Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Honest Opinion: What I Miss Most...

Adjustment isn't easy for anyone.

And it may surprise you...

But if you have been reading this blog for any time at all, it probably won't.


Of all the things that I miss most from the move, the loss of some things have left me feeling far more disoriented than others.

Like this...

And this...

Nevermind the rest of this that I didn't get to finish...

And with or without Michael Scott, I NEED these people!

And Leslie Knope is running for office???

How can I even BEAR IT!!!

And, hello???

And yes, even this...

Because if a girl can't have her reality BFF's, she should at least be able to count on her non-reality ones!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Helpful How-To: Some Things Speak For Themselves

Good methodology, right?

I am pretty sure that Techy wrote this.

I just wonder how my doctor's office got a hold of it??

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

He, She, It, They...

The day before we moved, we went in for a little ultrasound...

And Little Man wanted to be the first to tell you....


It's a girl!

We are so excited!

Despite the hesitance in Little Man's face...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tractor Factor

I'm desperately trying to make a come back to the blogging world.

But in the meantime, you MUST forgive me.

For my randomness.

Because I thought I would share a little something that happened during our packing process.

And as all my stories goes, there is a back story to this....

You may remember that my child has little obsessions occasionally.

And some of you may have seen the video we posted on Facebook a few weeks back...

But if not, you should totally go friend request me and then watch the video.

It's super adorable.

If I do say so myself.

But please, ignore the fact that my husband is sitting in his boxers.

Because that might be interpreted as strange.

And we all know I don't want to come off as strange...


Ok, so maybe you shouldn't watch the video.

But the long and short of it is that my kid has recently developed a new {little} obsession with tractors.

As evidenced by this picture.


We made the mistake of going to Home Depot.

And we almost couldn't get out of the store.

But it's only a little obsession....


Well, as luck would have it, Grammy found out about the obsession just in time for us to move.

Meaning that just about the time that our Pack Rat looked like this...

We had to make room for one of these...

I know, right?

Everyone should have a Grammy like that, right?

And yes, I may have cried trying to figure out how to fit in in the Pack Rat.

And Techy may have uttered a few 4 letter words.

But it did make it. 

And hopefully one day soon, Little Man will get to enjoy the rewards that come from having a Grammy who is just as obsessed with him as he is with "TRACTURES!!!"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grow Your Family Series: A Blessing in Surprise

Today's post comes from my friend, Taryn, who blogs over at No Such Thing as Normal.  Over the last few months, she has been a huge encouragement to me.  Her gorgeous family, though not "perfect" by most peoples' standards, is one of the most beautiful and perfect families I have ever seen. 

So before I steal too much of her story....

When Leah asked me to first write “our story”, I jumped at the chance. Or as my 5 year old says, “I jump in it.” You know, from that Direct TV commercial with the tiny giraffe? No? OK, I feel dumb ....Just YouTube it. Anyhoos, I don’t really know where to start, and though Momma tends to get lengthy, I think I should start from the beginning … stick to the basics. So here we go…

This is my story and I’m s-s-s-ss-ss-stickin’ to it.

Oh, and I’m going to “try “to keep it PG …Kidding. I don’t have a problem doing that. I promise.

“My name is Taryn and I am not an alcoholic”. That’s what I said in AA …The first and only time I went. I totally got reprimanded by every person in the room. I was 18 and I had gotten a DWI. Dumb. I know. But, now, I am a sober 33 year old who is married to Charlie, and have been for quite a while. Pre-Charlie, I was a heathen. No really, a real, live heathen. You know the kind … “stuff”, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Then, in 1999, God blessed the broken road and it led me straight to him …this green-eyed angel who rapped and moshed and promised to make all my wildest dreams come true …and everything was peachy …For a while anyways. We were married in 2004 and by 2006 we were parents. Lake was born in Plano, TX, at what we called “the fancy schmancy hospital”, because back home in Monroe, LA, nothing was this nice. Not even the “best” hotel. Being a mom was much harder than I thought. I mean, I didn’t go into this thinking all was going to be a breeze, but my son… he’s a lot like me. Overly sensitive and EMOTIONAL. (I secretly sorta love it) As for pregnancy, I didn’t have any trouble getting pregnant. It happened a lot sooner than expected but we were ok with it. Though, the pregnancy itself, did NOT agree with me… gestational diabetes. Ugh. Can I get a big fat BOO for that mess?

March 23 2006 -- After almost 24 hours on “the drip” to induce my labor, no baby… a c-section it was. Enter, Preston Lake Davidson! At 9 pounds 10 ounces, he was all of a toddler. Seriously, he was huge. I decided right then and there, Lake would be an only child if we didn’t adopt. I had always wanted a son, and a son I got. As a matter of fact, I just “knew” God would not make me birth another toddler… And He definitely would not give me a daughter… I mean, I am not “daughter” material. I mean really, I am not… or at least I didn’t think I was.

So we are Christians…. That is, followers of Jesus Christ…. And we planned to raise Lake to love Jesus as well. From the beginning we tried to teach him to look and listen for Jesus and know that Jesus is always with him. He is a smart boy, so he grasped this quite quickly. I have always prayed that he would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and to the Lord’s call on his life. So when Lake was 3 years old, he went to south LA for a whole weekend to visit his great “Papaw Cooney” (short for you know what) and when he came home, as I was tucking him in bed that Sunday evening, he said to me, “Mommy, I want to pray that Jesus puts a baby in your belly and that it is a girl.” He had no idea that the Friday he left for south LA I had taken a pregnancy test and it was positive. So we prayed and I waited until I went to the Dr. to confirm before we told him. Lake was beside himself with excitement and just “knew” it was a girl.

Now, getting pregnant this time, was not “planned”. I mean, yes, I know what causes it… but we weren’t trying and we just “took a chance”. Up until this point in our life, we had never, not ever, not even ONCE taken a “chance” because I was adamant I did NOT want to bare another child. Apparently, God had other plans.

And as much as I did not want to be pregnant again, I REALLY did NOT want a daughter… So when the ultrasound showed that baby girl, I cried. I was so annoyed with God. I mean, first a pregnancy (Strike one!), then a girl… I mean, “Come on, God… strike two!” Ya know? But there was always that nagging feeling that these things happen for a reason… so I finally got on board and welcomed the little toot into my heart…. Reluctantly, as it may have been.

When the pregnancy took a left turn and I ended up on bed rest early on for extreme edema, I was sort of pleased…. I HATED my job. Literally, I cried every day. The swelling itself was no walk in the park. Oh the pain… but I will save you from my extreme complaining because once I get started complaining, Momma has a hard time quitting… Complaining is like drugs… it feels good at first. Then you just keep going, and going, and before you know it, you have vented for like, an hour or so ...So it’s just best I don’t start.

Then, at 36 weeks I went in for an ultrasound to measure the baby and schedule my c-section. To my surprise, this did not go as planned. Baby measured oddly smaller than she should have but my belly measured several weeks ahead of schedule. My amniotic fluid was more than it should be, so baby was actually “floating”. She had PLENTY of room. This alarmed the ultrasound tech, me, and my Dr. of course. I had already had gestational diabetes with the first baby, and a family history of diabetes, so I was told, “This could be your body telling you that you are indeed a diabetic.”

So the next week, I went in for another ultrasound. I was 37 weeks and my belly measured as if I was 48 weeks pregnant. I had to bold print that in case you missed that.

That’s frickin’ huge. I’m just sayin’ “It’s big” is all.

The baby was measuring 35-36 weeks and 34 weeks in her arms/legs/head size.

My amniotic fluid had almost doubled in a week… which is INSANELY painful for your stomach to grow that fast, that quickly. My Dr. explained that my uterus could not hold anymore fluid, that I was in danger of it actually rupturing. So we did an emergency c-section and baby was here the next morning!

March 24 2010 (the day after Lake’s 4th birthday) -- Enter, Lennon Vale Davidson! Baby bug was 7 pounds 3 ounces and beautiful.

She had a lot of fluid on her lungs so they sent her to NICU. During recovery from my c-section, the Pediatrician came in to speak to us about Lennon’s health… Down Syndrome, she had said. Down Syndrome (Strike three, God!) …. She kept saying it… Down Syndrome… and each time it was like a Hiroshima in my heart.

I just couldn’t accept it. What would Lake do? Is Charlie blaming me? Why won’t he look at me?! Was this because of all the ”stuff” I did in my youth… the drugs? This is all MY fault! And Lake… How is he going to feel about his sister and this state of “retardation” she is in? (I HATE that word, but it crossed my mind… ya know?) Would she be the sad lonely kid in school? Would she even have friends? The pediatrician filled us in on her “physical characteristics”… traits of Down Syndrome, she said... “A cleft on her ear, a Semian line on her hand, split between her toes, almond shaped eyes, flat bridge between her nose, broad belly, shorter limbs, smaller head….” I panicked. Dear God, was she a mutant?! I mean, I had seen her bundled in a blanket for all of 2 seconds before they rushed her off to NICU. I pictured her to look mangled. Fear set in and it set in good… that fear pretty much grew roots immediately. Then, questions filled my mind, and my heart exploded. I cried, “WHY?!” …but I knew why… Punishment. This was punishment for my sins. For all I had done in life. What kind of GOD does this? Ya know? I had to get some answers. This is NOT who I thought He was!

But then...

I finally saw her…. She didn’t look mangled. I could see the traits but they were so tiny in comparison to what I had pictured in my head. She was so tiny. So sweet, so needing her momma, and her momma was so needing her, to hold her, to love her, to tell her, “It’s not true, what they are saying about you.” So after 3 grueling weeks in NICU, they sent us home.

Lake was finally going to meet his baby sister… the one he had prayed for every night, for 9 months. “Oh God, please let him accept her.” I was worried.

Lennon seemed good and we would just “deal” with anything that came along in regards to ”the” Down Syndrome. By this time, I had had it out with God. I was so weary from 3 weeks of praying and seeking His wisdom… and His answers. I was NOT ok with it.

Day 3 at home with my new little 3 week old baby bug… and Lennon stopped eating …and starting turning purple. She went into Congestive Heart Failure in my arms that afternoon.

We rushed her to the ER and she was admitted to PICU immediately. Two more long weeks in ICU and I am wondering if I will ever really take her home. She was losing weight but they couldn’t feed her because of the fluid on her heart and lungs. By the time she was 5 weeks old, they transferred her to Ocshner’s in New Orleans to have open heart surgery.

I missed my son, I missed my old life.

I wanted things to be right again… to be “normal”. But, I could not shake this feeling that this was happening for a reason.

Once again, God and I had it out. This time, I actually allowed Him to speak.

After her surgery, I sat all alone next to her bed and wept ….all night I wept … she was under 6 pounds at this point and probably the most helpless thing I have ever seen in my entire life… except for me. I was pretty pathetic. That night, as I lay there, vigorously typing away at my first blog entry, I finally realized, through a still but constant voice, I was ok with the Down Syndrome. I was ok with it, because the thought of losing that little girl was way, way, way worse than any old stinky syndrome.

I knew right then and there, we were going to be just fine. We would take each day as a blessing and definitely not for granted. God really has a way of putting things into perspective, if we are willing to see it… It was just a little syndrome in comparison to the life of your baby. It seemed pretty small now.

After we were home….. We had to explain to Lake, a 4 year old, what Down Syndrome was. “Lennon has something that we don’t. ”It’s an extra something that makes it difficult for her to learn things that are very easy for us… like eating, playing, crawling, walking, learning“… We told him, “She is going to need lots of therapy and lots of love and encouragement and help. She is our little miracle.”

I think, when he saw the big wound on her chest, he finally knew just how sick she had been. He just did.

Something happened right then and there when he looked at her; he had the saddest look on his face. He finally understood what the big fuss was about, that she really was “cut open” and “her heart was fixed”. I think he really felt bad for this tiny little sweet thing.

He wanted to be helpy -helps-a-lot after that. He wanted to “teach her” or “do therapy” with her so she would learn to play with him one day. He prayed for her all the time and still does.

When she was 6 months old, we went to our first “Buddy Walk”. That day, Lake asked his daddy, “Why do all these people look like that? Different?” Charlie explained to him that they had the same thing Lennon does. They had Down Syndrome. Another moment of clarity for this little man. Lake had started school by this time, and had 3 special needs children in his class. He quickly understood that not all kids were the same. Some needed a little more help. He was beginning to understand that Lennon was still a baby, but that she just needed a little extra.

The older she got, the more fun he had with her. No one giggled harder or more than her. She could NOT get enough of Lake.

We made special time for Lake with just us, and every second we got, we would tell him, “Lennon told me a secret… she said she loves her big bubba.” He would get so excited and immediately love on her. We have always made it out to be that Lennon’s favorite person was her big bubba Lake…. Because it’s the truth.

Life after Hiroshima is almost ”normal” (If there was really a such thing)… She does tend to get sick a little easier than I would like… meaning a runny nose can turn into a trip to the ER if we don’t act aggressively. I had to quit my job to stay at home with her (take her out of daycare) and I can assure you I was very excited to do so.
God really knew I needed that. She has already had tubes in her ears …and 6 months later her adenoids came out.

Today, Lennon is 18 months old and has a really bad hair cut, thanks to her mother. She has learned to eat with her fingers; we work on textured foods.

She drinks from a sippy cup, a cup with a straw and she is a huge fan of strawberries. Lennon is beating odds every day… she is walking everywhere and getting into everything. Lennon does not speak, but babbles some words unclearly, and tries very hard to make sure she is heard. Lennon loves baby dolls, clothes, shoes, necklaces, purses and tea parties. Lennon is the craziest dancer I have ever seen. She is a total mosh pit rocker, like her mother and father.

Lennon thinks Lake hung the moon. They play chase, they “do therapy”, he feeds her, he picks her up, and he moves her out of harm’s way. He is, hands down, the best big brother… ever. She might actually be his best friend. She is definitely his biggest fan, and he knows it.

Lennon does not meet a stranger, and through her, I have met so many wonderful families I would never have had the opportunity of knowing. I see first hand, just how amazing this extra chromosome is…. It has definitely added the “extra” to our life.

Yes, I could whine and pine about the harder days, but to be honest, I don’t want to. God told Satan to have his way with Job because he knew that Job would never turn on Him in a time of need and despair. I like to believe that God trusts me enough to allow Satan to try and ruin a good thing. God restored to Job everything, and then some, and then some more. I truly believe that with this life, as long as I am looking for the good in it, and looking for God in it, I will be just fine… we will be just fine. It’s all going to work out for the greater good. I believe there is a bigger picture. I believe this part of my life is only a grain of sand. A single grain of sand in your eye can cause terrible pain, anguish and turmoil. But when you take out the sand, you will see that single grain of sand, compared to the whole beach… and we all know how beautiful a beach is. You will see, that He does have a plan for me, for us, and it’s a plan to prosper us, to give us a hope and a future.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And the Award for Laziest Blogger of the Year Goes To....

I want to apologize for my lack of blogging over the last few weeks.

Suffice it to say we have been a little busy getting here.

It's been a long and very exciting week, including a trip to the ER and our first visits to the chiropractor.


Momma needs a good night's sleep and maybe a couple strong drinks.

Oh wait...I'm pregnant....

And I don't drink anyway.

Guess I'll just resort to a good night's sleep with the help of Tylenol PM.

I'll be back tomorrow with an update, I promise.

Until then, love me dspite my failures, ok?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Grow Your Family Series: Life after Miscarriage

Today's post comes from my long-time friend, Angie who blogs over at Don't Mind Me, I'm Just Talking to Myself.  She is a stay at home mom of 2 very exciting little boys and a wife to her best friend, Garrett. 

Having walked with her, and cried with her, and prayed with her during those weeks after her miscarriage, I know how difficult a story this is to tell.  But it was during those dark days that watching her, I learned so much.  I knew I would be remiss in my duties as a blogger if I didn't allow her to share her story as a part of this series.

So without further ado:

Hi! My name is Angie, A.K.A. Leah’sfriendfromcollegethathassomehowmanagedtostayconnectedvialongdistancewhoisnowastayathomemomandisborderingoninsanity, whatever’s easier for you.

Anywho, after 2 years of blissful marriage, my husband and I decided to get busy making a baby. Getting pregnant was not a problem for me (knock on wood). We weren’t crazy about it. No charts, no ovulation tests. Just a rough idea of when I would be ovulating and sure enough 2 months in…tada! Knocked up. And the pregnancy was ideal, if not perfect…all the nausea you could ask for during the first trimester, then the 2nd trimester energy burst, then the 3rd trimester GetThisBabyOut!...Nary a hitch. No complications, no major concerns, no problem!

Fast forward a year: Mommy gets the baby bug….again…bad…so, I made an appointment with my OB, get my IUD removed (best invention ever!) we wait a month or so before trying and whaddaya know? 2 months after that…tada! Knocked up yet again!

Everything was going totally fine. It was still really early, but the nausea wasn’t really there as much, but every pregnancy is different, so I took it as a blessing. At 7 weeks, I decided to announce it, despite the fact that it still didn’t feel real to me. I guess I thought that maybe if everybody else knew then it would feel more normal.

My 12 week appointment was fast approaching and I was so anticipating that little heartbeat! But then half way through week 11, I woke up and went to the bathroom only to discover some bleeding. To be honest, I still wasn’t overly concerned. I knew that lots of women bleed and spot through out their pregnancies and even my own sister had bled and spotted during one of her pregnancies. I still call my doctor’s office about it, and they made an appointment for me that afternoon for an ultrasound.

When we arrived, they tried to do the ultrasound the regular way, but with it being so early on, they couldn’t really see much. We moved on to the more invasive – internal ultrasound (delightful). And that was when the technician got very, very, very quiet.

And then the words that NO one wants to hear “We can’t find the heartbeat”.

Thankfully my husband was there, by my side the entire time, because I was completely and utterly devastated.

Surely, they must have been wrong.

But, no, there was no doubting it.

The baby was only measuring 7 weeks when it should have been 11.

And apparently, the bleeding was due to the fact that the placenta was already pulling away.

I just wanted to go home.

I will spare you the heart-wrenching details of the next few weeks.

But I can tell you - there was a lot of crying involved. I could (and would) erupt at any point without warning.

The guilt was overwhelming.

The despair was almost palpable.

But eventually, I realized that it wasn’t my fault.

In our case, miscarriage seems to run on my mother’s side of the family and she suffered through 2 miscarriages herself.

At the time, I didn’t think I would ever be ready to try again. But anyone who has been there knows that somehow a few months later that changes.  I was ready.

Just as before, it didn’t take long at all to get pregnant, but this time, I was a nervous wreck.

I was suddenly very OCD about taking my prenatals (could NOT skip a day) and most definitely my hypothyroid meds (a gift from my first child), kissed coffee goodbye, etc, etc.

I was high strung, but tried not to be (you know, stress and the baby and all that)…thankfully the nausea and fatigue this time around was just as strong as with my first, so that was a huge comfort to me.

To be honest, that first 12 weeks was the longest 12 weeks of my life.

And this time at my 12 week visit, I was able to hear my baby’s heartbeat. I have never heard a sound so sweet a sound as that precious little “thump, thump”.

Alas, the comfort of that visit only lasted about 24 hours (okay more like 24 minutes) and then the stress came back. Full force. Then there was the next appointment and I heard the heartbeat again and I could breathe again. On and on it went, until I finally started to feel those little flutters and got the daily confirmations that baby was okay.

In the end, you’ll have to trust me when I say that that baby ended up being more than okay!

He was quite cozy in there and decided to extend his stay by 2 weeks so was a very robust and healthy 8lbs 15oz at birth….yeah. And today, he is an energetic, loud, lovable, clingy, happy 16 month old – my Chunky Monkey.

For those of us who have suffered miscarriage, I think it’s important to know that it is completely normal to be scared about trying again. It’s completely normal to be terrified all the way through your next pregnancy, too. Sometimes, you just have to fight the fear and work through it. And for us who have suffered that loss, there really is no getting over the fear. It will always be there.

I’m not currently thinking about trying again soon, but maybe a couple years from now.

And, I’m already nervous and debating whether or not I should start taking the prenatal vitamins NOW…just to be sure…

If you have recently suffered a miscarriage and are still in that tornado of emotions, know that you are not alone. From someone who has been there: There IS light at the end of that horrific tunnel.

And yes, there is LIFE after miscarriage.

And that makes it worth it all!!!

Weekly Weigh-In: Pregnancy Edition #2

Anyone other than me wondering what the status of this pregnancy is?

To be honest, I was terrified of the scale this morning, since I have had a WRETCHED week foodwise.

And most especially since SOMEONE wanted Ravioli at 9:30 last night.

I won't mention any names, but only because I don't know who's in there yet....

But for the sake of my sanity, let's recap, ok?

Last weigh in was 2 weeks ago.

I was 15.5 weeks pregnant at the time and I had gained 14.2 lbs.

Today, I am 17.5 weeks pregnant and....

Duh duh duh...

I am weighing in at 154.


Meaning I have gained a total of 15.6 lbs.

Still under my 1 lb. per week goal.

Let's see how long I can hang on to that.

Especially with the pending move and I'm sure at least a week or two of fast food during the adjustment.


For today, I am satisfied AND relieved.

154 works for this momma!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Honest Opinion: Moving Edition

For those of you who are wondering how I am holding up...

Moving may be the death of me.

The End.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Helpful How-To: Wall Art for Less

If you read yesterday's post, then you are already ahead of yourself....

Or probably have a good idea of where today's post is going.

Remember my CRAFT-TASTROPHE from this weekend?

Well, it's going to be wall art.

To help stage the little man's room for when we put our house on the market next week.

And it cost me about $4.25.

All you need is 2 picture frames.  (Not pictured)

2 mats

And one of your favorite child hood books.

I got mine for 25 cents at Goodwill.

And as luck would have it, the inside cover happened to be perfect for the project I was working on.

The mats were white, as were the frames, and I wanted a little more color, so using some of the paint I had lying around, I painted the mats to match the colors in Little Man's room.

And once they were dry, I added in the pages from the books.

And viola!


What's this?

My mat and picture don't fit the frame?

Ok, ok.  So this project isn't done yet, but you can almost tell how it's going to come together, right???


And all that for less than $5. 

I say well worth it for Nursery Artwork!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Weekend, A Wedding, and New Words

Gosh, my weekend was crazy.

I'm sure I am not the only one who is saying that today.

After all, it was a holiday weekend.

But I spent most of it doing this:

I have a little secret...

We are moving.

Far, far away.

And we leave in a little over a week.

Meaning boxes are my LIFE.

But when I wasn't packing boxes, I mostly keeping this one occupied.

He has a new, bizarre obsession with "TRACTURES!!!"

Lucky for him, we are moving to a place where that obsession will be greeted with open arms.

Where you are in the minority if you don't have an obsession with "TRACTURES!!!!"

No, but seriously???

I can't go near the computer with the kid because he begs for THIS VIDEO.


I think yesterday alone, I played it 7 times in one hour.

Ah, the joys of toddlerhood.

But that's not all I did this weekend.


There was also a trip to the Goodwill, where I found this treasure to stage the Little Man's room for $5.

And may we never forget the CRAFT-TASTROPHE of the weekend.

More to come on this later this week, but note to self: an 8"X10" mat does not fit an 8.5" x 11" frame.

Just in case you ever made that assumption too....

And then, the BIG EVENT of the weekend...we were in attendance at the wedding of the year.

The marriage of two of my most favorite people ....

And I just gotta say.

It was epic.

As equally epic as they are.

Like Gremlin's epic.

Father-Daughter Dancing to "Eternal Flame"...

Which soon turned into All-Family-Moshpit-Dancing to "Eternal Flame"

The crowd went wild and sang every word....

And then...this...

As awesome as possible to "Ballroom Blitz".

Pretty much off the hook.

And while all that was going on, my preggo date (have I mentioned that the Bestie is totally preggers too?) and I were busy manning the photo booth.

Where things like this were happening...


Pretty much too many people having too much fun.

And two preggo's taking it all in.

But we rounded out the weekend with a little pool party action at the in-law's where the kiddo's decided that they were done with the pool and ready to cruise...

All in all, it is safe to say that this momma is TIRED.

I need a nap!

Hope your weekend was more restful that mine!

But every bit as EPIC!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Grow Your Family Series: An Open Adoption

Today's post is from a very dear friend of mine, Amber, who blogs over at Bumber's Bumblings.  It was by sheer fortune and the grace of God and she and I bumped into one another this past year, and we have been fast friends ever since.  After hearing her beautiful adoption story, I knew I wanted to include it in this series.

And if you are really interested in adoption, I would highly recommend you read her birth momma's story (near the bottom of the post - but be prepared.  Kleenex are definitely necessary) for an emotional account of what an open adoption actually feels like.

Adoption is something that has always been close to my heart. 

It is something I grew up surrounded by.

I have an Aunt that adopted from China twice and has two amazing little guys. 

Then, when I was in high school, I met one of my best friends who had been adopted through a domestic closed adoption. 

Before we were married, my husband, Nate, and I had discussed that we would be open to adoption if we weren't able to have biological children.  I think everyone has discussions like that, never thinking that it could actually happen to them.  But for us, HAPPEN it did!

After the shocking diagnosis of infertility wore off, I was completely ready to head towards adoption.  Probably about a year before Nate - he needed a little more time to process things. 

All the invasive medical tests and procedures were NOT for me. I was a basket-case and would like to forget that time in my life.  Looking back now, I realize it was a necessary part of the process, but BLAHHH---NO FUN!

Finally, though, Nate came around and we were ready to start looking into adoption.  Initially, we were pretty overwhelmed. 

I love when people say, "Why don't you just adopt?"  Like it's that easily accomplished. 

And initially, I leaned toward international adoption -  naturally, since my aunt and uncle had just chosen that path. Not to mention, I was pretty terrified of domestic adoption as a whole and thought it would be easier to avoid. That's when a  very wise friend challenged me to just try to open my mind to the possibility of domestic infant adoption and not to blow it off so quickly. 

Early on, Nate and I went to an adoption seminar with the agency we eventually chose.  During the seminar three different adoption programs were highlighted: Domestic Infant, Foster to Adopt, and International. 

Despite the fact that it was very informative seminar, I felt even more overwhelmed at our options than before. 

In contrast, Nate said he felt a pull towards the Domestic Infant program almost immediately.  FABULOUS--One of the two of us had a clue about something, but then he has always felt a pull towards local endeavors and missions.  This would make sense to him.  His thinking was, why not help someone right here in our area that needs parents and a home? 

(Obviously, not knocking anyone that has chosen a different path, this is just where his leading took us.)

We started the process and wow it just became more and more overwhelming.  The paperwork was a nightmare, and since we did not want to become bogged down with the paperwork for an eternity, we basically spent the entire summer working on the paperwork.  We didn't go anywhere and do anything - just paperwork!  We wanted it behind us!

By the end of the summer we had finished all three "home visits".  For the record, the title "home visit" is very deceiving, because not until the last visit did they come to our home.  (Funny story about that.  We thought the first visit was at our house, so we worked our butts off on having the house and yard beautiful and spotless.  I called our social worker to confirm the visit the next day, only to have her tell me that we were meeting her at the office for the first visit.  Then we had to keep our house looking nice for the next month!)

But back on topic....

As part of our homestudy process, we had to read books, books, books  and more books.   The general theme throughout all these books goes back to open adoption.  Open adoption is a topic that is surreal, fearful, and scary if you are not educated on the matter, and sometimes even if you are educated on the matter!  We started to understand the emotional and psychological positives for both the adopted child and the birth parent (b-mom in particular).  But even though, we were beginning to understand the textbook reasons, it was hard conceptualize that personally.

It wasn't until we sat through another {very informative} all day seminar with our agency that we finally started to understand it a little more.  We saw videos of birthmoms speaking and even saw a "triad" (adoptive mom, birth mom, and adopted adult son).  The triad forum was amazing and left us tearful and excited about the possibilities.  We left that session saying to each other, if our adoption slightly resembles that kind of unity and partnership and LOVE, we will be so blessed.

If only we knew what was in store for our family only four short months later...

I had this "deal" with God that if his will was not for me to be a biological mother, then I had a few requests for him in our adoption situation:
-I wanted a birth mom to choose us very late in her pregnancy.  I didn't want to have to endure the excruciating waiting process for months on end. 
-I also secretly wanted a boy (I don't know why, okay). 
-I also thought it would be cool if the baby would be born around the end of March or April of 2009, so that I could have three months paid maternity leave (had to be at my new job for one year).

Of course these were all negotiable (ha ha), but that was what I was asking for.
When we received the call that we were tentatively chosen by an expectant {I use expectant since she had not placed him for adoption yet} mother, she was just a few short weeks from her due date!  (Now if that isn't late in the pregnancy?)  She was actually due at the end of March with a boy, but gave birth three weeks early. 

Meaning we received the call just 2 weeks before the baby boy was born!

And when we met with her and her family for the first time, it was just five days prior to B's birth! 
You can read all about that meeting from B's birth mom's perspective here. The whole meeting was pretty amazing.  I won't elaborate on all the details, since she does a pretty good job of it, but I will share with you a little bit about our conversation relative to the openness of the adoption:

After we spent quite a while with her and her fam and totally fell in love with all of them {but especially her}, we broached the subject of openness.  Before the meeting, we received paperwork with her openness requests, and all she had requested was for pictures and updates throughout the first year and a visit around his first birthday.  But during our conversation, my husband asked, with tears in his eyes, "aren't you going to want to see him more than that?".  Her response was that she wanted any openness to be gauged by us, that this was the life that she was choosing for him and she didn't want to do anything to confuse or complicate his life.  Nate then said something like "I think we are going to want you in our lives, it's going to be important for him to know you and know the amazing sacrifice that you made to give him life and a future..." 

You can imagine what a bunch of blubbering fools we all were after that, especially me. 

We finally GOT this whole open adoption thing.  And we wanted it for our lives. 

We didn't know exactly what it would look like after this, but we opened that door.

B & Birth Mom in the Hospital

We started off by emailing back and forth about once a week. Our emails became pages long as we continued to get to know each other throughout the next few months.  We were itching for her to see B and see how beautiful and amazing he was, even though we sent lots of pics and videos!  And of course, she was itching to see us, but didn't want to be presumptuous. 

6 Months

We finally had our first post-placement meeting when B was three months old.  We were supposed to meet at her parents house for a Memorial Day lunch and we ended up staying there for almost twelve hours.  They were just family after that.  We exchanged cell numbers and started texting often and having more visits.  Two and half years later, and they are still just part of our family.  They attend some family events with us and we attend their family events when we are able.  There are no expectations or obligations, just a mutual love and respect for each of our places in B's life.

2 Year Birthday Party

There are common questions that we all receive, and I'd be happy to try to answer those if you want to ask them.

There are always going to be difficulties and loss in adoption on both sides, but I never fear my place as B's mommy.  That boy is a momma's boy.
Birth Mom's Graduation Day

I may not be his birth mommy, but without her, I would not be a mommy.  And for that opportunity, I owe her everything.  It is with great joy that I can tell you that B loves her dearly, as do we!