Rage Against the Minivan

Ashley Ann Photography

Pinterest, You are Drunk

Waiting on a Word

Good reads folks! I am not sure why I go in bursts of blogging but let’s just go with it. Cheers to the 3 people that are still reading this ADD of blogs. Stupid full time job, baby, husband and food that I have to eat…although the eating happens much less often these days. Who has time for it anyway?

I love being an adoptive mom. I love it. It is hard and sometimes lonely; sometimes I wish I had a community of friends who I could laugh with and who have gone through adoption first hand but I love the way our family was made. I love the silly things people say and I love the friends who have worked so hard to be my place to land and even though they didn’t experience adoption first hand they went through the pain with me first hand and will fight with me. Is that one run-on sentence? Maybe.

Here are some things I have noticed in the last 9 months as this adoptive mother that may be different then mothers of biological kiddos…or maybe not and everyone feels like this. If so, ignore. *Note: I stick my foot in my mouth and do not speak for everyone.

1. People love to tell us we look like E.  And Greg really does look like him and E is starting to use my hand motions but it always makes me laugh. It isn’t offensive or rude to say that and it’s cute when we hear it, but when people say that I sometimes feel like others think it is a compliment…which it might be to others honestly, but we don’t care if he looks like us or not. We love him either way.

2. I love Emerson’s birth mom.  She is my hero. I thought there would be jealously or something but I just think she is the greatest. I get so excited when I hear from her. I can’t wait to tell E how much we love her and I can’t wait for him to look at her and see why he looks the way he does.

3. I know that bloodlines or biology makes no difference in a family.  I didn’t know it before E but I know it now. I know it with my whole being. I love this kid like I carried him. Like I carried him for 3 years. I sometimes get the “aw, I’m so sorry you couldn’t get pregnant.” But I just don’t care. I know that families are not created inside of bloodlines. It makes me want to adopt everyone so everyone has a family. Christians always say how blessed they were to get pregnant…I am so blessed to have not.

4. Walking into events is hard. Knowing that I am going to get a lot of questions about adoption is hard. I love talking adoption but when it is a mass event sometimes it is nice to just be mom. Sometimes I just want to talk about my preferred diaper instead of questions about my kid’s racial background or what his birth mom is doing. I know by adopting you become an ambassador of adoption…so I am trying to learn to be more proactive about the conversation.

5. I want to be friends with people who have adopted. I don’t have a lot of friends who have adopted first hand but I would love to talk ultrasounds or birth moms or the getting a social security card for your kid talk. Ya know – the normal stuff. Warning…I am trying to get you to come to my side.

6. I appreciate the friends who haven’t been through it first hand but will live with me through it and will try to understand. Those who say the awkward things or the funny things and laugh with me. I love that and I am thankful for that.

7. I am worried I am going to mess my kid up all the time. OK that is probably an across the board thing. But seriously, who would let me be responsible for another human being. The fact that it was a choice by multiple people AND the state and federal government concerns me to no end. I would eat ice cream for dinner every night and now I am supposed to force vegetables…poppycock.

Again, just what I have noticed. Neither is better. I have some thick skin and usually don’t mind offensive statements…unless it is meant in malice and then I will probably correct. Anyone else notice differences? I may have another addition of this post as I continue to be adoptive mom.

 

E-oatmeal

I can’t believe it’s been 9 months of this little boy. He is just a wild man. He crawls so fast. He climbs everything. He disregards everything in his way. I saw this quote in an interview with Nia Vardolas in an adoption magazine and I couldn’t agree more.

Q: Many adoptive parents later reveal a feeling that their specific child was waiting for them. In Instant Mom you say, “If the standard route of creating a family had worked for me, I wouldn’t have met this child. I needed to know her. I needed to be her mother.”
A: It’s that secret we all share. Parents who got to adopt their kids…we all know something. We got invited to a club we didn’t think we could ever get into.

Anyway – here are 9 things about my little man at ALMOST 9 months.

1. You still love to cuddle with mom. You will climb over ANYTHING to get to me. After your bottle at night you stroke my arm and then jump up to hold on to my neck while you fall asleep.

2. When you get excited you rock on your knees. I think it is your first form of dancing.

3. Your hair has started to get curly. When you get out of the bath you have Kramer hair – it all sticks up at the top…it also doesn’t help that when you sleep you rub off the sides a little.

4. You have started to get opinionated about food. You love to eat with your hands and will swat away the spoon. This isn’t my favorite thing these days but kiddo, mom always wins…this is something you will learn soon enough. You will get your vegetables!

5. You are climbing the stairs and standing. This includes standing in your crib while hands are extended and screaming at the top of your lungs when you wake up in the morning.

6. You just laugh all the time. What is so funny kiddo? You are definitely like your dad with your glass half full attitude. Mom is all about the empty glass.

7. You love to sleep.

8. You love to sit and look at your books. In the evenings when we put you in your crib you lie on your back and cross your legs and look and scream at your foam book. This Sunday morning you sat in your pack and play and just turned the pages in books while mom and dad read as well. It was a moment I wish I could freeze in time because most of the time you are moving faster than I can catch ya.

9. You’re just a mess like your parents. You seem to follow suit so well.

All I can say is trouble. We are in for a lot of trouble.

 

Christmas tree huntingGoodness, this little boy makes me smile…both of those goofy men. I love waking this dude up every morning. Seriously, every morning since I have become unemployed this week.

I think this is a look I will get for the rest of my life. “MOOOOOMMM, quit taking pictures…here is my fake smile.” Eh, I’ll take it.
Anyway, here are six things about E that I love in his sixth month. Here’s to you little man!

  1. You are REALLY loud. Seriously, you talk all the time. You scream loud and then stick your fist in your mouth and try to wave. It is so goofy. Also, you scream and shake your head really fast. I love that you are loud and happy but mostly loud. Did you get that from me? Imma kinda loud.
  2. You sleep with your bottom straight in the air and can circumference your crib. You need a queen size crib.
  3. You let me put hats on you. I could have a hat for every day. I know one day you won’t let me so I will enjoy that now.
  4. You love a good hug. I think I mentioned this last month but I still love it. At night when I am feeding you, you continue to try to turn and cuddle – it’s like you can’t handle it any longer…you just want a cuddle. I MUST CUDDLE!!!
  5. You will eat anything. If it is on a spoon you will eat it.
  6. You grab my neck skin – I didn’t even think there was much extra skin there but you found it my friend. You found it. Apparently I am a 90 year old woman who needs a neck lift or tightening or something because my son can find that extra skin and stretch it. Referrals welcome.

Oh man, it is going by too fast. I want 9 of him at every age. Sigh. But again, I am unemployed right now so it is ALL E ALL THE TIME. Happy 6th month little man…you get your mom home all the time…sorry. 😉 (I apologize for the weird little smiley…those are awkward but sometimes they really do capture an emotion…hence the emoticon). OK it’s late. Time for bed. Emerson, sorry your mom is a crazy person. One day a good therapist will be able to mold that towards creativity.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year peeps! We are thankful. Em on the other hand seems to have some place to be. Probably playing with the gazillion presents he got for Christmas or looking oddly and Tickle Me Elmo. He is sitting up these days. And screaming at the top of his lungs. The kid seriously has lung power.

Emerson 647

Also, we got a food saver for Christmas and we food savered our Christmas lights. Good thing the end of the world didn’t come on 12.21 because we didn’t have  our food saver yet – but now we do – so bring it on death star. We have a food saver so we can save ALL OUR FOOD!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The last three Christmas holidays have been very difficult for our family. It seems weird to sit on the other end of heartbreak and yet it is still so near and the scars that have not healed nor will they ever heal while we are on this earth.

We lost our first child at 14 weeks in 2009 right before the holiday season. We struggled and fought and cried the next two Christmases over more loss and more expectations. Last year I may have been bat shit crazy (hmmmm I wonder if bat shit is one word?). As I sit on the other end of pain I still long for something more…not another child (although honestly I want all the babies in this world)…but a different life where there is no pain…there is no loss, yet I know sitting in that loss is the closest I will come to the one who brings that healing. Does that make any sense? Does that bittersweet reality ring true with anyone else? While I dread the pain and the heartache I know that is where I find my Love and my Hope. I know Jesus is in the pain. I always know that is where I can find Him.

I know Jesus carried my faith and my life and my hope during some very dark days and while I don’t long for that pain I long for Jesus. I long for that quiet voice to remind me “Do no fear for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mind. For I am the Lord your God. I am the Holy One of Isreal. Your Savior.” Because our redemption is what I try to celebrate because that redemption is there through miscarriage, loss and beating your hands against the floor pain.

I don’t have wise words. I sat through some pain but know if you are broken and don’t want to celebrate – I get that. I think I stopped going to church because I would literally leave weeping almost every week…I get that. Get some freaking eggnog and rum and watch Clark Griswold. I have been there. I have put up a Christmas tree unwillingly with less stockings on the mantel than I was hoping. I have felt like Micah as he screamed these words to convince himself :

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light.
9 Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the Lord’s wrath,
until he pleads my case
and upholds my cause.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.
10 Then my enemy will see it
and will be covered with shame…” Micah 7: 8-10

Hopefully I haven’t been too depressing but I just know that this world is not the only thing to hope for. This season is not about this weird happy snow filled days and presents and happy families and whatever else our stupid world is teaching us…it is about the God who came to redeem us. We were meant to live for so much more…is it cheesy that I just quoted Switchfoot? Dang it.

I love Sandra McCracken. I feel like her songs spoke to my broken heart. So here’s a song I listened to on repeat and still do:

Sweet Sorrow – Below is from her website as she describes this song

The themes in this lyric are pulled directly from a study of the book of Judges. Reading about the plight of the Israelites, I see myself more clearly. They served God happily for a while, then forgot him, then fell into the hands of their captors, then asked God to rescue them, and then the cycle starts all over again. Serve. Forget. Repent. Grace. Serve. Forget. Repent. Grace. I continue to learn that the Bible is not a series of stories about heroes like David and Abraham, and Moses who we aspire to be like. It is a meta-narrative of failing, imperfect men and women in a broken family together, pointing to one hero, Jesus Christ. -http://www.newoldhymns.com/in-feast-or-fallow/sweet-sorrow/

1. Oh sweet sorrow, on the heels of my reckless soul

Oh sweet sorrow,

Flooding all around me now, red sea rising to my shoulders

Where we walked across dry land—so long ago.

2. Oh sweet mercy, your love letter it bleeds my pride.

Oh sweet mercy,

Now I’ve sold all you gave, other lovers could not save me

But you are kind and strong and will not leave me to die.

3. Oh sweet redemption

Smell the burning incense fire

Oh sweet redemption

Least of these, a chosen few, raise the mighty from the fool

Your ways are not like mine—they are much higher.

__________________

If you are struggling this year here are some blogs that remind me that other people have been there too. I don’t claim to understand grief but I have been there a little and will fight with you. There are still things I just don’t quite understand that I am reminded of during the holiday season.

 

I am reading a few things these days that range from infant block books to real books. I seem to go through seasons of reading and also seasons of just not wanting  to look at a book. I remember this time last year I was reading a lot of historical/regional fiction that was very sad like Sarah’s Key, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Kind of felt like jumping off a building after reading all those back to back. I think every night for weeks I would fall asleep weeping. Seriously, I wanted to move to Afghanistan and fight for women’s rights after the last two books.

I now seem to be in a non-fiction/Christian book phase. I think I am ready for something lighter. Harry Potter may be next. Any suggestions? I have tried the first Harry Potter and it wasn’t my cup-o-tea but maybe I need to power through it.

ANYWAY, here are a few books I have been reading in the measly spare minutes I have before I go to sleep.

Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God – Noel Piper

I have enjoyed this book because Noel doesn’t write about these fabulous women who everyone knows about who have done these super famous things (I am not sure if that is a real sentence). While they are fabulous women they are quietly fabulous. They do things the hard way and continue to be faithful. They are women who have changed cultures one difficult relationship at a time. And isn’t Noel a wonderful name. I want a baby girl on Christmas and to name her Noel. Please.

Prodigal God – Timothy Keller

I felt like a dirt bag after reading this book. Just kidding…kind of. Maybe anything Christian makes me feel like crapola because I am a big ol’ crap bag in general. Keller walks through the Biblical story of Prodigal Son and the elder brother. He discusses many things that were happening during that time in history and why Jesus uses the words and metaphors he uses. It was also a pretty short book…bonus for my old woman brain and my ten minutes of reading time in the evening.

A Mother for Choco – Keiko Kasza

Sigh. I love this book. E and I read this every night. I like reading E a story instead of just random images on a page…I get bored with random images with a label below it. I must be entertained too. Also, while I am all about reading an adoption book to my kid sometimes they are a little heavy – this isn’t necessarily an adoption book just adoption friendly. I love that it reinforces that not everyone looks like their parents. Although a few nights ago we went to dinner with friends and someone came up to us and told us that E looks just like his daddy. That always makes me laugh a little. And seriously what is it with random old ladies wanting to touch babies at restaurants. Step off bia – you gots germy hands.

Snuggle Puppy – Sandra Boyton

This is super cheesy but so cute. Sandra Boyton may be on crack because her books are so random but this is a cute one. It is a little song. I can picture as E gets older he sings with me.

My Many Colored Days – Dr. Seuss

This one is sort of emo but also rhymes so we all win. I am all about a Dr. Seuss book.

Those are just a few of the books I am reading. Take it or leave it.

I saw this on a blog that I thought was cute. I hope she doesn’t mind I copy. It is a sweet way to remember things about each month. Each month she posts things about her kid she doesn’t want to forget. So for month five I am going to post five things about my kid I don’t want to forget. I am a little behind but hey, I am behind on everything. So cheers to my behind!

Emerson – these are 5 things that make your mom and dad swoon

1. You love to cuddle. If I get you anywhere close to my neck you grab on and hug. At night when I feed you your bottle you will often turn around and just want to snuggle.

2. You love to eat. Seriously, you will eat just about anything. Your little baby chunks make me smile.

3. When you are laughing, really laughing, you don’t belly laugh your laugh gets super high pitched like your voice is cracking like you just can’t handle it anymore.

4. You have started to chew on your bottom lip and it makes you look like a little old man.

5. When you talk you say your o’s a lot – I think you are trying to say mom. And your face looks so serious. You furrow your brow and just talk away. You are thinking about many serious things aren’t you buddy?

We love you kiddo. We are over the moon. I am so lucky to be chosen to be your mom.

I have done a handful of projects in the last few weeks and they have all bombed. Seriously. They should be easy projects and bomb. Let me give you a list: 

1. Painted a mirror – ugly

2. Painted shelves – the wood grain looked awful and cheap. Going to sand them and try again with a roller. I tried paint and spray paint…both a bomb. And there are 2 shelves and I tried them both a different way.

3. Painted lamps – The paint was drippy

4. Tried to hang a picture in the hallway – couldn’t find all the pieces to hang it evenly, took forever and too small for that hallway. 

Womp womp. 

Here’s to my DIY luck changing! I should show pictures of the mistakes in my garage right now. 

We have a finalization date. Hell yea bitches. Seriously…if you think that this cussing is inappropriate then you haven’t gone through the adoption process because we are almost frickin’ done!!!!!!!!!

At finalization we receive the final paperwork and a judge banging his gavel at us. No – Emerson can’t be taken away from us – and nobody can change their minds before finalization…This is just to receive the final paperwork. WOO WOO! I got the call yesterday and was so so so so excited. It is almost done – the adoption paperwork stuff…not the raising of the child which I am sure will bring its own trials.

As I look back on this journey/marathon/anything difficult that takes a long time, I am amazed that we got through it.  I wanted to quit so many times. I wanted to say that this is too difficult. And I am grateful for those who listened. And cried. And fought with us. It was a battlefield. It.was.so.difficult. I honestly didn’t think I was in that large of a valley as we took that first step, and as I look back that valley is larger and wider and deeper and darker than I thought it would be when I started.  Anyone else want to adopt after this post? Eh?

As I look back I see a path that was cleared for us. It’s like someone was right in front us bush wacking the forest for us. Weird analogy. I’m OK with that. And I am just thankful. Why do I deserve to be Emerson’s mother? Who on God’s green earth would allow me to rear a child? Seriously…people. Seriously. I still eat candy for breakfast.

All those words to say…several tens of thousands of dollars later. Several hissy fits later. Several/million signatures later. Several out of town trips later. Several tropical storms later. Several washing bottles in Target later. Several extremely personal questions later. We are almost there. Sigh. And look at that big ol’ head (95% baby – he’s got big brains!). I didn’t know what I was stepping into but oh goodness gracious I had no clue I would come out the other end with this little dude. I wouldn’t trade it. Nope, not a second of it. He literally smiles every time I walk in the room… eh hem Greg you should work on that.

So who wants to adopt next? Any takers after this glowing blog of how fun the adoption process is?