Our baby turned into a little(ish) boy!

I love this picture!  Sam has so much personality. He is 17 months and 100% boy.  Here are some of his latest stats.

Favorite foods: Cheese and chicken

Favorite toys: Balls, measuring cups, pots and pans, remotes, cell phones, keys

Vocabulary: Mom, Dad, Nana (banana), bottle, blankie, book, ball, cheese, all done, thank you, please, bye bye, hi, hello, no, yes, uh-oh

Animal sounds: Woof, meow, quack, whoo whoo, spit (camel), moo

Favorite animal: Nemo, my sister’s cat

New tricks: climbing in the bath tub by himself, jumping in his bed, climbing on the furniture, running, playing outside, going down slides

Sleeping: through the night…most nights

Favorite meals: pasta, fried rice, anything with cheese, enchiladas

Favorite books: anything with animals (he has to kiss all of the puppies), Goodnight Moon, Time for Bed

As a side note, we get to see Sam’s birthparents this summer. They live about 1400 miles away so we haven’t seen them since he was born. We are beyond excited to see both of them. We love them so much and can’t wait to spend time with them again.

The season for Thanksgiving

We have had a whole series of special experiences lately, made all the more special by the fact that we are enjoying them with our little miracle baby boy. The mundane has become magical, as waking up with a giggly little face in the house makes every day start off special. Grocery shopping is fun (and more expensive) now that we make the impulse buys for our little man. Preparing for the holiday season, and especially Christmas is such fun that it’s almost like being a little kid again ourselves. All this miracle in our lives is as a result of the gift of adoption that we have been given, that we’ll never be able the express the depth of our gratitude for, and this we celebrate all year, but especially at this Thanksgiving season.

Long line of love.

Last week we went to Florida for our nephew’s wedding. We had a great time re-connecting with family. We miss Jon’s sister and brother and wish we all lived closer together! We also were able to met Sam’s birth grandparents. Jim and Trudy warmed our hearts instantly. They talked with love about their family and the love the have for their two daughters. We watched some home videos of our sweet Holly when she was younger. I now know where Sam love of water and enthusisum of life orignated. She was a smiley baby, a happy baby and a curious about life baby….all traits we enjoy in Sam. What a gift it was to learn more about Holly’s family.

Sam truly comes from a long line of love….and we promise to keep it alive.

Jon’s First Father’s Day!

Tomorrow is Jon’s first Father’s Day. I think back to when we first saw Sam. As Jon held him for the first time, tears rolled down his cheeks. There was an instant bond between the two of them. I think back to when we brought Sam home on the plane. Jon held sweet baby Sam through the really really bumpy plane ride. I think back to when Sam got his first shots and tears again rolled down Jon’s cheeks wishing he could take away the discomfort. I think back to when Sam was sick and wanted to be held round the clock and Jon would hold him the entire night. I think back when Jon read to Sam the book Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis, and was barely able to get the words out. I think back to when Sam first smiled, laughed, rolled over or started to crawl (last night!) and the excitement on Jon’s face as he understands what a great miracle this child is in our lives. And then I think back to the time we said goodbye to Sam’s birthparents and the tears as Jon promised Sam’s birthfather that he would always love and protect their son. He has done that, DSC_0115and so much more.

Small boys become big men

through the influence of big men

who care about small boys.

- Anonymous

Happy Father’s Day!!!

Three Mothers

100_1050From my Mother’s Day talk in church…..

This mother’s day, I feel like I have special cause to celebrate. Rachel and I were able to go to the temple yesterday to have Sam sealed to us.  The journey into fatherhood has been one where I have been constantly in awe of the love that mothers can give.  I count myself to have 3 wonderful examples of motherhood in my life – My dear wife, my mother, and Sam’s birthmother – all of whom have taught me something about a mother’s love.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25).

I have observed with Rachel that motherhood has its sweet moments – the last snuggle from Sam as he’s tucked into bed, knowing that she can comfort him when no one else can, kissing his little toes after bathtime – but mothering is not always an easy responsibility.  In our home, it ranges from walking the hall at nights, trying to calm Sam down for bed after a busy day, to running multiple loads of laundry in a day for him when he’s sick, to taking him to the doctor to get immunizations even though she knows they’re going to hurt for a little bit.  As hard as some of these experiences can be, in my mind there is a much more difficult decision that was made by his other mother before he arrived on Earth – the decision to put his needs for the future ahead of the desire for the moment, and choose adoption.

Many of you don’t know the story of how Sam came into our home.

Rachel and I have been married for nearly seven years.  For the first few years, we had school, work, and other life events that we thought were good reasons to delay starting a family.  Unfortunately, when we decided that it was time for our family to grow beyond the two of us, we discovered that Heavenly Father had other plans for us.  We prayed and went to the temple, and decided to follow a twin course of infertility treatments and preparing our paperwork to be adoptive parents.  As we moved through the journey of infertility diagnosis and treatments, I couldn’t help but notice the increased pain it caused her, month after frustrating month as we were unable to make that next step into parenthood together.  During that time, she continued to strive to become a better woman in preparation for being a mother, in spite of the fact that we had no child.  As Elder Faust stated in 1988: “Your eternal helpmate will gently hold you to your potential. She will give loving and thoughtful encouragement, as well as comfort and discipline. She will also lift you up when you are down and bring you back to earth when you are puffed up. She will bless your life in countless ways. As President Kimball said, “Brethren, we cannot be exalted without our wives. There can be no heaven without righteous women” (Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 5).”  We grew together through trials, and she grew to be even a greater righteous woman than she had been before – no small feat for someone already as good as she was.  After many cycles of disappointment, we decided to take a break for a month and reappraise the situation.

During the timeframe when we normally would have been undergoing another round of treatment, we got a call that would change out lives forever. We had sent out our adoption profile to our family members around the country, and Rachel’s mother’s cousin knew someone in their ward who knew of a possible match.  There was a woman in Iowa who was pregnant, but in a situation that she would not be able to provide the opportunities she wanted for the baby. Rachel and Sam’s birthmom Holly talked on the phone almost every day for the next few weeks.  During that time, they discussed plans for this baby, dreamed about how he would grow up, and figured out how things would work for placing the baby with us.  These two mothers became united in the purpose of planning out the best life for this baby.  We came as two families and left as one. Finally the time came when Sam was born, and for us to go to Iowa and meet Holly and Sam.  We spent time in the hospital together as a decidedly non-traditional family, then spent time together outside of the hospital – in large part, so that we could all feel comfortable that we were doing what was best for little Sam.  After 10 days, Rachel, Sam and I boarded a plane and came home, and the joy that we had been feeling could be shared with our families.  After many long challenges, Rachel was a mother, with Sam as her baby.  Two weeks ago, we sat in court and listened as he was declared legally our baby, but the mother-child bond had formed long before then – Rachel became Sam’s mother in her heart in the instant she saw him in the hospital.  Holly will always be his mother, too, and we are eternally grateful that she made the decision to make us the parents of her sweet baby boy.  The love that must go into making such a hard decision is the purest, most complete love that I know of, short of the love the Savior has for us.  I celebrate both of Sam’s mothers.

My own mother is a critical reason why I am where I am today.  Throughout my childhood, as I was busy getting into things I probably shouldn’t have, she kept trying to teach me.  When my sisters and I would be at each others throats, there would be mom, singing “Love at Home,” which, as I recall,  never served to instill feeling of love between my sisters and me, but served as enough of a distraction to stop us doing what we were doing.  Even now, when times are challenging, and kindness is in short supply, I find myself thinking “Mom would totally be singing ‘Love at Home’ right now if she were here,” so maybe it did work after all.

From Alma, talking about Helaman’s two thousand stripling warriors, (Alma 56: 47-48) yea, they had been taught by their cmothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their amothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

Never in my life have I doubted that my mother knows what God is capable of on a personal level.  Never have I questioned whether she has a testimony of the truth, for she has always shown in her life that she knows.  She has always been an advocate for me, even when I did not particularly deserve it, and I have no doubt that she always will be there for me.

We had the great privilege of being in the temple to have Sam sealed to us.  What a joy to be in the sealing room, with my Sam, Rachel, and both of our mothers as many friends and family witnessed that great blessing.  The bond of love that has already grown to great strength in the last few months was made into an eternally strengthening one, and as full as my joy for that is, I know that Rachel is even more overjoyed.  Our journey to this point had its challenges, but I believe that the challenges have made the reward of parenthood that much sweeter.

Jon

Mother’s Day

 

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Today is a special day for our family. Today we take the little one to the temple to have him sealed with us forever. It is in these quiet moments that I weep.  I love that little baby more than anything. I have always loved him. The moment I laid eyes on him, I wept. He was the most perfect thing I had ever seen. I knew right away I was meant to love him and take care of him. I am a mother. I am a mother.  I am HIS mother.

Yet through my joy this weekend, I know there is a very special mother who will have empty arms this Mother’s Day. I am ever mindful of her. And her love for my little man. Once again, I feel the sacred responsibility to give this baby “both his mother’s love.”  I am honored to share the title of mother with her. 

Rachel

For Me.

“There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better in a sense. I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child. I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed. I have endured and planned over and over again. Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams. I will notice everything about my child. I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life. I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me. I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see. Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love. I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain. I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall. I have prevailed. I have succeeded. I have won. So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs. I listen. And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes. I have learned to appreciate life. Yes I will be a wonderful mother.” Author Unknown

 

I saw this quote today and loved it. It sums up my experince with our little guy thus far.  To my mommy friends…you are all wonderful and fabulous parents and this isn’t to mean that I  don’t think you love or appreciate your children. I know you do- in fact, I love them too!  This is simply and selfishly for me and for my “different” journey to motherhood. 

Rachel

My Little Valentine!

 

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Where have we been for the past three months? Sleeping. Feeding. Changing. Rocking. Bathing. (Certainly not in that order!) Adjusting to being parents. Loving our little boy. Enjoying our miracle.  It has been an incredible (and exhausting!) three and a half months! I love our little boy more anything. It is a pleasure being his mom. At times, as I’m folding laundry or changing his diaper or feeding him in the middle of the night, I smile. I smile because I’m lucky to be part of his life. I’m lucky that his birthmom made a courageous decision that resulted in me being a mom. I’m lucky to have a front row seat to his little personality unfolding. I’m lucky to be the recipient of so many smiles and giggles.  

 

He had me at hello….

49 days

Seven weeks ago, our lives were changed forever. Seven weeks before that, our angel had found us, and the time had come to meet her and our new baby boy.

A blur of a day of travel brought us to a dark night in the Midwest, and as we drove with no traffic around us, and only the moon, the stars, and each other for company, I don’t think we realized what we were in for. We talked some, but mostly thought, and tried to figure out what our life was going to be like, and convince ourselves that it was really happening for us, so soon.

Today, as good friends of ours are at the same point in their story that we were those seven weeks ago, I can’t imagine life any other way, and when I read about adoptions that have so much heartache after the placement, I am reminded how grateful I am for the course of our journey to this point. As hard as things were getting to this point, the smile of my little boy looking up at me makes it all worth it.

-Jon