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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Our Adoption Story - First Contact

* Marc and Benjamin, taken 1/29/10

Telling this story is far, far overdue. Marc is snuggled deep in the couch with Benjamin and since I have both my hands free I decided to use this time to fill in the details of our adoption story. Well, at least what I can get in before my hands are needed to do a more important work.

After we lost our twins we had decided we weren't ready to jump back into adoption or start trying to conceive on our own again. Emotionally we needed time to heal. Even though we weren't sure exactly how much time we would need, we did feel very strongly that we would know when the time was right and what the right direction would be.

Throughout the summer, Jean, our LDSFS case worker, contacted us three different times about some unique adoption situations that she was aware of and wondered if we'd be interested in. We were open to each one, but none of them ended up working out.  

Then, on August 31st, around noon, we received this email from Jean:


I’ve got a birth mother who is interested in knowing more about you. Do I have your permission to give her your email address? Her name is Tracey and she’s due January 11, 2010. She’s read a hard copy of your BP letter and pictures. Sounds like we may need to schedule a home visit to update your home study.


It sounded a bit more promising than the other situations she had contacted us about, but we were still a little hesitant to get too excited. Still, for the rest of the afternoon I was just about glued to my laptop, checking my email at least every half hour. Finally after six or so hours of that, and feeling like I might go crazy, we got ourselves out of the house to run a few errands. When we got back home, we were so relieved to find an email in our inbox.

An email from Tracey.

I would so love to share the entirety of that email, but this is one of those situations where I feel there are certain details that are meant to be kept sacred. But, I will share the very first paragraph, which was so direct that it took us totally off guard.

Hi Marc and Megan,

It's a pleasure to be able to talk to you. Thank you for that. I wanted to be the one to personally tell you that I have chosen you to be the adoptive parents of my baby. I really wanted to do this over the phone, but email will work. I would like to tell you about my experience and how I came to choose you. So bear with me. 

With most other contacts we'd had with birth mothers, the decision (especially in the beginning) never felt certain and we were often left feeling like we had to compete with other couples and try to prove ourselves. But, reading Tracey's opening paragraph literally took my breath away. And, since I was reading the email out loud for Marc, I had to pause multiple times to catch my breath and keep the lump forming in my throat from bursting. 

From that very first contact, there was a different feeling about Tracey and a different feeling about the baby that was soon on his way. And, that different feeling gave us a calm assurance that melted away our fears and doubts. It's amazing, really, the immediate bond of love we felt for Tracey even before meeting her in person and the bond of love we felt for Benjamin before he entered the world. 

Since that first email in August I've felt this certainty again and again that our first contact with Tracey was actually a reconnection of paths and relationships that had their beginning long, long ago. I'm convinced that our (re)connection with her was divinely guided, all because of a special little boy named Benjamin. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Answered Prayer and Aching Arms

I went to bed last night with a headache, caused by worry and exhaustion. Ben had fallen peacefully to sleep after his 9:30pm feeding. I carefully laid him down in a propped-up position, at the recommendation of Dr. Pediatrician (to keep the acid from refluxing). I quickly went through my nighttime routine - washed face, brushed teeth (dry heaved, at least once), scraped tongue (gagged again), divided up the formula for at least three mid-night feedings, laid a big fat kiss on my man, and finally collapsed to my knees at the side of my bed.

As I started to voice my thanks and then my pleadings for heaven's help and relief on behalf of our little boy, a tender feeling filled my heart. I knew I wasn't alone in my love and concern for Benjamin, and I felt reassured that I wouldn't be left without the intuition and ability to be his mother. As my prayer came to a close, I hoped that Ben was at least partially aware of my prayer for him, knowing this is only the beginning of a lifetime of prayers I'll send to heaven for him.

Except for the 2-hour stretch from 2:30-4:30am, our nighttime feedings last night appeared relatively calm and painless. (Thanks to answered prayers!) And even though those two hours weren't comfortable, there is a sweetness in being able to gently sway in the dark with my arms filled with so much love, and sing soft melodies of comfort. 

When sleep finally came to us both, I stretched out my aching arms... and thanked God for this kind of ache, (which is a million times better than the empty ache I knew for too many years) and again for Tracey in making this ache possible. 


Thursday, January 28, 2010


It's been a week of appointments.

Tuesday I had my 24-week appointment with my doctor. It was four weeks ago, at the end of my last appointment that we made our way down to The City to pick up our little Ben. So, the doctor and nurses were pretty excited this week to finally meet him. When we go out like this I wonder what people are thinking. Do they think that I'm just still trying to shed those extra pregnancy pounds? I'm sure those questions will only get more interesting in the coming months. It has been quite a unique experience having a newborn baby in my arms and having a baby kicking around inside at the same time. 

The other day while I was feeding Ben, I had him conveniently resting a bit on the top of my growing belly. The Little One must have felt either a little cramped or a sudden urge of affection for his big brother because in the exact spot where Ben was resting there came a push back. I can hardly wait to see how they'll be together. Good times lie ahead, really good times.

Anyway, my appointment went well. Apparently the Little One is  already positioned head down... not that he'll stay that way for the next 16 (or so) weeks, but I was amazed that she was able to tell that just by a slight feel of my belly. Speaking of belly-feeling, it has been fun to have Marc finally be able to feel the kicking... and now if you're looking at the right moment you can see the waves of his movement across my belly. 

Some good news is that I'm finally gaining weight now that the morning sickness seems to be over. My last date with the toilet was right around 20 weeks. Those were some long weeks. There are still foods that I stay away from and I still have dry heaves, but I'm glad that the vomiting has subsided. And, I'm mostly relieved that our little guy is doing well.

And then, today we went in for Ben's one month appointment.

I can hardly believe he's one month... in some ways it feels like it's been so much longer and in other ways it feels like it was just yesterday that he came to us. His weight started out at 7 pounds 2 ounces. At two weeks he was 7 pounds 12 ounces. And, today he was up to 8 pounds 14 ounces. On top of that he's 21 and a half inches long... up three quarters of an inch. Our little boy is growing so fast! 

Besides getting his scheduled vaccination, we discussed some concerns with the doctor about how Ben is doing. We've been worried about of his frequent painful cries. There is no doubt that his crying is caused by something that's seriously causing him pain. 

From the beginning we knew part of the problem was gas pain. We tried a couple of different formulas hoping we might find an easy fix. But that only caused other problems. Today the doctor confirmed another of our suspicions. He's also suffering from acid reflux. That's quite the duo. The other day we started him on a new formula that is supposed to help ease the gas pain and the doctor wants us to keep him on it for a week before trying some other solution. It all sounded reasonable and doable sitting there in the exam room.

It wasn't until returning home with Ben and having his pain escalate to the point that he wouldn't eat and couldn't be consoled that I wished I had demanded a quicker fix. While his different sources of pain torture him, his crying is torturing me. I just feel so bad that he has these moments of immobilizing pain and that as his mother I'm unable to take his pain away. And, I feel so helpless with the little ways that I am able to do to try to help him. 

He and I must have been quite a sight today... gently bouncing near the kitchen window, both of us crying. I love him so much, there isn't anything I wouldn't do for him. Thankfully Marc was home and able to step in and help soothe us both. We're all hoping that we find something soon that will help his pain subside. He is such a sweet boy... we hate to see him in so much pain.

All in all, these appointments are sweet reminders of how much we have to be grateful for. We really have been blessed beyond anything we ever could have imagined.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Celebrating Tracey

The night before last the three of us (Marc driving Ben and me chauffeur-style) drove down to The City to spend an evening with Tracey. A group of her friends had planned a special dinner to celebrate her. When we found out we were invited, there was no way we wanted to miss out on an opportunity to join in a celebration like that for a woman that we hold so dear to our hearts. 

It has rained all week. On the drive down we found that parts of the freeway were flooded. In addition, we came across an accident that was blocking the entrance to a connecting freeway that we needed to be on. We tried to find a detour, without any luck. But fortunately (and unfortunately) searching for a detour wasted enough time that by the time we decided to go try the same exit the accident had been cleared away and we were able to continue on our way. Because of the weather and traffic, what would have been a little over a two-hour drive ended up being almost four. We left early, hoping to have some quality time with Tracey and her parents before gathering with her group of friends. Any lead we had tried to give ourselves was eaten away on the crowded and chaotic freeways down to her house. (There are five different freeways that connect our house to hers.)

But, we made it. I was happy that we were able to meet Tracey's father for the first time and let him have a few, though much too brief, moments holding Ben. Tracey had properly warned us of his joking nature, which started the moment we walked through the front door... but I was struck by his big heart and welcoming arms. He is the perfect fit for his equally warm and kind-hearted wife. From the beginning we knew that we wanted Tracey to be a natural extension of our family, but we feel so blessed to also add the rest of her family into our circle of intimate relationships. Benjamin is such a lucky little boy to have so many people who just adore him to pieces. I'm so happy that he is so loved by so many.

Marc and Ben were the only "boys" at the dinner. When Tracey first told us about the dinner, I think we expected a small handful of people gathered around a small table together. Instead we entered the hostess' house to basically find such a large group of women that they were all scattered and gathered in at least three different rooms in the home. I don't even know that I personally met every single person there. The feeling of love and support was overwhelming... and Tracey is so deserving of that and more. 

It was the first time bringing Benjamin out and passed around, since I've been staying home from Church with him until the wintry and virus-y months are behind us. After gulping down his bottle at the start of the party, he slept in many different arms through the evening. I couldn't help, though, but want him to be held by Tracey and her mother. For the short time we were there, that was where I would have preferred for him to be. They did get some cuddle time in, but I just wish it could have been more. 

As dinner came to a close, the large group of women gathered all together. Tracey shared her story. We knew it already. In the very first email Tracey sent us she shared the same details and experiences that led her to choose us. But, standing there in front of her and among this group of women that could appropriately be labeled her Fan Club (of which I'd like to think I'm president), hearing her recount the story with our own ears, witnessing the emotion... it was a moment I will never forget. It will be saved among the most cherished of my life experiences. It was her conclusion, though, that really got me. 

Did she really just thank us? I was stunned. I think I shook my head in awe and the tears just flowed. 

At that point we were invited to say something. Of course we wanted to say something! But, what can you say in a moment like that? My mind was racing, trying to bring all the feelings together into some appropriate phrases that would adequately express some portion of what I was feeling, and have felt for the last few months. 

I know I started off by saying that this all felt very surreal... and after that it's all a blur. I'm pretty sure it was jumbled and disjointed...and totally not anything near what I really wanted and intended to say. Since Thursday night there has hardly been a moment that has passed that I haven't tried to reconstruct whatever I said and then try to change it to be more fitting of how I really feel. And, unfortunately I'm still grasping for the right words... and have almost completely resigned myself to the fact that our language must not contain words that can represent these feelings I have.

But, I won't quit trying because it means a lot to me to put these feelings into words for Tracey's sake, but also for Benjamin's. I want him to know everything about the incredible woman who gave him life. I am in complete awe of her... and still left speechless by her grace in the face of challenge, her selflessness, her courage, her heart that has been refined into the purest gold. I'm convinced that this one act alone qualifies her for the greatest of Heaven's blessings.

It was the highest honor to share in celebrating Tracey on Thursday night. I hope she knows how she's celebrated every single day in our home... and will continue to be for the rest of our lives. Tracey is clearly the one who deserves our expressions of gratitude. Hopefully soon those expressions come flowing into words so she'll know just how much we love and admire her.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sensory Overload

There is so much about Ben and his story that are itching to be written. Multiple times every day I find my mind trying to form the most perfect words to share the sacred and the tender details of how he came to us and how he has changed our lives. (And, when I say that I'm clearly referring also to Tracey and her role in making this miracle a reality.)

The truth is that these last few weeks have left us with a feeling of complete sensory overload. The sounds, the smells, the touch, the beauty, the deeply sensitive feelings we're experiencing... it's all been so overwhelming, in the most beautiful and miraculous ways. Of all the feelings to process, these have felt so much more complex. I think on some level this all just still feels like a dream.

It was actually while reading something my sister, Mandi, wrote yesterday on her blog that made it all hit home. Somehow reading her perspective of it made it feel more real. And, realizing that this beautiful gift that has been given to us wasn't a dream brought me to tears.

We are so humbled and grateful to have Benjamin in our home and a part of our family.

Here are some photos I took of him earlier this week, at three weeks old.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Life (so far) with Benjamin

I've been doing a lot of this lately...

... and so has little Benjamin.

Marc is much better at multi-tasking...

... I'm hoping to get better at that myself, so that I can finally fill in all the beautiful details of life with this most precious little boy.