Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Year

I have not been blogging as much of late but it's not that I have not been writing.  Over this little vacation from work (best use of vacation days EVER!), Gary and I have written more about ourselves and each other than ever before!  We both have completed our autobiographies for the adoption agency as well as all of the other forms.  In total, I think we have written between 15-20 pages each and our fingers are numb. 

But we are not complaining.  Each question we answer, each form we fill out...they all bring us closer to our baby.   OUR BABY!  It's becoming more and more of a reality.  Our hope is back.  Our excitement and anticipation is back.  We are back.

There is no way to fill out his paperwork and not reflect on our lives.  The agency wants to know everything there is to know about us so they can match us with the baby that is meant to be ours.  We have had to detail the many facets of our relationship.  And then our relationship with our parents.  Our parents relationship with each other.  Our relationships with our siblings.  Our relationships with our friends.  Our work history.  Our feelings on adoption.  Our religious views.  Our ways to cope with stress.  Our ways to cope with grief and loss.  See?  Lots of writing!

Amid all the papers and clearances, a few things have become very clear.  
  1. Allie is very much present in our lives and has helped shape the people that we are and the people we have become.  
  2. We have the most amazing support system in the world.  From our families to our friends and to the friends of friends and friends of family. 
  3. We will become parents again.
It's been a full year without Allie.  I did not carry her or hold her in 2012.  And yet she is just as much a part of us as she was last year.  And as she will be next year. 

Today I am not angry that she is gone.  I am just happy I got to know her at all.  Not sure I will feel like that tomorrow, but I know the value of feeling what I feel in the moment.

Our fundraising event is well under way.  It's less than a month away now.  We have sold more than half the tickets we have and so many people have offered their help in so many ways.  Without even counting the ticket sales, we have already raised about $3,000!! Many donations are not reflected here, but trust me, we have been receiving them.  From friends and family far and wide and from complete strangers, too.  People who heard our story and want to help.   There are no words.  Well, there are.  Thank you.

"I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed."

...except it hasn't.  This lyric from Les Misérables has resonated with me so much since that dark day in April 2011 is not longer true for me.  My life is not over.  My dreams have not died.

And so I look upon this new year with hope and love and joy.  For I think this coming year is going to bring all of those things to my family of 3.  Gary, Allie and me.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Random Acts

It's been 2 weeks since my last post. Have I ever gone that long in between posts?  So much has happened in the last 2 weeks.  The world is not the same place as I left it when I last signed on to this space.

We are deeply immersed in the adoption home study process.  Last weekend we got fingerprinted and I am proud to report that both our FBI checks came back clear!  The Child Abuse history also came back "NO RECORD EXISTS" and as far as the PA State Police, we are also clear! We have gone through 2 home study classes which were a half day each and met other parents who are in the same stages as us.  We have told our stories and shared our fears and it has been very powerful.

We have finalized the details of our "beef and beer" which is really a "pasta and beer" and we are getting a lot of interest from our local friends and family.  It should be a great event and we are looking forward to celebrating our almost baby with those that have supported us from the start.

My online campaign, though, is what has blown me away.  Our site has been posted on my blog and on Facebook and it's spread like wildfire.  We have raised almost $2,000!  And get this - a fair amount of our donations are from people that do not know us.  People that know of us from a friend or a relative or people that want to just do a random act and hope that by doing so, their generosity will make the world a better place.  A safer place.

When the tragedy in Connecticut happened last week, my heart, along with the hearts of so many of us across the world, just broke.  How can something like that happen? WHY?  I was angry and sad and I wanted to write a letter to each of those poor children's parents and let them know that they are not alone.  There are so many of us mom's and dad's out there who also had to bury our children.  Is it the same thing?  A stillborn vs a baby who died of SIDS vs a 6 year old?   The answer is no.  It's not the same.  And yet the anger and the loss and the grief and the fear and the pain?  Well I imagine that is pretty much universal.  

I feel a peace with Allie these days that I have not really felt before.  I feel her with me, eagerly awaiting her little brother or sister to come home to her house.  I worry that when her brother or sister arrives, it will make it all that much harder for me to realize that there should be 2 children here and not just 1.  But I feel she will help me through that.  I grieve for her and I miss her and that is a part of my every day.  I also love her and feed on her memory and her love and that is also a part of my every day.

There is so much in life that we can't control.  There is so much that we can't understand.  We can, though, practice random acts of kindness to those we know and those we don't even know.  We can pay it forward and do our part to make this world a place where we want to raise our kids. We can make it better.  We can at least try.

I think of those parents just a few states away from here and I think of their agony and their loss.  It's so very raw in the beginning.  It's so fresh.  I hope that as the news trucks pull away and the services are all over, that they are surrounded by loved ones to just sit there with them.  Hug them.  Love them.  Keep the memories of their children alive. Please know that we care.  We will remember.  We are so very sorry that you have to experience this pain and we will be kind to each other. We will practice random acts.  We will never forget.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Then vs. Now

Then:  Candles, romantic dinner, ovulation calendar, pregnancy test, doctor's appointments, baby showers, no baby.

Meetings, paper work, background checks, fundraisers, being chosen, baby.

There is more than one way to form a family and Gary and I are in the middle of learning that.  

And we could not be more excited.

Things are moving full speed ahead in our house and there is a buzz and an excitement that has not been here since I was pregnant.  We went to our first Home Study Class on Tuesday and learned about all the documents and items that we need to gather before we can be "shown" to birth mothers.  We have spent every day gathering pay stubs and tax returns and bank statements and verification of employment and making appointments for physicals and working on our "profile book" which will be a tell all of us and why we should be parents.

And we could not be more excited.

I know that in the traditional way of having a baby, you need none of those things.  You do not need to write an autobiography that can be 10-15 pages long to bring a baby home from the hospital.  You do not need a social worker to come to you house and "approve" it.  But we do not care.  We are far from traditional anymore.  We understand the need for all our i's to be dotted and our t's to be crossed...this is not a loan we are looking for - it's a baby.  Our baby.

And we could not be more excited.

Allie made us parents. There is no denying that.  We are so ready, though, to bring a baby home and parent.  And as that baby grows, we will tell him or her about her older sister and all the joy that she brought us.  And how she ultimately brought him or her home to us because loving her made us realize all the more that we wanted to be parents again.

Last night we did some holiday shopping after work.  We were looking for clothes and toys for our nieces and it felt good.  It felt right.  I enjoyed it.  In the past, I could not even walk into the sections where the little girls items would be.  It was like tearing my heart out.  Now I know that although I will never be buying those things for Allie, I might be buying them for her sister one day.  Or I will go over to the boys section and buy things for her brother. That gives me hope.  I am slowly but surely getting my hope back. 

And we could not be more excited.

In a few hours, we will gather at my mom's house for the first night of Hanukkah.  There will be lots of laughter and kids and fried food to commemorate the oil that lasted 8 nights instead of 1.  Last year, I found it hard to celebrate.  It's easier this year.  My hope is that it will be even better next year.

Allie, baby, another holiday without you here with us and it still hurts.  It will always hurt.  But you have taught your mommy and daddy how to love in spite of the pain and the obstacles and the loss and we are better people and parents for it.  We love you, sweet girl.  Always and forever.

Tis the season to be thankful and to let your loved ones know how much they matter to you.  I try to do that every day now as life is too precious to not enjoy every moment.

Then: Sadness, agony, grief, pain
Now: Hope, happiness, optimism and excitement

Times they are a changing.  Now if you will excuse me, I have some paperwork to fill out. 
And we could not be more excited!

Adoption In My Heart

Today was the Adoptions From The Heart Annual Picnic . We love this event. It is close to our house, it is early enough in the summer that i...