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September 2016

Adoption
Three Things That Have Surprised Me Since Adopting Twins
September 27, 2016 at 4:15 pm 4
twin boys one month

Happy one month!

Adoption— the journey to adopt, the process of adopting and the lifelong navigation of post-adoption— is complex. Every single day my ideas about adoption are changing— they've (thank Jesus) shifted from a me-centered mindset to one that (strives to) focus 100% on what's best for the boys— and also, in many aspects, their birth mother. I'm by no means an adoption expert. And I'm definitely not a perfect adoptive mom. But since I am obviously an adoptive parent, I'm doing my best to support others considering adoption and share what our journey looks like. All while trying to avoid putting my foot in my mouth ;) The boys' birth mom chose us just about a month ago and we've had them home from NICU for about two full weeks now. I still can't believe these beautiful boys are ours! In the past several weeks, here are some things that have surprised me...  

My Heart for The Boys' Birth Mom

We have an open adoption, but we haven't met the boys' birth mom yet. And this breaks my heart. I'm surprised by just how much I care about her— both for who she is to the boys, and because she's automatically a valuable person to our family. We're waiting on her lead, but I hope we can explore a relationship with her soon.  

The Amount of Attention They Bring!

Transracial twin adoption— our family has become a walking billboard for adoption. Twins get so much attention— and how they joined our family often comes up. I don't bring up adoption, but it comes up (often just because I don't look like I just birthed twins). This is awesome! They are conversation starters and we've been able to learn so much more about our community— and total strangers! We hope we can provide support for those considering or navigating adoption.  

That Our Love Would Be Immediate

I am surprised at how immediate our love for our boys developed. From the minute we received the call that we were selected, they were our kids. We wondered how this would play out, but I am so surprised how fast our attachment developed considering we didn't have that nine month warmup.    

“We should not be asking who this child belongs to, but who belongs to this child.”

—Jim Gritter

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Adoption
And then three grew to FIVE!
September 10, 2016 at 6:33 pm 10
In absolute perfect timing, our family has grown by two. The past three weeks have been such a an exciting whirlwind, and the amazing story of how our two boys joined our family is still so unreal to me! 14022289_10105249866217861_1527031842190632955_n Here's a look at our adoption timeline: 5/26/16: Application for adoption submitted 8/2/16: Home study started 8/18/16: Babies born 8/19/16: Found out about babies through a Facebook post. We knew some of the medical issues, other concerns and basic information... but little else! We hadn't yet seen photos and our home study wasn't complete, but we knew we had to apply. The boys' birth mom was working with a private attorney, so applying for their case was outside of the adoption agency we had been working with. 8/20/16: We quickly completed and overnighted a 24 page application and just three photos for the boys' birth mom to consider. We had actually just completed our profile book (20 pages of photos and text for an in-depth look at our lives) a few days before. I was worried that the birth mom might not get a complete look at who we are as a family. But we waited, prayed and tried to not get our hopes up. 8/23/16: Eight couples ended up applying to adopt the boys. We were told the birth mom would be reviewing all applications that night and that we should find out that day. Each hour crawled by. When we had to go to bed without hearing anything from the attorney, were sure it meant we weren't selected. 8/24/16: Mid-morning, we received a follow-up question with some concerns the birth mom had. We did our best to answer... and then waited more. A few (long) hours later, we received the call. She thought we were the perfect family to raise her boys!!! We could not believe it. Minutes later we arranged for friends to watch Clara and drove two hours to meet the attorney! Then we met our boys!! We also chose their names this night. After just a few hours, we headed home for the night to be with Clara. (Let's be honest, I couldn't sleep!) 8/25/16: Since we didn't have a completed home study yet (totally bent every rule with this), our social worker moved mountains and completed our final visit the morning after we were selected and rushed writing it to be done the very next day (compared to the 6-8 weeks it was supposed to take). We finished the home study, packed all our things and headed to be with the boys in NICU after picking Clara up from school. 14054198_10105258913941151_5354034537218042225_n We stayed with the boys for nearly two weeks in NICU. We're so thankful for the Ronald McDonald House for not only taking us in, but for being a great support to Clara and our growing family! This charity is wonderful and we hope to help support them in the future. Baby A (Henry Owen) was released from NICU before his brother. We stayed in our room at RMH a few days after Henry was released so we could continue to visit with Baby B, but it was challenging since the kids aren't allowed in NICU. We switched off: one was with Baby B in NICU while the other held down the fort with an adjusting toddler and little preemie in a new city. We had to head home to get settled... make places for TWO boys, get Clara in school, catch up on work and adjust to life with Henry. Of course it's breaking our hearts to not be with Baby B every day. Our attorney is wonderful and visiting him for snuggle time, and we are making individual day trips just to hold him and talk with the nurses. It will definitely feel unsettled until Baby B can join us. img_4080 We learned that the birth mom narrowed it down to two couples and ultimately chose us because we wanted an open adoption with regular communication and visits. We haven't met our birth mom yet, but we hope that will take place once Baby B is out of the hospital. Since we weren't planning on twin boys— much less this soon in the process— we had so few things ready for them! Our friends and community were wonderful to get together so many boy clothes, a second carseat and other things for us to bring the boys home to. img_4066 I can't begin to express how much we love these boys. We loved them from the moment we heard that we were selected. I thought the bond might take longer to develop than it did with Clara (we had 42 weeks of getting to know her before she was born), but Richard and I haven't felt that at all. I'm amazed at how immediate and strong the love we have for them developed... these are our sons! Clara was unsettled the first few days of traveling and being without one of us all the time as we were in the NICU. She cried more and threw fits. Once we started taking intentional lunch breaks from the NICU and giving her totally undivided attention, she mellowed out. Now she loves her little brothers and is nothing but helpful and sweet. img_3964 We know adoption will be a lifelong process for our boys. We are praying for the boys' birth mom and can't wait to meet her. We'll be navigating race (the boys are biracial), the loss of their biological family and our relationship with their birth family for a long time. But for right now, we're holding our boys close and making sure they know just how loved they are. To everyone who has sent messages of support or congratulations, thank you! We feel so loved and are thankful that so many can experience this wonderful time with us!    
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