Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Past Year

Today is our one year anniversary of being a family of 4. 365 days ago we walked in to a court room and talked to a judge...we walked out with a piece of paper in our hand saying that we could pick up our son. I can still remember almost every minute of that day. Justin went out that morning...and I can't remember where he went, I do however remember wishing he was home because I was beyond stressed and knew he was the only one that could bring me back down to earth.


We drove to Hadrian's grandparent's house where we were welcomed with open arms. Hadrian was asleep when we got there. We stayed for awhile. We didn't want to rush their good byes. At that point none of us were sure what our future relationships would be so we wanted them to hug and hold him as much as the wanted. We eventually left and went straight to my job. And from there, we came home...and from home we went to Justin's parents house. I'm pretty sure that once we left the house for court, I didn't sit still for longer than 20 minutes.

And Justin wouldn't let me change my clothes! He made me stay dressed up. I wore a purple shirt...and I'm pretty sure that Lizzy told me that Hadrian's birth mom also wore purple. I found that fact very interesting...

This year...we didn't really do anything special. I let Hadrian stay in his pajamas all day. And we played. And we snuggled on the couch. And we sang. And we waited for Daddy to get home. It was a perfect day...much like this same day last year.

Hadrian has really taken off. He is nearly 14 months old. He loves music and will stop everything he is doing to dance a little and clap when he hears it. No matter if someone is singing it, or he hears a short jingle on tv. Its very sweet. He especially likes Michael Buble's The Best is Yet to Come and the theme song to the Golden Girls. He knows the signs for "more", "cookie", and "milk". And can say "Hi/hey", "dad/dada", "mama", "bye", "ki-ki" (kitty), "Sevs" (Severus, our cat's name), "puuuup" (puppy), "ba" (ball), "pappy" (papaw), and "pop". He is constantly talking, and gibbering, but these are the things I am sure he is saying. He loves phones...and will turn anything in to a phone, including his blocks, shoes, any toy really, remotes, books, and his hands...just to name a few of his favorites. He is so smart and loves to mimic anything everyone does. He covers his mouth with his hand when he coughs! This boy loves to walk/jump/run and is constantly exploring. He especially loves to explore the cat food.

Hadrian is a sweet, snuggly boy that loves to give kisses. And every day I am thankful that I get to receive his sweet kisses.

I am blessed beyond words, and everyday I still marvel at the fact that the Lord brought this child in to our lives.

Happy 1 year home Hadrian!

Lizzy sent me this picture on the morning of court.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I *heart* Open Adoption

Occasionally we get asked if we have contact with Hadrian's birth family. People are funny. They kinda ask with a look of "oh these poor people, always have a birth family to contend with". Nothing could be further from the way we feel. We love our open adoption. We love our son's first family. They are a great family...from top to bottom, oldest to youngest. We feel genuinely connected to them.

When Justin and I were discussing adoption at first, we always always always thought we'd do international adoption. We did not want an open adoption. We didn't want the birth family always hanging around. It seemed, unnatural. Ha. When we began the actual journey of adoption we started reading (We, meaning I, of course) and researching and the more we read the deeper we dug, the more we saw how awesome open adoption is. Our son was privileged to live with his birth grandparents for 53 days and in those 53 days we grew to love this family. To be a part of a new family. And nothing could feel more natural.

I still remember sitting on their couch and giving Justin "the look" so that he would ask the tough question. He asked Hadrian's grandparents what they wanted in terms of a relationship...What did they see for the future of our son, their first born grandson. I can still feel the pain and sadness as Hadrian's grandpa explained what they thought would be the best for everyone. Little to no contact. Letters and pictures. They definitely didn't want to see him. Not because they didn't love him. But because they thought it would be easier. Easier for them to move on. Easier for us to start a new life. Easier for Hadrian to accept us as his parents. I can still feel my heart race when I think about the hours that followed that visit. I remember stepping off their front porch and just being swallowed by sadness. I'm sure I cried on the way home. I loved this family and I knew my little boy would love them too. How could I keep him away from them!? Justin and I were heartbroken. For them...and most of all, for Hadrian.

Justin and I began praying. We talked a lot about how to change their mind. In the end we talked to a few people...our case worker and some friends and we decided that it was ultimately their decision and we would follow their lead. We wouldn't pressure them into seeing him or anything of those sorts, but we would just wait and see. *Thankfully* they began talking to friends and family as well. After a few more visits with them they brought the subject back up. They explained more of their feelings and we explained ours. But they did agree they still wanted contact. They were leaning more towards an open adoption.

This past year has been so fun, having a son...and gaining a new family in his aunt and uncle, and grandparents...and COUNTLESS great aunts and uncles. We've spent hours sitting around their living room. Endless hours at restaurants. Hours swimming in Uncle Doug and Aunt Teri's pool (Thanks again Doug and Teri!). Grandma Julie is always ready and willing to babysit. Even at the last minute. And always with a smile. We were even invited to the family reunion this year. They take a picture of each family that comes to the reunion and we were asked if we'd like to be in the family picture.

Our family is far from conventional. But we are a family. We aren't connected by blood, but we are all connected by love.

There are so many reasons to love our open adoption...but our 6 best reasons are Hadrian, Julie, Kelly, Lizzy, Michael and Tina.

We are so blessed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One Year Ago

It is something that I have always known. Like breathing. I've always known I was put on the earth to be a mommy.

I was right.

I'm so thankful that the Lord put this longing in my heart. I'm so thankful that I went through all of the pain. I learned. I fought. I cried. I begged. I waited. I gave it all to the Lord. And in a way that only He could orchestrate, my life changed on September 9, 2009.

My dream came true.

I became a Mommy...Weeeeeeellll, I didn't really become a "Mommy" until later...but in my heart...after I got the call, I knew I was this little boy's Mommy.

I am a Mommy today. A mommy to a spunky, adorable, hilarious, sweet 365 day old.

Hadrian is doing well. He has been walking for a few months and has quite the vocabulary. He says "Hi/Hey", "Dad, Da, Dada", "Maaaam", "Bob" (bottle), "baa" (ball), "Bye", "KeeKee" (kitty). He can also shake his head no. Which is the cutest thing, especially if he happens to do it at appropriate times...He can also point to his nose...well, he does it about half the time. Which tells me that he knows where his nose is, he is just choosing to not point to it. He waves hello/goodbye and he holds everything up to his ear because everything is a phone to him...Things that I have seen him hold up to his ear...our phone, cell phones, the remote, a wii remote, his piano toy, blocks, baby shoes, flip flops, socks, a rattle, a bottle, his blanket, and his hand. He is so funny.

Justin has been able to work the same schedule as me for about a month or so and its been pretty nice. One day last week he was putting on his boots and he couldn't get his foot in one of them...he turned it over and out came some blocks. It was such a sweet moment...it made my soul sing.

I'm honestly trying to get back into a blogging habit. I feel like I have so much to say, but never the time. Or when I do have time, I don't have anything blog worthy. So I'm working on it.

Anyway, I just could not let today pass with out mentioning my growing boy. And how much he has blessed my life in ways I could never imagine.

Monday, May 3, 2010

We are officially and legally done!

Wow. What a journey.

250 days since finding out about our little one, who was soon to be born, we are now legally his parents. Not just the way cool people who get to wipe up his drool and change 4+ poopy diapers a day...nope...not anymore. Now we are the way cool parents who get to call him son [for forever]. Now we are the way cool parents who get to teach him to walk...and talk...and how to obey...and how to wait his turn [because waiting is so worth it]. Now we are the way cool parents who get to watch him grow up and find his voice in this crazy world. Now we are the way cool parents who get to tell him about his biological family and his birth family AND his forever family. We are the way cool parents who get to teach him to be proud of our family.Now we are the way cool parents who get to pick him up when he falls and to teach him about God...and how to treat his future wife..

Today I woke up as his Mommy and tonight I go to bed as his Mother.

Court was super easy. I'm not gonna lie...I was nervous. I knew we had nothing to worry about...the adoption wasn't contested but that just didn't put me at ease. Nothing did...But we were surrounded by family. And it all happened so quickly. The judge asked similar questions as to the first time we were at court. He complimented us because our friends wrote great things for us in our references...Then he said Congrats...We took tons of pictures and our friend Melissa took a video of the whole 3 minutes. Haha.

So today our family is officially a family of 4. 4 feels good [for now] :)

I am so excited about where our family is headed. I know the Lord has big plans for this little man that is sleeping in our room. I can't wait to watch them all unfold. How blessed am I that I get a front row view of it?!? Tonight my prayers are with Hadrian's birth Mommy. She is facing some tough times. We don't know the details of her current problems, but my heart aches for her. Every time I look at my son I think of the sacrifices she made to make my family complete. This year we are celebrating Hadrian's birth Mommy on May 8th...In the world of adoption, the day before Mother's Day is Birth Mother's day...and with out our birth mother, I wouldn't be able to celebrate my most coveted holiday. So if you all would, just remember Hadrian's birth mommy in your prayers. Today I did text a little bit with [Aunt] Lizzie. She said that they were all happy and excited for us. And that her mom [Hadrian's birth grandma, incase you were lost...]"knew how we felt and couldn't be happier for us". We've said it before...and it was more prevalent when we were visiting them when they had Hadrian...but Justin and I honestly felt like they adopted us...They are our extended family now. And we feel blessed about that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

13 Days

I really thought that time might slow down as we approached our finalization, but in reality...time hasn't slowed at all.

I guess it is a blessing...that of course we are moving forward in the adoption. And soon Hadrian will legally ours...but it just reminds me that his "baby days" are quickly slipping through my fingers.

Hadrian's first two teeth popped through. You can barely see them, but boy can you feel them! It was another bittersweet moment. He is growing up, yay! Soon countered by the...he's growing up...oh no! I surely will miss these days of babyhood. But I realize how blessed I am to be the one to watch him grow.

As we near finalization, Hadrian's birth mother is on my mind. I've been praying for her since we found out about the impending birth of Hadrian...but lately I've added some prayers. Hadrian's birth mom has issues that are different than a lot of birth mothers, and I can't really talk about them in a public forum...But we are grateful to her...she has given us the life she created. We get to to be the ones that he cries for. We get to be the ones to watch him learn something new. We get to be the ones he covers in slobbery kisses and the ones he lays his head on when he is tired. We get to be the ones who receive the compliments on his adorableness. I get to be mommy and Justin gets to be daddy...all because of her sacrifice for him.

So as he learns something new, or tries something for the first time...I am reminded of one woman's sacrifice...Her sacrifice so that I can be the witness to the amazing life she created.

We are 13 days away. I am so happy...but as these 13 days come and go, I am struck with bittersweet thoughts. But I am thankful beyond words...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Full Circle

So tonight...I feel like we have come full circle...Sept 2 was the day of our first home study visit and tomorrow, April 16 we will have our final post placement visit.

The last one!

Praise the Lord!

We are so excited to be closing this chapter of Hadrian's story.

Our countdown continues...we are at 17 days until finalization. We got our final petition to the courts that we have to sign and mail. It is just so cool to be seeing and saying words like "last" and "final" and of course "finalization".

I was explaining our whole story to someone at work. She had a few questions about the whole waiting 6 months to finalize. I was happy to answer them...but it really got me thinking again about just how blessed we are. We haven't had any worries about the adoption being contested. We haven't had any issues with the birth family at all. We are actually close with them. We still refer to them as Grandpa K and Grandma J and of course Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Mike. I am thankful they get to be a part of his life.

I have so much to be thankful for. We used to sing a song at church...it said "Count your blessings name them one by one...count your blessings to see what God hath done" When I do this I get so overwhelmed. When I think about all the blessings we have encountered as a couple I am just grateful to our Lord. He has blessed us over and over again even in the darkest night when it seemed our cries would never end. He was there.

I could marvel forever at the blessings bestowed upon us...but I would rather encourage others to look remember to count your blessings. Sometimes the world gets to us and its easy to look at all of our misery and mistakes...It happens to everyone. People have bad days. But nothing will get you out of a funk faster than thinking and dwelling on our blessings.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rumor has it...

So the rumor is...today while I was at work Hadrian said "maaaaaa"...the sound could not be replicated upon my return home so the authenticity of this rumor is still in question.

Tomorrow may or may not put an end to this rumor...

But I sure hope it does!

Oh and 29 days to go...

Friday, April 2, 2010

30 Days and counting

It is official.

We have begun the countdown.

30 days...

736 hours...

Justin and I will officially be Hadrian's parents. Oh wow.

We are so excited for this all to be over. It has been an amazing journey but I can't wait to have this chapter closed. He will forever be ours. We have 1 more post placement visit with our amazing social worker, Dena. She has gone above and beyond what I would expect of any social worker. I hope that when we update our home study to one day adopt more babies that we will have her or someone just as amazing as her.

We got our taxes back and with that we are making the final payments for the home study and post placement visits. [Thank you Lord for meeting all of our financial needs...]Who woulda thought we'd pay people to inspect every aspect of our homelife. Hehe. Its tedious, and I know why it is done...so I am thankful that these steps are here to protect little ones...but I wish we could have opted out of them.

Hadrian had a rough week this week. At first we thought maybe he was getting a tooth or something but it turned out he had a bug. He was not sleeping well at night and was running a fever. It was really tough watching him suffer and not being able to really do anything about it. We gave him tylenol but it didn't always help. Thankfully after a good 3-4 days he seems to be all better. Justin and I on the other hand have been battling it ourselves since then.

So our little guy is growing up so quickly. He hits his hands together in an *almost clap* but his fists are clenched type movement. He sits up unassisted and can almost get himself into a sitting up position by himself. He is loving his foods...I try to make his baby food...but only really had luck with butternut squash and sweet potatoes...everything else I tried didn't really work out well. But he loves both of those...and peas, carrots, apple sauce, green beans, and of course bananas. He will freak out if you eat a banana within sight of him...I think he believes all bananas belong to him and we are just here to peel them for him. He still isn't saying mama yet but I did hear an "Mmmmmmmmmm" once...so I think it'll happen soon. He is also soooooooooo close to being mobile. He gets up on his hands and knees and he rocks back and forth. A few times he has moved his knees but his hands don't know to move yet so he ends up looking quite silly and then falling over.

He is giving sweet kisses and will hold his arms up/out to be picked up. It always works for mama. He is weighing somewhere around 18lbs....and is almost 29"...97th percentile for height!! He also has a lovey...He just loves to snuggle with his Pooh bear that his Grammy and Grandpa gave to him at Christmas. I'm not a fan of Pooh, but I'm not gonna lie, its probably the cutest thing I've ever seen to see him hug and snuggle it.

So here we are...beginning our fifth month of him being home. We have learned so much and we have so much love for him. Sometimes we still marvel at the fact that the Lord chose us to be blessed by this sweet little boy.

This month will be a good month...and will drag on, I'm sure. But we will enjoy each day and take them one at a time. Relishing each moment we've been given with this little one. We will be patient and wait because we know we have the strength to endure...

Only 30 days...
...736 hours....

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dadadada

Hadrian has been saying "Dadadadada" for a few days now. Its pretty cute...even though he doesn't really know whoooooo dadadada is....Hadrian also will not "perform" when he sees the camera. He has done that since pretty much day one. He becomes more interested in the camera in his face.
video

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Its about time

We found out from our lawyer last week that we finally have a court date! I am soooo excited. I haven't started counting down just yet...but our court date is May 3, 2010 at 3pm. They said they like to get it as close to 6 months post placement as possible...I had no idea that it would be almost exactly 6 month. It is 180 days and one hour from our previous court date! Whoa! How awesome.

I'm also very excited because even though we were planning on celebrating Mother's Day whether we had gone to court or not...we will *legally* be Hadrian's parents. So I will legally be allowed to celebrate the holiday :) I'm pretty stoked about that.

We are currently trying to figure out exactly how to celebrate this amazing milestone. Not sure if a quiet family gathering or a huge celebratory bash (which, of course probably wouldn't be that huge...) would be more fitting...Just weighing our options at this point...But I'm thinking inviting people out to eat. That way the cost would be minimal for us...and no planning (except maybe calling ahead for a reservation) needed...But I just don't know...

About a week and a half ago...I met Hadrian's birthmom. She is so cute. She was quiet, of course and I was on break at work plus I wasn't expecting to meet her at that moment. It was kind of awkward, I'm not gonna lie...but it was still pretty cool. I asked Lizzy the next day if she said anything about me. Lizzy said "she didn't say anything to me...but mom told me that she said you seem great and she is glad that you are raising her son" I froze momentarily. I think my heart stopped. I was hoping for a "yeah she didn't think you were a total loser"...but I got so much more.

It is a trend with our adoption. We are continuously blessed. Over. and. Over. It never ends. And I am still caught off guard. It still catches me. It still makes my heart skip a beat. I know the Lord answers prayers...and I've always known it...but now I know know it.

This past weekend Alex wanted to wear Hadrian in the mei tai. I of course want to promote brotherly bonding in any way I can...plus it is super cute to see men/boys baby wearing. Justin helped me tie it on him, which was harder than I expected...I can throw the baby on my back by myself (thanks to loooooots of practice) but getting him tied onto a little body was tough. Alex probably only wore him for 10 minutes...but it was enough to snap a bunch of pictures. I absolutely love to spread the babywearing love...and I hope that Alex will maybe someday use this for his own kiddos.

Ahh, my boys are amazing. I am thankful for all three of them.