Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Come Visit Me In My New Home

I needed a fresh start and general make-over so I've started blogging at www.nikesandslides.blogspot.com

Please come visit me there.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Learning to Love My Hair Too

My nieces, Ella and Galey

Just last night my brother told me about this story.
The Sesame Street Song "I Love My Hair"
sensation that has been posted all over Facebook was written by an adoptive dad! Leave it to an adoptive dad to write a song to help his daughter realize just how special she is in every way.

Truth be told, I have wanted hair just like this since I was in the first grade and met a girl named Crystal who was in kindergarten.
I wanted her hair and her name, I thought both were wonderful.
Lucky for me, my brother married Crystal's sister so I still get to see Crystal and now I have nieces whose hair I can play with!
I'm still learning to love my baby fine, blond strands.

Galey with newborn Zad and my niece Elizabeth looking on at Z's placement.

Ella and Casey with newborn Zad with my brother Tommy and Norma's sister Monica and Lia
looking on at Zadok's placement.

Mama Ella with newborn Ike in Flagstaff this last summer

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Soon.....Very Soon!

Almost your turn Ike!

Steve, me, and Zad outside the Mesa, AZ Temple the day he was sealed to us!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Strong Women

These are my birth mamas; Hannah and Norma.
Actually they are respectively Ike's and Zadok's birth mothers.

Hannah, me, and Norma on Ike's Placement Day

But I like to refer to them as my birth mother's as well, as I so clearly and apparently a little possessively stated to Mrs. R a few weeks ago at our adoption conference.
But that is another story (an embarrassing one) and after a summer of truly sticking my foot in my mouth, one that I am not ready to tell publicly yet. See me in person for the low down!

This picture was taken on Ike's placement day just a little while before Hannah sweetly and tearfully signed her rights to be his mother over to me.
It is always a sacred moment.

It's a moment when a thousand images and memories of myself flood my mind. I try to take in the fact that I will forever be this child's mother.
In that moment I want to be everything I think that little boy will ever need and everything I think he deserves.
In that moment I feel very weak and very inadequate.

All summer I have barely even been able to look at this picture, knowing it would bring on a flood of emotions. These two women chose me to be the mother to their precious sons. My partners, to give these baby boys the best we each can.
Yes, Steve is there too, don't think I'm letting him off the hook.
But really, I feel so much gratitude to my Heavenly Father that I have each of these women in my life. That I am not alone in doing what is best for them.
They inspire me to be a better mother on a daily basis.

In moments where I feel weak, out of patience, tired, cranky and ready to lose it on some days, I think of them. I think of each of those women of strength; Norma and Hannah. How they willingly chose something better. They each have made me a better mother.
What insight the Lord had when He designed this plan, He knew what I needed.
I needed these strong, brave women, close to me to show me the way.

Hannah with Ike and Norma with Zad

After adopting Zadok, I had and still have a hard time understanding how Norma chose us essentially, to take her place. I feel the same about Hannah. I always want to ask, but never do, "Are you sure?" Not Steve so much, but me, are you sure?

After Zadok was placed with us, I started to see motherhood and becoming a mother through adoption very differently. When a baby is formed and grows in your own body, Heavenly Father has placed that child there. He has chosen you. True that's it's also just a fact of the birds and the bees, but after trying for 11 years, I strongly believe heaven plays a big role in it as well.
Our Father in Heaven who can see us clearly for all that we are and all that we lack has chosen that woman to do what she feels is in the best interest of that child.
For most, that is to become a mother to that child.

Open adoption is entirely different, mortals dealing with mortals.
Each with their own history, experiences, and let's just say baggage.
Yet it seems that for a time at least, we are all able to see each other as God sees us.
This is truly is one of the miracles of adoption.
One I never saw coming until I was in it. A chance to see these amazing women as God sees them.
Let me tell you, they are beautiful!
Beautiful in a way that maybe only a few can see. But let me just say this, if you could see them as I do, you would stand in amazement and then kneel in humility for just the opportunity to know them.

Hannah holding Ike moments before signing.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Two Adoption ROCK STARS....and I Know Them!!!

Audra, Steve holding new little Zadok, me, and Sharon at Zadok's placement in February 2009

Audra and Sharon have both been our case workers for our two adoptions.
They both are rock stars in our book.

Audra and her husband have been our friends since about 2001, is that right Audra?
We met them when we were all in the same ward and Audra and I both served with the young women. We developed quite a friendship with them and have some crazy memories.
We all ditched out on a ward Christmas party long ago to go see The Ring, something I still regret (I hate scary movies).
We drove all night the day after Christmas one year to go to Magic Mountain and then all four of us stayed in the same hotel room.
Another time, we crammed ourselves and another couple into a van filled with poles for a huge canopy for 5 hours to Mexico. Steve somehow injured his back on that trip and limped like a crippled up zombie the whole week. Audra had her hair braided into corn rows and I bought a mini accordion which her husband played I'm A Child of God on endlessly and then offered it up as a bribe at the border. Crazy fun times with those two.

When Steve and I attended the Families Supporting Adoption Conference in August 2008, we met up with Audra whom we hadn't seen in about 2 years. We were thrilled to learn she had just taken a job with LDS Family Services as a case worker; we thought for sure she could lead us to our baby. Five months later, she introduced us to Norma after Norma had interviewed another couple that didn't feel quite right. Two days later we were parents.

We met Sharon at Zadok's placement.
After his placement I started doing outreach events with Norma.
Sharon, Norma and I; sometimes with another birth mom or two would speak in high school or college classes about our experience in an effort to educate and promote a positive view of adoption. Sharon, who was at the time our case worker kept asking if we were going to be ready to adopt again.
I said yes even though at the time I really didn't think anything would come of it so soon.

Last December I attended Pamper Night at the birth parent group with Norma and Zadok. It's a night when the birth parents are pampered with massage, manicures, jewelry making, fun crafts and yummy food often provided by adoptive moms and other adoption workers.
Even before I started going with Norma it was a night I never missed, I love it. It gives me a chance to get to know birth moms and show my appreciation for them.
Hannah and I met and visited for a little while that night without either one of us knowing the other was looking. When Sharon asked her if she felt a connection with anyone, she said, "Yes that blond girl was really nice and her little boy is so cute." Thank you Zada!
I guess Zadok had been flirtin' it up with Hannah that night; raising one eyebrow, flashing his big grin and big brown eyes, and patting her tummy.
Hannah took it as a sign and Sharon thought we were a great fit.
Six months later Hannah and I were in the operating room holding hands as Ike was born.

Sharon really went above and beyond for all of us during those six months of waiting for Ike. In June Audra and Sharon were both there with us again at Ike's placement.

What a blessing case workers are! These two are especially amazing. In the time we have been involved with LDS Family Services they have started the birth parent group which has given support to many, many birth moms, birth dads (yes I have met a few there) and their families. This group takes a yearly retreat together, which I can only imagine as being incredibly fun and uplifting.
Each week they meet to give each other support, discuss resources and talk about all the aspects of single parenting, adoption, and getting married as options.
Recently the group has grown so much, they have started a second!
Isn't just what you would want if you were dealing with an unplanned pregnancy?

If you are interested in being a part of this group in any way you can go here for more info.

Thank you Audra and Sharon for helping us grow our family and giving such great support and love to all the birth parents you come in contact with.
We love you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some of my Favorite Adoption Books For Children

I have been collecting adoption books for about 3 years now.
I used to go out and buy childrens books for years while we were trying to conceive as a way to cope and then I started buying adoption books while we were looking for our birth moms.
It was very comforting to sit in a bookstore and then at home reading them and imagining myself reading to my children. Isn't it fun when dreams come true?
Here's a very short list. I would love to know what yours are.

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis
One of my favorites by far. I still can't get through this one without crying. I think it gives an accurate look of how excited adoptive parents are when they find out they have been chosen and get to go get their baby. This book has great illustrations that are funny and heart warming without giving a negative impression of the birth parents (one of my biggest peeves about adoption books for children).

I Love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose A. Lewis
This is a great book for anyone adopting from China as it is very specific to China. I like that it mentions the birth mom respectively and talks about the long journey it is to adopt.

A Mother For Choco by Keiko Kasza
I have mixed feelings about this book. I love that it shows that adoptive parents and their children do not have to look like one another to be in the same family. It approaches the subject in a way I think young children can understand by having the characters of the book as different animals. For obvious reasons, I hate the title and the first part of the story of the "child" played by a bird going around looking for a mother as if adopted children are simply abandoned. I believe even in countries where children are in orphanages or foster care no mother simply walks away from her child.

Little Miss Spider by David Kirk
This book is from a series of books about Miss Spider and I really appreciate that the author chose to focus one of the books on adoption. It's a great story about a little spider looking for the right home, I like this even though I don't believe it's very accurate. Most children or babies have many caring adults helping to make that decision. My only complaint about this book is the last page which says, "For finding your mother, there's one certain test. You must look for the creature who loves you the best." Cute rhythm but extremely offensive, especially to those of us involved with open adoption. I don't think anyone would or should attempt to measure who has the greatest love for a child, especially those children lucky enough to be part of an adoption. These children have many, many people in their lives that love them far beyond what someone could call the best. Children of adoption are often loved from afar by people they may never meet or see that often but none the less that love is deep and undying.

The Best For You by Kelsey Stewart
I don't actually have this book (hint, hint for anyone out there looking for Christmas gift for our family....Mom, Dad, Diane?) I have not even read this book but I have heard many rave about how wonderful it is, not to mention it is written from an LDS perspective. I had hoped to win it in the raffle at the Southwest Regional Families Supporting Adoption Conference a few weeks ago, but alas I did not. AGAIN, hint, hint.....but I know my mom won't even read this till February. Love you Mom!