The Third Most Wonderful Moment

August 31, 2014

  The first most wonderful moment of Water's adoption journey was watching his Mama D bring him into the world and the second was reuniting with D, Sky, and Fire.  The third most wonderful moment happened the night we arrived at my in-laws house, what we call the prairie home.  We stay with D's dad and step-mom, R and C, every time we come to Kansas.  It's where we ran to when we were told that Sky had tuberculosis and where we came to rest during our crazy-busy family vacation a year and a half ago.  R and C are great with the kids, really patient, completely accepting, and both with a great sense of humor, the perfect grandparents, and Sky and Fire love them.  They are comfortable and happy here.  So are D and I.  If we can't be in our own home, we'd chose to be in R and C's home.
  To preface the rest of the story, let me tell you that Water started out as a great sleeper in baby terms.  H would sleep for almost 3 hours at a go through the night so I was able to get through the days without feeling like a sleepwalker.  All that changed the second night of my road trip to Kansas with my mom.  Water had been wanting to eat all the time so I'd been feeding him more but he'd also been throwing up more and it looked like it was that last ounce that he'd cried for that had been coming back up, so I'd gone back to feeding him just two ounces again.  About that time he started waking up more often, about every hour and a half through the night and sleeping fitfully when he did sleep.  Maybe I was sleep deprived but I never made the connection between feeding Water less and him sleeping less.  To that, add two slightly older jet-lagged and time-zone-shifted kids and you've got a perfect storm of sleeplessness.
  We were in rough shape when R and C came to pick us up from the hotel (my driver's license is expired and D had flown out to buy our new truck).  Sky and Fire had barely slept for the last two nights and went to sleep relatively quickly on their first night at the prairie home- they were finally someplace familiar and could let their guards down enough to let sleep take them.  I finally had the head space to think about Water's fussy and interrupted sleep together and tried feeding Water a little more food (and took the extra time to burp and fully settle him) and I was able to get him to put him to bed in his travel bed, happy and calm.
  So what was the third most wonderful moment?  All three kids were asleep at once!  Honestly, I almost started crying.  I had underestimated how hard it would be to adjust to three kids but suddenly the clouds parted, the sun shone, the angels sang, and survival seemed possible.  I know that might seem shallow but to have those few moments of peace, to have everyone who is normally very dependent on me settled and safe, with all those needs that small children have met, was an amazing, heart-lifting thing and I'll take it were ever I can find it.

A Trip to the Zoo

August 28, 2014

   Family vacation in America!  On our first day as a family of five we braved some drizzly weather to check out a new zoo that allows you to get close to the animals.  The Sky and Fire had a great time and Water spent most of the time sleeping in his front pack. D's mom joined us and because of the weather we almost had the whole place to ourselves.

   Eventually the rain picked up and we called it a day.  Lunch at D's favorite restaurant and then back to the hotel for naps.  A great start to our vacation here.

  Sky has been great with Water.  Every time the baby cries she runs to him.  She loves to hold him and help feed him. 

Whole Again

August 27, 2014

A Little More Road Trippin'

August 26, 2014

 My view for the drive, sitting behind my mom, all the way from Seattle

Beautiful mountains!  I really wished Sky could have been with us on the drive.  I think she would have enjoyed seeing the landscape change.

Road Trippin'

August 24, 2014

Seattle WA to Wichita KS or bust!

Water's Story

August 22, 2014

  All the writing guides say that when you don't know where to start, you should start at the beginning, and while Water's story started long before we came into it, our part starts only 13 days ago.  I arrived at work to find an email from our adoption facilitator with the subject line:  EEEEKKKK, You've been chosen!  Naturally, I called her immediately and she gave me the details and said to pick a time when we could call and speak to Water's birth mother (I'll call her Mama D from now on).  We arranged to talk to her the next morning and then barely slept that night.
  The phone call went fine, all three of us were nervous and both Mama D and I cried a little.  I told David afterward that I didn't think we'd scared her off.  We found out in that phone call that Mama D was due that day and that her family was leaving for an overseas vacation that couldn't be rescheduled.  She was going to have to deliver alone, if Water came after they left.  We waited exactly one day to make sure Mama D hadn't changed her mind about us and then I bought a one-way ticket to Seattle.  There was no way I was going to let a young woman deliver a baby without someone there just for her if I could help it.
  Two days after we talked to Mama D on the phone, I got on an airplane.  Two wonderful friends from Antarctica met me in Seattle, took me shopping for baby supplies, and fed me great Indian food before dropping me at the hotel.  The next day, I got a text from Mama D saying that she was in pain and heading to the hospital, so I grabbed a cab and headed over.  Our first in-person meeting was in the hospitals triage room with Water's heart beat thumping in the background.  She was the same person she'd been over the phone: calm, thoughtful, and intelligent, and she had a beautiful smile, even through braxton-hicks contractions.
  An hour after I arrived, the hospital released her with better instructions on how to tell when she was in labor.  Her mom had met us at the hospital and drove us back to Mama D's apartment.  We spent some more time getting to know each other there and over lunch.  We met each day after that, to go to a museum, to have a meal, or see a movie, working towards a good start on the relationship that will be a part of the rest of all of our lives.
  Friday night at 2AM I got the call I'd been waiting for:  Mama D was in labor and heading to the hospital.  My mom had come into town to help with the baby and drove me over to the hospital.  Mama D was definitely labor this time and it progressed smoothly until almost 1:30pm on Saturday.  By then, she was ready to push and the nurses were worried that she would have the baby before the doctor arrived.  He got there just in time and 12 pushes later, Water was born.
 One of the things that I was really worried about when I found out that her mother couldn't be there for the birth was that I was going to be the only other person with her besides the nurses.  I was happy to be there but I've never been through labor myself or been with another woman while she labored.  I was terrified that I was going to useless to Mama D.  Happily, two days before she went into labor, she and her boyfriend had told his mother, H, about the pregnancy.  She was very supportive of Mama D and said that she wanted to come for the delivery.  She'd had two children and knew what to do and say to make Mama D feel better.  I felt like I was watching an expert and was so grateful that H was there.
  Water, Mama D, and I stayed in the hospital together for the next two days, getting to know the baby.  Mama D breast fed him for the first day and half and then I took over with the bottle when she was ready to stop.  We shared a room, watched TV, slept, and talked about the future.  Mama D wants to have a very open adoption relationship and I think the time in the hospital helped with that.  We were all released on Monday afternoon after the hospital received our custody paperwork.  There were lots of hugs and tears as Water and I left with my mom and Mama D went home with her boyfriend, but rather than being an end, it was just the beginning.


Pirate Baby!

August 20, 2014

 I'm working on writing up Water's birth story to share here but in the mean time, here's a picture of my little pirate, working up to a good angry cry about being in his carrier:

Water says, "Arrgghh, me hates this thing!"

(Sorry D, he's getting better at opening both eyes so this pirate look might be gone by the time you get here)

Our Newest Family Member

August 19, 2014

"Water", three days old

Waiting in Seattle

August 13, 2014

  I'm at a hotel in Seattle, waiting for our newest addition to come into the world.  I met his birth mother yesterday and we had some really good conversations about our lives, the baby, and made a good start on getting to know each other.  We've agreed on a name a middle name and D and I were very happy to learn that she wants an open adoption.  The little shoe above is one of a pair that a friend on Kwaj gave us.  I gave one of the shoes to the baby's birth mother and kept one- hopefully this symbolizes the kind of relationship we'll have: separated but a pair that matches and belongs together
  D and the kids are still on Kwaj and will fly to the states once the baby is born.  Fire is too little to really understand anything besides the fact that I'm not there and that I got on an airplane.  Sky on the other hand is struggling with this.  We had talked about a new baby before and she saw the book we produced "to help our new baby find us", as we told her, but I don't think there was anything real to it for her.  When we found out that we'd been chosen as parents and that the baby was due any day now, we told her there was a baby that needed a family and a big sister and asked if she thought she could be that big sister.  She said yes, and agreed that I should go to America to take care of the baby until she could come to be the big sister, but since I've gone, she's been asking D if she can change her mind.  Sky has always struggled with change and this sudden change has thrown her world into a bit of a tailspin.  D is doing his best to talk her through it and I'm hopeful that she can come around to the idea and that once we're together as a family with the new baby, she'll see that he doesn't take anything away from her.

Adoption Update

August 11, 2014

  We're all still a bit surprised but D and I are very excited.  I'm getting on a plane this afternoon to fly to the US to meet the young woman (who sounds very sweet and we already think is pretty wonderful) who has chosen our family for her child.  I will post more as I can.

Looking For A Good Book?

August 9, 2014

  I've stumbled onto some great books lately and I thought I'd share them with you, in case your Kindle is getting empty.  I've read all but the last and am going to tackle that one next.

  Stormchasers was in the book exchange at the library and I picked it mostly base on the cover and the fact that it's set some in Minnesota.  It was at the bottom of the reading pile but once I got to it, I couldn't put it down.  The characters are real and their motivations are believable.  Her depictions of the swings of bipolar disorder and a family's struggles to deal with them were amazingly true to life and I was riveted during the storm chases.

The Flight of Gemma Hardy was billed as a retelling of Jane Eyre by my GoodReads magazine (a magazine about books- what an amazing thing for a bibliovore!).  I have always wanted to read Jane Eyre but was never able to get further in than a few pages.  It just didn't grab me, but this version did.  You're constantly left wondering how Gemma will handle each challenge life hands.  The story locations move between Iceland, Scotland, and Scotland's northern Orkney Islands.  For you toddler-adopters out there, it has a very realistic portrayal of a child's loss and two adult's attempts, one successful and one not, to comfort and bond.
I just finished reading this the second time for my book club.  Because The Night Circus moves back and forth between characters and dates, it might be easiest to read this on paper so that you can easily flip back and forth between scenes.  We all enjoyed the book and thought the twists were wonderful and surprising but wondered if maybe things wrapped up too neatly at the end?

I'm really looking forward to reading The Mirage.  This one was also recommended by GoodReads and is an imagined reversal of the events of September 11th.  It posits a different future where America is a Christian fundamental backwater and the Arab states are the top world powersOn November 9th, terrorists from America hijack four planes: two crash into the Tigris and Euphrates towers, one is crashed into the defense headquarters, and the last is brought down by the passengers in the Sinai.  The Arab states invade America in retribution.  All this is a mirror of what happened 13 years ago until the investigators encounter a man who insists that all of this is backwards and has a newspaper from September 12th (our September 12th, to prove it).    

Inner-Tube Water Polo on Kwaj

August 7, 2014

  Inner-tube water polo is a very unique Kwaj institution, a game only played here.  Until the other night, we'd never seen a game, but when we were invited to watch one the other night, we decided to stop by after dinner.  It's fairly similar to regular water polo except the pool length is smaller and all players must be in inner tubes.  I've heard it's a great work out and the teams that we watched seemed pretty competitive.  If you're coming to Kwaj, like to swim, and looking to try something different, this might be the game for you.

How we roll:
Action shots

The game only held the kids for so long so we headed over to a nearby rocky beach for some playtime before heading home

A Weekend on Roi

August 5, 2014

  I would love to say that we had another wonderful, relaxing weekend up on Roi (kind of likethis one and this one).  It wasn't all bad, just the throwing up,  poor Fire's poop-splosions (yes, his gastric expulsion problem was so bad that I made up a new word to describe it), and the fact that both D and I caught it.  Otherwise, it was another fabulous weekend on Roi.  We flew up early in the afternoon and took it easy, with dinner at the bar and then a movie at the open-air movie theater.  The kids both loved playing someplace new and while it took them a little bit to warm up to our friends up there, once they did they loved all the attention.
  Our first indication that something was wrong was the horrific smell wafting from Fire when he came into our room the next morning.  D lost the rock-paper-scissors and went to clean him up.  I rolled over and closed my eyes until I heard (something I can't type here) from the other room.  Fire didn't just have a dirty diaper, he had a dirty everything:  all of the sheets and blankets on his bed, his sisters sheets, the floor, and some of D's bed were all covered in it.  Not the best way to start your day but we put a load of laundry in the washers and soldiered on.
  I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture: more of that plus some throwing up throughout the day and through the rest of the weekend Oddly enough, Fire had a great attitude through it all.  D had started to feel yucky on Saturday night and was sick most of the day on Sunday.  I got taken out later on Saturday.  We still managed to have a great time playing at the beach and spending time with our friends.  I think the kids loved it and even if we got sick, it was still a much needed break from our every day lives. 

Riding Daddy into bed
Packing with my "helpers"
On Roi

Sandra selfie!

Our Charmed Life. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.