Thursday, September 27, 2012

She looks alot like me!

Dear Brit,

We got our monthly email update from your parents two days ago.  The stories your dad tells crack us up.  You are a funny little girl and I am so glad he is able to share the stories so well with us.

When I got the email, your brothers were all gone at sports practices and doing other things.  So I sent a text message to them with your pictures.  They love to get the new pictures which they keep on their phones.  They are very proud that you are their sister.

L and Lisa - See, he even lets me hug him!
As soon as I sent the photos, your brother L sent back a text that said "She looks alot like me!".  And he is right.  L had hair just like yours when he was your age.  However, because he is a boy, we cut his beautiful curls off so he had a 'boy' haircut.  However, if we would have let them go, he would have had the very same huge white blonde 'afro' that you do.  Add to it your beautiful blue eyes, just like his and your brother D, and you are very similar looking. (I will admit, that there are also lots of things about you that remind me of BF too, but I'll tell you about that some other day.)

L is the sweetest young man.  Which is strange for a mom to say about a 13 year old boy.  But he is simply amazing.  He is kind, super funny and he loves his family - alot.  At school every girl says that L is their best friend.  I can't believe how many girls and guys both will post on his Facebook page about how he is their 'bestie'.  Makes a mom proud to know that he is so kind to everyone.

And if you were around, you would probably find that he would be your best friend too.  He loves little kids and they love him because he plays with them.  The little girl we watch on the weekends is desperately in love with L.  She follows him through the house.  He carries her all around.  He plays hilarious chase games with her.  They are a blast to watch.

So I hope that maybe you will also get the same sweet and charming temperament that L has.  Because he is and has been a great kid and I expect he will be an amazing adult someday too.

We all love you very much and think and talk about you every single day!  The boys and I can't wait to get to know you better.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Three years ago

This Saturday marked a three year anniversary for me.  I put the day on my calendar right after it happened, because I knew it would be a life altering day for our family.  How right I was.

D sleeping off whatever ailed him in 2009
Three years ago my youngest son was in the hospital.  At the time the doctor thought he had meningitis.  He had a high fever, extreme headache and slept for almost 3 days.  Because he was only 8 years old, the doctor had him admitted to the hospital so they could monitor him and try to determine the source of his illness.  They never did determine what caused him to be so sick, but in true D fashion, he pulled out of it just fine.  But those few days were stressful for all of us.  Add to it, I was pregnant, my family did not know, and I was wrestling with an adoption decision.

The week preceding the illness, BF and I had met with two potential adoptive couples that we were considering for our daughter (although at the time, we didn't know she was a little girl).

One couple owned a ranch in a western Kansas town that BF had grown up in.  They were a neat Christian couple who we enjoyed getting to know.  They brought us a huge gift basket filled with pregnancy craving items that they had picked up.  They were so excited to be considered as parents for our child.  You could tell that they were giddy with the thought as we talked with them.  At the time, I felt terribly guilty about accepting the gift basket, but I could tell that they just wanted to show how appreciative they were that we had taken the time to choose them for an in-person meeting.  (For HAPs who are wondering; for me, this gift was over the top.  I understood their heart, but even eating anything out of the basket made me feel guilty.  I gave everything in it to my kids, except for the Tums.  I did use the Tums.)

We met with the second couple the next day.  We met them at a Starbucks and it was a very casual meeting.  They did not bring gifts.  They were not polished about adoption.  They were not clients of an agency.  They were a friend of a friend, and they were having a hard time conceiving children and they desperately wanted to be parents.  They did not own a ranch.  They were of modest means and younger than us.  They lived 10 minutes from us and the wife was even in the same field of employment as me.  They too were Christians and they seemed very easy to talk to.  The kind of people we would hang out with.

BF and I drove home from that meeting and knew this was going to be tough.  Both families seemed so kind.  It was obvious how desperately they wanted to be parents.  And with my tender heart, I could just feel their pain and desperation.

BF and I wrestled with our decision.  We had agreed not to talk about it together until a week later giving me time to pray about it, and him time to visit with his parents about their thoughts.

The second prospective adoptive couple dropped off a letter to us a couple days after the meeting thanking us for meeting with them and assuring us that they would be the kind of parents who we wanted for our child.  The letter assured us that they would "raise our child in a Christian home where love, compassion and respect for others is paramount."

We told both couples that we didn't want to leave them wondering too long, and we planned to make our decision by Monday of the following week.

When BF and I came together a week later with our lists of pros and cons of each couple, it was obvious that we were both swayed to the same couple as our decision.  We wanted our child to grow up near us.  We wanted her to have the same lifestyle that our boys were living.  We wanted them to have common childhood experiences that they could draw upon when they had a relationship.  We wanted her to visit the same zoo our boys go to.  We wanted to know which schools she was attending.  By choosing the second couple, we felt confident that all of those things would happen.  So the decision was made.

I told BF that I would call the couple who we chose to place with and he had the tough call to the attorney for the other couple.  (It broke my heart for them, so I let BF do the tough stuff.)  It's only fair since I was the one with all day pregnancy sickness, right?

Then D got sick that night.  The fever went through the roof and I even had my ex-husband come to my house in the middle of the night to help me determine if we needed an immediate trip to the ER.  We ended up nursing D along until morning when the doctor saw us and told us that day that he wanted him admitted.

My ex-husband had left to go to training out of town which left me alone to handle all of the details needed to transport a child to the hospital, get him admitted and figure out what the plan of attack was.

I was tired, stressed out, and had just a ton on my plate.

But all the while I knew I needed to contact the couple who was anxiously awaiting our call.

So when D had been in the hospital for about 24 hours, I excused myself from his room and went to the waiting room to call who was soon to become Brit's parents.

When I reached the mom, I told her that I was sorry that I didn't call the day before like I had said I would.  I explained what was going on with D and she was very understanding.  I could tell by her voice that she was very apprehensive about what I was about to tell her.

I then told her that BF and I had chosen them to parent our child.  She nearly came through the phone.  She said that they were certain they weren't the family when we had not called the day before.  So my call of affirmation caught her by surprise.  She kept saying "I have to call my husband at work!".  Her elation was evident.  It made me happy to know that I had brought them so much joy.

So that is how it started.  The beginning of the relationship that would include Brit's mom being present at every doctor's appointment with me.  Our sonograms together.  The beginning of the life we were creating together for the sake of our daughter.

Three years ago.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Working through it

Been working through the emotional fallout from last couple of weeks.

I did visit the doctor and got medication for the anxiety attacks.  Yesterday I had a string of them (3 before noon).  But as the day progressed, I did better, and didn't have another one at all.  Today I have been anxiety attack free, which is a thing of beauty.

I hope that as the medication increases in my system I will be able to better regulate how my body is processing the chronic stress and anxiety I feel every day.

I am so glad I have an amazing network of friends.  The understanding and concern is overwhelming.  Thank you to all of you who are praying for me and all who are involved in our adoption situation.  I would like to ask that you continue to pray.  Because we all know that prayer can change everything.

So because I need to focus on the things that I can influence and (somewhat) control, I am working on trying to spend less time thinking about what we don't have now, and focus on what I can do to be ready for a relationship in the future.

If Brit is not going to have a place in our lives for a while, then I will make sure we document what we are doing and how we think about her every single day, so that in the future she can know that we always wanted to know her and spend time with her.  Even from the beginning.

Today I had lunch with a friend of mine who has been such a great support to me over the past couple of years.  If you knew both of us, you would wonder how in the world we got to be friends at all.  He is 20 years my senior, a sports writer for a local newspaper, and on occasion he has been accused of being a bit gruff.  I know nothing of sports (except that I sit in the bleachers watching my kiddos), I am young enough to be his daughter and I have never met a stranger.

A strange couple we are.

As we parted from our lunch date, he kindly reminded me that at some point I have to figure out how to tolerate how things are now, because I simply cannot change the situation. (For the record, he is about the 500th person to tell me this.)  I know he is worried about the anxiety issues I am having, and like every good man, if he could fix it, he would.

Normally that kind of advice falls on deaf ears for me, because I am not OK with it.  But today, his fatherly words came on the heels of a quote I read this morning and when I relayed the quote to him as we stood in the parking lot, he looked at me and said "That is exactly right."

So I leave you with these words which I am repeating to myself today.  They have spoken to my heart.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Grief and anxiety attacks

Last night I had an episode while trying to get out the door to take D to football practice.  I looked over at the photo we have on our end table and saw Brit's smiling little face.

Just seeing her brought a flood of emotions so strong that it took my breath away.  My heart started pounding and I knew I was about to pass out.

Thankfully I made it to the couch and sat with my head nearly touching the floor between my knees.  I just blacked out for a minute, but the heart pounding lasted for a while.

D handled it very well.  He knows.  He watched the tears fall like a river and he was very compassionate.

Then I had another episode in the middle of the night last night.  It was just as bad as the daytime one (couldn't breathe, heart pounding) but fortunately I was already laying down. I cannot believe it woke me from a complete sleep.  Apparently the grief goes to my core.

Interestingly enough, I checked into blog world this morning and read this post by another birthmother.

It seems this feeling is universal.

I can only imagine what work will be like today.  I suppose I will just make sure I am near a chair, and a box of tissues.

I will be calling my doctor.  It appears it will be back on the anti-anxiety meds again.  Just great.

I love that my doctor and my OB both cry with me when we talk about this adoption situation.  They are amazingly compassionate and so very understanding.

So for now, I will self medicate with Diet Coke. (Yes, I know caffeine is not a friend of anxiety, but this girl has a vice that is hard to kick, the the soothing bubbles do calm my psyche.)

Monday, September 10, 2012

The email arrived last week

We did receive an email from Brit's parents in response to the letter we mailed them.  The letter to them asked that they might consider opening up our relationship more between our families..

I have processed it enough that I can type this, but enough that I can find a sweet silver lining.  So the usual LisaAnne way of focusing on the positives will have to wait until I can type without tears.

That may be a while.

They are not interested in a familial relationship with us.  They are comfortable with the ways things are and they will let Brit decide when she wants a relationship with us.

That is all I can bring myself to say right now.

I know others of you walk this path with me.  Thank you for the outpouring of support.

Please continue to pray for an opening of their hearts and for God to help comfort mine.  And above all else, pray for sweet Brit, for she is the one who ultimately pays the price for our decisions.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An absolute MUST READ for every adoptive parent and mother considering placing a child

If I had not checked this amazing book out from the library, I would have filled it with highlighting.  From the beginning to the end.

This life changing book should have been a required reading for all of us prior to placement.  Not just casual reading (which it is not), but the kind of reading and studying that changes you.  The kind of reading that you should have a post-test about, just to make sure you got it all.

I will be purchasing two of these books today so I can re-read it and highlight all the words. Hopefully I will purchase and give away even more in the course of my life.

This book challenged me to be a more hospitable person.  Not just a nice person, but a person who lives a life of gracious hospitality.

It made me reevaluate why I do nice things for others.

It challenged me.

It made me bawl like a baby.  I had to put the book down a couple of times because I was exhausted.  I even had to skip through a chapter because the emotional toll it took on me was too painful.

This book broke my heart, because it spells out how to have the kind of adoption relationship I thought I would have.

If you are a prospective adoptive parent who reads my blog, BUY THIS BOOK.  If you are an adoptive parent who has never read this book, READ IT.

And for all of my birth mother friends, read this book so you might also evaluate the role we play in hospitality.

Adoptees, this book also speaks to you and the role that you are required to assume as a person who lives in adoption relationships.

Adoption field workers, you should not only read this book, but make it mandatory practice.  No question about it.

OK, I have said my piece.  Now I am going to go find another James Gritter book and start reading it too.  Because I am pretty sure this man is my new adoption relationship hero.  I would have never thought I would say that about an adoption facilitator, but this guy GETS IT.