Friday, November 12, 2010

We've Been Chosen!

Several weeks ago I got a call from a good friend.  She had a lead on a birth mother who was looking for an adoptive family.  You'd be surprised how many times I get calls like that - or maybe you wouldn't be surprised.  Anyway, I didn't get worked up, just took the information and said I'd call the woman at the agency.  I was in the car with Bridget at the time and we were on our way somewhere kind of far away.  After I hung up the phone (which was almost out of juice) I drove for a few minutes, then I turned the car around without really thinking about it and we went home so that I could use our phone to call the agency my friend had told me about.  (By the way, I pulled over for the conversation with my friend.  Safety first!)

This was a Thursday.  By Sunday we had a conference call set up with the birth mother and birth father.  We only talked for about 20 minutes.  They stayed on the line with their caseworker and then their caseworker called us back to say the birth family wants to work with us.  So!  Some time in the next five weeks, we'll be a family of five.  The birth mother is pregnant with twin boys - didn't I mention that part?  :) :) :) :) :)

Since we found out, it's like we've been training for an adoption marathon and we didn't even realize it.  We were so ready for a baby that it would have been too easy, so we're getting two babies.  Bridget is very into math right now, so she often reminds me that right now there are three people in our family and when we get "the brothers" there will be five.  All of us have stepped up our game - we're remembering to do all the stuff we need to do and we're being extra helpful to each other.  Next weekend we're going to visit the birth family face to face. 

My Dad says my blogging days are over once the brothers get here, but I'm hoping he's wrong.  Wish us luck!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Princess Duties

Ever since our trip to Disneyland last year, Bridget sometimes requests a princess bun with her crown from the castle.  She doesn't ask very often, so I indulge her when she feels like being a princess.  This was a day last week when she didn't have preschool:


She happened to have some princess homework to do that day, too.  :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Practice

Bridget holding her friend's little brother's hand while they wait for some people to pass by.
 We've been talking a lot about what we can do to get another baby.  We're updating our profile with LDSFS and trying to take more pictures of the stuff we do.  Mostly, though, we're praying.  At Family Home Evening last week we informed Bridget that she is the angel in the family and she needs to ask Heavenly Father to help us find her brother or sister.  "I think a sister." They won't be very close in age (at least four years even if we were chosen today), but I know Bridget will take good care of her little brother/sister.  We have a room upstairs next to our bedroom and as soon as we know what we're getting, we'll paint it.  (For now it's Uncle Aaron's Room.  Uncle Aaron has been on a mission for almost a year, but that's still what we call the upstairs guest room.)  Even though it's kind of in the middle of everything, it's the quietest room in the house.  I love taking naps in there.  And we insulated the floor (the ceiling of the office downstairs) when we finished the basement.  Always thinking!

I think we're in the mood to get everything updated right now because all of us "miss" him/her.  That's weird to say...  We feel the absence of another person in our family and it hasn't always felt like that.  Life is busy and happy and will continue to be - we're just waiting in position for the starting gun to go off and begin a new chapter.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A New Family Picture

We've had a new family picture taken.  We did it during a big family picture for Brian's family - his brothers and sister and their spouses, all the nieces and nephews and his parents.  This has been a looooooonnnnnnngggggg time coming.  I love having family photos all over the house and I've been begging and dreaming about having a picture of Brian's family since we got married almost 14 years ago.

Our individual family photo.  We got a different one enlarged for our home - in that one we're all laughing.  I like those kind best.
 The photographer had everyone in position... for half an hour.  That's a long time to sit in one position - especially if that's an awkward position, which it was for several of the nieces and nephews.  After only about 12 clicks of the camera on our big family picture, poor Grandma fainted.  She needed some sugar (she's diabetic) and she got some in a hurry because I have a very prepared sister-in-law.  Anyway, everyone scattered like mice and that was it for the family picture.  We're trying again in a little over a week.  Wish us luck!

Bridget started preschool!  She goes three times a week for a couple of hours in the morning.  The first day she quietly said she didn't want to do it, but she did it anyway.  Bridget is shy, but also determined to be independent.  As we walked up the driveway to the preschool, she put her hand in mine and squeezed tight.  Now I'm home by myself for a few hours three times a week.  I think we're both trying not to cry about it. :)

Now that she's gone a few times, she's good to go.  I love seeing her sitting on the pillow with her little backpack on waiting for me when I pick her up.  I wave to her and smile too big, she tries to play it cool and only smiles back a little until we get out the door.  Then she takes my hand and starts talking and never stops.  :)  Love it.

Here she is for the second day of school.  She loves accessorizing her ensembles - check out the silly bands and the giant ring on her right hand.  Who can resist that face?!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Roller Coaster Buddies

We went to Lagoon yesterday.  I worked there in my youth and I get the pukes riding in buses, so roller coasters aren't my thing - two of the big reasons I dread Lagoon Day for Brian's office.  Brian and Bridget are roller coaster buddies, though.  Bridget loves to go on rides.  All day she kept suggesting that we go on rides "as a family," but there are few that we can do that with.  One is the giant Ferris wheel:


Right after the Ferris wheel, we did the Tilt-a-Whirl.  From then on, it was all Daddy because I felt like puking just walking around.  (I think I can handle roller coasters, it's the kind that spin you around that I can't do.)  Bridget and I rode the Paratrooper before the Tilt-a-Whirl and she was a riot - squealing with delight and holding my hand tight.  As with most of our adventures, though, she doesn't get really into it until it's almost time to leave.  Brian and I have noticed lately that in the car coming home from something fun, Bridget will ask where we're going next.  On the way home from Grandma's she'll ask if we can go to the trampolines.  On the way home from day camp she'll ask me if we can go to a park.  Last night, after five or so hours at Lagoon, she asked if we could play "Go Fish" when we got home.  (She wakes up asking me if we can play "Go Fish.")  I like that she's so into life right now - she wants to do everything! 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Our Adoption Story: Placement

From the dates between posts you probably already know (the one person who reads this) that we're not feeling it right now.  We haven't heard from any birth mothers in months and we're coming up on our third year "in the books" at LDSFS.  Sometimes I feel like Bridget will be our only child.  Other times I feel like something (someone) is coming.  Either way, we're happy.  It's kind of nice to just be happy.

Bridget's birthday was last week.  It brought back a lot of memories and I thought I'd go out on a bit of a limb and write them down here.  She was born on a Sunday afternoon, four years ago.  We'd met with her birth mother, Mary (name has been changed), one time in May.  Bridget was supposed to be born in July, so Brian and I were busy getting ready for a baby in our house that had only ever had the two of us in it.  At the same time we weren't getting too ready, just in case it didn't work out. (We'd been chosen twice before Mary chose us.  The first time we had a plan for placement and everything, but a week before the baby was born, the birth mother's ex-boyfriend - the birth father - sued her for custody of their child.  The second time didn't feel right, which is a story all by itself.)

We were home from church and helping my friend unload her car after a trip.  When we got back home, there was a message from Mary's case worker saying that she'd had the baby.  Three weeks early.  We didn't have a car seat (no need to tempt fate with that in the house) to bring her home in.  We didn't have any formula or bottles...  Mary's case worker said we'd have placement on Tuesday, June 27th, at the hospital.

Monday morning I went into work as usual, but I went straight to my boss's office to tell him our baby had been born and I would have to quit that very day.  They hadn't hired anyone to replace me, but it was summer and the Brethren were done with meetings for the next month.  (I was an editor in the Missionary Department for the LDS Church.)  My boss was quiet and excited and told me not to worry about anything.  My immediate supervisor asked me if I would come back in a week to train my replacement.  Uh, no.  Mary's case worker called me in the late afternoon to see if we could come visit Mary and the baby in the hospital.  Mary was having an understandably hard time and she needed to see us with her baby - she needed to see us as a family.

We drove to Ogden to the hospital.  I was more uncomfortable and awkward than I've ever felt before.  I didn't want to seem too eager - I had no idea what the "rules" were in this crazy situation.  When we walked into Mary's room, her mother and a couple of siblings were there with her case worker.  Mary was holding the baby.  Before we were even all the way in the room, Mary asked if I wanted to hold her.  I did.  She put the baby in my arms and everyone was quiet while I held her.  Finally Mary's sister asked what we were going to name her.  "Bridget," I said.  Mary's sister and Mary herself seemed really pleased by our choice.  Then Mary's sister made fun of Mary's choice, which was "Shantelle" or something like that.  I laughed, but it made me ache for Mary that she had thought of a name for her baby.  I couldn't take it anymore and I handed the baby to Brian.  I don't know how Bridget looked in my arms, but she belonged in Brian's.  Bridget let out a little cry and Brian and I looked at each other and smiled.  She sounded like a little bird.  And she was little.  Under five pounds.  Brian held her for the rest of the time we were there.  Mary's family left, then we left a few minutes later.  On our way out, her case worker mentioned that Mary had held Bridget all night and all day.  More aching.  I felt so guilty.  It's hard to describe the jumble of emotions...

On Tuesday we bought a car seat, got it hooked up in the car.  A neighbor/friend let me borrow a bassinet to put by our bed.  At 4:00 we headed out the door to our placement meeting.  Mary's caseworker called our cell phone as we were about to pull onto the freeway.  Mary needed one more day with Bridget.  She was taking her "home" to Grandma's house.  We rescheduled placement for Wednesday, the 28th.  We turned the car around, pulled back into our neighborhood and one of my friends stopped our car thinking we were bringing our baby home.  She looked in the back at the empty car seat and started to cry.  I wasn't crying.  I had steeled myself.  I hadn't allowed myself to think that this was actually going to happen, so I wasn't crying, I was just numb.  We came into the house and both of us just sat on the couch and stared at nothing for the next hour.  In my mind, I knew that no one would be able to say goodbye to that sweet little baby we'd met the night before.  I wondered if I could get my job back.

The next day at 4:00 we cautiously got in the car and drove back to Ogden.  The power was out all over town and we were a little late.  We thought.  Mary and her parents were in one room at the LDSFS office in Ogden and Brian and I were in another.  We hadn't eaten dinner.  We sat in that room alone and sometimes with our case worker, for the next three hours.  Mary's case worker would come in and give us updates.  At 8:15 Mary's case worker came in and told us that if Mary hadn't signed the papers by 8:30, we'd have to try again tomorrow.  (Their policy is to not let the birth mothers leave placement when it's dark outside.)  At 8:25 the case worker came back into our room and told us Mary had signed the papers.  We were led into her office where Mary and her parents had been in a living hell for the last several hours.  Mary was wrung out.  The gifts we brought her were small next to the gift she was giving us.  The guilt and the ache inside me was overwhelming.  I couldn't stand it.  Mary stood up with Bridget in her arms, we took a few pictures.  Then she quickly handed Bridget to me and left the room before she fell apart, which I was sure she was going to do.  Suddenly everyone was gone.  It was just me, Brian and Bridget.  Brian hugged us both.  We cried an exhausted cry 10 years in the making

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cousins! Siblings! Random Trivia!

Bridget has one million cousins.  Okay -  not a million, but some of them are really loud.  There is something very poignant to me about watching her with my sisters' kids.  Maybe it's because I knew my sisters when they were kids and we used to plan and talk about how many children we'd have and what their names would be.  (I always named my fictional kids Monica and Jessica.  It was the 80s.)  It's fun to see the next generation playing together.  My youngest sister Makenzie lives close enough for us to get together often and she has two adorable (seriously) kids, Gabriel and Claire.  Nothing is more fun than seeing Gabriel and Bridget play together ... except maybe listening to them laugh hysterically.  Gabriel doesn't really talk a lot, so what they laugh about is anybody's guess.


Here's Gabriel noticing the Supergirl logo on Bridget's shirt (he's a big fan of The Incredibles):

Bridget likes to "take care" of Baby Claire.  Secretly Bridget likes to take care of all babies.  That means binky patrol, hugs, kisses - the essentials.  Bridget was only too happy to pose for a picture with Claire, even though Claire was stuffing her face.  (For real - she was eating her fist with the cracker in it.  Very delicate, no?)

(Notice in the background that Kenzie and I have twinsie bags.  Sisters!)

Lately when Bridget is asked to smile for pictures she does this eyes-half-closed thing with a benevolent smile. Too many princess movies? 


This is a photo from 1982, taken soon after Makenzie was born.  My Mom is holding Makenzie and going clockwise from Mom's left is Allyn, Jen, Me, Melissa, and Katy.  Six girls!  It was Crazytown.

Even more Crazytown was that orange carpet.  Also that my Mom had two boys after Makenzie.  Here we are at Rob's wedding in 2008:

Back row: Makenzie, Rob, Aaron, and Jen.  Front row: Melissa, Allyn, Katy, and Me (Nicole).  Maybe I'm feeling extra nostalgic right now, but seeing this picture makes me cry a little bit.  My siblings are all such good people - I love being around them.  (Did you know that the percentage of redheads in the entire world is something like 1%?  I have FOUR siblings with red hair.  You probably counted five, but I've never considered Allyn a redhead.)

This post turned into a bit of a ramble, I know.  I'll just leave it here. :)