Monday, October 20, 2014

Do you want the real answer?

Over the last few months I have been asked a question many times. Too many times to count. The question is "how do you like being a mom?" Or some variation of that. 

I am not one to give a fake answer to this question or really many other questions. So when people ask I say. " I love being Rockwell's mommy but motherhood is hard!" This is followed up with a surprised look on the questioners face. And with a few, a response on how I shouldn't complain. I mean how could I complain? I wished for this for ten years right? 

You see, motherhood has been hard for me. Just because I am infertile and had to work really long to get this opportunity doesn't take the difficultness out of it. My life before mommyhood was filled with sleeping in and freedom to come and go as I choose. My extra money was spent on dates and shopping. I went out with my girlfriends and Will and I could freely plan vacations. So when our little bundle came, EVERYTHING changed. As it should. Our lives became something completely different. Is it what we wanted, yes! Does that magically make it easy to adjust after ten years of something different, no! We aren't so different from any new parent. Change isn't always easy. And when you have a newborn, things change..drastically. 

Another realness that is often shoved under the rug is postplacement depression in an adoption situation. It is actually very similar to postpartum depression.  You see, my hormones have taken me through the ringer my whole life so that is always there. And then I emotionally did the same, go through the ringer I mean.  Adoption is not easy! And then the newborn isolation happens where you are advised to stay home for a few months. Add all this together. It doesn't equal anything easy. And just because I wished for this doesn't change what it is. 

Adjusting to motherhood for the first time is hard for EVERYONE. So I don't understand how my answer is so bizarre. And I also don't understand why people ask a question but don't want the answer. 

Let me give you all the in depth answer here and put this to rest. How do I feel about being a mother? 

I love this little boy more than life itself. He is not of my body. My blood does not run through his veins. But I have come to see that does not matter even one little bit. We have bonded in a way that has changed me entirely. Has that change been easy? Heck no! Has it been worth it? Heck yes! It is worth it everytime he smiles and giggles at me. It's worth it everytime he calms to my songs. It is worth it as he cuddles up to my chest and sighs. Being his mom has stretched my heart and has stretched my endurance. I never knew I could function this well without sleep. Has it been hard to change? Yes. Has it been lonely at times? Yes. Has it been frustrating here and there? Yes. But the question shouldn't be do you love being a mother. The question should be do you love having Rockwell. The answer is a resounding yes! He has changed our lives and our family. We no longer see our future the same. It has changed everything about how we make choices. It has changed what we want. It has changed everything. Because now he is our everything. 

So if you want fake answers, ask fake people. If you think that just because you wish for something it takes the hardness out of it, you are a dreamer. And if you think I am complaining, take a step back and see that I am just like everyone else. Just because my journey to get here was different doesn't mean my experience is is going to be different. Most mothers say it is hard! And unfortunately the others are probably just being fake :) 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How deep it runs

I always knew that motherhood would run deep. But I never understood its constant intensity. I had a very real moment last night. I will share it with you. Motherhood is not easy even if you wanted it with all your being and you said you would never complain. I will eat my words for years to come. 

My little baby had a very rough day yesterday. I am new to this mommy thing and he is new to this living outside the womb thing. He was fussy. He was hungry. He was tired. He was grumpy. I noticed in the early afternoon some changes with his breathing. He was making some weird sounds that I was unsure about. My mom is a nurse practitioner and I take video when I worry and send it to her. She usually calls me and calms my fears and that is that. Well, yesterday she didn't do that. She wanted to come look at him. My anxiety sky rocketed. My mom didn't unnecessarily cause concern. She just wanted to make sure he was okay. So she came and looked at him and then held him as he feel asleep on her chest. 

I was getting worked up with worry every second. And then we tried to wake him...he wouldn't wake. Still breathing, twitching intensely. Scary. Finally my mom was able to rouse him with a wet wash cloth, wiping his face. The anxiety came crashing down. I started to shake and sob. I was exhausted. I was emotional. I have never had so much worry for another human being in my life. 

The intensity of loss is real my friends. I have gone through ten years of loss, this new life without loss is different. I am always scared I am one moment away from the most devastating loss of all, losing this little boy who my heart loves so unconditionally. I was literally scared to go to bed, expecting it to be another sleepless night full of worry. 

And then a prayer. I prayed and begged for some relief. If I needed to worry, please urge me to find an answer. If I needed to try and let go of the worry, please calm my fears. Then the night came and our sweet baby had a very normal night. No weird breathing. Waking up to eat at the regular times. Eating his entire bottle. Get some good burps out. Then he was awake all day today, bright eyed and happy. Not fussy. My prayers seem to always be answered in such amazing ways. 

I always knew that I would love the baby that came into our lives and filled the hole in my heart. I knew I would thank God everyday for finally answering my prayer. I knew that everything would be different. I knew the desperation would flee and be filled with completeness. And those things have happened. But what I didn't understand was the level of intuition required to mother a child. The constant prayers of pleading of protection for this little spirit that has filled my life. The anxiety ridden moments when he is doing something weird or is upset and I have no idea what to do. I didn't know I would call my pediatrician and my mom a million times to ask if that is normal. I didn't know I would count down the seconds until my husband got home because just having him here makes everything feel more doable. 

It's all these things mixed together that I giving me the experience of my life. I am learning things in strides and everyday the pain of the last ten years slips away as it is filled with the smiles and little toes of my baby boy. It's miraculous isn't it? the world flipping upside down and around? 

I am lucky enough to have the best woman in the world to show me the way, my mother. She says things like this, and it makes it seem like I can do anything...

My life is changed. Adoption has changed my life. It changes my heart every moment I realize that I didn't need to carry this baby to love him so much. Being his mother is the joy and anxiety of my life. This can only have come about grand design. Thankfully the Lord orchestrated the most beautiful event, the birth and adoption of our baby. Oh how the love runs deep.  I will never be the same.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

What is an Adoption Consultant? And why should I use one?

Over the last few months I have had many questions about adoption and the process. The biggest thing I have learned is that there is more than one way to go about it. Every adoptive parent has many options to consider on their route to parenthood. It takes a lot of prayer, research, and really just trusting your instincts and impressions. This is the path I felt inspired to and for good reason, it got me exactly what I was looking for... Our child first and foremost, but also finding him in the fastest least complicated way. These where my priorities. I am aware that money is a VERY driving force in adoption choices. But we had the luxury to not have to worry about this piece of the puzzle. It changed how I chose the path I did. I will address the money a bit more later. 

Let me start by briefly explaining our choices. We chose domestic infant adoption. We researched agencies last year. We found many that we felt comfortable with. We ultimately decided to use Premier Adoption Agency. I understood that choosing one agency would lengthen my wait time. Over the next few weeks, I came across some reviews that talked about adoption consultants. It peeked my interest and I began to research consultants. We changed our course and decided to use a consultant. We spent the next 6 months saving and preparing our home for our home study. I had chosen a consultant but as our home study neared I felt moved to research another consultant I had heard of. I called her. I knew that she was the person I needed to work with. She cost more, she was worth more. I had to trust my impressions. I had prayed the weekend before. I said, "Lord, please guide me to the path of least resistance because I don't think I can do much more heartache." He answered my prayer. 

Our home study was on May 14, 2014
We hired Courtney Lott with Faithful Adoption Consultants on June 4, 2014
We were chosen on July 2, 2014
Surprise! Our baby showed up early! He was born on July 16, 2014
Placement was on July 17, 2014

So now that you have the background, I will answer a few questions. 

What is an Adoption Consultant? 

First, let me be VERY clear. A consultant is NOT a facilitator. Do facilitators call themselves consultants at times? Ya. That is why research is CRUCIAL! Facilitators are illegal in many states. Watch out for this so you don't get yourself in trouble.  

An Adoption Consultant guides you to agencies, social workers, and lawyers who have proven THROUGH THEIR ACTIONS that they are honest and reputable.

An Adoption Consultant is like the cool kid on the block. They know people, people know them. Their job is to connect you to their connections. Their job is to take the guess work out of adoption choices. They know and have worked with the people they refer you to. They already know their reputation. They are your personal networker.  It is for this reason that they take on a multiagency approach. They are the ultimate middle man doing all the work while you spend your time worrying about the important stuff. They can assess risk and warn you of it. They present you options and you chose to pursue them or not. They are your personal advocate.

Over the course of a month Courtney sent me about 10 situations that fit my criteria. She handled all of my paperwork. She talked to me about the financial risk in all the situations we considered. We had numerous conversations about drug exposure in pregnancy. We discussed openness in adoption. She listened to me when I got impatient. She warned me of risky situations. She gave me a pep talk before we talked to our expectant mom for the first time. She handled ALL of my paperwork before and after placement. She called our EM's social worker to help understand the situation better. She guided me during placement and the intense emotions that came that day. She is currently guiding us through post placement. Most of all, she has celebrated with us and has changed our lives! She is now not just my consultant but my friend. I love her. 

The funny thing is that we ultimately we found our son through Premier Adoption Agency. It is funny how things come full circle. 

Why should I choose a consultant?

For the first timer, a consultant is priceless. For the veteran, they just make the whole thing easier. Adoption is so complicated. Paperwork, choices, emotions and waiting and waiting and waiting. Having Courtney helped me worry and focus on the stuff I needed to. For example, the day of placement there was a mix up with our background clearances. So much was going on that day that I wasn't even checking my phone. But it didn't matter, Courtney was handling it for me. I was able to concentrate on our birth mom, who really needed that time with us and the baby that day not me being distracted by paperwork. 

A consultant is worth the money you spend. Although we did not need help raising funds, she did send me all of the funding info. Consultants help you figure out the money. Grants, loans, fundraisers. You will see in adoption that miracles happen and in a big way with finances. The Lord does not guide us to something we are meant to do without providing a way to obtain it. 

1 Nephi 3:7
...I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

I believe this is also true when we are guided by the Lord to pursue a path. 

Most of all, you need an advocate for you! With corruption and greed occurring in adoption, where some people prey off of your desire to grow your family, who is looking out for you? A consultant that's who. Choosing to work with Courtney was one of the best adoption choices we made. 

Just a little note: I do not have experiences with other consultants. The services provided by Courtney could be more than another consultant. Make sure you research what they offer and what services are included in the price before choosing a consultant. Or just choose Courtney :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mommyhood

First of all, I would like to officially apologize for all of the mean parenting comments I made behind y'all's backs. I was a douche because I had not clue. Lol

Being a mommy this last week and a half has been so life changing. Everything has shifted and now my concern is this little human. I am a bit fiester when it comes to what I want for him. I am more wiling to give up my own comforts for his. Lastly, my house is covered in baby gear! I love it! 

The joy of holding my son has brought so much peace to my heart. I look at him and think, there you are. I was always a bit worried about bonding but as each day passes, that is no longer a worry. We connect. I know he is meant to be in my arms. My heart has grown in ways I never thought possible before. 

Oh man, there are times that it is not easy. Like last night at 3 in the morning when he had been changed and had eaten but was still grumpy. Like the fact that I worry about EV-ER-Y-THING!!! Is he breathing? Is he comfortable? What does that noise mean? Is this normal? All of my mommies are reassuring me that it's all normal. 

Along the journey to claim my mommyhood, I really thought it was all about me. I would feel happier as a mom, my anxiety would go away, I would do and say he right things unlike everyone else. Boy was I wrongo. This isn't about me, it's about him. Maybe that was my problem all along. The only thing that has changed in me is the desire to do and be what is best for him. 

...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalms 30:5

Oh how beautiful the morning to get to be the mother to this beautiful baby boy!




Sunday, July 20, 2014

Immense Joy and Unimaginable Pain

The last week of our lives has been a whirlwind. It has been 100% life changing. It has been a roller coaster with its ups and downs. It has been filled with immense joy and unimaginable pain. 

As you all know, we were matched with our birth mother on July 2nd. She was 35 weeks along so we thought we had some time to prepare. boy were we wrong! We spoke with our birth mom last Tuesday and scheduled the delivery because her doctors wanted to induce labor. We scheduled July 28th. Wednesday, the next morning, she called at 6:30 am and said she was in labor. She lives about five hours from us. I was shocked and a bit scared. But this was happening now so I packed a bag and got my husband home from work and off we went. 

The rest of the week was filled with many events, many ups and downs. There were very special moments like watching our baby cry for the first time and holding him skin to skin. Then there were difficult moments like the night before placement and watching our birth mom struggle. 

Adoption is so powerful. No one can really understand it until they do it. It's scary, it's draining, it fulfilling, it's beautiful. It's joy and pain wrapped into one event. In the beginning I needed so much reassurance from her and now she needs it from me. I was amazing by her strength, in delivery and then after. She did something I could not. She brought this beautiful boy into both our lives. 

The very last time she came to see him, her and I stayed in the room alone as others left. We prayer over our son. That he would always know how much we both love him. 

And now I am coming out the other side, holding my baby and feeling so complete. And it is all because of her, his selfless beautiful birth mom. Who I can't help but love no matter what. Because she gave me him. But I see my joy is her pain. I hate how unfair life can be. But I know that she will be taken care of by a loving Heavenly Father. He has always taken care of me and every night I pray that he can carry her through the coming months and years.




Saturday, July 12, 2014

Our Expectant Mother's Story

Unfortunately this post is not about what you think it's about. I Jedi mind tricked you! No, seriously though, I really want each of you to read it. It is an important subject.

Over the last week or so I have been bombarded with questions about adoption and the process. For the most part, the questions have been fine and most of them I have freely answered. The one that has caught me off guard the most has been, "what is the birth mother's story?" If I can, I will answer this question for you in detail and I hope it does not offend. Just as the question askers intentions are good, so are the question answerers. 

Let me first address appropriate adoption language (which really could be a post all of its own, but my advice....use the same words the person experiencing it is using). The term Birth Mother is used when a woman has placed her child for adoption. Before she places, she is an Expectant Mother. I hope that clears up the terminology as I continue.

So on to the answer to that question. What is our expectant mother's story? The long and the short of it is, I will not share it with you...and neither will Will. Why you may ask? For these two reasons:

1. It is her story. It is her story, not mine. She should be the one to choose to share it, not me. Think about this for a moment...if a person chooses an adoption plan for their child their situation is obviously not ideal. If things were ideal, I doubt she would choose an adoption plan. Think about when things are not ideal in your life. Say you went to a friend that you trusted with your feelings and plans and then that friend went and shared it with people you had never even met before. How would that feel? Our expectant mother has shared her story with us, she trusts us with it, and we will protect her and her right to privacy. 

2. It is our child's story. When a child is conceived, carried, birthed, and placed this all becomes part of their story, just like you and I have a story. For instance, my mom named me Kelly because she saw the name on a poster in the elevator on her way to labor and delivery. Our child will have us AND he will have her as a part of his story. As we raise him we want to teach him to have love and respect for his birth mother. It will be important for him to hear the details of his story from us or from her. Definitely not from a friend who let it slip or a relative who thought he knew already. Just as we must protect our expectant mother, we MUST protect our son. 

I hope this helps many of you as you ask questions. Please understand that we want to answer you but respect for all parties has to come first. 

We love you all and are so blessed to have your support and interest in our adoption. I hope you all are open minded to learning more about the process as we learn right beside you. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Oh, how quickly life changes

Well, life moves so fast and things can change in an instant. And they have. A week ago...

We were chosen by an expectant mother! 


This is a picture of our baby boy. Our EM is due on August 7th. We are thrilled!

One day I was on Facebook, we'll everyday I am on Facebook :) I am part of an amazing adoption group for all members of the adoption triad. One of the members posted a situation on the page. I contacted the agency and checked with our consultant, we decided to be presented to this birth mother. A week later I got a phone call from the agency and the expectant mom wanted to talk to us on the phone! We scheduled a time that happened to fall on the first night of our family reunion. 

It felt comfortable and calm about the upcoming call. I had an amazing conversation with my consultant, Courtney Lott ( Faithful Adoption Consultants ). Did I mention that she is brilliant? We went through what I should expect an how to handle the call. We drove to our family cabin for our family reunion. I asked our family to join us for a prayer before we left. This was such a beautiful moment for us, to be surrounded by our large family hand in hand an pleading for this mother and for the Lord's will to lead the way. It was touching, I will always remember it. 

We drove down to the nearby town and waited for the call. It came and it was amazing. We talked for almost an hour. I felt at every turn I was saying the right things and that it felt so natural. The things my husband said were perfect. We felt so excited when she asked to meet us in person the next week. 

A week later, We drove about five hours to her city. I was super nervous for this. I kept messing with my hair, I wanted it to be perfect. We got to the restaurant and her and the social worker were running late. Oh man! Every second I got more and more nervous, enough to make my normally calm husband feel a bit on edge. She finally arrived. To be honest, it was so awkward at first. I had no idea what to say so I kept talking about the weather. After some time, she started asking questions to get to know us better. After dinner the conversation progressed into something quite beautiful. As I listened to her tell us about her feelings, I couldn't help but feel connected to her. Our lives are so different but much of our feelings are the same. I started to love her in those moments. She told us that she felt like we were the ones. Her and I embraced and cried together. 

The match became official the next day and we stayed in town to go with her to her doctor appointment. She gave us a picture and the video of the ultrasound. It felt so surreal to hear her refer to the baby as ours. I just wanted to stay there all day with her and I really have wanted to ever since. 

I can't even explain what it feels like to be chosen. It is exciting and scary all wrapped into one. It's beautiful and heart breaking. It's her pain and my joy. It's like nothing on this earth. The one feeling I know for certain, is that in feel so blessed. I feel blessed to be able to experience adoption with all it's ups and downs, to be able to meet and associate with the people in the world of adoption, and mostly I feel blessed that my prayers have been answered. 

Yay! I am finally going to be a mommy!