Tag Archives: Liam

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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A Legacy of Liams

22 Jan

Dear Little Man,

Currently, I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Their name is very aptly given (just Google them and you’ll see) but the mountains aren’t just fantastic scenery (which they so are) — they also make for great hiking!

Yesterday was one of the warmer winter days we’ve had in a while, so I got together with a few friends to hit up the trails. Your Aunt S and I joined your Aunt L, her Hubby and their baby…Liam!

Yep — your Aunt L loved the name Liam — just like me — and when her son was born last February, she and her Hubby bestowed the world’s best boy name to their little man too! A lot of women are possessive about their baby names (our gender can be fiercely competitive about really weird things) but I love sharing mine, especially with a friend that I care about so much. We have fun sharing the namesake…although when we talk about “Liam” with our friends, we have to specify which one we’re referring to :)

I always think of you when I’m around her little guy. He’s such a happy baby — he was all smiles, giggles, and playfulness during the hike…when he wasn’t sleeping — and happy little boys remind me of my own (especially since you have SUCH a great laugh). I hope that I can take you hiking through these beautiful mountains someday. The B’s love ’em so I’m sure it won’t be too tough ;)

And when we go, hopefully Aunt L’s Liam will come with us because I’m loving the alliteration in “Legacy of Liams” and now that I’ve come up with it, I’d like to use it as often as I can.

 

It's Little Liam!!!

It’s Little Liam!!!

photo 3

Aunt L and her Hubby :) Cutest couple EVER. And Little Liam’s arm hanging out of the side of the carrier. He was passed out.

photo 2

Your Aunt S and I :) My best friend!

Aunt S's Dog is really good at Hide N' Seek

Aunt S’s Dog is really good at Hide N’ Seek. Me…not so much. Apparently.

photo 3

Aunt S using the wind to determine our location. Except not really.

photo 2

One of the many beautiful rivers in the mountains :)

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

It’s Just You & Me, Kid

14 Nov

Dear Little Man,

Now quite obviously, it’s not just you and me. Even when I was pregnant and it really was just you and me, it was also you, me and my gynecologist. Then it was you, me and the ultrasound tech (who got to know me realllly well). Then it was you, me and an entire medical team on the maternity ward.

Then it was you, me and The B’s, and the rest is history!

However, a few days ago I was revamping my Letters to Little Man site. There were places where it still said I was 20 and I was boasting about how you could recite the ABC’s. I turned 21 in May and you can practically read now, so yes…updating was needed. So I changed some descriptions, added a few things here and there and lastly, I changed the pictures. You especially have a tendency to change rapidly as you grow, but luckily, J is on top of taking pictures as always, so there’s no excuse to have a photo of you that is a year old.

I went to change my photo too. Though I don’t change as much or as frequently as you do (wait, that’s a lie. I just got bangs for the first time in 3 years), I figured it couldn’t hurt to update my photo as well. So off I went, hunting through my most recent Facebook pictures for one that would be suitable for the blogosphere.

Though I wanted one of just me for the “Meet Renee” section, I also thought it would be super neat to have a few pictures of us together. I began the Facebook hunt again. Only this time, I found photo and photo after photo of you and I together. I’m generally so preoccupied with getting great shots of just you, that I truly failed to realize that there are a lot of pictures of us.

So alllll of those photos, paired with my natural inability to make decisions, has resulted in way too many pictures to post in the Meet Renee section. However, there is no such thing as too many photos for a letter to my Little Man :)

Technically one of our first pictures together. Technically.

Definitely our first picture together. You look so happy…

One of my favorite hospital shots!

A little over a week old. This was at Bethany during the interim period.

Exactly one month old! Oh, I miss your itsy bitsy days…

This was on a trip we took to an apple orchard with The B’s when you were 2 months old. Hey there, chunky legs ;)

At Sports Man’s 7th birthday party. You fell asleep in my arms. Then, you started falling OUT of my arms.

And so the hilarity of your expressions begins…

I could never resist giving you kisses. It’s a good thing too because now you’re moving too fast for me to even catch you to give you one!

You and I around your six-month birthday!

A Valentine’s Day visit at Grandma M and Pop-Pop’s house!

This was around the time you discovered you had a tongue. Apparently it was fascinating.

You were suuuper sick this day, but we still smiled together :)

Smoochin’ on you before our first Mother’s Day!

A perfect display of how happy you make me :) This photo is in your nursery!

This was the morning of our first Mother’s Day! J and I went to a “girls” luncheon to celebrate together. I’ll remember that day forever.

A month or so before your first birthday. This was probably the last time you ever sat still for a picture ;)

Little Man turns ONE! This was taken at your “little man themed” party. I got to celebrate the whole weekend with you!

This probably won’t be the last time you get exasperated with me. It also probably won’t be the last time I find it funny.

I would follow you anywhere :)

This past March, right after St. Patrick’s Day. J brought her camera on a visit and we had a little photo shoot! I think we’re applauding your cuteness ;)

You + Me + The B’s + Grandma M + Pop Pop + Aunt S = BEACH TRIP! We went to the Isle of Palms and hung out together for a few days. We even spent a day in Charleston which was funny because the last time I had been there, I was pregnant with you :)

At your second birthday party (time flies!!). Your hand was alllll the way in that cow’s mouth. All. The. Way. Giving mommy a heart attack? Yes.

The same weekend as you second birthday. You and I played in the hose for a while. We got soaked and it was lovely :)

I love every single photo we get together, but not just because you’re incredibly photogenic. I love our photos for the simple reason that we get to take them together. Adoption didn’t split us up, it didn’t cause me to miss out, it hasn’t separated us in any way except literal distance. The fact that I got to be around for all of this stuff — holding you at Sports Man’s party, spending Mother’s Day with you, giving you kisses and spending birthdays playing with you — it’s the part of adoption that I love the most. It’s part of the reason why I will love and owe The B’s forever, and it’s definitely the reason we will grow up knowing one another.

I cherish these photos. The silly, the blurry, the candid, the posed, the goofy the smiley, the serious and the fun. We’re creating a history together, you and me. And I hope that one day, you cherish them as much as I do.

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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The Adoption Papers

24 Jul

Two years ago today, I signed your adoption papers.

It was my last day in the hospital. You were born on a Thursday and I’d spent all day Friday with you, but Saturday, we had to go. My social worker from the adoption agency was there, along with the hospital social worker, the interim care mom, and Pop-Pop and Grandma M.

I’d seen the papers before —  my social worker had shown them to me in one of the many meetings I had with her before you were born. She wanted me to get acquainted with them, read them over, know where I would sign and what exactly I was signing. I hated those papers. It felt like signing a document that said, “Yes, sure, take my child away from me.” In the back of your mind and at the bottom of your heart you know that you’re doing it because it’s what’s best, but at the time, it just feels so wrong.

I hadn’t let you out of my sight since you were born. From the moment I saw you, I never wanted to stop looking at you. You were perfect, this little miracle that I had somehow managed to create, and I was just in awe of you. We had visitors — Aunt S, Uncle J, even your Godmother’s mom stopped in to say hi. Looking back, it’s a miracle they got to hold you. I’m surprised I let you out of my arms even for a second. But out of my sight? Not a chance. If I only had a couple of days where you were 100% completely and truly mine, I was going to keep you with me the whole time. You are an excellent snuggle buddy, by the way.

But when it came time to sign papers and make everything official, I really refused to let you go. I held you the whole time, signing my name where I was supposed to, giving you kisses every spare second I could, mostly crying the whole time. I felt like I was just…letting you go, and it was the worst feeling in the whole world, only rivaled in intensity by the following few days during which I became a total recluse, cried all the time and probably scared the daylights out of The B’s by being totally incommunicado. But it all started with those papers, signed two years ago today. I’ll never forget it.

But the beauty behind all of that pain two years ago is that two days ago, I was busy playing with you. Over the weekend we devised a new game that you call “Rock:” it mostly just involved me rocking your stuffed animals in a glider while you laughed and watched from your crib (did I mention that you are easily entertained?). The beauty is that two years later, you know my name and we play games and we laugh together. The beauty is that I have an entirely new extended family that I love being a part of, a family brought together by your ever-wonderful existence. We’re all intertwined, forever a part of one another’s lives. I hated those papers at the time, but I will be forever thankful for what they brought me.

Especially because they brought me things like this:

Drinking out of the hose with you!

Just takin’ an outdoor shower ;)

With our families on your birthday tractor ride!

Yes, your hand was in that cow’s mouth…

…but you thought it was the coolest thing ever.
Photos by J

Guess What…

13 Jul

 

 

 

…and the rest of my beautiful family :) I can’t wait!

Dream Come True

6 Jul

 

 

You love Elmo. You love Elmo more than you love me, I’m pretty sure. And I’m okay with that because he’s adorable and he comes up with very creative ways to sing the ABC’s. But the moral of the story is that Elmo is to you what Minnie Mouse was to me when I was little: your animated hero. Just a few weeks ago, you got to go to Sesame Place and meet him! J said you were just giddy with excitement (there’s a video…I’m almost more excited to see it than you were to meet Elmo).

I hope you’re having a wonderful Friday! Exactly two weeks until I see you again! :)

Bouncing Baby Boys for Everyone!

27 Feb

Your Aunt L, a very close friend of mine, had a baby yesterday. Unlike me, she and her husband waited until their baby was born to find out whether it was going to be a boy or a girl. Well I’m happy to report that she now has her own Little Man – it’s a boy! And you know what? They really like the name Liam.

I’m stopping by later today to visit her and her brand ” new and blue” bundle of joy. I’ve only been to the maternity ward in the hospital where you born once since I had you, when another one of my friends had a baby girl (we’ve already arranged your marriage to her FYI). It bring back a lot of memories, being there. And though occasionally tainted with the sadness of my separation from you, at least 98% of my hospital memories are good ones.

I was in labor with you for 11 hours. When I got to the hospital, they strapped a couple of monitors to me – one to monitor the contractions and another to monitor your heartbeat. I had them turn up the sound of your heartbeats and listening to them helped me breathe through my contractions.

I remember when you finally…um…came out, I listened for your cry because I knew it would mean you were alive and okay. When they lifted you up and I got to see you for the first time, my very first thought was actually about your chin. I thought to myself, “He has a cleft chin!” I know…it was definitely not what I imagined my first thought would be when I saw you. Luckily, it makes for a good story ;)

However, while marvelling over your cute cleft chin, I was overcome with this unbelievable awe. Obviously, I had know you were real. I had know you were going to be born and that when you were, you would be a baby. But other than your hair and eye color, I hadn’t really thought too much about what the rest of you would look like. And suddenly…there you were. This little being, smaller than any baby I had ever been around before. A little person that I had helped to create. Nothing has ever been more real to me than that moment. That was the moment I changed forever. I had always loved you – since the day I discovered you – but in seeing you, how much I loved you overwhelmed me. I never believed in love at first sight, but that moment couldn’t have been anything but.

The immediately gave you to me and I got to hold you for a little while, so the doctors could finish up. Looking back at the pictures, you were covered in some pretty weird stuff but I honestly don’t remember any of that. I just remember getting to hold you, feeling so relieved – partly because the labor was finally over and partly because you were finally here. They cleaned you up and weighed you (7lbs, 6oz, by the way) and then they gave you to me for skin-to-skin time. You were so warm and tiny! Those few minutes were the most peaceful ones of my life.

Over the next day and half we got visitors and flowers and your grandparents stole all the time they could with you. I think the only time we ever sat you down was to change your diaper. Other than that, you were in someone’s arms 24/7. I would have held your forever if I could have. Eventually I suppose I would have had to let you learn how to walk, but that was a ways off anyhow.

My favorite times were when you opened your eyes. You were a fantastic baby – you didn’t cry at all really. If you got upset or hungry or cold, you would make disgruntled noises but that was it. Otherwise, you slept most of the time. But on occasion you would wake up, open your eyes and look around a little. But mostly, you focused on me. I know babies can’t see much more than outlines when they’re first born – it’s most just shapes and fuzzy features – but you certainly stared at me. And even though I know you weren’t seeing me, I liked to pretend that you did. I liked to think that you were making mental imprint of me that you would never forget no matter where or how far away you went. Like maybe that was your way of telling me you loved me, too.

But today, I will revisit the hospital maternity ward. I will relive the wonderful few days I got to spend with you there. I will get to say hello to a new mother who will now know, without a doubt, what I’m talking about when I mention that instantaneous love I felt the first time I saw you. I don’t know what name they officially settled on yet, and in the end, new life is new life and it doesn’t truly matter – but it’s quite possible that the world has just gained another Liam :)

Lookin' at me lookin' at you :)

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