A person waits and waits for a certain event to happen – and when it does, it still takes your breath away…
It had been a couple weeks since I sent my letter to Joshua’s parents. Everyday I wondered…did they even read it? If they did, did they tell him? Does he even know about me? So many questions. I thought about all these scenarios before I mailed it, but now I was thinking worse case…ok, they didnt tell him about the letter because he doesnt even know…they told him and he has no interest – he has a mom and dad…they told him and he is angry…but a part of me was hoping they told him and he wanted to get in touch. That I thought was a long shot…but my gut kept thinking it would be all good – but was it a true gut feeling or a hopeful dream? Time would tell – at least I hoped.
Tuesday May 11th – it was about 10:30 pm…I was on the couch watching TV trying to motivate myself to go up and go to bed – had slept crappy the last two night because I wasnt feeling that great…I SO looked forward to going to bed. I got up off the couch half asleep and thought “I will quick check email and shut down the computer” ..checked email – nothing new – just my normal SPAM email about wheelchairs and buying drugs cheap – then I quick checked Facebook to see what was new with my Facebook friends – and had a message….I click on the tab…I froze. It was a email form Joshua! My sleepy state of mind just was jolted into wide awake, cant believe it, excited frame of mind – there was no going to bed now! So I read it – I cried…tears of joy and shock. He DID know. And he sounded GOOD about getting touch. He said he always wondered when this day would come – sounded like he felt the same way I did – nervous but excited…Then I ran and found Mike – “I got an email from Joshua!!!” – he came in – read it…gave me a hug. He knew how long I was waiting for this day. Then left me to write him back. What do I say? How do I take 22 years and just quick write back?!?! I am a talker and cant limit myself to just a “hey – good to hear from you!” – I just started typing and let the words come out and then sent it on it’s way. Did I sound dorky? Too anxious? Overwhelming? “too much Jillsy” as my siblings would say?? Talk about not sleeping again that night – I tossed and turned and couldnt wait to get up and see if there was a response back. And sure enough there was…and so started the beautiful journey of what I hoped and dreamed to be a wonderful new relationship.
May 11th… June 28, 2010
A person waits and waits for a certain event to happen – and when it does, it still takes your breath away…
Are they sisters? June 23, 2010
When you have children, strangers always have something to say or ask.
“Isnt she just precious” (thanks, it’s a BOY!), “They are a handful!” (nope, just regular kids having a fun time), “She looks tired” (no, she is asian). When you have adopted children from a different country, you get a whole new world of questions and comments. Things you would never ask people with birth children. When I am in the store with my girls and not Mike: “Are they adopted?” – ok, what if I had a Korean husband? Would you ask someone that if the mom had blond hair & brown eyes and the child bright red hair and ocean blue eyes? No. If I do decide to answer them that yes, they are adopted, I get the response “oh, what a wonderful thing you did” – I am sorry, we did not go into an orphanage and “save” them from despair. No, we wanted children and could not have them – so we adopted. We did it for US. My favorite question of all time – and it usually comes from the senior citizen generation – “Are they sisters?” …. I KNOW what they mean – did they have the same birth mom – a.) Is it any of your business? b.) Does it matter? c.) Would you ask the all american white couple with two blond hair blue eyed girls that? No, no and No! When this happens I bite my tongue and politely say “They are now!” – when really I want to put on my sarcastic face and put on a white trashy accent and say “No, they have different daddys!” and light up a cigarette and crack open a Budwieser. But no, I smile politely and do the right thing. A couple years ago there was a cashier at Home Depot who asked that question – Mike answered the “They are now” and we smiled politely and left. Now, the girls were 5 and 7 – old enough to be aware and wonder why someone was asking that. So we got home and were eating lunch – Mike asked the girls “Are you two sisters?” Maddie (7 at the time) answered “We have the same haircut, we both like chips and we both love you and mommy, yes, we are sisters” – with a kind of “daa!” to her voice – PERFECT answer.
The Letter June 21, 2010
Back in the day, before emails, texting and social networking sites, people actually wrote letters, placed them in an envelope, put a stamp on it and dropped it in the mailbox. It would take 2-3 days for it to get to it’s destination and then you would wait 1-2 weeks for a reply. Today we want that instant gratification of a response NOW. When someone takes a day or two to email back you wonder if perhaps they were sick, out of town or perhaps their computer was down.
The letter I needed to write needed the personal handwritten, drop in the mailbox type of touch to it. I decided to add a bit of technology in by typing it with a handwritten font – I knew I would be writing and rewriting and needed the element of editing without crumpling up a sheet of paper and starting all over. Backspace – retype was the way to go – and I did backspace and retype a lot. This letter had to be PERFECT. It was the letter I would be writing to Joshua’s parents. It was hard on so many levels and yet easy on others. So many feelings – 22 years worth that have been folded up and neatly tucked away knowing the boy I gave up was safe, loved and cared for. So many emotions came pouring out – tears too. I had to choose my words carefully. I knew it would be shocking to hear from me after so many years. I needed to reassure them that I was not here to disrupt their family and the harmony of it. I didn’t even know if he knew about me. Afterall he was a baby when his dad married his mom and she was the only mom he knew – why would they even have to tell him? I wanted them to know that I was not that same 18 year old girl who was pregnant and was not ready to be a mom. I had grown, matured and had two daughters that ironically were adopted. And most importantly, I needed his mom to know that SHE is his mom, I was merely his “belly mom”. SHE raised him, changed his diapers, saw his first step, kissed his owies, taught him how to love, be kind, share, do chores…she deserved and earned the title MOM. I was not here to “take over” or have him choose a family – that is not me. But I wanted to meet him. I felt like I was ready. But I also didn’t know if he knew about me. And if they decided not to tell him, I accepted their decision – THEY were his parents and knew what was best for THEIR son. I told them of all the strange coincidences – or “God blinks” as my friend calls them. And that I took them as a sign. A sign I WAS ready to make that move of getting in touch. But I had to also be prepared that he truly might NOT know about me and be ready to accept that – which I think I was. So I finished my letter…clicked on the “save as” tab and closed the file. A month later after I sat on it I went back in and tweaked it a bit and hit “save” again. Another month went by and I had time to think it through – yes, I was ready to make the next move. Print, hand sign with my info, fold, address, stamp and mail. One of the most important letters I would write and have a stranger deliver.
Facebook June 18, 2010
Facebook is a funny thing. Some may say it is a waste of time (time filled with useless games about farms, mafias or fuzzy hearts and sparkles), or they use it for social networking (networking to connect with a business, group events or even class reunion), or to advertise (local singles scene, pharmaceuticals or bladder control) and yes, even find long lost friends (high school sweethearts, your BFF from college or a long lost cousin). It is quite slick if you ask me – the finding people part. You type in a name – a search comes up with 1 – 1000 people with the same name – you narrow it down by school, city or even job. I have found many of people this way. But also, it put me on a whole new path in this journey we call LIFE. A journey I knew I would someday take, but just never knew when.
My journey, as I call it, started by typing in a specific name. I typed this specific name time and time again thru all sorts of search engines – a million came up or nothing at all. This time was different – up popped one name, one person – one face, not even a list of people to narrow it down from – but a single person. Then I scanned the birth date, June 16, 1987. It HAD to be him. Same birth date, similar features. My heart went from your standard resting rate to an Olympic runner’s heart rate in 3 seconds. Excitement, anxiousness, sadness, happiness -a whole realm of emotions flooded my body – I was frozen. A face to a name. A face that I had never seen before, but yet looked familiar to me. A warm smile and gentle eyes. A calmness about this person. This person whom I never met, yet carried in me for 9 months. It was Joshua.
As I looked at his profile, I noticed “1 mutual friend” – my heart skipped a beat – “WHO?!?!?!?!” – I look and it is my neighbor gal who is like a daughter to me – who has babysat my girls since they were babies – someone I am close to and trust with all things. So again through the beauty of technology I whip out my phone and text her: “How do you know Joshua?” – like any 18 year old she text back with lightning speed and says “I work with him – how do YOU know him?” – well I dont have enough characters available to text that back and it wasnt a “text message” type story – so I told her to come over and I would tell her in person. I felt a sense of relief that out of all the 18-20 somethings I knew that SHE was the connection – I could tell her my story and she would get it and keep it between us until I knew what to do next. So I sat her down on my bed and told her the whole story. She was shocked and happy all at the same time. I told her that she couldnt say anything – especially to Joshua. And I was sorry to put her in an awkward sitaution. But I knew I trusted her – I put my children in her trust everytime she babysat – so this was an easy thing to trust her with.
So over the next couple weeks I would visit Joshua’s Facebook page – kind of getting to know him from a safe distance. So many things in common – made me smile – nature? nurture? (that is a whole different entry!). I felt such a sense of…relief? happiness? – he seemed like a wonderful young man – how I so wanted to meet him…finally. For the next couple weeks I lay awake at night – does he even know about me? WHAT does he know? If he knows – is he angry? confused? curious? I had a lot to think about – what to do? how do do it? The only thing I DID know was I need to put his feelings and life first – just like 22 years ago…..
my oprah “ah ha!” moment June 16, 2010
I have two sayings I really like “Everything happens for a reason” and “God gives us what we can handle” – they kind of always go together. When you are in the middle of a life event, you may not realize that you CAN handle it and wonder WHAT is the reason for this to happen? When I was pregnant and the timing wasnt right for me to be a wonderful mom I knew I made the right choice for my baby – an unselfish choice. (and I have been known to be selfish – just ask my sister!) When I went through all the infertility issues with Mike, I would ask “Why are you putting me through this and what on earth could be the reason for THIS!?” Then we got our two beautiful girls….and it happenned. I had the Oprah “Ah ha” moment. After years of questioning bad timing, choices that I had made and the pain of wanting to be a mom so bad it came to me. When I was a birthmom I made the decision to put my baby up for adoption because HE needed a wonderful life – I couldnt be selfish – I HAD to put him first. When I became a mom with my girls, I reaped the rewards not once, but twice, of two young girls a world away that made that same decision. I truly believe God wanted me to see just how the decision I made all those years ago felt on the receiving end. It felt incredible. To be lucky enough to be on the giving AND receiving end of adoption is a wonderful thing…..
Adoptivemom June 15, 2010
Growing up, playing house with my sister and neighborhood friends was a constant at our house in the summer. We had a playhouse outside filled with dress up clothes, dolls, dishes – you name it. The glider swing doubled as church and our car…we went behind the garage for our store, work and to have our babies. Yep – we would stuff a doll under the oversize old prom dresses from mom and go behind the garage and come back with a baby. It was that easy. Who knew that all these years later it wouldn’t be that easy. It would take a world of patience, mountains of paperwork, FBI background checks, medical physicals, references, interviews, fingerprinting and a small fortune. I believe there is less paperwork buying your first home! I think it is funny – we hear all about these families or single moms who have an abundance of children, no money or means to care for them and high on crack and they keep on having kids…..we had to go through all kinds of checks and balances to see if we were good enough – wow, what is wrong with this picture?
So summer/fall of 2000 we dove in! We went through Children’s Home Society (awesome!!) and got all the information we needed to “start” the process. There were forms to fill out, copies of certificates to obtain, papers to be notarized and workshops to attend. We spent the next month organizing all the needed documentation. We could decide on the sex of the baby and the country we wanted. We chose South Korea and girl. We also got to “play God” – so to speak…we had a long form of medical conditions that were acceptable or not to us in a child. That was incredibly strange…but our social worker pointed out that if we were pregnant and expecting a child, we would want it to be happy and healthy – so why should this time be any different. My mom was a nurse so she helped us decipher all the medical jargon. Once we completed everything, our form went to the bottom of the waiting pile. So we waited and wondered when that call would come. We were told it could be up to 6 months to get a referral. So we both kept busy with work and life. Then one day I was paged with a call at work. I jokingly said to my co-workers “Ya never know when it will be THE CALL” – very tongue and cheek because it had only been 3-4 months of waiting. And sure enough – there was baby girl born December 27th. Finally, the baby we had always dreamed of! We prepared the room, painted, bought the furniture, and got everything ready. That was the middle of March. Finally, May 18th, 2001 arrived – ‘Gotcha Day’! At that time, we were still allowed to meet travelers at the airport gate. And there we were – the WHOLE family – watching with great anticipation as everyone got off the plane…Straining to get our first glance at our newest member. After what seemed like eternity, there she was! Riding in a Korean sling around her escort’s neck. All smiles and chubby little cheeks…our Maddie! Wow – what a wait. What a reward! A few years later we did it all over again – and Olivia arrived February 26, 2004! This time we picked her up in the baggage area. Grab a bag and a baby and – voila! – instant family!
Infertility June 14, 2010
Mike and I met in 1992 and were married in 1994. We were excited for our future – all our hopes and dreams. Especially the dream of being parents. We were happy, in love, had our first home and, after a year into our marraige, thought we would start trying to have a family. Who would have thought the word “TRYING” would imply blood, sweat and tears. We “tried” for 6-8 months (give or take) and wondered “what gives”? I told my doctor we had been ‘trying’ and nothing was happening. Now, my doctor was a male and of the “older persuasion” – dare I say a crotchety old man?? Maybe. He had some real profound advice: “Relax, light some candles…it will happen” – Gee, thanks – that thought NEVER crossed my mind. Isn’t that how it is as newlweds anyway?!?! So – on to an infertility specialist nurse – who thought the doctor’s advice to us was ridiculous! The next few years were filled with all kinds of ‘fun’. Mike got to take a lovely test to see if “the boys could swim” – (yep – no problem there – olympic swimmers) then I got to take my temperature every morning and chart it to see when I would ovulate. When I was, I had to get a hormone shot in my hip that made my crampy and crabby – not the best mood to “be intimate” with my husband within the next 24 hours. No pressure. First few months you think “oh this is fun” and there are a few giggles and the song “Afternoon Delight” runs through your head, etc. Months turned into years. The giggling stops; being intimate is now a CHORE and still no baby! We decided to take a bit of a break from doctors and in that year Mike switched jobs. We moved and found a new doctor who was awesome! He basically said “how aggressive do you want to be?” – and we were ready to start the process again. This time, we did a few painful tests – tests that determined I had some scarring in my tubes and the only way to conceive would be to have my tubes removed and then try invitro. We had a lot to think about.
It takes a toll on a person and a couple….you want it so badly. And you have those people who are trying to be helpful by giving advice: “Oh, just don’t think about it and it will happen” “Once you relax it will happen” “My sister’s cousin’s friend went through that and ended up with cancer and died” “It will happen when its meant to be” BLAH BLAH BLAH. I was at the point in my life when all my friends (and everyone under the sun!) were getting pregnant! I pasted on the fake smile “Oh, that is GREAT news” hoping to God that I sounded sincere. Inside, I just wanted to scream and cry.
I was beginning to question why things happen. Was God punishing me for the decision I made years earlier by not keeping the baby He gave me? I spent a lot of time being angry, hurt and longing so badly for a baby – we both did. At a time I couldn’t be the best mom, I became pregnant. At the time I was ready to be a great mom….nothing.
We decided after almost 6 years to close the door with all the doctors and think about where to go next. It was a major relief to stop trying, stop going to the doctor, stop taking advice from everyone – and just enjoy being a couple again. Because we WANTED to, not HAD to……