I have touched briefly on our post placement relationship with Rhetts birth mom. I haven’t spoke too much about it because it’s still a very new, unknown territory. We have an open adoption with her and send her updates regularly, but we are just about to do our first visit since his birth. Mainly just because we both work full time and can’t afford to take time off work. We’ve told a few people about our upcoming visit and a few of those people have cringed and made us feel bad for going.
Here’s the thing that most people do not understand. We have researched the benefits of open adoption. We have researched the cons of open adoption. We are also parents. We will do what we feel is best for our child and we don’t need anyone’s approval for it. In fact, the more I think about it the more I get offended that people question that.
Open adoption is a new concept for a lot of people, especially older folk. They think adoption is a closed subject that no body needs to know about, not even the child. This is in most cases harmful. The child grows up, hears they’re adopted from a loose lipped cousin, and ends up resenting the parents for lying to them. The only time studies have shown that a closed adoption is beneficial is if there has been some form of abuse (substance, sexual, battery, etc.) If we ever feel that updates and visitation is not in Rhetts best interest we can and will stop them.
Rhett’s birthmom made the decision to place Rhett from a place of love. She knew that her life was not at a place where she could parent him the way he deserved. She is not a bad person, far from it. In a world where abortion is so freely talked about, she could have done that and been done. She chose life and in turn blessed ours immensely. She sought regular prenatal visits, ate what she knew to be healthy, and stayed free of drugs and alcohol. How could we deny her the chance to know and love the person she loved from the moment she found out about him?
Our relationship with Birth mom is very new. We are not at a comfortable place yet, but I have faith we will get there. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers that our first visit goes well!
I want to start off by saying that the years leading up to Rhett were some of the roughest but these 9 months with him have made up for it. I wish I could say that every minute of it has been perfect and we’ve been living in a bubble of bliss, but that’s not the case. I am finally coming out of the fog of PAD’s (post adoption depression). I haven’t told anybody that I thought I was going through that. I didn’t dare admit it really. How could I when I’ve publicly yearned for a child for years? I honestly think being public about it might have made things even harder.
Post Adoption Depression has different symptoms for everyone but for me I felt withdrawn. I felt like only a few people were safe people to be around. Meaning I was on edge around mostly everyone except for those safe people. I felt judged by most. Judged that I wasn't really his mom, that I didn't know what I was doing, or what was best for him. All these thoughts and fears were self induced. I felt my mind start to turn negative in one of the happiest times of my life.
It’s not that I’m not extremely grateful to be a mommy. I literally thank god for him every single minute of the day. What I didn’t know would happen was the guilt I felt daily. That guilt led to depression and anxiety that I’ve never had before. I feel guilt towards my husband that I’m not the person I was before we became parents. I’m not “fun” like I used to be. We don’t stay up late, listen to music, and enjoy each others company like we used to. I feel like I’m letting him down daily and it hurts.
I feel guilt and sadness towards Rhett’s birth mom. We are still navigating what our post placement relationship will be like and it seems whatever choice we make, is not good enough for all parties involved. I feel sad for her that she misses out on Rhett. Not just the big moments he’s had but everything. She doesn’t get to see him eat his food like it’s going out of style or hear him say “dada” for the millionth time. She made the choice she did for a reason and she’s never once said she regrets it but I know her heart is hurting even if she doesn’t say it is. It’s hard being happy for the same reason someone is sad.
I sometimes feel like I fail Rhett. I feel an insane amount of pressure to be everything for him, plus some. To love him fiercely and to protect him against everything. What if I can’t do those things well enough?
I once read a comment from a person on Instagram stating that adoption was the easy path to parenthood. This boggles my mind and I wish more people knew the hard part of adoption. Maybe the only easier part of it is not actually going through labor, but it is definitely not easy. There are a lot of hard things that adoptive parents go through leading up to parenthood and there are plenty more hardships after parenthood. I honestly never knew that Post adoption depressions existed but it really does make sense. Adoptive parents lives get drastically changed just as parents by birth do and sometimes in a lot less time. The bond with the child can take longer which causes emotional turmoil for parents and right off the bat you feel like a failure. Most people think that because you didn't physically birth the child that you don't need help. Believe me when I say adoptive parents need help right after birth. We need meals prepared for us or help cleaning so we can spend those extra 30 minutes bonding. We need help just as any parent would.
Anyone who has gone through depression knows that what works for someone else will not always work for you. I am not one to run to the doctor to get on medication, but would never judge those who do. My outlet has been exercise. I immediately feel better after a work out and notice a huge decline in mood when I miss one. I have been consistently working out for about 6 weeks and the changes have been awesome. I feel more social, confident, and all around happier. It might be a quick walk with Rhett or a long HIIT workout while Rhett hangs out with daddy. I don't put pressure on myself for anything. Working out for me is now about feeling better, not looking better.
Adoption is a beautiful thing. Really it’s the best thing to ever happen to me, but adoption is also so hard. It’s turned my life into a whirlwind, that is just now slowing down. I am finally at a place where I feel like I'm not failing at something everyday. I've had to realize that perfection doesn't exist especially in motherhood. Motherhood is series of failures with a win thrown in there every now and then just to spark some confidence back in you. Motherhood is the biggest reality check I've every been given and everyday I can't believe it's my reality. I'm so thankful for the failures, wins, and everything in between!
While making the decision how to move forward with starting our family I was lead to adoption a few times before we actually started the adoption process. I kept backing out and not bringing it up to Nate because I had one huge worry... would we love this baby if it was not genetically tied to us? This worry was all in God’s timing. I had to work out the fear before moving forward. For those still in the wait, undecided on how to move forward, know this. The love of a child does not come solely on genetics. It comes from nurturing, love, and fate. I promise you that when you hold that baby in your arms you will feel love, you will have to desire to nurture him, and you will know fate brought you together.
When I held Rhett for the first time my heart was at complete peace for the first time in years. I knew without a doubt that he was mine, not genetically but spiritually. I was meant to love him. And boy do I love him. I love waking up to his cries every morning. I love watching his hands clasp his bottle that he so impatiently waited for. I love hearing him call me mama and his daddy dada. I love his dark brown eyes (that look nothing like mine) light up when he sees me. Most of all, I love how much he loves me. He loves me because I’m there. I nurture his every need and want. He loves me in all my imperfect glory. He’s loved me through learning everything about being a mom and he’s loved me through my bad days.
I know sometimes it feels like your heart will never heal. Like you’ll never know what it’s like to love so deeply it hurts, but I promise you will. Open your heart and let god (or whatever higher power you believe in) guide you to make the best decision. You’re worthy of love, you have a nurturing soul, and fate will find its way to you.
Last week I had a dental appointment where I found out I need a dental implant and an old root canal fixed (Thank you dad for the teeth genetics). The dentist was going over the price of it all before he asked when I’d like to get it scheduled. After the shock of the price tag wore off I told him I’d have to wait because we don’t the money right now. I let him know that we just adopted, and our funds are still feeling the sting of it all. After he worked the price out a bit (super nice dentist!) he left the room while the assistant helped the rest of the time. She started asking me questions about the adoption and told me that her and her husband are debating on trying IVF or going straight to adoption. I told her that we had literally tried it all before feeling the revelation to move forward with adoption. She asked me if I regret any of it, I replied with “No” but it isn’t an easy no. Nothing about our journey has been easy.
Do I regret taking/borrowing money from my parents to pay for our IVF and IVF with donor egg cycles? Yes. I really wish I didn’t have that hanging over our heads. Do I regret all the shots, tears, prayers, and crushed dreams. No. It’s made me who I am and it’s made my marriage stronger. Since becoming a mom to Rhett it really has all made sense. Would I have loved a child, biological or adopted, the same way I love Rhett if it had happened years ago? Sure, but it wouldn’t be Rhett. Before we even met him the universe knew he was out there waiting for us.
Whatever your journey in life is or has been there is always a lesson to learn. Usually it takes being out of the situation to really understand what is being taught at that moment. My goal as a new mom is to trust the process and enjoy the whole journey as we are going through it. I've learned in the short 4 months that parenthood is a lot of unexpected.
Now that I’m able to step back and relive the years of trying to become parents I can see things clearly. I’m able to take lessons from every heartbreak and setback that we’ve had. I now know that the trials have made me stronger. They’ve given me the strength it will take to be an adoptive mom. There is no doubt that adoption holds a different set of parenting obstacles. I’d be lying if I said the future doesn’t scare me a little bit, but I know we will get through it. Our journey to parenthood is done but our journey as parents is just beginning. Journeys never fully stop. They shift directions, but keep moving, and that’s what we will do together as a family.
As this year wound down I couldn't help but reflect back on all that had happened. We've moved into a new home, gotten promotions at our jobs, saved money, went on vacations, and started our adoption plan. As luck would have it, on one of our vacations we got some huge news!
We went active with our agency in June and had our profile shown to quite a few expectant families. Every time we got the same email "Sorry but they chose a different family". Every time it hurt. We both knew that our time would come, but with every no we began to feel defeated. We were getting ready for a vacation to Mexico that Nate won at work so we thought it would be a great time to escape and not worry about the adoption for a week. 2 days before we were leaving a new situation came up at our agency. I read the profile on the expectant mom and felt like we should put in for it, even though we were technically taking a break. Nate agreed to show our profile to the EM (Expectant mom) so I sent an email to our social worker letting her know we were interested. With our agency once you put in for the situation you wait a few days until the case is closed and then you listen into a phone call with the social worker from the agency and the EM. They answer question and go over general information about the situation. After the call takes place the EM is shown the profiles and then chooses who she'd like to parent her child.
We were in Puerto Vallarta when the call took place. So we sat under a tiki hut, drinking a pina colada, as we listened in to the call and heard answers about some of questions we had about the birthmom and pregnancy. After the call we went about our day jumping from pool to pool and enjoying our vacation. We decided to grab our belongings and go to another pool on the resort and I looked at my phone and seen that I had missed calls from our agency and an email. I thought it would be the usual email we received several times before, but it wasn't! This one was titled "Birthmother C- Interested!!!" Holy crap, we freaked out! This was closer than we had ever been!
We got back from vacation a few days later and on September 12th we did a skype call with the social worker from the agency, the birthmom, and her sister. I was so nervous. I couldn't concentrate on anything. This was first impression that you really wanted to be positive. The call went great though. We asked them questions and they asked us a lot. We were completely honest and genuine. At the end of the call the birth mom said she already knew but the call confirmed that she would love for us to be her sons' parents. We were shocked, happy, and completely in awe. In 6 short weeks, we would be parents!
2 weeks after we were matched we agreed to drive to Las Vegas to meet face to face. I was once again so nervous that the conversation would be awkward and there would be a lot of silence. The visit went so good and we had constant conversation for 3 hours as we ate lunch at the Olive Garden.
The week leading up to the due date was so hectic. I literally had my phone on me at all times just in case we got the call. We finally heard from our social worker that the doctor agreed to induce her if she hadn't had him by her due date. We left work early and headed to Vegas on 11-29-17 so we could be there for everything as per the birthmoms request. They induced her around 10 am on 11-30-17 and we sat with her in the room for hours. Her progress was extremely slow so we went back to our hotel room to get some sleep. We woke up early and got to her room around 9 that morning. She let us know that her water broke at some point in the night. We were so relieved because she had already been there for so long and we really wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.
Her labor was still very slow until it actually came time to push. She was so exhausted and overwhelmed (the hospital was a student hospital so there were a TON of residents in the delivery room). I remember the exact moment we seen our son. I vividly remember his hair and his bright red lips. The rest of the delivery process was a blur until I had him laying on my chest doing skin on skin. Everything was right in the world at that exact moment. His first breath answered every prayer we've said over the years.
Our birthmom was very emotional right after delivery, but I do remember looking at her while Rhett was laying on my chest and we both had understanding in our eyes. I knew how she felt and vice versa. We both love this little boy more than anything and both our actions speak for that. We have a bond that no one will understand. I want her life to be everything she wants it to be and I most importantly want her to be happy and content with the decision she made to have us parent.
The days after delivery were rough. The hospital we were in was awful and not adoption friendly by any means. Rhett and I were able to stay in the post partum room with the birth mom, but they refused to make accommodations for Nate to stay so he had to come back and forth throughout the day. In the end I'm glad I got the time with our birth mom. I learned a lot about her and her family that I will be able to tell Rhett about as he gets older.
The relinquishment papers were signed 72 hours after birth and we were released to leave the hospital and wait for our ICPC clearance from Nevada and Utah before we could head home. My mom rented an Airbnb for us where she was waiting with decorations, a home cooked meal, and a huge smile on her face. It was so nice having her there. She had to leave a few days later so my sister, Dad, and nephew came to stay and help out. My other sister and her family surprised us and showed up on our doorstep. It was just what I needed at the time. I could feel depression and myself getting very stir crazy starting to happen. I am so glad that my family is as close and supportive as they are because I needed every ounce of it. Rhett has already brought our families closer than ever in the short 4 weeks he's been here. 12 days after birth, on 12-14-17 we were cleared to head back to Utah!
Life has been so different with Rhett in our lives. I won't lie and say it's been all bliss, but I think of all that we've gone through to get him here with us and everything is completely worth it. As I go back to the moment we found out we would be parents I can't help but thank god for all that we've gone through to get to this. We've had so many things go wrong along the way and all of it has shaped us into the parents that Rhett needs. I fully understand gods plan now. Every time I look at our son I am reminded that he is where he was meant to be and we were meant to be his parents.
It's time for a quick update! In the last 2 weeks we have put in for 3 different adoption situations with our agency and have one private adoption possibility. We have got word that one family didn't choose us but the others are still up in the air. I feel strangely calm about the whole thing. I know everything happens for a reason so I'm thankful for the family's that don't choose us and I hope nothing but the best for the waiting family that gets that precious baby.
It's crazy to think that we could be parents really soon, like 3 weeks soon if one of the possible families choose us. We could possibly be waiting for a lot longer, you just never know with adoption. It makes it hard to plan things out... and I'm a huge planner! I have the nursery planned but not put together. I know what we need for the baby, but nothing bought. To be honest it scares me to buy anything because it makes it real and I've had real taken from too many times.
In the last week we've been shown some pretty tender mercies with a lot of things working out for us. I'm continually amazed at the prayers that are answered at the exact time your faith starts to waver. Waiting for answers and a chance to be a parent has been hard, but we have been taught so many lessons. We are grateful for it all.
It takes a village to raise a child is a proverb which means that it takes an entire community to raise a child: A child has the best ability to become a healthy adult if the entire community takes an active role in contributing to the rearing of the child.
We may not have a child yet, but I know that when our child is born he/she will have the best "village" to help them become the best version of themselves possible. When I decided to do a t-shirt fundraiser to help with the cost of adoption I really researched what design and wording I wanted to use. I kept going back and forth, but the one that stuck out was "it takes a village" for a few different reasons.
When I first opened up about our difficult road to parenthood I never expected things to go this way. I never thought we'd have to do numerous rounds of medicated cycles, multiple rounds of IVF, and I never thought we'd be starting our family through adoption. Through it all we've had a community of support. No matter how alone I felt going through all these things, I never was.
Because of our village standing behind us, we were able to move forward with our second IVF cycle (our donor egg cycle). We raised a couple grande through GoFundMe and our parents helped with a lot of the rest of the cost. That IVF cycle resulted in us hearing our baby's heartbeat and seeing him/her wiggle around inside me. For the first time I knew what it was like to have life inside of me. Even though that pregnancy resulted in another loss I am extremely grateful to have the memory of those amazing milestones we hit.
No matter what life experience you have had or may still be going through, it will require something bigger than yourself to get through it. You will need your family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers to help support you through it. We can't wait to have our baby here and to tell them all about the people who helped get them to us :) If you'd like to purchase a shirt, go to my store option and input your info. Thanks to all those who have ordered so far!
I truly believe that one of the good things to come out of having to wait longer and work harder for something is the true, genuine appreciation you have for the finale. I had a older gentleman come over to our yard sale fundraiser who adopted his first 3 children and later in life had a few biological. He told me with absolute certainty that he never once loved his biological children any more than he loves those he adopted. They were all his children, genetics or not. He assured me that all the hard work and sacrifice we have made would be worth it. He left me with chills as he was telling his stories.
We have so many dreams and plans in store for our child. Until then we will continue working on our lives, marriage, and goals. Once we have our babies in our arms our lives and goals will change. We are ready for that to happen today, tomorrow, or a year from now (pray it’s not a year though!)
This weekend we had our yard sale fundraiser and it was a success! I went into it praying we could raise $1000 and we more than doubled that! Between the yard/bake sale and our T-Shirts we raised enough to pay our first fee when we are finally chosen to become parents. Such a huge deal!
About a month ago we started asking for donations. My sister accepted them at her house and then we rounded some up as well. We had a large enclosed trailer full of stuff. Nate had to work on Saturday so he wasn't able to haul the trailer for us, but of course my Dad came to the rescue and drove 4 hours round trip to come get the trailer for us. My sister kept telling me that she was getting a lot of stuff dropped off at her house, but I was not prepared for what I saw when I pulled up to her house. Her large garage was stuffed full! Yard sales are scary because you never know what items you're going to get but we had some awesome stuff. Clothes with new tags, some nice furniture, super cute home decor, and lots more. Guys, I was blown away by all the donations.
We started the sale at 8am and when I arrived at my sisters around 7:30 there was already someone there. It was a steady stream of people until about 3:30 PM. I didn't even have time to pee until 4 because I was running around crazy all day! My sisters were rock stars, my nieces and nephews helped (and tried to steal a few toys), and my dad helped and supported like he always does. My mom couldn't be there because my Great Aunt was in the hospital but she still made time to make delicious cupcakes to sale and my oldest sister wasn't there but did hustle some tshirt sales from home. My family is the absolute best.
The day before the yard sale we were presented a situation for a baby due in the next week. We had all our paperwork filled out but did not end up applying for the situation because the $43,000 was too far out of our budget. I'm not going to lie and say we didn't feel a bit discouraged. The fundraiser has helped raise our spirits a lot. We know that situation was not right for us and we know that all the support we got this weekend will help us get to our baby.
I drove home last night very humbled and thankful for my life. The support we've been shown by family, friends, and complete strangers has been nothing short of amazing. It's taught me that service to others can go a long ways. This is honestly something that will always stay with me. This weekend was a life changer for me, in more ways than one.
Wife and Mom! I love all things fitness, nature, and design inspired. Infertility warrior and new mom through adoption. Living this busy life the best way possible!