Since this is a public blog, I’m still trying to figure out how much information we want to share with the world about our LMS (Little Miss Sunshine). For now, I’ll just give you a few details – perhaps over time I will feel more comfortable about sharing more.
In mid March we received a call from our agency telling us that although they almost never do adoptions for anything other than newborns, they had a unique situation they wanted to discuss with us.
An 8 month old baby girl’s birth parents had selected us from their website, and although it was out of our “filters” (newborn) they wanted to give us a chance to consider the situation. Fortunately, she is healthy and since birth had been well cared for by her birth mother who loved her, but was already raising other children and really wanted this little girl to have two parents. The birth father and birth mother were married but split up prior to her birth. The birth father had not been involved in her life.
We agreed to a phone call with the birth mother and saw our first photo of her and LMS. The call went amazingly well. It wasn’t nearly as awkward as I had imagined it might be, and at the end we mutually agreed that we wanted to pursue this further.
I will admit that my two biggest fears were:
1) Would I be sad about missing out on the first 8 months of her life and missing out on mothering a newborn
2) Would we have any issues with attachment, or transferring the attachment.
I thought about missing the newborn stage and what that meant to me. In some ways, it made me sad; in other ways, I thought maybe it would be easier on my struggles through the grief of losing Trace and Quinn to not have a newborn. And although I had always imagined we would adopt a newborn, I can honestly say that I quickly felt at peace with giving up that little piece of the dream. I think I am more sad that we missed that time with her – more than just missing mothering a newborn.
On the second issue, I literally reached out to psychologists, attachment specialists, adoption people, adoptive parents and anyone I thought could provide some insight. I received very good pointers, things to look for, and suggestions for transitioning the attachment. To each of you who responded to my pleas for insight and advice, thank you so very much.
So, we moved forward with the adoption – not without some drama along the way – but we brought her home about 2 1/2 weeks ago. We literally borrowed a crib mattress, car seat, etc. and had enough stuff to get us through a few days and decided we could figure out what we need along the way. So, it has been a couple of weeks of just getting to know each other, and figuring out what we really needed and what we should have never bought! Trust me when I say I am VERY familiar with Babies R Us, Target, and CostCo.
She is a very healthy, happy, and somewhat opinionated and stubborn little girl. Her smile lights up the room – seriously, she smiles with her WHOLE face! And, her screams can pretty much curl hair – it’s how she routinely lets us know when she is unhappy with a decision we’ve made (such as bedtime, diaper changes, etc.). She eats well and seems to love all kinds of food – I hope that lasts!
She and the dog are becoming fast friends – he is usually never far away from her, although he’s not a fan of the screams and high pitched noises. The cat is still trying to remain an aloof bystander – rarely close enough to be within her reach. That’s probably best for everyone.
I don’t think she understands about cameras yet – it’s hard to capture good photos because she is always in motion. Seriously, the girl never sits still except right before she gets sleepy. It is almost like you can see her winding down – the movements gradually slow down and finally stop.
Did I mention that she sleeps through the night? The first few nights were a little tough – we make the rookie mistake of letting her fall asleep on us – then the minute her butt hit the crib it was all screams. But, now we’re getting into a good routine – in bed around 7pm, and sleeps until about 7am. We’re still negotiating on the naps though. 🙂
People keep asking how it feels to be a parent. I think they want some answer about how wonderful it is and how it is just like I imagined. Sorry to disappoint. The truthful answer is that it is overwhelming much of the time. But, oh-so-rewarding. Just a big toothy grin or a hug from this little girl can make my day. I feel chronically behind – it’s hard to catch up on what was supposed to take 9 months to learn, but we’ll get there. I worry about what I don’t know yet, and the things I do know but haven’t been able to achieve.
I have to say that one of the things I dreamed about was watching my husband become a father. And now I melt when I watch my husband so naturally being a loving, sweet father to this little munchkin. It makes me love him even that much more.
So, maybe the best answer is – parenthood is hard work, life changing in ways that you only know when you experience it, and sprinkled with amazing moments of “this is why we worked so hard to be parents”.