Saturday, December 15, 2012

Visit with Zoe’s birth family

A week or two ago, Zoe’s birth grandma asked me if they could come for a visit.  We were really excited to hear from her and said that we would love to see them.  Zoe’s birth grandma, grandpa, and one of her uncles came over.  It was so great to see them.  Zoe was literally jumping up and down and squealing when I told her they had just pulled up in front of the house. 

We visited, shared what has been going on in our lives, and gave them an early Christmas gift. 


Zoe had worked on a handmade ornament with me, and we had put a picture of her in another ornament for them to hang on their tree.  We also had Christmas pictures taken, so we included one of those and a couple other handmade projects.  They brought Zoe a gift that she almost didn’t take off for bed – a Snow White costume and tiara.  They also brought her a Snow White tea set that her birth grandpa picked out and a cookie-making kit for all of us.  Zoe had a great time playing with her uncle.  It was so cute to watch them. 

After visiting at our house, we went out to lunch (and yes, Zoe wore her costume to the restaurant!) and spent some more time catching up.  I am so grateful to be able to spend the time with them, and so happy that they can see how much Zoe is growing up.  I wish her birth mom had been able to be here, too, with all of us.  She is still out of state for school.  We miss her so much.


Having an open adoption has been such a great thing for our family.  We are so glad that they are a part of our lives and that we are a part of theirs. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Missing someone at Christmas

I dropped Zoe off at preschool, ran to Target, and drove home. As I turned down our street, I saw an ambulance sitting there at the base of someone’s driveway.  My heart quickened as I thought of the people inside the house.  I don’t know them, but I can only imagine how scared they must be if someone was so sick or hurt that they had to call 911.  I said a prayer as I drove by that I hoped everyone was going to be okay. 

It made me start to think about my Aunt Pat and how she had a heart attack right before the holidays.  She was my mom’s sister and my Godmother.  She thought she had indigestion or something, and it turned out to be much worse.   She was in the hospital over Christmas and passed away a few weeks afterwards.  My Uncle Johnny, Aunt Pat’s husband, passed away days before Christmas, too.

I miss my aunt, uncle, and my grandparents so much, especially this time of year. So many things remind me of them.  I have my grandma’s Christmas tree (that my mom made)  in Zoe’s room.  It’s topped with a little snowflake ‘star’ that she crocheted.  (I pulled it out of her room for this picture because she was napping when I took it.)


And I was just telling Zoe yesterday how my grandpa would have laughed at how she seems to be hungrier lately; he used to say to us, “Are you eating again?!”  Making cookies always reminds me of my Aunt Pat and how she’d make bon-bon cookies – they were my favorite.  I can picture my Uncle Johnny laughing at all of the silly things Zoe does.  My aunt, uncle, and my grandparents would love Zoe so much.  I know they do; I just wish they could be here with us so that she could get to know them.  They were all such special people. 

I don’t say it often enough, but I really appreciate my family.  I hope they know how I feel.  I am so glad that they are so involved in our life and with our daughter.  I am very lucky to have them.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Adoption Blogger Interview Project–Interview with Kelly

adoption blogger

This is my first year participating in Production, Not Reproduction’s Adoption Blogger Interview Project.  There are over 100 participants(adoptive parents, birthparents, and adoptees), so after you are done reading my interview here, you can head over here to check out the rest:  2012 Participants.

How does it work?  Well, a couple of weeks ago, I saw a post about the project on the blog mentioned above, Production, Not Reproduction.  I asked if I could be one of the interviewers and interviewees (is that a word?), and I was matched with Kelly at her blog, Surprised by Hope.  She blogs about their journey to adopt and the wonderful relationship and open adoption they have with their daughter, S’s, firstmom/birthmom, Momma A.  They are currently waiting to adopt a second time.  It was really great reading her blog from start to finish – she writes in a very straight-from-the-heart way.  She talks about the hurdles and low moments and shares the highlights and amazing moments as well.  Here’s our interview:

1- On your blog, you share a lot about your journey to become parents and how you are in the process of waiting to adopt again right now. Can you share a little bit about the adoption of your daughter and particularly your decision to have an open adoption?

We actually started out for a waiting child in Taiwan because we were apprehensive about open adoption. When that didn't go as planned, we were asked if we'd be interested in a special needs baby boy in the States. It was then that we really started researching more real life stories of open adoption. We had read about the differences in closed and open adoption. But I had started meeting adult adoptees more frequently and the recurring theme in their stories the desire to see what their birth families looked like, who they were as people, and to know some part of their birth family's story. And it really touched my heart and I started understanding that desire and wanting to fulfill that desire for our future child, to know all of their story. Honestly the moment we met Momma A we knew open adoption was right for our family. We met her once before S arrived and I roomed in with her at the hospital(her request). Those 3 days were very special for us.

As you mentioned above we are now waiting for our second child and we will be adopting through the foster care system. Because of how the children come into care most of the time we may or may not have any openness with their biological families. This has been a daily struggle for us because we love our openness with S's first family. It's interesting looking back at how far we've come.

2-At one point on your blog you wrote about feeling torn at times about what to share or how much to share. I often feel like that as well. Can you explain why you feel torn and how do you decide what is okay to write about?

I do feel very torn about what to share and where the boundaries should be. I've had several discussions with other adoptive moms about whether I share too much or if we are sharing an okay amount with the world. This is of course our family blog, and it's a place to write our story for S and our future children. Life is full of happy and sad times. Lately I've slowed in my writing, not because there's nothing to write, but because a lot of our story this past year has been heartbreaking and I want our blog to be uplifting and encouraging.

In regards to S's story some parts of it are hers alone, and I feel that there are some things she should get to choose, when she's old enough to understand, what she will share with others. That is one reason I do not disclose her birth mother's name or her family members names or their photos. I usually ask myself as I'm working on a blog what would I want others to know if I where in S's shoes.

3-Several of your posts touch on how you are a transracial family. You write about how you try to incorporate aspects of S's first family's culture and heritage into your life. Can you explain how you do that? What have you shared with your daughter from your heritage? (For example, do you have special traditions?)

We have tried to incorporate her first family's heritage and culture as much as we can. I'm trying to think of the best way to describe that without divulging too much of her personal story and giving away some of Momma A's personal information too. So, one way was to teach S from infancy the language that her extended first family speaks at home. While I am by no means fluent, I thought her what I knew and she picked up everything I knew by the time she was 14-15 months old. Of course S refuses to speak it now that she's in preschool! When I try to speak it she tells me, in English(with a Southern drawl, heaven help me), "Mommy, I don't want to say your ABC's!!!" *Sigh* At least I know that it will help her in the future learn other languages, or that's what I am telling myself for all the time and money we invested to brush up my language skills! Also I learned recipes for some of her first families meals and S LOVED them! So I try to add them into our rotation of meals.

But by far the thing I do that I believe ties into her African American culture is her hair. I have spent a lot of time researching online and practicing with more products than I can count to make her hair be something she is proud of. It is blatantly obvious that I'm Vanilla and she's Chocolate(her words), and I want her to be proud of her chocolate skin and spiral curls. It really has been a very special bonding time for us as well. She LOVES her hair, and she loves to ask for her favorite hairdos, particularly beads. And it's the times we are out in public and an African American Momma or Grandma come up and ask where I take her to get her hair done and S tells them that Mommy does her hair with a big grin on her face that I know she loves her hair and we are doing a good job in that area.

Momma A and S's siblings have also shared with her a lot of their traditions in their family and so she hears things from them too. We hope to go to their home town in the next few years when she's old enough to remember and really experience some of the family traditions!

4-Can you talk about your openness agreement with S's first mom and if it has changed or evolved? Is there anything you would like to change if you could? It was really interesting to me to read about S's interaction with her birth-siblings. How great is that that she has a relationship with them as well?

Our openness agreement was just for S's first year. If you read on our blog the agency that did our adoption was not our choice and so I was not impressed with their handling of it. Thankfully, Momma A, DH and I all get along really well and so we took the agreement from the first year and adapted it after her first birthday. We did change the agreement after her first birthday and we all were in agreement that the number of updates was overwhelming to me, especially as I thought of trying to come up with something to write to Momma A monthly until S's 18th birthday. So we went to quarterly updates and we visit as often as time allows. (For general info., we had more visits than we first agreed too the first year, and I always sent more pictures than the agreement stated.) They have moved out of state so it was 2.5 years between our last visit. We do call and text regularly and include pictures and videos as well. Yes, if you've read on our blog S does have siblings and we all love that they will get to know each other and have a relationship. S LOVES them and talks about them often and she loves to send them pictures on my phone and they LOVE to send them back to her :)

5-You wrote very candidly about the losses you have dealt with - your miscarriages as well as the failed adoptions. All of it had to be so difficult to experience and to grieve. Can you talk about the kinds of things that helped get you through some of that? Do you have any tips for friends or family members of people who have experienced similar loss?

I have to say this was the hardest question for me to answer of all of them. Grieving a failed adoption placement has been the most difficult of our losses to grieve. The things that helped the most were definitely getting out of town. We needed family time without others around us, we needed the privacy to grieve in our own way, in our own time, without the feeling of having to "put on a smile." We changed many things, we took down the nursery, we packed away all the baby's things, we bought our first house, and we switched S's preschool. We had to change our surroundings so that I didn't see the constant reminders of what should have been. I get that not everyone can do all of these things. So I think the best advice if any that I can give is to grieve however you need to, in your own time, and in your own (healthy) way.

6- How often do you talk about adoption with your daughter? How do you explain what adoption means (talks, books, movies, etc.) and how much does she understand?

I think this is the question I get the most from people. :) We talk about adoption often. It's hard to put a number on it. S got a book about adoption at her baby shower from an adult adoptee that we read often "How I Was Adopted" it's her favorite book. But I know that even as an infant I would rock her and tell her about the day we met Momma A, and the day she was born, etc. I started that young because I wanted to be comfortable talking about her adoption before she was old enough to get it!

As she has gotten older, she asks us all kinds of questions. We also keep family photos around the house of her with us and her first family. We have tried to include them in as much as we can, like any other family members we have.

7-We had the experience a few months ago of speaking about our open adoption at our agency. If you could talk to couples that were unsure of whether or not open adoption was right for them, what would you want to say to them?

I would say that open adoption has been an amazing experience for us. We adore S's first mom and family. We love knowing that S will grow up knowing her whole story. She will have the love of all of her family. We miss having them live nearby and hope that they are able to move back closer to us someday. I dream of Momma A sitting next to us at S's first dance/music recital. I imagine her sitting there next to us as she walks across the stage at her high school and college graduations, and who knows maybe even her doctorate ;) And I can't even think about S's wedding without Momma A there too, and yes I totally cry every single time I think about these life events for my little girl!

I know that it may not work for every situation but we are living proof that it can work. I would also encourage prospective adoptive parents to go in with an open mind and see where it takes you. You never know the many blessings that can follow!


Thanks for reading.  You can head on over to Kelly’s blog, Surprised by Hope, and read her interview with me there!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Insecurities and Doubts about Adopting

A couple posts back, Cristy at Birthmomtalks said she would like to read about an insecurities or doubts we had about adoption (specifically open adoption) and placement.  I sat down with my husband tonight, and Steve and I talked about it.  I wanted his input, too. 

When we made the decision to adopt, we were very set in our decision, but we were at the point where we just knew that was the right direction for us.  Before that, though, we had a lot of concerns – How would it work?  How would we pay for it?  What could we expect? 

After we met with our agency (as well as one other one), we were concerned about the uncertainty of it all – the length of time involved with waiting, in particular.  After signing with our agency, we had some worries when our agency started to have some issues with finances and had smaller numbers of adoptive families and expectant parents coming in to discuss adoption.  (Luckily things improved over the months afterward.  We did have to pay some additional fees, but it could have been quite a bit more.)

Leading up to meeting our daughter’s birthmom and her birthgrandma, we had worries – Would she like us?  Would she meet us and continue with the match?  Would our first meeting go well?  We were SO nervous – like hands shaking, palms sweaty kind of nervousness!  I made her a scrapbook of pictures of us with our families and our friends, and we hoped she would like it.   We hoped she would continue to go through with her plan for adoption.  She seemed confident in her decision and that reassured us.  We really liked her and her mom and we all got along well.

In the months leading up to Zoe’s birth, we got to know her birthmom, Z, mainly through emails, but also through phone calls and a couple visits.  She had allowed me to go with her to a doctor appointment (and hear Zoe’s heartbeat!) and to go to a pre-natal class.  Those things definitely helped make it feel more real.  We hoped she would still decide to place Zoe with us.  We hoped the baby would be healthy.  We hoped Z would be okay – we worried about her and how she would be after Zoe was born (not only in the hospital but in the days/weeks/months afterwards.)  By the way, we did not know Zoe was a girl at that point.  That was a surprise on the day she was born. 

At one point, Z asked me to be in the delivery room with her and her mom.  I was thrilled and so excited but a few weeks prior to the birth, she changed her mind.  I worried about it.  What did it mean?  But I tried to put myself in her shoes and think about her feelings – it was her choice and her decision, and it was important for her to do what felt right to her.  Yes, I was sad, but it was not about me.

Just a couple days before the baby’s due date, we got the call that Z was in the hospital.  At that point we were just praying that she and the baby were okay.  We got the message on our voicemail while we were at work.  We had no way of getting a hold of her caseworker – it was after hours.  We left a message but did not hear back that evening.  We anxiously waited all night – not sure if we slept at all – and got a call in the morning that Zoe had been born.  Z and her baby were doing well.

Driving to the hospital that afternoon was exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time.  We got to spend time with Zoe in the nursery.  We were SO happy and it was such a surreal feeling – to be there and to be holding a little, beautiful, and amazing baby that might be coming home with us…we were in love, that is for sure.  We were grateful that Z allowed us to be there and have time with Zoe.  Z wanted to see us before we left for the day.  She was in  her room and was holding Zoe.  We were happy, sad, emotional, anxious, nervous – we were all dealing with so many emotions and it was hard.   We had a hard time talking through the tears.  We thanked her for letting us be there.  We told her how beautiful Zoe was.  We gave her a letter we had written and flowers.  We told her we loved her and said our goodbyes for the night.  We ran into her mom in the hallway and we all hugged and cried even more. 

That night was full of so much – phone calls to family and friends, emails, Facebook messages, even a phone call at midnight from my boss who thought her call would just go to my voicemail – it was just surreal.  We were worried about what would happen the next day but exhausted.   We hoped Z was doing as best she could back at the hospital.

The day we brought Zoe home, we did not get to see Z or her family.  They had already left the hospital by the time we were asked to be there.  We hoped that she was okay.  We brought Zoe home that afternoon.

We hoped that all would go well until Z was able to sign the TPR, termination of parental rights, in court.  We had 30 days to wait.  We were in contact with her, mainly through email at that point.  We were amazed when she emailed us the day after Zoe came home and sent us pictures she and her family had taken of themselves with Zoe at the hospital.  They are such special pictures and something we will treasure always.  We could not get over the strength that Z showed.

Over those 30 days, we were busy being new parents.  We were aware that we had to wait for the TPR to be signed and that Z could decide to parent, but we focused on taking care of Zoe.  We kept in touch with Z, and she did not give us any reason to think she might decide not to place her with us.

As far as open adoption is concerned, before we met Z and her family, one of our worries was what happens if you choose to be open and then circumstances change?  What happens if one or both of the birthparents gets involved with something that would be harmful to the child?  How would that impact the family/the birthparents/the child?

After meeting Z and her mom at that first meeting and getting to know her over the months leading up to Zoe’s birth, we were not really worried.  We got along well.  She was so nice, and we could picture having a good relationship with her and her family.  With Zoe’s birthfather, we know his name and a little bit about him (from the adoption agency paperwork and from Z.)  We have never met him or had contact with him.  We wonder if we will have the opportunity to have contact at some point.

We are so incredibly happy that we have an open adoption.  Sure in the beginning we were a bundle of nerves during our first visits!  It was hard.  We wanted Z to know how much we loved Zoe, and we wanted her to be happy that she chose us.  We all got to know each other better with each visit.  I think we all feel much more comfortable now.

What is hard for us right now is that Zoe’s birthmom just moved out of state for college.  We miss her so much.  It is not going to be anywhere near as easy to see each other for visits.  We are sad about that.  Of course, we will still do whatever we can to make sure we stay in contact, and we are hoping that we get to see her soon.  We are sad that Zoe will not get to see her as often as she had been seeing her, but we understand.  We want her to follow her dreams and do what feels best to her.  It is just hard some days because we miss her.

Even though the adoption process is hard and can be stressful, we are so glad we were able to adopt and start our family.  We are so grateful that open adoption exists, and that Zoe is always going to know her birthmom.  She can get answers to questions she might have as she grows  up and have a special relationship with her.  Most importantly,  Zoe knows she is loved so much by everyone involved.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Zoe’s birth mom is getting ready for a big change in her life; she’s preparing for a move to another state.  She’s going to be starting school there soon, too.  We have been so lucky to live so close to her.  We just found out about the move a few days ago and were very surprised to hear about her moving. 

Zoe and I were able to drive to her house to spend some time with her and her family yesterday.  It was good to see them, and it was really good to get to see Z (Zoe’s birth mom.)  She seems very excited for this next step.  Zoe got to cuddle with her on the couch and play with her puppies and her family’s new birds, too.  She got to toss the football around, too, and kept saying, “I gotta get to the game!”  It was pretty cute. 

Moving is exciting, hard, stressful…all rolled into one.  I think I added it up a while back, and I have moved 13 times throughout my life.  I’ve moved with my whole family, with one sister, with Steve and a roommate, and with just Steve.  It’s been a big part of my life – starting over in a new place, making new friends, and having new beginnings.  We hope that this move for her is something that brings her happiness and new opportunities.  And we hope that we get to see her really soon, too!

Zoe and I put together a scrapbook of Zoe’s art for Z…just a little something so she knows how much we love her.




Love you, Z.  So very much.  Hope everything goes well!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Preschool week #2

Zoe headed back to preschool this week.  She loves going and is so excited! Just wanted to share a couple pictures of her.  She’s wearing a backpack and vest from her birthmom (and the beautiful flowers are from  her, too!)




Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First day of preschool

Zoe started preschool this week.  She’s going two mornings a week, 2 hours each morning. She was so excited to meet her classmates!


Yes, we know, her backpack is way to big.  I think she’s getting one for her birthday, so I’m guessing it will work out a little better for her.


Can you tell she’s a little excited???


Just a couple pics from inside the school.  Most of the pictures I took had other children in them with Zoe, and I’m not comfortable sharing them without their parents’ permission.  Here’s a little peek at her first day:



After her first exciting day, we had a visit with her birthgrandma.  She came over to celebrate Zoe’s birthday a little early with her.  We had a good visit even though was thoroughly tired out from her morning at school.  Here she is at naptime with her gift from her birth family.  It’s a really cute pirate doll.  She loves him and she was calling him ‘her baby’ today.  So sweet!


And last but not least, a picture from this morning – ready for day #2 at school without Mom and Dad.  She was so excited.  So excited in fact that she ran to the car and skinned both her knees.  After coming back in the house for bandaids, we headed back out.  She had a great morning and loved playing in the kitchen, the gym, and on the playground.  We’re so happy that she loved it.  And it was the best feeling ever when she saw me at pick-up time and ran to me to give me a big hug.  Love her so much.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Friends Through Adoption!

I belong to a group on Facebook that’s members are/were bloggers in the adoption community. Through blogging and through participating in this group, I have made a lot of online friends, including two women who live right here in our state. About a month ago or so we planned a play date for today on our side of town, and Zoe and I took our friends Melba (from Dreams Really Do Come True), her son, Rachel, and her son to the local park near us. We had plans to picnic and go visit the splash park. As we walked up to the gate to get in, we were told that the park was closing at noon…it was 11:45am. They were holding some event there that was not open to the general public. We quickly changed gears and decided to drive just a few miles north along Lake St. Clair to Metro Beach.


Lunch was first and then we headed over to the splash park.  The kids ran around and splashed each other.  We watched them play and giggle with each other.  We talked about a lot of things – some adoption-related and some not.  I will say, it is WONDERFUL to talk to other friends who built their families through adoption.  They just really get it.  They really understand concerns, worries, joys…all of it.  It’s a gift to be able to talk with them about things we all wonder about, questions we have about our children’s backgrounds,  the things that come up when you adopt rather than give birth -- things we all have in common or at least have an understanding about.  I feel so lucky to get to spend time with two really amazing women and their great kids.



I think Zoe was asking M where he got his sunglasses from! 


C chasing Zoe near the benches




After playing in the splash park, we headed over to take a walk on the sand.  There were quite a few families on the beach.  I am so grateful that today was such a beautiful, warm day.  It really was perfect.


That first step on the sand…


Sand between your fingers….


Finding a treasure like a little stick and digging…


…and the best part:  making friends and summer memories.  Rachel, Melba, and I were saying as we left the park how great it is to hear the kids giggle and laugh together.  I think she said it sounded musical.  And she’s right…it’s really the sweetest sound. 


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Featured on The R House

One of my favorite adoption-related blogs is The R House.  A while back she asked readers of her blog to email her with a short description of “How Adoption Has Changed Your Life.”  We are featured on her blog today.  Check it out if you have a chance at The R House.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Speaking at Our Agency about Open Adoption

Three years ago we were working on completing our home study.  We were taking pictures like the one below to possibly add to our profile, and we were preparing to adopt by attending Waiting Family meetings that our agency offered.  We really looked forward to going to the meetings.  It was great to hear other people who had been through this speak about it.  We were able to hear birth mothers as well as adoptive parents speak about their experiences .  Attending one of these meetings and hearing a couple and their daughter’s birthmother talk about their relationship really helped us in deciding that we wanted to have an open adoption as well. 


We were working on the future baby room and doing summer-type things.  I had gone on a Girls’ trip to Chicago with my friend, Barb.  We had such a great time together and were getting ready to go out for our last night there, when Steve called me.  It was June 26th.  He said that the agency had called us about a situation that they wanted to discuss with us.  He didn’t get the  message until after he was already home from work, so the actual office was closed and he couldn’t call them back.  We found out the following Monday that we had been linked with Zoe’s birthmom, Z.

This past Tuesday night (June 26th)  we were able to celebrate the day we got THE CALL by speaking at our adoption agency about openness.  We were one of three couples invited to speak to a group of waiting families about our own experiences, thoughts, and feelings.  It was such an honor to be asked and really special to be able to participate on such a special day for us.  For an hour and a half we answered questions from one of the agency’s caseworkers as well as families who attended the meeting.  We talked about things like had we always known we wanted an open adoption, has our original agreement changed at all and how, what do visits with our child’s birthparents look like, what is our relationship with our son or daughter’s birthparents like, and how do we talk about adoption with our child.  It was really interesting to hear how everyone’s answers were so different and yet we had a lot of similarities as well.  Even though we were incredibly nervous (public speaking is not that easy for either one of us, and yes, I am a teacher, but I speak in front of children not adults), we were so happy that we could be a part of the group that spoke.  We wanted to share a little bit about what our relationship is like with Zoe’s birthmom as well as her family.  They gave us permission to share some pictures of our visits at the meeting with the group.  We have a really positive relationship with Z and her family and we wanted to talk about it and encourage others to consider more openness in their future adoptions.  It was a great experience.


Taken about an hour and a half before the meeting; Zoe wanted to wear her Adoption Day bracelet to match my bracelet.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Busy past couple of days!

It’s been a very busy week and weekend so far.  We are in the beginning stages of potty training.  This is actually our 3rd time trying, and it is going really well.  It seems like everything is starting to click for her and she has been trying really hard - we are very proud of Zoe.  We have tried to take advantage of the nice weather and get outside as much as possible.  We even had a couple of days where it sort of looked like we were going to get rain, so we would hurry up, go for a walk, and then come home to snuggle in front of a movie.  Zoe had her first popsicle this past week.  She picked out the orange one in her hand. IMG_9771

She is posing like me with my camera turned sideways as I try to take her picture.  Hmm…guess I take a lot of pictures and she’s caught onto me!  I love how she has her backpack on…she takes it everywhere now.  We were on our way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for an overnight stay.


She loves playing in their backyard and helping my dad water their new tree from Aunt Tracy.



I know it’s not technically Father’s Day yet, but it will be in a few short minutes.  I just wanted to say that I hope tomorrow is a good day for everyone – whether you have a child or whether you are waiting, whether you are a birthparent, or whether you are a father-figure of some type to someone.  I know that I’ll be thinking of friends who are waiting to adopt, and I’ll be thinking about Zoe’s birthfather, too, and hoping he has a good day. 

I will be spending the day with my dad and Steve (along with my mom, Zoe, and my cousins.)  I hope they both have a great Father’s Day.  I know that I am very proud of the wonderful father that Steve is…he protects Zoe, he makes her laugh, he spends time with her, and he loves her with such a huge heart.  I love watching him with her.




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Meeting Someone I Admire

For the past couple of years we have bought a membership to our local pool.  We really love going there.   This past weekend was our first trip there for this summer.  It was such a great day for it – the sky could not have been bluer and the weather was perfect – warm but not insanely hot.  For whatever reason, Zoe was a little hesitant at first to go in.  Maybe she forgot how much fun she had in the water last year?


We always try to remember to bring cups, buckets, and sponges from home – they were quite a hit with ALL of the kids in the pool.


My cousin, Karen, and I watched from the side as Zoe ventured into the toddler pool.  She really is the perfect height for it now.  She can stand and balance really well, and she can sit and keep her head above the water. 


She loved taking the cup and soaking her dad. 


I loved every minute of watching her.  It is hard to believe how much she has grown in one year!


One of her favorite things to do is to pick up rocks and examine them.  She loves it.  We go on walks and I know that I have to remember to take a baggie with me so that she can collect her treasures as we go.  When we get home she puts them in the flower pot that I have out front next to our porch. 


I love watching her run.


Miss 2 1/2 going on 12! 

So in addition to lots of outdoor time over the past few days, we spent some time at a book reading and signing.  About a month ago I found out that the author of Bloom:  Finding Beauty in the Unexpected, Kelle Hampton, was going to be at a local nursery called Wiegand’s.  (Her blog can be found at Enjoying the Small Things.)  I have been a reader of her blog for quite a while.  She writes about a lot of things but mainly the focus is her family.  She wrote the book about the birth of her 2nd daughter, Nella, and how her life changed after she was born.  Nella has Down syndrome.  Kelle shares her worries, her fears, her love for her daughters and the rest of her family, and how they have all grown since Nella was born. On her blog, she writes about all that, but she also writes about all of the ways she makes her daughters’ lives so special and how she creates these amazing events and moments for them.


I asked my mom if she would go with me to the book signing.  I encouraged her to read the book before we went, which she did, through many many tears!  (I kept telling her, “You won’t cry all the way through…don’t worry!”)


We might have been a bit eager to get to the signing…we showed up about an hour early!  We actually met Kelle in the parking lot!  She was walking in and we all introduced ourselves.  She even gave us hugs.  She told Zoe she had a very cute dress on.  It was such a great moment to actually meet her.  We also met her dad who was carrying Nella.  (At one point during the reading, I was following Zoe who needed to walk, and Zoe got to say hi to Kelle’s other daughter, Lainey, too.)



We had a little bit of time before the book reading, so Zoe took a tour of the nursery!  She was hidden among the plants at one point and said she was in the jungle.  My favorite spot in the whole place is the fairy garden area.  I want one of these in our backyard.  I just love the little thatched roof cottages and the little rock pathways.  The white bench and the patches of moss…maybe it’s something Zoe and I could put together over the next few years.  I can picture hiding little fairies in it for her to find.


Kelle read a passage from her book.  It was very moving – she wrote about how she and her family had done a walk with Nella to raise money for the NDSS, the National Down Syndrome Society.  The team was called Nella’s Rockstars.  After the reading, she took questions and answers from the crowd.  I think everyone was nervous; it was like we were all back in high school waiting for someone else to raise their hand and speak!  I decided to go first.  I asked her when she decided to write the book; she said she decided the day after Nella was born that she would write about her story one day.  Other members of the audience asked questions about what it was like to raise two daughters and make sure you are giving them both the attention that they need; one asked about her photography (which is amazing); and someone asked about her ability to create fantastic parties and events for her family.  She mentioned she gets a lot of inspiration from Pinterest.   Me, too!



After the reading, we were able to wait in line for a book signing.  I knew what I wanted to say, but I wasn’t too sure I would be able to get the words out while standing there in front of her.  I had brought pictures from Zoe’s birthmom’s graduation with us to show my mom while we were waiting.  Zoe saw the one that has her, her birthmom, Steve, and me in it.  She wanted to hold it.  She held onto it all the way up to the table where Kelle sat.  She signed my mom’s book first and mentioned that she remembered we were sitting in the front row.  Then she talked to Zoe whose eyes were level with the table; I told her Zoe had something to show her.  Zoe handed the photo to Kelle, and I explained that it was a picture of the 4 of us.  I told her that we have an open adoption with Zoe’s birthmom, and that we are so lucky to have her in our lives.  Kelle told us that she has a friend who is also a birthmom and stays in touch and gets updates from her child’s adoptive family.  She also said that she thinks it is such a wonderful thing that we have an open adoption;  I agreed with her that we know it’s a wonderful thing (for all of us.)


Tuesday, July 24, 2007, I started writing my blog.  It began as a way for me to deal with what we were going through as we tried to start our family.  I met so many wonderful readers along the way who were going through the same thing or had already been there.  I have become friends with some of them.   I wrote about our infertility and the grief we felt with the loss of each failed IUI and IVF.  I wrote  about the highs and excitement of moving on…deciding that we would build our family through adoption.   Blogging became a way for me to document our journey from homestudy to waiting to parenthood. 

I tried to explain that somewhere along the way in there, I started reading Enjoying the Small Things.  I have loved Kelle’s beautiful photos and the way she tries to create magic and memories for her daughters.  I love how she looks at the world and tries to take it all in, especially when things are hectic and difficult.  Her blog reminds of the beauty of the things around me and makes me stop and notice more.  Her book is beautifully written and inspires me to write and try to capture moments for Zoe and for us.  And the way she told Nella’s story (and her story) is the way that I hope to tell our story – with respect, with grace, and with love. 


Note:  If you go to this link at Hampton’s blog,, you can read the post about her visit to Michigan.  And if you scroll down about 8 pictures you can see my mom, Zoe, and me in the background.