Today is Birth Mother’s Day

Mamamama, she says in one long babble while also signing Mama and patting me on the back. That is what I came home to last night after a long week of work. We walked around the neighborhood chasing the neighbors cats, smelling flowers, picking up rocks, kissing the neighbors dog statue and we played on her swing.

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We read books. Her favorites right now are the ones that you can touch and feel, Pete the Cat books, Llama llama books and 100 first words that she absolutely loves to point to and try to either say what each thing is or sign if she can’t say it yet. She is learning new signs quite often now! She also loves animal books and when Mama and Daddy make the animal noises and movements. She can bark, act like a monkey and a giraffe (of course!!!!!).

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About a week ago she started signing sleep when she is ready for bed while reading so we open up our Jesus loves me book and we sing. We hug and kiss and we go to bed. She rarely cries. She is a good baby.

She is my rainbow baby. She filled me with life after several years of a pain-filled, dark storm. She is a gift. A great gift from her birth Mother. I pray that as I receive wet Mother’s Day kisses tomorrow from my Lainey that her birth mother knows how so very loved this child is. That she can continue to have peace in her heart that the selfless decision she made to not only allow Lainey life, but to allow Lainey life with her Daddy and I was a good one. I cannot imagine the ache her heart must feel wondering what Lainey must look like or what her sweet little voice must sound like. Just tonight, her Grandma said how she loves how it is so quiet and scratchy sounding!

I am just now beginning to see some of the real meanings of what being a mama truly is. Perhaps the most important thing is that she is first. Always. She will always be before me. I think you are an amazing birth mother and knew Lainey should be first all along. You put her first before you, too. That’s why you chose me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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not a baby anymore

Excuse me while I wipe away the tears. A big girl lives in our home now. A big girl that plays kitchen, colored with crayons (and markers-brave Daddy!!!!) for the first time yesterday, says kitty-cat and ball (among other things), has ten teeth, and climbs up AND down the stairs faster than I do.

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She is starting to learn about Jesus. She does prayer hands at the table before she eats and “sings” with us when we sing Jesus Loves Me at least twice at bedtime each night.

Another favorite song is Multiplied by Needtobreathe. You heard it here. Adam plays it at least daily and sings it to her, and of course she “sings” along. As a side note, I still weep when the freaking song comes on from the flood of motions from that day come back! #willthateverstop?

Her favorite books at bedtime are Wheels on the bus and Llama Llama Zippity Zoom. She does this weird tongue-rolling thing whenever we say the word llama. It’s absolutely awesome!

She is still a fish and loves the water. She will take a bath that lasts almost an hour some evenings! She will purposefully put her head under the water, loves to float on her belly and will even put her face in the water “pretending” to blow bubbles. She helps remove her clothes before bath-time, even her unders!

Her friends at Mama’s clinic adore her and even made a “toy shelf” for her during her visits! She’s become an expert blood-pressure-machine-rider and can run the halls with the best of ’em. I’m so thankful that even after all of the poking and prodding she’s had in the past couple of months she still doesn’t mind all of my partners and the nurse’s looking and listening to her. Such a big girl!

Because of her cow’s milk allergy, we have to be creative and she absolutely loves her Daddy’s home-made “ice-cream” (frozen bananas plus strawberries and peanut-butter). Other favorites include hamburger, avocados, bananas, pears, eggs, sausage, apple sauce, mama’s cookies, tomatoes and cutie oranges. Speaking of which, if anyone has any special recipes, please send our way! Especially for snacks…that is where we struggle.

She is not a cuddler-never has been but is very affectionate. She gives hugs and kisses (open-mouthed ones!) and then goes on her way. She’s a busy girl, after all.

She has horrible allergies that just started 6 weeks ago. Having never had myself, this is a whole new ball game to us. There are days her little eyes are just dripping and snot rockets are just shooting out! She had her first bilateral ear infections that wouldn’t go away on their own and required antibiotics (up until now, she hasn’t ever had any!). She needed breathing treatments at the beginning while we sorted things out and kept her inside to get things under control and have been “managing” better since. Honestly, she still isn’t good so we pray that her “season of allergies” will be short-lived! We’re hoping a new fancy air purifier in her room helps also.

She definitely has a few favorite toys. Bob, her lovey is for her sleep time only, Sally the seal came from cousin Colt and pretty much makes anything better in life so we save her for emergencies, Tina the “happy” (a round fabric thing that laughs and giggles at her) is EVERYthing to her and she has three baby dolls that she loves.

She goes to an in-home Christian daycare half to full days most days of the week and is home with Daddy the rest of the time. We can’t get her jacket off fast enough and she is scrambling away to play with her friends when we get there in the mornings. She loves her Ms. Sydney and sometimes doesn’t even want to come home!

And, she wore a skirt for the first time today…(Daddy just says to be sure she has bloomers on!). I say praise God for this child! Just look at her so full of life!

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and then there were three

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It was a beautiful fall day and we met the photographer at a local winery for our first official family pictures. The plan was to take our pictures before we went to the court house with with her also accompanying us there.

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We would be meeting our attorney at the courthouse  before our hearing time, a woman we have only corresponded with over the phone and online. In the past ten months we have worked closely with two attorneys, both amazing women. She was just as I imagined.

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While sitting in the court room she shared two things she learned through her journey of parenthood. First, rather than saying “no” when a child misbehaves she said she learned to tell her children, “we don’t do that“. When a child learns the word “no” they will quickly begin telling us “no“, which honestly becomes old very quickly! “We don’t do that” is a sentence and therefore is something they cannot repeat for quite some time. And, let me tell you, she is very correct. Even Adam and I don’t swim in the dog’s water dish, so we feel really good about saying “we don’t do that!“.

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Next, she said when she got older she wished that she did not react as loudly when her children misbehaved…especially in public. We all know this to be beneficial. We know that if we speak quietly they will, themselves, be more likely (but certainly not guaranteed!) to quiet down to listen. The question is if I’ll have that self-control!

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I have only ever gone to court for medical cases, for situations that I was not emotionally entangled with. To say that our emotions weren’t high would be false. We were excited for days before!

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The five of us (our attorney, Lainey, Adam, myself and our photographer) went in to the courtroom shortly before our hearing time. We all stood when the judge came in. It was then that he asked for another case to be moved before us due to a translator being available at that moment for that person. It was surreal. This brief picture of this judge’s day reminded me of how family practice in medicine is on most days; it is so variable. The first case was a non-English speaking person with a large bill to a company that she did not pay and therefore was turned to collections. Her story was that she didn’t have enough money and had other bills to pay. You can imagine his verdict. Next on the docket: a nice young family adopting a child. #whocouldthathavebeen? And, then following us was a criminal case involving a sudanese gentleman. NOBOREDOMALLOWED.

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The judge asked everyone to leave the court room except for us for our hearing. After being sworn in, all of the little details surrounding Lainey’s birth were discussed between our attorney and the judge. Lainey’s adoption is open….but kind of not (in a way) as there are details that are private and we want them that way for both her and her birth parents. I was so very thankful at that moment that he asked all of those people to leave that room. He asked us each what we see when we look at Lainey. He asked us each what we see when we look at each other. I saw my daughter. She is beautiful. I saw an amazing man. A wonderful father that is in love with this little girl that I was holding on my lap.

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It felt much like our wedding day, some 19 years ago. We vowed to care for her physically, emotionally and financially. He came down off of the stand and congratulated us. He shook our hands. And, met the star of the show…

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We literally had our two copies of the adoption decree within 15 minutes.

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And within two weeks her birth certificate arrived, something we hadn’t seen yet! Adam took a picture and sent it to me at work as soon as the mail came.

364 nights ago I cried myself to sleep. Our alarm was set for 3:45 am so we could be sure to leave the house in time to be at the hospital in Kearney early enough for the D&C as our fourth child had passed, a daughter we later named Lainey Lynne’. We knew that was the last pregnancy I would ever have. We were at the lowest point of our life.

Tonight, my daughter is sleeping soundly in her room. She’s been sick this past week so I can hear a faint cough occasionally but quite honestly? It’s a beautiful sound. She’s freaking amazing. Everything about  her is crazy amazing! She’s for real. It’s real. This is all real. It is December 1, 2015 everyone and Lainey Noelle is still here. At our home. She never left. No one ever came to take her away. It wasn’t a joke. She’s ours. We are her’s.

All of this, this whole journey that started on January 21st? It is forever.

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Six-month favorites

Better late then never, amiright?

By far, Lainey’s favorite “toy” so far has been her noggin stik. I’m not even quite sure how I stumbled across this. It was probably one of those silly “how to make your baby smarter” pinterest articles that said to buy this thing called a noggin stik. Say wha? Anyways, we actually got it right around four months but the girl loved it and still does! So much so that it became the magic toy. You know the one. The one you hide when you are somewhere and save for when you really, really, really neeeeeeed them to make it just five more minutes. Yeah, that one. The noggin stik was that for us. So much so that we bought a 20-pack of batteries from Amazon. That is the only drawback to it, I would say. The battery life leaves a lot to be desired but is easy to replace!

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While this wasn’t a favorite, I’m going to put this right here:

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It feels like about (13) years ago that I put a what am I post out with a picture of this. This is a montessori interlocking disc. Great for teething, grasping (gross motor skill), etc. Adam and I are very interested in some of the montessori principles, not all of them, but many. We often discuss how to incorporate them into raising this little human we are responsible for. If any of you fine folks have any knowledge about montessori that you’d like to pass on to us, PLEASE DO!!!

This next favorite is very basic and is still a favorite!

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A mirror! Just an el-cheapo from Walmart and she loves it! Now that she sits or stands most of the time we have moved it and have it anchored up higher on the wall.

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This is how her mirror is currently set up:

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Last but not least! Her ride! This girl can’t get enough walks. She absolutely loves to go on walks. She’ll grab on to the front tray with both fists and won’t let go the entire time.

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