Monday, January 21, 2013

Baby Girl and Her Family

There were three projects I wanted to finish before Baby Girl was one years old
1) Write her adoption story  (DONE :) )
2) Finish "On the Day You Were Born" book that D helped me fill in the blanks but I needed to creatively create pictures since I have no pictures from the day she was born.  (DONE :) )
3) Re-finish my baby quilt for her (umm... I need to buy a sewing machine)

So 2/3 isn't bad- right?

I had a hard time finding the words for her adoption story and wanted to share pieces of it that I thought might be helpful to others.  The goal of an adoption story book is to explain to your child their personal adoption story (Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born is great but its not Baby Girls Adoption story).  I wanted it to be truthful but also allow room for discussion.  I wanted the book to be interesting but not a fairy tail.  I think for me the hardest part was the first paragraph then after that it flowed.

I started the book by stating:
"No two families are alike.  Some families have a mom and dad, some have two dads while others might have one mom.  Baby Girl has a Birthmom D, a Birthfather J and a Mom and Dad."
I thought of the kids Baby Girl will ride the bus with in just a few years and chose those combinations (two dads, one mom, etc).  

I've read that sometimes children that are adopted are confused that if they didn't grow in their Mom then how did they get here so the next page I stated "No matter what the family looks like- all babies are born.  You were born Baby Girl (Birth Name); January 25, 2012 at 10:08AM; 7lbs 3 oz."  I then went on to share with her things D had shared w me about that day like "she was born smiling" and "it was cold but sunny that day."  Since I dont have any pictures of the day she was born I had taken a picture of the front of the hospital which I used on this page as well as the picture of the Reading Terminal in Phili at 9:59AM  (The NICU opened at 10AM each morning so I never was out on the street at 10:08!)

I then explained that when D and J found out about Baby Girl they knew that they couldn't take care of any baby at that time.  I then shared that once Baby Girl was born they asked the agency to look for a mom and dad for her.  This was a hard page for me to write since D had inquired about adoption prior but really didn't go forward with creating a plan.  I kept it simple and I will be able to share with her the expanded information once she is older and might wonder about why we didn't know about her for a week.  I also wanted to be sure that she knew that it wasn't just her they couldn't take care of- they were not in a position to take care of any baby.  I borrowed some of this language from the December issue of Adoptive Families Magazine article about talking about adoption with your children.

DH and I had fun reenacting "the call!"  We both had co-workers take pictures of us on the phone at work.  Since I couldn't conjure up tears instead I'm jumping in the picture.  I think its fitting for her Dad to have gotten the call and not me- since she is very much Daddy's Little Girl.

The book gave me a chance to put together the many pictures we have of Baby Girl and her birth family.  I'm sad to say there is only one picture of J and her.  He is holding her and all you can see are two of his fingers supporting her neck, his nose and mouth.  There is one other picture of him with DH.  Its funny that since putting together this book I've caught glimpses of his face in hers where before I see her birth siblings in her more then anyone.

Another hard page for me to write was about her hospitalization.  Its so raw for me still.  The thought of that hospital increases my respiratory rate and my breaths become shallow.  The smell of peanut butter still makes my stomach turn (I ate PB&J two times a day every day except when DH was there I ate it 1x a day).  I wanted to be truthful but I also wanted it to be a book that if someone other then the three of us were to pick it up I would be comfortable with it.  So I told her that "We wanted to take you right home but you were sick and needed medicine only nurses could give."  I told her about how I was there everyday and took care of her.  I also told her about how it meant that her birth family could visit and love her.  I told her how D and her mom were there the day we left and how she cried because she would miss her but also happy that she found us to be her parents.  I told her about her car ride home and her first night in her own crib.

I told her about the stream of visitors that came as well as the trips we took to introduce her.  I told her about the post placement visits and how the social worker wanted to know what she liked/didn't like.  I have a very sweet picture of the social worker and Baby Girl.

I shared with her that the social worker told the judge we would make perfect forever parents for her.  I then went on to tell her that "On August 29, 2012 Judge X had all three of us sign a piece of paper that promised we would love you forever and that your new name would be Baby Girl.  That was your adoption day."  Judge X has a very sweet certificate that she had the social worker, her self, the parents and child sign in addition to the adoption decree.  I told her about her party that day and the cherry tree we planted.  

I ended the book by stating "Families are made up of people who love each other and we love you very much."

When the book arrived I was so excited to read it with tears streaming down my face.  I'm still in awe that someone so small can have such an impact on me.  I left the book out on the dining room table.  When I got baby girl up in the morning the book caught her eye and she insistently pointed at the book.  We read it quickly since it was a day she had to be at daycare.  When we got home that night she again insisted on reading it.  She loves seeing the dog and cat, mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, oma and opa.  I hope that the book allows her to recognize her birth siblings and birth grandmother when we visit them later this winter.  I also hope that the book allows us to have conversations and answer her questions.  I hope the book helps her understand D and J and realize their love for her.  I hope the book helps her feel secure in her place in our hearts and that adoption is forever.

On The Day You were Born
I got it from my mother before baby girl was born.  I accepted the gift but reminded my mom that there was a strong chance I wouldn't be there on the day she was born or even know she was born the day she was born.  So I added it to the hospital bag thinking I might not get a chance to use it.  

So when the call came and baby girl was already 6 days old- I thought the book could be re-gifted.  As I looked thru it I began to wonder things about the day she was born.  I didn't know any of the answers- what was the weather like?  Who was there?  So I took it with me and decided to ask D.

The first day I was alone with Baby Girl D came to visit for an extended visit.  I blogged about it- It was HOURS long.  I was zapped emotionally.  I was stressed about being alone in a big city that I knew no one - not even my own daughter.  So that was the day D and I filled out the book.  I filled it out with her birth name as the name she was born.  D gave me information about the weather that day.  Who was there.  What she could see from her hospital room.  That Baby Girl slept her first night.  Her stats (weight, length, time- these are slightly different then the hospital record).

Just before I left PA I knew I wouldn't have pictures from the day she was born even though I asked D several times for the pictures.  I'd still love them but doubt D will ever get them to Baby Girl.  So I took the early train into the city and took pictures of the hospital, things around the hospital such as the LOVE statue that Phili is famous for, a clock at the train station, trees, and anything else I could think of possibly using for the book.

Baby Girl now has a book from D's own words about the day she was born.  There are a few pictures of her that I took after we arrived but most of them are creative ways of depicting the day she was born.    I dont know why I dragged my feet so long- maybe it was because I hoped I'd get those pictures from D, but now that I'm done with it I'm glad I didn't give it away.  I have a feeling this book will be special for Baby Girl.

The Quilt...
like I said- I need a sewing machine.  Maybe it can be my goal to have it done by the time she is two.

OH AND SHE IS WALKING!!!!  How my life has changed in less then a year?!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


The Friday before Christmas we got her birth certificate!!!!  I was in a hurry that Friday getting last minute gifts (yeah I'm there with the husbands Christmas eve), going grocery shopping, getting the house perfect for the in-laws and running to the post office (did you know the post office is literally empty the Friday before Christmas and you can ship your Christmas cards out without waiting in line- and most arrived before Christmas!!  So I digress).  So before I ran out for my errands I grabbed the mail and threw it on the seat next to me in the car.  I noticed an envelope from our agency here at home but didn't think anything of it because we get mail from them with some frequency and didn't expect the birth certificate to come from them since all other court information had come directly to us.  So after a day of running around I opened the envelope to find Christmas had arrived early!!

I had seen her original birth certificate so I knew what Pennsylvanias format was going to look like but I was still shocked at how empty it was.  It made me sad- like so much was missing.  My personal birth certificate is full of gems of information- the address I was born at, my parents names, my parents ages, the states my parents were from, etc- I can look at it and I feel like I learn something about my start.  Her birth certificate is sterile- blank- gaps- sad.  Her date of birth is in January, it was filed in February, it was issued in December- blocks of time unaccounted for.  Her gender is listed followed by the time of her birth and the county is listed as her place of birth- real facts- unchangeable.  No hospital is listed.  Mothers maiden name is my own full name- who my birth certificate says I am.  Then a 1" gap.  Fathers Name- the name given to my husband the day he joined the world.  2.5" gap.  "This is to certify that this is a true copy of the record which is on file in the Pennsylvania Department of Health, in accordance with the Vital Statistics Law of 1953, as amended."  The signature of the registrar.  Period the end.

Her original birth certificate has gaps as well.  Fathers name is listed as "Information Not Recorded."  Though her Name is her birth first and middle name with her birthfathers last name.  Even her original birth certificate doesn't feel "right."  Though I realize her birth certificate does not make her "who she is."  It is still that first place we are recorded, defined, numbered.

The document never really was and never truly will be accurate.  Its filled with blanks that hopefully I can help her fill.  I am glad I have them both so she realizes she existed before December 2012.