Saturday, March 30, 2013

Good Friday / Bad Friday


Good Friday to me is the day I delivered my first born daughter still.  In the past, it was a day off from work or the beginning of a long weekend or maybe just another Friday. Until I met Gary, Easter was not a holiday I celebrated so it did not have a lot of meaning to me.  Good Friday was really just another day to me. 

In 2011, Good Friday became Bad Friday.  It was the darkest of days.  It was agony, pain, fear, anxiety and so much sorrow.  Yes, it was also the day that we held our precious angel and for that, I can't say it was all bad.  But overall when I think of that day, it's with sadness in my heart.

Last year, Gary had a business trip that took him to Nashville over Easter.  I flew down with him and we made a vacation out of it.  We toured and traveled and had BBQ and listened to live music and made the best of the weekend that just a year ago was agony.  We made new memories, but very carefully and deliberately.  We celebrated life and each other and the strength and courage of our family to survive.

This year, Easter is early.  Allie's "birth" day is still weeks away.  I was not sure how I was going to feel.

We woke up on Good Friday and it really felt just like any other day.  I was aware of the day, but my heart did not hurt like I thought it would.  Gary and I went for a walk and enjoyed the fresh air.  I have been training for a 5k and although my running is about as speedy as an 80 year old woman's, I am still trying my best.  I feel good and am in better shape that I have been in quite some time.

Later that afternoon, we got a call from our social worker.  We had met with our birth mother last week and the meeting went really well.  We talked for hours and shared all kinds of stories and bits and pieces about ourselves.  We got word after our meeting that she really liked us and was so glad she picked us.  She felt a huge sense of relief after meeting us.  Phew.  Us, too!  We also felt a bit panicked as she is very pregnant and the reality of our adoption journey was made clear.  We are having a baby!!!!

In fact, we thought she was coming yesterday!  On the very same day that our first daughter was delivered, we thought our second daughter was going to make an appearance!  Our social worker called to say that our birth mother was heading to the hospital and she would call with updates.  We were crazy!  We ran to Target to get last minute things, did a quick load of wash and then waited.  The next call said the contractions were too far apart and they were sending her home.  She would call with any more updates.  Ah!!!
 
It became clear to me then that Good Friday was not Bad Friday. It was a day just like any other.  A day where bad things happen and where good things happen and a day where hopes are raised and a day when hopes are put on hold till the next call!

One thing is for certain, our daughter is coming and she is coming soon.  I can't wait till the post that announces that she is here. I have a hunch it might be sooner rather than later...


Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Call

She picked us.  It all comes down to that.  

We got the call late Wednesday afternoon.  I was sitting at my desk preparing for a course that I was to train the next morning when my phone buzzed and the display read "Blocked".  All calls from our Adoption Agency come up as Blocked as they need to maintain anonymity in dealing with their clients.  

My heart stopped.  A few weeks prior, our social worker called and as soon as I picked up, she said, "Don't get too excited.  I just need to talk to you."  She told us she had a birth mother who almost matched what we were looking for and needed our permission to be shown.  We knew this might happen.  We had filled out a key with what we were comfortable with and sometimes there are situations that fall outside the parameters of the key.

Gary and I spent the weekend researching and talking and making the decision as to if we wanted to be shown or not.   On Monday, we told our social worker that we wanted to be shown.

And then we waited.

There was one email that said she was looking at 7 families.

There was another email that said she was looking at 3 families.

There was an email that she liked our video.

Then there was the call.

"Are you ok with 2 legally enforceable visits a year?" our social worker asked me?  My heart exploded.  HOLY CRAP. This was suddenly very real.  "Yes, we are" was my reply.  That was why we chose open adoption.  As long as it is in the best interest of our child, we are ok with 2 visits a year.

"Ok," she said.  "I have to make a few calls.  Hopefully I will call you back soon."

Gary was home sick.  365 days a year we are together.  This week he was sick.  Shaking, I called him and filled him in.  He was as shocked as me.  I told him I would call back if there was more to say.

I sat at my desk.  My monitor loomed in front of me.  I had the phone in my hand.  I waited.

It rang again.  I tried to stay calm.  Our social worker identified herself right away. "This is the call you have been waiting for.  You can get excited.  She picked you.  Congratulations."

I have no idea what I said.  I know I ran outside and it was windy and my hair was whipping around my face and sticking the to tears coming out of my now puffy eyes.   I know I asked if she was sure.  I know I said thank you.  I know I asked her to send me an email with anything important because I would not remember anything past the initial great news.  

I called Gary next.  He picked up the phone and I said, "Hi Daddy".  He whispered, "She picked us?"  "Yes", I replied.  "She picked us."

The last few days have been a blur.  We are having a girl and she is due in early April.  That's REALLY soon.  She will be delivered in Delaware which is just about an hour away.  We will meet the birth mom this Friday.  We can't wait.

I have talked to our social worker since the call and she said that she can't believe how quickly we got chosen.  I just smiled.  Once we chose adoption as the path to grow our family, I suspected it would not be a long wait.

151 "likes" and counting on Facebook.  Calls and emails and texts over the last few days from PA to NJ to VA to Australia!  The joy that this little girl is bringing to our lives is already measurable.

We are hesitant to start setting up the nursery just yet. We have a bassinet and the car seat and the Pack n' Play all ready.  We have clothes and diapers and bottles.  Because we are being placed with a child outside of the state in which we live, we will not be able to come back with the baby into PA for 10-14 days.  It's a inconvenience, but a small price to pay. Once the parental consent has been signed and the Interstate Compact completed, we will finally be able to come home.

Once we are home, there are post placement visits and a myriad of other things to be done.  The actual adoption will not be finalized until close to 6 months.  That's ok.  We have waited this long - what's a few more months?

I talked to my brother on the way home from work on Wednesday and he said he will never forget that call.  Trust me, neither will we.  It was the day we found out that she picked us.  It was the day we found out we were going to be parents again. It was a damn good day.

A "rainbow baby" is a baby that is born following a miscarriage or still birth.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Wait

The waiting is the hardest part
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

Those lyrics from the Tom Petty song play over and over in my head now that we are "in the book".  We can get a call any day.  Or it could be 6 months.  Or double that.  So we have to wait.  And it's hard.

Now for us, it's certainly not the "hardest part", but you know what I mean! 

Last weekend we went through all of Allie's things.  It was actually quite lovely to see all the things that had been given to use for her.  Clothes galore and so much more.  Piggy banks and lamps and blankets and night lights and hats and socks and shoes and bathing suits and sunglasses and more.  I was worried it would be too hard to go through.  Instead, it was exciting to think of a time when we might need these things.  We are as close as we have ever been, I suppose.
Our "to go" pile for when we get the call!

We went shopping earlier this week and bought a few outfits in yellow.  Looking through what we had, there was a LOT of pink.  So now we have some neutral colors just in case we get the "boy" call and we do not want to freak him out.  It was exciting walking around the racks of clothes and dreaming of our baby wearing this or sleeping in that.  I never thought I would be able to say that!

Next month is Allie's 2nd birthday.  Still not sure how we want to commemorate that.  It's on a Monday and Gary and I are saving all our vacation time for when a baby comes.  I have one vacation day left from last year, though, so I am going to use it.  Not sure what I will do - most likely wait for Gary to get home so we can have a little party of our own.  Maybe go to the park and visit her tree.  Maybe set off some sky lanterns that Gary's dad gave us.  Whatever we decide, I am sure it will be right for us.  Just right for her.

My longing for my daughter has changed...I still wonder how it is that she is not here with us, but I think I may be starting to accept her absence in a way I never did before.  The last time we went to grief counseling, we realized that Gary and I were both in the same mind set.  I think, after almost 2 years, we are finally ready to "graduate" from grief counseling.  We will, of course, still keep our counselor on stand-by as she has been so valuable to us and so instrumental in our healing and we are not ready to say goodbye to her forever.  But we can say goodbye for now.   It's time.

We have been getting some feedback from our social worker and it's all positive.  We received our video this week and it's pretty cool.  I think it accurately depicts who we are and the parents we want to be.  Now we just need to get the call.    The call that is going to change our lives.  I can't wait.

A Letter to My First Daughter

My Dearest Allie, It’s been a while since I have written to you. I find it easier to write about you than it is to write to you. ...