Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Your curly hair

Dear Brit,

We had such a busy weekend!  This entire summer has been and will be filled with baseball games and tournaments.  Three of your five brothers are playing baseball.  Two of them on competitive, traveling teams.  And the other brother is coached by BF which takes another level of family commitment.

So Friday night we had the unusual privilege of having a night without baseball games.  It was FANTASTIC.  The best part of it all was that this weekend happens to be our city's annual festival, called Derby Days.  It begins with a parade on Friday evening and is complete with a carnival with all the rides you would expect.  We all gathered together and watched the parade with BF's best friend and his kids, in the unusually hot temperature.  Thankfully this year none of us were marching in the parade, which made it tolerable.

The entire time we were watching the parade march by, the boys kept begging to leave and head straight up to the carnival.  They were very certain that they were missing precious time that could have been spent riding rides!

So the parade ended and we made our way up to the carnival. And that is when the fun began!  Rather than explain, I will just provide photo evidence. 

Then came Saturday.  I went out of town to a tournament with D and his baseball team.  BF and the other boys stayed behind so they could host Trent's 10th birthday party at the roller skating rink.  From what I hear, it was also a great success, despite the fact that your brothers are not very good at roller skating.  I wish I would have seen video!

D's team played two games and we got back home by evening.  D and LanMan wanted to go back to the carnival so we dropped them off (the other two were with their mom) and BF and I went to dinner.  He had just completed a long bike ride and run, because he is training for a few triathlons that he has planned for this summer.  All of that training made him hungry, and I am always game for dinner out!

Sunday brought more baseball games for D, but this time his dad took him and LanMan because it was Father's Day.  So, BF and the other boys and I decided to spend a couple of hours shooting clays at a local shooting range.  It is actually in the same town that your dad teaches in.  A small place, but beautiful shady scenery.

I had never shot a gun before (never wanted to), but while we were out there, BF and your brother convinced me to try.  I wasn't very good, but I tried several time.  Once I even hit the target!

As you will see from these pictures, BF and your brother look totally confident as they shoot.  Me on the other hand, not so confident.  A bit awkward would be more like it.

He was SO BORED! Can you tell?
After the outing at the shooting range, we headed to BF's uncle and aunt's house for a fish fry.  BF's parents were there, as was his cousin and his daughter.  It was a super fun evening of family time and good food.

Now, here is my favorite part of the entire day...  

While I was sitting in the kitchen with BF's mom (your grandmother) and BF's aunt, we got talking about hair.  And the conversation turned to how curly and blonde you are right now.  Apparently BF's hair was just like that when he was your age.  I told them mine was curly and very blonde too, and your brother LanMan had ringlet curls just like yours.  It appears you were destined to have curly blonde hair, coming from a gene pool like that!

BF's aunt kept looking for a photo to show me his hair at that age, but we never could find one.  Probably archived deep in a cedar chest somewhere.  Even if we didn't find what we were looking for, going through the old pictures was fun and educational, since I am new to the family.

But the reason I loved the conversation was that when we talk about you like that, it almost seems like you are there as a part of us.  And because my heart so desperately wishes that you were with our family, especially at get togethers like that, the fact that we at least talk about you makes me feel like you are still considered one of our family, even if you are not allowed to join us.

So we finished off our Father's Day weekend by coming home and watching a movie.  As happens more often than not, I fell asleep on the couch curled up next to BF.  With our favorite photo of you on the table beside us. 

Before I end for today, wanted to share with you one other thing that just happened this morning.  I emailed a new picture of you over to BF.  It was one that he had not seen before.  Before you read his response, I need to explain to you , he and I always tease each other because we are so different.  BF is careful and calculated (he's an accountant you know!) and I am carefree and silly, which is why I am in marketing.  With that, here was his response...

I love that picture, those wild blonde curls are so cute…….they just say “Wild Marketing Girl”! J Although I would like to think that some part of me is in there……….maybe she will be a Wild Marketing girl that can run! J  Love you!

Yes Brit, we love you very much.  And we are proud that we are a part of you, and that you are a part of us.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The summer gift bag

Dear Brit,

I was super excited to come to work today to find the hallway empty.  Probably not something that most people would find exciting, but it meant that your dad came by this weekend and picked up the presents we left for you and your brother and sister!

You see, BF and I have been picking up fun summer themed toys/gifts for you for the past month.  We also got presents for your brother and sister who will be celebrating their first birthday this Saturday.

For your brother and sister, we got big chunky cars.  Your brother's is a John De.ere tractor and your sister's is a girly pink car.  We liked the John De.ere tractor because BF works for a John De.ere company.  We also got each of them a stuffed lovey (elephant and doll), and a couple of other small toys.

For all three of you, we included a pair of little sunglasses and a wind up water toy. They look like great bathtub or pool toys. We also got you a soccer goal to share.  We thought that was appropriate because your dad was a soccer player and our boys played soccer with you when you came for your last visit.  Hopefully the three of you can play soccer together.

In your Do.ra the Ex.plorer gift bag we included the swirly straw M&M cup that we got for you when we were in Vegas a few weeks ago.  As you can see by the pictures here, we loved the M&M store.  And you were the only person we got a gift for while we were there.  Sadly, these silly pictures are the best photos we took on that vacation!

Because we know you love to read, and your mom teaches ballet, we included a book called Gira.ffes Can't Dan.ce accompanied by a stuffed giraffe.  If you are anything like  me, you will understand that dancing is a skill not everyone is good at.  Including giraffes.

Another item we sent you was a cute little patriotic outfit with tutu skirt that has a dog that looks like our pet Sassy on the top.  You loved Sassy when you came to visit us.  I even put copies of the pictures of you and Sassy in with the outfit so you could remember playing with the dog.   Speaking of pictures, we also printed several photos from your visit and put them in a small photo album you can carry around.  They are photos of only you, that way you can take it anywhere you would like, without your parents having to explain who the other people are in the pictures (since many of the photos we took that visit had one of our family members included).

But by far, our favorite gift in the bag was the books that use a picture of you as the main character.  I hope the books don't scare you, because it is a bit creepy seeing your face on a bunny, but maybe you will like them.  We hope you do.

On the last page of each of the books we personalized the message just so you know that we were thinking about you and hopefully when you can read, you will recognize that the books were made with love by us.

And finally, I added a postcard with a simple little note wishing you fun playing with the new gifts.

So today, I sit thinking about how you might be playing with something we sent you.  I know you don't know who we are, but the idea that maybe we were able to send gifts that make you happy brings joy to my heart.

I hope you have a very happy, fun filled summer!

We love you so very much!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The photo on the end table

Dear Brit,

I want to start writing you letters so some day you can know how often I thought about you and so you won't have missing years from when you didn't have a relationship with us.  I hope I can keep up, but even if they are intermittent, at least there will be some.

Today I want to start with a letter to let you know how we remember you at our house.  Obviously, you are not a visitor to our home with any frequency. Since we only have gotten the opportunity to see you twice, we keep your visible presence with us the only way we have, and that is through pictures.

So I thought I would tell you about the picture of you on the end table in the living room.  It sits right next to the couch where BF and I sit to watch TV, work on the computer, and just generally relax.  The photo sits closest to where BF sits, because we always sit in the same spots. (When you get to know BF, you will realize that is common for him - he likes consistency.)

Each month your parents send us 3-4 pictures of you in an email.  The email tells us about your development and often your dad adds a funny story that I'm sure will embarrass you someday when you read them.  The photos they attach are usually from the previous month and they give us an idea of what you look like now.  As you can imagine, the change from one month to the next is amazing since you are still so young and little people grow so fast!

Generally, I make a collage from the pictures they send and I have it printed as an 8x10 photo.  I put the updated collage in the frame by the couch every month.  Usually I have the photo printed the very same day that we get the email from your parents, because I am always so excited to show your brothers the newest pictures of you.

But this month, I did something a little bit different.  Instead of a collage photo, I created an 8x10 of just one of your photos, which I also had printed as a black and white print.  It turned out amazing and looks absolutely beautiful in our living room.  Because it looked so good, I decided to do the same to another photo we got last month.  It too is gorgeous.

When I asked BF which one he wanted in the frame, he looked at them both and said that he loves both of them so he thought we should just alternate one picture per week.  I loved the idea.

Last night was the first time I switched to the second photo.  I grabbed the frame as we were all sitting down in the living room after a long night at the baseball field, and BF looked at me, smiled and said "Time to switch the picture?"  I nodded and switched it out and set it back on the table.

This picture is the most amazing close up of you smiling from ear to ear.  Because it is in black and white, it is very dramatic to see.  Once I set it back on the table I looked at your brothers and said, "Brit is watching you guys, look at her laugh!"

While we wish you were here with us more often than you are, at least we see your smiling face every day.  And know that it brings a smile to OUR faces.

We love you!

Monday, June 4, 2012

A thought

This weekend I saw a post on a birth mother's support group wall that I sometimes visit.

The birth mother had just been told that the adoptive parents were not yet 'comfortable' with their son meeting her (the birth mother) and his older brother.  The adopted child at hand is 17 years old.  78 days from being 18, when the child, who has already contacted his birth family, will be allowed to establish a relationship with them.


Obviously I am not privy to all of the dynamics involved here.

But here is the thought that kept running though my mind.

If you are not comfortable with your child meeting his/her birth family, don't adopt.

Because your child is the genetic match to his birth family.  You don't have to like the choices that they made, but you do have to acknowledge that your child comes from another family.  Your child probably looks like them.  May even act like them.

And I wonder if you are uncomfortable with knowing your child's family of birth, are you completely accepting of who your child is?  Because he/she is the sum of many things.  Things you have taught in your home, and things that may just be part of his/her genetics.

It is all important.

If you are not willing to accept that part of your child's life, maybe adoption is not the best choice.

Just a thought.

Simply amazing

I read the following blog post last week (Adoptive and birth mom interview) and have not been able to shake it from my mind since then.  From the moment I found Amber at Bumber's Bumblings, I knew she was an over the top, unbelievable adoptive mom.

I follow her through blog land and FB and we have since become virtual friends too.

But all weekend I found my mind wandering back to her interview with her child's first mom Ashley.  The way they talk about each other.  The respect for one another.  And the shared love of one little boy who has brought two families together.

There is one line in their interview that just got my heart with a direct hit, it is Amber (adoptive mom) speaking to Ashley (birthmom);
"I worry that we try to spend too much time with you. I also worry that we ask you to babysit too much, and maybe that is offensive to you."

Could you imagine that?  An adoptive mom who wants to spend time with her child's birth mother?  An adoptive mom who wants her child's birth mother to be the child's caregiver in their absence.  An adoptive mom who feels like she tries too hard to be inclusive.  The concept nearly brings me to tears right now.

This line was especially poignant to me because of a conversation I had with BF when he and I found out that our daughter's parents were expecting twins just months after adopting our daughter.

He and I were discussing the impact of this on Brit and our future relationship with her parents.  BF, being more optimistic than I am with regard to this topic, said to me.. "Wouldn't it be great if some day that would trust us enough to let us watch all of their kids so they could go out and enjoy a night by themselves?  Just think, maybe someday they will WANT us to keep Brit so they can have a little time alone."

Now, if you are a reader of my blog, you know that we are no where near this kind of relationship with them.  Actually, that is probably an understatement.


When reading Amber's comments about asking Ashley to babysit B, it made me realize this is a possibility with some open adoption relationships.  The idea that they go out together as adults (Ashley and Amber) and they have conversations like friends, makes me want to cry tears of joy.  What a blessing to B.  There is no threat from him loving both of his mothers, because both of his mothers love each other!

I also love the joy that seems to come to both families in this relationship.  Not just the moms, but also the extended families.

And it is not just Amber and Ashley who have this type of deep friendship and mutual respect for what each brings to the relationship with the child.  I have read several blogs of adoptive moms and first moms who have similar relationships that include the birth family spending alone time with the child, while the parents have some grown up time.  A great post to this topic is from Lori titled Returning to the Well.

I think there is great maturity and insight that Lori shares about how her daughter NEEDS time with her birth family.  And the time she spends with them is an investment in her well-being.

So for today, that will be my happy thought.  There are some amazing adoptive moms out there who not only value the role of their child's birth family, but they also invest in a genuine friendship with the child's other family.

To you amazing mommas, I tip my hat!  (and have a whole lot of envy, but that is something I am working on!)

And to my dear sweet Brit, I hope that someday BF and I are in the crowd cheering you on as you dance, sing or play sports.  I also hope that someday we can deliver the gifts for you and your siblings, instead of sending them in the mail.  We can't wait to be a part of your life!