Thursday, June 18, 2015

WE FINALLY FOUND OUR MISSING "PIECE"

WE FINALLY FOUND OUR MISSING “PIECE”!

PLEASE WELCOME:
BRYNN ALAURA MIKESH
(Brynn = Name We Picked... Alaura = Birth Parents’ Picked)
BORN: JUNE 16 @ 4:11PM
7 POUNDS 3 OUNCES, 18 ½ INCHES LONG
**BECAME PART OF OUR FOREVER FAMILY on JUNE 17, 2015**
 
You guys, we are dying!!!
As we have brought you all along on this journey with us, it is only fair to allow you to read the ending of this chapter in our life.

We received an email from our agency (Journeys of the Heart) on June 5th. The email stated that there was a birth mom and dad due via C-Section on June 16th. The email basically said the couple was having an African American baby girl and the kicker…the baby has had zero exposure to substance (drugs, alcohol, smoking) and birth mom has had prenatal care throughout her pregnancy (not common). Healthy baby girl!!!! But we had our heart set on a boy…we thought about it for about two and a half seconds and quickly said, “who cares about that, we’re going after this healthy baby girl!”

We told the agency that we wanted to present our profile to the couple on Saturday (June 6th). By Tuesday afternoon (June 9th), we still hadn’t heard anything. At this point we figured we hadn’t been chosen. As the last day of school was winding down and we entered into the last hour of school that day, I received a text from our adoption coordinator (Chelsea) that read, “I hope you’re free for lunch in Washington on Friday with the birth parents, they picked you!” Time literally stood still for what seemed like an hour (I’m pretty sure it was about 10 seconds). That text, those words, took my breath away, as these are the words and this is the situation we have been waiting and praying for for years. Thank the Lord my desk chair was behind me because I fell into it. The next hour (the last hour of school) was a complete blur. Thank you to a few special coworkers/friends that witnessed this all happen and kept this secret. Ryan and I didn’t want anyone to know because the “match” with the birth parents was contingent upon them meeting us and still wanting to move forward. Friday was June 12th and the baby was being born on the 16th. We didn’t want to buy anything because if they didn’t like us, it would all have to go back. We arrived for lunch on Friday and anxiously awaited the arrival of T & D (we’ll use their initials). Long story short, they are incredible people. So genuine, kind, and both have a wonderful head on their shoulders. We shared a lot and talked a lot about their desires for their baby and just got to know each other. It was an instant match and we all left feeling very at peace.

The plan was to arrive at Ft. Lewis Army Base in Washington (where the baby would be born) on Tuesday morning. This left Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to buy the absolute necessities ONLY for our potential baby. This includes: car seat, a couple outfits, diapers, wipes, formula, rash cream, body wash/shampoo, bottles, a bouncer seat, burp cloths, swaddle blankets, and a couple other things like that. We still didn’t share with anyone except our immediate family because we knew they can choose to parent the baby at any time and sharing that it didn’t work out in the moment with everyone would be really painful. We needed to keep our feet on the floor in the event we would be walking out of the hospital without a baby.

We loaded up the car Tuesday morning and began the drive to Washington to meet the little girl who “might” become our daughter. I’m not sure Ryan and I said much to each other on that drive. We were both so nervous we just physically couldn’t talk. Phones were blowing up from family and I just couldn’t talk to anyone. I was in the zone! We arrived on base and checked into the visitor’s center where we had to go through background checks in order to obtain a visitors pass. Think of the DMV and the waiting that takes place there, and you have the visitors center at Ft. Lewis. Chelsea, from our adoption agency, met us there and helped navigate the remainder of our day at that point. Meanwhile, birth mom’s surgery kept getting pushed back…and pushed back…and pushed back. Our nerves were through the roof. I felt like I was going to puke, for real. We waited in the Birth Center waiting room for a LONG time. We all made small talk, but really I couldn’t think about anything else besides the reason we were there. Ryan would rub my back and remind me to breathe. Thank God I married this man. Finally, a nurse came out and asked if we were ready to meet our girl.

I think I was walking about 100 miles per hour down the hallway whispering (yelling) to Ryan to hurry up!!!! Who leisurely walks the halls in this moment? Ryan does, that’s who. Anyway, we walked in the room and the birth mom (T) was holding her daughter and birth father (D) was standing beside them. We approached the bedside and I just froze. Ryan held me close and we held her baby’s hand and shared a moment with this couple. I didn’t know if I should take the baby from her or what I should be doing, but I just couldn’t take my eyes off the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen. T leaned over and physically placed her baby in my arms. I just could not bring myself to physically take her away from her and I am eternally grateful to T for continuing to show me how strong she is in heartbreaking situations. I just melted in that moment.  We each took turns holding the baby and we all snapped about a million photos of each other, together, and individually. It was a moment that is forever imprinted in my memory. We are so thankful for that uninterrupted time with T & D.


The remainder of the night consisted of talking, switching rooms, eating food (Ryan was on meal duty and he did not disappoint any of us), while all along feeling the intense fear that they might choose to parent her.

We even discussed names together. We liked the name Brynn Lee. Brynn is just a name we have loved for a long time and Lee is my mom’s middle name. We were pretty set on this name. We asked them if they had a name in mind. They both became very shy. One of them worked up the courage to say, Alaura. Okay, then her name is Brynn Alaura…period. While we want to honor my mom, we also feel a significant need to honor the two people making this possible. Plus, how cool is it for Brynn to know that her birth parents took part in naming her? The birth parents love her name and they call her “Brynnie-Bear.” I’m pretty sure that adorable name is going to stick.

That night, T asked if I would be her support person in her hospital room (stay the night with her and Brynn). She really wanted her, Brynn, and I to have time together, just us. Now I’m going to admit, this request was scary for me. What if she doesn’t like how I handle Brynn at night, what if it doesn’t go well, seriously just scared. On the other hand, I was incredibly honored. I will say, the past few nights us 3 girls have spent together are irreplaceable. We talked about the adoption, about our lives and families, shared funny pictures, and best of all we got to work together as a team to take care of Brynn. Her 2 mommies had the opportunity to care for her together on her first two nights in this crazy world. Such a special time. As time went on, I noticed T begin to hand more responsibility and trust over to me when it came to Brynn. She got to see me love her and care for her and she would openly tell me how lucky she feels that she found us for Brynn. I don’t think she will ever know how much those words mean to me.  She tells Brynn that her mommy loves her so much (referring to me). I have never had anyone call me mom and it was seriously a dream come true. Again, in the back of my mind, I continued to wonder if we would leave the hospital as a family of 4, or a family of 3…even with all of those reassuring words. I think we reassured each other’s fears over and over again that night.

Today, June 16, we woke up and T said she was ready to sign papers for her and D to relinquish their parental rights to Brynn. It took until about lunchtime for notaries, social workers, and agency reps to arrive. Ryan and I spent most of the morning out of the hospital room in order to give T & D time with Brynn alone. When signing time came, Ryan and I went and sat on a bench outside. I was a disaster. In that very moment, the only thing I was thinking about was how while my dreams are coming true, a woman who I respect and love is about to grieve the loss of her child. I couldn’t do anything but cry. My happiest moment was filled with so much heartache as well and I couldn’t get my emotions under control. I must have said a million prayers for her on that bench to find peace through her grief and to know in her heart that Ryan and I will love her baby and care for her with all of our heart and everything we have. About a half hour later we got a call that it was our turn. The rest as they say is history. Today is the day that marks when Ryan became Brynn’s dad and I became her mom. Jacob is already the best big brother ever. He just loves her.

As I type this blog, I am looking at T sleeping. I hope she knows how much I respect her and D. They gave Ryan and I a gift that nobody else in this world could ever give us (including ourselves). In this moment we each have something the other wants. They desire the stability required to raise a child, while we can offer stability but can’t have a child of our own. Together we make the perfect team for Brynn. She will always know this family. She (and they) will never feel loss because they will always be in each other’s lives.

As we all leave the hospital tomorrow, it will be tough. I can’t imagine what T & D are feeling and my heart is breaking for them. What I can do is be the best mom I can possibly be to their Brynnie-Bear. They are entrusting their most precious gift to us and we promise to take good care of her.

We are still waiting for ICPC to clear and we can’t cross state lines until that happens. Cross your fingers we aren’t here longer than a week. We would love to go home Friday. If you pray, please pray for comfort and peace for T & D in the days and months to come. Also, pray we can come home soon.

All great stories always have to have a moral. Here’s what I have learned. I learned that my original adoption plan sucks. God had his hand in every second of this adoption. I learned patience. I learned to trust. I learned to let go of what is out of my control, and I learned to be in tune with the small signs from God I was given along the way. It wasn’t until I did those things that my plan was completely transformed…and a little girl, who was never part of “my” plan, is the one who is about to change my life. In fact, she already has. From the second I held her after she officially became my daughter, every ounce of hurt, pain, frustration, and hopelessness along this challenging journey to parenthood completely vanished. It all literally vanished when I held her.

Thank Heaven For Little Girls





Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Update & Changes

It has been a long time since we have updated everyone on our adoption journey. The truth is, we have been struggling with the way a few things were panning out with the agencies our consultant had us working with. We decided to take a step back for a few months and re-evaluate what we were doing. The good news is, we have a plan and are back on track and are moving forward. Before I fill you in on our next steps, I will rewind and let you know what’s been going on. 

The Recap:

For those who don’t remember, we have been working with an adoption consultant company on the East Coast. Consultants basically market you out to several different agencies instead of being tied down to one agency. We wish we knew a year ago what we know now and boy were we na├»ve when we started out.  Now that we are 9 months into this process, working with a consultant has had its good points and not so good points. Our consultant has been wonderful at answering millions of questions for us and is so extremely prompt with returning phone calls and emails. She has been a great resource through our mounds and mounds of paperwork and we appreciate her very much. She is also very patient, compassionate, understanding, and lets face it, she has listened to me cry on more than one occasion. What we didn’t anticipate is that the agencies our consultants work with are 95% located on the East Coast and that the new shift for open adoptions requires you to agree to visits with the Birth mom in her home state every year until the child is 18. While we want an open adoption for our little boy or girl and we want them to always know their birth mom, annual visits to the East Coast for a family of 4 for the next 18 years is simply something we cannot accommodate. Secondly, I would say about 90% of the birth moms are on or have taken drugs during their pregnancy. We knew good and well drug exposure would be a factor when we made the decision to adopt domestically, but we never anticipated that almost every situation presented to us would include drug exposure. These 2 factors alone left us in a place of complete frustration and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.

When we made the decision to adopt, we had prayed for clear signs that this was the path we should take. The signs were not only clear, they were so clear that it freaked us out a little bit. We went from feeling complete confidence in our decision and feeling like this is 100% the journey we are supposed to be on to questioning if this isn’t actually what we are supposed to do after all. I felt hopeless again for the first time since our in-vitro failed. I was starting to absolutely panic. It’s amazing the place your mind can lead you when you lose faith in something. I will not lead you down the rabbit hole of my “what ifs” during that time. Thank goodness I married the most supportive man in the entire world that is constantly my voice of hope and reason during these times. Ryan is truly my pillar of strength and I can’t imagine going through this with anybody else. Ryan suggested we take a step back for awhile, clear our heads, and figure out our next steps. So simple, yet so wise. So, we did…

After a few months, the conversations began. “Do we sign on with an agency in Oregon?”, “How will we fill the void we feel?”, “Do we return the puzzle money to everyone and walk away from adoption…Jacob is totally enough”, “what in the world are we doing?”, “Will I ever have someone call me mom?”…we left no stone unturned and we talked and prayed about everything. I remember laying in bed one night and asking God to reassure us. I prayed that if we are supposed to adopt, to please let us know…give us a sign…sooner rather than later would be great….we are listening…please just give us a sign. The next morning, I woke up and went downstairs to make my coffee before work. I was rummaging through our junk drawer (yes, pick your mouths up off the floor, the Mikesh’s have a junk drawer) and I jammed my finger on something. As I moved the item I jammed my finger on, I realized it was a small flat wooden sign I purchased about 4 years ago and intended to send to someone I wanted to follow their heart and chase their dream. The little wooden sign reads “If You’re Looking For A Sign, This Is It.” Whoa!!!! What???? Okay God, I hear ya.  THEN, not 10 minutes later, I walked back upstairs, I looked at my cell phone and there was a text from my sister. It simply read, “I’ve never known you to be a quitter.” This followed a previous conversation about possibly walking away from adoption. 2 clear signs that I needed to see at that exact moment. I don’t even know that I even shared them with Ryan. It is possible that I’m reading too far into these very simple “signs,” but I’m choosing to believe they are intentional. It was that very day that we started researching adoption agencies in Oregon.

Fast Forward To What’s Going On Now:

We have signed on with an adoption agency in Oregon (Journeys of the Heart, located in Portland). It appears that the new “thing” with open adoptions nation wide is requiring the adoptive family to agree to annual visits with the birth mom until the child is 18. If the birth mom is from Oregon or Washington, this is totally doable and very much welcomed. The drug exposure rate with the birth moms this agency works with is 26%. That leaves 74% of the babies free of drug exposure and we can work with this number. We are probably a good month out from becoming a “waiting family” with their agency. We are currently signing multiple legal documents, getting home study items in line from our social worker to link to our new agency, gathering lots of random things like birth certificates and marriage license, and asking our amazing references to write yet ANOTHER letter on our behalf. We also have some profile items to update, so that birth moms can look at our family online. Since we never know what we are getting ourselves into because every single step of this is new to us, we are hoping for better luck with this agency. Time will tell, but until then we feel good about our decision and are ready to move forward. We will give this adventure in our lives one more year. If we don't have a baby in our arms, we will re-evaluate yet again. One thing is for sure though, we will wait as long as we need to for a healthy baby and great match for our family. 


We are looking forward to the day we become a family of 4. Until then, I promise to do a better job of updating our support system (all of you).