My Growing Girl

Our baby turns two tomorrow, and it has me feeling equal parts nostalgia and excitement.

When I first wrapped her tiny body in my arms, I expected to feel like we were finally being united – like pen-pals meeting for the first time.

But when I beheld her squishy little face, I was surprised to realize that I didn’t recognize her. In fact, I felt like I was staring into the face of the smallest, sweetest stranger I had ever met.

I wanted to ask her a million questions…

100_3397Do you know who I am?

Do you like me?

Do you like my cooking?

Do you promise not to move too far away when you grow up? 

What’s your favorite color?

What do you like to do for fun? 

Are you an extrovert or an introvert?

Do you like volleyball? 

Do you like to cook? 

Do you like roller coasters? Because I really don’t. Will you hang out at the waterpark with me instead?

I felt like a child myself:

Baby? What are you doing, Baby? Wake up! What are you thinking? I just want to play with you.

I loved the newborn stage. But it was so hard to wait for her personality to shine through. Like holding a present in your hands, but having to wait for Christmas to open it. Except they say not to shake a baby.

And instead of Christmas once a year, she surprises us with something new every single day. It’s like Christmas for eternity!

(Or maybe not eternity. From what I hear, 11 to 15 years old can be a bit more like Ground-hogs Day. The perpetual verdict is: Winter is never going to end. Or at least it feels that way.)

I could tell you a million funny stories from this past year…

Like how she tried to put her one-piece skirted-swimsuit on over her head came crying out to me when her face was stuck in the leg-hole like a lion’s mane.

Or how she startled me when she suddenly poked me in the booty whilst getting ready because my polka-dotted underwear reminded her of the “Press This” book.

Or how, when we’re on a mission and I’m feeling overwhelmed, I subconsciously mutter “We’ve got this,” and she enthusiastically (and clumsily) leaps into the air and loudly squeaks “GO GOT THIS!!!”

 

It scares me how fast 2 years went by. In another 2 years and she’ll be starting preschool. That terrifies me. I’m not ready! What if I just audit her classes?

Alas… I can only make the most of each day. Good-gravy, I just love this girl.

Big Girl

Alright, “Terrible Two’s”… I’m ready!

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Things I Won’t Miss About Child-bearing

1. Hormones: Being so emotional about trying to get pregnant, and then then taking hormones. And then having pregnancy hormones. And then after-birth hormones. My poor husband.

2. Progesterone shots in the rump. Administered by my courageous husband. Laying on my stomach, I would hear a heavy, sick-to-his-stomach breath and hope it wouldn’t be too long for him to get up the nerve to stab me with the 17 gauge needle. I stab people with needles for a living, and I would be sick to my stomach if I had to jam a giant needle into their muscle. I’m not sure who hated it more, him or me.

3. Getting up in the middle of the night to pee. Every.45.minutes.

4. Having to be stabbed twice for the epidural. And six times for the IV. So many needles… ahh, karma.

5. Peeing in cups. Good grief, peeing on-demand is nearly impossible for me. Before my laparoscopy they told me not to drink water for 12 hours prior. Then right before the surgery they handed me – the woman who has Pee-Cup-Anxiety – a container for a sample. I took 45 minutes in the bathroom trying to relax and run the faucet and picture waterfalls, all to no avail. I think the nurse thought I was having other issues, because she was flabbergasted when I returned teary-eyed with an empty cup. Thank God she was able to order a blood test instead. Even when I was in labor (I know, right?!!) and we went to the hospital I had a Pee-Cup-Anxiety-attack that paralyzed my bladder. That proves it’s a real thing, folks.

6. Anxiety about my doctor – my FEMALE doctor – not being there for delivery. And having good reason to do so. No sooner did she say “Goodbye and Good Luck,” than a young, hunky resident walked in to deliver my baby in her place. While the supervising {male} doctor looked on. And his other {male} resident observed. With unnaturally wide eyes. That didn’t blink. I looked at Tyler and cried. (In all honesty though, the resident was amazingly-encouraging, and I couldn’t have asked for a better delivery-coach. I just had to imagine he was a motherly, middle-aged woman.)

7. Starting motherhood off with 3 hours of sleep in a matter of 48 hours. Plus crazy hormones that make you question if everything you are doing is wrong. Plus stitches that make it nearly impossible to get out of bed. Again: my poor husband.

8. Looking like a zombie for the first month of her newborn life.

9. Post-partum baby weight… And POST-post-partum baby weight.

10. Breast-feeding. Saying statements like that can start a Mommy brawl, but what I mean by it is this: Breastfeeding ain’t for sissies. Wish I could say I was one of those moms that loved breast-feeding, but we STRUGGLED. (Fair warning: if breast-feeding gives you the heebee-geebees, skip the next sentence). Let’s just say, “Ripped Nips” does not mean having well-defined pectoral muscles. But somehow, we made it through the first year via the Mammary-Torture Device breast pump. I am so glad I did it, and would recommend to anyone to try and to get as much help as they can from a Lactation Consultant. But I will.not.missit.

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Truth be told though, carrying Elise in my womb and delivering her was the most wonderful, life-changing experience. When we held her for the first time, Tyler looked at me with tears in his eyes and barely choked out the words, “3 years…”

I have no idea what to expect for Baby #2. There is no “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” chapter on Adoption. But I know it will be every bit as miraculous and meaningful as Elise’s entrance into this world. Just minus a few needle-sticks, hormones, and pee-cups. Thank goodness.

Now who wants to buy a breast pump?

Where We Are

100_4788For us, there was no question that we wanted to adopt after doing In vitro for Elise. Adoption had already captured our hearts, and we were so thankful to have experienced pregnancy and delivery. Do I ever hope for two pink lines again someday? It’s hard not to. To have a surprise pregnancy that didn’t involve a single needle would be… incredible. But we are excited and fully committed to this child with whom we will be matched through adoption. Adopting is not our second-choice, back-up plan. It is an indescribable gift that few experience simply because they don’t know enough about it, or it is more expensive and… ahem… difficult than it is to typically get pregnant!

But we are learning that many of our preconceived fears about adoption have little founding. More to come on that someday later!

For now though, here are answers to the two questions we are getting most often right now:

Why did you choose domestic infant adoption when you had originally wanted to adopt from Ghana?

Unfortunately, adoption from Ghana has been suspended. We seriously considered adopting from South Korea as well. However, upon contacting the agency that was recommended to us, the state of adoption from Korea right now is very slow – 2-3 years for approval, referral (matching), and placement. At the earliest, we could have brought our child home at the age of 18 months. A lot happens in 18 months and we are both working full time, and would be unable to take the necessary time to ensure proper attachment was formed. We didn’t feel this was a fair choice for any child of that age. 

Where are you in the process?

The process of adoption through our agency is this:

– Request for Formal Application (This included basic information and statements of intention and of faith.)

  {Done}

– Formal Application   (Detailed information including contact information for references, experience with children, and interest in children with special needs, older children, or children of a certain ethnicity.)

{Done}

– Meeting our caseworker   (This was… nothing really. We sat in a room and chatted and tried to keep Elise occupied. Thankfully Elise only demonstrated one of her meltdowns – when she realized the clothes that came with the baby doll the caseworker lent her were sewn together. Alas, what a tragedy to an 18 month old!)

{Also Done}

– Random Errands   (Getting references to complete their questionnaires, obtaining proof of employment, getting our well-water tested, getting fingerprinted, making copies of our ID’s, getting a copy of our dog’s vaccination records.)

{Mostly Done}

– Homestudy Visits   (In which our caseworker comes to the house to interview us on our family backgrounds, our relationship, our community, our home, and other personal information. The point of this is not to find fault with a family, but to (1), ensure both partners are equally committed to parenting an adopted child as their own and (2), to glean enough information to write a detailed report about the couple that will give a potential birth-mother a thorough idea of what kind of parents this couple would be for their child. Most birthmoms aren’t looking for perfection; just a safe, responsible, loving couple eager for a child to call their own.)

{Not Done – starting on Thursday!}

– Homestudy Approval    (Basically, just a short month or two of waiting for all the paperwork to be approved)

{Obviously Not Done}

– Waiting    (This is when waiting couples are informed about birthmoms planning on adoption, and given information about the birthmom and the baby.  This would include information about her due date, gender if known, and what amount of involvement she would like to have with the child. Then birthmoms view online profiles and profile books of any couples who were interested in her, and she starts narrowing down who she feels would make the best fit for her child.)

{Average wait time: 1 year}

– Referral   (When both the birthmom/birthparents and the chosen couple agree on an adoption plan for the baby.)

– Placement   (Bringing the baby home!)

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We have really only just started the process, but I plan to give updates as we progress!