Tag Archives: becoming a family

My Respite Care Birthday

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Husbando and I have birthdays four days apart. We are both a Gemini (the twins) so we’re practically twins. Bam. See what I did there? Anyway, we decided to take off our birthday week because, duh. What is a better gift?! We originally chose the week as FMLA ‘bonding time’ but later decided that after almost a year, we may benefit even more from a week apart. The girlies went off to Nana’s, Agent K went to do good in Louisiana and we hit the open road to Branson. Yup, we decided on a geriatric slow-paced time away. We took in a few shows, had way too much to eat (more on that in a moment) and did whatever the heck we wanted. I mean seriously it was just what we needed. A few highlights (and lowlights) are below:

 

  • On my birthday we got to go to the Dixie Stampede. Have you been? You should go. Think redneck version of Medieval Times based around a rodeo. You eat a tiny rotisserie chicken with your hands while sitting around a horse arena watching all kinds of shenanigans. Where you sit dictates if you are the ‘North’ or the ‘South’. We were the North and we lost. Boo.
  • The Groupon we purchased for the Lodge of the Ozarks included a free breakfast buffet for each day and a free Golden Corral buffet and drink per day. That’s right, TWO buffets for free every day. That actually was a little much and the night of Dixie Stampede we ‘wasted’ the Golden Corral vouchers but found a nice older couple that used them for us. It was a great deal and really made the vacation possible for us so we could afford the other things we wanted to do.
  • It rained the entire time we were there.
  • We did get to go shopping, on two winery tours, to two more shows within walking distance of the lodge, had pedicures done, and watched a ton of adult HBO.
  • BOTH my tv husbands died off in ONE day. After my Game of Thrones husband got killed, the True Blood husband got shot! Then I switched to Entourage because no one dies in that show and I love the cursing.

IMG_2716When we returned, we had a night at the house alone before we picked up the girlies. We cleaned up, did laundry and prepared to be back in our normal routine. While playing one last night of video games we sat there talking about the guilt we were having that we had spent a week alone and didn’t necessarily feel bad. We joked that we hadn’t been fetal and crying that our kids weren’t with us and did that make us monsters. Then I woke up and remembered that less than a year ago we got to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted and that to miss that precious time with my husband wasn’t wrong. I would assume that everyone thinks back to a simpler time when they got to have 100% of their spouse’s attention and why wouldn’t I long for that back? It doesn’t make me less of a parent, it just means I have a time in my life that I miss. Our kids are a great blessing but the change has been long and hard. It is for sure worth it but I’m going to take any respite care I can get : )

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Whats In A (Middle) Name

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I’ve said before that when adoption has a positive, I cling to it like a fat kid to a cupcake. Okay, I haven’t said it quite like that before but I could really use a cupcake this morning. Anyway, I found another positive to the adoption process… name changing for the win! The day of the adoption finalization the kids get to change their names. Not only do they get to change their last name to match ours but they also get to change/switch/delete/add any other names at the same time. This really made the kids excited and boy did their creative juices start flowing.

Miss D tried on Ashley, Sarah, Abi, and several other popular names because she was ‘tired of hearing her names in church’. Ultimately she decided to keep them but add a middle name. This is where the fun starts… Lady H was insistent that Diamond would be her new first name. Once vetoed due to its stripper-like nature, she decided it would be her middle name. When Husbando vetoed that, she just couldn’t decide what to do so she asked me what my middle name is. I asked her if she wanted it and she said she wanted to use Sparkle instead. Fast forward a few days when we are talking about names again. The girls have now both decided to keep their first and middle names but add another middle name. Miss D asks me if she can use my middle name with her middle name and I said sure. Fast forward a few more days and Lady H comes back and says she wants to take me up on the offer to use mine. I explain that she can but her younger sister already decided to use it and that would mean they would both have it as their second middle name. This didn’t seem to bother them a bit but it definitely struck me as odd. I mean, I want them both to have a piece of my name but I also think its weird to name your kid like George Foreman. I let them sit on it and I have too but they haven’t wavered from that decision for a second. Even the day we had to email the attorney our final draft I pushed it an they didn’t budge. So we have two girls with two middle names that both happen to be my middle name. I’m still marinading that.

Agent K was a whole different story. We went round and round with him wanting to change his first name. The way he was talking about the name stuff had me concerned so one night I asked him why it was so important for him to lose his first name. He previously made comments about hating his name because no one pronounces it correctly and that it would be fine if he was Hawaiian but he is not Hawaiian. I asked if that was true or really he wanted a fresh start because his birthmother gave it to him. He didn’t answer my question but promised to think it over. After about a week he started up again. He kept pushing for Kevin (for Kevin Durant) and Michael (for Michael Jordan). I explained to him that those names were fine but naming yourself after an athlete was ridiculous. Further, Kevin Durant isn’t a legend and (hopefully) we can all forget about him in a few years. Michael holds several bad memories/feelings for me so it was out too. After I crushed that dream he decided on a middle name that happens to be the name of both a Ninja Turtle, and Agent K’s favorite artist. He said he is going to try to get everyone to call him this if we ever move so we agreed as long as he kept (and let us use) his first name. 

It kind of sounds like we didn’t give them much of an option at all but I assure you all reasonable request were evaluated. Problem is, with our crazy kids, nothing is ever reasonable. No Sparkles or nasty ex-boyfriends allowed apparently! But with all this decided we are ready to roll and that is the best part. I remember how excited I was to take on my  husband’s last name so that we felt like family and now I am excited for our kids to get to do the same.

Finalization Finally

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… a day which will go down in infamy. We finally got our finalization date so with our ridiculous visit last night and our fighting with them about Miss D’s ear tube surgery, I am SO ready to be done with these DHS people! I am ready to stop living under their schedule, their rules, and their absolutely ridiculous timeline. No, you cannot require me to take off any more work. No, you cannot pull my driving records for a sixth time, wasting my own tax money. Lastly, no, you cannot treat me like a common criminal instead of the loving potential parent I’m trying to be. I’m SO done with you suckers! You know, until its time to do this all over again…

But seriously, we did get our court date and are sitting on go. Even the kids are tired of talking about it and are ready to DO this. We’ve had this mystery countdown going long enough and its time to legally be the family we know we are. We’ve invited everyone and their dog to the courthouse and lunch and we are excited so many people want to come to participate in this. I hear its a lot of waiting then a fifteen minute court proceeding followed by five minutes of pictures. You better believe I’m prepping our support staff with a photography lesson because for once, I won’t be the one behind the camera. In fact, we are having our first official family photos made in the next couple weeks to celebrate the occasion. A friend from high school is going to take the pics and I can’t wait!  I don’t remember ever having family photos made (not sure one of the four of us even exists) so this is super special to me.

We are so blessed to have gotten the three best kids in the world and in the best way possible. We know this process taught us a lot and continues to every day. Plus, I didn’t get any stretch marks (at least not from pregnancy) and there were no hospital bills! Really, its just such a blessing that I was able to fulfill my life’s destiny that God put in my heart so many years ago. Throughout my entire life I have often thought to myself ‘are You sure about this, God’, but I was persistent and so was His favor so I really feel like I’ve done something I was born to do. I feel that in my bones and that contentment is like nothing of this world. I hope you get to feel that one day.

I have a banquet room to reserve ; )

 

 

Birthmother Letters

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For a while now I’ve been intrigued with open adoption communication, specifically between the birth and adoptive mothers. I daydream about what I would say to the birthmother of our children if we ever accidentally ran into her at the grocery store. I know her face well because I’ve stared at it for hours. I found her on social media, dating sites, and several other places. Heck, the kids even have ‘life books’ that have pics of them together in it. I am prepared for safety reasons but also for general curiosity.

After reading some recent posts about birthmom letters, my mind started swirling with ideas and the last straw was the article I read about a birthmother coming to the adoption finalization at the court house. Everyone’s situation is different so that doesn’t bother me that they did that, I just know ours wouldn’t be welcome to participate. I’ve decided to write some letters on here in hopes that I won’t continue to stay awake thinking about this. This one happens to be how I would introduce myself. Tact was never really on my list of positive qualities.

Dear Birthmother,

Hello. I’m Carynn and I’ve been given the gift of raising your children. Thanks for pushing them out of your body and then keeping them only long enough to cause them permanent heartbreak. I’ll be taking over from here but my uterus thanks you for your service.

These kids are amazing but I’m not sorry you don’t get to witness that. You don’t deserve that. I will be honest, my husband and I give you the benefit of the doubt and call your cruelty and selfishness a ‘mental illness’. We don’t fathom how a person could treat another the way you treated these three beautiful little people and so we just assume you are sick in a way we could never understand. For your sake, I hope that is right.

I see you’re still married to the girls’ dad and that surprises me. How is it that you can keep that relationship going over ten years but not the most deep bond known on the planet, a bond between mother and child? I also see you moved several states away and maybe that is why you’re able to spend so much time with your step-son (who happens to be the same age as your own son). I don’t think you should be allowed within several hundred feet of a child, daycare, or school but I guess they only keep track of sex offenders these days.

The kids don’t ask about you, they just mention occasionally that they have done something or gone somewhere with their birthfamily. I’m sure Agent K is keeping a lot of memories bottled up, as he does when he thinks something may hurt us. He is quite mature like that. The girls probably don’t remember much more than the one terrible memory they shared with us and I hope that fades over time. I’ve never told them they can’t speak of you, I just think its an unspoken understanding between them that they don’t want to think of the past and the pain. Do they wonder about where you are and what you’re doing? I am sure they always will. Probably in those last moments of consciousness before they drift to sleep when I confront all my deepest and most painful thoughts.

We finalize our adoption in the next 60 days and after that, I hope with that and the changing of their names they find some peace in their broken little hearts. Peace knowing they will always have a family who loves and cares for them in a way they never knew. Peace knowing there is no more unknown about where they will live tomorrow and peace that trusting us will not leave them hurt.  There will always be a deep wound that you left them but our goal in life is to help heal that to the best of our abilities and love them as much as they will let us. In the event you care, we aren’t going to let them down on that promise. We are going to take such good care of them and treat them like the gifts they are. I’m sorry you will not have the same pleasure.

Sincerely,

Carynn

 

STOP PRAYING FOR MY PATIENCE!

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Madre always taught me not to pray for patience because if you do, you’ll get tested. To that I politely say NO THANK YOU and have restrained the desire to ever ask for that trait. However, God has a sense of humor and the test is real, y’all.

With it being National Adoption Month and me being the only person most of my friends know who has adopted, I’m being bombarded with articles, blogs, pro-adoption pics/quotes and basically everything about adoption ever. I love it 98% of the time but today Husbando sent me a photo contest (that we can’t even enter since we can’t put our kids on the internet) but I spiraled out of control. I went to the I Love Adoption Pinterest board and scrolled quickly through a few of their boards. The last board was about infertility and I thought it was going to be pro-adoption but I was wrong. The last pin on the board was this:

a669256a51eae99f8cae72310a709357Someone better get me a Xanie because I’m about to go all kinds of ape-crazy up in here. You all are a PRO-ADOPTION account. Why would you post something (or allow it to be posted) like this?! Let me list for you the three top things that irritate me about this.

1. Back in the day (I wasn’t there but lets just pretend it is around the time when Half-Pint was roaming her little prairie) if you weren’t able to conceive, IT WASN’T THE END OF THE FREAKING WORLD. I know it may feel like that for the people going through it now but that is not all their fault. It seems like our society values your ability to push out a baby more than what kind of person you are. Or what skills you have. You just accepted that infertility is what God had given you in life. My grandmother tells me of a time when people didn’t spend a gajillion dollars trying to have a baby, they either went without or they adopted. Both viable and perfectly fine choices. We don’t all have to be the Duggars.

2. People are just trying to help. At least they are giving you a completely justifiable and legitimate alternative because it really is just that simple. If it wasn’t, then you could get mad. I’m fat and when my grandmother suggested I have carrots instead of cookies do you think I made an eCard about it?! No, I put my big girl panties on and realized I could eat the carrots or I could continue to be fat. Either way it was my decision so I couldn’t whine about it. Uh oh, I’m on a roll…

3. This is the big one. It is F-R-E-E to adopt. Free. No money. The state picks up the entire tab, you don’t open your wallet and I mean free. We haven’t paid ONE CENT for a background check, driving record, home study, nothing. In fact, the great state of Oklahoma writes us a check every single month until they turn 18 to continue to take care of these kids comfortably. We pay absolutely zero for health/dental/eye care. We pay zero for therapy, we pay zero for a YMCA memberships, and we even pay zero for our attorney. You cannot tell me that you don’t adopt because you don’t have extra money laying around. You may not adopt an international newborn for that reason but those come into DHS custody too so just wait it out and you could get that baby girl for free too.

See what I mean? I told you it was working my patience. I’m frustrated that this image exists. I’m frustrated that there were 157 more kids at the adoption parties we didn’t get to bring home and I’m frustrated that my infertile friends feel like they are less than adequate people because they can’t have babies. But babies aren’t the only way to make a family and if you want to bad enough, you can get it free.

I’ve got to go iron my best dress because I’m sure the head of the I Love Adoption Pinterest account is going to call and ask if I will be their new Face of Adoption. I’m just so poised and refined like that.

 

One Big Weekend

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This last weekend was a doozy! Friday night Husbando’s parents came to visit and took the kids to dinner, shopping, and swimming. The next morning we all went to the OU tailgate and at the game Agent K got to have his picture taken with a player. That evening the kids got to hang out with family, including their great-grandmother for the first time, while Husbando’s parents took us to dinner. That night three of our teenagers came to spend the night so it was one big slumber party!

The next morning was church so we took up a whole row and afterwards went to Cracker Barrel. Smith, party of ten! After we were all frilled up on carbs, it was time to head home for The Party. Our friends offered to throw us an adoption party at our house so that we could get things for the kids and so people could stock our toilet paper/paper towel supply. We helped with last minute prep, got changed into our party clothes and then people started arriving. Then they kept arriving until our house was FULL! We are so very lucky that we have friends and family that were so very generous to  us and our new family members. I mean look at this pile of gifts!

232323232-fp93232-ydnjthgqubwsnrcgu444;-nu=3239-786---4-WSNRCG=39-;-49995326nu0mrjDuring the party we played a game to get to know the kids better (favorite ice cream, what they like to do in their free time) and mingled. The kids snacked on the Sweet N Salty Bar and hopped around with their new friends. Everyone had a good time and I’m still cleaning up the aftermath of the present apocalypse that happened in our family room.

After everyone went home and we got (mostly) everything cleaned up we went out side and tried out some of the new outdoor toys. They pogo-sticked, scootered, and raced all up and down our drive-way for an hour before it was time to finish off the snack food for dinner and hop into bed. They were ready to sleep that night and so was I!