Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dear Baby Holt,

Since you're my son, your first word should probably be "woot". You may want to start working on that. "Daddy" or "Mommy" are acceptable alternatives. I'm afraid you're learning "hi" since I say it to you all the time. I'll try to help steer you in the right direction by using "woot" more frequently.

Love, Mommy XOXO

Thursday, November 18, 2010

P is for Prayer...And PATIENCE

I had originally chosen Prayer for this letter, but thinking about it more Patience seems to fit too.

Prayer goes without saying when embarking on adoption. It starts with prayers for a child, then prayers if you should adopt, then prayers about which agency to use, then prayers about that dang what-kind-of-child-would-you-like form, then prayers that it will happen "soon", then prayers to get you through the waiting game, then prayers if this child is meant for you, then prayer upon prayer of gratitude when IT happens.

So prayer is definitely a huge part of adoption.

But Patience-

Patience, that often elusive virtue all of us mean to acquire one day.

Yes patience has had a huge role in our road to parenthood.

I recently came across a blog post that explains what the whole process is like here. Feel free to read it. It gives a true insight to what it's like to be on this side of the fence.

There are many things I'm grateful for that our path to parenthood has taught me and one of them is patience.

I used to be notoriously impatient. But trying to become parents through adoption and dealing with infertility is definitely a "hurry up and wait" game.

First you have patience as month after month you are not pregnant.
Then you have patience as doctors put you and your spouse through test after test to try and determine the problem.
Then patience as you fill out the massive amounts of paperwork to adopt.
Then patience waiting for your background check to come through (all the while grateful that you never committed any serious crimes lol)
Then, patience to be chosen by a birth mother.

To me, this was the hardest part. Because I really just had to wait. And hope. And pray. And wait. And as Inigo Montoya said "I hate waiting." There wasn't anything I could do to speed this part up, except advertise more. Spread the word more. Blog more. And wait.

Gavin and I have often talked about the road that led us to Nathan and we wouldn't change it for anything. Even before Nathan came into our lives we felt blessed to have been given the opportunity to go down this road. It's by no means been easy. Or always pleasant. But there are so many things we've learned that just aren't worth trading for anything.

I feel like I've got a much better handle on this patience thing than I did 5 years ago. I know things happen in the time they're supposed to. Life doesn't accept your own dictation, but goes by what the Master calls. And as always, He knew exactly what we needed :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

O is for Openness

I've thought a lot about what I might say about Open Adoption. And this is a tender subject to me, but one that we're still learning how to define and what we're comfortable with. Let's see if I can get through this :)

O is for Openness
Open Adoption is different for everyone. At it's most basic level it may mean letters and photos in set parameters of time.

That's all we had planned before we met E.

After we met E things changed. Once August hit I realized I was starting to feel sad if I couldn't see or text or talk to E anymore after he was born. For a while I didn't know what to do about it. I didn't want to make her uncomfortable with pushing her into something she maybe didn't want. After weeks of feeling this way I finally broke it to her. I was SO happy when she said she felt the same way! 

Openness for us means the following:
-texting E pictures and updates as they come along
-having E over to visit
-being able to turn to E as a friend
-adopting E's parents as a third set of grandparents for Nathan (couldn't help it, they're adorable!)
-wanting Nathan to grow up knowing his half sister, along with E and her parents
-sending photos and gifts to E
-having Nathan "call" E to leave grunting messages and squeal at her in the phone
-cherishing our relationship with E and her role in bringing Nathan to us

Someone once cautioned me before Nathan was born about how close E and I had become. They said: "You know you don't have to share him right?" I didn't understand what she meant at first. Then I replied, "Yes I know." I know what she meant. And I've seen other adoption bloggers address it. Open adoption isn't co-parenting. I know there's a difference between sharing the parental role for Nathan and sharing his life with her. But you know what? I couldn't imagine not sharing Nathan's life with our E. She means too much to us for us to forget her or leave her behind. So for us, Open Adoption means sharing our joy with E. Sharing those precious moments and inviting her into our lives. It means we love her for who she is and care about her. It means we're concerned when things aren't going right for her or she's sad. It means we can't wait to tell her what new developmental stage he's entered or how he learned to open his fist.

It means we're not afraid to share Nathan's love with her. We have pictures of them together in his baby book. We have her letter to us saved for him to read. We have precious text messages between us recorded so he can grow up knowing how special she is.

To us, that is what Open Adoption means.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

D is for Decisions

First let me sincerely apologize for being gone so long! We've taken turns having the flu over here (thankfully Nathan was excluded) and it's taken me a while to get back to my blogs. I've been so inspired reading others' adoption themed posts that it spurred me to come back and continue my A-D-O-P-T-I-O-N string.

So...

D is for Decisions
I think everybody can understand this one. Adoption is full of decisions from start to "finish". First was our decision to adopt. I remember it was April 2009 that at the end of Family Home Evening one night Gavin said in a serious tone that he wanted to talk to me about something. I remember being terrified because he's normally not that serious (we're very much kids at heart still in our house). We talked of adoption that night and I admit I cried. I felt like our failure to produce our own offspring was final. We prayed about it that night and there was no doubt in either of our minds, despite any misgivings of our own we may have had, that adoption was the road we were supposed to be on at that time.

Our next decision was what route to adopt were we going to take? Come to find out, there's several ways to adopt that are available. After a lot of research we chose to go through LDS Family Services. We started the paperwork and started to feel excited.

Our next decision was one of privacy. We decided we were not going to tell anyone we were adopting until we were picked or had achieved something a bit substantial in the process. After 5 years of comments, questions, and well meaning prodding we were done with broadcasting our road to parenthood.

Our next decision was what kind of child we wanted to adopt. Can you imagine the weight of that decision for a second? You're given a paper listing everything from gender to ethnicities, to diseases and handicaps. As if you're ordering a baby. That form was really hard for us to fill out. We decided to be extremely open to whatever came our way. We figured with any opportunity to adopt we would pray about it to see if it was right for us. We didn't have any scruples with ethnicity. Loves comes in all colors. But the handicaps and diseases were harder. We wanted to be the best parents we could be and had to analyze the care needed for each one. It was hard. There were a few we decided would not be a good fit for us, for the child's sake, because they would need care we couldn't give. It was so hard.

The next decision we had to make was how open did we want our adoption to be? We had the opportunity to attend a weekend seminar by LDS Family Services where we got to hear of different kinds of open adoptions. That was a huge blessing for us and completely wiped away any fears or misgivings we had about an open adoption. We know preferred an open adoption after that as it seemed the healthiest option for everyone involved.

The next decision we had to make was whether to tell our family or not. It was around Christmas time and we were pretty much approved to adopt. We decided that was a big enough step to tell everyone we were adopting. I admit, I underestimated our families and friends. I fully expected the worst. Instead I was shamefully surprised and touched by everyone's excitement. It was a relief! (Plus I'm none so good at keeping my own secrets lol)

The next decision really didn't come until we were notified of E, our birth mother (our fabulous radizzle birth mother thank you very much!) Thankfully, this one required little to no thought. As soon as I met her and talked with her I knew. By the way I felt I knew. It was an amazing experience that I'll treasure always, meeting our E.

This is our own story and every adoption story is different. But they're all filled with decisions the family has to make. It can be quite stressful, navigating through decisions, paperwork, background checks, laws, etc.

But it's absolutely worth it :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A-D-O-P-T-I-O-N

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month I decided to do one of those acronym thingies (technical term anyone?) where you pick a word each letter stands for. I'm going to be writing about this over the next 9 days so bear with me!

A- Adventure
D- Decisions
O- Openness
P- Prayer
T- Time
I- Inspiration
O- Optimism
N- Never giving up

A stands for Adventure
As I thought about the adoption process, it's definitely an adventure. Isn't starting a family an adventure for everyone? This adventure of becoming parents had several twists and turns for us. Like any newly married couple we soon decided we wanted to make the leap to parenthood. 4 years later, along with multiple fertility tests, tears, and heartache, we felt that adoption was the route Heavenly Father intended for us to take. Looking back, we both feel so blessed to have been able to participate in this amazing adventure called Adoption. Ours seems like a whirlwind once we were approved to adopt. Though we had been longing to become parents for 5 years we felt very nervous about becoming parents with only 2 months notice! We felt blessed, but definitely nervous :)

To anyone else out there longing to become a parent or who is in the middle of their adoption adventure, keep going! Everyone's story has a happy ending, just a different timeline!

Happy Halloween! (The End of October, Finally)

I've never been much of a Halloween fan, BUT I am a fan of dressing up Nathan in costume! Here's some pics of our adorable lil giraffe!

so adorable!


 lol I have no idea what was going on in this picture but it's so funny!

Monday, November 1, 2010

National Adoption Awareness Month!

The R House issued a challenge to blog every day something about adoption in the month of November, since it's National Adoption Awareness Month. I'm so excited to get to participate in National Adoption Awareness Month this year! I suppose I could have last year but we were still keeping our adoption plans on the DL last year (look how far we've come!)

I'm all willing to take the challenge but 30 days about adoption? Heck, 30 posts in one month is a new feat for me! This will definitely require me to take my blogging more seriously.

So, ....

Just a couple words about Adoption...

I can't think of a sweeter miracle that has ever blessed my life than the sweet miracle of adoption that has brought our Nathan to us. I was playing with him yesterday when I realized I really can't imagine this lil guy being anywhere else but with us. We have E to thank for all eternity for listening to the promptings of the Spirit and bringing this lil Angel to our family. What a treasure it is to be a parent!

Even though our journey to Baby #1 is (almost) at an end, I feel in the future we'll be blessed to embark on this journey again for future Baby Holt's :)

So, what can YOU do to help others adopt?

1. Word of Mouth: the biggest help you can be for someone you know who is adopting is to help spread the word to people you know. Whether its through conversation, blogging, etc this is a huge help! So many couples I know were united with their children through word of mouth. Ours was through a blog post by a friend... that our attorney saw... who contacted E, and the rest is history. So please help out your friends and loved ones by letting others know!

2. Be sensitive: If you know someone who is trying to adopt, please be sensitive! It's a hard process to go through, with a lot of waiting (and who among us likes to wait?). I cannot stress this enough. Families trying to adopt need lots of love and support and little to no advice, well meaning sentiments, etc. Trust me, less said is probably the better route to take! Also, read up on adoption, the process, and laws in your state. That way you will be able to offer an educated shoulder to lean on, which is very appreciated!

3. Pray: Prayers are always appreciated by those trying to adopt! The one thing I never got tired of hearing throughout this was that we were in other people's prayers. It's a sweet sentiment that can't be misunderstood :)

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