Monday, April 30, 2012

There Were Four Of Them

The day after writing my previous post, I walked up to our front door just in time to see the mama bird feeding her babies.  There were actually four of them.  Not two, like I originally thought.  Now there are none.

While upstairs this morning, I just happened to glance outside the window into the front yard to see a group of Mockingbirds attacking a crow.  I watched for a moment curious as to what was going on.  Then I noticed something small and gray in the crows mouth.  I said a quick prayer that it wasn't what I thought it was, but sure enough at one point when the crow dropped the object, I saw its wings flutter.  I just stood at the window feeling helpless.  I wanted to run outside, but I figured that the Mockingbirds had the best chance of saving the baby bird.  And then it was over.  I went out to the front porch, hoping that maybe it wasn't one of the birds from the nest.  I found a completely empty, completely destroyed nest.

I know this might sound dramatic, but this was not the thing I wanted to see this morning.  After a rough night of bad dreams regarding Kim's baby, I did not need to see these baby birds killed this morning.  I'm sure everything will be fine with the adoption, but our lack of contact with Kim is killing me.  We haven't heard from her since a week ago Saturday.  I sent her a text message yesterday and Wednesday, and I have of course received no response back.  I know she's tired and busy (and her cell phone signal is crappy), but any kind of contact from her would be so appreciated right now.

Update: I did hear from Kim today.  Everything is still good.  Her next appointment is Thursday but hopefully she won't need to go.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

We Have Baby...


You got excited there for a second, huh?  No?  The picture below kind of ruined it?  Yeah, I figured it would, but I'm trying to find any way to have fun with this waiting period.  

They are House Finches.  We just happened to hear the babies tweeting away, and walked to the front door in time to see the daddy bird feeding them.  I ran to grab my camera, but by the time I returned to the door he had flown away.  It appears there are only two in there.  I'm happy to see them.  We've been watching the nest, waiting for any sign of babies.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Still Waiting

And starting to get a little antsy.  I keep thinking that maybe it's a good thing that our wait this time is so short, because I'm already starting to have a hard time with it.  We are definitely ready though.  Baby G's nursery is complete (minus a gift from a friend), the house is clean, the grass is cut, and our bags are packed.  There is only one thing hanging over our heads, but it can wait.  Shiloh's new bedroom furniture was painted this week by my friend's dad.  It would be nice to get that back and get Shiloh's "new" bedroom set up.  Especially since all of Shiloh's clothes that were in her dresser are now covering the guest bed, which is where my mom will be sleeping.  However, Grammie would understand the mess, Baby G, so come on out! ;)

I think the reason I'm so antsy this time is because we have very little contact with Kim right now.  During her pregnancy with Shiloh, we attended doctor appointments with her, did baby shopping together, and were in constant contact via email and Myspace.  Yes, this was back when Myspace was still all the rage.  This time she's 2 1/2 hours away, and has shoddy cell phone service where she lives.  When I send her a text message there's a 50/50 chance that I'll get a response from her because there is also only a 50/50 chance that she'll see the message.  I'll be honest, it's kinda driving me crazy!  Soon though.  I know it will be soon.  I wrote a Bible verse on the fridge to help me handle the panic, anxiety, and fear I was dealing with when we first received the final word from Kim.  I think I might need to go meditate on that today. 

I suppose I'll leave you all with pictures of the finished nursery. 

This is basically the same picture from a previous post

The shelves are up

A friend is making two prints to hang on the wall.  One will have 1 Samuel 1:27, and the other will have the baby's full name, date of birth, height and weight.  They will be hung on either side of the window.  Also, Richard still needs to remove the last of his music related items, as you can see.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Felt So Loved

A while back I started tagging along with my best friend, Laci, and some women from her church small group at their monthly girls' night out.  It always consists of dinner at Chili's (we really go for the dessert!  If you haven't had their Chocolate Molten Cake, you need to.  It's like a little taste of heaven.) and some good ole girl talk.  Well, this past weekend Laci casually mentioned that there would be another girls' night on Tuesday.  I remember thinking how awesome their timing was since this would probably be my last chance for a night out for some time. 

Tuesday evening came, and I decided that I would leave a little early so I could stop by a certain store and pick out Shiloh's big sister present.  I gave myself plenty of extra time, not knowing what traffic would be like.  Of course, since I did give myself extra time, I was in and out of Target in minutes.  With 50 minutes left to kill, I decided to drive over to The Avenues (the outdoor shopping area where Chili's is located) and walk around Carter's to waste some time.  I have to mention that while at Carter's I found the cutest matching pajama sets for Shiloh and Baby G that say, "I'm all about Daddy".  Anyway.  I learned last night that I'm not very good at wasting time.  With 30 minutes left until were supposed to meet up, I drove over to Chili's figuring I'd just sit in the car until I saw Laci arrive.  After about 10 minutes of sitting there, I see Laci AND her mom walk into the restaurant.  I knew her mom and dad were in town, and I thought how great it was that her mom would be joining us.  I also noticed that Laci had a large yellow gift bag with her.  As I was getting out of my car I was thinking to myself that we must be celebrating something for someone, and I felt bad that I was unprepared (Yes, I am THAT clueless).  Needless to say, I  walked in early and kind of ruined the surprise of my surprise baby shower.  Thankfully, Anna and Kelly were already there so they were able to see my reaction.  Also in attendance was my friend Emily and four of the ladies from my bible study group.  I was so blown away by their kindness and thoughtfulness, and definitely cried at least twice.  We didn't have a baby shower with Shiloh, and I didn't even have a wedding shower when Richard and I got married (we were young, and our wedding wasn't very traditional), so this was so very special for me.  I will truly never forget last night.

The only pictures I have from the shower are from Anna's iphone.  One is an absolutely horrible picture of me trying to smile and look somewhat decent for the picture, but I'm laughing so hard that I'm unable to produce a nice, normal smile.  The other picture is of what, or I should say who, I'm laughing at.  Leslie is one of the ladies from my bible study group.  She is a drama teacher who once had a job delivering singing telegrams.  Anytime one of the ladies in the group has a birthday she puts together a singing telegram for them.  They are hilarious.  She showed up last yesterday evening.  We were all sitting at the table when this odd looking women walked up saying my name.  Thankfully I recognized her voice because she did not look at all like Leslie.  Anyway.  She gave a little intro and then broke out into song.  She did her own rendition of "Baby, Baby, Baby" by Justin Bieber.  It was hilarious.

Leslie (or Justin Bieber)
The costume that I had to wear while Leslie sang to me (yes, this was in the middle of Chili's)
The loot

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It Still Doesn't Feel Real

This past weekend was a very productive one for us.  Friends came over and helped us empty out Richard's music room, pull the crib down from the attic, and get the nursery somewhat in order.  Our house is actually beginning to look like a baby might be joining us soon.

 Thankfully, we still have Shiloh's old crib, bedding, and rocker.   This made getting the nursery together much easier, faster, and cheaper.  To the right of the crib is the already packed diaper bag and Shiloh's suitcase.  The hospital is about 2 1/2 hours from our house, so I have my bag and the kid's bags already packed.

We had purchased this changing table when we thought we would be adopting Will.  The only item I had to buy in this picture is the changing pad cover.  I also purchased a couple of hanging shelves for the wall so we can display some pictures and the purple piggy bank (pictured above) that Shiloh picked out.  

  This is something I ordered because we no longer have Shiloh's old swing, bouncer chair, or boppy.  I want to have some place to set her down when we don't want to hold her.  Also, if she sleeps well in this, it will be perfect for traveling up to Pennsylvania this summer.  It folds flat so I can just lay it down in the trunk when we travel.  It will take up much less room than the pack n play.  I really hope she likes it.  Everyone who reviewed it online said that this is the only thing their baby sleeps well in.  As you can see, Shiloh has been playing with it since we set it up :)

Obviously, we're still waiting.  Shiloh is still excited and talking about all that she is going to do with her little sister when she gets here.  Richard and I feel about as ready as we're going to feel.  Initially, I was hoping that Kim would deliver late to give us more time, but now I kind of hope that Baby G (that's all you get for now :)) decides to make her appearance this week. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And Now We Wait

I think we've hit the calm before the storm. The good storm, of course.

Tuesday, the day we received the final word from Kim, was a day full of excitement, anxiety, and nauseousness (I'm not kidding). Wednesday, I was just a mess. Yesterday morning, I was able to speak with our attorney for longer than two minutes, and she was able to calm my nerves and give me some peace. Today, I feel pretty good about it all.

Shiloh and I have spent the last few days shopping for essential baby items, and registering for the non-essentials that we can initially do without. A handful of amazing friends have been waiting and hoping for this so they could throw us a baby shower, or a meet the baby shower, in our case. We were not able to have a baby shower with Shiloh, so I'm very excited and very grateful to these friends.

Shiloh is also very excited. She knew there was a possibility that the baby would be "coming to live with us". I wasn't sure when Kim would make her decision, and I wanted Shiloh at least somewhat prepared for a baby in the house. When I told Shiloh Kim's decision, she jumped up and down and yelled, "Yay! Yay! Yay! Now I will have someone to play with!" We've reminded her that the baby won't be much of a playmate for the first few months, but she still seems to be excited. Yesterday, she helped me wash and put away all of the baby clothes we have, and pick out a few items to pack in the diaper bag. Every time we go to the store she insists on buying something for her baby sister, and I can't tell you how many times she has asked me when the baby is coming. Also, after some convincing from us, she has decided that her car seat does not have to be in the middle of the backseat, "right next to her sister's".

It warms my heart to see the love Shiloh already has for this new baby. I'm sure we'll hit some bumps once the baby is here and Shiloh has to face the fact that she is no longer the center of our attention, but I like to think that this love I see in her will only continue to grow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Someone Once Said...

"Adoption is not for the faint of heart."

Let me tell you, no truer words have been spoken.

Yes, we are adopting Shiloh's sister. I'll fill you all in later. Right now I have too much on my mind, and I'm not sure I'd be able to write a coherent post.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Open Adoption Roundtable #36: Agreements

Every so often this website for open adoption bloggers posts a writing prompt asking a question that is related to open adoption. A few of the blogs I follow answer these questions on a regular basis. I never took the time to answer one because none of them have ever really inspired me to want to answer it. Until now. This week's question brought back some memories. Here it is...

"Write about open adoption agreements. Is there one in your open adoption? What effect does it have on your relationships? If you could go back in time, would you approach the agreement differently?"

For those of you with no ties to open adoption, an open adoption agreement is something like a good faith statement signed by the adoptive parents and birth parents saying that the adoptive parents aren't going anywhere after the baby is born. Our open adoption agreement stated that we would have four (or maybe 5, I honestly don't remember) visits a year with Kim. I believe they were to be some time in the last two weeks of November, March, July, and then within two weeks of Shiloh's birthday. Our agreement also stated that we would send pictures twice a year.

Because of the fact that I bought and read just about every book on open adoption while we were going through the process, I was familiar with open adoption agreements before the topic came up during Kim's pregnancy. During our very first meeting with Kim we discussed the level of openness that we were all comfortable with. I'm fairly certain that we even decided on 4 visits a year at that initial meeting. We never discussed visits again until about a month before Kim's due date when the the signing of an open adoption agreement came up.

I'm going to stop here before I continue with the story. My reaction to our attorney's email regarding the agreement was not very good, so before I get into it I want to explain some things. Richard and I decided before we met Kim that our child's adoption would be open. We never wanted adoption to be a secret in our family. Our goal was to make our child's adoption as natural a thing for them as possible. Because we never intended on keeping any secrets from our child, we wanted our child's birth parents involved. We never want Shiloh to question Kim's love for her. We never want Shiloh to feel like she was just some inconvenience that Kim dealt with. We want Shiloh to have answers to some of the inevitable, hard questions she's going to have that we won't be able to answer. We want Shiloh to feel loved and nothing else.

Back to the story. I don't remember if it was a phone call or email that informed us that Kim wanted an open adoption agreement, but I do remember a very angry me sitting at Arby's with Richard that night. We both worked pretty late into the evening/early night back then. When I received the email/phone call, we decided to meet up somewhere close to where we both were so we could talk. This might not make sense to a lot of you, but I was very hurt by the news that Kim wanted an agreement. Kim and I had spent the last four months getting to know each other and bonding. Her request for the agreement meant (to me) that she didn't trust me. Yes, that was all I could think about. Kim was about to place her firstborn child to be raised by people she had only known for four months, and I was upset and angry because she wanted some kind of reassurance that we weren't going to take her baby and run (the agreement is not legally binding in our state). Looking back, I'm a little embarrassed by my behavior/feelings that night. Instead of trying to put myself in her shoes and think about how she was feeling, I could only think about myself. Fortunately, I've grown a lot as an adoptive parent since then.

Back to the actual questions for the roundtable. Obviously, yes, we do have an agreement. Does it effect our relationship? No. At this point, we might as well not even have the agreement. We see Kim whenever she wants to see us. We see her around Shiloh's birthday, at Shiloh's birthday party, we meet up for lunch dates, and she even came over for Halloween and Christmas this year. I see Kim as a member of our extended family. She recently thanked us for allowing her and Shiloh to form the closeness that they have. My response was an even bigger thank you to her. Kim has always respected mine and Richard's roles as Shiloh's parents, and that is something we appreciate more than we can say. She is the reason for her close relationship with Shiloh.

On a side note, still no news. Kim messaged me yesterday to discuss some things, but she ultimately still has not made up her mind. If she delivers around her due date (Shiloh and Will were both born within 2-3 days of theirs), we have about 2 1/2 weeks at most until we know for sure.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Birds

One of the birthday presents I received from Richard and Shiloh is a bird feeder. I'd been hoping to receive one for Mother's Day over the last couple years, so I was very excited to finally get it.

It took the birds a couple of days to find the feeder, but in the past few days they've really started coming around. We've seen Cardinals, Brown-Headed Cowbirds, Finches, and even a Dove. We also have two (sometimes 3) Mockingbirds that like to hang out in our yard and feed from the ground. I've started whistling at them recently, in hopes that they will mock me, but I've had no luck.

I've been trying to get pictures of "my birds", but my fairly basic camera isn't quite cutting it. I told Richard that his next big purchase for me should be a new camera. I've been asking for a Canon or Nikon DSLR for the last few years so I could take better pictures of Shiloh. If he won't get me one for her, maybe he'll do it for my birds. Probably not. Anyway. Here are a few decent pictures that I have been able to take.

There is usually a female cardinal with him, but I didn't see her this morning.

One of the mockingbirds

We also have a really pretty House Finch that has visited the feeder a few times, but I can't get a picture of him. The Finches seems to be very skittish.

Happy Easter

Shiloh's Easter sweater that Grammy made. I had one when I was about her age. On the back each bunny has a little cotton ball as their tail.
Easter egg hunt at Dale and Laci's

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Good Times

The Chef
We included crayfish this year. Surprisingly, they tasted okay, and I'm not a big seafood eater
Low Country Boil

All dressed up and nowhere to go

Ready to go find eggs in the front yard
Strawberry picking