Tag Archives: adoptive parents

World Adoption Day

10 Nov

Dear Little Man,

Yesterday afternoon I was sifting through my Instagram feed when I came across this post from an actress I like:

world adoption day nina

Property of Nina Dobrev

Sharpie smiles? Happy faces? I like both of those! I checked it out and the photo caption indicated that they were celebrating something…World Adoption Day! Yesterday was the first ever World Adoption Day, an organization founded by many, but mostly pioneered by Adopt Together — a foundation that helps families raise money so that they can adopt (yes, having a heart big enough to lead you to adoption can cost a lot of money for the adoptive families!). It is “crowd funded,” meaning that the Adopt Together website raises money through donations of friends, family and even strangers. Yet another reminder of the power of love and the compassion that exists between people around the world :)

World Adoption Day invited people all over the world (and their friends and family) to post a photo of a “hands up smiley face” with the hashtag, “#worldadoptionday” to bring attention to the cause, to the families trying to bring a child home…and to adoption in general!

I was so excited a.k.a I immediately jumped on PicStitch, found some of my favorite photos and made THIS so that I could contribute to World Adoption Day!

WAD instagram

You, me and The B’s across the years!

Any and every foundation that supports, promotes and/or raises money for adoption warms my heart. There are so many elemental, beautiful things about adoption: creating families, helping children, spreading and sharing love, caring for others…adoption is beautiful on so many levels, I could never list them all. Open adoption in particular…I know my son, he knows me (and his birth father, and our parents and friends), and we’ve all gained such amazing extended families out of it. Every one — especially birth mothers! — deserve the opportunity to be part of something as beautiful as this. Little Man even knows to call me his birth mother now (a post on that is absolutely coming!). Sometimes, it’s stunning how lucky I am, and it’s all thanks to adoption. An entire day devoted to bringing awareness to it? I’m absolutely on board.

As I said in my Instagram post…”Open adoption is the thing, y’all. Spread the word!”

Many thanks to Adopt Together, World Adoption Day and all of its founders, organizations and supporters!

And thank YOU, Little Man, for bringing all of this joy to my life in the first place. Happy (technically late) November 9th, 2014, Liam. I love you more than words.

Love,
Renee (“Birth Mom” as you call me now :D)

And, of course, my official photo for #WorldAdoptionDay!

WAD smile

Check out World Adoption Day’s Facebook Page and “like” it to see all of the smiles!

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Happy Autumn!

28 Oct

Dear Little Man,

It’s fall in the beautiful North Carolina mountains, and there’s probably nothing prettier than fall colors in the Blue Ridge. Autumn in WNC means a lot of things: crisp air, cooler temperatures, pumpkins, apple cider, scarves, leaf piles, cold noses, reds, oranges, yellows, browns, cuddles under the blankets and so many other wonderful things. Fall festivals  and country fairs are another autumnal hallmark, and we got to go to one a little over a week ago in Valle Crusis. You came down (or up, technically) with The B’s and we festival’d together near my lovely graduate school. You all slept over and we had a dance party in the A.M. (to One Republic only, per your request) then went for breakfast and a trip through Blowing Rock.

And I rented a camera and became a classic “Facebook mom” — taking hundreds of pictures and posting…like…all of them. Not ashamed. But you probably will be when I pull them out to show to your dates in another decade or so.

*insert evil Halloween-appropriate laugh here*

I love you, kiddo. I can’t wait to see you for trick-or-treating in a few days. You’re coming to my {Grandma M’s and Pop Pop 3’s} house in beautiful Asheville while your parents go to a concert and we get to walk through the neighborhood I trick-or-treated in when I was a kid. It feels very “circle of life” to me…maybe if we have time, you can dress up like Simba and I’ll paint myself purple, learn Swahili and paint shapes on your forehead. Hopefully that reference will make sense to you someday. The Lion King better not be that out of date by the time you’re old enough to read these…

Moral of the story, I am yet again thankful for the beauty of the true openness of our open adoption. Hopefully it’ll catch on so that other families get the extraordinary chance to have a relationship like we all have together.

I love you, to infinity and beyond.

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Open Adoption Bloggers

24 Jan

Open Adoption Bloggers

Dear Little Man,

Along with our mention on BlogHer, your letters are now part of a wonderful site I found called Open Adoption Bloggers! It’s a collective of people from all over who are involved (or want to be involved) in open adoptions, and our site has been added!

I’ve found other birth mother blogs (eee!), prospective parent blogs, a “roundtable” for discussions, interviews, book reviews…it’s incredible! It’s like a card catalog for adoption blogs: I love all of the info I’ve found, but mostly I just love the access to all of the other open adoption bloggers out there — you really get the 360 degree view of what open adoption is really about and how others have handled it. There’s even a few blogs written by adoptees involved in open adoptions…something you may think about one day.

However — not that I’m biased or anything — I think you and I and The B’s still top the ‘Awesome Open Adoption Chart.’ Either way, stay tuned. I have a feeling we’re about to learn a lot… :)

Thanksgiving and Morning Sickness

29 Nov

Dear Little Man,

Thanksgiving was last week, but for the past three thanksgivings I enjoy my turkey, stuffing and apple pie with a little bit of reminiscence on Thanksgiving 2009.

I was in Alabama that year visiting my sister, your Aunt B. We always went to her place for Thanksgiving back then. She has two girls — my nieces — and I would hang out with them and relax as much as I could. We’d all spend the holidays sleeping in, reading books, watching movies, and occasionally walking to the local coffee shop for a caffeine jolt. Mostly, it was just enjoyable because we got to visit family and your Aunt B and her girls are as close as I get to family biologically.

On Thanksgiving Thursday 2009, we had finished our meal around mid-afternoon. It was delicious as always and we had spent the rest of the evening recovering from the food binge. However, it was nighttime now and we were all settling in to watch the Polar Express (one of my FAVORITE Christmas movies. I will make you watch it someday). I had worked up enough of an appetite to go in for seconds before we all settled in to turn on the TV. I got some leftovers out of the fridge, scooped them on to a plate and put them in the microwave to heat up.

I distinctly remember pulling myself up to sit on the counter as I waited for my food. As it heated, the smell of our Thanksgiving dinner filled the kitchen and inevitably reached my nose.

I thought I was going to vomit right there on the kitchen floor.

I pushed off the counter and headed for the bathroom that was just around the corner from the kitchen, if not to throw up then to get away from the smell at least. My first thought was that apparently, I wasn’t as hungry as I thought. I must have still been full from dinner because mere hours earlier, that same smell had smelt heavenly.

But the nausea didn’t let up. For the rest of the trip, the smell of food grossed me out. I think I ate a little more turkey, but I didn’t heat anything up in the microwave anymore. I distinctly remember talking to Grandma M about it. I remember telling her how it was so weird how all of a sudden, I just couldn’t stand the smell of food.

A little less than a month later after a particularly life changing doctor’s appointment, everything made sense. After I found out about you (and recovered from the shock of it) I thought back to those microwaved leftovers and practically felt the light bulb clicking on in my head. It was one of those “ah-ha” moments that you never really forget.

And I haven’t forgotten it. One year later, I was spending Thanksgiving 2010 with my four-month-old and The B’s at their house in NC (and my definition of “visiting family” had extended quite a bit!). Last year, The B’s came down the weekend after Thanksgiving and we went to see gingerbread houses together. And this Thanksgiving, of course, you spent with me, my family and The B’s at The Boyfriend’s (totally gorgeous) farm house. It seems to be quite the holiday for you and me :)

And even though I think about you every single day, I always think about that “first” Thanksgiving with you when the end of November rolls around.

Especially when I’m getting leftovers and I realize that this time, I can actually eat them.

Thanksgiving 2010. The first one we spent together when you were on the outside of my body and not preventing me from getting leftovers ;)

A Monumental Occasion in the Bedroom

28 Nov

Dear Little Man,

As a parent, I’ll be the first to admit that your child’s early life is all about milestones. The first words, the first attempts at crawling, the first steps. I was thrilled at all of your firsts, no matter how small or silly: the first time you tried to roll over. The first time you actually rolled over. The first time you called me Nay Nay. The first time I saw you work an iPad without assistance (I’m still wowed by that…)

This week you hit another first, but I find I’m not so thrilled. And if I’m assuming correctly, neither is J.

Here is this week’s milestone:

 

That, my dear son, is a toddler bed. The crib is no more. Bye bye baby crib, hello huge, blue toddler bed.

Or should I say, hello giant-blinking-neon-sign-screaming-Liam’s-Growing-Up! Again, I am always excited at your constant progress towards actual personhood, but this is just sad. How can I call you a baby when you don’t even have a crib anymore?

Oh wait, I know the answer to that one. I’ll call you my baby forever because I’m your mom and I get to do things like that. So HA.

Enjoy your toddler bed because with the frequency that you get up after you’ve been put to bed (and the lack of bars making it more difficult to climb out), I have a feeling you’ll be the only one in your household enjoying that bed.

I love you. Stop growing up.

-Mama Nay Nay

Dirt for Dinner?

26 Nov

Dear Little Man,

I hope you had a wonderful holiday! This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, and on that lovely holiday I reminisced on how thankful I was for you. Your existence was and always will be my own little miracle. Though I’m thankful for you every day I was reallllly thankful this past Friday because I got to see you!

You and The B’s came down to The Boyfriend’s farm in North Carolina and our families spent the day together. There was a tractor so you were all set for most of the visit, but I was able to tear you away to play catch with one of the dogs when you first got there. You actually spent most of the day with Pop Pop, and if you weren’t with him, you were asking for him. He was definitely the favorite on this trip. You wanted him around for everything. It was actually pretty adorable.

However, during the few minutes I was able to get you off the tractor, The Boyfriend and I took you to play in some dirt flats out by their driveway. You had a ball — you were picking up the dirt and watching it sift through your fingers, totally fascinated by how it felt, your little face screwed up in concentration as you tried to figure out why you couldn’t keep a hold of it. It was one of those “little kid moments” that adults witness and it makes them pause for a minute. And as we watch how filled with wonder our children are at the small things in life, we smile and realize how the small things really are what matter the most sometimes and how the world is filled with magic in places that we’ve forgotten to look as we’ve aged. I was having one of those moments as I wanted you dig your little hands into the dirt.

And then you ate it.

The magic was pretty much gone after that, but it was replaced by laughter and a familiar fondness that I’ve always had for your adorable quirks. You seemed pretty surprised that the dirt tasted bad…or maybe it tasted great and it was just the texture that threw you off. Either way, you made one of your ever entertaining funny faces and The Boyfriend helped you get the dirt out of your mouth.

I fed you some ham later. You had a better reaction to eating that.

But I just wanted to remind you that I am always, always, always thankful for you and your existence. You are the smile on my face and the warmth in my heart and I am thankful every day that I get to write letters to someone I love as much as you.

xoxoxo

The One with the Lucky Baby

19 Nov

Dear Little Man,

One of my favorite TV shows when I was growing up (and now) is called Friends. Recently I got my hands on the DVD seasons (it ended in 2004) and I’m re-watching them all. It’s a funny sitcom-type show about six friends (three boys, three girls) who go through all of their ups and downs together, but no matter what, they are always there for one another.

Now — following that description — it is a sweet show with some truly tender, genuine moments…but mostly it’s just really, really funny. It will probably be way outdated by the time you’re old enough to appreciate it (or old enough to be allowed to watch it) but I think you should check it out at some point. If you turn out to be anything like me, you’ll certainly relate to the humor :)

Now in the first season of Friends, there’s a weird dynamic between Ross (one of the main characters) and his ex-wife Carol. As it turns out, Carol’s romantic interests were not…how should I put this…male-oriented. However, before Carol discovered this, she and Ross created a baby boy. By the time the baby was born, Carol was with her new life partner, Susan.

But Susan and Ross didn’t get along so well, especially when it came to the baby. Ross was technically the father, but Susan wanted the baby to recognize her as a parent as well. She and Ross would argue all the time about who would get to see the baby more and hold the baby more and love the baby more. Finally, at the hospital on the day that the baby was born, Ross’s friend Phoebe was listening to Ross and Susan fight over this little guy, when Phoebe said this:

“When I was growing up, my dad left and my mother died and my stepfather went to jail, so I barely had enough pieces of parents to make one whole one. But here’s this little baby who has three whole parents who care about it so much, they’re fighting over who gets to love it the most, and it’s not even born yet. It’s the luckiest baby in the whole world.”

That quote had me riveted. Of course, years ago when I first saw this episode it didn’t mean much to me, but now that I’m older…and now that I have you…I have a new appreciation for what Phoebe said. While no one has ever fought over who gets to love you the most — I think The B’s and I (along with my family and friends) share that job incredibly well — I hope that one day, you feel like the luckiest kid in the world. The baby in Friends (who they ended up naming Ben, by the way) had the love of three parents. But you have four — two moms, two dads, not to mention four sets of grandparents, and I don’t even want to go into how many aunts, uncles and cousins you have.

But I can tell you right now that, just like Baby Ben, we were all madly in love with you before you were even born. And our love grows as you do…it just keeps getting bigger and bigger every single day.

 

Little Man and Michael Jackson

15 Nov

When J and I first met, we clicked on a lot of things:

– We both love Jane Austen and LOVE the movie Pride and Prejudice (yes, we’re girls. Indulge us.)

– We both use Jergens Healthy Glow tanning lotion in the summer because J burns and I just like to tell people I spent the summer in Aruba or somewhere exotic

–  We were both pregnancy book nerds — she read What To Expect When You’re Expecting from cover to cover when she was carrying Sports Man, and I hit Barnes and Noble less than a week after I found out about you.

However, one of the other things we discovered we had in common was dance. I played tons of sports in elementary school, but once I got older (and got braces…and terrified Pop Pop by getting hit in the mouth one too many times…), I took up modern dance and ballet instead. I danced all through middle school into high school and once I hit college I took up ballroom dancing and a teeeeny bit of contra dancing. I was never quite as flexible as I wanted to be, but oh it was fun! It was nice to find out that J and I shared such a passion.

But do you know what’s better than finding out we shared that passion? Discovering that we both passed that passion to youAnd thanks to J’s lighting fast iPhone filming skills, we have proof that you will probably hate us for in 10-12 or so years. And may I just say, you have incredible, prodigious skill. It’s overwhelming. You even pose like Michael Jackson. Next time we’ll get you gloves and you can do the moon dance.

But for now, it’s just another thing that J and I can commiserate over :) P.S. — The thing you do with your legs at the end is my favorite.

Adoption is Everywhere

13 Nov

Dear Little Man,

I’m going to share a secret of mine with you. That secret is that I dream about being pregnant again someday.

In my actual dreams, I’m generally terrified of pregnancy and, in dream world, I find myself thinking, “I’m pregnant again? Oh my, I wonder if The B’s will raise this one for me, like they did Liam…” So, so, so weird. I’m generally thrilled to wake up and realize it was a dream because I has such a difficult time going through with placing you…I’m not sure I could do it again.

But during my waking hours, sometimes I think about having a baby when I’m ready for one. I love you so very much…in that “beyond words” kind of way…and I hope to be able to someday have a little half-brother or -sister for you to meet, that I can love just as much. I never thought I wanted kids, but once I discovered I was carrying you, I realized that I wanted nothing more than to be the best mother I possibly could. Hopefully I will be able to be that mother someday. Hopefully you think I am that mother today.

Yesterday evening, Miss Manhattan (one of your many aunts, a fellow blogger with a wonderful site, and one of my oldest friends) sent me a link to a blog called Arielle Elise. This blog is mostly (beautiful!) photography, but this particular post was about a couple going through an adoption in Uganda.

In my many talks/discussions/speeches given at Bethany functions, I have heard a few stories of international adoption, though most of the ones I’ve heard have been from Asia. Though I don’t know much about international adoption (I am studying it!), I still love that adoption spreads its influence so widely. The love that adoption encompasses can span oceans…how beautiful is that?

The couple featured in the Arielle Elise post are twenty-somethings, married for 5+ years and in the process of adopting their own Little Man from Africa. Their photos are all about them and love and how love creates family (oh how I can attest to that!) Their blog, This Beautiful Truth, follows an incredible, emotional journey through adoption and their daily lives. Like one of my favorite bloggers, Infertility Awakening, these journeys fascinate me. People who have the hearts and souls for adoption never fail to astound me with their openness and their love. I always find them to be very brave, courageous people who have decided to open their hearts and look on the bright side of life…just like The B’s!

I love sharing stories of people like this, mostly because I feel that somehow, we’re all connected through this adoption experience. Birth mothers, adoptive families, adopted children…though we’re all different a spread far and wide, I somehow feel like we’re all connected at the core. I get to share our story and other couples and birth mothers get to share theirs and together, we form this network, this collaboration of people who want nothing more than to love their children and families as much as humanly possible.

And I understand. Though I am the birth mother rather than the adoptive mother, I think I get it, or part of it at least. I understand that longing to be a mother, to create a family, to want to share your love with a child you have the privilege of calling your own. Though I certainly can’t empathize with the frustrating, upsetting, sometimes devastating effects of infertility, I think I realize the desire that drives it. The desire to hear someone call you “mom.” It sounds like a small thing, but it means something so much bigger to so many people.

And that’s why I still have my dream. My dream of being “mom.” That’s why. someday, I’d like to give you those half-sibling(s) that call me “mother.” It’s a small thing, but that tiny act of love can fill a heart to the point of bursting. I would know. That’s what I feel every time you call me “Nay-Nay.” It may not be “mom” outright, but I cherish it as though it were. Because though you may not call me your mother, I will forever call you my son and I will be proud. That’s just how love works.

So enjoy this tiny piece of your expansive network, Little Man. I hope you enjoy reading the stories of this family as much as I enjoy telling the stories of my own little boy, my shining star, my bright light at the end of all of my dark tunnels.

That would be YOU, in case you were wondering ;)

Your Second Birthday Pictures

12 Nov

Dear Little Man,

Today I realized that in a little over two months, you will be two-and-a-half. Almost half a year has passed since you turned two which is nuts since I feel like you were born yesterday. But what is also nuts is that you turned two in July and it is now November and no practically no birthday pictures have been posted (except for a few from the day after and a few that J took during your birthday safari ride!). And since I’m in a particularly picture-y mood today, I have decided that I am going to remedy that lack of photos riiiiiiight…

NOW. :)

(Forgive the quality…some of these are still shots taken from a video.)

J’s creative genius shining through yet again :)

The cupcakes on the table were delicious. I had two :)
Plus three. Shhh.

Bubble blowing…your favorite :)

Eating the bubble blowing stick…your second favorite.

Running to Pop-Pop at your party. I’m pretty sure it made his day :)

The “B” Air Hockey Team!

You make me giggle :)

Trying to catch the water. Solid effort.

You LOVED that hose. And you also got soaked.

Thirsty? You certainly were… :)

Spraying The Boyfriend after he squirted you with a toy. I am SO proud.

Luckily, you didn’t take revenge on me like you did on The Boyfriend…

E grilling up some burgers…and being a good sport while I filmed him :)

Um, DELICIOUS.

Blowing bubbles with me!

Another reason for your Super Cool Kid status: you fist bump.

Your new “trator” :) you still ride that thing around. Steering is still a mystery, but I think we’re getting there…

Sports Man teaching you how to drive. I see this happening again in about 14 years…

A travel size Little Man. This was my ploy to bring you back to New York with me ;)

You are an awesome high-fiver. The Boyfriend got a kick out of it.

Ohhh, that smile…

You can almost hold an aluminum baseball bat! Sort of…kind of…I love this photo anyways :)

Hitting a baseball with a bat, golf-style. I think I fell even more in love with both of you that day :)

Giving you tips, working on your game, you know…normal “guy talk.”

Again with the world’s best facial expressions…

Giggling with my guy :)

I love this look! And you :)

I can’t wait until our next weekend-long adventure. Although the outdoor water activities might have to wait until the spring. I have no doubt we will find entertainment elsewhere :) Two-and-a-half year olds are surprisingly good at creating entertainment out of nothing…

xoxoxo

 

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