Memory Lane and Open Conversations

I’m feeling hopeful about the adoption of Grant and Maria’s siblings.  Everything is moving along smoothly and the adoptive family has their first NEDC appointment in April, so I’m guessing if all goes well, they could have their transfer by this time next year if not sooner.

I’ve been down memory lane a few times as adoptive mom has asked a lot of questions about the process and medications.  I warned her that estrace made me crazy.  She wanted to know what kind of crazy…like would she throw things?  I said that throwing things was not out of the question and neither was random crying.  I do recall crying at commercials that would have otherwise been benign and throwing a computer video game box at Jeremy during a fight when he had the audacity to tell me I was “just being hormonal.”  I don’t typically throw things and yes, I was hormonal…but at that time in my mind, I was perfectly rational….there was no need to continue to store games that we never played nor ever would….I just wanted him to get rid of them at that very minute.

I’m excited about the future and what this relationship will look like and how we will explain it to Grant and Maria.  We’ve been more intentional about discussing their origins and when we told them they used to be frozen, Grant looked at me wide eyed with his silliest expression as he stated “FROZEN?!  That’s silly, Mommy!”  I went on to pull up pictures of embryos and babies through all stages of development in the womb.  They both kept saying “show another picture,” as I flipped through and showed them all the different ways they looked when they were in my belly.

I know they can’t comprehend, but I think these conversations are important for them so they can know that even though the way they came into our family was not the most conventional way of family building, we are proud of it and thankful for the gift of embryo adoption.

Birthmom visit: What she said

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Last weekend, we had our 4th visit with Brae’s birthmom and his half-sister.

I’ve said time and time again that genetics play a nominal role in the similarities between siblings, and yet each time I see Brae’s half-sister, I feel like that role just keeps getting bigger.

They look so much alike. They make the same facial expressions. They make the same hand gestures. Even their pout is the same. They react to things very similarly. It’s astounding.

They are both very independent, strong-willed, and confident kids (all “nice” ways of saying “bossy”).

I know all of these traits can be positives when channelled the right way.

Brae’s birthmom is engaged and getting married next summer. I reiterated that if she wants us there, or Brae even in the wedding, it would be an honor. She beamed and nodded.

As the conversation was winding down, we talked a little about Sienna (who was traipsing around the little gym, minding her own business). And then Brae’s birthmom said something that stung my gut:

“You know, I was a little worried when you told me you were pregnant with Sienna. That you wouldn’t want or love Brae as much because you didn’t carry him.”

Right. in. the. gut.

I don’t blame her at all for saying this. I think it’s a very human and natural concern. I get it.

But for us, it is so wrong.

I explained to her that couldn’t be further from the truth. Brae made me a mom. Sienna made me pregnant. They are both so special and unique in their own ways. I told her it was actually harder for me to bond with Sienna, simply because she was a “fussier” baby. Brae was easy as pie. Sienna was more high maintenance.

My love and attachment to each Brae and Sienna developed in their own natural ways, and neither of them had anything to do with whether I carried them or not. They were both mine.

She grinned. I think she got it.

Britney

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GIVING THANKS

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John Luke’s first birthday is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  I went in to labor the Sunday before Thanksgiving, this time last year.  Since his birthday was just after the holiday, this will be his first Thanksgiving.

I’d like to thank some people who had a critical role in his birthday coming into being.

*Both of our families, who through thick and thin, put up with us, when at times we were not at our best.  Infertility can wreak havoc on your emotions, and you often take it out on the ones closest to you.

*Dr. Samuel Thatcher, our Reproductive Endocrinologist, who had the boldness to tell us the painful truth, that we would most likely never have a biological child.  He had the grit to inform us, that our only real chance of conceiving was through embryo adoption.

*Our friend who was an oocyte donor for us.  Because of her generous act, we came across the NEDC online, while researching third party donation.

*The other bloggers through the NEDC website, who made embryo adoption seem real and possible, and not weird, like some kind of science experiment.  It made us realize embryo adoption is just like any other adoption, with the bonus of me being able to carry the child.

*The staff at NEDC who make dreams come true, for so many infertile couples, who never thought having a child of their own could be real.

*People working in the infertility world everywhere, who have to tell people what they don’t want to hear, but need to hear, so they can move forward with what could be the best thing that ever happened to them.

Holidays can be hard for those who are childless, if having a child is the desire of their heart.  Embryo adoption changed that for me.   This Thanksgiving, my arms and heart are full.  For all who played a role, I give my thanks and gratitude.

Happy 13th!!

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Josh and I celebrated our 13th wedding Anniversary this week.  We dated almost 6 years before getting hitched, so more or less, we have been together almost two decades!  Twenty wonder-FULL and imperfect years!

Josh and I couldn’t be more different at times, and more alike at others.  I’m type A.  He is laid back.  I prefer things to be tidy.  He prefers everything out and accessible.

I tell him everything from A-Z.  He tells me A and Z and I have to guess everything in between.  I’m an over communicator.  He doesn’t think that much  communication is necessary.

I like to go to the movies.  He doesn’t like to be indoors that long.  I like to walk.     He says “I walk everywhere, why do I want to go somewhere to walk?”  I like to         sleep.  He says, “You can sleep when your dead.”

I like to watch football.  He says, “Why do I want to watch a bunch of grown men in tights, chase around a ball?  He likes to hunt and fish.  I say, “ Why would I want to look my dinner in the eye before I eat it?”

We couldn’t be more alike at times.  We both prefer the mountains over the  beach.  Church over social activities.  Time at home with John Luke over time spent elsewhere.

We can look at ten pieces of furniture and both pick out the same piece.  We can read each others’ minds by our facial expressions and can finish each others’            sentences.

We argue, but can’t stay angry at each other long.  We can be spitting mad with one other, but still be glad to see each other walk through the door.  Sometimes, I’m glad when he’s gone, but then can’t wait for him to get back.

We recently went to our friends 50th wedding Anniversary.  Wow!  If walls could talk, what stories would be told.  With four grown children and 50 years of marriage, I wonder how many compromises were made.  I wonder how many times someone went to bed angry.  So often people forget why they fell in love in the first place and quit trying.

Thirteen years ago, I married my best friend.  He remains my best friend to this day.  Josh and I have always talked about renewing our vows at 25 years.  I look forward to many, many more wonder-FULL and imperfect years Josh Foster!

Happy 13th!!

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Another Family Created and Donated the Embryos to your family, But this is Your Child!

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What a wonderful blessing another family has given your family.  They have donated to you the embryos that they lovingly created.  They pass them on to you to fulfill your hopes and dreams of a family.  Your donor family has been blessed and they are willing to share this blessing with you.

Can you receive the gift with thanksgiving and claim the responsibility to nurture this gift to its fullest?

Sometimes when we are given a precious gift, we do not feel that we deserve the gift.  However, the gift of embryos is a most precious gift as it is the gift of “life with potential.” As with any newborn baby, one does not know who this child was created to be.  But every family celebrates the birth of this new life and watches and nurtures this precious new life.

Your child will be totally unique because they carry the genes of the donor family, but will be imprinted with the special gifts of your family.   This child will mimic the tone of your voice, respond to your mannerisms, be impacted by your family experiences and likewise develop into the unique person he or she is intended to be.

What a wonderful gift you have been given, what a joy and a blessing to watch this child grow and develop into a precious new member of your family.

The bond between brother and sister

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Brae and Sienna share a very special bond. I can kind of relate to it, because I have a younger sister, and three older stepbrothers.

But Brae and Sienna’s bond is unique.

They share not one gene between them, and
yet are thick as thieves.

They are the first person the other wants to see in the morning, and the last person the other wants to see at night.

Brae “reads” to Sienna. Sienna “cooks” him food. Brae “carries” her places. Sienna “helps” get him dressed.

If one isn’t around, the other gets sad. And when they are together, they are running around the house laughing.

Even when they are fighting, it lasts only seconds before they are running around laughing again.

They say that boys mature slower than girls. Well, with them being only 2.5 years apart, and Brae being the oldest (and less mature), that age gap seems even smaller.

I’m so grateful for their bond and pray that it always remains this strong. I pray that Brae watches over her his whole life, and that she continues to look up to him as her older, protective big brother.

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Aha Moment

The kids and I were running errands the other night when I had a revelation of this captive audience that sat in the captain’s chairs behind me.  I had two little hearts and minds that were asking questions and listening intently to what I had to say.  We didn’t have distractions or toys or TV or phones.

We talked about the universe and planets and how God made it all.

Grant told me he wanted to go to the moon and asked if I could go with him.  I told him that he could absolutely go to the moon if he worked hard and became an astronaut when he got big.  He asked again if I could go with him and I said I didn’t think I would be able to be an astronaut.  He said he didn’t want to go to the moon anymore.

We talked about their names and their relationship with one another.

Maria said “G’s my brother.”

Grant replied “Rita’s my girl.  We play together and share.”

It was so sweet.

I asked what their names were as we are working on middle and last names.

Grant said Maria was “Rita Woowis.”  When I laughed, he said “That’s silly, Mommy.”

Maria replied that she is “Ria Belle” and Grant is “Grant Woowis.”

We talked about how dark it was even though it wasn’t yet bedtime.  We discussed the seasons and how they change.

We talked about our dog Charlie and how he was in heaven.  Grant said that he wanted to see Charlie in heaven.  I told him that if he knew and accepted Jesus, he would be able to see Charlie one day.  He replied, “That would make me so happy, Mommy!”  I smiled and chuckled.  It would make me happy, too (as long as it is a LONG time from now).

Take advantage of these captive audience moments.  They are priceless.