Friday, October 11, 2013

growth.

A few weeks ago, Jake was bathing Carson and said, "I really want Kim to know him." I chewed over his words for a few days and realized I felt the same way. We love Carson more than words can explain, and we enjoy seeing him develop. His personality is so sweet, even when he's rotten, he is a one year old after all! We are forever thankful for her decision to place him with us, and we love getting to know her. I posted about some fear (read here) I was experiencing about having a relationship with her. Let me just tell you, wow things change. Once I admitted my fears, they seemed so small. We love having an email relationship with her and decided to take things to the next level. We want her to know us. We emailed and asked if she could meet up, and she said YES. So, yesterday we drove to Hope Cottage and had a little picnic outside. The weather was beautiful! I wasn't as nervous going in to this visit as I have been in the past. The only explanation I have for this peace is growth. I have grown. The Lord has stretched, pulled, broken, repaired, and grown my heart. Starting early on through infertility He taught me to let go of my "normal expectations." So, guess what, for most people, a "normal" Thursday morning is not meeting up with their son's birth mother... for us, it was a privilege and a joy. Adoption is our normal. I am proud of our story, our journey, our family, our son, and our growing relationship with Kim. I'm always humbled by the reality someone actually chose us to parent their flesh and blood. Me, the crazy, ranting, emotional, run-on sentence typing, grammatically incorrect, me. I'm sure all 7 of y'all (thanks to my "official" followers) are ready for the good stuff. I'll get on with it. Here it is, in all it's glory: a very special, perfect, normal Thursday morning. 

Carson brought her flowers :)


We were honored to meet Carson's half sister. I do believe they resemble each other a bit. 






I love these photos so much. Pure joy. Carson was actually belly-laughing!


.
**sorry about the ivy Hope Cottage** I think it's ivy, is it ivy? Maybe I'll post later on my black thumb problems. Either way, sorry about the green stuff.. you still love us, right?
...

This little boy is loved by so many people. He brings joy to our lives daily. We are proud to call him 
our son. We love you, Carson! 


It was a beautiful day.. Sorry the picture is kind of dark. We sat on a blanket under a tree in front of Hope Cottage. Have I mentioned how much we love our agency?!?





Carson was a total ham, shocker.


He really enjoyed spending the morning with dada!
(Jake is letting him climb trees...another shocker)




The kids were antsy and not wanting to sit still for a picture, but we managed to get a few!





Adoption has grown our family and multiplied our ability to love. 



*hugs*


Our roles are different; our love for him is strong; together we are motherhood. 


I can't imagine how hard it is for her to say good bye. She was quiet and seemed less emotional this visit. She is so strong and says she doesn't want to cry in front of him. I admire Kim so much for her love and strength. Kisses to hold her over until we meet again. (Hope Cottage Holiday party in December)


Carson played hard! He fell asleep in the car for 20 minutes...


and then woke up with the sweetest smile:


We are thankful we get to grow in a relationship with Kim. We still don't know where we go from here. We are taking one step, one visit at at a time. She is very respectful of our relationship with him. She uses positive language, and seems to try and make us comfortable. She never takes her eyes off of him. I understand completely. I find it hard to take my eyes off of him as well. He is beautiful. He is loved. He is adopted.. he is our sweet Carson Wayne. Days like today make us hug and kiss him a little tighter. Our hearts are full. 

Thanks for stopping by. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Celebrating Placement Day

A year ago we brought Carson home! Read posts herehere, and here. We celebrated with family tonight and viewed our "Gotcha Day" video for the first time. It was so great to relive special days in our adoption journey. So, I'll keep this short and sweet. I can't believe it's been a year and I can't believe it's only been a year. Here are BOTH of our amazing videos. Thank you Daniel, you're so talented.

Placement Day (welcoming Carson home!) 9/25/2012



Carson Wayne - Adoption Story from Daniel Piatt on Vimeo.

Adoption Finalization: 3/29/13 **New Video 

 
Carson Gotcha Day from Daniel Piatt on Vimeo.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Getting our feet wet

I wrote my fears about open adoption last month (read it here). I have some wonderful news: we've been emailing with Miss K and we are loooooving it! Also, as we are entering this season of openness, I feel comfortable sharing her name. Kimberly, she signs her emails, Kim. So long Miss K, hello Sweet Kim!

Let me just express to you the joy communicating with her brings us. My heart is so full it may burst. Seriously, this whole adoption thing is going to kill me with joy! Just when I think my heart can't love this journey any more, the Lord is sweet to say.. try it My way, and it'll bring you deep joy you can't fathom. Boom. Hello, open adoption. Open adoption may not be for everyone, but when I confessed all my fears, I realized I was missing out on something great. I was not trusting the Lord with this aspect of our adoption story. So, we started with an email agreement to update her every month and continue uploading photos and videos to our photobucket. I was enjoying writing her and so proud to send photos and update her on Carson's development and quirks. I don't feel burdened or anxious when I check his special email account; I feel excited and grateful. I'm thankful she's willing to have a relationship with us. She makes it clear she's thankful to hear how Carson is, and specifically said, "I can't thank y'all enough for being awesome parents to my son and keeping me updated, not everyone would do that even if they said they would. thank y'all for that. I don't know how I would be able to go through life not knowing how he was or what a handsome baby boy he's becoming." I won't share too many of her words, we will keep most of our words private. Just know, the words we exchange are sweet, full of love, joy, and respect for one another.

We are planning to see her again in October and hopefully meet her daughter this time. Carson has a half sister! So amazing.

I will confess I'm still anxious at times, this is an overwhelming new step for us. I'm continuing to ask the Lord for trust and courage to work towards this special relationship. Adoption is a humbling experience and continues to change my life for the better. We've experienced a little taste of openness (just getting our feet wet) and we are loving it.

Thank you Lord for this precious gift and opportunity to bring You glory. 

Carson, you bring us so much joy. We love you, 
Mom and Dad 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Update

THREE posts in ONE day?? Savor every word.. who knows when it will happen again. lol

So, I'm feeling very good about having an email relationship with Miss K. The Fear Post was more to confess and document the feelings I've been battling. Well, it's a quick turn around because the Lord is being very gracious to give me strength and courage to face the unknowns!

Carson is growing like a weed and learning so many new things. He's officially walking! When he falls he pops right back up to his feet and takes off. He's sick right now *bummer*. He loves to swim, sing, dance, and read. We fall more in love with him every single day. He's so friendly. He loves to wave and blow kisses to everyone. He is such a daddy's boy! When Jake is around he doesn't want anything to do with anyone. He's still a good sleeper 8pm-7:45am. One nap 12-3! When he's not sick he eats us out of house and home. All in all, we're doing well and having a blast!

Jake's business is doing very well. Sign It Drive It is becoming well known in DFW. We get several referrals and lots of online business. You should check it out! (click here) We don't own any personal cars, we drive cars until they sell. It's a little hectic sometimes! I'm currently driving a Cadillac Escalade with 24 inch rims... although last week I was driving a Taurus X (kind of looks like a station wagon).

We have a sweet 23 year old living with us. I never thought we'd have a "roommate" but we are really enjoying having her. She's so sweet and takes very good care of her living quarters :). Carson loves to go in her room... she always says "oh, hey, neighbor," and he laughs!!

I completed whole30 and have managed to keep off the 20lbs I lost. I feel great. I'm training (well right now I'm recovering from the HH100) for the Cowtown Marathon in February, and have some bizarre goals on the horizon:


Cowtown Marathon: February 2014
Olympic Tri: May 2014
Half Ironman: October 2014
Ironman: May 2015

Stay tuned!

HH100

Okay, so you read about it a looong time ago (here). September 2012 I told my dad I'd train for the Hotter'n Hell Hundred! Well, guess what... we did it!!

This last Saturday, August 24, we completed our first Century Ride. We had a great time! Mile 70-90 was a little rough... but we persevered! I really enjoyed training with my dad, and I'm going to miss seeing him 3 times a week *tear* (even if it was to sweat our a**es off during training rides!) I guess we'll have to come up with another crazy goal to accomplish together.. maybe when he's 70. :)









Team QBKS baby. 

 


A special thanks to everyone who made this possible!!! 
Everyone chipped in to help care for Carson during training rides (especially my mom and momma-in-law. thanks!) Jake, thank you for being so supportive during training and on race day. 
Big thanks to the Haley's for coming out to support us on race day, it was hot and a very long day!

**thanks everyone**

Fear


I am deathly afraid of spiders… seriously, it's not okay. However, spider fear isn't tricky: I see it, I know what’s causing the fear.. I can kill it. I go through a range of options, is Jake home? Great.  He can kill it. Is a friend over? Great. She can kill it. Am I alone? Crap. I have to kill it. I will get the job done, whether I throw a shoe multiple times, use hair spray or wasp spray (pre Carson of course).. or I can burn the house down. One way or another that spider is dying. I have control over the thing causing me fear and even though I saw the thing die, the fear lingers… this is a predictable fear for me. I see a spider and I know what to expect. Freak out, chills, plan its demise, then wear socks and carry a flashlight for a few days. No big deal, been doing it for years. It's terrible, but it's predictable. 

Some fear is tricky. It’s the fear we have when we are lacking faith. It's unpredictable, uncontrollable, and absolutely terrifying. This is the type of fear I’ve experienced with adoption. Specifically the fear I have about a relationship with dear Miss K, Carson’s birth mother. This post might very well make me sound like the worst person in the whole world, but it’s what I’m dealing with. Before I type out the lists of fears I have, which I believe to be ‘non truths’ or extremely ‘false’ fears… I want you to know they seem very real and I am working through them. I am not in control of these fears, but I can trust the Lord to give me the faith to face them. I'm constantly asking for more faith.

What if by having a consistent relationship with her, he doesn’t see me as mom, or worse, I begin to feel like he’s not my son?

This fear is hard to swallow and admit. Right now, he feels like our son, sometimes I forget I didn’t birth him. Our life is normal, he calls me mama and Jake dada, he loves us. He throws fits, he laughs, and dances and has no clue he’s adopted. My fear is as he begins to understand what adoption means, he will not view me as his real mom. Yep, I said it. It’s a potential fear, the fear of something changing in his heart or mine… this is simply not true. We will have different challenges explaining things to him, but he is our son and that will not change.

What if we can’t trust her?

I’m afraid we will have this amazing relationship with her for a few years and then she will disappear. How will I explain this to C? How will I handle that?... Again, a potential fear. I’m afraid of something I have no control over, and of something that may not even happen.

What if it’s not healthy for her?

Who am I, God?... no. I don’t know what she needs, and it’s not my responsibility. Our adoption counselor made it very clear I can’t be held responsible for her recovery, struggles, or victories. She has Hope Cottage as an excellent resource, and I pray she talks to them constantly. We are both new to this. She’s never placed a child and I’ve never adopted until now! We are blessed to be able to rely on people who have been doing this for years and have seen sooo many dynamics. Truth is I don't know what is best or right for her. I don't even know what's 'healthy' for me. I do know this: I do not want to function out of fear.

What if I'm not strong enough for this?

Truth is: I'm not. I'm not capable of loving Carson well on my own. I'm not capable of functioning apart from Christ. So, I ask Him for faith daily to face whatever this journey brings. I believe if I ask Him for faith, according to His will, to bring Him glory, He will give me strength! I don't believe functioning out of fear brings Him glory.. If I'm not asking for faith, I'm failing. I desire for our adoption of Carson, our triumph through infertility, our relationship with Miss K, our future adoptions, our every day circumstances to bring glory to God. If I focus on Him, I find the strength. The fears don't go away, but I don't crumble under them.

(I have more fears, but these seemed pressing, and were the top 4 holding me back from having a relationship with Miss K)

---

Okay, so where do we go from here? Well, I confessed these fears to our amazing adoption counselor, and she validated them, told me I wasn’t crazy, and having a relationship with her takes time. We’ve had him home for almost a year with very little contact from Miss K. We are all just trying to figure out what we need. After I spoke my fears allowed, I realized that’s all it was: fear. Fear was standing in my way from living my life. I don’t know what kind of relationship we should have with her, or what it will all end up looking like. But for my son’s sake, I refuse to function out of fear. I can’t do anything about the fear, but I can pray, and the Lord is faithful to give me the faith to trust Him in this. 

Here's what I do know: Carson is our son. God loves us and is sovereign. I am weak and need faith only He can give me. Fear is not from the Lord. I do not want to function out of fear. Adoption is hard. Adoption is beautiful. I will fail. I am broken. I am forgiven. I am redeemed. I am a mother. I am blessed beyond belief to be a part of adoption, and I wouldn't change it for anything.. These truths led us to reach out and email her. She’d given us her email address in the letters she wrote to us for Carson’s first birthday. It was really great to hear from her, and she was thrilled to receive an update on Carson. She is so positive and always complimentary of us, she wrote this in one of her letters, "I can tell that y'all are very good parents I could not of picked better people to care for our son."
 
Photos we received from Miss K via email. Sweet Carson as a newborn:







Thank you Lord for allowing me strength and courage to face this fear. I don't want to miss out on the depth of Your love by allowing fear to rule me. 

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement of knowing something else is more important than fear."

Friday, August 9, 2013

Parenting Defeat

Good morning! I apologize for my absence. I've been busy, and lazy! I've started many blogs and never finished them, which means I haven't posted in a really long time. I normally make notes and think "this is blog worthy" but never follow through. Well, I realize writing is therapeutic and I should get back to this here blog thing. So, I'm not making any promises, but I'm going to try and write more often!

Let's start with this morning's epic parenting fail. Carson is a sweet one year old, and he's generally happy and easy going... as of late, he's been a little, hm, moody. C has got a temper. It's turned into this shrill scream which I cannot seem to get a handle on. I believe he's frustrated with his inability to communicate. He is very vocal for a one year old and is generally able to communicate his needs with his words, but man oh man sometimes we head south quick! He's not a big fan of "no" right now, so I'll be honest, I'm tired. I'm tired of telling him no, I'm tired of the fits when he doesn't get his way. I'm mostly tired emotionally from what "no" does to him. He is too young to understand why he can't have something, or touch something, or bite, or scream in public, so he's just heart broken by the fact that I'm disciplining him. His heart truly hurts knowing I'm disappointed in him, but he just won't listen on the first try anymore. So, this morning: Jake and I took Carson to breakfast with the Haley's. Carson was fussy from the minute we arrived, he didn't want to eat, he threw his food on the floor, he screamed his shrill scream, he pinched Finley, he fussed... we disciplined as we felt necessary for a one year old... then I finally figured I'd hold him a bit while Jake finished his breakfast. Since I was flustered by the screaming, I overlooked how close my full cup of water was to us, yep.. you guessed it. ALL OVER MY LAP. So, with the bacon left unfinished on my plate, I frantically left the restaurant feeling like a total failure. I drove home feeling so defeated, I was wearing a cup of water, and maybe added a few tears to the liquid in my lap.. and I started thinking.. why was I so upset?  Here's the honest truth:

1) I was embarrassed.
2) I felt like a failure of a mother who couldn't "control" her child in public.
3) I was worried because I didn't know what was wrong with Carson, teeth, upset stomach, tired... was he hurting in some way he couldn't tell me..
4) I was mad. Mad at the situation, mad my pants were soaked..
5) I was heartbroken. I knew breakfast set the tone for our whole day, and I know he's too young to understand why I'm so disappointed. I was worried I wouldn't even want to play with him later (seriously, my heart is like an ugly 3 year old sometimes).
6) I realized I had failed Carson in my response.
7) I realized I failed Jake and the Haley's with my response. My response made the situation way worse than it was.. sorry guys!
8) then I prayed... I prayed for forgiveness, patience, grace, and peace.
9) Then we got home... Carson is still extremely fussy... I believe it's teeth but I sure don't know! I do know we will survive today, and I hope he wakes up feeling better from his nap.

Here's what I'm telling myself right now:
I am not a failure. I love my son. Child rearing is hard. I love him so much. I care about his soul. I am not perfect. I don't expect him to be perfect either. He can't say sorry but I can forgive him. He loves me. I am not alone. I can apologize to him even though he doesn't understand. I need God daily to be the mother Carson deserves.

Lord help us as we try and navigate this parenting thing.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Meeting Miss K

Today was a big day. We met Carson's birth mother for the first time. I'll apologize for my writing style... This will be choppy and a mess; however, I really want to get this down while it's fresh...

We weren't sure if she was going to attend the picnic so we didn't really make it public. We heard from Hope Cottage yesterday, they'd received an email from Miss K and she was coming for sure!! This was a beautiful thing because it didn't leave much time to panic or over analyze. I wasn't as anxious as I was back in December when we were supposed to meet her at the Christmas party... okay so, what's different about my anxiety level before this potential meeting?

Well, first... time. As more and more time passes, we feel more like a family. Yes, he felt like our son the moment we held him; however, adoption brings a wide array of emotions. I still felt like she'd somehow know him better, or had a different bond.. I still viewed her as his mom. Now, with time on our side (and the fact he calls me mama), I see her as the brave girl who carried him, birthed him, and chose to give him life, she chose to give him a life with us. We know him so well now. He is our son. Second, He suffered from severe reflux and I remember being so anxious about the Christmas meeting. I had to pack 8 outfits and we still ended up driving home in a diaper!! He spit up all over the bathroom floor and all over me while we were there. I'm sure she wouldn't have cared, but the stress of taking a 6 month old to Dallas in the middle of his nap time, with severe reflux, was not ideal. So, third, logistics were easier this time. The picnic was from 2-4, which means we only had to stretch his nap about an hour, and he did really well! I took one outfit change (praise the Lord he doesn't spit up anymore!).. not to mention we've finalized our adoption. Reason number four: Finalization!! This did bring me peace of mind as we loaded him up, it might be wrong, I'm not sure, I'm just being honest, but I felt a sense of ownership. This time he belonged to me legally. Again, I don't know if this is wrong but with our adoption finalized we have a huge weight lifted off our shoulders. Back in December we were still having monthly home studies and it didn't feel like we were free from the legal aspects just yet. Alright, now I've set the mood, we were calm, hopeful, joyful, and excited to meet her. I really believe this is why we didn't meet in December. We weren't ready, I wasn't ready. I thought I was, but oh man, looking back, I definitely wasn't. But today, today we were ready! We had a great drive down, we prayed and hoped she would be there... we pulled in, walked up to find Ms. A and she said, "She's here!" Praise the Lord. My stomach did about fifteen flips as we walked over to her...

She was sitting in a chair with her back to us. She as not alone, her boyfriend was there to support her (he was a really neat guy, Jake and him had a wonderful time talking about Jesus!), she stood up and turned around to greet us with a huge smile. Her eyes filled with tears when she saw Carson. She gave us both a hug, but never took her eyes off the beautiful boy she birthed. Jake instantly handed him over to her, he squirmed a little and I could see her begin to get emotional as she said, "he doesn't want me".. I assured her it wasn't him not wanting her, but he's quite the busy boy these days and most likely wanted to explore! I suggested moving over to the grass and sitting for a while, I didn't reach and take him because I knew it was important she gain confidence. When we sat down on the grass he perked up, crawled around, flashed a few Carson grins, and her spirits lifted. We kept the conversation light, talked about all the new things he's doing, a timeline of his milestones. She couldn't get over how much he'd changed. His hair was a little red last time she saw him (2 1/2 months), and now it's pretty light! They had music playing and Carson was dancing. She thought it was really cute, and we informed her he dances all the time and loves music. She said she listened to a lot of music while she was pregnant. I was curious to know what kind because I listen to country (Jake hates it), and any time Carson is fussing in the car I just turn up some country really loud and he calms down. She grinned and said she listens to mostly country. I was thrilled to have another little piece of Carson's story. Since that topic went well, I felt it was safe to ask her a little about her pregnancy. **I always find it interesting to watch a newborns movements and then ask the mom if that's what she felt when they were in the womb, the answer is always YES, that's EXACTLY what they were doing in there** So, I asked her if he kicked her a lot, because his little foot is always going! She laughed and said he kicked her NONSTOP. I love gathering little pieces, I could picture her (now I know what she looks like) pregnant, listening to country, while my precious son kicked the fool out of her! How beautiful. She teared up multiple times as we talked, but the tears never fell. We didn't have heavy conversation, I asked her if she knew what kind of relationship she wanted, and I could tell she recoiled a little. She said she didn't know and it was hard... I knew she meant, she wants a relationship but it's so very difficult. I expressed we just want to know if we're doing something that makes her uncomfortable, or if she wants more contact, or anything to just let us know. We didn't discuss much else after that. We talked about her daughter, but she mainly just smiled and watched Carson's every move. One thing stood out to me, when she held him or he moved, his little shirt would get messed up (he had a button up shirt), and it would lift up so his onesie was showing... she'd fix it every single time it lifted up, with the gentlest touch, she'd smooth his mint green shirt back over his belly. I don't know why it stood out to me so much, perhaps it's because I notice when other people don't do it, haha... but something about it was so special. She teared up and said "I think we're going to go"... we stood up said our good bye's, thanked her for coming, and of course we thanked her for choosing us, and said she'd blessed us beyond belief. I asked her if she wanted to hold him one more time, she did, kissed him, squeezed him and then handed him back to me and said, "here, go to mama."

I just about died when she said that...I don't know how she's processing all of this, I don't know where her heart is, but I know her addressing me as mama was her way of telling me she knows. She knows he's loved and mothered well. She understands she gave him life and he will always be her son, but her love for him is different. She is the birth mother, and I am the mama.  I don't know what our relationship will be in the future, but I know today was perfect. A few BIG questions answered, a little step towards a long unknown journey. Thank you Lord for such a beautiful day. We are so blessed.

 Miss K and Carson 5/5/13