Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Holidays - An Unexpected Tradition

Holidays with kids is something truly special. Seeing the world through their eyes no matter what you have chosen as your traditions brings back the magic feeling you had as a child yourself. It's a time to reflect, be generous, celebrate with family, and have hope for what you may accomplish in the new year. As someone who dealt with infertility, this time of year was the hardest next to Mothers Day. Kids are everywhere...commercials, TV specials, sales at the store, Facebook posts with Santa, and even if you avoid all of that you have the cheerful smiles of families arriving to your mailbox reminding you another year has gone by.

You'd think now that we have children these worries and stress would have gone away. It has for the most part but it's morphed into something similar to guilt. It's the only time of the year the kids birth Mom contacts us and her words spell out the anguish she's in over not having them with her. It makes me wonder what she's doing constantly since I know she's thinking about the kids. It has me wishing we had contact with her to help ease that pain somewhat but also has me scared to do so because I know that longing for the kids is the strongest right now and I'm too worried about what contact like that could result in.

Last year and this year we're lucky in the fact this is a burden on only us the adults. Next year I might have questions from my sweet little girl about what her other Mom is doing and why she can't be there with us. It has sparked an inner competition in me to make the Holidays so incredible for the kids they couldn't possibly want for more. In a way that feeling is always there because it's the only way you feel you can control sparing your child pain over wondering about their birth parents. I know it's not possible or even healthy to think that way but it's the honest raw reality of what I think a lot of adoptive parents feel.

One of the things that weighs on my mind is a conversation I had with their birth Mom the only time I spent alone with her. It was last year in early December so Christmas was on my mind. I asked her if there were any traditions that were important to her so we could help give that to the kids. She told me no, she had no traditions and that she didn't have much of a family. That broke my heart and now I know why she must have the hardest time now because perhaps she hoped these kids would finally be a family of her own. I didn't have the thought at the time to push her a little more and ask if there were any traditions she hoped to have with kids but it's something I wonder about all the time.

I felt much of the same last year as I do this year...almost stolen moments of joy since I know someone else is longing to be doing this with the kids right now. Last year I had the added worry of it being our only Christmas with the kids because things were up in the air about if we'd finalize. I hope each year I'll feel less and less conflicted. I wanted to document this so I can look back and hopefully see how this tradition of guilt has faded to only joy and peace for us all.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Family of Our Own

This morning a friend gave me the gift of a poem he wrote about our adoption story. It's so beautiful I just had to share. Thank you Jamie!

A Family of Our Own

Seems distant now-
That it would be just us.
Yet we settled into that mind.

There were flashes of hope.
Just flashes.
And wanting-

Then a moment.

A moment of Grandeur,
One call-
One gift-
Four souls transcended.

A welcoming of growing,
The extension of a home.
A love we never thought we’d know…

And a family of our own.

                                                                                                                          Jamie Burgasser

Monday, December 10, 2012

Adoption Day

I sit here with a cup of coffee in the quiet house before kids are awake. It's a big day at our house but in another sense it's not. The kids are too young to understand the importance of today. They won't understand why we're at a court house and will probably just be squirmy and cranky. Today marks the end of our time in "the system". It means we no longer have to fill out incident reports and send them out in triplicate every time the kids get a mark on them. We don't have to attend all the various social worker meetings every month. And finally what I'm most excited about is we can share photos of our kids online.

One might think this is the happiest day of our lives but it really doesn't hold a lot of meaning to me. The day I'll remember and celebrate is the day we met and were given the awesome responsibility of being parents to these incredible children. Walking in the door to the previous Foster Mom's house and seeing this sweet little girl with a head full of glossy dark curls and a binky in her mouth is what is etched into my mind as my happiest day. I recall studying her while trying not to scare her, drinking in every detail. I remember the tears of joy I cried in this woman's living room as she placed a tiny bundle into my arms. The gravity of responsibility that started to settle in as I realized we'd be leaving this house with these two little beings and we were now responsible. Driving away with them both tucked into their car seats was surreal. That my friends was the best day of my life.

The fear of loosing the kids is not entirely gone. There's no legal risk of them being taken away and I haven't worried over that since August. Now it's my fears of their birth parents finding them that comes into play. Before their rights were terminated we had the state to hide behind with no contact. Now the contact is our choice. They have no vested interest in trying to play by the rules because there's no chance for them to get their kids back. I do want them to have contact with the kids but I don't know what that looks like or when we'll be ready. There is no instruction book on this so we have to go with what we feel is best. I think we'll take a little time off on thinking about that for now.

It's been a year and a half since that wonderful day we were united as a family. It's going to be strange to hear us pronounced as their parents because we feel as if we always have been. Hearing Zoe proudly and possessively announce to people "My Mommy" and "My Daddy" is one of the best things in the world. I hope she tells the Judge that today because there's nothing he could say that we all haven't known in our hearts for quite some time. There is no finish line in parenting, we're just moving on to the next phase with open arms and thankfulness in our hearts.

Updated: today held more meaning than I knew. It caught us both off guard and we nearly started crying in court. It was emotional in the best kind of way...all in all a perfect day.