15 years married

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It was 15 years ago on this date, that I married my best friend in front of family and friends on a beautiful warm autumn day on Long Island.

I can look back in my mind’s eye to this beautiful happy day like it was yesterday.  We did not know what the journey ahead would be for us we just knew we wanted to spend our lives together.  We have been together for 19 years having dated for 4 years before marrying.

What began as a friendship and blossomed into romance and now has deepened into a love and relationship that I could never imagine.  To have this man by my side is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  Over the years together we have had our ups and downs and we have weathered the storm coming out as a stronger team together.

I could never have imagined the journey our lives together would take and would never change a thing.  This man who is now the father to our children.  Each of our girls entrusted to us at birth. Our family expanding not only with the addition of our daughters but with each of their families. The love and friendship we share with all of our girls families only enhancing our love for each other.

Here we are 15 years later, we lived in San Francisco then to our first home purchased together in El Cerrito, then onto Hercules and now to our home in Poet’s Corner.  We have traveled together including Alaska, Mexico, back and forth to the East Coast and our honeymoon in France and Italy.  Later visiting friends and wandering through Australia.  I first started camping with this man and now our family enjoys yearly summer camping together.  We drove to our first daughter’s birth in Minnesota seeing it as an adventure leaving behind our coupledom .

Raising two girls together who are now 8 and 6 years old.  The fun and hectic parts of our daily lives that doesn’t always leave time for us.  I cherish our family time together but most importantly I cherish the time we get together just the two of us whether it’s after our girls have gone to bed or we’ve actually gone out on a date! The ups and downs of everyday life have only strengthened our friendship and love for each other.

Here’s to another 15 years and more, my love I wouldn’t want to share this crazy life with anyone else, Happy Anniversary!

The baby wait/weight …

Weight-Scale

Yes it’s been years since we were in the waiting stage to become parents on our journey to parenthood, and yes our girls are now 8 and 6 years old. But I am still struggling with the Baby Wait/Weight. The weight I gained while on hormones and then being home while waiting and having food at the ready.

Excuse 1,000,000,000 now that our lives are in the fast lane with school for each girl, after school activities and more our dinners at times are whatever the quickest to throw together can be.  Not the best way to eat nutritious I agree.

All of this comes on the heels of a comment our older daughter made to me over the summer. She told me I was not able to sit on a porch swing because I was too big.  It hurt my heart like no other thing someone could say to me.  At her age she wasn’t calling me out as fat, she was saying it as she saw it, I am a big girl and that’s what she knows.  After my tears and conversations with my husband I realized there was no malice in her words just the plain facts.  This told me I was not happy with who I was in the skin I’m in.  I will not wallow in self pity I will do something about it and now is that time.

I will be 51 years old later this year and if I plan to be around for the many years I intend to see our girls grow and flourish I need to take a stand now on my wait/weight!

By writing about this and sharing publicly I feel I will need to follow through.  This is not a quick fix.  This needs to be a lifestyle change for me.  With the start of the school year my girls and I have been walking to school each and every morning.  Now I need to layer on more exercise and so it’s time for me to take out the leash for our 1 year old Weimaraner and hit the trails.

Both of our girls are naturally thin in this stage of their lives.  I don’t want them to feel the focus I have on my body image. I recently viewed the Dove #feelbeautiful  video about the legacy we pass onto our children regarding body image Dove Legacy . We’ve always prided ourselves that our children would know when they were properly full and stop eating.  From toddlers to now they do not overeat and we keep healthier snacks available to them and the other types of food are not forbidden but not our first choice.

It’s safe to say I have fallen off the good eating wagon and need to get all of us back on to provide a healthier environment in our own home.  I need to practice what I preach to our girls about fruit first when looking for a snack.

I have signed up for a 5K in June of 2015 to give me incentive to bring back the old me that walked 4 miles 3x a week.  The old me that didn’t eat carbs all the time and was healthier.  The baby wait/weight is just an excuse now I realize that.

So now I’ve put it out there in the universe, I will do something about the baby weight/wait!

 

do you celebrate your child’s family day?

This is a question I see come up often in the different groups I am part of on the internet. Some refer to it as “Gotcha Day” while others like ours call it “Family Day”.

What is family day you ask? For us it is the anniversary of the day we sat before a family judge in court and officially became a legal family. Although both of our girls were entrusted to us at birth, there is a time period during post-placement that you are assisted with social worker visits to ensure all is going well and then the final report and documents are drawn up that will be presented in court. Here in California the timeline is about 6-9 months for the post-placement visits. For our second daughter it was shorter as we had adopted only 2 years before.

We received a court date for our local county family court and on that day friends & family joined us for each of our daughter’s finalization hearings. We pledged before the judge our love and care for our daughter as we had to their birth parents.

Our first daughter’s birth father himself is an adoptee. He was interested in how we would recognize our court date when it came. He shared how much he liked having his family celebrate and recognize his family day. We knew from his positive experience that this was something we would do as well.

Now that our girls are 7 and 5 years old, they like the recognition and celebration of their family day. We allow them to choose the way they want to celebrate. Usually a dinner out or something fun to do.

Our girls like to see the pictures that were taken with us and the family judge that presided over our hearing.

It is a reminder to all of us that this is how our family was formed. As I sit here today we are reminded that it is our youngest daughter’s family day. In May we will celebrate our older daughter’s day as well.

Do you celebrate or recognize Family Day within your own family?

thinking back … remembering how it all started …

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memories thinking back to when we began our journey to parenthood …

Our journey to parenthood began officially in July of 2005 signing on with an adoption agency here in San Francisco and signing on with a well known and trusted adoption facilitator in the area as well.

After our homestudy was complete we began work on our outreach, telling the world we wanted to be a Mommy & Daddy and we were looking to adopt! Our letters mailed to healthcare professionals, and our website turned on on the internet to help us become a family … The letters and website both were done and up and out by Thanksgiving of 2005.

We started to receive phone calls from our website, but there was one that my husband (who answered the phone) felt connected to. C called in early December and talked to my husband for quite some time that day. He listened and heard her and asked some questions. After he got off the phone, we talked together and wondered could this be the call?

The holidays that year came at us in a rush … and before we knew it C called us back again in early January. We had previously shared with the facilitator we were working with the info we had gotten from C on the first call and then the two of them spoke. At that time, C was very early in her pregnancy (about 8 or 9 weeks) and we were all told this was too early to be considered a ‘match’ (the engagement of prospective adoptive families with an expectant mother) and were to build a relationship and see what transpires.

C lives in Minnesota and we live in California so building a relationship meant phone calls, emails, and instant messaging through YAHOO! We did develop a relationship … all three of us … and before we knew it she was six months into her pregnancy and it was time to meet in person. Arrangements were made for C to come visit us here in our home and to meet with Ellen, our facilitator. I can still remember the date of her trip … April 29, 2006!

Picking her up at the airport was nerve wracking, we did know her through our communications, and we each knew what we looked like as we had all shared many photos … but we were meeting in person for the first time … we were meeting the young woman who might choose us to parent the baby she was carrying … how do you prepare for this meeting? We bought her her favorite flowers that we took to the airport, we also had bought her favorite fragrance of showergel to have in the guest bathroom and when food shopping had her favorite foods and drink! We are a family that food is always part of any kind of celebration so for us that felt right!

Meeting her in person, my nerves melted away … it was like an old friend coming to visit! My husband felt the same way and so did our dog, Cody! We had a great time getting to know each other in person, showing her the sights of San Francisco, having her see the home we hoped to raise her baby in and just spending time together!

By the end of our visit she had officially asked us to be the parents of her baby and asked us to join her for a birthing class and to meet her OB/GYN back in Minnesota the next month. We happily agreed.

In July near the baby’s due date we packed up our car, our dog, and everything but the kitchen sink to be with C when she gave birth and then on July 21, 2006 we met our daughter.

When our first daughter turned one, we began talking again about adding to our family. We found this time we were a little slower to get some of the things done … her birthday is in July and in July of 2007 we asked our agency for an updated homestudy and we finally finished it by February of 2008. By the time we officially re-signed on with Ellen, our adoption facilitator, it was just after June 2008 ….

At the beginning of August 2008, we were called by S having ‘met’ through our facilitator Ellen, to meet in person. S lived an hour south of us and as luck would have it when she called my husband and daughter had just left for their swim lesson so I told her we could meet later in the day.

We drove down to meet S full of excitement and nerves! We knew before meeting S that her baby was due in two weeks … after building a relationship with C for almost seven months this would be very quick and different from our previous experience.

We got down to where she lived a little later than we anticipated and wondered would she care that although we called we were late! So not only were we nervous we felt bad we might be starting off on the wrong foot … with our elder daughter in tow we sat down to get to know each other, all of us sharing how nervous we were … she telling us she had never known or met any adoptive parents before and us sharing we were just nervous meeting her … our nerves and fears subsided and before we knew it we had all been talking, laughing and watching our daughter for over four hours. After our meeting we immediately called our facilitator, Ellen, and shared with her we would be very open to moving forward whatever S decided and unbeknown to us, S phoned Ellen and told her we were it, she had found the family for her baby.

We had two weeks to start developing a relationship that would last all of us a lifetime and we all made haste to get to know each other … we had her over for dinner a few times and we met at a park near to where she lives another and then we got the call …. her water had broken and it was five days before her due date … like with C, we were invited to be at the hospital to support her and meet our newest addition …and on August 22, 2008 our daughter was born.

Our girls are now 7 and 5 years old, we have extended our family not only through each of our daughter’s birth mothers but through their extended families and at the time each girl turned 4 we reconnected with each of their birth fathers. We could not imagine it any other way!

So you never know what a first meeting will bring … but in each of our cases it started what is now a life long relationship with each of our daughter’s families that have seamlessly become part of ours 🙂

Its the memories of where we started to know where we are today that got me thinking about our initial journey to parenthood.