Life, loss, adoption, and Roe v. Wade

January 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

Justin and I are Christians.
We are democrats.
We lost a baby in May after more than 20 weeks of pregnancy.
We recently adopted.
We are pro-choice.

We saw our tiny baby’s little heart beat at 7 weeks.
And if you had told us at 20+ weeks that she was terminally ill and we had to carry her to term and watch her suffer and die because to terminate her life would have been murder – I would have questioned your sanity… She died, and was still born, and we were not forced to make that decision but we might have been. This is not to say that we disagree with the MANY dear, dear friends we have that are entirely PRO-LIFE under any and ALL circumstances – we simply are not. And we HAVE been faced with some potentially horrific decisions.

Similarly, Cal is a miracle. His mom had previously had multiple miscarriages and then carried him to term. Despite not being married she wanted him, had him, and VERY much wanted to be able to care for him – she simply couldn’t. We are incredibly grateful that they both are in our lives.

What it comes down to for us is the constitutional promise that the biblical law is not applicable to state law and they must be kept separate legally. I believe that for the protection of the state and the church that the two MUST be mutually exclusive and the treaty of Tripoli assures that this nation was not founded as a Christian nation – though its founders may have been of a Christian background – a critical distinction.

If you have a deep moral conviction regarding anything it is the belief of the founding fathers that you have the power to influence to law with your majority vote – this is the beauty of the Madisonian Model. Do not rely on the influence of pork, the monied lobby, or back door deals – instead trust majority rule and checks and balances. We should also be grateful to live in a nation that has a constitution that’s slow to change – that is not quickly amended and that relies on precedent. I frequently resent the patriarchal, white male dominated, and seemingly impossible to change nature of the law – but in many ways I appreciate that it requires the vested interest of the voting public for change. Especially when in comes to women’s rights – we have very few – and those that we have came very recently and we suffered greatly for them.

A Day in the Life

January 21, 2015 § 4 Comments

Our days are pretty regimented. They have to be. When we added C to the mix, not only does every book on toddler adoption tell you that extreme structure is key for him to feel secure, but with work, school, and life there wasn’t really an option.

As for our motivation for doing this, not only did we desire some pictures of our family, we also desperately wanted C’s family in Florida to be able to see what our life is like – waking up all the way through going to bed. So here it is. A slideshow, giving you a really intimate view into our lives. Our daily life, and our deep love for C.

Just so you know, KK has been a dear friend for DECADES. She owns a studio in Texas but can EASILY and affordably fly ANYWHERE to professional events, weddings, a day in the life, etc. Please check here website out. Kathryn Krueger photography. She also has an Instagram account. A Twitter account. And a beautiful blog that we LOVE reading. She’s been a friend since she came to Baylor for college, she took the photos for Ken and Marla’s 20th anniversary, she was at our wedding, and we couldn’t think of anyone we trusted more to do such an intimate portrait. We also trusted her to carry our story in her heart – she sat on the couch and cried with us as we shared the story of how we got from Wright to Cal. And Cal adores her. We knew he would. We could not recommend someone more strongly for a professional, major family, or deeply personal photography event. Again, check her website out – I assure you, you will be impressed.

***(We got no discount for this, we are not getting any added perks or bonuses for this, we really just believe in her and her business this much.)***

She stayed for a few days, which we are so thankful for. However, she just took pictures for one day. Morning through night. Which you see in this slideshow.

The songs you hear in the slideshow are part of our nightly ritual, I have a bedtime playlist for C – but I’ll get to that.

So, our day.

As you’ll see – Calvin has a teepee that he sleeps in – in our room. His bed fits easily inside it. It’s gigantic, from the Land of Nod.

When he wakes up in the morning, He peeps his little head up and Justin grabs him. He puts him in bed with me. He gets a banana and we snuggle while Justin walks the dog. Then Justin makes him a “coffee.” Cal’s coffee is a coconut milk smoothie with fruit, kale, almond butter & honey. This is also generally what Justin & I have for breakfast – a matter of efficiency.

We get dressed and head to gymnastics a couple of mornings a week. Justin does NOT normally join us for this, but we got really lucky the morning Kathryn was there. However, because it’s cold – we do blow dry hair – and C does need reciprocity with the hair dryer. :)

Gymnastics is in a ballroom. The owner of gymnastics is a Baylor grad, and one of the most incredible, providentially provided people in our lives.

We spend a lot of time playing with trains, Duplos, and writing letters, numbers, and shapes. The hallway is C’s office and I feel as if the bathroom is mine. We have a lot of hysterical conversations in there, and I am actually thankful for the time. KK really caught something with that photo.

The pictures at the castle are at Belvedere Castle in Central Park. You can read more about it here.

There’s a series of photos with C holding a microphone that our friend Anne sent us, it’s of an act that C has where he “drops the mic” – if you follow us on instagram you’ve seen him do it. It’s hysterical.

So our bedtime routine is quite an ordeal, but it involves “songs.” Cal’s song is Lyle Lovett’s “If I Needed You” but I also sing him a sundry of other songs, two of which play along with this slideshow. The pictures at the end are me singing to him from his playlist, and “his” songs. It’s a pretty sweet time each night that we have together.

Here a few other pics that didn’t make it into the slideshow that I thought you might enjoy.

Over the next week or so I will try to post about some of the resources we’ve been using to aid in our transition for those of you that are either in the process of adopting or have become parents by other non-traditional means. I hope they will be as helpful to you as they have been to us.

For now, please enjoy this day in our life with our precious boy. We could not possibly love him more. I know so many of you wish we would share more about him, and our process. I promise that more is coming. Consider this our first step in opening up a little more about our lives with C.

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Cal Slideshow

Screen Time

January 14, 2015 § 2 Comments

Everybody has their own relationship with technology.

There are people who lecture about it while looking at it.

My husband works for a firm that develops the back end technology for medical apps.

I do digital strategy for social media.

We get it.

We also believe that facing reality is better than living in denial. If you think you’re not on your phone that much – “especially in comparison to…” Insert person you feel superior to because you judged them for their actions – then I challenge you to do what we did. Take stock.

Moment is like calorie counting for your phone. You’re never going to “look at it less” if you don’t know how much you look at it in the fist place.

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New Semester

January 12, 2015 § 1 Comment

Sitting in front of the fire with the fam yesterday we pulled out the calendar – and instead of the two weeks I thought I had remaining until the beginning of the semester, it turns out there is one… As usual, adjusting to an entirely new way of life with added curve balls has taken more than I expected.

I saw this posted on Whitney English’s Insta Feed yesterday (?) and I loved it – especially as we continue to try to narrow our lives. We are so behind. Thank you notes for the marathon, Wright, Cal, & Christmas have yet to go out. As I said before – I haven’t managed New Year’s cards… We didn’t contact, notify, see some dear friends and family when we were in Texas…

It always feels as if no matter how hard you try you come up short.

The truth is, there ARE probably some things we could really work on. There ARE some places we need to narrow. There ARE some critics we need to ignore. And this will ALWAYS be the case. Often, it is the inner critic that is the loudest & harshest. I am thankful for Brené Brown and the book I bought on the art of de-cluttering.

Here’s to the new semester – eek – a week away.

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Under Threat of Life

January 8, 2015 § 1 Comment

We prayed this morning for those affected by the Charlie Hebdo tragedy.

We prayed for grace and peace. This is our often prayer. It is our most familiar prayer. We pray for others as we would pray for ourselves.

However, as the day has progressed, we have learned of Coco Rey.

The young designer had run to pick her daughter up from daycare and returned to work, finding two assassinated police officers at the entry of the Charlie Hebdo offices.

Under threat of life, her daughter’s life and her own, she pressed the security code at the demand of the gunmen. Coco and her daughter survived by hiding under a desk and were witnesses to the attack.

I have prayed without words for CoCo and her child. Perhaps she alone, without her daughter, may have had the courage to refuse the code – even if she hadn’t I wouldn’t blame her. In the era of 24 hour news cycle and social media, I am terrified someone will.

Worse still, is what did happen, that she and her child witnessed the horrific massacre.

Now I fear that their choices will be fodder for speculation of the masses.

Idle conversation for social media and talking heads.

Those who, by grace, have never been under threat of life will ponder casually what might have been if Coco had done this or that – as if this is not now what this woman and her child’s psyche will be tormented with every second.

The benefit of a 24 hour news cycle is that there is a good chance that many lives were saved by the immediate spread of information. The benefit of social media is that it makes it very difficult for perpetrators to hide. The benefit of social media is that often these killers are quickly found.

The downside of social media is different for every person, but I find myself pleading on behalf of this woman and her child tonight – that the world think before they enter into the public record their thoughts. In the Socratic spirit may we “Be kind” with the acute awareness that CoCo Rey is fighting a very,”very hard battle.”

May we not end our empathy with CoCo Rey, but extend it to even those we struggle the most to be kind to. It is easy to love the lovable, accomplishment is in showing empathy to the cruel.

River

December 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

Christmas2014Family

When I am so busy I can’t breathe I decide to blog.

I haven’t been writing here, partially because the scale of busy in our lives has been at an intensity that I have never known before in my life.

I know many of you are so curious about how we are doing and what our journey is like.

I had imagined in so many ways that we would do this together, that I would come here and use this space to process this journey.

However, as we progressed through the last few months, and our social media space is WHOLLY accessible to C’s (my) family it felt inappropriate and frankly unsafe for me to do that. Partially because it would likely be painful for them and partially because there came a point when we realized that the letting go process for them was for more difficult than anyone had bargained for.

There have been so many times that I have wanted to come here and pour my heart out about the highs and lows, joys and pains, the faith and the fear of this – but not only has there simply not been the time, frankly this just isn’t the time for it.

I will say that all of this in combination with what’s going on globally has led me to a lot of Advent contemplation regarding “rights” and how humanity defines them and holds on to them, and how upside down that all is.

Speaking of rights, as I prepare our holiday cards, and include C, I am struggling with how to honor W… and I can’t quite figure out how to bring myself to do them. With all the joy in my heart, there is such an obvious space where a three month old baby should be.

8 people told us they were pregnant this week. Many of them almost 5 months or 5 months pregnant. I avoid hearing people are pregnant like the plague, even if I know in my gut they are. I know when people start trying to get in touch with me what they need to tell me, and I just can’t bring myself to have the conversation. I don’t want to meet new babies. Everyone just call me when they’re 2… I kid. I kid. I know. It gets better, but for now it stings. Luckily I have an almost three year old toddler to remind me what those tiny snuggle bugs grow into – never stopping, never quiet, never still machines.

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My Story – Adoption Awareness Month

November 24, 2014 § 3 Comments

This month is adoption month. I’ve been participating in the adoption.com #adoptionphotoaday posts. Each day has a word or phrase prompt and you post a blurb about what that phrase means to you with an accompanying photo.

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This has been both a sweet and difficult thing for me as I know it’s likely a difficult thing for C’s birth mom, grandmother, and great grandmother to read. On the other hand, it has been a really sweet way for us to celebrate him and his addition to our lives. Also, as advocates for adoption before C was ever a part of our lives it feels powerful to share about how wholly impactful and transformative these months have been. Easy? No. Perfect? No. Clean cut? No. Worth it? Absolutely. I only say this because I believe adoption is lauded as this miracle answer for those who cannot have their own children…

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Justin and I can have our own children. We wanted to adopt the same.

Calvin was deeply and passionately loved by those who let him go, they did so just the same.


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This is a process being undertaken within our family, does that make it easier? I would posit in some ways it makes it more complicated, and in other ways makes it sweeter. He will always know his family, his story, and that he has been loved from the moment he was known.

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This also means that he has one great-great grandmother, one great grandmother & grandfather, twelve grandmothers & grandfathers, & four parents – not including our siblings (aunts, uncles, and cousins.) That’s right. That’s 17 people for one 2 year old, if you don’t include one sibling of a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent.

WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW.

Too. Much.

How do two new parents of a toddler look at 15 people and decide how to divide up a toddler’s time? They don’t – can you imagine? Instead we looked at C and said, “Buddy, it’s the three of us now, and we’re going to figure this out.”

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Two and a half months in it’s hard to say that we’ve got a story. We’re still in the process of SLOWLY introducing C to our parents. He’s met J’s parents, GAM & GUK just came and saved us – helped us get over the house hurdles and life stuff I just couldn’t manage with everything else going on (not to mention cooked meals, cleaned, carried strollers up subway stairs, helped grocery shop etc.), and we’re hoping Dad can meet him around MLK JR. Day.

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It’s important to us that people are not added too frequently, and that his foundation remains intact – that he knows he is only adding to the people that love him – not replacing people. We mainly manage this by looking at a lot of pictures, talking about people and how they intersect with our lives, and reading books about families that look more like ours. We also do A LOT of kissing pictures.

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Is this My Story or C’s Story? I wouldn’t say it’s either of our stories… As I said… There are far too many people invested for anyone to lay claim to the story as their own. I can only offer some random bits of what the last couple of months have looked like for us. As things become more cohesive a story will form for each of us and we will all have a chapter in this book, my deepest wish is that it will be a book of lavish love.

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