still hand in hand.

today is a work day. away from both my babies. I usually come to the same spot, sit close to the same corner, usually order the same thing. I like my comfort zone. this day only happens once a week. I look forward to this day every week. time by myself. time to collect my thoughts. time to ground myself. time to dive face first into blogging, into my social media work, and etsy orders.

time to catch up on life outside motherhood.

today was different than last Friday and the Friday before that. although I am in the same spot, drinking the same drink, eating the same meal after doing the same workout, I find myself surrounded by a different crowd.

a mother-daughter crowd.

I immediately get hit straight in the face with sadness. as I look around I see different mother-daughter relationships. I see different generations of mother-daughter duos. my heart ached for mom. I sit in this corner alone. without my kids. without my mom.

most days I am fine. but when it hits, it hits hard and I feel like I am suffocating.

being an adult without a mom is strange. it’s hard. it’s confusing. isolating.

being a mom without a mom is a struggle. it’s lonely. coated in nostalgia.

I am forced to flip the script. everyday. I have no other choice but to use these emotions and put them into my family. my kids. my husband. our memories.

I remember starting the adoption journey and telling myself to use these emotions of misfortunate and sadness to find our daughter. well. here she is. in front of me. within arms reach. I can create the memories I miss with Brooklyn. and with Beckett. I can hope + dream + look forward to these Friday mid-day lunch dates with my own kids where I know my mom is always present.

these days are tough.

can’t wait to get home to my babies.

be brave.

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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.

 

nobody loves like a mom.

I hear that there is a difference between Mothers Day and Birth Mothers Day. I remember seeing posts flood my feeds last year as we were a waiting family. I love that the community finds ways to celebrate in a unique way. But is there a need to have separate holidays? you deserve to be celebrated and that’s what matters.

you ARE a mother.

i remember trying to picture who our birth mom would be especially after “meeting” so many birth mothers on paper. I tried to envision what our relationship would look like during the pregnancy and after placement. who would we get to celebrate on year later on this day?

we get to celebrate you! Mama L.

we don’t have any pictures of you; just the ones in my head.

we don’t have any of you seeing brooklyn for the first time; just in my head.

we don’t have any of you holding sweet bk; just in my head.

we don’t have any of all 5 of us saying goodbye on the hospital; just in my head.

I will not forget the tiny details of the day you placed her in my arms. i will not forget the details of how our story unfolded. I will not forget the details of your story and now her story.

today is your day.

today we are thinking of you more.

talking about you.

praying for you extra hard.

because of you, I get to share our daughters NINE MONTH milestone + on mothers day + for the first time as a mother of TWO.

thank you.

‘thank you’ doesn’t cut it.

‘thank you’ doesn’t solidify it.

‘thank you doesn’t make it more or less real.

but ‘thank you.’

forever thankful.

daily.

** happy mother’s day to my birth mom. the one i do not know. the one i’ve never seen. you are loved.** 

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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.

a hidden emotion.

we all intended to meet mama L one week after she had chosen us to be brooklyn’s forever family. she invited us to go to all future appointments and ultrasounds until birth. plans changed quickly as she went into labor one month before her due date. this meant that michael never had the chance to meet her before bk’s was born. the night her water broke, we thought it was best for him to stay with beckett. waking up to a stranger can be traumatizing and this poor dudes world was about to be totally rocked.

it was up to her to come see myself or the baby or to meet michael. we left that up to her. we didn’t push them to meet but we did welcome it when michael came to meet brooklyn for the first time.

fast forward 3 months, michael comes home from work the other day and tells me he has something to show me. he gets his phone out and shows me a screen shot.

a screen shot of a picture of brooklyn.

on someones Facebook.

mama L’s Facebook!

my heart stopped.

my jaw dropped.

my brain went blank.

there was no caption.

there were no emoji’s.

just a picture i took of our beautiful baby girl on her birth mom’s page.

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never ever ever did i think i would see something like this.

never did i think i would have confirmation she was getting our letters & pictures that i was putting together monthly and sending to our agency.

this. this was confirmation.

i couldn’t help but to think she was proud. proud of us? proud of her daughter? proud of herself? to post something like this on an open platform for anyone to view, welcomes the opportunity for accusations, assumptions, questions, comments, judgments…

to me, sharing this picture shows some sort of appreciation… whether that be for the time i put into the updates or the love we are pouring into this girl.

seeing this picture was shocking. relieving. breathtaking. comforting.

my heart couldn’t go into a negative space.

i never knew how much i needed this until i saw it.

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be brave.

 

everyday brave.

it was just after the 70 day NICU stay with our 29-weeker son, beckett, that i started dreaming of making my own apparel for my little dude who was finally of size to wear real newborn clothes. i mentioned the idea of a screen press to my husband but he wasn’t so on board at the time. we had a lot on our plate. a preemie, a potential big move out of state leaving our friends and family behind. “can’t you imagine all the things i could make and not have to buy!?” so many what if’s to just jump off the deep end into that type of dream.

so, for the time being i was just a purchaser, not a pursuer.

once we entered the adoption world i was finding myself with hands that needed to get busy. the wait was hard. the wait was long. hearing the “no’s” one right after the other was heartbreaking. i was finding myself living for email notifications hoping to see situations, wondering if “this is our baby.” we presented our family to four adoption plans, repeatedly hearing we were not the chosen family. some of those no’s were right away, some took weeks. the most recent expectant mom we presented to, i told myself and my husband that if we weren’t picked again i NEEDED to find something for me to occupy my time & my mind… and that was to start the online shop.

well.

we heard our (last) no.

time to execute. time to continue the research. time to brainstorm.

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michael was on amazon… a lot… comparing reviews, price checking equipment, and investigating what we needed to get started. we were both losing sleep on the logistics.

equipment ordered.

shipped.

arrived.

i always have these shirt & design ideas flowing in my head but now that it’s GO time… printers block. so the boxes stayed unopened. piling in the hall. the problem with having A.D.D. is collecting my thoughts and struggling to figure out how/where to get started.

then BAM!

another situation.

we got bk’s situation just 1 day before hearing our last “no.” we presented to mama L knowing very little background information on pregnancy and birth parents. neither one of us feeling very hopeful. how could we? why would we? with this presentation i told myself that i wasn’t going to ask questions. up to this point, i knew every possible detail about each time we presented.

i knew how many families were presenting.

i knew when profiles were being presented.

i constinuously inquired when we “should” expect to hear the expectant mom’s decision.

i stalked my emails. i obsessed over texts.

all these details killed me. knowing, was draining. it made the wait that much more intense. that much longer. so. i truly left this situation in God’s hands. i didn’t hammer the agency with a billion questions. keep in mind, we were brand new to this local agency. i didn’t know how they operated, as i learned each agency runs things a lot differently. i got a call from the agency letting me know that our paperwork was received and we were officially registered to start seeing situations. at the end of that call, she quickly added, “oh by the way, i’ll be emailing you a situation later this afternoon.”

from there i prayed. i hoped. i turned over my focus.

a few days later, i got the call. “mama L has chosen your family for her little girl!”

ha! “book a trip, they say”… or in this case… “start a business, they say.”…

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we are still hammering out the details, the ideas, the designs, the types of products we want to offer but i do know where i want to channel my focus:

ADOPTION. i want to help those on their adoption journey by providing fundraising opportunities and life affirmations. i want to inspire and educate those outside of the adoption community. i want to tie in being an adoptee with our personal growth through adoption.

BRAVERY. everyday bravery. being brave comes in many forms and through many outlets. moms. kids. in your home. at school.

everyday bravery has shown in my life when we made a big move from my home state, during my prime teenager years then shortly having my house burn down after recently moving in. i had to be brave when struggling with a learning disability (A.D.D.), hashimotos, tragically losing my mother at the age of 16, and never getting the opportunity to meet and love on my nephew, Austin, who was born at 25 weeks gestation.  i’ve had to be brave when my son was born 11.5 weeks early then shortly i was diagnosed with an extremely rare autoimmune. i had to be brave when i was told my life expectancy was unknown and if i were to carry we could lose both myself and the baby. i had to be brave when we entered the adoption journey on a quest to find our missing puzzle piece.

 

i have used the cactus symbol (and donuts) throughout our adoption with no real significance in the beginning. i had an envision that i was going to incorporate an icon for the state that resembled where our baby was going to come from. in this case she was in arizona so naturally a cactus. it’s truly incredible how one symlbol has turned into a reminder to others about our adoption and about bk. i get calls, personalized gifts, tags on instagram, and daily screen shots of cactus products just to inform me people are thinking of us. the same follows suit with the term ‘be brave’. it’s comforting, inspiring, and kind of a lot of pressure (wink, wink) for me to know that people associate me with bravery. so this is where we started.

we plan to start with our instagram-everyday brave. then move up from there. eeeeek, join the ride with us and stay tuned!

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be brave.