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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Year Ago

* Nap time this afternoon - can it get any better than this?

It was a year ago today that we found out about a little boy soon on his way to our family. I've been thinking a lot today about the details of that late August evening. I remember so clearly sitting on the couch reading Tracey's email out loud to Marc. My voice was shaking from trying to keep the lump in my throat from surfacing. We were excited. We were nervous. We wanted so badly to believe that everything was finally going to work out, but it was incredibly difficult to keep the fears at bay.

Fortunately everything worked out more perfectly than we ever could have imagined. Today I snuggled my 8-month old Benjamin a little extra, thinking back to a year ago when he was already well on his way to becoming a part of us. And as we think back to those fortunate moments from a year ago, we're also looking ahead to this weekend when we'll be able to take him to the temple. 

I still can't believe how or why we've been so blessed. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's Official!

I've been awake since 4:30am. I woke up when I heard Marc up getting Ben a bottle, then Hugh woke up hungry. It was almost 6am by the time I got both babies back to sleep. And, by then I was wide awake and too excited about the day ahead to go back to bed. So, I took a hot bath and got ready for the big day.

I've been counting down the days to today before I even knew that today was the day, but especially after we knew today was the day. All day yesterday I kept telling Benjamin that today was coming. But, I think he already knew.

August 25th is Ben's big day. The day he became officially ours.

Our appointment with the judge was at 9:00am. The courthouse is basically just down the street, so we got there with plenty of time to spare. As we sat in the hallway, waiting our turn, we were pleased with how the boys were being so patient. If only we could have been prepared for both of them in that small window of opportunity to spit up all over us. Hugh got Marc really good and within minutes Ben got me good. I guess they wanted us to look legit. It worked.

* I can't remember if this is pre- or post-spit up.

As a little side note, my good friend Sherrie was in the same waiting area with her two foster kids finalizing their adoption with the same judge right before us. It was fun to realize we were sharing the same exciting adoption day.

I guess it must have been a Bailiff that called our last name as Sherrie's entourage was exiting. We entered the small courtroom and I noted it looked smaller than I expected, and then I realized that I knew the judge. Back when she was a lawyer, a mutual friend recommended me as a babysitter for her two kids. It was so long ago, though, that I was sure she wouldn't recognize me as quickly. 

It was all so official. She explained that she reviewed our report and based on that declared that it was indeed in the best interest of Benjamin to be placed in our family, as if he were born to us, receiving all the legal rights as his parents. Then she asked for our paperwork, which I was happy I remembered. We signed. She signed. And then the Bailiff guy took some photos for us. It was after the photos that I told her who I was and how I knew her, and then she understood why I looked familiar. And, as it turns out, my dad also taught alongside her mother for years. 

* Post-finalization - Our judge, my little family, and my parents

In less than ten minutes we were walking back out of that little courtroom. It was official, just like that. The excitement of the moment got away with me and we were almost down the second flight of the courthouse front steps when I realized we probably needed some of that paperwork back from the judge.

I ended up going back with my dad to wait for the paperwork to get processed and copied, while Marc and my mom took the boys back to the comfort of home. It was in that down time, waiting in that same hallway, that it all hit me. A wave of memories and love washed over me. I thought back to a year ago when Tracey first contacted us. Then to the day she placed Ben in my arms. Since that day I've tried to imagine what today would feel like. 

And it was nothing compared to the real thing.

Relief. Excitement. Gratitude. Love. Love like I've never known before. I love my little Benjamin. Words just can't contain the joy he has brought us. To have him now officially part of our family, and to recognize the love of his birth mother that made all of this possible, it just means more than I know how to express.

Two years ago we were heartbroken and stricken with grief. In all my wildest of dreams, I never would have imagined the joy and the blessings that would follow. Tonight when this big day draws to a close, I will vow, once again, to do everything I can to live a life worthy of my blessings. 

It's official - I am the luckiest Mom in the world.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One step closer

Our Monday (yesterday) started off like a typical new week with chaos and chores to tackle, all on very little sleep. At 7am, when Hugh awoke, I had only gotten about five hours of sleep, which seems to be the norm these days. Luckily since Ben (& Marc) had finally had a good night (slept from 11pm-7am!!), Marc agreed to tend to both boys for an hour so I could squeeze in just a little more rest. The extra 60 minutes made all the difference and suddenly Monday wasn't feeling quite as overwhelming.

And, it only got better from there.

After both boys had their morning naps we went to the park with Grandpa. Ben and I played on the swings, zoomed down his first slide, and enjoyed the cool feel of the grass, while Hugh enjoyed the view of the trees from his spot on the blanket. 

Ben and Hugh had some cute interactions, mainly while Ben maneuvered his way around Hugh like he was on a race track, with my Dad and I protecting both boys from each others' flailing limbs.

And, in the midst of all of that my phone rang. It wasn't a number I recognized and my general response when that happens is to let it go to voice mail. But, this time I decided to answer it. After two months of trying to get everything in order to finalize Benjamin's adoption, we finally got the phone call we were waiting for - the courthouse calling to let us know that had received all the necessary paperwork and we could come in to set our court date. It was the best news to get on such a happy morning in the park with my boys!

After getting home from the park we had lunch and then once both boys were down for their afternoon naps, I left them in the care of Grandma so that I could have my final visit with the family law window lady to set our court date. The poor lady either must really hate her life or just hates her job because it's totally reflected in the way she treats others. I don't know if all courthouse family law employees are as difficult to work with as they are here, but it was a huge relief to have this run around come to an end.

Later in the afternoon I was cuddling Ben and explaining to him that next Wednesday we will be going to see the judge who will finally tell us he is ours to keep. And, then a week and a half after that we will finally take him to the temple where our bonds to him will be made eternal. I don't know quite how to explain it, but it has always felt like he was always intended to be in our family and to come at the precise time he came, in the precise way that he came. It has always felt like he has always been our son. Now we're just going through the proper steps to make it official. I can't wait for the day when he'll understand the special circumstances that came together to bring him into our family, and he'll love Tracey just as much as we do for giving us to each other.

There is a huge burden lifted as we make these final preparations to finalize Benjamin's adoption. One step closer to being together forever.

My heart might just burst.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Crawling, Cooing, and The Sweet Life

For a few weeks now Ben has been doing his version of the army crawl all over the place. For some reason his movements have reminded me more of a gecko than an army guy. But, two days ago at seven-and-a-half months, Ben started to officially crawl. On hands and knees he looks so... so big.

He's still supposed to be my baby. And, it isn't helping matters that he's eating more like a big boy than a baby. Today for lunch I boiled half of a zucchini, intending to feed him half now and the other half tomorrow, but he had other plans.

He ate the entire portion, along with at least a cup of applesauce and few cheerios on the side. Now I'll have to come up with some more foods to introduce. He is loving all the fresh produce we're eating this summer, and we're loving it too.

And, just as Benjamin makes these big strides in his growth, Hugh is following suit. He has started to talk like crazy. His raspy cooing comes out more like he's saying "ow" over and over, but since he does it with his open-mouth-scrunched-up-nose smile, I know he isn't calling out in pain.

I arrived to the third hour of church on Sunday fifteen minutes late since I was in the Mother's Room feeding Hugh, and apparently the full tummy coupled with being well-rested made him extra talkative. Because there I was trying to sit quietly through the lesson (the topic of which I cannot even recall), when Hugh decides to give all kinds of input without any encouragement from me. (Okay, I admit I was smiling at him, but I wasn't saying a single word to get him to respond like that.) I know the two of us managed to successfully distract at least the five-person radius around us. Did I feel a little guilty about that? Yes. But, oh man, the joy of finally being the one that has a disruptive baby (and, already for the second time)... I'm loving every minute of it!

I'm in a bit of denial at how fast these two boys are already growing up. Every where I go people make sure I know to "enjoy it, because it goes too fast" and I'm really trying to live 100% in the present right now in order to do just that. But, still I find myself wishing I could freeze time and stay right in this moment for a very long time. Life with two babies is crazy and tiring and all my days seem to blur together like we're in fast-forward. But, when the sun sets and I am lulled to sleep by the soft breathing of my sleeping babies, I am overwhelmed by the sweetness of my blessings. I'm so grateful for the happy tears that accompany me to dreamland now and the middle of the night wakings that end with warm snuggles and open mouth kisses. I never would have imagined my life would ever taste so sweet.

And, even as I taste its sweetness, I can't do it without thinking of some of my dear friends who are still longing for that sweetness to come to their own lives. Now that I'm able to experience the joy and sweetness of motherhood, I find my prayers have intensified for my friends who are still aching to have these same experiences. And, I just get the feeling that their turn is coming and will be even better than they could have imagined!