Being Thankful with a Broken Heart

It is November, the month of being grateful. And I do have a lot to be thankful for. I will admit, I wrote this post more for me than anything else. Writing really is the best therapy.

***Trigger Warning***

It was my husbands families year for Thanksgiving, so we had our trip all planned to San Diego. We were going to get all the cousins together and have a fun, adventure filled week. One tradition they have is to go around the table, after everyone has eaten Thanksgiving Dinner, and say what they are grateful for. I’m sure a lot of people have this tradition, but the Bosens take this very seriously! I began preparing my speech at the beginning of the month because goodness, I have so much to be grateful for. My in-laws always have these amazing things to say and I wanted to be prepared.

I was ready.

  • Taelynn and her fabulous zeal for life. The happiness she brings when she walks in the room. Her sense of humor and sensitivity to others.
  • Tyce and his huge heart. How much he loves love. The excitement he shows when he sees his family. The way he paves his own path.
  • Matt for his hold on life. His strong willpower to provide for his family. The love and devotion he shows to me and the kids. His ability to forgive and love.
  • To Tyce’s birth family for the relationship with them that they have given us.
  • My parents and siblings and the close relationships I have with them. The fact that they can love me despite my flaws and set such great examples for me and my kids.
  • My in-laws and the fact that they welcomed me into their family so easily. That I can feel like part of the family when I am with them. For their hard work to build and keep relationships with everyone.
  • Our house that we are building and the many people that have helped make that possible.
  • My uncle for letting us live in his house rent free.
  • My friendships I have cultivated through the years.
  • The list goes on

BUT THEN, I was going to say how excited I was that we were going to have our BIG THREE making his or her way into our lives June 14, 2017.

At least, that is everything I wanted to say…BUT… because life is never predictable, I was only able to get out the generic response, “I am grateful for my kids and my husband.” The end.

But in those few seconds, so much was spinning through my mind.

Matt and I had been preparing an announcement. We had the nursery all designed, we were picking out our new car, because frankly three carseats don’t fit across the backseat of a Subaru. We were as ready as we could in the circumstance.

At 10 weeks to the day, the week before Thanksgiving, I knew something was wrong. It’s hard to explain the pain of a miscarriage to someone that has never gone through it. I had a miscarriage before Taelynn, but it was early enough along I didn’t have to go through the whole process of delivery. This time was a little different.

We went to the doctor to get an ultrasound, but I already knew. Before the doctor came in the room I could hear her tell the nurse that she couldn’t go in my room yet because she needed to get her emotions in check. It was oddly comforting to hear that because when she came in, in full doctor mode, I knew that she really did care. Taelynn and Tyce were so quiet during the ultrasound. It was like they could sense the pain in the room. Because my doctor stayed so professional, it helped me keep my emotions together. The last thing I wanted was to walk through the waiting room of people, with tears streaming down my face. She asked me if I had any questions, but of course my mind was blank. I chose to go home and deliver. I should have asked what to expect, but I didn’t.

Pain is an interesting thing. Because when you feel it emotionally, it somehow changes you physically. The hardest thing about it, is everyone expresses it differently. So comforting someone becomes a case by case basis. And because it’s “just” a miscarriage, and those are common, right? The full weight of the loss doesn’t register with outsiders unless they have gone through it as well. But for us, we knew this baby. We had hope for the future, names picked out, carseats in my shopping cart. I was already stressing about being a mom of three. How was I going to leave the house? How was I going to function? The worries were real. My love was real. This baby was real. It was mine. And now they are gone.

So now I am left going over every negative thought I had during my pregnancy and wondering if I would have been more positive, would that have changed the outcome. I know that isn’t logical, but maybe it is…

The miscarriage happened the same night I went to the doctors. It felt like I was going into labor, only worse because there is no hope through the pain. When someone says a miscarriage is like a heavy period, that is the understatement of a century. I thought I was bleeding to death. It took 5 hours of heavy contractions to pass what was left of my baby. And finally at 3 in the morning it was done. I didn’t even know what was happening. Matt and I were in to much shock to really process or make logical decisions. So now, part of me is flushed down a dirty toilet, because there is no guide to handle anything like this.

We debated whether or not to still go to California. If we didn’t have our kiddos we probably would have stayed home. But, we decided we still have them and we can’t put their lives on hold. They don’t understand what pain means yet, and I don’t want to introduce them to it, yet. So we put on our brave faces, pretended life was ok and we loaded the kids up and went on our way. Trying to avoid facing the reality we were in.

We named the baby Tito. Matt came up with it. Our first baby we called baby T, so rather than calling this baby T2, we though Tito was a little more fitting. Ironically, I have a great cousin somewhere named Tito. I’ve always loved the name, but I thought it would be hard for people to say, so I took it off my baby list. Well, now I have my baby Tito. I had a strong feeling he was a boy. And, he was very much like his daddy because he LOVED fruits and veggies. Junk food made him super nauseous. Except Rice Krispies. Those were always ok!

IMG_8898.PNGMy awesome friend sent me an article entitled “A Woman’s Sacrifice,” by Kathryn Soper. I highly recommend this article to everyone. A line she said really stuck out to me. She wrote, “It wasn’t a waste.” I firmly believe this. I keep telling myself this over and over again, and most of you have probably gotten this response from me when asking if I am ok. It wasn’t a waste. The last two and a half months of my life, I got to be Tito’s guard and protector. Protecting him from the outside forces of the world. I gave him a body so that he can be resurrected one day. Mostly though, he has changed me for the better because I am no longer the Aubree I was. I have more love, more courage and more faith. And I couldn’t have become this person on my own.

All my babies have come to us through a rainbow. Taelynn was my first, coming shortly after my first miscarriage. Then Tyce, coming shortly after a failed adoption. So I have faith that my next rainbow baby is waiting patiently.

I remember a woman saying to my mom, several years ago, “If one of your kids dies it will be ok because you have three more!” It completely baffled me then, but even more now as I look at my two little rainbows that I get to raise and the two others that are close by. Each of them has a piece of my heart and together they make it whole.

Today, I am celebrating Tito. I can breathe a little more today and I am going to make it count. Every child deserves to be celebrated and Tito is no different.

I may not physically have my third little pea, but one day my pod will be full.

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Two Worlds, One Family: An Adoptive Mothers Insecurities

Jane: “He isn’t one of them! They aren’t even his real family!”

Professor Archimedes Q. Porter: “Have you ever known a family not to be real?”

Last night we took a road trip to St. George, UT to see Tarzan at Tuacahn. Tarzan has always been one of my favorites. The music, the colors, the costumes! The story of a little boy raised by Apes that discovers he is really human. I have fond memories of when the Disney version came to theaters and I went with my Aunt Tel to the drive in movie to see it. However, as the opening song started and the actors took their places, I realized I was watching a very different story unfold before me than the story I had grown up with.

The songs were the same, the characters were the same, but I am not the same.

When Tyce was first placed in my arms, I remember looking at his tiny form and knowing that my life was forever changed for the better. My love for him was and is real. But with adoption comes insecurities.

There are insecurities in every level of the adoption triad. If you get on any adoption related group on Facebook, you’ll be bombarded with all those insecurities. But, that is what happens when you mold two families into one.

I’ve been really good about pushing past ignoring my own insecurities involving adoption. I joined a million adoption groups when we started the adoption process. I talked with birth mothers, adoptees, other adoptive families; A common theme seemed to be insecurities. I have learned so much and am learning so much more about perspective. My mind and heart were constantly on those birth families and adoptees that expressed the loss they felt.

I felt selfish in my happiness.

But for the first time in Tyce’s 10 months of life, while sitting there watching this musical performance, my insecurities hit me in full force.

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PC: Emma Matheson Photography

After Kala finds Tarzan she sings to him one of the most memorable songs in Disney history. An ode from a mother to her son.

You’ll Be In My Heart

“Come stop your crying it will be all right.
Just take my hand old it tight.
I will protect you from all around you
I will be here
Don’t you cry
For one so small, you seem so strong
My arms will hold you
Keep you safe and warm
This bond between us can’t be broken
I will be here
Don’t you cry
‘Cause you’ll be in my heart
Yes, you’ll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more

I’ve been singing “You’ll Be In My Heart”to Tyce since he was born. It is just the first song that comes to my head when a baby is crying. I never paid attention the words, I just knew it said, “stop your crying.” So it’s bound to work, right?

But, as I am watching the story unfold I realized I was no longer in the Tuacahn ampitheater, but instead in the NICU at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Instead of Kala holding baby Tarzan, it was me holding baby Tyce. So yes, I am comparing myself a gorilla.

Through the song, Kala was making promises to her new son that looked nothing like her, but was indeed her child. Just like I did with Tyce. I promised Tyce I would always be there for him, that I would love him unconditionally, that I would protect him and support him. I also told him that everything was going to be okay.

Little did Phil Collins know, that when he was writing this song, he was writing it from the words and feelings in my heart. (Do you think that is enough for me to get a cut of his earnings?)

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PC: Emma Matheson Photography

 I love the scene where Kala is holding her hand up to Tarzan’s hand and then pointing out how they both have brown eyes. Showing him that they really aren’t that different.

I don’t know how Tyce is going to think or what feelings he is going to feel, but I want him to know that I love him with my whole heart. I can’t tell you how many times I have had scenarios run through my head of when Tyce is older and asking me questions about adoption. We are so blessed to have an open adoption. I know that will ease some of the questions, but I know that it can also create more questions. I can only guess what insecurities he will have as he grows. The only thing I can do is make sure that I am prepared for whatever he may need.

I sat in my seat, feeling all the feels, loving the adoption connection I made to the play…and then the story continues… and Tarzan grows up.

Everything That I Am

Tarzan: “Ooh I want to know where I belong
I want to know where I came from
I want to know the reason why I’m here
The way I am
Feeling the things I feel
Is this my family?”

 

Tarzan is given the choice of whether he should go back to England with Jane and the other humans, or stay in the Jungle with his family. He decides that he wants answers to his questions and makes the decision to go back with Jane.

This is the moment that my insecurities hit me in full force. They hit so hard they started rolling down my face.

Kala is sitting there watching Tarzan make this decision, and the look on her face is filled with so much pain. But despite all of her hurt, she demonstrates her love for her son by letting him go.

My mind starts racing as I envision myself and an older Tyce on the stage. I wonder, “am I not enough?” “Do you blame me?” “Could I have done something different?” Then I wonder, “am I strong enough to do the same?”

About this time is when Tarzan looks at Kala and says,

“No matter where I am, YOU will always be my mother.”

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PC: Emma Matheson Photography

Adoption is not the easy way, but it is the way I chose and I have no regrets. Adoption doesn’t mean that Tyce is mine and that’s it. No, I get to be Tyce’s mother and because of that I accepted the responsibility to always be what Tyce needs me to be.

Adoption is bigger than an adoptive parents desire to be a parent.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when I was given the honor of being Tyce’s mother, I didn’t just get a son, I got a whole new extension of my family. Tyce is still Marshallese, he still shares genetics with another set of parents. That doesn’t go away when we sign the adoption papers.

BUT despite my insecurities, they are nothing compared to my love for Tyce. Now, I give him another promise. “I promise that I will never let my insecurities hold you back in anyway. I promise that I will always stand by you in your journey. I promise that I will always make you a priority, even if that means that I need to sit back and promise to always be here when you need me. You will ALWAYS be in my heart.”

You’ll Be In My Heart (Reprise)

No one could understand the way we feel
How would they know, how can we explain?
Althought we’re different, deep inside us
We’re not that different at all
‘Cause you’ll in my heart
Yes, you’ll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
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Mischief Managed

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With “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” making its way to shelves, I felt like now was the perfect time to share my own journey to becoming a witch. I’ll be honest, I’m a full out geek when it comes to HP. I did shed a few tears, as Matt can confirm, but I am not ashamed. I am so excited to bring the world of Harry Potter to my own children’s life.

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In honor of Harry Potters birthday, we planned a July visit to the magical world of Hogwarts. Yes, the tickets are a little pricey and the rides aren’t the greatest, but the atmosphere was simply spell binding. We plan to take another trip as a family just for that, given this time we will wait until they are older. BUT, i’ll be honest, the kids actually loved it despite their age.

You get to the main entrance of Hogsmead and it’s like walking into your best dream. Everything looks just like how I imagined it. It’s beautiful. We immediately headed towards Hogwarts castle. The castle itself is the line for a ride, but just waiting in line is amazing. The pictures even talked to you. The ride itself… it made me want to throw up all my chocolate frogs, but it was still creative.

In the past, we have tried to make homemade Butterbeer, but it is nothing compared to real life, Three Broomsticks, Butterbeer. We got the frozen kind, which was more like a slushy and the kids LOVED it. While the barista was pouring it, she totally ripped out the nozzle and the slush was gushing out everywhere. I was so tempted to run and put my mouth under it, but I stayed composed and held myself back. Well, Matt held me back. What a waste…

We went back to sit down and the kids guzzled the drinks. They couldn’t drink it fast enough. And when Matt and I would try and get our own drink they would move around to all the other family members in an effort to get the most creamy goodness that they could.  My sister also got a pumpkin juice and says it is her new favorite drink, so if you plan to visit anytime soon, know that both drinks are good options.

It was extremely important to me that I visit IMG_8655Ollivanders while we were there. It would have been a travesty if we didn’t. I was really hoping that I could have been the one that had a wand choosen for them, however, when you are holding a baby, the workers seem to look right past you… But don’t fret, I will survive. That didn’t stop me from letting a wand choose me, though. I spent a good 40 minutes wandering around the shop waiting for a wand to speak to me. In the end, I picked Sirius Blacks wand. I feel like I could relate a lot to him in the books and I really admire the qualities he possesses. He is fiercely loyal and protective. He is head strong and physically and mentally tough, sometimes to tough. He is not afraid to stand up for himself or others. And, he is an amazing friend. Plus, we are both Gryffindors. I am also happy to report that Taelynn was just as excited as I was! I still have to work on Tyce a little bit…

We did eventually venture out to the rest of Universal Studios. I was so amazed at how well the kids did, especially in the blazing heat. They were intrigued with the shows, especially the animals in the movies. They loved getting to pet them all at the end! Even Taelynn, who is normally terrified of animals.

Just look at their faces! They were staring at the stage the entire show.

My grandma and grandpa were with us, which was a blast! And let me just say, they are troopers! My grandma was so against using a wheelchair despite her bad knees, but eventually gave in half way through the day. That is when she discovered that having a wheelchair at a theme park has it’s benefits. We got to go straight to the front of the line from there on out. (It was a packed day to!)

There was a lot of walking and sites to see, PLUS donuts the size of our faces to eat! One of the highlights was going on the studio tour. We were able to see inside the studio filming Superstore. Plus, we got to experience a flash flood inside a subway station. It’s amazing how our imaginations really are the limit. (Fun Fact: Growing up I always wanted to be a movie director or videographer).

Overall, the day was a success and I am so happy we got to share some of the magic with our kids!

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Next stop…DISNEYLAND!!! Haha I wish…. eventually though!

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Down and Dirty

A party isn’t a party unless you are rolling around in the mud! It’s natures natural exfoliant. Although, it hurts a little more than a sugar scrub…

For Matt’s 26 birthday, we celebrated by running The Dirty Dash in Soldier Hollow. It was an absolute blast! Our team was called the “Birthday Suits!”(in honor of Matt). Somehow that was interpreted to mean short shorts and cut t-shirts. We were joined by my brothers and our friends Jared and Dalton. My parents and Jared’s adorable pregnant wife Whitney came along for the party and to play with our kids while we were on the course.

Now for any of you that are wondering, this is an out of shape persons Spartan race. We gave up trying to run after the starting line went straight up a muddy hill, although, to our credit, we did go the full 10K. We trekked though mud, swam through swampy water, crawled through tubes, climbed up rope nets and walls. We were shot at with water cannons, thrown over slides of doom and dropped into questionable pits. BUT we survived.

There was one particular challenge that almost ended my game. I always thought I loved water slides until I met this particular death contraption. They set it up to make you believe you are racing to the top with three of your friends, when in reality, as soon as you go over the side you are shooting to your demise. Matt, Camden, Jared and Dalton went first. I could hear their screams, but assumed they were screams of Joy. Ethan, Baylee and I were next. Being the competitive family we are, we didn’t hold anything back. I grabbed onto the rope that helped you climb the air filled steps and shimmied my way to the top. I could see that Ethan and Baylee were neck and neck with me, so rather than setting myself up to go down the slide on my rear, I just dove head first. I regretted that decision immediately. Now, when these huge blow up slides are set up at fairs they are dry and you land in a soft pad of grass, however, in this case they were more like a muddy waterslide that dropped off into rocks. I was going so fast, there was no possibility of stopping and I landed in what I would describe as a baseball slide, belly flop. My body skidded along the rocky floor a good several feet, knocking the air completely out of me. My legs and belly looked like I got in a fight with a tiger and the tiger won. To be honest, I don’t even remember if I won or not.

Right after us, another group of guys went down and it ended badly for them as well. They had blood coming out all over the place! We weren’t surprised when we saw several ambulances make their way up to the spot as we were farther along in the race.

After that challenge, our energy was basically gone. But, by inspiration, my dad and Taelynn met us on the course to cheer us on! Both Taelynn and Tyce were completely fascinated by all of the dirt and grime. And I am happy to report, it didn’t stop them from diving at Matt and I, wanting us to hold them.

Finally, after “racing” 3 hours we walked across the finish line! A glacier cold shower, some peanut butter cheerio squares and a big drink of water later, and we were ready for a nap!

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But, instead of sleeping WE HAD TO KEEP CELEBRATING! We went to CPK for dinner with Whitney and Jared and then made a pit stop at Roll With It for dessert. It was DELICIOUS! At CPK this lovely old man couldn’t take his eyes off of Tae and Ty. He literally came over to our table 2 different times to tell us how adorable they were and to pinch their cheeks. A little weird…but I can’t blame him because I think they are the most perfect beings to ever be on this earth!

I dare say, it was a pretty spectacular birthday, wouldn’t you agree Matthew?

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The Age of Curiosity

This year is a big one for me. It’s my GOLDEN BIRTHDAY! Which means I turned 24 on the 24th. But not only that, it was my first birthday with kids. And let me just say, the kids made it that much better!!! Sure, I didn’t get to spend it in a Russian bath house with a bunch of 90 year old woman in their birthday suits, but I would definitely add this to my list of favorites.

Matt planned out an awesome day for us at The Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point. It was so much fun to see the kids get a bigger perspective of the world.

The water table was the biggest hit! Well…for Taelynn. Let’s just say Tyce had a nervous breakdown when I tried to set him in the little chair. I should have guessed, he also hates the bath tub. Although, it didn’t help that the kid next to him was like the hulk of the sea and figured out how to get that water to splash from one end of the table to the other.

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Tae, on the other hand, didn’t want to get out. She was splashing and laughing and having a grand ol’ time. I mean, just look at that smile! She looked like she had participated in a wet t-shirt contest by the time it was over.

Luckily, we had grabbed a second outfit, on a whim, before leaving the house. Otherwise, we would be in trouble. However, we did forget to take her shoes off, and so I spent a good amount of time holding them under the bathroom dryer so she could still walk around.

Ty was my little velcro child for the majority of the time, but we finally found an activity that got him excited… a mirror. 😀 This kept him occupied for quite awhile… until Tae came and knocked him over.

We ventured to the rope bridges, giving Matt and I quite the leg work out. And eventually made it outside so the kids could eat tire shreds. I will admit, I turned full momma bear when an older child started throwing tires at Taelynn and trying to get her to eat them. So I guess it was fitting that I was wearing my Momma Bear shirt.

It was such a rewarding experience to watch my kids discover new textures and possibilities. I could see their minds moving a mile a minute. As soon as we put them back in their carseats they were asleep in a flash.

It was a good birthday celebration!

One of the highlights of the day was when I met a mother that was there with her two kids.  She asked me how old my kids were and I told her, preparing myself for the slew of questions that usually follow, and instead she told me, “Your kids are beautiful!” It seriously made my whole day. She didn’t compare them, or ask how it is possible to have two kids so close together. She just let me be a mom and focus on my kids. So thank you!

Side note: I don’t mind answering questions, but sometimes it is nice to focus on my kids and my family and whatever activity we may be doing.

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Adoption Stigma: Open Adoption

In honor of Mother’s Day and Birth Mother’s Day, I thought it would be fun to talk about our open adoption. Open Adoptions have a lot of stigmas and questions around them, and so I think it is important to address some of the questions that we get asked daily.

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After 6 hours of driving, 2 flights and very little sleep, we finally were all able to meet. (***Side note: I am pretty sure I left that jacket in Arkansas, and it’s my favorite… )
Now, I know you all are wondering where Tyce gets his good looks! One of the most common questions we get asked is if we have an open adoption. Then, it is followed by the question, “Isn’t that hard?” or some comment about why the person talking could never do something like that. Pamela, Tyce’s birth mom, gave me permission to share some pictures of our journey, and so I thought this would be the perfect space to give some insight on why an open adoption is perfect for us!

A lot of this is really personal to me and my family, but I feel it is important to share in order to understand why open adoption is an amazing possibility! I would also never share any of this, unless I had permission from Tyce’s birth family.I  want to make sure it’s clear I am not sharing this on a whim.

When Matt and I decided to adopt, we discussed and agreed that an open adoption was really important for us. On the surface it seems really daunting, but it really isn’t. I personally Love it! I actually hate that we are in Utah and Pamela and Jibon are in Arkansas. And I look forward to visiting them in the future.

Some of the immediate blessings of an open adoption are:

  1. I get to text Pamela whenever I need, to ask her questions pertaining to Tyce’s health, personality, growth patterns ect.
  2. I get to learn more about Tyce’s heritage.
  3. And one of the biggest ones is we are able to extend our family, not just by one, but by many! (I went to start counting, but the number just kept going up! and so I gave up)

BACKGROUND

Because of the fast moving pace of our adoption, we weren’t able to meet or talk to Pamela or Jibon (his birth parents) before Tyce joined the world. I had created a little profile on my family, that was only two pages long and on a Word document, which was all the information they had on us.

Tyce was born several weeks early and so he was immediately flown to Little Rock to the children’s hospital there. As a result, Pamela and Jibon never got a chance to really meet him.

Me, my dad and Taelynn flew to Kansas City to meet my Aunt Dana and then we drove to a cute little city in Arkansas to pick up Pamela and Jibon and then continue onto Little Rock, so we could all “meet” him together.

I’ll be honest, I was completely terrified. I was so scared that they would look at me and see me with another baby and completely change their minds. I didn’t know how I was supposed to approach them. Do I give them a hug? Shake their hand? My mind was going a mile a minute. BUT, when Pamela opened the door and I had a wave of love come over me. I quickly learned, they were as nervous as me.

We loaded up in the car and drove the last three hours to Little Rock, where Tyce was. (He was the lucky one and got to ride in a helicopter.)

Let’s get real for a second, it takes a strong woman to give birth and then jump in the car, with no sleep, and drive 3 hours! I was in awe the entire time. I was torn between wanting to ask a million questions, but then also letting Pamela and Jibon sleep. (SORRY I’M A TALKER, PAMELA! You probably thought I was a crazy person!)

When we got to the hospital, it got really complicated because the staff at the front desk had a hard time comprehending that an adoptive mom and a birth mom were there together. Eventually, we got ahold of the social worker from the hospital and we started making some progress to see our sweet baby.

After who knows how long, we were invited into the NICU to see Tyce. Pamela had me go first. It was the kindest gesture from her! She still had some paperwork to fill out and she didn’t want me to wait. But, I thought it was important to let her hold him first and change his first diaper. It sounds silly, but that was her right. Tyce was hers first.

I have engrained in my memory the sweet way she looked at him. Only a mother can look at their child in that way. It was full of love and caring. Make no mistake about it, she loves Tyce. That is one stigma I want to throw out the window. A birth mother is still a mother filled with love. 

We were quite the sight for all the nurses and staff. We were in an open area where the NICU beds are all in a row, so basically everyone could see us trying to figure out our new roles. There is a lot of emotions at this time. It was hard to figure out a way to make time slow down so we could all delve into this moment, while still trying to figure out the complications of paperwork. I don’t have much more that I want to share on this experience.

At some point during this time, I asked Pamela if I had her approval to breastfeed Tyce. It was really important to me that she gave me her blessing. The most reassuring thing was when she gave me a big smile and said, “yes.”

Eventually, we parted for the day so that everyone could get some rest. Pamela and Jibon went with my aunt and dad back to a hotel to sleep.

Matt flew in early the next morning. I was so beyond grateful he would have a chance to meet Pamela and Jibon. My dad had to be back in Kansas City to catch his returning flight that day, so we didn’t have much time.

BUT, we will have a reunion in person one day.

OPEN ADOPTION STIGMAS

Open adoption is a lot more common now than it used to be, and I LOVE THAT! The term “open adoption” is different for every situation, but basically it means you have open contact. For some it means sending picture a few times a year, where for others, it means frequent get togethers. That is something you decide between families. ***Keep in mind every situation is different!***

For us, we have a pretty open adoption. Obviously, there is a distance barrier, but we text often with pictures and life events. We also are beyond lucky to have a great relationship with two of Tyce’s biological siblings that were also adopted, but I want to respect their privacy so I won’t go into much more than that.

One of the big questions I get asked is if I feel “threatened” as a mom. I can honestly say, I have never once felt threatened. Pamela makes me feel so confident in my ability to parent Tyce because of the way she treats me. I have never felt like it was a competition for Tyce’s love. Yes, he is still a baby, but I don’t see that changing. We both have different roles in Tyce’s life and both roles are extremely important.

I remember one moment, as I was preparing to get a picture of something Tyce was doing, I mentioned that I was trying to get the picture for Pamela. The person I was with gave me a weird look and asked me “why?” The truth is, I get excited to share things with her. How many people can say that they have someone that is just as excited to see your child’s accomplishments as you? I can send Pamela endless pictures and videos and stories without her getting annoyed about my “bragging.” (No, grandmas don’t count.)

I understand why the natural tendency is to feel jealous or threatened. Before going through this experience, I would have thought that is how I would feel. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. I think what helped me the most was putting myself in her shoes.

Again, I can only speak of my experience.

I also get asked if having an open adoption will confuse Tyce in the future. I actually believe it will do the opposite. I’m not trying to hide Tyce’s story from him. I want him to know his heritage and where he came from. It is part of his identity.

What a joy that he will never have to question where he is from and who he is. He now can see that he has a huge army of people surrounding him that love him. My favorite part is, the openness doesn’t just include Tyce, but all of us! One of Tyce’s biological brothers, adoptive mom (that’s complicated to explain) recently told me how her daughter was so excited that I also had a daughter because she has always wanted a sister, and now she has some. We are all connected because of Pamela and Jibon and these precious children.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, PAMELA!!!

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Feel free to message me if you have more questions about how open adoption works, or just adoption questions in general. I will answer them the best I can.

 

Oldest Child Syndrome

This is a monumental time for us, because it marks Taelynn being out of my tummy longer than she was in it. Where did that time go?!

As any oldest child knows, including myself, with age comes GREAT responsibility! And Tae takes this responsibility VERY seriously. That’s right, she is only 9 months old, but makes sure that Tyce knows that she is in charge.

For example, let me give you a little play by play of their daily interactions:

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Don’t let their wrestling match fool you, they are BEST friends.

When people found out we were adopting, we had many people ask us how that was going to affect Taelynn. I can firmly say, Taelynn is better for having Tyce and visa versa. These two were meant to be siblings. I don’t feel it is any different than gaining a biological sibling a year or more down the road.

Taelynn has an old soul. She is a child I don’t “deserve” and here is why: I think getting a sibling is trying on any child, and I know it was tough on her little self at first. I became an older sister when I was 3 years old. I still remember the feelings of jealousy that I felt toward my sister. It was rough! I loved her, sure, but I also felt like I had been replaced. Here, Taelynn was only three months old when we jumped on that plane to Arkansas, and she was a little trooper! All of a sudden, she didn’t have 100% of my attention and there was another little human laying around. I can’t even begin to imagine what was going through her little mind.

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This was the first time that Tae looked at Ty. Until this point, she would do everything she could to pretend he wasn’t there.

She went through a lot of changes the first month with Ty. The biggest change was, she used to hate nursing, but as soon as she saw me try and feed another baby, that is all she wanted! She also never pooped without help, and then suddenly she was a pooping machine. She also got jealous very quickly, when seeing me hold a baby that wasn’t her or Tyce. I think it was her way of saying that one little brother was enough for now.

BUT, she got over it quickly.

Tae is already a better older sister than I ever was. She is always checking up on Tyce when he cries. She saves her biggest smiles for him. If he is hungry, she will literally stop eating and let me feed him first.

BUT, she is human AND an older sister. So don’t let that smile fool you. I can’t help but laugh as I watch her try and be sneaky, coming up behind Tyce, and trying to grab his toy or bottle or whatever he is holding. The best part, she will hurry and throw a different toy at him and crawl away as fast as she can thinking I won’t notice. Oh boy, the future is going to be fun.

I love watching Taelynn and Tyce learn and grow from each other. I know that they have their own way of communicating with each other. I love watching them race to give each other kisses in the morning and hold hands as I carry them around the house.

Taelynn is definitely more of my adventurer. I think that is perfect because she is the older sister and uses that to push Tyce along. She loves exploring and playing and being thrown in the air! Tyce is my happy observer. He loves to watch Tae and see what she is getting into. I honestly feel like Taelynn has helped Tyce hit his growing goals, because he looks up to her so much.

Yes, Taelynn was changed for gaining a brother, but she was changed for the better. Because who better to learn and grow with than a sibling.

 

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”

– Desmond Tutu

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The Adoption Stigma: Terminology

Although adoption is a completely normal and an AMAZING way of building a family, let’s be honest, there is hundreds of stigmas around it. The amazing thing is, the adoption community is working so hard now to fight those stigmas and to educate the world on what adoption really means. If you are like me, you have tons of questions when you meet someone that is adopted or has adopted, BUT you don’t know what is appropriate to ask. So I thought it would be fun to go over some great things that I have learned through my adoption process.

(I also created the contact me page so that you can email me and ask me any questions you have about adoption. I love learning more and sharing my knowledge with those that are interested)

Today, I decided to talk about vocabulary, because who doesn’t love a little English lesson;)

1- “Placed for Adoption” Vs. “gave up” “put them up” “get rid of”

One of the most common mistakes is to say, “gave up for adoption,” or “Put them up for adoption” or even to say, “the birth mom got rid of.” Really anything similar to that. How detrimental for a child to think that they were given away or unwanted. That simply is not the case. They are human beings, not hand-me-downs. That is why the adoption community is working hard to change this common phrase to “Placed for adoption.” A birth mother is placing her child into the arms of another family. The family that they chose to parent their child.  I love the picture that saying the word placed creates in my mind. It gives the whole process a lot more love and compassion.

Now, I’m not a dummy. I know it is just common to say, “gave up.” Just like at one time is was common to call flip flops thongs. But even though it is more common to say it one way doesn’t make it appropriate.

2-Birth Mother Vs. Expectant Mother

This goes for birth father and expectant father as well. There is a difference!! Someone does not become a birth parent UNTIL they have relinquished their rights. Until that moment, they are either the expectant parent, or if the baby is born, they are just a parent. This often gets confused. I will be the first to admit that I didn’t know this before I started my own adoption journey. For example, if a family is “matched” with an expectant mother, meaning that the woman who is pregnant has chosen a hopeful adoptive family to  be the parents to her child, then she is still an expectant mother UNTIL she signs the paper work and places her child in the hopeful adoptive families arms. THEN she becomes a birth mother and the hopeful adoptive family is now just the baby’s family. Did that even make sense?

3- Mom Vs. “Real Mom” as opposed to fake mom?

Refer to point #2. I have had so many people ask me who Tyce’s “Real Mom” is. Well, I am pretty positive none of us are fake. I am quoting a friend that said,

“‘Real mom’ or ‘real parents’!!! We are all real! We’ve played different roles but none of are fake and I personally don’t believe that any of us are more ‘real’ than the other.”

This also refers to siblings. Taelynn is very much Tyce’s “real” sister. They may not be biological, but they are real. Their love for each other is real and their bond is real.  But as quoted above, Tyce’s biological family is also very real. Just avoid saying the word “real.”

4- Family Vs. Adoptive Family

Yes, technically Matt, Taelynn and I are Tyce’s “Adoptive Family,” but you don’t need to call us that all the time. I am his mom. Matt is his dad. Taelynn his is sister.

Tyce is our son, brother, grandson, cousin, nephew ect.

*******

Hopefully this helps you a little when talking to people from the adoption community. BUT KEEP IN MIND, we understand that certain phrases are just common to say. I personally am not going to hit you over the head if you say one of the naughty ones above, but I can’t express the joy and appreciation I have for the people that refer to my adoption correctly.

I’ll have some more similar posts coming in the future. I apologize if these annoy you! But, adoption is a passion, and can you blame me?!

AND PLEASE, send me a message if you have other questions I can answer. Whether it has to do with adoption, or just my little family, I would love to know what you all would like to read about.

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Water Babies

IMG_3726You’ll quickly learn through my ramblings, if you didn’t already know this, that I don’t like being told that I can’t do something. When faced with a dilemma of being told something is impossible or that there is no way it can be done, I often think,

“Says Who?”

And then I go on to see if it is in fact out of my reach. I remember, when I was pregnant with Taelynn, someone told me that I was throwing my life away by having kids so young. I thought that was a little silly and my “never upset” husband actually became angry at the comment. However, it got me thinking about things that I could still make possible even with kids.

Two kids later and I still am determined to have a great experience through this journey, not just for my kids, but for me! Matt and I do what we can to make any adventure possible. Road trip to Las Vegas, no problem! What about a road trip to California, BRING IT! Romantic evenings aren’t dead. Goodness, I am even working to get my Real Estate License. My point is kids have never “gotten in our way.” They actually make life a lot more fun for us.

(Pictures from the first time Taelynn went swimming. It just happens to also be at the Provo Rec Center.)

Swimming was one of those things I was questioning the possibility of. Before Tyce was born, Taelynn and I would go all the time. BUT, adding another baby to the mix makes staying a float a little more challenging.

My awesome SIL is here visiting with her perfect little boys, Ben and Andy. Of course, like any 3 year old, Ben wants to get out and have adventures! So after thinking about it, I decided why not join them at the Provo Rec Center. I was slightly terrified. I packed the swim bag, made sure we had enough diapers, got the kids ready to go and a short hour later we were finally out the door.

We got to the Rec Center and I was approached with my typical questions of,

“Are you babysitting?”

“Are they both yours?”

“Are they twins?”

But I guess in a way every mom is a permanent babysitter.

Then we finally made it to the pool.

2 adults against 4 children (Jessica’s SIL on her other side also came and observed)

My children are scared of tubs of water… They are shower babies. So sitting in water up to their waist in the kiddy pool was a little traumatic. They literally were gripping each others hands and hugging each other around the waist. It was adorable to see! If I wasn’t in water I would have had a million more pictures as proof.

As they started warming up to their new surroundings, I could see their eyes light up as they started to have some fun. I braved the water, and took advantage of their clinginess, and we made it over to the lazy river. Lazy might not be the best way to describe it, as I was trying to juggle two children that decided they liked floating around.

One woman failed to realize that the section of pool she was in was designed for kids, as she kept giving my kids dirty looks and shoving past me…but not everyone can have fun swimming I guess…

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Taelynn really got excited by the end and was giving everyone that passed her a full body wave. Seriously, there is not a more animated wave in the world. I made a little barrier with my legs because Tae kept trying to swim off to play with her cousins because she is obsessed with them (the water was only about 4 inches at the deepest where we were). Tyce enjoyed looking at the water from the safety of my arms. He had a death grip on my swim suit that you wouldn’t believe, and Taelynn kept checking to make sure he was ok.

After they kids decided they were worn out (because holding onto mom is hard work) we packed ourselves up, slowly but surely, and made our way to the car. Tyce was asleep before we got to the parking lot and both were asleep by the time we got home. Let’s just say the moral of the story is, if I have stuff to do, take the kids swimming because they will sleep for hours!!

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I would say the day was a SUCCESS!

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