all of me

I first heard this song not long after a particular court date in October, where our world kinda came crashing down around us- and the possibility of H leaving our home became very real.  The lyrics made such an impression on me, I looked the song up on iTunes and downloaded it right away.  After listening to it on repeat for several days during my breaks in my classroom, I started writing down the things that came to my mind about H while this song played.  What each line meant to me.  What I wanted to mean to her.  I began to compose a post, but life interfered and I never got around to finishing it.  A few days ago, I was listening to my iTunes when the song came on.  I remembered this post that I never finished and knew I had to complete it.  Before I forgot the emotions I felt.  Before I forgot the words I wanted to write.  So this post has been a work in progress- but one I’m glad to be publishing.  Finally.

Scroll to the bottom and click play on the video to listen to the lyrics while you read the post.

All of Me
Matt Hammitt
Afraid to love something that could break
Will you stay with us forever?  
Could I move on
Could I eat, sleep, love again?
If you were torn away?
How could I live without your presence in my life?  I love you so much already.And I’m so close to what I can’t control
Your tiny fingers, twirling my hair.  Your toothless smile.  Your giggles.I can’t give you half my heart
And pray He makes you whole
Oh what I would do to keep you with us.  Forever.

(Chorus)
You’re gonna have all of me
Every minute.  Every second. 
You’re gonna have all of me
When you take your first step.  When you stumble and fall. 
‘Cause you’re worth every falling tear
Even when loving you is painful.  Even if you pull away from me as you grow older.  Even if you miss the life you might have had with your biological mother. 
You’re worth facing any fear
I will love you even when I’m told you’re being taken away. 
You’re gonna know all my love
I will trust.
Even if it’s not enough
Even when we’re facing good-bye. 
Enough to mend our broken hearts
When things don’t go our way. 
But giving you all of me is where I’ll start
I promise to always love you with every fiber of my being.

I won’t let sadness steal you from my arms

I will be strong for you.  I will be your protector.
I won’t let pain keep you from my heart
You are worth more.
I’ll trade the fear of all that I could lose
My heart.
For every moment I share with you
Your excitement at seeing your brother.  Your Daddy.  Me.   
You’re gonna have all of me
Every minute.  Every second. 
You’re gonna have all of me
Every nightmare.  Every stormy night. 
‘Cause you’re worth every falling tear
The tears of joy when you stay.  You’re here! 
You’re worth facing any fear
Whatever.  It. Takes.
You’re gonna know all my love
I will never stop.  Ever.  I love you.
Even if it’s not enough
Even when I fall short. 
Enough to mend our broken hearts
When life is tough.  When questions go unanswered.  When our hearts break.
But giving you all of me is where I’ll start
Always and forever.

Heaven brought you to this moment, it’s too wonderful to speak
I’m speechless with how undeserving I feel to be your Mama.  You are a gift from God.You’re worth all of me, you’re worth all of me
I’ve done nothing to ever deserve your presence in my life.So let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed
Never looking back, never questioning, just believing.
You’re worth all of me, you’re worth all of me
I love you, H.



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baby sisters and adoption

It occurred to me the other day as I was talking to the mom of one of A’s classmates at ‘school’ that A must have a different sense of where little brothers/sisters come from.  The mom was sharing with me that her son, J, was going to be a big brother and that she’d want tips on how to get J to make the transition from being the only child to being a big brother.  And I thought, I’m probably not the person to give tips. 

You see, we didn’t prepare A for the arrival of H.  In his mind (I imagine), he went to bed one night as an only child and woke up to a baby sister in the morning.  Does he think this is what happens in all families?  Now I know this happens in normal (not foster care) families as well- when moms go into labor in the middle of the night and a grandparent comes over to baby-sit the sleeping child while mom and dad go to the hospital to deliver.  But those families have (hopefully) had 9 months to prepare for this transition- to talk about the change that was going to happen.  We didn’t tell A anything, not even when we put him to bed that night.  I think, in our minds, we didn’t want to say anything in case something changed before H arrived- which we’ve definitely learned can happen! 

While A made the transition exceptionally well and he loves his little sister dearly, I can imagine that this change can be very tough on any family- even those who are given more time to prepare.  I remember my nephews anxiously awaiting the birth of my youngest nephew, and constantly asking their mom when they were going to the hospital to pick up their brother.  I think one even thought a brother was purchased at the hospital. 

So maybe we missed our chances of preparing A for a little sister but I can’t wait until we get an adoption date so we can start talking about that with A.  I don’t know why we haven’t before, I guess I (again) feel like nothing should be said until we have a date to look forward to.  I want him to be comfortable with telling others that he’s adopted.  I want him to know that he has a mom who loved him enough to give him to his Mommy and Daddy so we could give him what she wasn’t able to.  I want him to know that she gave him his name- that that will always be part of him and that we gave him his middle and last name, so he would always be part of us.  I want the word adoption to be a commonplace word to him- no big deal.  

And speaking of adoption, there’s a very good chance that we will become the forever parents to two little ones- at the same time!  We’ll find out more leading up to our next court date in February, but things are looking more promising than ever! 

H’s first birthday

I know we’re still over 2 months away from H’s first birthday, and while we’re hopeful that she’ll never leave our home, we can’t be certain that she’ll even be here for the momentous occasion- but in the event that she is still here, I’m already planning her party.  (Did that sentence even make sense?)

With the help of my good friend, Pinterest, of course…

As a kindergarten teacher, Eric Carle’s books are some of my favorite books of choice to read to my class.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of A’s favorite books to read and I hope that H will follow suit in loving it as well.  She definitely likes to chew on it!

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H’s cough has improved greatly over the weekend.  I’m so thankful she responded well to the breathing treatments.  And we all enjoyed a quiet weekend at home- the weather was nice so A got to play in his sandbox for the first time since Santa brought it at Christmas.  I was able to get all the laundry done by mid-afternoon Saturday- washed, dried, folded/hanging and put away.  It was such a nice feeling!  D got the garage tidied up, I was able to start some DIY projects, and we finally got the junk drawer cleaned out!  Do you have one of those?  Ours is the smallest drawer in the kitchen and it’s amazing how much stuff we can cram in there. 

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We’ve been working on A with his manners- saying ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘no, thank you’, etc.  This weekend, it was so cute to hear him remember these things without us reminding him.  Today I was combing his hair and he said, “Kanks, Mom, combin’ A’s hair!”  He always says it in a tone that makes him sound surprised that D or I would do something nice for him, which makes it even cuter.  He also loves to come find us and say, “Hey guys!”  I think that is one of my favorite things to hear him say right now.

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For some reason, I haven’t been able to comment on several blogs I follow.  I figured out last night that it has to do with the browser I use since I was allowed to comment once I switched to a different browser.  So I apologize that my commenting hasn’t been the greatest!  I’ll try to make up for it!

Baby H has RSV…

… and an ear infection.  Breathing treatments every four hours and as much cuddling and snuggling as possible are on the agenda for our sick little girl.  If she’ll allow it… the snuggling and cuddling, that is.   H doesn’t let a virus slow her down- she’s got places to go, people!  And fussiness?  That’s for the birds- our little girl is all smiles.  One would never know she is sick.  I’m so thankful I trusted my gut and made the appointment for her to see the doctor today, even though she hadn’t been running a fever or seemed bothered by (what seemed to be) the common cold she had.  The doctor ran tests, discovered it was indeed RSV, and after a breathing treatment in the office raised her Oxygen back to 100%, she was on her way home, napping soundly. 

We’ll be laying low this weekend, praying that the treatments continue to work as well as they have and that she’ll be fully recuperated soon! 

A and H update

H is 9 months old!  I can’t believe it- I can remember when she was first placed in our home, looking at the loads of clothes we were blessed with and sorting them by size, thinking there’s no way she would ever fit into the 9 month clothing.  And now here she is!  But part of my prediction was true- she doesn’t fit into the 9 month clothing- we’re still pretty comfortable in most 6 month clothing. 

At 9 months old, H weighs in at 16.5 lbs, measures 25 inches long, and is in the 10th percentile and 3rd percentile respectively.  She’s still tiny!  But she’s crawling all over the place, pulling up on everything and crying when she can’t figure out how to sit down from that position.  Her two bottom teeth are in and she’s working on her two top ones.  And on that note, there’s nothing cuter than her baby-drool-grin she gives us.  She’s trying more and more table food- she had her first taste of Cheerio’s this past week and she approves.  Sliced avocado and brown rice are on the agenda to try soon. 

A continues to make us smile daily.  He’s a spunky 2 year-old who loves to ask questions!  He’s a great big brother and we frequently hear him console H when she’s crying saying, “Don’t cry H.  Mama’s here.”  He tells us, “I wanna hold you,” when he wants to be held.  A loves cars and alerts me to any trash trucks or school buses when we’re in the car together.  Trash trucks, by the way, (according to A) take the poopie diapers away- boom! boom!   He’s very interested in helping me clean and loves to get the swiffer sweeper out of the pantry to push it around the house.  It didn’t take me long to get smart and make sure there was a dry cloth on there at all times!  This morning, I woke him up and got him started eating his breakfast, then was going to go get dressed like I always do- which usually makes A unhappy that I’m not sitting there, watching his every bite.  This morning, though, as I turned to walk away from him, A says, “A not cry.  I ok!”  Goodness, I love this boy!

A funny story- last week when I went to pick up A from his classroom, I was busy looking at the sheet his teachers fill out about his day when I realized his teacher had been talking to me.  The reason I didn’t realize it at first? She was calling me Mrs. D-, using A’s current last name.  I smiled and told her my last name and then explained that we hadn’t adopted him yet.  We had talked previously about H being in the foster care system, so I guess I just assumed that she knew that A was as well.   Anyway, I got a kick out of it!  We’ve had him for 10 months without that happening! 

Happy 2012!

My birthday/Christmas gift this year:
to have our living room, kitchen, entry, and playroom re-painted…
and not have to do it myself!
Five days after Christmas, the painters arrived and the job was complete in about 6 hours, split between two days.  And they did a much better job than if the job had been left to me!

Entry
Playroom (formerly the dining room)
We also did some furniture-rearranging and it’s been nice to start off a new year, looking at our house through newly painted walls.  Our walls are looking kind of bare, but I’m okay with that right now.  This go-around, I’m waiting to find the things that I really love to hang on the walls, adorn the mantel of our fireplace, and place above our kitchen cabinets.  The few things that are hanging are the set of three photographs that my dad took and had framed for us and a new canvas of one of the pictures my sister-in-law took during our photo session back in October.  
I also have some projects up my sleeve:
like this quote of Mother Teresa’s

and a white animal head similar to this one that I’m diy-ing…

book shelves using ikea spice racks

Source: google.com via Katie on Pinterest

What about you?  Does the new year cause you to re-organize/ re-decorate/ re-do anything? 

Looking Back

Wow.  In just a few days, we’ll celebrate one year from the first time we laid eyes on our A.  January 4th,  2011 we received an email- a legal risk broadcast- about a little boy who was 16 months old.  We read his information, looked at those adorable eyes, and emailed our adoption coordinator asking her to submit our home study.  All in 3.5 seconds.  Seriously.  Less than a month later, we found out we were one of the final three couples chosen for him.  A week after that, the call came that we were chosen- we would be A’s foster-to-adopt parents. 

Thinking back on those times, the not-knowing, the anticipation, the excitement of being chosen, the waiting to see if everything would pan out in the courts, the relief when his case became an adoption case- and then walking into his room each night before I go to bed, watching him sleep.  The blanket slowly rising with his deep breathing.  And realizing he’s going to be ours.  Like really ours.  It still hits me- and the thankfulness, the gratitude, the feeling of how blessed we are is still as real as ever. 

Less than two months after A was placed in our home, we got the call about Miss H.  The sweetest little thing, weighing in at 5 lbs and already a month old, we were smitten from day one.  To see her now as a smiling, laughing 9 month old little girl who crawls all over her brother, steals his toys and his sippy cup, it’s hard to imagine that she was ever that small.  She’s still a petite baby, but as one doctor said who saw her when she was that tiny and then saw her again a few months ago, “I would never think this baby was the baby I saw back in June.  She’s become quite the Michelin baby.” 

2011 was the year we became parents.  It was a year of growth for us, as a family, as a couple, as individuals.  Here’s our recap:

January: submit home study for A
February: we’re selected to be A’s foster-to-adopt parents and get to meet him for the first time
March: A comes home
April: I return to work after 5 wonderful weeks of bonding with A
May: H arrives, then she’s supposed to leave, but the judge suspends the order and she stays!
June: Florida Keys and we celebrate 7 years of marriage
July: my younger sister gets married
August: school starts up again
September: A’s case becomes an adoption case
October: after months of silence in H’s case, things start to pick back up again
November: I celebrate my first birthday as a mom and our first Thanksgiving as a family
December: our first Christmas together and interesting developments in H’s case that leave us hopeful

Though 2012 is looking like it will be remembered for adoptions and not appointments, I know there are many of you out there who are gearing up for tests, procedures, results.  And you are never far from my thoughts.  Anytime I drive past our local fertility center, I can’t help but think of the couples inside, waiting for answers, desperate to know the whys.  And so I pray.  For strength, for endurance, for peace.  Know that you are never forgotten.  Back when we were going through the gauntlet of appointments, we would joke with our friends that we were taking one for the team since the statistics say that 1 out of 10 couples struggles with fertility.  But the fact is, we haven’t been able to protect many of our friends from traveling this same road.   And that breaks my heart. 

You know who you are.  And know this- that you are loved.  You are treasured.  And you will be an amazing mother, no matter how God builds your family.