Saturday, November 20, 2010

Adoption Diaries Part 1- Big Sister

November is Adoption Awareness month and it is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. I've decided to share my story to help spread more awareness on adoption and how beautiful it can be. I became a big sister thanks to adoption and I am also a proud birthmother. Here is Part 1 of my story on how I became a big sister through adoption...
It was a crisp February day as we wound our way through the mountains of Asheville. With every mile the car passed, my heart skipped a beat and I could feel the excitement pulsing through my veins. After what seemed an eternity we arrived at our mom, dad, and older brother. The four of us couldn't sit still as we waited in the tidy waiting room for the social worker. Within minutes she came out to greet us and asked that my brother and I go into her office with her. When we got there she asked us if we'd be willing to do something special for our parents and within moments I was looking at a tiny face. My brother and I were in awe of the bundle in the social worker's arms and then that bundle was in my arms.
Rebekah, me, A.R., Pete, and Isaac on our wedding day
I was the first person in our family to hold our newest member- my baby sister, Rebekah. We then walked out to the waiting room and I got to present our mother with her newest baby, a daughter. Rebekah wasn't grown in my mother's womb, but she was grown in her heart. I'll never forget the day I handed my new baby sister to my mother. The smile on her face, the tears of joy, and the pride as I held my little sister. I was 13 the day I met Rebekah and I had always wanted a younger sibling. My parents had always wanted a large family, but my mother got very sick when she was pregnant with my brother and I. She was on bedrest most of her pregnancy with me and was told after giving birth to me that having another child would probably kill her. My parents thought their dreams of having a large family ended there.

My mother was always interested in adoption, but my dad thought that he wouldn't be able to love an adopted child as his own so they never persued it. One day while driving home from work, my dad was listening to the radio and there was an interview about adoption on the air. He was intrigued. After many conversations with my mom and then talking to my older brother and I to see how we felt about things, my parents began to research their options. My dad can't explain his sudden change in heart, but he knew he wanted another child to raise and love and my mother was overjoyed at the chance to grow her family.
On vacation in NC to visit my parents, Bekah, & Isaac
They decided to go with a private christian adoption agency and soon began the long process to apply to be adoptive parents. There was mounds of paperwork and forms to complete including a personal profile of our family for prospective birthmothers to read, counseling with the social workers, home visits, and interviews with both of my parents and my brother and I. Finally, after a long, tiring, and often frustrating process my parents were approved to be put on the waiting list for a new baby. As they began the wait- which we had no idea how long it may be- my parents slowly started preparing to become parents once again. They had chosen to adopt a special needs infant who would come to us at just 1 month of age and could be either a boy or a girl.

I don't remember the day my mother found out she would have a second daughter, but I do remember the day she met her as she took her from my arms and held her for the first time. Rebekah came to us when she was just over a month old after my parents had been waiting 9 months (Coincidence? I think not.). She was born in December, the same month as my older brother. She is considered special needs because her mother drank while she was pregnant, was possibly on drugs, and didn't know who the father was. Also, she is half white and half black (why that makes her special needs, I'll never understand). The scary thing about Rebekah's adoption is that it would not be final for an entire year since her father was unknown or called a John Doe. Without his sign-off, the adoption could not be considered finalized for one year. After this waiting period, the courts would sign off that he was absentee and my parents would recieve full custody of Rebekah and the adoption would be final.

That year was filled with great reward for my parents, my brother, and I as we watched my little sister grow and bonded with her, but it was also hard for my parents as they knew that any day they could get a call from the adoption agency that Rebekah's birthfather had stepped forward and wanted custody of Rebekah. If that were to happen, we could lose her. Thankfully, that call never happened and one year after Rebekah was born, my parents received the final adoption papers and Rebekah was officially theirs. However, several months later my parents would get an unexpected call from the adoption agency. There was a special needs boy that needed a home...he was black and white like Rebekah and his parents were together, but unable to care for their newborn infant due to their own health reasons. They chose adoption and wanted my parents to be their son's adoptive parents.

Isaac came to live with us when he was just over a month old. My parents were overjoyed to have another baby in the house and a second son. Isaac was born in March, the day after my birthday. So my older brother and I were born in December and March 15 months apart, then there was a 13 year age gap and they adopted two more little ones born in December and March and also 15 months apart. Crazy, huh?! With the addition of Isaac to our household, my parents decided that their family was now complete. Our lives are forever changed by the wonderful gift of adoption and both of my younger siblings have brought happiness and joy to our family. My mother has the large family she had always dreamed of and my father learned that he could love an adopted child no different than his biological children.

Right now, my sister is a Junior in highschool and my brother is a Sophomore and they are both doing quite well even with their disabilities. Rebekah is a beautiful young woman who loves dance, horses, boys, and art. Isaac is a very active and athetic young man. He plays football and wrestles and is a member of the JROTC at his high school. They both know their adoption stories and the little information we do have on their birth parents, but they also know that they are our family and are loved very, very much. Adoption gave them a chance at a good life and provided them a home which their birth parents could not. I am proud to call them my younger siblings.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Recipe Nest Blog

I'm going to be a sporadic contributor to this recipe blog some fellow online friends and I started up. Here's my first post on the blog which is just getting started up this week. Bookmark this site for more exciting recipes and events to come!

The Recipe Nest

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Happy Belated Halloween!

Halloween isn't a favorite holiday of mine, but I have to admit this year was fun since I got to dress up M. A.R. and I ended up dressing up, too. He dressed up as a hotdog to play a joke on one of his older brothers after another brother (have I mentioned he is the youngest of 4 boys??) dragged it out of our nephew what his Papa was going to be for Halloween. Turns out my nephew was wrong, but the costumes still worked. He said that his Papa was dressing as a hotdog and all he did was brag about the great costume he had, so A.R. and his brother went to buy the same one. Well, his brother actually dressed as ketchup and his wife was mustard so when A.R. and his other brother showed up as hotdogs they looked cute together! I dressed up as a cow sort of as a joke since I'm the sole milk provider for M still. :) M was the most adorable 50s girl in her poodle skirt.
The same nephew mentioned above was born on Halloween and turned 5 this year. Every year we go to his birthday party and all the cousins that are old enough go trick-or-treating together after eating his birthday cake. This year it was fun that we could actually join in the festivities a bit more having a costume for M. She even got a party goody bag all her own! We didn't take her trick-or-treating because it was too cold out, but next year we will take her around our neighborhood before heading over to my nephew's birthday party.
I think next year we'll also coordinate our costumes as a family...just the three of us. We shall see what we come up with...