Saturday, July 27, 2013

Getting Away

I am beyond excited.

Starting on Monday, my little family has an entire week to be together.  One whole week.  Seven days in a row.  I can not wait.

As I have explained before, Carla often has to work on weekends.  This doesn't leave a whole lot of time for the three of us to be together as a family.  This often leaves both of us craving more time just to be together.  So Carla has been working so so hard the past few days, just so that she can take an entire week off of work and we can spend some much needed family time together.  And I can not wait.

So come Monday, we are off to the town of Galena, IL to spend three nights in a rustic cabin with Millie and the dog.  I am so looking forward to getting away from it all for just a few nights.  I am hoping there will be lots of time spent walking around the small town, good food, lots of board games and just nonstop family time.

We will then come back home for a night and then we are off for a two night camping trip with Carla's mom and brother.  This will be Millie's first time camping and I think she is going to love it.  That kid loves being outside and I think she will love being outside nonstop for three days.  We had to purchase a new tent for the occasion because we now need space for the two of us, one pack-and-play and one dog crate.  That's a lot of stuff in one tent.

And then we will come back and Carla will head back to work and I will have my last week at home with Millie before I go back to work as well.  I can't think about that right now because there is too much good ahead in the next week.

Anyway...I am sure there will be pictures galore, but I was feeling so excited about the week that I had to put it down somewhere.

Friday, July 26, 2013

An Award

There is a delightful award given to small blogs, from other bloggers, called the Liebster Award.  And I am so very thankful to have been nominated twice.  Thanks to the lovely ladies at Our Journey to Become Mommies and .breakingintoblossom.  for the very very kind nominations.  I am touched.  Here is the deal with the Liebster Award...

The Liebster is a way for small bloggers to give recognition to other small bloggers (200 followers or less).
When you’re nominated for one, here’s what you do:
  1. Thank the Liebster Blog presenter who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Nominate 11 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.
  3. Answer the 11 questions you were asked and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  4. Display the Liebster Award logo.
  5. No tag backs meaning you can’t just re-nominate the person who nominated you.

My nominees ( I tried to choose blogs that I haven't seen nominated on other lists recently)...

1. Crazy Lesbian Mom -- This one is a must read.  This brave, brave woman is dealing with more than anyone every should and she needs all the good thoughts she can get.  

2. Ryan and Jeremy: Our Adoption Journey -- A delightful couple just starting their journey towards adoption. 

3. i miss you -- I love this blog so much because it is written by a birthmother about her experiences with adoption.  I have learned so much from her.  

4. pajamamommas -- These lovely ladies are on kid number two and I can't wait to see the next chapter of their journey. 

5.  Fish Out of Water -- Such a fun blog from a fellow midwestern lesbian who is just days away from finally moving to the same city as her girlfriend.  

6. Adventurous Moms -- I am nowhere near as adventurous as this family, but it is so fun to read about all the fantastic trips they go on and about their journey towards being moms for a second time.  

7. Bake One Buy One -- I have been following this journey for a while now and I am sending them so many good thoughts on their next round of IVF.  

8. What Words May Come -- For those of you who watched The Real L Word, this is Cori's blog.  It was actually what inspired me to start my blog in the first place.  They are about to start a new phase of their journey towards parenthood and I couldn't be happier for them.  

9. Beginning From the Start -- Such an enjoyable and interesting blog that follows this couples journey toward parenthood.  

10. Peter's Cross Station -- A smart, smart blog about adoption and so many important things.  

11. Two Mothers McGill -- Another good lesbian headed family blog. 

And now I shall attempt to answer the two sets of 11 questions that I was given...

First, from Our Journey to Become Mommies...

1.  White, milk, or dark chocolate mocha? I am a strictly black coffee kind of girl.

2. Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it? The most typical American suburb.  I had a most wonderful childhood and am thankful for the safety of where I grew up, even if it was without much excitement!

3. Your favorite adult as a child? (and not your parents, if they were your favorite) I loved my teachers, many of them, which is perhaps why I ended up becoming one. 

4. Most embarrassing moment from your high school years? There is one that involves a terribly mean prank done at summer camp, but the story is too long to tell here.  Instead I will go with the time I was walking down a VERY crowded stairwell when my sandal fell off and went all the way down the stairs.  I had to fight against traffic to finally get to my shoe.  It was more embarrassing at the time than it sounds now! 

5. What's the most delicious food you've ever eaten in your life? The cupcakes we had at our wedding.  In particular the chocolate one with peanut butter filling.  

6. If you had to move to another country, where would you move? I have often threatened to move to Canada.  Not that exotic, but I don't really like change all that much.  

7.  Coolest thing you've ever been for Halloween? My best friend helped me to construct a Hershey kiss costume out of duct tape. 

8. City or nature person? Ahhh...there are parts of both that I love.  If I had to choose, I choose city. 

9. What are you most proud of in your life? My family. 

10. If you could relive the past would you? And to which part of your life? No. I am so happy in my current now. I would not want to go back.  

11. If you had to change careers, what would you pick? Taste tester for Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream factory.

And now, from .breaking into blossom. ...

1. What comforts you most when you’re sad? Chocolate ice cream (and my wife)

2. What would you do on a dream day where money and travel time were no object? A picnic, with my family and closest friends.  There would be incredible food and perfect weather (sunny and 78 degrees).  The entire day would be spent just enjoying being together...and playing board games.  

3. Favorite drink (with or without alcohol)? Ice coffee

4. What character trait (of yours) do you most struggle to accept about yourself? I can be incredibly moody.

5. How much water do you drink in a day? Not nearly enough, unless you count the water that is used to make coffee.  

6. If you’re a parent, what has surprised you the most about the gig? If you’re not, what do you like best about not having kids (right now or at all)? I have been most surprised by how long I can just sit and watch my child play and how easily parenting can make you feel like a failure.  

7. What (if anything) makes you feel insecure about either being a parent or not being a parent? Oh everything can make me feel insecure about being a parent.  Knowing that I can't possibly get it right all the time and people will see that, makes me incredibly insecure.  

8. Top three television shows of all time? West Wing, Brothers and Sisters, Law and Order

9. Specialty dish (or baked indulgence)? Something you’ve made time and again. Oh dear...I don't cook or bake.  Every so often, I make a taco bar for my wife.  That is the best I've got. 

10. Favorite thing about the person you’ve grown into? My ability to own up to the mistakes I make.

11. One simple, happy memory. The day we brought our daughter home.  Nothing could be better.  

And eleven questions for my nominees to answer..

1) What is your favorite time of day?

2) What is your favorite spot at home?

3) What was something you were scared to do, but did it anyway?

4) What book had the greatest impact on your life?

5) What grammatical error is most irritating to you?

6) When you are feeling bad about yourself, who is the first person you turn to to remind you of how great you really are?

7) When are you at your calmest?

8) What is your greatest fear?

9) What is one thing you want to accomplish during your lifetime?

10) Who inspires you?

11) When do you feel the most vulnerable?

Wow! That took a long time, but it was well worth it.  I can't wait to learn more about fellow bloggers.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Update on Our First Meeting

Our first in-person meeting (the one discussed in the last post) has now been moved to Monday, August 12.  So, reread all the emotions felt in the last blog post and then multiply them by three more weeks of waiting.

Oh my.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our First Meeting

As I mentioned in a recent post, we have gotten back into contact with Millie's birthparents.  We spoke with them on the phone a couple of weeks ago after they called us with their new contact information.  Since then, we have been texting back and forth and they have even texted us a few pictures of their other children, Millie's siblings.

Then a few days ago, they brought up a possible in-person meeting.  After a few texts we set up a time and place and we will be bringing Millie to see them this coming Monday (the 29th).  Carla and I are both unbelievably excited for them to see Millie and for Millie to see them.  I wish that I could say that excitement was my only emotion, but obviously it is one of many.

First off, the excitement.  This is what we wanted.  I can't wait for them to see the little being that Millie has already become.  I know that they are going to be so so proud of her.  I know that they are just going to fall in love with her all over again and they are going to be wowed by what she is doing and how funny she is and the way she smiles so that you feel like the most special person in the world.  And I can't wait for her to see them again, for her to start building a relationship with them, for her to start to get to know them again.  I truly believe, with all of my heart, that what is best for her is to have her birthparents in her life and for her to know that they are a part of our family and her family and I know that this is a big step in making sure that happens.

So, I am so so happy that this is happening.  And then my nerves kick in.

I am nervous about what we will talk about.  I am nervous that there won't be that easy feeling between us that there was when we each had our adoption counselors with us the first time we met.  I am nervous that there is going to be resentment towards us on their end.  I am worried that Millie will be in a bad mood and that they might think that she is unhappy.  I am nervous that there will be some sort of tension because of the life that we are able to give Millie that they wanted to have been able to have given her, but weren't able to.  I am worried about seeing their sadness and not reacting to it in the right way or in a way that will make them feel comfortable.  There is so much that worries me and I wish I could just set it aside and not think about it because I know we are doing what is best for Millie.  But I can't quite do that.

I guess I have to be okay knowing that there are all these worries in my head (rational and not rational) and they are going to be there AND we are going to this meeting anyway.  The worries will be there and I guess that is okay, as long as it isn't stopping me from doing what I know is best for Millie.  Maybe that is a part of being a parent.  I will always have worries, but if I am willing to acknowledge them and still do what I know is best for her, then that has to be good enough.

So, between now and then I expect that many of my thoughts will be consumed with the meeting. I am looking forward to the day just arriving because I know this will be one of those things where the anticipation will be so much harder than the actual event.  I am also looking forward to having this first post-adoption in-person meeting under our belt because it will be nice to know what to expect and nice to have the start of this relationship underway.

Luckily, right after we meet up with them, Carla, Millie and I (plus our dog!) will be heading off to a cabin in Galena, Il for three days.  With our schedules, we never seem to get the kind of family time that we really want and I am so looking forward to getting away for a few days to just be together as a family.  Though we planned the cabin getaway before we planned the meeting with Millie's birthparents, the timing could not have been more perfect.  So, come this Monday please think of us and send all your good thoughts our way!

On a side note, our adoption is almost (finally) final. It should happen soon. More on that later.  And because you made it through another long and unorganized post, you deserve a reward in the form of a picture of Millie!

I cannot believe how big she is getting already.  She now loves sitting up and playing with her toys or whatever she can get ahold of!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

An Unquiet Mind

I warn you, there is almost no organization in the writing that follows.  I am trying to quiet the thoughts in my head by getting them all out and this is how they fell.

I haven't been able to find a way to write about the emotions I have been feeling since the Trayvon Martin verdict was reached.  It has consumed me.  I am starting to come out of it now, but the first few days after the verdict, I just couldn't stop crying.  I was surprised by the verdict and surprised by my reaction to it.  For days, all I wanted to do was talk about it, read about, comment on Facebook about it, watch interviews about it, etc. It is hard to say exactly why or to even explain what exactly I was feeling.

Part of the reaction that I had was the shock that I felt upon being pulled out of my bubble of ignorance to be shown how unjust our legal system is and how unjust the hearts and minds of so many people really are.  I guess I live in this comfortable space where I do not witness many of the world's injustices on a day to day basis.  And I don't seek out instances of injustice in order to help me better understand the world.  I have been happy to look around me and see how much better things seem to be getting and this new story forced me to take a closer look.  I had never thought about the conversations that occur between black children and their parents in terms of how to stay safe around white people.  I never once thought about what it would be like to have to tell your child that he or she needs to be careful simply because of the color of his or her skin.  And, again, this young man's life and death forced me to think about that. To really think about that.  And I am so incredibly thankful.

Part of the reaction that I had was because I worry that, in some form, I will have to have a conversation with Millie about the fact that some people might not like her family and she might have to be careful what she says and who she says it to.  I guess I always thought that we would be safe.  We are safe.  And yes, we are in a really good place, but to think about the fact that I might have to warn Millie of the hatred that she could encounter breaks my heart at its very core.  Again, this case brought that up in me when it had never really surfaced before.

Part of the reaction that I had was because of the laws that exist that I did not understand.  I knew that conceal and carry laws existed in each state.  I knew that self defense existed in each state.  I did not realize what these laws, when combined, could really mean for the country we live in.  I didn't realize that when people carry guns around, their way of thinking changes.  I was listening to a report on NPR that talked about the studies that show that when people are carrying a gun, they are more willing to put themselves in risky situations.  If George Zimmerman wasn't carrying a gun that night, would he have ever stopped and gotten out of his car and followed Trayvon Martin? If he hadn't had a gun that night, would Trayvon Martin be just another kid, at home, causing the same sort of trouble that all teenage kids cause across the country, no more, no less? I don't know the answer, but I can't stop thinking about how differently this story would have gone if George Zimmerman wasn't allowed to carry a gun around with him.

And the stand your ground laws.  I don't understand them.  They seem so unfair.  I don't have the knowledge that I need to be able to argue against them.  All I know is that it seems like Trayvon Martin was scared of George Zimmerman after he got out of his car and started following him.  He was scared and whatever actions he took towards George Zimmerman seem to be able to show him standing his ground as much as George Zimmerman was.  So when does it stop? When two men fight, are they both allowed to shoot each other because they were afraid of the other person hurting them? It just doesn't seem to make sense to me.

Part of the reaction that I had was because of the stark contrast between how I felt about our country after the Supreme Court decisions a few weeks ago and how I felt about our country after the Trayvon Martin verdict.  The right to marry seems so so small in comparison to the right to walk down the street and not automatically be suspected of doing something wrong because of the color of your skin.  I know it is different.  I know you can't compare rights like that, but that is what happened in my head.  I would gladly give up my right to get married if it meant that all people in this country had the right to feel safe walking down the street no matter what color their skin happened to be.  When I started to think back on the fight for marriage equality, I started to realize how whitewashed the fight had become.  It was rare to see faces of color on television when the right to marry was being discussed.  I can't help but wonder if the Supreme Court decisions would have been different if it wasn't a primarily white face that was being shown in the front of this fight for equal rights.  I like to think it wouldn't have made a difference, but I can't assume that anymore.

And I guess part of the reaction that I had was because it all just seems so wrong.  It seems so wrong that a child was seen walking down the street and I believe that because of the color of his skin, he was suspected of wrong doing.  That suspicion then led a grown man to get out of his car and pursue this teenager, who was doing nothing wrong.  What happened after that will never be known.  I understand that.  I understand that there is only man who survived the next moments and that he is the one whose story got to be told.  That version of the story became truth and because he said that he feared for his life, though he was the one who began that whole thing, he got away with murder or manslaughter or something.  He did something so very wrong and there was no law, no crime, that could be found to hold him accountable for that.

So that is it.  My wife and my sister have conspired to make sure that I stop watching the news, stop reading more stories, stop watching more interviews because my heart just can't take it anymore.  The last interview that I was allowed to watch was with Trayvon Martin's parents and I was so so so inspired by them.  They were full of grace and strength and faith and they are examples for all of us on how to deal with tragedy.  Watching them helped to calm my spirits and while their hearts will never again be whole, they have taught our country so many lessons.

So for those of you who were able to make it through this whole tangled mess of thoughts, thank you.  I needed to get it out.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Happy Fourth of July to all of those who celebrate this day as more than just the fourth day in the month of July.  There is much to be said about today being a day when people fought for this country to be a better and more fair place considering the recent Supreme Court decisions that I believe seek to do the very same thing, but all of that can be said by someone else in a much more eloquent way than I could ever say it.  This post is not at all about that.

This post is to celebrate that on Monday, we heard from Millie's birthparents! I was putting Millie to bed and Carla was in the basement working on Millie's new playroom (which is now done and so so lovely) and when I came back downstairs, there was a voicemail from an unknown number.  I listened to it and my heart truly just welled up inside of my chest when I heard Millie's birth father on the message.  They were calling because they knew that Millie had just turned six months old (on July 1st) and they wanted to know how she was doing.  I ran to find Carla and we immediately called them back.

Through the conversation we learned that they had gotten rid of the phones and phone numbers that we had and that they had recently moved.  Our first priority was to make sure that they knew that we HAD in fact been contacting them.  They had not received our texts or our last two cards and pictures.  It was so important to us that they knew that we did not stop making contact.  We don't ever ever ever want them to think that we don't want to hear from them or that we don't want them as a part of our lives and more importantly, as a part of Millie's life.

They also wanted to hear all about Millie.  They wanted to know if she and the dog were getting along, they wanted to know how she was eating and sleeping, they wanted to know what she was doing.  At one point, Millie's birth father told Carla that while they are sad sometimes (which I was so happy that he was able to share with us), they look at the pictures we have sent of her and see that she looks so happy.  This one statement made me certain that we would always always always continue to send pictures.  Knowing that the pictures of smiling Millie had the power to bring some small bit of piece to their hearts was so powerful.  And I know that as Millie gets older, this is something that will be so good for her to hear.

We asked if they wanted to try and find a date to meet up so that they could visit with Millie and they sounded as if they were open to it.  So hopefully, we will be able to see them soon.  And if not soon, then I know that we will be able to see them whenever it is that they are ready.

The conversation only lasted a few minutes, but our hearts were happy for hours afterwards.  We were so happy to hear from them.

When we began our adoption journey, before we learned very much about open adoption, we had moments where we thought that it might be nice if we didn't have too much contact with our child's birth parents.  We didn't understand it.  We thought the contact was purely for the good of the birth parents.  It scared us and maybe even made us feel a little bit threatened.

But now.  Now.  What I wouldn't give to be able to bring Millie to see her birth parents.  They are her family.  They are where she came from.  They are her parents in a way that we are not.  I so badly want them to be a part of her life in whatever way they can be.  I want all of that because it is what is best for her.  And I deeply want them for them as well.  I admire her birth family in ways that I don't think they will ever really know because there aren't really words to express it.  I have nothing but the utmost respect for them and they deserve to see Millie as much as she deserves to see Millie.  And every time we are able to share more information with our daughter about her birth family, well that just makes our family stronger.  That just makes her a better person.

I have been thinking a lot recently about the journey that we have been on as a family since we began our adoption.  I have been reading old blog posts, I have been looking at old pictures, I have had the chance to share with others what we have learned and I sometimes am just in such awe of how far we have come.  I would not trade this journey for anything.  I wouldn't trade the incredible highs and I wouldn't trade the really deep and dark lows because they have all brought us to this moment and they have brought Carla and I to our current selves and I have never felt more proud of who we are.

So, I don't know what will happen in the future with Millie's birth parents.  All I know is that they have an incredible amount of love for Millie and I know that love will keep them connected to her in what ever ways are possible for them in a given moment.  And I know that I am so thankful to them for calling us.  I imagine that was hard.  I imagine they debated about it and I wish I could somehow convince them that no matter how much time goes by, that we will ALWAYS want to hear from them and that we will ALWAYS want them to be a part of Millie's life.  I guess that will come with time.  That will come with our continued commitment to them and our continued reaching out to them. Hopefully over time they will trust that we are not going anywhere and that we do not want them to go anywhere either.

Besides, who could possibly resist this face...