Monday, June 10, 2013

Dear mom of an adopted child

Dear Mom of an Adopted Child, I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son’s school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident. It doesn’t matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have. Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them. Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life-savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was. Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it? I know about all those books you read back then. The ones everyone reads about sleep patterns and cloth versus disposable, yes, but the extra ones, too. About dealing with attachment disorders, breast milk banks, babies born addicted to alcohol, cocaine, meth. About cognitive delays, language deficiencies. About counseling support services, tax and insurance issues, open adoption pros and cons, legal rights. I know about the fingerprinting, the background checks, the credit reports, the interviews, the references. I know about the classes, so many classes. I know the frustration of the never-ending paperwork. The hours of going over finances, of having garage sales and bake sales and whatever-it-takes sales to raise money to afford it all. I know how you never lost sight of what you wanted. I know about the match call, the soaring of everything inside you to cloud-height, even higher. And then the tucking of that away because, well, these things fall through, you know. Maybe you told your mother, a few close friends. Maybe you shouted it to the world. Maybe you allowed yourself to decorate a baby’s room, buy a car seat. Maybe you bought a soft blanket, just that one blanket, and held it to your cheek every night. I know about your home visits. I know about your knuckles, cracked and bleeding, from cleaning every square inch of your home the night before. I know about you burning the coffee cake and trying to fix your mascara before the social worker rang the doorbell. And I know about the followup visits, when you hadn’t slept in three weeks because the baby had colic. I know how you wanted so badly to show that you had it all together, even though you were back to working more-than-full-time, maybe without maternity leave, without the family and casseroles and welcome-home balloons and plants. And I’ve seen you in foreign countries, strange lands, staying in dirty hotels, taking weeks away from work, struggling to understand what’s being promised and what’s not. Struggling to offer your love to a little one who is unsettled and afraid. Waiting, wishing, greeting, loving, flying, nesting, coming home. I’ve seen you down the street at the hospital when a baby was born, trying to figure out where you belong in the scene that’s emerging. I’ve seen your face as you hear a nurse whisper to the birthmother that she doesn’t have to go through with this. I’ve seen you trying so hard to give this birthmother all of your respect and patience and compassion in those moments—while you bite your lip and close your eyes, not knowing if she will change her mind, if this has all been a dream coming to an abrupt end in a sterile environment. Not knowing if this is your time. Not knowing so much. I’ve seen you look down into a newborn infant’s eyes, wondering if he’s really yours, wondering if you can quiet your mind and good sense long enough to give yourself over completely. And then, to have the child in your arms, at home, that first night. His little fingers curled around yours. His warm heart beating against yours. I know that bliss. The perfect, guarded, hopeful bliss. I also know about you on adoption day. The nerves that morning, the judge, the formality, the relief, the joy. The letting out of a breath maybe you didn’t even know you were holding for months. Months. I’ve seen you meet your child’s birthparents and grandparents weeks or years down the road. I’ve seen you share your child with strangers who have his nose, his smile … people who love him because he’s one of them. I’ve seen you hold him in the evenings after those visits, when he’s shaken and confused and really just wants a stuffed animal and to rest his head on your shoulder. I’ve seen you worry when your child brings home a family tree project from school. Or a request to bring in photos of him and his dad, so that the class can compare traits that are passed down, like blue eyes or square chins. I know you worry, because you can protect your child from a lot of things — but you can’t protect him from being different in a world so intent on celebrating sameness. I’ve seen you at the doctor’s office, filling out medical histories, leaving blanks, question marks, hoping the little blanks don’t turn into big problems later on. I’ve seen you answer all of the tough questions, the questions that have to do with why, and love, and how much, and where, and who, and how come, mama? How come? I’ve seen you wonder how you’ll react the first time you hear the dreaded, “You’re not my real mom.” And I’ve seen you smile softly in the face of that question, remaining calm and loving, until you lock yourself in the bathroom and muffle your soft cries with the sound of the shower. I’ve seen you cringe just a little when someone says your child is lucky to have you. Because you know with all your being it is the other way around. But most of all, I want you to know that I’ve seen you look into your child’s eyes. And while you will never see a reflection of your own eyes there, you see something that’s just as powerful: A reflection of your complete and unstoppable love for this person who grew in the midst of your tears and laughter, and who, if torn from you, would be like losing yourself.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rice cereal obsessed

We have been giving Harrison rice cereal for about 3 weeks now and the child is obsessed. He screams when the spoon is removed from his mouth. It's too funny! We look forward to feeding him this every night!

Harrison's first beach trip

At the beginning of May we went on our annual trip for the Memphis Bar Association to Tops'l in Sandestin, FL. brian can get CLE credits and I can get in some beach time! Can't go wrong there! The conference started on Wednesday so we headed down to watercolor Beach on Sunday for a pre vacation. We had the very best time. Harrison went to all of our favorite restaurants with us (Cafe Thirty A, Red Bar, Vue, The Meeting Place at Watercolor, Stinky's Fish Camp) and was perfect!Our dinners were just much earlier with a baby :) Where we stayed was right near Seaside so we could stroll over and hang out and of course eat, which is my favorite thing to do at the beach! It was a little chilly and windy the first few days so we had to shield him from the wind and of course the sun. We had a great setup that worked perfect for us! we can't wait for this trip every year with him. Looking forward to going back to the beach in favorite month down there!

catching up (as usual)

Hi friends! I hope everyone is doing great! Of course, as usual, I have not been keeping up on here. I started a new job (I think I may have lost my mind having a new job and little baby) in April and have been so busy. I am selling molecular medical devices for c-difficile in hospitals, and also flu,strep, rsv, hcg rapid diagnostic tests to hospitals and physician offices. I LOVE the company and feel that I made a great decision. I had to leave sweet harrison in April to go to training in San Diego, and then to Denver a couple weeks ago for a sales meeting. It was tough! I have so much to catch up on so I can always capture these memories, so I apologize for the influx of posts that will be coming soon :) Hard to believe Harrison is 4.5 months old!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Harrison's nursery

Creating a nursery is something we have dreamed about for several years. It felt great to transform our guest bedroom into a baby room! Here are some of the finished product! I am still looking for a rug but can't find one I love.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Harrison 6 weeks

Here is a link to all of Harrison's pictures at 6 weeks. He is growing SO fast! So alert and observant. He has been such a great sleeper and is has slept through the night a few times! He is sucking down 4 oz. of milk and getting so big :)

Harrison 5 weeks

Harrison one month

I can't believe you are already one month old! You are the perfect baby and are so easy and fun. You are starting to really notice things around you and LOVE looking at your toys!You did so great at your one month checkup and barely cried when you had your shot. As soon as I held you the crying stopped. You hardly ever cry! Harrison's 1 month stats: Feed: You are eating 3.5 ounces about every 3 hours. At night you are only waking up once! Sometimes mommy has to wake you up to eat. daddy always gets up with you for the 6 am feedings. Weight: 8.5 lbs!. Birth Weight: 5 lbs. 12 oz. Length: probably 19.5 inches Birth Length: 19 inches Diaper Size: Newborn. But we won't be in them for too much longer. Clothes Size: You are wearing newborn clothes still :) love it! Hair Color: Dark brown Eye color: Blueish gray Funniest moment this month: Mommy and daddy needing all hands on deck to change a messy diaper! We are still learning so much!!!

Harrison week 3

Harrison's birth story part 2

Immediately after all of the activity our social worker went in to be with our birth mother. I'm going to call her T on here. Our social worker came out with the amazing news that we had a healthy baby boy and T was ready for us to come in the room. I have never been so emotional and ecstatic in my life. Brian and I were just beside ourselves. We went in the room and T was holding our precious tiny miracle. Tears started streaming down my face immediately. I was overwhelmed with so many emotions. T wanted us to hold him so Brian took our sweet angel first and what an amazing moment. I've never seen such a huge smile on his face. The true definition of love at first sight. T was a champion and delivered so quickly after she became more dilated. Holding Harrison was surreal. Every moment of heartache from IVF seemed to disappear. He was perfect and a true miracle. The hospital was super caring and gave us our own private room for the night. We could not get enough of holding him in our arms! Harrison went down to T's room for a little while so they could have some time together. I am so glad that she wanted to see him and grieve properly. adoption is THE most bittersweet because of the joy of the baby mixed with the pain birth mothers experience. T did not leave my mind for a minute. I went down with harrison to tell T goodnight and ended up staying in her room for 4 hours until 4 am. It was almost like we were having a slumber party at the hospital getting to know each other better. We learned so much about each other and our families, lives, etc. She is the most incredible person in the world to me. I love her. I left with the promise of oatmeal and starbucks in the am. Brian was laughing because her order was as complicated as mine throwing in the skinny versions. The day after his birth it was T's sons birthday who was turning 3! She was feeling great but ready to go. So around lunch she left the hospital to go be with her sweet son and husband. we made plans to get sushi (both of our favorites) on Friday night. We were not able to keep our room since she was discharged, but Harrison was being kept another night to make sure he was eating properly. He was "acting his age" and not wanting to cooperate (boy have times changed w this little piggie!) and eat the amount expected. We checked into our hotel and then came back later in the evening for early intervention to show us some tips on feeding. He ended up doing great. Harrison was released on wednesday after saying goodbye to the amazing staff at alta view hospital. We were scared to death! off to our hotel we went :) We had so much fun learning how to be parents on our own, just the 2 of us figuring things out. It was such perfect bonding time for our family. Thursday we headed to the pediatrician to check and make sure all was well. It turned out his biliruben levels were high after he had to have his foot stuck which made me cry every time! The dr ordered the lamp to be sent to our hotel and for him to lay on the lamp for 24-48 hours depending on the levels when we went to get them checked on friday. at this moment we found out we had clearance to come back to Memphis which was incredibly fast! We were hoping we could go home saturday so we could keep our sushi date with our birth parents. Friday our poor angel had another foot stick and his numbers were much better. the doctor did order him to stay on the lamp until we left to go home. He also wrote our sweet 5 day old baby a note clearing him to fly :) We were so disappointed that harrison would not be able to come to dinner friday. Brian decided he would be the one to stay home with him while I went to dinner. More on dinner with our birth parents next post :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

new mom must haves!

Aiden and anais blankets. I LOVE these and can't have enough. these are the only blankets we use to swaddle because the muslin cotton is very giving and stretches great! 4 mom's Momma roo- this is the best piece of equipment ever invented. It is supposed to move the way a mom moves. He loves his time in this gem.I want everything 4 moms makes! Dr. Brown's bottle warmer Nap nanny- Yes there is controversy as it has been recalled. But it is common sense. I would never leave him unattended. He is sleeping in the bed w us in his nap nanny and wakes at midnight, 3 am and 6 am. We will go to the crib soon but I am a nervous new mom! these are really hard to find... Peg perego car seat. Very easy to use and supposed to be the safest on the market currently! Bloomin bath- soft bath that is so easy to bathe a tiny baby in wipe warmer- definitely makes diaper changing more pleasant Noodle and Boo- a splurge but so worth getting the lotion. best baby smell ever! Mustella 2 in one shampoo/body wash- makes a quick bath so much easier

week 2 pictures

What a difference in how much growth happens in one week. He went from 5.12 (birth weight) to 5.6 leaving hospital and is now 6 lbs. So glad he is healthy and growing. Harris is also waaaayyyy more alert, wide eyed and looking all around. He is most awake from 9 am-noon, but is doing great on his 3 hour schedule. we have increased our bottles from 2 oz. to 3 for this little hungry man. I love how tiny and snuggly he is!

Our adoption story part one

I can't believe our baby is 2 weeks old already. It has literally flown by! I keep looking back to getting the phone call and leaving for Utah feeling like I need to pinch myself because I'm dreaming! Sweet Harrison's due date is actually this Friday 2-8-13! It was a normal weekend, of course I had every intention of starting to pack my stuff for Utah IN CASE we got the call early. But of course I slacked and got as far as getting my bag down from the attic but no packing! On Sunday jan. 20 I felt like death. I had been sick with an upper respiratory infection and it was getting worse by the minute. Pretty sure I had bronchitis. I stayed on the couch all day Sunday watchingtv and pretty much doing nothing since I felt like death. Brian was back in the office working Sunday night and I went back to tell him goodnight as he told me he was going to sleep on the cough to stay away from me bc he didn't want to get sick too. So I go to wash my face and brush my teeth and get in bed. I had just turned the lights off and noticed an 801 phone number appear on my screen! Wait...801 is freaking UTAH! It's 11 pm Sunday. This must be it! My heart was pounding and I picked up the phone. I had lost my voice and sounded like a 80 year old smoker! Our social worker, Sarah, said its time...her water broke! I came into the room and put her on speaker to tell Brian the details too. We were in complete shock but lunching off the walls excited! We were going to have a baby! We prayed that we could arrive for the birth! The next few hours were a flurry of lots of activity...trying to find flights, pack, figure out what baby stuff to bring, arrangements for our 3 dogs, tying up loose ends for work. Whew! Of course neither of us slept that night and we were ready to go for our 8:30 am flight to Utah Monday am! I HATE to fly but didn't even have time to feel nervous. It was THE longest flight ever bc we were so anxious for news. We ordered the go go in flight Internet and stalked our email to communicate with our social worker as to how our sweet birth mother was progressing. Things were moving slow, so time was certainly on our side. We arrived in Utah, rented our car and sped to the hospital. We arrived around 12:30 to alta view hospital and were able to go in the room w Our birth mother. She was a true champion and in such great spirits. This was our first time to actually meet face to face and it was one of the best moments of my life. We had such butterflies before we walked into the room! We visited for a couple hours then left the room or them to check to see how dilated she was. She was still moving slow prior to this check. Our social worker and her social worker ran to grab a quick bite while this was going on. Brian went in to her room to give her some chap stick that he went out tongetbfor her and said she looked like she was starting to progress and was definitely feeling the contractions more. She had made a birth plan that she did not want us in the delivery room, but in the room immediately after delivery. I decided to go to the desk on the maternity floor to find out where to order flowers for her from. While I was doing this all of the sudden there was lots of activity going on....a baby was about to be born! We just didnt know where due to HIPAA :)Brian ran to the restroom and in the one minute he was in there came out and said um I hear a baby in our room crying! Then we saw a few nurses come out smiling and I asked them, but they couldn't tell us, again due to HIPAA. Then we heard the sweet lullaby music they play on the loudspeaker every time a baby is born. I started crying and then knew! In the meantime Brian had called our social workers and said you have to come back! He's here or we at least think he is here. They came back and we sat in the waiting room for a few,nthen her social worker went to check on her. She came out to tell us the great news and said it was time for us to meet our baby. This was the moment we had been waiting for....

Saturday, February 2, 2013

We are PARENTS!!!!!!!!!!

It's so hard to believe that I am actually writing this! But we are parents. Our sweet baby boy, Harrison leigh Yoakum, arrived Monday 1/21/13 weighing 5 lbs. 12 oz. and 19 " long! He is so healthy and doing great! Brian and I headed out to Utah and somehow miraculously made it in time for the birth after getting the call at 11:30 PM 1/20/13! Our prayers have been answered thanks to an amazing, selfless beautiful girl who trusted us to parent her baby. Here is a video of all the pictures :)