Wednesday, November 23, 2011

merriam-webster defines thanksgiving as:
  1. the act of giving thanks
  2. a prayer expressing attitude
  3. a public acknowledgement or celebration of divine goodness
we're going with definition number three.  our hearts are exploding with celebration with this gift of family that we've been given.  we cannot begin to express our gratitude for daxton's birth mother for the love she's shown to us and to daxton.  just saying we're thankful does not even begin to cover it.  how can you put into words something that brings you the most amazing joy you've ever known?

this is it.  this is the holiday we've longed for all this time.  a time to build our own family traditions, carry down things that remind us of our own child hoods, and creating memories with and for dax.  it's still hard to believe it's all real, but for this day, this life, this gift, this treasure, this love, we give the ultimate thanks.

Monday, November 21, 2011

dax - day thirteen

daxton - day thirteen.
we've had lots of firsts in the past 13 days.  (in no particular order)

first sunny day.
first rain storm.
first car ride.
first trip to the pediatrician.
first weight gain.
first stroll around the neighborhood.
first meeting with nani.
first meeting with pawpaw.
first stroll around the park.
first gifts received.
first trip to target.
first trip to starbucks.
first diaper blow out.
first bath.
first attempted photo shoot.
first hiccups.
first visitors welcomed.
first post-placement visit with birth mother.
first visit with brother.
first package received in his name.
first attempted sleep in cradle ended in first rollover on tummy.
first arched back and holding head up.
umbilical cord fell off.
first boys hang out with daddy.
first doggy kiss on his toes.
held first toy.
first attempt to throw passie across the room.

right now we're battling some dry skin and baby acne.  each day his dry skin gets a little better, and it does not seem to bother him a bit.  he has a suspected blocked left tear duct that the pediatrician is just watching.  he works to open a little more each day and it tends to help when we apply a warm compress a few times a day.

he's enjoying his outdoor time and loves to go for strolls and to hang out on the screened in porch.  we're working to get him acclimated to his days and nights.  he loves to sleep the majority of the day and then wakes up ready to go around 9pm.  unfortunately we are not as much night owls as we once were, so by that time mommy and daddy are exhausted.  some nights we get a 3 or 4 hour stretch, and we're very grateful when that happens.

he really enjoys listening to music.  his favorite cd right now is "you are my flower" by elizabeth mitchell.  we all love singing "little sack of sugar" to him.  he thinks its funny when we tell him we're going to "eat him up".  he almost seems to smile and dance when we play this song.

he's more wonderful than we could have ever imagined.  we waited so long for a precious child, but we had no idea how much love and joy he'd bring into our lives.  we savor every minute and treasure each second we have to spend with him.  we know how lucky we are to have him in our lives.  we prayed for so long for him to find us, and we just really had no idea what we were missing until he got here.  he is the sweetest baby who rarely ever cries.  we know he only cries if he's gone too long for his bottle or if he has a dirty diaper that we have not figured out yet.  otherwise he is calm, sweet, and restful.  we praise God for every day and we're looking forward to many more firsts with baby dax.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

adoption bloggers interview project

i elected to participate in the "adoption bloggers interview project 2011".  i was paired with another blogger and we were asked to read each other's blogs and create some interview questions to get to know them a little better. 

i had the pleasure of interviewing mandy from  mandy is the mother of two children who entered her life through adoption.  mandy's blog focuses on every day struggles that most of us face.  she's a down to earth friendly person who i hope to meet one day!  cannot thank her enough for her offers of emotional support while we've been going through adjusting to life as a family of three!  she's a true sweet heart!

below are some questions that i asked mandy to answer for us in this interview project.

Are your adoptions open, and if so how has the openness worked out in your situation?

Yes, our adoptions are both open. Our struggle has been in the levels of openness from child to child. For example, Ellie's birthparents are both very stable who were college students when she was born. Both of their families supported adoption, but we have had to have different levels of participation from each of them. Ellie's birthmother and her family see Ellie at least twice a year, and we text, email, Facebook each other all the time. Anytime I send pics to my family, I send it to them. They come for Ellie's birthday each year, also. Her birthfather, on the other hand, has stepped away from us in the last couple of years, so our contact is mostly through emails and letters. His family also decided that ttey didn't want to be involved in an open adoption process, so we've had no contact with them since her birth. Sam's situation is a bit different - his birthmother was very young and from a pretty unstable environment, while his birthfather was a married father of other children. We have no contact with his birthfather, but we have annual visits with his birthmother, in addition to texts, emails, phone calls, etc. We don't feel comfortable having them in our home for various reasons, so we go to see them (about 6 hours away).

What is the best thing from your perspective about being an adoptive parent?

I think it's the opportunity to clearly see God's work and plan for our lives. How many people have children and don't stop to consider the miracle? We get to marvel at it everyday! I think if we had been able to easily conceive, we would have just continued on our own little path without looking for God's will. We so desperately wanted what WE wanted, that we had never really stopped to ask. We were only days away from starting the in-vitro process when we got "the call" ... a friend called to say her cousin's daughter was 15, 7 months pregnant, and looking for a family to adopt her baby. Literally, it was that quick and easy. Two months later he was home. It's as though God put His gentle hand on us, stopped us, turned us in a new direction, and said, - "here you go." It still gives me chills!

Was it ever hard to bond with your adopted children?

For me, bonding took awhile, but I truly believe this is just who I am and would have experienced even with biological children. I felt like a babysitter for months - literally MONTHS!!! It was a gradual process for me that eventually led to that "I would kill someone to protect you" kind of love. And now, the love I feel for them both is so intense, so deep that it is almost all-consuming!

How did you handle grieving over not having biological children?
That it is a good question. More accurately, it's how I STILL handle the grief. I don't know that it will ever go away. When I was a youth minister, I used to talk to the teens about each of us bearing our own burdens and taking what God gives us and living our lives according to His will, not our own. For us, our burden, if we can call it that, was suffering with infertility. For others, it may be a mental health issue or a dysfunctional family dynamic. I think instead of something that we grieve and get over, instead it becomes a part of who we are. I will always feel sadness at not having been able to go through the experience of pregnancy, but I wouldn't change my life. (I wrote a post about the grief a few weeks ago even!)

How would you like others to be more aware of orphaned children and what could be done to alleviate global issues in this crisis?

I wish I could get a hold of those couples who are paying tens of thousands of dollars for fertility treatments and give them the gift of seeing our lives, and your life, and others' lives with our adopted children. I wish I could tell them that in the realm of being a parent, reproducing biologically is just a bonus - truly peripheral when it comes to parenting and raising a family. I wish they could know that the love they want to have is available without the medical intervention.

I think to alleviate the global situation, we need more not for profit agencies handling adoptions, making the cost much less for those wishing to adopt internationally. I know that kept us from seeking international adoption for a third child.
i cannot thank mandy enough for answering my candid questions.  i really appreciate her genuine honesty in her answers and totally agree with her positions.  i really do hope we can get to continue to know each other better and further this relationship.  a connection with adoption binds parents together and helps us see things on a grander scale.  i'm so thankful for this opportunity and another connection out there in the blogsphere!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

meet daxton

meet daxton.  his arrival has been greatly anticipated by multitudes of wonderful people.  he'll surpass your wildest expectations, so just get ready because the journey is just beginning.

we woke up early this morning in preparation to head to the hospital around 10:30.  we wanted to make sure dax's clothes and diaper bag were ready to go.  we'd changed up his clothing arrangements several times since he was too tiny for some of the things we had in his closet.  we were ready early and i just sat with nervous energy waiting for the time to pass.  some how the last 30 minutes of this wait seemed like the longest time period of the entire journey.  finally it was time to go.

we packed up the car and pulled out of our drive way for the last time as a family of two.  will drove us to the hospital and i cried off and on until we arrived.  since we were early we decided we'd make some public announcements as to today's plan via email/facebook.  when it was close to time to be there we headed inside.  we waited anxiously in the lobby of the hospital for the social worker to arrive.  we've been working with an alternate social worker this week as our assigned social worker had to be away for a family emergency.  when she arrived we found a spot in the lobby area to sit and complete our portion of the paperwork that remained.  she went over everything with us and made sure we did not have any questions.  before too long it was time to head upstairs.

tears were welling up as we walked the long corridor to our birth mother's hospital room.  there was a heaviness that surrounded the situation and made me feel so overwhelmingly upset.  we felt (and continue to feel) extreme sadness for her loss in knowing that the happiest day of our lives is one of the most difficult in hers.  we wish there was something we could do to comfort her and help her heal as she works through this loss and grief.  it's hard for me to feel the happiness i've longed for today when all i can think about is the sadness that consumes her.

however despite the gravity of the situation and the complexity of everything that envelopes us we know more than ever that God is just quite simply amazing.  we don't really know how we got here, but today we brought home our son.  daxton is the most amazingly perfect little fellow you've ever laid your eyes on.  we praise God every minute that passes for this blessing and cannot wait to share how his little life will unfold.  today - our sweet baby darling deer found his way to us.  thank you daxton for finding us and calling us your family.

it's happening

tuesday - 11/08/11 - 12:38am
this was the day "our" son was born.
i did not sleep at all that night and this was the photo of the sunrise on tuesday morning.

what we've been looking for will be here tomorrow.

Friday, November 4, 2011


faith like a mustard seed, that's all it takes. never give up hope, he's gonna do great things.

He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

saturday we had a long conversation about the loss of hope. will was worried his hope was gone. it was heartbreaking to hear the phrase that he'd lost hope, but i knew it was still part of his grieving heart.

sunday we worshipped at church with a proper sermon on hope and faith. it's like God was speaking right to will's heart.

monday morning will prayed for his hope, his heart, and the adoption. monday afternoon our social worker called about an opportunity.

today we met this sweet mother who wanted to learn more about us and how things would unfold. she graced us with some amazing ultrasound photos, something we thought we'd never have. she connected with us on multiple levels and we're blessed to have met her.

we've got faith like a mustard seed and nothing is impossible.