December 29, 2009

Nora's Baptism

Nora's baptism was such a beautiful event. We were able to spend time with C and J an hour before Nora's baptism. We showed up in the room that had been reserved for us a minute late and C and J weren't there. We didn't have definitive confirmation that they'd be there beforehand but we assumed that if they were coming for the baptism they'd certainly come early to see Nora. My heart sank a bit when we didn't see any sign of them.

They had entered a side door of the church and went into the basement. They ran into the deacon of the church and he recognized C as he was her high school teacher (small world). They made some small talk and he told them that he was there for a baptism that day and that it was going to be very special because the baby was adopted and the birthparents were going to be there. C, J and family then commented they were too and they were the birth family. He finally put it all together and we connected.

I was nervous about the meeting and it was a funny feeling of deja vu because the room we were in was the same one I was in before my wedding. That room is full of anxiety for me. We saw C's dad and the rest were following behind. It was so nice to see everyone again. They do feel like family to me and it was nice to reconnect. C and her mom were holding Nora and she was a little fussy so I gave her a bottle. (I've stopped letting other people feed her because they tend to give her gas somehow). We then opened many gifts that they had brought for Nora and caught up. Everyone seemed to be doing great and I know they loved seeing Nora.

Of course, the time flew and it was time to leave the room for mass. I had Nora in the sling because she was tired and fussy and had just fallen asleep. I asked C if she wanted her on during mass and she was excited to "wear" her so C wore her throughout the mass.

Sunday was the celebration of the Holy Family and the sermon was focused exclusively on families. It felt like each word said was so poignant and appropriate for our occasion and the language was so inclusive as family as community rather than necessarily family in the nuclear family sense. I had a moment where I felt so incredibly grateful for our circumstance that I had to try very hard not to start crying. The talk of the love of family and sitting with J and watching C stroke Nora's cheeks and watching her in the sling was very overwhelming in a positive way. I felt so grateful that Nora is surrounded by so much love and I was also so grateful about the love that my family has shown to C and J. Each person in our family made a point during the sign of peace to hug each of them and show them how much they care and how grateful they are. I was especially glad that my sister got to sit next to C so that they could spend some time together.

After the service we had the baptism. It was a very beautiful baptism as Nora was surrounded by those who care about her. Each person made the sign of the cross on her forehead (I think I went a little rogue here). The most touching part of the service, for me, was the blessing of the parents. C came over with me to bless the mothers and I had all of my friends and family laying hands on me when the deacon began reading the rite. I don't remember the exact language but I do remember a portion about the miracle of motherhood and what a gift it is. I really had to try my hardest not to burst into tears hearing these words while holding my daughter with the hands of all of my loved ones upon me including C. I'm so grateful for such a beautiful baptism and for all of the support that was shown during the event.

December 23, 2009

New Adoptive Mom

I'm being a little blog crazy today but I just received very happy news. I've been so excited every time one of my bloggy friends has become an adoptive mom but today I found out a friend in real life is on her way to pick up her son with very little warning. It's just so incredible how timing works out since it is a few days after her birthday and a few days before Christmas. I'm so ecstatic that another waiting mom has now officially become a mom. Hooray! I just wanted to share a little bit of hope to all of those out there waiting about how abruptly your wait might come to an end and with such impeccable timing.

Last Day of Leave and First Visit with C and J

Today is my last day of my leave where it will just be Nora and I. My sister and her husband are in town for the holidays so we've been having lots of family time. (My sister is holding Nora in this photo). Joel is going to be starting paternity leave this afternoon and will be off through the beginning of March. I've enjoyed my time at home but it's also been challenging. The first six weeks were a little bit hard as Nora had a really hard time after she ate and didn't sleep so well at night. Now she's so easy. I'm attuned to her rhythms and needs and can calm her crying usually within 5 minutes. Now I can almost intuitively know what she needs. She's such a good eater now and has an awesome "sailor burp" with almost no effort which has eliminated most of her fussiness. We've established some loose patterns and I finally feel like I have the hang of this now that I'm passing the baton.

She is even becoming a better sleeper. She woke last night at 2 am and then not again until 6:30. Life with Nora is becoming so much easier and she's so much fun. This little girl has A LOT of personality. She's incredibly independent. If you try to hold her when she's in her "active mode" she arches her back and protests loudly. She likes to be on her own kicking around and talking. She'd love for you to chat with her but just don't restrict her movement. We jokingly call her "Free Bird". She loves sitting in her bouncy seat and having a conversation. I'm only able to sneak some snuggle time when she's hungry or tired (ie sleeping). She's also very vocal about her needs. She is very assertive and will scream like she's being tortured if she's not happy but the second you fix the issue she calms down instantly. C's nickname is "The General" so I think I know where her assertive personality comes from.

It's funny how this is the case as I've always said there would be some sort of meant-to-be connection between us and her birth family. I've always wanted a very assertive, independent daughter (even though the teen years are going to be absolute hell). Even while picking baby names I made sure that the girl names were strong names that a 30 year old woman would not be embarrassed to have. So, I think it's so funny that we got our assertive little girl.

Speaking of C and J, we will have our first visit with them on Sunday. We have invited them to Nora's baptism. I think C's mom will also join us. I'm so glad that they'll get to see Nora right after the holidays. It's been hard to know how things are going to unfold in our relationship with C and J as all of our communication is through the agency. They've only asked for updates from us but we've offered visits. We're not sure if this is what they want going forward so it will be nice to see them in person. A lot can get lost over a game of telephone. We've been told they are doing well but it will be nice to be able to chat in person and see how they feel about future visits with Nora. We certainly don't want to push anything on them but we also don't want them to think they're not welcome in our lives.

I'm a little bit nervous for our visit because I know it's going to be emotional. We're meeting them an hour before the baptism. We'll then all go to mass, have the baptism and then say our goodbyes. It will be hard to have this emotional experience and then have to interact with all of our guests who are attending the baptism. I'm worried because I don't want anyone to say anything wacky to C and J. I also feel a little awkward because our guest are coming back to our house afterwards. I don't want C and Js feelings to be hurt but I also don't feel ready to invite them over and I would imagine they probably don't want to hang our with all of our family and friends either. I'm having a lot of anxiety surrounding this whole baptism because there is so much going on within those few hours and it's so hard to know what the "right" thing to do is so I'm just going with my gut.

During the baptism they ask the mother and father to stand with Nora. I've told the deacon that I'd like C and J to join us during this time but I'm not sure if this is what they would like. I guess I won't know until we have a chance to ask them right before the ceremony. I just want for them to feel included, loved and honored and this is what is causing my stress. I've put together a little gift for them. It's a framed picture of Nora and then a HUGE stack of photos over the last three months. I debated doing something more but I'm having a weird hang up about giving C and J material things that are not related to Nora or the adoption because I don't want to devalue or monetize our relationship. If anyone has any great ideas I can pull off (other than the photo in a nice frame) before Sunday please let me know. Also, if anyone has any advice that would be helpful to me, please share.

Wow, this is what happens when I don't blog for a few days!

December 18, 2009

Social Worker Visit and Finalization Date

We have another visit with our social worker today but this time in her office. Hooray! My house is a disaster and I won't have time to clean it until tomorrow. It's just another post-placement visit. It will be fun to bring Nora into the office.

It was so hard to imagine during the process that we'd ever be doing that. When you sit in that conference room for your orientation classes it's nearly impossible to imagine that you'll ever be in that space with a baby but here we are almost exactly two years later from our first orientation.

We're definitely nearing the end of the adoption process. We have one more education class and we just received our finalization date. On April 14 Nora will legally be our daughter. It's fun to have that date in mind. I'm going to borrow from my brother-in-law's family as they call his finalization day his "Love Day". I love this term so much more than "Gotcha Day" (sounds aggressive) so I'm going to officially appropriate it on April 14. I've been thinking a lot about how to celebrate this day each year. I think we're going to make it a family day. I don't want it to become another birthday. I'd like it to be more of a day for family experiences/fun. I was really hoping that it would be on my birthday (6 months to the day after her birth) but it's a few weeks after and that is okay with me. More days to celebrate are never a bad thing.

December 17, 2009

Christmas Update

Thanks so much for all of your great comments and suggestions about making the holidays more manageable. I was able to address and get out our Christmas cards. This was important because they were also doing double duty as birth announcements. I won't be so neurotic about it next year when we're not announcing Nora's arrival.

We made the journey to Bass Pro Shop yesterday. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach when I saw a parade of girls in tights heading out the exit. I'm an optimistic person so I walked in hoping that the line wouldn't be too long. We got to the area where Santa was and it was a VERY long line. They were passing out cards for us to line up in another 30 minutes. Joel was not a fan of the Santa excursion to begin with and so he was less than excited to wait in line but was sweet and deferred to me. I proposed that we wait in the restaurant and grab a drink and an appetizer and then get back in line. We headed to the restaurant and grabbed a table at the bar for quicker service. I was still on the fence about the whole thing. The sea of toddlers (ie germs) made me nervous. So, we sat down and were contemplating what to do. The menu didn't really appeal to me and as we were chatting a five year old started coughing right behind us. (I add this because Joel is convinced this is what made me want to leave). It seemed like such an ordeal to get this photo taken in which she was probably going to be asleep or grumpy anyway so we left. In hindsight, we should have gone later- around 8 pm or so- as the toddlers would (hopefully) all be home in bed. So, our Santa excursion was a bust but we did take some cute photos at home. (Joel accidentally cut off my head while trying to make Nora smile - definitely consistent with the whole ordeal but Nora looks very cute).

December 16, 2009

Tis the Season

I've been so busy this weekend that I haven't had a chance to update the blog so I have some very random updates. First, I realized I never posted a recap of the Dr. Phil show. It was a bit better than I expected. As expected, he highlighted some very unfortunate issues that can arise in adoption but, as he pointed out, if all parties are well informed and go through the proper channels these tend not to happen. He also mentioned on several occasions that he is an advocate for adoption and concluded with some tips for anyone involved in adoption. It was still Dr. Phil but more palatable than I initially thought. (I would have been a wreck had I watched this while waiting, however).

More importantly than Dr. Phil, Nora giggled for the first time on Friday. She's been giggling in her sleep so we know she can do it but haven't heard her do it awake. I spent so much time interacting with her on Friday and trying to make her laugh. No luck. Joel comes home and of course she starts beaming. He then lifts her up in the air and the cutest giggles ensue. He did it a few more times and luckily I was able to capture a video of it. It was so amazing to hear what her laugh will likely sound like. (We've tried to recreate this scenario for the last couple of days with no such luck). It was so precious and I can't wait to hear more laughs. I'm working on my delivery to see if that might help her find me funny.

We've wanted to decorate for Christmas for the last several weekends but for a variety of reasons this has not been possible. I was resolved on Monday that we HAD to decorate that night. I made a nice big dinner and we set-up the tree. Even though Nora won't know the difference I felt like I was getting an F in parenthood for not decorating this year. We finally have hung the stockings and put up the tree and it's really helped to put me more in the holiday spirit (that and a Phil Spector Christmas album). I still need to take her to see Santa but I'm really hesitant to hang out in a germ-filled mall. I got a secret tip about free photos and no lines at Bass Pro Shop (which I HATE) but I might have to suck it up so that I can have a First Christmas photo of Nora. I'm going to put that on the docket for tomorrow.

I'm feeling really overwhelmed this holiday season. I think it's just because everything takes a little bit longer with baby. It's also reminding me that my maternity leave is quickly coming to an end. I feel like there is so much to prep for. My sister is coming into town Sunday (hooray!) and Nora is being baptized on December 27. I have realized I haven't invited anyone to the baptism yet, which is problematic since it's right after Christmas and in a little over a week. (If you are reading this and would like to attend, consider yourself invited).

I still have our Christmas cards sitting on my coffee table and desperately need to get those sent out as well. I'm so nervous for going back to work. I can barely get everything done now so I can't really imagine what it's going to be like when I go back to work. Yikes!!! One day at a time. Deep breaths...
To end on a positive note- Nora really couldn't be cuter right now kicking around in her bouncy chair chatting with me and my darling husband made me a pretty fabulous latte this morning (good thing- there's a lot to do on this Santa's list).

December 11, 2009

Up: A Little Reminder

A couple of nights ago Joel and I watched the movie Up. We had both been wanting to see it for awhile and so we finally rented it. We brought sleeping Nora to the basement/make-shift movie watching space in her bouncy seat and we settled in to watch the movie. I had heard some interviews on NPR about the movie but other than that did not have a clue about it.

Divulging a piece of the plot here:
We got to the scene where infertility was addressed and I instantly burst into tears and began sobbing. (Joel already thinks I'm slightly crazy and over-emotional so he's not as phased by this any longer). The scene was so poignant and caught me completely off guard. (I knew from the interview they couldn't have kids but I thought that part would be glossed over). I was looking over at Nora and just sobbing. I wasn't crying about a bio kid vs. adopted kid which I really need to clarify. I was crying because watching that scene put me exactly back in that place of hopeful expectation and then ultimate disappointment. This cycle is repeated until the day Nora was put in my arms. Even waiting during adoption, while hopeful, is filled with it's own types of disappointments (not being selected, failed matches, long waits etc.). It just reminded me of all that we'd been through. Gratefully, I was able to look over through my tears and see the most precious gift anyone has given me.

In all my excitement of becoming a mom I had put all of the infertility issues away and this movie reminded me. I have a lot of friends on this journey now both in the blogosphere and those who are a part of my life and it made me so sad for the struggle that each of them and some of you are still facing. Those emotions are so hard to deal with and I hate to see anyone on the difficult parts of this journey.

When I began the process of blogging and reading blogs I hated following blogs of people who had already adopted. I'd read up to the part where they brought baby home (to give me hope) but then had no interest in reading about their life with baby. It was just too hard. Melba had a great post about this topic and I don't want to repeat her sentiments because she says it so well here: http://mandmadopt.blogspot.com/2009/12/little-conflicted-about-chirstmas.html. But, I was just reminded of how hard the wait is and how hard the journey can be and I wanted everyone who is currently on this path to know I'm thinking about you.

December 10, 2009

Adoptions Gone Wrong

This was just the topic previewed for the Dr. Phil Show tomorrow. (I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm watching Dr. Phil but a girl has to do something while folding laundry).

I'm sure the show will be inflammatory. Just wanted to let the blogosphere know. I'm sure I'll have quite a bit to say tomorrow afternoon or I won't have the energy to care about what Dr. Phil and guests dramatize about adoption. Stay tuned...

December 8, 2009

Grown Up Car

I made a huge step last night. I'm a person who grows attached to things and doesn't love change (not to mention I'm pretty cheap when it comes to material possessions). I traded in the first car that I purchased with my first "real" job.

My 2000 Volksw.agen Golf has been with me through thick and thin. It's taken me to New Mexico on one tank of gas and enabled me to get a $200+ speeding ticket in Wyoming. (I won't divulge my speed but I will say that car has ZIP, no cruise control and I have a lead foot and a love of speed). I rarely had to think of filling the car up and it was just so much fun to drive. Our relationship became a little more rocky as the car required a little more love than I could give. The back hatch wouldn't stay open in cold weather which I discovered when I got knocked on the head- hard! I think the clutch might be going, the clear bra has begun to make the paint on the hood peel and she just celebrated her 107,000 mile birthday. I'll admit, it had become a bit embarrassing to go to business meetings in this car as one would expect a 20 year old guy and not a professional woman to step out of the driver's seat. However, I loved my car and held on tight. Then, along came Nora.

There were signs that the Golf's days were numbered. I never even attempted to install the car seat in the two door car. I didn't even crack the manual to find out the best position or whether to use the belt or latch system. Joel has been driving it to work and I'd been using his car. I knew for years that I really needed a new car but it's been so nice not having any car payments. However, I really wanted a safe car for Nora and one that handled well in the snow since I drive all over Colorado and Wyoming for meetings. I caved and we made a deal on a new car on Saturday.

I never thought that I would drive a car like this. To me, this car is excessively huge but by most American's standards, it's probably considered a mid-sized SUV. No matter though, Nora will be nice and safe with 7 airbags and a car that handles great in the snow. Even better, when Nora has a sibling they both can fit safely in the new car. Plus, it's so nice to have modern conveniences. (However, I am going to miss the tape deck. Sad I won't be able to play my mixed tapes from high school anymore).

I'm pretty excited to have a new car. (Thank you Toyo.tathon and awesome deals!) I spent all last night reading the owners manual front to back. (I'm meticulous with my cars). I can't wait to install the car seat and take it out in the fresh snow today. I'm such a car lover and SO my father's daughter in that regard. I look forward to another decade long relationship with this car for this new slow-driving, safety-minded period of my life.

December 5, 2009

Baby Talk

Last night Joel and I attended his company's holiday party. (I know, it's crazy they have one in a recession but his company actually does well during bad economic times). Grandma once again came over to babysit while Joel and I attended this event. It's so difficult getting dressed these days when I really am in my schleppy maternity leave clothes most of the time. I did manage to paint my toenails and make my fingernails look presentable, which felt like a huge feat. So, off we went to the holiday party.

We sat at a table with Joel's colleagues that he's closest to and enjoyed our dinner. The conversation was interesting to me. Most at the table knew that we had just adopted and was so excited for us but one couple did not know. The party was at a casino and so the small talk was centered around whether people were spending the night or staying to gamble. I commented that we had a two month old so we'd be heading back down the mountain. She took a look at me and said a bit sarcastically, "What, did you adopt?". She was then surprised when I said yes. (I think this is much more plausible than dropping baby weight in record time unless you are Heidi Klum). There was then the long string of questions about adoption. It was interesting because usually I love to discuss adoption but I just wasn't in the mood to answer all the usual questions politely. I realized later it was because she was just a nosy stranger and didn't really want any information on adoption but in my sleep deprived state this didn't occur to me. I finally changed the subject and we moved on.

Interestingly, another colleague of Joel's has been going through a lot of infertility issues. I was in a separate conversation after dinner when I overheard Joel saying "IUI". I couldn't fathom what he was talking about but then realized that the couple was on the same path we had been on. They asked a lot of questions about adoption and even about cost and this, of course, didn't bother me at all. It's all about intent and context.

The most interesting part of the night for me was toward the end when we were talking with all of Joel's colleagues with kids about having kids. I have never been a part of this club before. These conversations were always like the tenth circle of hell for me but I actually got to participate last night. I didn't have to say the usual, "wow" or "I can't imagine". I could actually reply with my own stories of parenthood. It wasn't draining having this conversation but fun and I realized on the way home that this was such a turning point. I think it just takes a while to sink in all the ways that my life has changed.

I didn't have 9 months to realize I was having a baby. I had a year and a half of being "paper pregnant" but I think I was in such disbelief that it would ever happen. Even when we were matched I still was not certain that we'd be parents and didn't embrace that idea. (Nora came two days late and I still hadn't packed for the hospital until I got the call). It's interesting all of the little things that keep reinforcing to me that this is real and we're finally a family.

November 30, 2009

Two Months

Today Nora is a big two month old. Time has gone quickly but also very slowly. It seems like eons ago that we brought her home from the hospital since our lives have changed so much. But, it also feels like she's changing so much each day and time is just slipping away. (Especially as the end of my maternity leave is now on the horizon).

She truly does change so much every day. A few days ago she started grabbing her toes. Today I was grabbing my coffee in the kitchen and heard funny clicking noises and realized that Nora had learned to make clicking noises with her mouth and was entertaining herself. I was a little surprised because we've never made clicking noises with her. (Then again I haven't rolled around on the floor grabbing my toes either). She has so much personality and so much energy. She's a little girl with places to go and things to do. She doesn't like to be held unless she is in the right mood. If she's in an active mood she'll scream if you try to hold her. She doesn't want to be restrained. Of course, when she's eating or sleepy she's fine with cuddling up.

She had her two month check up today and everything checked out. She's quite the charmer with the men and tends to smile more at men and is a real chatty pants. She "talked" through our entire hour long appointment. She's also really a wiggle worm - especially at 3 am when she squirms while I'm changing her and gives me the most endearing smiles. So, in honor of her active little baby self, I'm posting another video (that is sideways and I can't fix) and a photo of her charming her daddy.


video

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving



I have much to be thankful for this year but not many brain cells to articulate it. The gift for which I am most thankful had me awake much of the night so I'm going to let a picture be worth about two paragraphs. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!

November 24, 2009

Paperwork Signed and More Shower Fun

Yesterday my co-workers threw Nora a lovely baby shower. (I know I'm very spoiled by many kind people). I returned back to work for her celebration and a co-celebration with another colleague who is on my team whose little boy is due any day now! We have had a baby boom in our department in the last three months. The shower was beautiful and the menu was amazing: Italian deli meats, cheeses, crackers and amazing cupcakes. It was such a sweet shower and it was so nice to see how excited everyone was to meet Nora. She was even awake for the beginning of the celebration. It was so nice to see everyone and to catch up. I'm so lucky to work with so many fantastic people.

While I was getting ready to leave the house for the shower, which requires a couple of hours of planning and some serious strategy, I checked my email. Our caseworker had emailed me and let me know that the judge has signed our paperwork so our "legal risk" is over. It's funny that this milestone didn't really matter to me and it hasn't really even been in the back of my mind. Once we took Nora home from the hospital that day I knew she was home to stay. I think if we had had a different relationship with C and J or if circumstances were different I would have been counting down the days for this paperwork to be signed. However, this news didn't really make any difference to me and for that I'm thankful. Now we are just waiting for our court date which will likely be in the spring. I already feel official but I'm looking forward to being "paper official" and being able to leave the country. Hooray!

November 23, 2009

Amazing Friends Welcoming Nora

My good friends threw me the nicest "Welcome Nora" party yesterday. So many people had already met her and brought us gifts that I didn't want to have a baby shower per se. Instead, we had a lovely champagne brunch open house. Joel cold smoked some salmon and we had bagels, quiche, fruit, cupcakes and mimosas. (I love food - listing the menu is very important).

We had so many of our close friends come by and it was so fun to see all those who have supported us through our journey celebrate the conclusion of our journey and the welcoming of Nora. We're so blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people and so many people who care for Nora.

P.S. Since I want to respect the privacy of my friends, I've posted a photo of the crazy contraption my savvy husband rigged to cold smoke salmon. It involved a smoker, cardboard boxes, wood planks, meat thermometer and a computer fan. The salmon was AMAZING!

November 20, 2009

We're Lucky: Good Comments

We went to the police station yesterday to get finger printed (again) to finalize our adoption. The woman finger printing us asked if we were doing it for an adoption since we had Nora with us. She was covered up in her car seat (because we don't want anyone sneezing on her:) so she couldn't see her. The finger printer was Vietnamese and I think she sees a lot of international adoptions so she was talking a bit about how with Asian adoptions the babies can't know their birthparents etc and her experiences in Vietnam.

We told her that she was from Colorado and she would know her birthparents. She said "oh that's very good." Then she told us, "You are very lucky". Yes we are. This woman totally got adoption and was so great. It always surprises me who will make positive or negative comments regarding adoption. It was so nice for someone to affirm how lucky we are.

November 18, 2009

Gratitude

It's been a very busy week for me. We've had lots of visitors and celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. I've wanted to write a post for the last couple of days about how grateful I am right now.

Joel and I had a great day on Saturday. My parents came over to watch Nora while we attended a baptism class and then celebrated our anniversary with a lunch and a little time together. (We've determined time during the day is so much more enjoyable than going out at night when we are dead tired). It was nice to wander around downtown together and visit gourmet food stores and our favorite book store. It was particularly nice because it was cold so there weren't many people out wandering around.

Saturday night I was supposed to attend a going away party for a very close friend but the snow began to fall and the party was a 45 min. drive away so we decided to stay in with Nora. I made homemade chicken soup and we spent a great evening together as the snow began to fall. I felt so grateful to have such a great husband and now, father, a beautiful daughter, a new house in a neighborhood that we love and awesome parents who are already so involved with Nora. It was one of those moments where everything was so perfect and I felt so grateful. I've had a lot of struggles over the last year and a half and I feel so grateful to have those moments where everything in life seems right.

November 12, 2009

Firsts

Nora turned six weeks old yesterday and this past week she has begun to smile more and more. Over the last two days we have begun to get very real smiles when she sees us and it is the most incredible experience in the world. Tuesday as I was holding her and talking to her, per usual, she just began to smile and smile and look right up at me. I began sobbing because I have waited so long for this very experience. Yes, I have waited forever (it seems like) for a baby. But, I've actually waited more precisely for the moment when I can gaze into my child's eyes and she recognizes me and smiles back. This moment melted me and made me feel like a real mom. I couldn't wait for Joel to get home. I asked him to go see her and she smiled on cue when he walked over. He picked her up and started talking to her and she was just beaming at her daddy. Again, I cried on cue. There is really nothing that compares to your baby smiling at you for the first time. For some reason, she seems so real to me now.

I am getting ready to go out with a friend. (I know it seems like I go out all the time but I really don't, it's just momentous so I write about it). I had Nora in the sling as I was getting ready and putting on makeup. (If you follow my blog, you know this is the time when I think about adoption and babies and usually have a revelation or break down). It was really profound to be singing songs to her and putting on makeup and then looking in the mirror and realizing I had Nora in a sling and I wasn't thinking about adoption or what life was going to be like with a baby. This is what life is like with a baby- singing "Going to California" (because I know no child appropriate songs) and looking at us both in the mirror.

November 11, 2009

Baby Shower

My family threw me the nicest baby shower on Sunday. It was so fun to get together and see everyone and so sweet of them to throw a shower to welcome Nora. Of course, everyone was a little bit disappointed when I showed up alone but I assured them that Joel was coming later with Nora. The shower was so sweet. One thing that was interesting is that for some reason I've been calling Nora "Nora Bear". I really have no idea why- sleep deprivation? However, most of the cute little outfits she received had bears on them and my sister made her a bear blanket. I found that so interesting and appropriate.

The funniest part of the shower was when Joel arrived. He knew he would be entering a room full of 30 women and so he came prepared. He had Nora on him in a sling and when she finally was brought out of the sling he had a 32 oz bottle of hand sanitizer that he set on the table. Too cute. He's such a good, protective dad.

November 5, 2009

Work

Since I've been on maternity leave, I haven't thought about work too much (or at least as much as I had thought - thank you great team!). I have thought about what it's going to be like going back to work. How did I feel about going back? What will be the effect on Nora? What will be the effect on me? It doesn't really matter either way because not going back isn't an option (please see adoption and new house:). However, I got my answer yesterday.

There was an inaugural event at my work and despite being on maternity leave, I really wanted to see the event unfold so that I had a sense of what it would be like next year. I went to work for a little bit yesterday and it was so fantastic. It was so nice to catch up with all of my colleagues and to watch an event that benefits children unfold and come to fruition. I left the event feeling really energized and remembered how much I love my job. I'm so glad that I was able to work yesterday and have the piece of mind that, while going back to work will be extremely difficult, it is something that also brings me joy and satisfaction in addition to a paycheck. I have a great job that helps kids and I get to work with truly amazing people. I'm so grateful for that experience yesterday to put my mind and heart at ease.

November 3, 2009

Talking About Adoption

I've been thinking a lot about how to tell Nora her story. I've been practicing telling it to her but I fumble through it every time. I know it's not a one time conversation that I have to get perfect but I'm really trying to feel somewhat prepared. I assumed that our daughter would not be Caucasian (because of our previous match, I suppose) and so I just assumed adoption would come up a bit more since it would be more apparent that we did not look alike and unfortunately, ignorant outsiders would likely point this out beginning at birth. I now feel like I need to really make an effort to make her story an integral part of her life. This is causing me a bit of consternation. My mom is babysitting this Friday so I think I'm going to go on the hunt for some good adoption children's books. (Please leave me a comment if you have any favorites).

On this very topic, I also wanted to include a link to Lori at Weebles Wobblog's post today. She is such a pro at open adoption and I think her post is so worth reading if you don't already follow her blog: http://www.weebleswobblog.com/2009/11/moments-in-open-adoption-parenting-part.html. I only hope that I can be this together when the many adoption conversations arise.

October 31, 2009

Date Night

Joel and I have always promised each other that when we were fortunate enough to have a baby, we would make a concerted effort to have time with just us. I'm a firm believer in a happy mommy makes for a better mommy. I think it's really important to take time for yourself to recharge your batteries so you have something left to give to baby.

So, off we went on our first date post-Nora. My parents watched Nora and they urged us to stay out until 11 pm or midnight. Ha ha- I go to bed at 8 these days so I can do second shift. We left them with a mildly disgruntled baby. (I thought I'd take a photo of the occasion but Nora was a little unhappy).

We went to a restaurant we'd been dying to try. We had many small plates, a cocktail and glass of wine and it felt decadent. Inevitably, the beginning of the conversation was a discussion about how much Nora threw up today and whether it was spit up or actual vomit. I know- great dinner conversation! However, we then moved into other, more appropriate, subjects and enjoyed our time out. I looked at my watch assuming that it was pretty late and had to laugh when it said 6:45. Much to my parent's dismay, we were home a bit after 8 pm.

It was great to have a little time outside of the house (especially since Nora can't go anywhere). I'm proud of us for making some couple time and Nora was exactly one month old.

October 28, 2009

Leaving the House

After having Nora home for almost a month, not being able to go in public is really wearing on me. I'm not good at being a home body. If I'm home sick for more than a day I start to go crazy. Clearly, time with Nora is great and taking care of her is very time consuming but I feel like one more day on the couch might make for a reenactment of The Shining. (Should I not put this on an adpotion blog when the adoption hasn't been finalized yet?!?)

We aren't supposed to bring Nora in public until 6 weeks - that includes anything public- church, grocery store, restaurant etc. The flu is really bad here and the last thing I want is a sick baby so I'm happy to comply. So, I devised a safe way to leave the house. I decided to go on a long drive. I also was determined to get out yesterday since a snow storm is supposed to hit Denver today (and it is).

I packed up the diaper bag, secured Nora in her car seat (with some protest) and off we went. I stopped by a drive-thru coffee shop to get a Pumpkin Spice latte. (I'm not a fan of this coffee shop but the one that I like requires getting out of the car so I had to make due.) I then got on the highway and headed toward Boulder. The drive into Boulder is always so pretty and I love seeing the Flatirons this time of year. From there I went up Eldorado Canyon for a bit and then returned home (strategically timed for the next bottle) through Golden. It felt so great to be out of the house, listening to music and just driving with my favorite gal. Nora was pretty awake during the beginning of the drive which was nice. I wanted her to get a change of scenery. Of course, toward the end she was sound asleep. It felt SOOOO great to get out of the house! I can't wait until we can take her places!

October 26, 2009

Letter to C and J and Weekend with Family

I finally had enough sleep and enough espresso in me on Saturday to write AND complete a letter to C and J. We aren't due to send them anything for several months but I really wanted to respond to the letter they sent us and I also really wanted to let them know how Nora is doing. I'm so happy that we have finally completed this letter. I'd been crafting it in my head for the last two weeks but was hard pressed to find a good chunk of time to write it. It feels like such a relief to have this completed. It wasn't out of obligation at all but rather just to let them know how much we appreciate our new family.

Speaking of family, we had lots of great visitors and help from family this weekend. My parents came over and watched Nora for several hours while I was able to go to run a week's worth of errands and Joel was able to put our garden to rest and finish building our compost bin. My mom was nice enough to even clean my house! Nora was sleeping so she decided she'd clean with the extra time. This was a tremendous help as we had Joel's parents and brother's family coming over for dinner the next day. I couldn't have pulled it off without all of their help.

It was so much fun to see Joel's family visit Nora for the first time and to watch her grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle and cousins hold her for the first time. It was a great weekend!

October 23, 2009

Sleep Deprivation and Doggie Depression

Sleep deprivation can be a funny thing (unless you are my dog). I just looked down and realized after being awake for over four hours and - here's the key- after half a latte - that my tops and bottoms to my pjs don't match. It really doesn't matter if they match or not as I'm just sitting on my couch hanging out with my favorite baby but it's a little disturbing that I didn't notice until now.

I also tend to forget my poor dog outside. He's not an outdoor dog and is sure to remind me of this after he's been left outside for awhile with a whine or a bark. Poor guy. His mom's heads not in the game anymore and what little brain capacity is left is being dedicated to caring for Nora.

I think the dog is getting depressed. He doesn't come very quickly when we call him and he spent a good portion of the morning hanging out in his kennel and had to be coaxed out this morning to go to the bathroom. He's been our fur kid for six years so it's no wonder he's having a hard time. Poor guy. Probably nothing a long walk later today can't cure.

October 20, 2009

A New Identity: Mom

I've always been a very independent person and have always held closely to my own identity. It's so interesting now being a mom and adding that to the list of what makes me who I am. I didn't have the perspective that I am now a mom until I left the house yesterday for the first time by myself in 3 weeks. Yes, I have been caring for my daughter for 3 weeks now but sometimes my synapses aren't all firing when I'm doing laundry or changing diapers. It took the perspective of being out of the house for it to hit me that I am someone's mom.

Strangely, I was waiting in line for a flu shot at our local grocery store when I realized- I'm a mom. I'm going to buy things for my daughter today. It took leaving the house and feeling like my "old self" again running errands to reinforce that I am actually a mom. I am going to be coming home to my daughter and this is my new life.

It's also interesting that I've always been an extremely career-driven person and have always worked really hard professionally and I haven't really given a thought about work since I've been gone. (Sorry colleagues, but, I know you are all kicking butt without me). It's so nice to be able to focus on other aspects of myself for a change. Especially since I have defined myself so much by my work in my life. It's nice to be able to rediscover that I'm not a one dimensional person. Just an interesting revelation I thought I'd share. Strange when things hit you while waiting in line for a shot. It's nice to have a few quiet minutes to think I suppose.

Nora is doing great. Now is her active time and she's on her play mat making cute little noises and discovering her own reflection in the mirror. (I've uploaded a video. It's not the most exciting thing you'll ever watch but I'm a proud mom:).

It's so fun to have her awake during more of the day and watching her discover things. I know it's only going to get more fun!
video

October 16, 2009

Providing Relief

I received our letter from C and J a few days ago. Obviously, I won't go into any detail about the letter but it did make me feel compelled to post something related. I think during the adoption process, as adoptive parents, we can become wrapped up in our own anxiety and the sorrow and pain that the birthparents must be feeling that I really didn't take much time to think about the role that we were playing in the lives of the birthparents.

The letter we received reinforced to me that as grateful and happy as adoptive parents are to receive the precious gift of a baby, the birthparents are also able to find some peace and relief by finding a couple to give their child the life that they so desire for them. For some reason, this part of the equation was being lost on me. Receiving this letter helped with some of the initial guilt/sorrow that I was experiencing. Since so many people in blogland are now matched or waiting to be matched I thought that I'd share this thought as it might be helpful or add some consolation or perspective.

I feel so blessed to have been matched with C and J. We received back our "Dear Birthparents" letters from the agency after the match and it was interesting to read over them. Joel and I independently noted that we felt that we would be chosen for a reason and that the birthparents that picked us we'd have an affinity toward and that was the case. I know this might not be the case for Nora's sibling or in other adoptions and I feel so grateful that this was the case for this match.

October 14, 2009

Losing the Baby Weight

Joel and I went on a long walk with Nora yesterday as the weather has vastly improved. I was getting extremely stir crazy as we aren't accepting visitors until Friday (we had two weeks of just us to promote attachment) and we can't take Nora into public, especially now that everyone seems to have the flu. So, the walk was great to get out of the house and get some fresh air.

We took a walk through the park and I was commenting on how great the sling was because no one could really touch or see Nora. The sling sits up high enough on me that it would be extremely inappropriate for anyone to try to reach in so we feel like Nora is well protected from germy hands.

We were crossing the street when I commented to Joel that it's sad we can't go in public because I was really looking forward to everyone telling me how great I looked for having such a little baby:). I know, I'm shameless, but I take the compliments where I can get them - deserved or not. We literally set foot on the other side of the street and a woman came up to me and said, "Look at you! Out and about already. Good for you!". She then tried her hardest to see/touch Nora but ended up just patting the underside of the sling. I had such a laugh that I got my "look at you" adoption comment and no one touched my baby. Very productive day!

October 10, 2009

Home Visit and Legal Paperwork

Our home visit was great. Nora was a little but fussy so I had her in the sling. We got to visit with our caseworker and she just checked in to see how we're doing. We've been on "lock down" (aka no guests to facilitate bonding) so, it was nice to have adult interaction. We really like her and get along with her well and so it was nice to visit without the stress of waiting. We got to talk a lot about the hospital experience and how things went and felt for us. I haven't written too much about the hospital experience because it was so stressful. It wasn't stressful as in she was thinking of changing her mind or that people were negative but stressful in that you can't maintain that level of emotion for two days straight and not want to have a melt down at the end. I feel extraordinarily blessed by our hospital experience but it was a lot to go through and ours was pretty ideal. We were told our experience and ceremony were in her top 5 of placements she's ever done. So, needless to say, things went really well.

K and J both wrote us letters in the hospital for us and Nora but we haven't read them yet. It was so hard leaving the hospital and every time I looked at Nora I saw K or J's face looking back at me and I kept feeling like I was taking their baby. That night was the same . It is now no longer the case unless she's sleeping and making a pouty face and then she looks like J. I feel like I don't have it in me yet to read the letters. I still feel a little emotionally drained and physically exhausted to go down that road just now. I'm planning on waiting for when we all feel a little more settled and all of our emotions aren't so raw yet.

K and J met with their caseworker yesterday and signed the paperwork. I've been told that, of course, they have good days and bad days but are comfortable with their decisions. Joel and I have also signed our petition to adopt paperwork and submitted that to our caseworker. That means that in Colorado, a judge will need to sign K and J's relinquishment paperwork for it to be final. That usually takes a week or two but we're not worried. I actually haven't been worried since we left the hospital. This just finalizes everything. In about two weeks we won't have any legal risk so Nora is here to stay. We should also find out about a court date soon. Nora's almost officially our daughter.

I also found out that K has written us another letter that our caseworker is sending to us. I haven't written anything to K and J yet. I have so much in my head and in my heart that I want to say to them but I can't find the strength or energy to write it all down. I know that I need to do it soon but I can't bring myself to put pen to paper at the moment.

P.S. My caseworker also pointed out that K's name is actually C. I had discovered this awhile ago and didn't make the switch - I'm not sure why. I think I felt like it might make her name more obvious. However, in the event that I ever share this with Nora it would be nice to have her birthmom's name correct so it will be C from here on out.

October 9, 2009

Home Visit

We have our home visit today to check on our progress with Nora. I've been a little bit stressed out about it as I like to have our house look perfect before anyone comes over. There is no perfection today. One week after bringing Nora home, the house is tidy and clean but far from perfect. Our dining room table has become the baby staging area as we have completely abandoned the nursery. I think we've set foot in there less now that we have a baby than we did before. It's just so much easier to have everything that we need next to the living room. Who knew the dining room would become the temporary nursery?!

I figure the important part is she just wants to see how we're all doing. I'm not going to be winning any housekeeping awards but I'm happy to say that Nora seems happy and content and that's all that really matters.

October 8, 2009

Thank You

As I had a few seconds this morning, I was thinking about how important this blog and all of you have been in offering support and reflection during this long journey. It's been so therapeutic to connect with people who are on the same path as yourself. Some are further down the path and others have just begun but it's been a phenomenal help and a support to have so many to offer words of encouragement and who understand the journey. So, I just wanted to give a thanks to the adoption blog community and my "bloggy friends" for all of your support and well wishes through this journey. You're the best!

October 7, 2009

Getting the Hang of This Mom Thing

I think I'm finally getting the hang of this mom thing. Nora seems to be a happy little baby (most of the time) and we're all adjusting well. I actually slept for 5 hours last night and she's beginning to sleep through the night. The sling is amazing and quiets her immediately and is great for attachment. The swing is invaluable in the middle of the night when I don't have an ounce of energy left. I give her a bottle, let her go for a 3 minute swing and she's ready to sleep. It's great!

I'm so glad/relieved that attachment is going well. I was allowing myself to be able to feel however I was feeling and would know that we'd all fall into place sooner or later (no mater if she was bio or adopted). However, I'm happy to report that I don't feel to be having any problems which is a relief to me. I can't wait to get up in the morning and see little Nora. I'm not sure if these are feelings that ebb and flow but so far so good.

October 5, 2009

Adjusting to Life with Baby

Life with baby has been an adjustment. She's precious and beautiful but I'd be lying if I'd say it's all a bed of roses. At 2 am when I'm on what I've dubbed the "salt mine" shift I'm tired and can't imagine how I'm going to do this. When I sleep for 4 hours (hooray!) and wake up to relieve Joel I think she's the most amazing thing in the world and can't wait to get down the stairs to see her. So, that's motherhood so far.

I feel like we've really made progress on our learning curve. Diapering, feeding, changing clothes and all other "tasks" are going great. Sleeping, however, is not. She does not like to be put down and will cry once she leaves our arms. So, we've devised the shift plan. One parent on from 10 am - 3 am and then the other on from 3 am - 7 am. She sleeps a bit from 7 am - 10 am and then the day begins. She was a bit more awake during her doctor's appointment today so I'm hoping that is a sign that she's going to join our time zone.

She's a pretty easy baby and is super easy to comfort. I feel like I've picked up on her cues pretty quickly and she hasn't really cried for no reason yet. She's pretty easy to console and has been fun. She's not awake very much but when she is I love to watch her facial expressions.

The sling is a life saver. Joel is wearing it right now and it's great. Having two hands to do things makes such a difference. I also have been saved by The Baby Book by Dr. Sears. It's indispensable.

The house is a mess, our living room has become mission control and the dog is a little extra needy but all and all I'd say life is good and we're happy to have Nora home.

October 3, 2009

Welcoming Nora to our Family

Yesterday was incredibly hard but also incredibly beautiful. K and J were so strong and amazing and I'm so grateful that they are likely to be in our lives. They were so gracious with allowing our family to visit and really enjoyed meeting our families. I think it made them feel even more comfortable with their decision as they saw how happy the grandparents were to meet their new grandchild.

We held a ceremony at approximately 1 pm to recognize Nora's transition to our family. It was incredibly beautiful. A candle with three wicks was lit (illicitly in the hospital) to symbolize Nora and each of our families coming together. Two poems were read and then each of us went around the room expressing our wishes for Nora. Both sets of grandparents were present as well as K and J and K's mother. The only one in the room not sobbing was Nora. She just slept so peacefully. K and J then passed Nora to us. Somehow we all found strength and the ceremony was so beautiful and bittersweet.

We were hoping, because we like K and J, that they might continue to be a part of our lives. K's mom asked if they could attend the baptism and we were happy she asked. I had thought about including them since we are all Catholic and this thread has been very important to them. So, I'm happy they will have a chance to see Nora again for her baptism in December.

By the time the ceremony ended, I was completely exhausted - emotionally, physically and mentally. We wanted to give K and J their time so we didn't really have much time with Nora at the hospital. The time we did have with her we always had a lot of people in the room observing so I was so ready to get home and figure out through trial and error how to be a mom without an audience.

Our first night with Nora was a little trying. She and I were both crying at 1 in the morning. She's an amazing baby and so pleasant and after 4 hours of sleep late this morning - I'm loving every minute of it. We've even mastered the sling and took a little walk through the neighborhood. I'm so happy to have Nora home for good!

October 2, 2009

Coming Home

Today is the day that I have been looking forward to for years and the day that has also kept me up at night. I sometimes wonder if I have the strength to do this but today will answer that question.

We were lucky to have a room at the hospital down the hall from K and J. Nora spent the night with them last night and Joel and I crammed into a twin hospital bed. I woke up this morning with a sense of overwhelming joy mixed with overwhelming sorrow. My heart is breaking for K and J this morning and I know that there is nothing that I or anyone else can do to help them through this. I want them to have as much time with Nora as they want or need today. I quickly gave her a bottle and then it's their time until we are all discharged later today and have our placement ceremony.

This is such a hard, bitter-sweet experience. There is so much joy and beauty mixed with so much sorrow. I don't know where I am going to find the strength to have K hand me Nora today.

October 1, 2009

Nora

I'm happy to announce that Nora Grace was born yesterday, September 30, at 11 PM. She weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz and is 20 inches long. She's healthy with a full head of black hair. I was lucky enough to be there for the labor and delivery and was able to hold her right after she was born. There really aren't appropriate words to describe that experience.

Leaving the hospital last night was so hard. As you can imagine, I didn't sleep very well knowing that I was so far away and anxiously awoke as soon as I could. I'm trying to give K and J a little bit of space to say hello and good bye but as soon as Joel opens his eyes I think we're back to the hospital.

This is a difficult time as I continue to wish everyone strength and hope that all goes according to plan and that we are able to bring little Nora home.

Please continue to send good thoughts and prayers.

September 30, 2009

She's In Labor!

First of all, our Internet is down at our house and I've had a lot to blog about. I decided to take off tomorrow and Friday to prepare and was out visiting donors today for work. I got a call at 11:30 from our caseworker that K has gone to the hospital at 2 cm and they have admitted her.

So, we're supposed to be there at 3:30 pm. We needed to drop the dog at my parents and so I'm quickly using their Internet before we head off to the hospital.

So far all is good. I'm not sure when I'll be able to update this again since C.omcast was coming tomorrow morning to fix our modem that died but clearly we won't be home. Of all times for this to happen!

On a funny note, Joel was so excited about baby that he drafted an email to everyone to announce our birth. He was planning to hit send when the big moment was upon us. Unfortunately, he hit send instead of cancel and prematurely announced the birth to everyone we know. I couldn't figure out why he was clutching his head and yelling "no, no, don't send!". This will be a good story to share with Bambino one day. So, far all of you who got an email- she's not here quite yet.

I'll try to update the best that I can. Please send good thoughts to K and J during this time. Prayers, adoption ju ju, voodoo and all other gestures of good will are welcomed!

September 28, 2009

Sister Time!


I had a great time with my sister. It was so phenomenal to have her out here pre-baby and as much as I wanted the baby to hurry along, it was great to have that time with my sister.

She bought bambino the cutest baby outfit (as modeled by Joel) that we'll be bringing to the hospital with us.

We had a great girl day on Saturday while her husband was at the Great American Beer Festival. We went for a massage and then out to lunch. It was perfect.

I'll finish with my favorite quote from my sister that pretty much sums it all up. When I asked her why she was paying for my massage she said, "because you're a mess." Spoken like a sister and very true.

September 26, 2009

Status Update

We received an update from our caseworker yesterday and everything seems to be moving along. K is 1 cm dilated but the baby has not dropped yet. She has another doctor appointment on Tuesday. It doesn't look like anything is going to be happening anytime soon. Sadly, I think it's back to work on Monday for me.

Please think good thoughts about K and J during the next week. I know she is pretty ready to go into labor and it doesn't look like that will be happening anytime soon.

September 23, 2009

New Due Date - Old Due Date

So, my caseworker called me today and K's caseworker had not mixed up the due date after all. K is due on Sept. 28 and not tomorrow, Sept. 24. I know 4 days doesn't make a difference and babies come when they want. But, sometimes these arbitrary dates are all that you have and when you've been waiting, four days in the opposite direction seems really annoying. So, I scrubbed the hell out of my bathroom floor while prepping for my sister to come and feel much better. It, honestly, really doesn't matter, but it just reminded me of how out of control I am at the moment and sent me on a little tail spin. I know four years of infertility should have taught me this, but, again, I'm a slow learner.

On a happy note, my sister is here!!!! Hooray!

Maternity Leave

I walked out of the office for possibly the last time yesterday until after my maternity leave. Everything is in order and now I can put work out of my mind. My sister and brother-in-law are coming out today so I had already scheduled taking time off this week. I decided to take an extra day today because I needed to get things in order. Depending when labor begins I might not be back to work until January 4- yikes and hooray!

The "getting things in order" aren't exactly what you'd expect. I had a revelation on the way to work on Monday when I was in a nice dry clean only turtleneck and dress pants- I have no casual clothes. I have one or two outfits for the weekend but that's it! Even my jeans are hemmed to wear with heeled boots. I had the sad realization that I was going to be in my sock monkey pajamas for the next three months if I didn't do something. I made a quick trip to Old Na.vy and bought 6 long sleeved plain shirts ($10 each - not bad) and a pair of jeans that can be worn with tennis shoes, clogs, slippers, socks or whatever my sleep deprived mind might put on my feet. So funny that this was my panicked shopping trip. Apparently for me they also need a list of what mom might need on maternity leave.

I also was OBSESSED with how much I hated our laundry area. After going through diaper washing boot camp this weekend I realized I'd be spending a lot of time in the 100 + year old unfinished portion of our basement. I dropped a clean baby sock and picked it up covered in dust bunnies and that is when the melt down began. One trip to Ta.rget and one $14 rug later and my sanity has been restored. It's the little things.

So, I'm putting the finishing touches on the house and baby room both for bambino (still scared to use her name) and for my sister and brother-in-law.

K is due tomorrow so I'm just taking one day at a time and keeping my cell phone glued to me (or at present in the pocket of my sock money pjs).

September 20, 2009

Nesting

Now that we are five days from the due date I'm finally starting to nest. I spent several hours at Bab.ies R U.s yesterday adding the essentials to my cart and creating a new registry. I'm sure the woman at the counter thought I was crazy when I told her I wanted her to delete my old registry and that I'm starting all over and my due date is Thursday*.

We registered over a year ago so half the products probably aren't even relevant anymore and we ended up getting so overwhelmed we just started adding clothes to the registry. Not the best strategy but it did help us cope. So, it was nice to start fresh.

A co-worker generously gave me many of her baby items including a fantastic stroller and Pack and Play and then was kind enough to accompany me to the store to help decipher essentials from good marketing. I've decided that whoever laid out the floor plan at Ba.bies R Us either has no organizational skills or is a complete genius. You think you're in the sheet aisle and buy the expensive sheets (since most people move in a certain flow through a store) and then you turn a corner two aisles away and - more sheets - but much less expensive. Genius!

I then went to a local store The Giggling Green Bean and had a crash course on cloth diapering. I promptly went home and washed the diapers the requisite three times before wear (although more was recommended on some sites). It felt like baby boot camp doing so many successive loads of diapers back to back but it also made if feel so much more real.

This morning I did my best to overcome my fear of this match falling through at the last minute. I removed the tags from all of the baby items that I have purchased and decided to launder them prior to baby. I even, with great hesitation, removed the tags from the gender specific items and the "I love mom" and "I love dad" super cute onesies and added them to the mix. This was a huge leap of faith for me and they are in the washer at this very moment.

*(There is actually great benefit in this for all you adoptive moms who procrastinate- since your 10% off of your remaining registry items coupon won't arrive on time they give it to you that day so I got 10% off of everything I bought THAT DAY! I consider it the adoptive mom discount).

September 18, 2009

New Due Date and Fabulous Co-Workers

I've been stressed at work because I was hosting a large meeting today for some donors. I felt like I had to get through this hurdle before I'd fully be prepared to be out of work. With the meeting out of the way, my lovely team kidnapped me for a lunch after the meeting. They took me to a lovely restaurant and showered me with lovely and thoughtful baby gifts. Funny, the most exciting thing was a sign that said "Welcome Nora Grace". It was so exciting to see the name that we (FINALLY) had decided on in writing. It made it feel so real. They also pointed out that this was likely my last Friday at work as I'm taking next Friday off for a visit from my sister. It was so sweet that I received such thoughtful gifts and that my colleagues were so sweet. (Funny aside, one of my colleagues is due in December and is looking lovely and pregnant and it was so funny to imagine the confusion at adjoining tables why I was the one opening all of the baby gifts).

I also received an email from our caseworker that K is actually due on September 24 and not September 28. It doesn't really matter as due dates are so arbitrary but that's in less than a week. Holy crap!!! I love that it's sooner rather than later since I'm so impatient. I'm sleeping with the phone right up by my ear these days. Hopefully, more fun and exciting updates to come.

September 16, 2009

Adoption is Not Easy for Us Non-Celebrities

I'm a little bit perturbed by all of the international celebrity adoptions taking place these days. I am all for people adopting and raising awareness in the media about adoptive issues. However, I always hope that it is a true desire to parent an adopted child that is driving this trend and that it's with eyes wide open to the issues and blessings that come with adoption.

I feel like with each celebrity adoption this notion of "saving a child" keeps getting reinforced in the media. I've already been on my soapbox about this topic in this blog post: http://waitingforbambino.blogspot.com/2009/05/selfishness-of-adoption.html but it really gets to me. My husband has not had the onslaught of comments as much as I have because he's a much more private person but now that he's been making our imminent adoption public he's been confronted with this notion of the "noble adopter" so much more. Of course, he always gives the pat answer of "we're the lucky ones". I wish that somehow we could change this notion. I guess we can one person at a time.

It's also frustrating because the adoption process is not easy. It's mentally, emotionally and financially taxing and I think that sometimes people loose site of this. While I'm so incredibly excited for our baby to (hopefully) join us there are so many conflicting emotions that take place inside my heart and mind each day around this process that the flippantness with which adoption can be treated in the media and society has struck a particular chord with me in my current state of angst.

I'm now stepping off the soap box and feel much better getting that off my chest and into the blogosphere (yet again). You'd thinking all that soaking in New Mexico would have calmed me down!

September 15, 2009

Baby Moon

Joel and I decided to clear the over-booked calendar for a weekend and take a trip to Ojo Caliente in New Mexico. It's a hot springs that we used to go to a lot but haven't been back in such a long time. It was really nice to revisit this decidedly un-kid-friendly place.

Ironically, a friend and I went here about four years ago for a last-hurrah before baby (because of course we were going to get pregnant immediately). I'm not letting this past experience jinx me (although it did cross my mind).

It was so relaxing to just forget about everything and go soak away all of our pre-adoption anxiety. It reminded me how important it is to take time out and to focus on your relationship. We had such a great time relaxing together and talking. It was definitely worth the reality check that we both got upon returning to the real world.

September 8, 2009

Second Meeting with K and J

I just finished our meeting with K and J today. It was so nice to be able to meet with them again. We met at Starbu.cks so it was so much more comfortable than meeting at the agency. The meeting was great. We were able to laugh and share stories and discuss names. It was so nice to be in such a relaxed environment. It was great because K brought her mom so we were also able to meet her as well and more importantly, she was able to meet us. It was such a nice meeting and I think we all feel really comfortable with each other.

It sounds like she's right on track with her due date and might potentially be a little bit early. She was also kind enough to bring an ultrasound picture for us. It's surreal to look at and to think that that might be my daughter. I'm still having a hard time wrapping my brain around what is happening. I'm not sure why this is. I can't explain my emotions at the moment. I look at the ultrasound and feel hope and excitement mingled with sadness.

Adoption is so intense. As much as you want to experience the joys of adoption you know that the process contains so much sorrow as well. It feels so hard to think about everything that K and J are going through. It's got to be such a painful process and I think my mind right now is having a hard time getting passed that. I just keep thinking about what our caseworker said to us, "take one day at a time".

For today, I'm very grateful for an amazing meeting with some very amazing people who are soon to become an intimate part of my life. I'm also beyond-words grateful for a glimpse at my future daughter.

September 7, 2009

Continuing a Tradition

Joel's parents came down to visit yesterday and brought with them a bassinet that they had lovingly restored and finished. The bassinet has been passed down to numerous family members. The tradition is that each child's name is written on the base of the bassinet to indicate that they have used it.

Joel's parents both spent quite a bit of time refinishing and staining the bassinet to perfection. As you can see, it's perfectly restored. I've also received some beautiful heirlooms from my parents including hand knitted sweaters that my mom had worn and a beautiful quilt in which each of my aunts embroidered a square for me when I was born. It's so amazing to have all of these family heirlooms. I'm so grateful that these have been saved to be passed on to us.


The baby room is still a work in progress. It took Joel a few days to paint the baby room. He re-painted the ceiling, the walls and finished the trim. The room looks great. I have yet to put back together the crib or get anything else together but it's in the closet when I'm ready.
We are meeting K and J tomorrow for coffee. I've had a lot going on in my life this last week, including, unfortunately, a death in the family, so I haven't really thought about this much. If anyone is on the other side of adoption and has any recommendations of things to discuss that I might not think of, please leave me a comment. My mind is not in the best place at the moment.

August 29, 2009

No Longer Quite as Crazy

I'm in a much better place than last time that I posted. I think work is feeling more manageable and I'm not as riddled with doubt as I have been over the last month. I think it's just taken awhile for everything to sink in and for me to get to that happy place. The first time that we received "the call" I was immediately in the happy place. This time it's taken me quite a bit longer but I've finally arrived.

A colleague and fellow adoptive mom counseled me that she felt the exact same way when she got "the call". It's a lot to take in and to process.

I've also been having that feeling of "what are we doing?". It's hard when your entire life is going to turn upside down in 4 short weeks to process all of that. It's very clear that I've been wanting to start a family for a VERY long time but when it actually comes to fruition it's a really scary thing. I keep thinking of all of the ways our lives are going to be different, better, but still different. I think it's probably the feeling that you have when you first see that positive on the pregnancy test. "That's so great and holy crap what have we done!" all mixed into one. This has been the overwhelming emotion I have been feeling this week mixed with the opposite emotion of fear that this isn't going to happen.

I'm not sure what's changed but I'm no longer having a flip out over the huge lifestyle and priority shift that will be happening in my world soon or the fear of K and J changing their minds. This might be short lived but I'm enjoying it. I was in a week of focusing on the negative and now my thoughts have take a turn for the better.

I'm thinking of all of the exciting things that we've waited for years to do with our bambino. I'm realizing I can actually go buy gender specific clothes. It's all slowly starting to sink in. I never realized I was so slow to process and accept change.

August 26, 2009

The Wheels Are Coming Off the Wagon

I'm a complete wreck right now. I was trying to think of a nicer way to say that but, really, why mince words? I feel like I'm about to go on a really long vacation and I'm not able to concentrate on the amazing trip or the beach yet because I have to slog through all the prep work to get out of town.

I'm slowly coming to realize that bambino is coming to join us and I'm getting excited but I'm also so overwhelmed by this crazy new deadline to finish work on the house and get necessary baby items and wrap-up and pass off projects at work.

Luckily, my friends and family are amazing and have been giving me many items that they no longer use. I'm also very stressed about finishing up my professional work. I have a great team who will be phenomenal while I'm out but I hate leaving them with so much to do and to cover. My leave is also coinciding perfectly with budget and planning which leaves me frantic under normal circumstances and a complete disaster at present. I know it will all get done and after a bath and a glass of wine I'm sure I'll have a new perspective but for right now there aren't enough hours in the day.

On a positive note- we'll be able to knock out a lot of our home projects over Labor Day weekend and we then get to see K and J again on September 8 which makes me very happy. We also have planned a little getaway in September. Just thinking about leaving town already makes me feel better!

August 23, 2009

Honest Scrap Blog Award

This award is courtesy of RB at Baby Mac...Where are you? http://ouradoptionjourney-bm.blogspot.com/

There are three rules for this award: First, link back to the person who gave you the award (see above).

Next, give the award to 10 other bloggers:

1. Melba at Dreams Really do Come True: http://mandmadopt.blogspot.com/ Melba's is the first adoption blog that I found when I started searching for other blogs. I found her blog right when she got "the call". Melba's already received this award but rightfully so. She's so supportive of all of the adoption bloggers out there with her thoughtful comments.

2. Lavender Luz at http://www.weebleswobblog.com/ This again is one of the first adoption blogs I've found and really an incredible resources. If you haven't been to this blog it's a must to add to your list.

3. Ashley at http://morethandogchildren.blogspot.com/ This blog has been great to remind me that no matter how long the wait there is a baby at the end of the journey.

4. E at Waiting for Baby: http://finallyababyforus.blogspot.com/ I love her honesty and can relate to so much of what she has to say about this journey.

5. Laurie at http://adoptioncreatesfamilies.blogspot.com/ This blog has also really given me hope that a child will happen for us. Laurie has been keeping a blog for a long time and it's great to read about her experiences and day to day life with her two beautiful kids.

6. Melissa at Full Circle: http://coloradodentons.blogspot.com/ Melissa's blog is another that I found when I first started searching and she's a fellow Colorado Blogger. I love her sense of humor and perspective.

7. Kel at http://pastedtogether.blogspot.com/ I just found this blog and have enjoyed reading it.
8. Goggy Coffee: http://goggycoffee.blogspot.com/ This is a great blog that features the male perspective of adoption and he's a contributor to Adoptive Families magazine.
9. Rebekah at http://wheredoibegain.blogspot.com/ Blogs about her experiences as a birthmom and mom.

10. SJ at http://missednote.blogspot.com/ This is a great and very honest blog from a birthmother. I love reading her perspective on adoption. I am so grateful to the amazing birthmothers who share their experiences.

I thought it would be hard to pick 10 bloggers as I didn't think that I followed any more than 10 but as I scrolled through the blogs on my blogger account I have realized that I follow the journey of so many amazing women (and one man). It's so amazing to have such a great blogger community to support one another through this journey. There are many more amazing blogs than just these 10.

I'm now reluctantly typing the last part of the award- 10 things about myself:
1. I just took a quiz on Facebook that told me that I'm right brained and most like Twisted Sister in "What 80s Band Are You?"

2. I love food and cooking. It's a great escape for me and a huge passion of mine.

3. I'm a certified Kansas City BBQ Society judge.

4. I met my husband at a really seedy punk rock dive bar AND I hit on him.

5. I love the water and a prerequisite of any vacation is that water is close by.

6. I love growing and picking food and have a great garden and my husband and I have started hunting porcini mushrooms in the Rocky Mountains.

7. I love blogging and following everyone's journeys. It's much cheaper than a therapist.

8. I can't survive without caffeine in the morning. This is not a joke.

9. I've known two of my closest friends since I was 2 and 5 and feel blessed to have such an amazing supportive group of people around me.

10. I'm not good at waiting.