giving it back to Him.

after discovering my adoption file was missing in march, the next step was to file for my original birth certificate. seemed like a fool proof, safe plan b. from that we’d obtain my birth mother’s name and maybe get lucky with a birth father name and begin the search for contact.

recently I discovered that my original birth certificate is also untraceable. at first, I light heartedly joked that my missing file was due to my unknown royal heritage, now I just feel like it’s a conspiracy.

I feel like I had an emotional setback today because of this missing document. it sounds and seem ridiculous when i say it out loud especially because i know my biological family and they are basically in front of me. But I have to be honest and say I was really counting on this step. hoping + praying this would allow me to move on + forward + process.

it’s as though without this “proof” there is fear that these absolutely wonderful people may not really be mine.

it’s really frustrating that this part of my identity is so hard to grasp and tangibly hold. i do understand that there is more to the story. will i ever discover it? maybe but maybe not. i’m really trying to process this. still.

I needed this.

you must know, I am forever thankful that I have already found my birth parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. everyone so loving + welcoming + understanding + helpful + open + honest.

giving it back to Him.

surrendering with intention.

be brave.

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dear birth mom.

I feel a ton of pressure on my chest right now. Trying to figure out what I want to say to, what I want to ask you, my birth mom. I only ever dreamed about being able to write you. In those dreams I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I knew exactly what I wanted to tell you and show you.

I was a little girl who wanted to know where my curls (which I hated at the time) came from and if your favorite toy to play with was a dolly like mine.

I was a struggling pre-teen who just lost her mom tragically and was curious if you had ever felt such heart break at a vulnerable age.

I was a young lady trying to get through school and wondering if you had the same testing anxiety that I was dealing with.

I was engaged curious what your dream proposal was and what your ideal wedding would entail.

I was pregnant with my first child and wondering how low or high you carried your first baby and your biggest pregnancy craving (mine was Wendy’s French fries with their pump ketchup and red vines… although not in one bite.)

I was beginning to grow our family through adoption and was eager to know how you chose life and adoption for me.

I was confident in where I stood, how I felt and lately I just feel more confused and more emotionally uncertain. How do I put 34 years of questions into ONE letter, THE letter. A letter I wrote multiple times to my future child’s mama’s but this one is hugely different. The end result being beyond comparable. Still a “yes” or a “no” to conclude the journey and I am fully aware that this may be my dead end.

Where do I start? My whole life is flashing before my eyes; my brain and my heart equally want to explode into a million pieces of thoughts, emotions, tears, smiles, memories, vacations, questions.

Dear birth mom, I was such a huge baby my parents had to switch me to soy milk because I drank so much milk and would rip the nipple of the bottle as they tried taking it away each feed. I was always playing dress up, mommy, school, and dancing to Disney musicals. I won a medal for archery when I was 6ish. I made the honor roll in middle school and in middle school I was also sent to detention for saying a not so nice word bc a kid smashed a cupcake all over my backpack and the principal happened to walk by when I said it. I played right forward on a competitive soccer team but failed to tryout in high school because we moved states and I was insecure. The first time I fell in love (I thought) was when I was 14 to a boy in a band. i grew up always knowing about my adoption. My mom and dad opened the gate of communication for the get-go. I graduated Summa Cum Laude at Arizona State. I love taking pictures-especially of the ones I love most. I have been a best friend for 22 years straight (I hope, ask her). I successfully completed 9 years of counseling after loosing my mother when I was 16 and dealing with codependency. I became an aunt to twins in 2008 and my sister was my best friend my entire childhood and longer.  I met my husband in a bar and married him three years later (don’t worry I played hard to get). I found my passion as a Certified Personal trainer after a dramatic weight loss and helped change lives. I am strong and gaining independence and confidence daily. I was one of those women who thought it would take me forever to get pregnant and got knocked up on our honeymoon just 8 months after being married. I gave birth to my son at 29 weeks due to a rare autoimmune. I became completely submerged in the adoption community as I strive to help and meet adoptive parents, learn from birth mothers, and advocate for adoptees. We wanted to grow our family but I knew adoption was our next route because of you. Your choice. Your courage. The life you gave me by placing me in the arms of my mom and dad. I wanted to pay it forward. Honor women in your position the only way I knew how.

I hope this letter finds you peace + love + light and rids any pain + guilt + sadness.

be brave.

do I even really exist?

it sounds dramatic, I know. but do I? after getting court order approved to unseal my file from archives I discovered my file is missing.

yup.

gone.

missing.

untraceable.

no where to be found.

the first question that comes to mind is how in the world can this happen? my second question was “is this common?” I have always labeled my life events as uncommon. not typical. not normal. from adoption to house burning down to witnessing and experiencing my mothers death to premature labor of my son to diagnosis of rare autoimmune to our failed match etc. (all while leaving out other large and small details). not sure why I was so surprised that this was yet another part of my journey that had an “uncommon hiccup”.

I have to be honest, this STUNG. it brought me to fear. it brought me to regret. it brought me to my knees. it brought me to tears. I have never felt like I didn’t belong until now. I have never felt empty until now. I had no idea this was a thing. Going into this I thought my “worse case scenario” was that I would get a basic file and no reunion. the reality is I could walk away from all of this with nothing. no information and no way of getting information.

all of this has left me so confused. mainly because from the beginning I haven’t been able to answer the common asked question, “why now? why are you searching now?” so currently I feel like “ya, why did I!?; why now?”

what I find most bizarre is most my childhood/adult life, I have always told people (including myself) that my adoption was so closed it was basically like my file did not exist… ironic huh? I wasn’t sure how to explain “closed adoption” especially with zero information regarding my adoption. since my adoption didn’t take place through an agency I thought my options were very more limited. I found this to be the best way (or potential excuse) to admit that I couldn’t (didn’t want) acquire information. I put those terms in parentheses because these are unexpected emotions that are coming up during this process that I am currently trying to work through even on paper.

A missing file doesn’t mean the journey is over. thankfully we have a plan b. I am so happy and relieved (still terrified and a tiny bit pessimistic) this isn’t the end. as much as I want to stop at times, I am not one to give up.

plus, its hard to give up when I have such an amazing support system rallying behind me. encouraging me to be encouraged. pushing me to keep moving forward aside from this bump in the road. reminding me that this is just one more piece of my puzzle. my tribe is validating that it is okay to be SAD; to be discouraged. we are recognizing that this is a unique journey. the unknown is scary. But turning around is not an option.

I do exist.

I do have history.

I am loved.

be brave.

“courage is the commitment to begin without the guarantee of success.”

A constant investigation.

I sit here and cannot move. my mind is going a million minutes. my heart is throbbing. my fingers won’t stop clicking and scrolling. having a semi-open adoption leaves me always wondering. always curious. knowing mama L is in our area to some extent always has my eyes wide open. searching. investigating.

this morning I was driving home and saw a women in one of the worse possible circumstances. my heart sank. that familiar lump back in my throat. my heart saddened. my knees weakened. I didn’t turn the car around this time, I didn’t want confirmation this time. I didn’t want to see the truth before my eyes. Some things are better left unknown.

Is ignorance bliss?

I continued to drive. I kept looking back at bk who was drifting off to slumberland. I kept replaying the meeting I had with Mama L in the hospital room. I remember her charm and it didn’t match the women I saw this morning. the twists and turns of someone life can benefit one but deteriorate another. I kept thanking her in my heart for choosing a different life for Brooklyn that she has for herself. I literally couldn’t stop thinking about her. that women. mama L.

as I was feeding Brooklyn before laying her down, I hopped on my phone to continue more investigating. something I haven’t done in awhile. I searched her name. saw nothing new. I hit the back button and there, new, different information I have never seen before. months of videos, pictures, affirmations, bible passages. all very uplifting, inspirational. that women I saw this morning, was NOT mama L and I have never been more relieved. she is everything opposite of what I saw this morning.

everyday I think about her. I wonder how she is living her life. I hear so many people who have open adoptions that are equally thankful for them as well as have their reservations. I always think if our openness is something that is beneficial or harder. is it different for me than my husband simply because I am adopted and I am always curious about my birth parents? I always think about what would be easier? healthiest? do those even ever match with one another? even when your daughter is placed in your arms, has your last name, you are still always thinking about the what if’s, the how come’s.

mama L, I am rooting for you. your daughter is rooting for you. I pray that you continue down the path you are on and keep yourself the main priority. because of you, your daughter is well loved and taken care of.

be brave.

 

a sign.

Many people have asked if our adoption is open or they just assume it is because I document my updates to Mama L. Either is fine but I write to her as if I know her. as if she IS apart of our life… because her daughter is.

Today is International Women’s Day. I have seen so many posts regarding Girl Power, Unity, Rights and Strength of women and my first thought was a brave women; Mama L. Every time I think of her or write to her, I ask for a sign from God about her wellbeing. A few months ago that sign came from a Facebook post where she shared a picture of Brooklyn I sent her in an update (blogged in this post: A Hidden Emotion). Seeing that made me feel proud and it made me feel comforted. Don’t get me wrong it definitely caught me off guard but I was able to sit back and truly recognize and distinguish how it made me feel. Because today is International Women’s Day I wanted to post something to recognize the day and recognize the woman who blessed us with Brooklyn.

As I was driving home this morning from dropping my son off at school, I decided to take a different route than usual. I hit the light right when the left protected arrow turned red so I didn’t feel like waiting (yes, I can be pretty impatient). The whole way home I was trying to think of a way I could honor her without posting a picture of her (which I don’t have very many). I look over to my right and I see a women standing on the side of the street. My stomach dropped. I slowed down to get a better look and I immediately held my breath.

legs went numb.

thoughts flooded my brain.

It was her.

Mama L.

Standing right there. 3 duffle bags in tow. Waiting. Waiting for something. Waiting for someone.

I immediately turned around because I needed confirmation. Was this my sign I’ve prayed for?

She has some distinct features that one can recognize a mile away and I saw them or at least I thought I did or did I want to see them? As I was completing my double back, she climbed into a car and we drove separate directions.

I know that it was her.

I feel that it was her.

I asked for her.

I prayed for a sign from her.

Obviously I do not know the specifics of her life, where she was going, what she was doing… and I worry about her.

At that moment bk’s life flashed before my eyes- the birth, the first feeding, our first outing. I know how Brooklyn is doing, where she is, her happiness, her giggles, her cries, her needs… because of Mama L.

Because of her brave decision, I do not have to worry about Brooklyn and SHE doesn’t have to worry about her daughter either.

“a child born to another women calls me mommy. the magnitude of that tragedy & depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”

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be brave.

on our way to finalization.

we took a trip to the happiest place on earth as a family of four. we had no idea bk would be apart of this trip when originally planned. there was no question as to if we’d cancel the trip since adding her to our family. we had looked forward to this trip and thankfully we pushed forward. what an amazing trip we had!

while on the trip i knew a deadline was approaching. birth parents right severance. to be in the Happiest Place on Earth and to meet this milestone was…

confusing.

bittersweet.

for the past 60 days we had a weight on our shoulders. an elephant on our chest. a storm cloud hovering over our heads.

this wait was over. oct 25th 2016.

before i started writing this post, i had read the document with mama L signature giving up full rights and irrevocable complete control of bk. when i got the text after 72 hours that she had signed, it meant something to me, it hit me. when just now reading it on paper and seeing her signed initials, her actual signature…. it hit me again.

differently.

emotions like these surprise me.

the pain + the comfort + the relief + the sadness + the excitement.

the most specific detail that has caught me off guard is her handwriting. to me, hand script can say a lot about someone. it can reveal truths or insecurities. i always wondered how she signed her name. did she use her full name or just initials? was it in cursive? all caps or small print? flowy or chicken scratch? these types of details all exposed on these documents as we move forward with finalization. i felt confidence in her signature. it seemed bold yet heavy. still can’t imagine what was going through her mind while she signed these papers. makes me take long, deep breaths thinking about it.

handwriting is one thing i miss most about my own mom. i don’t have much that documented my mom’s beautiful, thin, long cursive and we don’t have much that documents mama L’s, but it’s something to show bk when she is ready bc mama L’s handwriting is beautiful, just like her.

this is also why it’s so important for me to take the time and hand write out bk’s monthly update for mama L. i want her to see my feelings through my writing. i want her to feel that brooklyn is loved. she is wanted. she was longed for. she is safe. she is happy. she is secure. she is flourishing. i want her to trust through my writings that her decision will forever be life altering.

finding peace as we move forward. embracing the unexpected emotions that keep surprising me.

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be brave.

 

when one door closes, another one opens.

today has been an off day from the beginning (is it wednesday!?). beckett woke up later than normal but grumpier than normal, gymboree was a struggle for him (even though my favorite toddler has been literally begging to go for a week). we get home from class and he immediately goes into his room, tells me “it’s time for nap. goodnight” as he is crawling into his bed (very rare for him to do this especially without a full belly). i kiss him goodnight & walk out of his room. shortly after, i quickly make my salad for lunch as i know i have a lot of things to get done on the computer during nap. i sit down to eat my luscious salad and the power goes out. then my phone starts making the HORRIBLE weather altering noise regarding an incoming dust storm. immediately following that big eye roll & sigh bc im scared all of that just woke up my cranky toddler, the doorbell rings which triggers dogs to bark (the sign on the door says PLEASE KNOCK ups guy!), and my cell starts ringing. literally, all. at. once. of course right?!

it was THE CALL.

this is our baby!

we have been chosen!

       a LOCAL mom wants us to welcome her baby into our family!

for a girl who is always in a rush cannot move a muscle. i am frozen.

this is not the time to freeze!

becauuuuuuse

not only did the case worker tell us we are matched BUT she told us that baby GIRL may be coming any day. mama “L” isn’t due till 9.11 but at her appointment today, she was showing signs of labor including contractions.

is God trusting us with another preemie?

maybe! 

i will ask you now to please pray. send positive energy. pray. cross fingers. pray.

pray for mama “L” & pray for our daughter! (Ah! our daughter!) pray for health + strength. i know from experience that the power of prayer works so please send us whatever you’ve got!

oh. and I never got to eat my salad bc dog got to it first. 

being brave.

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