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!