We’re Back (Sort of)

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In what amounted to the full efforts of a transcontinental move, our family has relocated itself.  Ten minutes down the road.  If you had asked me in January where I saw myself by the time pre-school started, I’d have answered in the same spot.  I couldn’t have imagined how roughly true that was.

It’s been a strange move.  We are officially in a new town, but we go to the same church and grocery store.  The only major difference to our out-of-the-house routine is which Target we go to.  Our new-to-us neighbors are finally realizing we don’t need tips on what’s what in NoVa.

Preschool started up this week for both girls.  They go to the same learning center.  They are in new classrooms with new teachers and loving it.  We see their old friends out on the playground, and we’re quickly making new friends.

One, a mom, was trying to figure us out.  She eventually approached the subject directly when she realized we were parked right next to each other.  She thought maybe Wren was my black husband’s child from a previous relationship because there was no way Wren had white blood in her.

I actually get that a lot from people I haven’t seen in ten years… Surely I’ve remarried as one does.

The thing is Wren does have a white great grandmother.  I shared that with the mom of the girl in Wren’s class.  When we got home, I asked Wren if it bothered her that I talked about her adoption.  She’s still very quiet on that subject.  Maybe I should take a cue from her.

Yes, I realize the irony that I’m blogging about it.

Highs and Lows

The weather yesterday was just perfection.  I didn’t get any pics of the girls in their Easter dresses, and I’m not worried about it.  They’ll be in them again soon enough.  (For the record, I did get a few pics of them on our walk in their more stylish play clothes.)

I have packed very minimally on this trip.  It’s an experiment for me in minimal living.  And so far I have realized I don’t need as much as I thought I did.

For example, I packed just two pants, one dress and three skirts for myself.  Three short tees, three long tees, one fitted shirt, oh and lots and lots of shoes.  I must be doing it right; I have worn more shoes than clothes.

I tried to pack minimally for the girls as well.  Three dresses each, and only a fraction of their clothes.  Unfortunately, that still amounts to a lot.

The weather today was cold and damp, and I don’t regret bringing extra clothes that could work as layers in a pinch.

The girls’ moods seem to fluctuate as much as the weather.  Their lives have been turned upside down.  We don’t see daddy anymore except through Facetime chats.  It’s been tough on everybody.  Not having a schedule hasn’t helped.

Today was the first day we didn’t have any epic meltdowns.

Plus there were naps.

There is hope.

 

She sings to them

It was just a thought I dismissed as I made the six-hour drive “home.”  Could I get the girls a chick or two?

My parents have had a variety of foul on the farm over the years. There have been chickens, geese, doves, ducks, and even emus.  These birds found their way to our various houses over the years in a manner of ways. One came home as a result of a school project in which several eggs were hatched in the classroom.  Some were purchased at auction.  Others were delivered by mail.

When grampa mentioned this very same idea on our gator ride, I let him know I had thought of it as well.  We conferred with gramma, and it was settled.  The girls were getting chicks. Continue reading

Should you adopt just because you should?

Last Wednesday, as Wren, Chickadee and I were getting ready to go on a walk around the neighborhood, I got a phone call from the adoption agency.  It was important.  It was the kind of call that makes you stop everything you are doing.

Mama Tee had given birth to a baby boy, and she wanted us to adopt him.

“Hold up!” I am hearing you all say. “Didn’t you just see her?  Did you know she was pregnant?”

Yes, we saw her back in February.  She was wearing a coat indoors which was a little strange.  While I briefly entertained the possibility of her being pregnant, the subject did not come up.  I figured she would tell me if she wanted to, and I left it at that.

Did I secretly wish deep down that she was pregnant and that we could raise him?  Yes.

So why did Okey and I respond no?  It’s complicated.

The reason I’ve struggled with writing this post is that I don’t feel it’s my place to share the details surrounding his birth.  I’m not going to reveal much here because I want to respect him and his family.

Like his sister, he was born early.  No one knew when he would be released from the hospital.  With my two little ones, I knew that I could not make the daily trips (80-miles one-way) to see him.  I felt strongly that he needed his mother to hold him daily, and I could not offer him that.

Okey and I also recognized that our girls have needs and fully deserve our attention.  I’m sure we could have made it work, bringing him into our family, but it would have been a lot of work.  We’re already feeling like a fragile ecosystem.

We spent days asking difficult questions.  We felt like philosophers by the end of the long weekend.

Does blood matter that much?  Should we adopt because it is the right thing to do?  How do we fit three car seats in the SUV?  Will Wren resent us?

We talked it over with our parents and some friends in the adoption world, and I’m so thankful for their support and perspectives.

The tug on my heart to hold him was there, but I didn’t feel a motherly love toward him.  When we got the call about Wren, we knew she was our daughter.  The bond with her was instantaneous.  We just didn’t get that same peace with him.  Maybe it’s because we weren’t looking to expand our family, or maybe it just was not meant to be.

Yummy Yams

I have two daughters, and neither of them looks like me.

When the older was an only child, and we’d be out and about, strangers would say, “She must really take after her father.” Now with a second one in tow, people assume correctly that she’s adopted. But this second one, who came from my womb, she doesn’t look like me either. People exclaim all the time, “She looks like her daddy!” All the time.

It was starting to eat at my soul a little bit. I even had a ridiculous dream where I asked for a maternity test. Every little thing she does can also be attributed to him, well, except for this one thing.

She’s been a picky eater when it comes to “solid” foods. It hasn’t stopped me from introducing her different things, despite her indifference to swallowing. Anyway, I think I finally found something I have in common with this precious girl.

Last night, she was introduced to sweet potatoes. Unlike her daddy, she could not get enough of it. She loved it. She was reaching for more. It was simply the best feeding experience ever.

Parenting Two Children: The Differences

Most times, we feel like we got this parenting thing down. This ain’t our first rodeo after all.

We’ve been through the sleepless nights, the explosive diapers, and the random crying spells which result in what I call “mommy hold me” days.

With child #1, we couldn’t wait for her to meet every milestone. She did not disappoint either. She offered her first smile at nineteen days! You’re supposed to begin offering “solid” food at four-six months, but we started at sixteen weeks since she expressed interest and ability super early. She became mobile at five months and mastered walking at the end of ten.

And that’s another thing, it was easy to keep track if her age.

With child #2, I actually want to slow down time. I want to savor each and every second with her because now I know how quickly those moments go by.

I’m lucky if I can remember how old she is, too. I couldn’t keep track of the weeks anymore so I rounded by months. I started doing this when she was one month old.

“Mommy hold me” days throw the whole house into upheaval because it’s okay to ignore the laundry for a day but not another child.

Child #2 does not nap. Well, she does close her eyes for ten minutes but then wakes up with a loud cry. She doesn’t want to miss a thing, I think. (Big sister is very entertaining.)  She does sleep through the night which is more than I can say for child #1 right now.

We’ve been trying to transition child #1 to her toddler bed. She likes the new bed and all the praising we give her for being such a big girl, but she is one who needs limits and literal boundaries. She senses her new freedom at one in the morning and would rather jump out of bed to play. We remain in our bed listening to her talking to her stuffed animals. Sometimes she goes to the baby gate and bangs on it. More than once we have found her asleep on the floor next to the gate, having brought the contents of her bed (pillow, blankets, Sammy, etc.) with her. More than a dozen dozen times we have put her back into her bed.

As much as I want to savor these infant moments with child #2, she’s outgrown her bassinet and soon she’ll outgrow the pack and play. She needs to go in a crib in the other room.  I’m sure we’ll find a solution even if that means we buy a second crib.

Child #2, I’ve often said, enjoys being a baby. At six months now though I’m starting to worry and find myself comparing her to her older sister who by this time had eaten several puréed vegetables, moved on to puffs and rusks, and could roll over. We had our check ups last week and physical therapy was discussed. She’s not interested in swallowing her rice cereal even if I have sweetened it with puréed fruit. The thought of rolling over is abhorrent to her, to put it frankly.

We’ve got a lot to figure out and I’m sure everything will turn out well in the end. What we’ve got going for us right now is smiles and lots of them, from both girls and us.

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Adoption: A placement doesn’t have to be good-bye

Yesterday we had the great joy of reuniting with someone very special to our family.  She’s kind of a big deal.  You see, without Tee, we wouldn’t be the family we are today.

Nearly two years ago we met briefly.  She was entrusting us to raise her daughter.  It was awkward.  It was emotional.  She asked, out of the blue, if she could have a reunion visit.  The social workers said we didn’t have to agree.  They said if we gave an inch, she’d take a mile.  But how could we say no?  “Yes,” we cried.  Tee said that we wouldn’t even have to identify her as our daughter’s biological mother.  That we couldn’t agree to.  Our daughter would know her.

The plan was to meet Continue reading