Monday, October 31, 2011

Open Adoption: a visit with Lucy's birthfamily

On Saturday we had a visit with Lucy's birthfamily. It's actually the second time we've seen them since she's been home with us. Both visits have been birthday parties for members of her birthfamily. It was a lot of fun seeing them and look forward to seeing them again at the next visit or party that comes up.

I know some of you are thinking it sounds crazy to have enjoyed seeing them. A year and half ago (or longer) I probably would have thought that idea was crazy too. I remember as Cameron and I began getting serious about moving forward with our adoption, we had a lot of fears of "open adoptions." It seems like having an open adoption where you communicate with and/or have visits with the child's birthfamily would be really scary. Maybe the family will be hard to deal with. Maybe they won't view us as the child's parents and will undermine us to the child. Maybe they will be possessive and pushy. Maybe they will try to steal the child back at some point. Maybe we just won't get along with them. Maybe we won't feel like the parents around them and there will be a sort of battle for the seat at the top as the child's "parents."

These are all thoughts, as crazy or silly as they seem, that have run through our minds as we prepared to adopt. We didn't really know anyone who had an open adoption when we began this journey. These thoughts were coming from a lack of information and experience. Our adoption agency, Christian Family Care Agency, made us go through 2 months of classes before we could be certified to adopt. CFCA greatly values and really only supports open adoptions. There is a lot of research out there that points to how healthy and wonderful openness in an adoption can be for all parties, but especially for the child and the birthparents. We took the classes, willing to hear about it but unconvinced, and we are complete converts! Open adoptions are amazing. I can't wait to see how Lucy's life will be shaped getting to know all the people who love her.

As we sat in our classes, God began breaking down walls that I had up around my heart in this matter of openness. I'm not sure if they were there because we struggled with infertility for so long and having a baby felt impossible. Having that little bit of "control" over not having to know or deal with these strangers giving me their baby may have been the only way I could deal with things. I'm not really sure why the walls were up, but they definitely were. I listened to teachers talk about the relationships that could be formed between families and why they were so powerful in a child's life. Christ began changing my heart. I melted for these birthmoms. I began to weep and pray for the broken hearts of these women as I thought about them at all hours of the day. My heart broke for theirs and the decisions they would be brave enough to make. It's amazing, because Cam's heart was changed too. We both saw the value and the privilege it would be to have such a bond between families.

Before we first met with Lucy's birthmom we didn't know if she would choose us. We knew we wanted to choose her, but realistically we needed to meet with her and get to know her first. We met with her and her mom and we fell in love with the idea that they could be part of our family too. It seemed like a perfect fit for us. I know it doesn't happen that way for all adoptive couples and birthmoms. It's not always a seamless fit. Ours, thankfully, is. We enjoy their company. We respect them and the decisions the whole family helped make to bring Lucy home to us. We know they love our little girl deeply. There's a lot of them and a lot of us, so just imagine how many people pray for Lucy and shower her with love and kisses. What a blessed little girl.

We spent a few hours with Lucy's birthfamily over the weekend. We watched as she got passed around for everyone to gawk over how beautiful and perfect she is. We answered all the questions about how she is sleeping and eating and pooping. We watched Lucy look right at her birthmom and give her a big smile. It was beautiful. God has blessed us with our gorgeous daughter and a wonderful birthfamily. Looks like we are the lucky ones.

Friday, October 28, 2011

music to my ears

Cam just had his weekend. We've been establishing some bedtime routines with Lucy Jane lately. Since Cam was home, he put her to bed pretty much for the past few nights. I helped here and there, but he read her a story and sang to her. I was walking by her room and heard him showing Lucy the pictures in Goodnight, Moon. He read it to her and she kicked her feet around listening to him. It was seriously precious. Then he sang to her and gave her a bottle. Listening to their interactions is music to my ears.

I knew that Cameron is an amazing husband. There was no doubt that he'd be a great father too. Now that it's here and happening, it's so fun to watch. So, it doesn't surprise me. It just continues to amaze me how God has blessed me with him.

By the way, Lucy smiles at him all the time. She loves him so much. No, I'm not jealous...

Stay tuned to before and after pictures of our house. We just got the pink and blue beast painted and she's a beauty now. If only my new front door would be installed soon, we'd be set!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Lucy is six weeks old now. I can hardly believe it. She's growing and changing everyday. She smiles all the time. It's awesome. If I say, "goo goo goo" she'll often reply with "goo" and it completely melts my heart.

For her six week milestone, she decided to give me and Cam a present. She slept for six, uninterrupted hours last night. She is such a good girl! I loved the gift and I don't expect it to happen everyday, but I'll take what I can get.

It's crazy to think that she's been with us for six weeks now. Our lives are forever changed by this little person. She is a joy. I have such a proud feeling to take her places and have people dote all over her. She is a huge responsibility and I take that very seriously. I pray that my choices as a mom will forever impact her life in a positive way.

Here is my messy milk face girl.
I think this picture is from last week, so she's only 5 weeks old here, but isn't she adorable! She is the messiest eater and gets milk all over her face and neck all the time. It's a good thing our friend, Ally, made her some super awesome bibs.

Hope you get six hours of sleep tonight (and me too).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

making salad

Isn't this how everyone makes salad? With a screaming baby who was only going to be happy in her car seat, strapped in, and being bounced all over while tearing lettuce and figuring out how to put it all together? No? That's not how you do it?

A few more arms would be awesome. They are not completely necessary, but helpful for sure! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

bad days and good days

Saturday was a bad day. My little one was tough all day. She wouldn't rest well. She didn't want to be held but didn't want to be put down. She was loud and fussy. (She is still getting over her little cold, so I know she is allowed to be more fussy.) My patience was tried though. That's what daddies are for! He rescued me. Praise God for husbands.

Sunday was a good day. I got told that there is NO WAY I could have a baby so young because I am too tiny. No, I didn't tell her Lucy was adopted. No, I didn't fill her in on all the small details of my life and Lucy's because I don't have to. I said thanks and enjoyed my moment. It was a good day.

family breakfast date

So a couple weeks ago I had the itch. I needed to get out. I need US to get out together. Lucy has gone on countless Target trips and grocery shopping adventures with me. I needed some time other than that. I needed some delicious food and good conversation. It gets lonely talking to only your baby for most of your days and nights. Cam's schedule has been a little tricky for this new mama and I've been craving time for him to be with Lucy and I.

I woke up one morning and said, "We're going to breakfast!" So we did. It was amazing. We went to Matt's Big Breakfast, which is amazing in and of itself. The coffee is delicious and I don't even look at the menu. I say, "I want the special." It doesn't matter what the special is that day. It's always awesome and always worth it. It's a good thing that it's worth it considering this place, which is in downtown Phoenix, always has a wait. I believe this was a Tuesday morning around 10 or 10:30 am and we waited 30 minutes. That's a really reasonable wait. If you go on a Saturday morning, prepare to wait for hours. I'm not kidding.

We sat and enjoyed our coffee and breakfast. Lucy slept through it. We talked and laughed and answered everyone's questions about how old she is and thanked everyone for saying how cute she is. :)

This little family date was much needed. It is the little things that you can find such joy in when you're looking.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

sick day

My sweet little girl is sick. It's her first time in life being sick and it's my first time being a mama to a sick baby. It's fun how we go through these firsts together. I love that she is my first and the one I get to share all these with.

She has a runny nose and is very congested. She is not eating as much, due to her lack of being able to properly breathe out of her nose. She has been fussy somewhat. It's been really hard because I just have to watch her suffer. I can't really help. I can alleviate her discomfort at times and hold her when she wants to be. I cannot fix it though. It's a pretty helpless feeling.

I have resisted the urge to rush to the doctor's office. I wanted to. I just know deep in my gut that she's ok and just needs some TLC at home. We are watching her to make sure there's no fever or anything else alarming.

We had lots of fun things on the agenda this week and I have cancelled a bunch of them to be at home so she can rest and get well. It's crazy to say, "Sorry, my daughter is sick so we can't make it today." It makes me want to just squeal. Not the sick part, just the part where I'm a mom to the best little girl ever.

She's definitely growing and changing. Many of her newborn onesies no longer fit. She's too long! She's moving up in the world and guess what... she has some awesome clothes that are 0-3 months. Check out my favorite outfit. There are no words to describe how much we are all loving kitty dress and jeggings around here.

Precious. Seriously precious.

Friday, October 7, 2011

enjoying each moment

Cameron and I have loved this new adventure of parenthood. We waited a long time for it to officially begin. It has not been a seamless adjustment. There have been tears and frustration while we are trying to get into the swing of things. I'm sure it's only the beginning.

One thing we are trying to be intentional about is loving Lucy for exactly who she is. At times I find myself longing for the days where she will smile at us (She just started that and we can get her to do it 75% of the time. It's not gas, people. These are legitimate smiles.), when she'll learn to talk to us, when we'll get to see her personality in the full, when we'll know exactly what kind of hair she'll have (fro, please!), and anything that makes her bigger than she is and older. Well, we don't want to live like that. We want to relish in the little person she is right now. We want to enjoy her babyhood and not wish it away.

There are millions of little things I love about her. Here are some of the things I'm hanging on to as moments to treasure and store in my heart:

  • She loves snuggling. Her favorite place to nap is on my chest. She even holds onto my shirt, arm skin, and neck to get a tighter squeeze. 
  • She makes the cutest noises. We must get them on video. She cracks us up with her martian noises and her little coos. 
  • She'd rather be in our arms than anywhere else. I know there will be a day when she won't want to snuggle as much or be held. It's a long way off, but I never want to forget her longing to be held. She also loves to be touched. She loves her hair to be played with and her forehead rubbed. 
  • She needs me. I (we) am the one who can help her when she is in need of something. It's my job to read her cues and give her what she needs, when she needs it. What a special job (and tricky at times). 
  • Her hair is awesome. I love that she has a full head of hair. How do moms of bald-headed babies do it? I just look at her hair and my heart melts. I dream of brown curls and maybe even some wild hair going on when she's older. 
  • I love her little birthmark. She has a little light-colored birthmark on her right shoulder. I don't know if it will last, but it's there now. 
  • She has hairy ears. It's cute, I promise. I know it won't last, but it's adorable for now. 

She is the sweetest girl. She's happy. She's curious. She's smart. She's mine. What more could I ask for?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

it starts

I've been out and about with Lucy these past few weeks. That's one of the perks of adoption- no recovery! We've gone to Target more times than one probably should. We've been shopping and visiting with friends. We have an outing of some kind almost every day.

Well, it has started. The "it" I'm referring to is the one where people find us intriguing. They don't exactly see how she and I fit together and so they start commenting. It has mostly been out of sheer curiosity and has been harmless. I can see where it will be going from here though. I've heard stories and read many blog posts about how thoughtless and hurtful strangers can be. Fielding comments from complete strangers is something we signed up for when we decided to adopt, especially when we wanted to adopt a baby of a different race. Lucy is biracial and Cam and I clearly are not. The wonderings are bound to happen.

So far we've only gotten things like:

  • "Is she yours?"
  • "Where does that dark hair come from? Her mom/dad must have really dark hair." 
  • "Wow, she's dark." 
  • "She's not yours, is she?" 
So, we haven't had anything too crazy. The one about how dark she is made me want to slap someone because I don't think it came from a nice place. I know these are only the beginning. 

It's amazing that we first adopted a newborn and not an older child. I get to practice how I react to people's comments while Lucy is unable to understand. I get more time with that as she is so tiny now. I get to ease into it so that when she is older and able to understand people's questions about our family and why we don't all... match, I will have experience in how I respond and react to the situation.

My hope is that she always sees us reacting in a way that protects her and her story. I always want to react in a way that gives the "attacker" the least amount of power. I always want to react in a loving way that shows Jesus to anyone around. Now, that last one is hard for me. If you haven't met me yet, you should know that I'm sassy. I speak my mind and don't have a problem with a little confrontation. I even think it's a little bit fun sometimes (I know, I'm a sick puppy). So, reacting in love doesn't mean that I show Lucy how to be a doormat. It means that I show her how secure we are as a family unit that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about it. It may also mean that we educate the public on thinking before speaking.

Monday, October 3, 2011

the view from here

Yes, this is my sweet daughter with her head hanging out of the Moby wrap just so mama has to hold her more. She hasn't let me put her down all morning. I don't mind.

Yes, her tongue is hanging out as she sleeps. It's precious.

Yes, those stripes you see are my jammies. It's 1:15 pm and I'm still in my jams.

Yes, that is a huge pile of clean laundry waiting to be put away. Hey, at least it's clean.

I'm not getting anything done, but I don't care. Today is a lazy, snuggle day with my favorite little girl. Loving that God has blessed us with this sweet baby and chose us to be her parents.

I hope you get a pajama kind of day soon. They are lovely.