Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Parent's Gift

Guatemalan adoption provides adopting parents the option to visit the baby at some point before bringing her home. Some families go, some do not. It is not required, and it is easy to see the pros and cons to either decision. We have always known that we would opt to go. As hard as it will be to leave Luciana after meeting her, holding her, loving her, it is even more to impossible to imagine not meeting her, holding her, loving her. So, we will go. In the fall. I hope.

The most frequently asked question we get is, "Will you bring Sam?". No. This visit is going to be so emotional and very confusing for Luciana, for us, and for her foster family. As much as we have tried to include S in every way possible, this just did not seem like the time. However, we were not ruling out the idea of bringing him when we go to bring her home. We knew that we wanted to be able to include him for this moment, but I have to claim to softball sized hives and minor hyperventilating at the thought of it. New baby, crying/eating/pooping baby, embassy appointment, 5 year old looking for some luvin' from Mom and Dad.... and the plane ride home!?!? Paper bag, paper bag, paper bag!!!

SO, imagine our JOY when my father called to tell us that he and my mother would like to go with us when the time comes to bring Miss Lucy home. IMAGINE! This changes everything!! This is unbelievable!! Come on people, are you kidding me?? What a gift, what an amazing and selfless gift... what can I say. There are few times I am rendered speechless. I am without words for these generous and lovely parents of mine. Love, love, love!

Much love.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I take pictures. I love it. I pretend to be a photographer and I get to be a part of creating lovely and memorable portraits for families that they can look back on over the years to put a bookmark in time. I believe in the importance of the hallmark event of the "family portrait".

However, I loathe having my picture taken. Truly, it is traumatic experience for me and becomes one for those around me. I am always shocked at the result of the photograph because I think I look so very different than what the photograph produces. I am all gums, my eyes disappear, cheeks to store acorns, and clearly need to hit the gym. Could this be a more shallow reason to keep my son from having pictures of him Mommy at the different stages of our family?!? It's wrong and I know it.

We are required to send photographs of our family to our agency as some part of this whole documentation process. Great. We (I) waited until the last possible moment, woke up one Saturday morning and realized I could hide no more.
It was quick. It was relatively painless. We did laugh and have fun. Instead of "CHEESE", we said, "LUUUCCCYYYY!". It only seems fair to share for those family and friends who said it couldn't be done.... was that a flying pig?!?!

Thank you Sally.

4 Weeks Old

Happy First Month to our little Guatabundle.

She is 2 days old in this picture.

To read about and see more pics of Luciana from the day we first "met" her, click here:

What We Did When We Got "The Call"

On June 17th I had written a post describing my rapid and not so subtle unraveling of nerves while waiting for "the call" to say we had been matched with a baby. That day was our 7 year anniversary and we had enjoyed a lovely weekend away. It was in the final hours of that weekend, while walking and enjoying last moments, harbor views, and gorgeous skylines that I invented the "what is the first thing you are going to do when we get the call" game. That, my friends, was the beginning of a truly ugly week of emotions.

I was a mess. I didn't recognize myself in this state of jumbled, crumbling, blubbering emotion. My head did not agree with what was happening to me. Be strong, be patient. You know what you signed up for. Adoption is hard... in every possible meaning of the word. Breath.

I couldn't. I cried all the time.

On a day soon after returning from our anniversary, K, in his gentle way, asked why I thought this particular time was proving to be so hard for me. In that moment, it was clear to me. She had been born. I knew it. I felt it. I was pulled by every fiber of my being into the most clear awakening to the realization, no... the certainty, that our daughter had been born. And, with that came an aching I just don't have the words to explain. The other side of all this emotion was another certainty. I knew I would be okay if only we would just get the referral. I just needed to get my eyes on her. I needed to know in my head what my heart already knew.

Looking back now, and seeing that Miss Luciana was born the day after that post, I can't help but smile. A mother's instinct? And, as promised (or hoped), I am fine. For now. I would happily bring her home today, this very moment, but that was never in the big picture that is adoption. It is simply not our turn. I take great comfort in knowing (another mother's instinct) that she is well cared for and loved. I have had a few tearful moments, but they have come at more reasonable times. For instance, a tear for my son placing pictures of Luciana in an album next to his own baby pictures. Love, love, love. Now, I have more tears for those moments, and fewer in the everyday tasks that might suggest one who has lost her senses while bawling over a commercial for a movie about surfing penguins!!

Right, so to the point of the title of this post. It occurred to me that I had not described how we found out and what we did. It was so entirely without fanfare, that it was almost a second thought to share it... except that I think about it all the time.

I came home after swimming with Leslie & Kathleen. It was after 7:00PM, so I sort of settled on the idea that that day's window had closed. I came home to find K sitting at my laptop. A daring move on his part as I am mildly protective of my laptop. But, before I could shoo him, I noticed a look on his face that sent me jumping into his lap and staring at the screen. There it was. An email. He had not opened it (good choice), but the subject line was all the clue we needed. We clicked, and there she was. We stared. And stared. Cliche alert: Time stopped. I know I was crying, I know we were hugging, but it was one of those moments that truly becomes foggy all around the edges and makes it soft and slow and slightly difficult to remember, except that you know you were experiencing one of the most memorable moments of your life. And, just what did we do when we got the call that turned out to be an email? Well, nothing for about 30 minutes... then we called our parents and cried and giggled and made promises to keep this to ourselves for a few days... then we called more family, and more friends, and then wrote emails and totally blew all the advice we had ever heard about staying grounded and shouted out excitement from the rooftops! That's what we did.

Much love.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Frogs, Hippos & Other Girly Things

At the end of our Big Brother celebration, K, S and I each decided to buy something for the baby. K picked out the lavender outfit, I chose pink striped PJ's (I am go crazy for stripes) and a strawberry dress with matching hat, S went for the blue shaky hippo and 2 green frog rattles. I love him. He took his task to heart, checking each rattle until he was sure he had the right one for his baby sister. It was the perfect end to a grand celebration.

Note the strawberry on the bum. Come on!

Love, love, love.

Big Brother Celebration

We struggled a bit with when and how to tell S about receiving the referral. It was easy to imagine that he would become anxious for Luciana to come home and have a lot of questions that would be challenging to answer. But, after only two days of hiding in the kitchen to talk on the phone in whispers about the "news", it became obvious that it was time to tell him...or risk future therapy to undo the paranoia I was surely beginning to cause in him. Anyway, we have been honest with him throughout this process, and he has done nothing but amaze us. This was no different.

I had done a little prep work on the topic earlier in the day explaining that we expected to hear about the baby soon, that when we did we would receive pictures, that it would still be a very long time before she comes home with us. We talked about how it is not our turn to have her, but we already love her. Anyway, when we showed him her pictures, he just stared in silence and smiled. We talked about the foster mom in the picture and how happy she looked, we noted Lucy's kissable cheeks and happy smirk, we talked about her hair, how little she was, on and on. He just stared. When the last picture appeared, he looked at us and said with a smile, "show me again".

S's face in this makes me laugh... enough pictures already!

Daddy's Boy

That night, we celebrated! We went to the beach and got pier fries and pizza slices. We took our treat of a dinner down to the the beach and had such a nice time. We watched people attempt to swim in the still cold water, watched people on rides, played a couple of arcade games, all the while smiling and feeling like a family who had truly changed in a way that only we knew. We walked around together in a bit of an elated daze and made a good fuss over S in his new role as Big Brother. A truly lovely night.

Later, we shopped. Just a little.

Much love.

Introducing Luciana!!

As most of you know by now, we got the "call"! We have been referred a baby, and we could not be happier. We received an email with pictures and some very limited information on June 26. The baby was born June 18, so she was only 8 days old when we first "met" her. (Love at first sight was only this real when we first held Sam.) She was 5 lbs 8 oz. at birth.

We will keep most of the limited information we have about her birthmother private at this time in order to give her as much respect as we can. All we can say is how much we have had her in our thoughts as she has gone through what must be a truly agonizing decision to choose adoption for her daughter, and we pray she knows how much her baby is already loved.

We accepted her referral after receiving medical and lab reports. We were lucky to have an over the phone consultation with Dr. Lisa Albers from Boston Children's. She was able translate and clarify the medical and lab reports we received from Guatemala and her overall feeling was that she seemed in good health, though small, which we expected. Oh, and she was sure to mention that she is "very cute". Smart woman.

Here is the site that shares some insight from the lovely Dr. Albers:

A lot has happened these last three weeks, but if you are reading this right now, you are really tuned in for are the pics.... am I right?

Ladies and gentleman, feast your eyes on this bundle of love:

She is 2 days old in this picture. Smiling. She knows she is loved.

Our little bundle.

I dream of kissing these cheeks.

What about her name?!?! We have decided to use Luciana as a first name. (I could write an entire post about the thoughts that went into here name!) She will have 2 middle names. One will be my Mimi's maiden name, the other will be her birthmother's last name. And of course, the oh so Italian last name... girl, all together, it's a mouthful! This name has the strength of many strong and smart women that Miss Luciana will be lucky to learn about in years to come.

Now that the news is out, I will try to get back to regularly scheduled posting. I have had so many moments over the last few weeks that need to be recorded for the sake of journaling; we have had so many loving and supportive words and gestures from friends and family that I want to remember; Sam has been so generous and grounded and sincere with his love for a little sister he has yet to meet.... all these things will be processed further. For now, it is just a joy to share our 4 week old baby girl with you all.

Much love.