Last Stages of Babyhood

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John Luke was scheduled for his 12 month appointment this past week.  However, the pediatrician’s office called to inform me they can’t administer his vaccinations until after his one year birthday.  I’d been looking forward to his check-up to ask the pediatrician questions about John Luke’s progress.  His appointment has been re-scheduled for December 3rd.

Josh and I were curious about his height and weight; so we went ahead and took his measurements.  He weighs 24 lbs and is 32 inches long.  At 11 1/2 months he is quickly outgrowing his 12 month clothes.  I recently had to buy all new (2nd hand new) 18 month clothes for fall and winter.

At nine months he’d started saying “mama” quite a bit.  It took a while for “dada”, but he finally got it.  Lately, he is only saying “da da” along with a few other babbling sounds.   I wanted to ask the pediatrician if use of a pacifier will delay speech.  I am interested to know if there is a correlation between pacifiers, and how early children start talking.  John Luke is very vocal.  He squeels, babbles, and laughs often.  He is just not forming words yet.  One of his nicknames is T-Rex, because he’s always screeching.

John Luke is walking from furniture to furniture.  He is close to walking on his own, but hasn’t taken a step yet.  He will pull up free standing, then will fall back down on his bottom.   I’m hoping he will start walking before his birthday party.  It’s like with the talking.  It will be on his own time, and when he is ready.

It’s funny how we will “rush” to get to the next stage, then wonder where the time has gone.  Recently, I was putting together a photo collage, from his first year, for birthday invitations, thinking how fast his first year has gone.  I remind myself to enjoy the crawling and babbling, it’s his last stages of babyhood.  He has a long time to be a boy.

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A HOPE AND A FUTURE

I got a note from a friend the other day stating her husband was on board with embryo adoption, but not just any embryo adoption…specifically to adopt Grant and Maria’s siblings!  She and I had been praying about this since she mentioned interest earlier this year.  I got goose bumps as I read her note that just said “he said yes!” as I knew exactly what she meant.   I’m excited about this prospect and know there are no guarantees, but I love the thought of them getting a chance out of the freezer.  I also love the idea that Grant and Maria might one day be able to know another genetic sibling or two.

I wonder about the 10 little ones that have been frozen for nearly 11 years.  Are they boys or girls?  Will they be dark like Grant or feisty like Maria?  Will one have Maria’s crazy toes or Grant’s right ear that sticks out more than other?  Will they like to snuggle like Grant or jump with reckless abandon for a hug like Maria?  Will they wake up ready to get into anything like Grant or take 30 minutes to come to life like Maria?  I hope we get the privilege to watch these things unfold and I’m thankful for a loving family who is willing to give them a hope and a future.

I ask for prayers as this family starts their embryo adoption journey.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  – Jeremiah 29:11.

Movement

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We have a new caseworker. She emailed me even before I had a chance to email her! And, she wants to set up a meet and greet. I already like her.

I also took a peek at the waiting children profile portal. This profile portal is set up for families who have approved homestudies. There are more children shown in this portal than in the general public viewing portal. The children shown in the general public viewing portal are, unfortunately, the children who need the most advocacy. My heart aches for them.

The children in this private portal are the ones that will get sought after quickly. They have little/no drug exposure. There are babies. They are what, stereotypically, waiting families “want.”

I did a search for children under the age of 2. I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few children in this age category.

There was even a sister sibling couple, age 2 and newborn. They didn’t live together. It broke my heart.

And yet, we just aren’t ready to make that next leap. I’d like to get more settled into our new home. We’re also taking our last kid-less vacation in May, and I’d like to wait until after then before actively pursuing any leads.

But, I was infused with hope that our next child could very well be in this pool of children.

That made me happy.

Options in Open Relationships between Donor and Recipient Families

nancyauthor

First of all, I would like to point out that there is no one formula as to the type of relationship between an embryo donor and the embryo recipient when they have chosen to have an open relationship.

Many donors want to have a relationship with the recipient family with whom they have shared their embryos.  The reasoning may be that they, as well as their biological children that they are parenting, may desire to have an opportunity to know one another.  Because they donor’s children are full biological siblings, they, as they mature, may also desire to have a relationship with the children who were donated as embryos to another family.

These relationships may cover the spectrum from very open with the families visiting each other’s homes to only periodic correspondence between the two parties.  Typically the donor families and the recipient families grow these relationships as it feels comfortable for each party.

Of course, the personalities of the individuals have a great impact as to how the relationships develop.  Individuals who are more cautious may not take risks to allow the relationship to develop as fully as those who are willing to take more risks.

As I have spoken with families who desire an open relationship, both the donor and the recipient families have verbalized that they desire an open relationship for the benefit of the child or children.

Prior to making the decision to donate embryos to a specific family with an open relationship, a social worker will counsel with both the donor and the recipient families to assist them with establishing a plan for the relationship that meets both families’ needs.  Typically a document is developed, reviewed by both parties and signed.  In many situations, both couples find their compatibility comfortable enough to grow their relationship beyond the initially outlined relationship.

I have seen embryo donors and recipient families who have embraced one another as new extended family members.  There has not been language to define this particular relationship.  Even though the children of the donor and the recipient families are genetically “sibling,” their relationship is logically more like “cousins.”  Many couples have used the term “cousins” to help the children understand and comprehend the unusual relationship.  Most children are open to this relationship and welcome the other parties without needing to “define” why these individuals are in their life.

When the adults are at peace with and embrace this unique relationship, the children accept this as normal for their family.

TRUNK OR TREAT FENDERS FARM & ALMOST ONE…

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This week we had Trunk or Treat at our church.  John Luke looked cute in his puppy dog costume, but he wasn’t feeling it.  Boo.  I was so excited about Halloween.  It’s one of those events you look forward to when trying to get pregnant for so long.  Shopping for costumes, dressing the kid’s up, and going Trick or Treating.  Let’s just say, we enjoyed it more than he did.  He was fascinated by watching all the big kids in their costumes, so it did help distract him a little.

I couldn’t see putting him back in his heavy and furry costume Halloween night to Trick or Treat, so we decided to take him to a local place called Fender’s Farm on Saturday.  They have an animal farm where you can feed the animals, a corn maize, zip line, tractor rides, and all kinds of fun activities for kids and adults.  It was a beautiful fall day, so we wanted to take some photos for his birthday invitations I am working on.

It’s hard to believe he will be a year old this month on November 26th.  I look back at his pictures over the last year, and see how much he has grown.  He’s becoming a toddler.  He’s not such a baby, baby anymore.  I am so thankful we plan to have more children through embryo adoption.  I feel like I can enjoy these stages of growth without being sad this will be my last.  His one year well-baby visit is next week.  I’ll l post about his progress then.

Here are some pics from our week…

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Heartbreak of Infertility During the Holidays

nancyauthor

For many individuals and families the pain and heartbreak of infertility is so much greater during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

During this time of year, many families gather to be thankful and share the blessings of their lives. However, for those families facing infertility the pain is ever present and keen when friends and families gather.  Other family members may inquire about any medical treatment they have undergone or inquire about adoption plans.  Often remembering their struggles and losses brings the pain to the forefront for everyone.

Some couples find comfort in inquiries from others whereas other couples may find it to be an intrusion to their pain and loss.  For those who care deeply for the couples experiencing loss, asking them if they would like to talk about it gives them the option of opening the discussion or choosing to leave it closed.  For some, a gentle reminder that you are thinking about them may bring more comfort than inquiries about their situation.

A number of couples who have experienced infertility, report that they find peace in being with other couples who are experiencing the same obstacles; as one woman wisely said, “When we are with others who are experiencing infertility, we feel  “normal” because everyone in this groups understands the pain of infertility.”

While we cannot remove the pain of infertility at any time, being attuned to the losses felt during the holiday season is so very important.

Five years ago today…

Photobucket       … I stood in a hospital room, holding a precious baby boy.

A mixture of emotions consumed me. This baby was not genetically mine. And yet, I loved him instantly. A flood of
unconditional love and affection had washed over me the second I saw his little head pop out.

I turned to look at his beautiful birthmother. She was calm. I know now that her heart was breaking inside, and it took every ounce in her to not crumble. She was telling herself to stay strong. This is what is best for him. She loves him.

I turned back to look at the baby boy in my arms. Pink cheeks. Auburn hair. Blue eyes that couldn’t stay open for but a few seconds.

I couldn’t lose him. But, I also couldn’t take him, either. He had to be a gift. Given over, freely. That’s the only way this could work.

I kissed his forehead. It smelled sweet. New. Soft.

I stroked his hair, and rested my cheek against his.

I looked up to see his birthmother smiling, approvingly. She knew I loved him. She knew he was ours, given by God to us, through her. She felt confident in that. Now, she just needed to get through the next few hours, days, and years.

Not much has changed in these last five years. I still kiss my son’s forehead, stroke his hair, and rest my cheek against his. His hair has darkened, and so have his eyes. But now he has lost his first tooth. Now he speaks in paragraphs. Now he wrestles his sister to the ground.

My love for him has also changed. For a while, I struggled feeling like I was nothing more than his babysitter. I struggled fully stepping into the “Mommy” role. I felt if I did, I was somehow replacing his birthmom, whom I also loved.

It took many months to realize that not being that Mommy, 100%, was doing a great disservice to my son, and his birthmom. She didn’t go through this incredible sacrifice for me to be just a babysitter. I needed to fully assume the role she had entrusted me with, and take hold of my title as Brae’s Mommy.

So, that’s what I’ve done. To this day, while I have taken full ownership as Mom to my little boy, it’s never far from my mind that he is still just on loan to me. He is God’s child, and there is only so much I can do to protect him. I need to trust that just as freely and lovingly as God gave him to us, I need to equally as freely and lovingly give him back to God, each and every day.

Happy birthday, my baby boy.

We love you.
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