the party prep.

As I am busy pinning ideas, jotting down my ‘to do’ list, hopping from store to store, I keep getting stopped in my own tracks. there is a haunting voice in my head. one that I cannot shake. one that I recognize so vividly.

“what if this doesn’t work out?”

I must have said that to myself a million times for 7 months.

buying baby clothes; “what if this doesn’t work out.”

picking out a new crib; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

deciding on a car seat; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

decorating the nursery; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

making travel plans; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

I am currently covered in party paraphernalia, trying to collect my thoughts to make this dream birthday a reality. it’s thoughts like this that keep me trying to truly grasp that we have our daughter. that we are about to celebrate being her parents for 365 days. I am trying to shake this voice, rid the negative context. to an extent this thought was right where it was supposed to be. what if it didn’t work out? a birth mom not chose our family or experience a failed adoption right before baby due, like we did. the world of adoption is so unknown. it was a realistic thought at the time , a rational fear at the time, a potential outcome at the time but it isn’t relevant in my life anymore.

this really is the strangest feeling. knowing + living with her right in front of me but being so used to shutting down my thoughts of excitement and planning for the future. It took us 7 months to find our baby and she’s been with us for 10 months (almost 11) and this all still feels so surreal. a dream.

a girl that has been prayed for, loved on is almost one.

be brave.

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.

FullSizeRender 13

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.** 

be brave.cariduganphotography-1-188

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.”

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

be brave.

PICK US- one year later.

One year ago today we started a journey of a lifetime. reflecting back, I remember starting this adventure with such open naivety… “prepared” for what was to come, open to vulnerability, open to hardships. Naive was right… I had no idea the world we were walking into. It all went nothing like I could have prepared for.

To have experienced this will be unforgetable; to be done with this is surreal.

one year ago, I dreamt about the mother that would pick us. I had no idea if we would have a relationship with her, be apart of the pregnancy, where she would live, her wishes for post placement. I imagine myself going to ultrasounds but yet imagined being told that wasn’t an option. I dreamt about our soon-to-be baby, beckett’s soon-to-be sibling… its skin tone, eye shape, hair color, lip pout, eyelashes, a crier, or quiet sleeper. I read stories about failed matches and failed adoptions and couldn’t bare to think of the heaviness that would bring. I saw families being brought together through of adoption… so beautifully yet so also so torn. I sat back and imagined us in all these scenarios, the good + the bad. I spent sleepless nights waiting for the next step in the daunting paperwork, the next step in researching/applying agencies, then for the next situation to come, the next response if we were chosen, onto the next expectant mom.

we saw 14+ situations and heard 7 “no’s” all within 4 months.

one year ago, I was blind + scared. one year later, I am educated + confident.

one year ago, I was pessimistic + skeptical. one year later, I am trusting + a believer.

one year ago, I was yearning + incomplete. one year later, I am full.

hi1b6538

brooklyn,

one year ago you were a prayer + a hope + a dream. one year later, you are our reality, our joy, our pride, a product of a selfless act.

be brave.

added pressure.

 

With a biological child, you make certain promises to yourself as a parent to be how you plan to raise your little one. When you get matched with an expectant mom you give promises to her that you will raise the child to the best of your ability. In both scenarios you use the frequent vow “I will never…” until you realize that you are now saying, “oh I absolutely will.” As a recent adoptive mother, I can’t help but put extra pressure on myself that I have to go above and beyond those expectations or promises that I gave Brooklyn’s birth mom. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to give them to her verbally as our time together was extremely limited but I gave them to her through our profile book. Through our words, our pictures of our family and our home, we presented and promised Mama L that we would love and provide for Brooklyn; I wanted to promise the world and more. The weight and significance of these obligations are heavy, for me, because of adoption. The pressure that comes with adoption because you want to be more than a good parent, more than a friend, more than a confidant. Unnecessary, maybe. But they are real expectations that I have placed upon myself and I strive to live by. The pressure can be so intense that at times I don’t raise my children the same because I can’t let someone else down, that someone else being another mother, Brooklyn’s birth mother. I have this personal expectation to raise Brooklyn in this perfect world, that doesn’t exist, that isn’t realistic. I know I can’t guard her or protect from all negtivity in the world but I have the extra expectation that I can, I should, I will. It’s almost like I put an extra set of eyes on me, just as if Mama L is watching.

Over the holidays is when I felt this intense stress from expectations that I am speaking of. Christmas vacation was chaos, it was tough. It wasn’t the Christmas I dreamt of as our first as a family of four or for Brooklyn’s first Christmas (those milestones alone come with their own set of expectations.) I just kept thinking to myself, “this isn’t what I promised Mama L.” The weight was heavy. It was suffocating. It was powerful. It was exhausting. I cried. I hugged her close. I prayed. I expressed my worries to my husband and to a friend.  

Why do I do this to myself?

Why do I add such unnecessary pressure?

Am I the only one who does this?

Both of my kids are my kids, adopted or biological, doesn’t matter. I know that and I live that. Why doesn’t this pressure exist as if my husbands eyes were the eyes over my shoulder while I parent either of our kids?

Putting this pressure on myself isn’t fair and I realize that now. I had to go through that motherhood meltdown to discover it on my own and that is what is going to make me a better mom; the mom I promised Brooklyn’s birth mom, the mom I promised Beckett. I promised both my kids I’ll be the best person I can be to them, to their father, to their peers. I will forever provide love but I will also provide mistakes that will turn to lessons.

Moms… dads… take off this pressure if you can relate to this. Adoption or biological. Take off the pressure to be the perfect parent with the perfect home, the perfect holiday, the perfect adventure. Let life flow, embrace the chaos, endure the trials, and make the best out of all experiences life brings us. It’s not always going to be easy, it’s not always going to be glorified perfect, but these are the experiences that built our families and make us stronger together.

cariduganphotography-1-188