December 23, 2009

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!


  1. Did you already get them a photo album to hold the pictures? If not, you may want to add that. I would think it would be touchy with the baptism - it's such an emotional time that it is bound to bring out stress in all. I agree you have to go with your gut (first rule of parenting?), and roll with whatever happens. Also I would err on the side of over-explaining what you are thinking to all involved - family, C and J, church folks, other guests - in order to reduce the chance of misunderstandings (you know what happens when you assume!). Hopefully once people hear where you are coming from they shouldn't be upset with you. Or if they are, then it's their problem not yours. Good luck, and have a Merry Christmas!!

  2. Sweet photo of your sister with the baby! Good luck going back to work! It's so great that you both are going to get a huge chunk of time at home with Nora...not too many families can make that happen. :)

    I love your comments about Nora's little personality and how she seems so perfect for you. Isn't it amazing how that happens?

    As for the gifts...I think what you have sounds great, but I do agree that you should include a simple photo album to put all the other photos in if you have time. I know my friend who is a birthmom still keeps the album her son's adoptive family gave her when he was a baby. He's a teenager now, but she uses the same album to add photos each year. It's sweet.

    Good luck with the big day, it does sound like a lot is going on in only a few short hours! My best advice is to just relax and be yourself as much as you can. I know that's easier said than done, but there is a reason C. and J. loved you then, and the same will be true now!



  3. A framed picture is just the perfect gift! Congrats on the Baptism and what a blessing that her birth parents can be there. I agree that over-explaining things to your loved ones might be best, but just keep going with your gut.

  4. Great Post.....

    I found your site on stumbleupon and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

    Thanks for sharing....