he ultimately works for – a man who is wealthy enough to have been on the Forbes Richest People list and has ridiculously influential friends – overheard my husband getting documents notarized for our adoption. Regardless of wealth and influence, it’s pretty shocking to hear someone say they can get you a baby like they might have just asked if you needed more ketchup for your sandwich. Anyway, just to be clear, the method suggested was legal…he just so happens to have a good friend that is an abortion lawyer and finds families for the babies that are too far along to be aborted. (What a crazy world this is.)

Well, two nights ago my husband gets a phone call and it’s Mr. Billionaire himself. He wants to know if we are ready for that baby because a high school girl is three months pregnant and he thought of us. To make matters much more complicated, we have spent the last three weeks in deep contemplation about switching our adoption course to bring home two Colombian, twin, six year olds we randomly saw in a Waiting Children newsletter from our agency. They would be home by Christmas, most likely, and then our family would be set just like that.

And then, there is just one more layer to all of these family planning considerations. We recently semi-stalked and invited over a Haitian couple we knew to live in our area. It was as simple as, “We are adopting from your beautiful country. Would you like to share coffee and pastries and get to know one another?” Well, it turns out they are charming, intelligent, well-grounded, and compassionate people who offered to help us after knowing us for all of about ten minutes. They came to the U.S. as political refugees and still have ties in Haiti. We discussed our process and they left with a promise to try to find out something about our file, trying to see if we can get it moving along. They also told us they would help us learn their language (Haitian Creole) and that, next time we all meet, we will share a Haitian meal. Now if those don’t sound like people you want your future kids to be influenced by…

So, this is the point when my husband and I have to really refocus our priorities, allow a little risk into our lives, and try to discern emotions from destiny. Here is a snapshot of our thoughts:

Domestic, Infant Baby (Due Septemberish): There is a real appeal to many things in this situation: abridged paperwork, no worry about attachment and bonding issues, quick timeline, possible open adoption which has been researched to be best for the child.

Colombian Twins (Due Home around December): Not just faces and names…but the most beautiful faces and names I can imagine; fun ages that don’t require diapers and big plastic toys all over the house (which I will try to avoid regardless); worries about attachment issues, learning delays, physical disabilities, behavioral setbacks, and the ability to overcome these in the long term. Hubby also speaks Spanish so we have an instant connection there; his staff mostly speaks Spanish so we have a community connection with their families as well.

Haitian Child (Due Home TBA – Best Guess is Late 2016): Toddler aged so we won’t miss all of the small, cuddle time and early development stages; connection to Haitians in community; longest wait time; new language development for us; original plan.

So, why did I add “original plan” to the end of the Haitian consideration? Not because we are stuck in our ways, but to remind us of why we chose that path in the first place…

“Original Plan” Considerations:
– Help a young child out of a system that doesn’t offer foster care (Haitian adoption is only consideration of child from an orphanage)
– Add culture to our family by keeping birth country traditions and language alive in home
– Leave room for follow-up decision for family planning (no more kids, one more biological, or one more from a domestic or another international adoption)
– Experience as many parenting stages as possible

Finalization:

Domestic Infant: We decided pretty quickly this wasn’t the right plan for us at the moment. We feel a little crazy making that decision based on the ease of this potential situation, but our hearts just aren’t in it the same way they are overseas, so we have to follow our hearts. No Domestic Infant Adoption For Now.

Colombian Twins: This has proved to be a heartbreaking decision, much like having another miscarriage since we started to fall in love with these little ones, but – after three weeks of research, consideration, and attachment, we believe we have decided Not To Adopt The Colombian Twins. I am positive they will always be in our hearts and we will wonder about them all of our lives. However, my husband and I felt it was necessary to enter a situation with more positive growth potential since this situation offers many exhausting and scary unknowns. Our souls have expanded during this consideration and we realize now a lot of things are negotiable for us, but the bottom line is that we really want a higher probability to raise loving, well-adjusted kids than this situation will give us, especially because this consideration would take so many resources and options off the table for us. This makes us feel a little selfish because these are kids we are talking about, but – in the end – we feel we may have a more positive, influential relationship with a younger, adopted child who we can take out of an orphanage into a family environment.

Haitian Adoption: This one is still in the works. We are hoping our new friends may be able to find out more on our file – and possibly speed up the process for us – but, even if they cannot, this seems to be the most fitting option for us right now. The Colombians have showed us that we are ready for a lot of change; they have given us the gift of coming back to this Haitian process with a new-found confidence and excitement. We now feel so much more ready and equipped to take on one youngish child from another country since we were considering two, older, special-needs kiddos.

One of my favorite spiritual leaders, Richard Rohr, always says you learn the most through suffering. It might sound crazy since it was our choice, but I am truly sad we have decided not to adopt these beautiful twins. However, I feel I have already learned more about myself, my limits, and my passion because they briefly entered my life. I have become more open to a messy, unbridled type of love. I feel more sure about my capacities. And, for that, I will always silently thank them.