Thursday, May 25, 2017

It's a Small World

Miranda goes to school three days a week. Her school is literally down the street from Gary's office, so he normally brings her in and picks her up. Except for Wednesday's. I take those days to drop her off so that he can have a non-rushed morning and I normally head to the YMCA after to get in a workout, so it's a win-win.

Why mention the Y? Well, because yesterday at drop-off, in my sports bra, workout clothes, and frizzy hair splendor, I held the door open for a mom who looked right at me and said, "Are you Samantha?"

I stared directly into her face. I searched my brain for who this person could be. Nothing. Blank. Nada.

"Yes," I replied tentatively. I think I said that word as more of a question than a statement as I had no idea where this conversation was going. I know many of the parents at Miranda's school, but they either know me as "Miranda's mom" or they know my name. Usually, I know theirs as well. I was stumped.

The mom looked at me and smiled. "We were in an Adoptions from the Heart class together."

I then looked down and noticed that she had the most adorable little girl in her car seat carrier and my heart burst inside of my chest.

I love seeing families being made. I especially love seeing families being formed through adoption. 

So we started to chat. Four years ago, we first met. We were in the same course together, with our husbands, talking about our Profile Book. The Profile Book is a tool you use to market yourself to prospective birth parents. She remembered me from all that time ago and said I was so excited about our book and had told our social worker we would have our book done right away.

I must have been super annoying. But I wanted a baby, and nothing was getting in my way!

The new mom and I parted ways after catching up for about 15 minutes. We connected on Facebook and are going to make plans for our girls to play together. We had a short wait to get Miranda. They had a longer wait to get placed. However, it's always nice to connect with people that are on the same journey as you.

What are the odds that our paths would cross? The adoption agency that we used is a good 45 minutes from our house. One day a week for about ten minutes, I am in Miranda's school. That's it! We both must have hit the same traffic patterns and the stars somehow aligned for us to run into each other. There are many many child care facilities in our area, and yet we both chose the same one.

I smiled all day yesterday. I love new connections. Now my daughter will know another friend who is adopted which is super cool to me. Gary and I will have another couple that we can share stories with and even look to or share advice. Open adoption is wonderful for the child, but it can be a bit tricky for both the birth parents and the adoptive parents. It will be nice to have each other.

It really is a small world.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

From Then Till Now...

Six years ago yesterday was my first blog post. From then till now, I have had 94,791 views to my page. That is not including the views I have had to my pieces that have been published. I am still baffled that I get paid to write stories about my life! I have authored 30 pieces so far and my memoir is coming pretty well.

When I first started to blog, it was because my friend Estelle had sent me an article that explained that there was a whole community of women who bonded over the loss of their babies by writing. I am not sure if I even knew what a blog was before then.

I always wanted to be a writer, but I never knew how to get started. I was also never sure if anyone would be interested in what I had to say.

Turns out that many of you are interested and have stuck with me all this time. I am not sure how I would have survived the empty and still house that I was forced to recover in had it not been for my laptop. I am not sure how I would have survived the wait for our social worker to call and tell us that a birth mother had picked us to be parents if it were not for the kind words and positive feedback I received from this blog.

I am the mom that I am because I am able to express myself in this space. It's impossible to put into words how grateful I am for that.

There is not much I do not write about - from depression and anxiety and loss and bereavement to happiness and rainbows and family and vacations. My writing is very much a reflection of my life. The good and the bad all mushed together with a pretty image or quote to make it that much better.

I received this note just last night, "I happened across your blog on Kveller... just wanted to reach out and let you know that your posts resonated." A complete stranger was moved enough to send me a note and let me know how my words made a difference to her. She is about to celebrate her son's third birthday of when he was born still and she was pleased to see she was not alone in her quest to honor her child that is not here with her.

It's such a fine line between wanting to grieve and be sad forever and also wanting to be free of the grief and live life. Knowing there are others out there is key. At least for me.

I am one of the lucky ones. My family and friends all remember our loss. I have to remember that they all lost someone, too.

We have been teaching Miranda about honesty and respect. She is just barely old enough to understand. It's so important to believe in those traits and to abide by them for yourself and for others.

I hope that my words continue to heal me...and maybe you, too. 94,791 views sure leads me to believe that they are! 

Future Writer!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Nothing and Everything

Earlier this year, I took advantage of the unseasonably warm temperatures and went to the local zoo with my young daughter.  My sister-in-law and two nieces joined us there. I could not stop smiling.

To the outside world, we looked like just a couple of moms, taking our kids on a little adventure, passing the time with laughter smiles.  Many of the exhibits were closed since it was off-season, but the playground was open and there were just enough animals in their habitats that the kids were pleased.

It was nothing and everything at the same time.

There was a time that I did not think we were going to be able to raise our children together. I worried that I would never parent a living child. I thought my arms would be empty forever.

My sister-in-law and I were pregnant for the first time at the same time. We had our baby showers within weeks of each other. We were both expecting girls. We were excited and scared and happy and so very blessed.

Her daughter arrived first. It was just a matter of weeks until it was my turn. I held her daughter on my swollen pregnant belly as she napped the sleep of a newborn. I could barely wait till it was my turn.

Twelve days later, we learned my daughter's heart had stopped beating. Just like that. One day she was kicking me so hard that it took my breath away and the next day, I noticed little movement. I felt silly calling the doctor as I was sure I was being dramatic. It turned out that my intuition was right.  She died in my womb and the next day, I had to deliver her still.

That was a little over six years ago. There were so many feelings of guilt and sadness and loss and disappointment. I realized early on that my husband and I were not the only ones who lost a child. Our family lost a cousin, granddaughter, niece, and friend.

Now fast forward to two years later. My sister-in-law was pregnant again. By then, my husband and I decided to grow our family through adoption. It was surprisingly seamless for us, and the moment we held our daughter in our arms, we knew she was ours.

Now there are three girls between us. They are the best of friends. They can’t wait to play together, and no matter how much time we give them, it’s never enough.

One child will always be missing. I think of her every day, and I suspect that others do as well. But what that missing child has taught me is that you have to live each day to its fullest. Live without regrets. Live with intention.

If that means going to the zoo on a warm winter day, then go. Enjoy the sights and sounds. Enjoy the peals of laughter and the smiles on the faces of the ones you love. Enjoy it all.



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. ...