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.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Adoption Day Celebration

We gave Zoe three choices, and we asked her what she wanted to do to celebrate the day.  Her choice was to go to the Bounce House.  We had never been there, so we decided to check it out.  She loved playing Dance Dance Revolution.



She checked out a couple of the bouncers.



We had a staff member snap a picture of us before we left.  Steve thought we should take our picture with the large dinosaur behind him. 


After a non-existant nap, we headed out to dinner.  Someone made sure to not forget her backpack.


After dinner there was time for a little ice cream with blue and white sprinkles (sprinkles make it more of a celebration, don’t they?)


We snapped this at the end of our day.  Happy Adoption Day, Zoe!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Zoe’s Adoption Day

Adoption Day June 4 2010 001  IMG_9523-002

All dressed up for court                               At the playground yesterday

Two years ago today, a judge made it official!  Happy Adoption Day, Zoe!

Saturday, June 2, 2012



(This was taken last night while we were sitting in the bleachers.)

Zoe’s birthmom, Z, graduated last night!  She invited us to attend with her family.  What a special night it was for us to see her walk across the gymnasium and get her diploma. 

We are SO proud of her and all of her accomplishments.  We spent time with her family before, during, and after, the ceremony and got to meet some of Z’s friends and a teacher.  Zoe got to meet Z’s friends – that was really great to see.  Z held her and introduced her to them.  Zoe was a little tired and being a little shy at that point, but it was still really great.

We’re so happy for her – can’t wait to see what the future holds!  (Congratulations, Z!!!  We love you!!!)