Friday, December 26, 2014

Adoption Day and Rose's First Christmas!

Adoption Day and First Christmas!

I feel poorly that I haven't written in a long while.  So much has happened since my last post.  Here's a bit of a catch up.  Rose is now almost 10 months old.  She's doing so well!  She's crawling, pulling herself up, and standing.  We had a tough month when teething threw a wrench into our sleep.  Our champ sleeper was waking up crying and upset.  Her first two bottom teeth are now in and she's resumed her champ sleeping habits!  I unfortunately can not remember who gifted it to her, but she has a cloth doll that I finally dug out of the toy bin in her closet.  For a few nights and naps she was crawling off of her low mattress on the floor to the shelf and getting her doll.  We decided that she was trying to tell us that she wanted to sleep with the doll, so we now put her down to sleep for naps and the night with the doll.  She's getting into things she shouldn't, lights up our days with her smiles and laughter, and is a beautiful, happy, strong, smart, sweet, and determined baby.

The biggest event was the finalization of Rose's Adoption.  The finalization of Rose's adoption took place on Thursday, November 6th, the day she turned eight months old.  My parents and Mike's mother were here for the occasion.  I was frustrated because the court changed the time of the hearing and then the night before, I received an e-mail wanting to change the time yet again.  I had people to coordinate with, rides and cars to organize, and the court was not right around the corner.  When to leave, getting there, etc. was going to take some planning.  OK, I admit it; I am a planner.  I was so incredibly anxious with the multiple and last minute change of time.

The actual hearing took about 5 minutes.  I remember feeling so incredibly disappointed with the brevity of the event.  It just did not at all seem to reflect the importance and sentiment of the occasion.  Yet, it happened, and that is the important part.

11/6/2014: Rose's adoption day!

The day after the finalization I was absolutely EXHAUSTED!  I believe it was the fact that this day was the culmination of a five year journey to become parents, including fostering Little D. and a failed adoption and losing Russell.  Too, the stress of the changing time and organizing the day wiped me out.

That weekend we hosted an open house party in celebration of Rose's adoption and her baptism, which was set for the following day.  Our house was filled with people who have loved us and seen us through this journey.  I felt incredibly blessed!

Later that month we celebrated Thanksgiving with my aunt, uncle, and two cousins.  We had so much to be grateful for!


As is our tradition, Mike and I made and decorated some homemade sugar cookies.  I remember three years ago, I had an emergency appendectomy on December 15th.  I was not up to making sugar cookies that year.  Mike, missing the tradition (and the cookies), went and picked up a bag mix of sugar cookies.  He mixed them up and we sat on the couch with a table in front of us and A Christmas Story on tv and decorated cookies.  He then announced that they were nothing compared to my yummy homemade cookies.  So, we make it a point to make homemade sugar cookies every year.  As you can see, Rose was more interested in the clicking of the camera timer than helping to cut out cookies.  ;)

Yesterday we celebrated Rose's first Christmas!  What a wonderful day!  We celebrated at home, just the three of us that morning, opening gifts and just being together.  Rose received gifts from us, her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and her birth family.  Here are some picture highlights.

 Here is a photo of Rose inspecting the box of Christmas prezzies from her birth mother and family.

 I waited so long to be able to hang our child's stocking for Christmas.  My mom made these stockings for all of us and Rose was gifted another stocking by a friend of mine.

 One of the gifts in Rose's stocking was a cloth photo album including photos of our family and Rose's birth family.

 I know the photo's blurry, but I love the smile on Rose's face as she holds a stuffed owl from her birth aunt.
A family Christmas photo
My aunt and uncle who live nearby came over for Christmas dinner.  Our dinner included homemade sourdough rolls.  Moving to higher altitude of Colorado has thrown a wrench in some of my baking, but I got this recipe from a high altitude baking cookbook my mom gifted me a couple years ago.  I started the process three days before Christmas with the yeast starter.

Growing up, Mike and his family had several  afghans.  One of them was quite large.  They began referring to the large one as a wholeghan and the smaller ones as halfghans.  A few years ago he asked me to crochet him a wholeghan.  I dragged him to the store with me to choose the colors.  Well, three years in the making, I furiously worked to finish his wholeghan for his Christmas gift this year.  I did it!  Here is a photo of my very tall hubby wrapped up in his wholeghan.
We did get a white Christmas this year!  It started snowing around 3 p.m.  It was beautiful to be warm inside with the Christmas lights, warm drink and food, and the snow falling.  It did take my aunt and uncle a while to get home though because of the slick roads.  We don't usually get enough here where it accumulates or sticks around long enough.  We have a south facing driveway, so we don't often have to shovel, but we got enough snow and are expecting cold and even negative temps in the next few days that Mike shoveled the driveway this afternoon.
Playing games is a big tradition of ours every holiday.  This year Mike gave me the game of Mancala for Christmas.  After the dishes were washed and put away, the kitchen cleaned up, and Rose was in bed, Mike and I sat by the fire and played some Mancala.  We had actually seen Rose's birth mother and sister playing the game the last time we video chatted with them a couple weeks ago.  It's a fun game.  In this pic, Mike was winning!
We hope for you that this holiday season and new year are filled with love, joy, and peace.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I will try to post more often as we approach Rose's first birthday in March.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Grocery Shopping in Sweats, Glasses, and Without Makeup - Who Would Have Thought?!

Please let me preface this post by saying that I am in NO WAY whatsoever complaining about my husband or the fact that I'm blessed to have the funds to shop for healthy and yummy food.  This is such a first world problem!

I have detested grocery shopping ever since I moved off campus into an apartment during college at the University of California at Santa Cruz.  My mom wonderfully helped me set up a system of cutting up and freezing meat in single serving baggies to allow for easy preparation of meals such as chicken and veggie stir fry.  She provided me with recipes that I grew up helping her cook.  I enjoyed having friends over and cooking for them.  Yet, I hated the task of grocery shopping.

For many years I would do all of my grocery shopping and cleaning on Sunday.  Then I'd be vacuuming at 8:30 or 9 p.m. and never felt like I had a relaxing evening before heading to school or work the following day.

In 2004, when I met Mike, I owned a home while he was renting a room in a house with a number of other graduate students.  A very picky eater and one who does not cook, grocery shopping for the home just wasn't really on his radar.

When we were first married in 2005, I do have to realistically say that the household duties were unbalanced.  I was teaching full time and Mike was going through the grueling process of completing his Ph.D.  I continued to do ALL the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and getting Mike to help with yard work was like pulling teeth.  There are a few reasons for this.

1.  My dirt threshold is MUCH LOWER than Mike's.  This means that something being dirty or messy bothers me much sooner than it bothers Mike.  He would eventually be compelled to clean or sort things, but that would be at a much later time than I could handle.  Because of this, I just did it.

2.  I needed to learn how to ask for help.  Mike didn't grow up doing much around the house for him to notice something that needed to be done and take the initiative to do it.  I would get so overwhelmed by housework on top of my teaching, that I would get frazzled and lash out at Mike.  Of course he then didn't want to help me.  I needed to learn how to ask for help and allow him the time to complete the task when it worked for his schedule.  He also needed to learn what things just needed to be done that he could help with without my having to ask each and every time.

3.  I have tremendous difficulty letting house cleanliness and order go in an effort to do the enjoyable things such as practicing, composing, reading, etc.  I'm admitting a huge personality flaw in this post in stating that I put too much pressure on MYSELF to have an extremely clean and orderly house.  I recognize that and wish I could change that about myself, but no luck so far.

 After we were married, I continued to do my grocery shopping and cleaning on Sundays.  I was working full time as a Montessori teacher, and all I wanted to do after teaching was to come home, not grocery shop.  I know the difficulty of balancing work, household chores, relaxation, and fun is a natural part of the human race.  I would be frustrated and resentful each and every Sunday as I tried to balance sleeping in, feeding myself, grocery shopping, and cleaning the house as Mike slept in until noon and played video games.  It was after I had an emotional melt down that Mike offered a suggestion.  Why didn't I go grocery shopping and cleaning on weekdays?  Even though we made financial decisions together, Mike has always wonderfully taken on the responsibility of record keeping and bill paying. 

I decided to clean on Wednesdays as he was at bowling.  Thursdays became my grocery shopping day.  I would stop off at both Trader Joe's and Stater Bros. on my way home from work.  Then by the time I got home with groceries and Mike would help me unload them and put them away, I was STARVING and too tired to consider cooking.  I had just spent this time and money buying groceries, but Thursdays after grocery shopping became our going out to eat night of the week.

In 2009 I quit my Montessori teaching career with the move to Colorado.  I wanted to focus on my music career and the process of adoption.  It was also when I stopped working full time that Mike and I managed to work out a more even distribution of household tasks and find our rhythm.  I have gotten much better at asking for help when needed, and he now has taken responsibility of household tasks without having to be asked each and every time.  Every night after dinner I do the dishes and start the dishwasher.  Now without having to be specifically asked even when there were dishes piling up in the sink, he unloads the dishwasher each and every night. 

I still took charge of meal planning and grocery shopping.  I was the one in this partnership who now had the time to do the shopping, and I was still the one doing the cooking.  I still despised grocery shopping, but was happy that I now had more available time in which to do it.  No matter how I worked it, I would always be at the grocery store starving for lunch.  People always suggested going once Mike got home from work.  When Mike came home from work, we were always starving for dinner and wanted to spend that time together. My grocery shopping days also include lots of prep work cutting up meat, veggies, and fruit to allow for less work throughout the week with snack and meal preparation.  As a mom I've been frustrated that on Thursdays I always felt like I did the bare minimum with my daughter as I was busy doing these things. 

A few months ago Mike wonderfully offered to take over the Safeway or King Soopers shopping.  He's responsible for buying his pop, which I don't drink and have trouble reaching in the store.  This way I can do a weekly run to Sprouts or Trader Joe's and he takes care of the going to one of the other stores for bread, pop, and other small things.  This is a HUGE help, as going to even one store is difficult with a baby.

Part of my issue is just my personality.  I find it difficult to accept that I am unable to do EVERY THING EVERY DAY.  It is impossible to exercise, practice all 5 instruments I play, compose, cook, keep up with housework, spend the day cuddling my baby, crochet, etc. all in one day.  Mike jokes that if there were more hours in the day it would not help alleviate my to do list, but it would cause me to add to my to do list.  I am one who usually lets the other enjoyable things go to allow time to maintain order in my house.  I'm working on that, but to be honest, I've been working on it for many years, and think I will be working on finding that balance each of my remaining days on Earth.

So yesterday I had a revelation.  Why don't I skip my morning run on grocery shopping days, and get up and go shopping in my sweats, glasses, and without makeup?  I would never before thought of being seen grocery shopping in this state.  And I can look quite scary when I wake up!

So this morning I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The woman working at the meat counter and the cashier recognized me.  I am still the same person.  Neither of the commented on my lack of beautification this morning.

I LOVED this new routine as it allowed me to get home with groceries put away and prepped, and the kitchen all cleaned BEFORE lunch.  I still hated grocery shopping, but certainly made for a smoother day!  Rose even took her late morning snooze as I worked away prepping food.  I also had the opportunity to dance around my music studio to Disney with Rose.  It's now 1 p.m. as I finish writing this.  Rose and I are about to go take our afternoon nap.

Why do women in general, and mothers specifically put so much pressure on themselves?  I get no pressure from Mike whatsoever to have the house spotless or to always have the healthy yummy meal ready on time.  I put the pressure upon myself.  I dislike that, but no matter how hard I try to convince myself otherwise, those feelings are still present. 

A few months ago I even came up with a new mantra: I AM ENOUGH.  I AM ENOUGH of a mother.  I AM ENOUGH of a wife.  I AM ENOUGH of a musician.  This new mantra doesn't keep me from having these feelings.  It does help serve as a reminder that I can not do it all, and the only one who has ever expected me to be able to do so is me!  So I think I will continue to do my grocery shopping early in the morning in my sweats, glasses, and without makeup.  I am human after all.  Just another person in search of balance in life.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day.  I can't help but fall more and more in love with my husband as I witness the amazing father he is to Rose.  Here's a photo of him sharing a nap with her when she was 2 weeks old.

 Mike with Rose on her first trip to the beach

Each Sunday I get up early, either awakened by Rose, or trying to squeeze in a shower before she wakes.  After she is changed and fed, and wiggles around a bit, she's tired and ready for a snooze.  I take her in and put her in bed next to Mike.  They usually cuddle and fall asleep again.  This scene never ceases to bring tears of joy to my face.  There is no way anyone can doubt the genuine and sincere love that these two have for each other!

Yesterday Mike said to me, "I'm so happy being a dad."  I know that it is not the creating of life that makes one a dad, and Mike truly defines and proves this point.

On Father's Day, my thoughts can't help but turn to the men who made the babies we have had in our home.  Little D. and Russell are actually being raised by their fathers.  I pray that these two boys know love and joy.  I am grateful to my husband for being a dad to them for the time they were with us.

Not getting into any details, we do not know Rose's birth father.  He does not know that he conceived a child.  Being in an open adoption with Rose's birth mother, we know family history and are able to share photos and stories with Rose so she knows the woman who gave her life.  We share the love that Rose's birth mother has for her each and every day! 

With our history of losing two sons to their biological fathers, I can honestly say that I am relieved that we do not know how to find Rose's birth father.  We anxiously await the finalization of her adoption.  Yet, another part of me is sad that he was a part of bringing Rose into the world, and I really have nothing that I know of him to share with her.  I am incredibly grateful that Rose came into being.  I can't imagine my life without her.  For his part in that, I thank him.  He has given Mike the opportunity to be an amazing dad to an amazing little girl!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My First Mother's Day

March of 2013, I thought I was finally going to have my Mother's Day as mother to Russell.  I spent so many years dreaming of the day I could be considered and called Mom.

 April, 2013 with Russell (Photo by Olivia Navarro Photography)

Then that dream was wrenched from me with the failed adoption.  Today I have thought of Little D. whom we fostered four years ago, and Russell.  I pray that they have loving mamas in their life.  I pray that they know a mother's love.  I forever hold these two boys in my heart.

The empty cradle of which I previously wrote, is empty no more.  I keep the cradle in my music studio in case Rose is in need of a place to sleep while I'm practicing or teaching.  My dream of having a child who will sleep in this generously gifted cradle has come true.

This year I have been blessed to finally celebrate my role as mother and have it be publicly recognized.  Less than two weeks after I turned 40 years old, I just had the most amazing first Mother's Day as mama to Rose, 2 months old.  I have received the most amazing outpouring of hugs, well-wishes, texts, cards, and Facebook posts and messages wishing me a Happy Mother's Day.

me holding newborn Rose (photo by Olivia Navarro Photography)

In e-mails from Rose's birthmother this past week, she expressed her excitement about my first Mother's Day.  I tried to remind her that I would not be Rose's mama if it were not for her.  I feel confident and secure in my role as Rose's mama and am not at all threatened by the presence of Rose's birthmother in our lives as many people fear when considering open adoption.  I honor her place in our extended family and in Rose's life.  I can't think of Mother's Day without thinking of her.

I sent a Mother's Day card with Rose's footprints to her birthmother.  Yesterday I opened the front door to find a box of flowers.  They were from Rose's birthmother and sister.  I was incredibly touched by this beautiful gesture and recognition of my new role as mama. 

Rose received her 2 month shots on Friday, so yesterday was an incredibly rough day as she was uncomfortable from the vaccinations.  I decided to leave her home with Mike this morning to rest instead of taking her to church with me.  I am a paid soloist at my church and was scheduled to sing today, so I went to church.  When I arrived at church this morning I received a text from Rose's birth grandmother wishing me a Happy Mother's Day.  How incredible is that?!

I then met Mike and Rose at Benihana's for a Mother's Day lunch.  Yummy!

We invited my cousin who recently moved to Colorado, and my aunt and uncle who happened to be in town over for dinner tonight.  It was lovely to be surrounded by family.  My uncle, the grandson of Rose's namesake, my great-grandmother Rosetta, told me stories of Rose's great-great-grandmother.  I was blessed to know her.  I called her Nana.  If I'm remembering correctly, she passed when I was around 5 years old.  She played an integral part in raising my mother.  My mother enjoys ironing, one of my most dreaded chores, because it was her grandmother who taught her how to iron.

 My great-granmother, Rosetta Norton Schneider's wedding photo.  She was married at the age of 15.

May 11, 2014: Me holding her great-great granddaughter, Rose Michaela

(my Uncle Douglas holding Rose just as she was letting us know she was tired and ready to start getting ready for bed)

 I baked a blueberry pie for dessert.  I felt even more connected to my family as I am a fourth generation pie baker, the tradition started by my great-grandmother Rosetta.  My daughter Rose will be the fifth generation of pie bakers.  I look forward to sharing this with her.  Of Filipino heritage by birth, I hope to learn some Filipino dishes to make with and for Rose.

I believe that adoption is not discussed more openly because unless you have experienced it, there is absolutely no way to relate.  How can anyone relate to the idea that we have an even larger family?  I honor Rose's birthmother and am forever indebted to her.  Not only for Rose herself, but for the gift of motherhood.  A dream I've had for so many years.  I relish in both the joys and challenges of motherhood; the smiles, the dirty diapers, the coos, the spit up, the shared naps and cuddles, the waking in the middle of the night.  As is often said, motherhood is the most challenging and rewarding job there has ever been.

I strongly feel that it is not the act of giving birth that makes you a mother, but I intend to bring Rose up with full knowledge of the amazing woman who gave her life.  I would not be a mother if it were not for the incredible love, physical, and emotional sacrifice made by Rose's birthmother.

An adoptive mom worries that she will not be recognized as mother.  A birthmother worries that her love and sacrifice will be forgotten.  Let us love and support both birth and adoptive mothers.  Both have different roles they are playing in the life of the child, but they are both mothers.  Both play an integral part in the life of these children.  Happy Mother's Day to all mamas out there.

Dear G., how can I say, "Thank you," for choosing me to be Rose's mother?  How can I thank you for the love you share and the sacrifice you made?  You are a beautiful soul to whom I will forever be indebted.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What to Do When Awake at 4 a.m.

What does one do when her 4 week old daughter wakes at 1:45 a.m. and will not go back to sleep again for more than 5 minutes at a time?  Well, you finally give up at 4 a.m., strap her into the Ergo baby carrier, make a hot strong cup of tea, unload the dishwasher, clean out the fridge in preparation for today's grocery run, and get in some reading of Louise Penny's Rules Against Murder.  

As I type, Rose is asleep in the baby carrier, head resting against my chest.  I have to admit that I'm a bit tired as the parent of a newborn.  Yet, the lack of sleep, the changing and washing of diapers, and the preparation of bottles all mean that I have this incredible human being in my life.  Through my sleep-deprived fog, I am deliriously happy.  I wouldn't at all change a thing.  Well, I would love more sleep, but we can't have everything, can we?!  The fact that I'm sleep-deprived is a tangible reminder of this incredible blessing.

There are two incredibly cute things Rose does.  1) Often after sneezing, she sighs. It goes like this.  "Achoo.  Aaahhh."  And 2). After taking a burp break during feeding and you're wondering whether or not she would like more, she'll smack her lips together as a sign that she wants more.  

I love these adorable tendencies in her and have shared them with her birth mother, who enjoyed hearing of them.

Tired, but blissfully happy mama signing out!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Today, March 27, 2014, marked Russell's first birthday.  For months I had been dreading this day.  I dreaded the memories and the anniversary reminder of our grief over the loss of our son.  I learned that the grief of losing our son will be with me each and every day the rest of my life.

I woke up this morning knowing the significance of this day, yet, it turned out to not be as difficult as I worried it would be.  This is not to mean that I love Russell any less.  This is not to mean that the failed adoption was devastating.  This is not to mean that I have stopped grieving the loss of our son.

Me holding Russell
photo by Olivia Navarro Photography

One thing that I have been grappling with is the fact that I would not have my newborn daughter Rose if we had not experienced the loss of Russell.  I was absolutely crushed losing Russell.  I love him now and will forever more.  The loss of Russell was the most devastating thing in my entire life.  Yet, I'm happier than I can ever express as Mama to sweet baby Rose and can't imagine my life without her.  To think that our paths would not have crossed and I would not have her in my life if we still had Russell with us.  Our adoption profile would not have been active for Rose's birthmother to chose us as adoptive parents.  It's odd to think of the two different paths my life could have taken and the way that it's turned out.

I remembered Russell today as I went about grocery shopping.  I shed tears for him as I did my hair.  I shed tears for no longer knowing him.  I shed tears over not witnessing his growing up.  I passed the day with my beautiful new daughter.  Rose turned 3 weeks old today.  I kept thinking that we didn't make it to 3 weeks with Russell.  I am sad to no longer know Russell, but I have the joy of Rose in my life.  It is a joy impossible to describe!  I was told that I would forget Russell.  NEVER in my entire life will I forget him!  I will forever grief the loss of my son.  Yet, I feel grateful to be passing the anniversary of his birth holding my beautiful newborn daughter Rose.

I treasure the time bathing and reading to my daughter.  She is more precious than I could have ever imagined.  I love her beyond measure and  fall more and more in love with my husband every day seeing him as the amazing father that he has become.

Rose after tonight's bath

I do not have the joy of parenting Russell, but he will forever hold a place in my heart.  I have the amazing joy of parenting Rose and being her Mama.  That is the most important, fulfilling, and rewarding job I have ever had in my entire life.  I will spend each and every day of my life trying to prove my worthiness of Rose's birthmother allowing me this most incredible honor.

Happy birthday, dear Russell!  And to Rose's birthmother G., the most sincere thank you for this most amazing gift ever of Rose.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Our Life Forever Changed

Our life was forever changed on March 6, 2014 at 12: 11 a.m. with the birth of our daughter, Rose Michaela.

After the birthmother, G.,  had gone into the hospital multiple times, we decided to head out to Vegas for what seemed like would be the early arrival of our daughter.  G. went into the hospital twice on Wednesday, February 26th, but was sent home each time.  It appeared that things were happening, and soon.  So Mike and I packed up the car and headed out for the long drive to Vegas.  My parents drove from southern California to be with us. 

Nothing happened on Thursday the 27th, so we went to meet G. and her caseworker at a coffee shop on Friday, February 28th.  This was our first time meeting her in person.  We were both excited and nervous.  The meeting went very well and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet G. for the first time besides during the rush of labor and delivery.

Sunday, March 2nd, G. texted inviting us to attend church with her.  I was at first hesitant because I was under the impression that G. wanted to wait until after relinquishment paperwork was signed before we met each others' families.  We ended up accepting the honor of the invitation.  G.'s pastor said a prayer over us after the service.  We then went and met G.'s parents, 2 of her sisters, and her 6 year old daughter.  We then went out to dinner with them.  What an amazing and wonderful family! 

G. did share that she had been having strong contractions and her family actually took her to the hospital again after dinner, only for her to be sent home.

The baby hadn't yet come, so the next day, Monday, March 3rd, Mike and I met with G., her daughter, and my parents and went to the aquarium together.  We had a lovely time and had a photo taken together that is now on the dresser in the nursery.

This whole time, G. had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, March 5th.  She told me that if things didn't happen before that time, she was going to ask the doctor to induce her.

Wednesday, March 5th came and early afternoon I received a text from G. letting me know that the doctor had stretched her cervix, meaning that she should go into labor or her water should break that day or the next.  Ouch!  Here we were going to become parents without the physical experience of pregnancy, labor, or delivery. 

My parents, Mike, and I were in the condo watching tv that night, March 5th, when we got the call from the caseworker telling us that it was Baby Time.  Mike and I packed our things and headed to the hospital.

We walked into G.'s room and she asked, "How are you?"  Are you kidding me, girl?!  Here you're in the middle of a contraction and in obvious pain, and you ask us how were are?!

We  spent some time in the waiting room with the caseworker and G.'s family and friends.  She had her mother and a friend in the delivery room with her.

Our daughter, Rose Michaela arrived at 12:11 a.m. on Thursday, March 6th.  She weighed 5 lbs. 8 oz. and measured 19 and 1/4" long.  G. did not want to hold or see Rose at that time.  She was born wide eyed and completely alert.  They wheeled Rose to the nursery where we were with her until we were kindly and gently scooted out by the nurses around 4 a.m. 

The hospital was going to provide us with a hospital room to be with Rose until relinquishment paperwork was signed, but there was not yet one available.  We ended up going back to the condo and slept a bit.  We returned to the hospital around 11 a..m.  My parents came to the nursery and were able to come and hold Rose.

Thursday, March 6th around 3 p.m. we were given a hospital room.  Nevada law states that the baby needs to be with the birthmother or in cradle care during those 72 hours before relinquishment paperwork is signed.  The hospital graciously allowed us to have a courtesy room for that time so we could be with Rose. 

Two of G.'s sisters, her mother, and her 6 year old daughter came to see Rose in our room that night.  It was lovely seeing the love that they have for Rose.  G.'s 6 year old daughter kept saying about Rose, "She's adorable!" 

The hospital room was not really comfortable or conducive to both of us sleeping there with Rose.  At that point in time my parents had to vacate the comfy condo with a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and go to a smaller hotel room.  It was good that I was in the hospital with the baby, as we would not have fit in the room.

My parents were wonderfully making food runs and running errands for us.  Mike spent as much time with us in the room as he was able to.

None of us are at all Vegas people, so my parents needed something to do to get out.  G. ended up coming by our hospital room a couple times before she was discharged on Saturday, March 8th, but didn't hold Rose.

At first we were unsure whether or not relinquishment paperwork would be able to be signed on Sunday the 9th or if it would have to wait until Monday the 10th.  It ended up working out that we were all able to sign the necessary paperwork on Sunday the 9th.

After we signed paperwork we went to the hospital and Rose was discharged.  At that time my parents we able to move all of us into a large 2 suite condo which would hold us all very comfortably.  We brought our daughter back to the condo.

We made arrangements with G. that she and her family could come over to the condo on Monday evening to see Rose.  G. came with her daughter, parents, and 3 sisters to visit.  My parents, Mike, Rose, and I got to spend some wonderful time with all of them.  We shared food they graciously brought us, talked, and took tons of beautiful photos.  Out of respect for the birth family's privacy, I will not share any of those photos in this post.

Mike, my parents, and I were just blown away.  We felt as if this get together with G. and her family truly redefined open adoption and extended family.  How could we be so blessed as to gain a daughter and this incredible family at the same time?!  A truly remarkable evening all around.

On Wednesday, March 12th, we received the phone call that we were able to leave the state of Nevada and go home.  We texted G. to see if she wanted to see Rose again before we made the trek back home to Colorado.  She told us that she felt as if she said her goodbyes on Monday and it wasn't necessary for her to see her again before we made our way back to Colorado.  Mike and I decided to get a start on the drive that evening, but a huge accident with a burnt semi made the progress slow and we ended up spending the night in Cedar City, Utah.

Thursday, March 13th we made it all the way home.  Wonderful Mike did ALL of the driving that day as I got to be in the back seat with Rose who was sound asleep the whole time, and got some sleep myself. 

We arrived home around 8 p.m. and brought our daughter home for the first time at one week old.

Open adoption is absolutely incredible!  In the 2 days we've been home, we've received a text from G.'s mother with some photos.  I've also set up a Dropbox folder for photos and have shared it with all of G.'s family.  This baby has so very many people who love her.  Open adoption doesn't threaten your position as parent.  It allows your child to know her history and background and to have a relationship with that family.  It allows your child to be the recipient of even more love from the extended family of both birth and adoptive families.  As I've said before, I am not at all of the belief that the birth of Rose and the placement of her with us as her parents is the end of this journey, but just the beginning.

Welcome, sweet Rose!  The light of my life.  I am so in love with you and am incredibly honored  and blessed to be your Mama!  Words can never express my gratitude and love to your birthmother for bringing you into this world and choosing us.  We love you all!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What Can I Control

Today I started doing laundry and packing.  I wanted to get some of Mike's things packed, but he wouldn't let me.  He says he'll do that quickly when the time comes.  We talked over scenarios of what to do if baby girl comes early.

I told Mike that I was feeling a bit anxious because we don't know when the baby will arrive.  I am one who likes to feel in control.  I can not control her arrival.  I told Mike that I am not freaking out, but packing is something I can control.

I started washing baby bottles.

I know I will have to rewash them, but it is something I can be doing right now.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Update on Baby Girl

It's been a long while since I've blogged.  I've been getting a lot of people understandably asking for an update on the baby and our journey.

Things have been going very smoothly.  The baby is technically due on March 19th.  I have my flight to Vegas booked and Mike plans to follow shortly afterwards in his car.  I continue to communicate with the birthmother, G., who is now visiting the doctor weekly.  Mike and I have set aside baby clothes and items that we want to take with us.  My mom made a beautiful valance for the nursery and things are nicely set up.

Last Sunday I awoke to an e-mail from G. in which she informed me that she had experienced labor pains Friday night, keeping her up all night.  She ended up calling the nurse from work on Saturday because the pains were continuing.  The nurse told G. to make her way to the hospital, so she did.  She was told that she was in labor.  She was 35 weeks pregnant, so their goal was to stop the contractions.  After what G. describes as 3 painful shots and hours, the hospital staff was able to stop her contractions. 

I was definitely nervous about this.  This was more than a month before G.'s duedate!  My mom reassured me that the hospital would not have sent her home if there was a problem.  She was not put on bedrest or told to see the doctor before her next regularly scheduled visit.

G. had another doctor's visit on Wednesday where she was told that the goal is to keep the baby "cooking" for atleast another two weeks.  That would mean she'll be at about 37 weeks, a safer period for delivery. 

My plan was to start laundering all the newborn baby clothes beginning March 1st and Mike and I could then organize what items I will be taking with me on my flight and what items Mike will take with him in the car.  It looks like we may have to do this earlier than I had planned!  I want to be packed and pretty much ready in case we need to make a quick exit.

Oh my goodness, this is coming up quickly!  I'd always heard people say that the waiting period in an adoption journey feels like eternity.  Well, almost three years.  Yes, it did feel like an eternity!  I've also heard that then that time between match and birth always seems to go by so incredibly fast.  I am finding this to completely be the truth!

Oh my goodness, I'm going to be a mama very soon.  I continue to pray for the physical and emotional aspect of the journey on the part of G.  When we spoke on the phone a couple weeks ago, I did tell her that no matter how smoothly everything goes, it's not an easy process for anyone involved.  There are so many layers and parts to adoption, that it is so incredibly complex.  I believe that's one reason why adoption is not more openly and frequently discussed.  It's such a complex process, that it is near impossible to relate or truly understand it unless you have experienced it yourself.

We're excited, nervous, and anxious, of course!  I ask that you continue to keep G., the baby, and us in your prayers.  We pray for safe, smooth, and comfortable travel, labor, and delivery.  Words will never be able to express our gratitude and love for G.  I am more and more impressed by her sweet nature, kindness, bravery, and courage each and every day.

Thank you, all for your continued love, prayers, and support! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Mike and I went to the furniture store to purchase a new recliner for the livingroom.  Gliders were in the same area as the recliners.  I told Mike that I would love to have one for the nursery.  We found out that if we added a glider to our order, the delivery charge would be the same as with the recliner alone.

The glider was delivered today.  We LOVE it and anxiously await the arrival of the baby girl to rock in it.

We still have some work to do before the nursery is complete and fully functional, but it's coming along.  Of course not as quickly as this impatient girl would like.  We'll be all ready for our little girl!