Mystery Lane

Mystery Lane

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Secret Revealed

 There is something that has been happening in my life the last 3 months that I haven’t shared on my blog.  I’ve kept it to myself because it seems very precious to me and due to circumstances beyond my control I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen.  Last week a meeting took place that seemed to determine what was going to happen, to a certain degree, and now I feel ready to share the news on my blog.  On Easter two beautiful little children will be moving in with Jackson, Kevin and I.  If everything goes our way, in 6 months (the required waiting period) we can apply to adopt them.  Our family of 3 is becoming a family of 5 and my cup runneth over. 
My husband Kevin and I are both adopted.  I was adopted at birth and Kevin was a few months old when he was adopted.  Because of this, both Kevin and I always planned to adopt.  As our relationship grew and we got married, we talked of wanting to have a couple of our own children and then adopting a couple more.  Mostly we wanted to adopt out of the foster care system simply because there are so many children in need of a permanent home.  Then Jackson was born and we got his diagnosis.  We (well mostly I) hemmed and hawed for quite a while about whether we should have another child of our own.  There is a very small (5%) chance we could have another child with Jackson’s condition.  Although, most of the specialists just feel what happened with Jackson was a fluke.  The truth is I just don’t want to risk it.  I love Jackson to the moon and back a million times, I am grateful that he is my son, and I would no doubt love any child we had, but I just don’t want to have another one who could face the challenges Jackson will have to.  I don’t think it is fair.  Even more honestly, I hated being pregnant, it was miserable, and not sleeping through the night was torturous.  So in summary, I pass on the baby thing. 
We knew the only way to adopt out of the foster care system was to become foster parents.  A couple of years ago Kevin and I started that process and become licensed foster parents.  We have had a couple of foster daughters in our home, one of which I simply loved and adored.  When she left I was heartbroken and it took me a while to get over it.  Then in September we got a call about a couple of kids who were in the system looking for a home.  There were a lot of “ifs” in their situation.  Maybe parental rights were going to be terminated, maybe not.  There was a family member interested but still thinking about it.  It was just too many ifs for my heart to get involved so we told DSHS to call us if they were up for adoption and no one else stepped forward.  I thought about them from time to time, wondering what happened, but didn’t hear anything so figured something worked out for them.  We were ready for more kids and decided that when we got home from our Christmas vacation to Florida we would call DSHS and let them know.  So January 2nd rolled around and on my To Do List that day was to call DSHS and tell them to find us some more kiddos.  That morning I woke up and there was an email from the social worker letting me know the two kids they called us about in September were up for adoption and looking for a forever home.  If we were interested please call her.  Now I don’t believe much in “signs” and “fate” and such but if that wasn’t some kind of sign I don’t know what is!  I called and within a week we met the kids for the first time.  Right away we loved the kids.  We started spending one day every weekend having them over for the day.  Each of them spent one weekend with us.  The more time we spent with them, the more it felt that they were our kids.  They just seemed to fit with our family.  The week after we met them we started remodeling our house.  We have a newer house with an unfinished basement.  Because of their ages (7 and 8) and being opposite sexes, they have to have their own rooms, they can’t share.  Since we only have one extra bedroom in our house right now, that had to change.  So the two new bedrooms in the basement went from being an idea to a reality.  Kevin did most of the work but we did hire out the dry walling.  As of right now just a little trim work is all that is left to do.  Last week the kids were told they were coming to live with us.  They were so excited!  But not as much as me!  They have been watching us build the bedrooms but we could never tell them that they were for them.  Although I think they suspected.  Now they know the rooms are theirs and they will have the memories of them being built.  This weekend I took the kids shopping and they picked out all new stuff for their rooms.  Knowing their history, this will be the first time they have rooms to really call their own.  They were so cute decorating their rooms.  Everything had to be just so.  It was fun to watch and to be a part of.  Most importantly it made me want to cry knowing how their lives are about to change and that they are going to get the childhoods they deserve. 
I spent about 6 weeks going to the DSHS office every Tuesday to look through the massive files, yes files plural, on the kids.  Their history is heartbreaking, infuriating and at times hopeless.  It was difficult to read sometimes.  But it was during those 6 weeks and through those files that my Mama Bear was born and my heart opened for these kids.  From now on those kids are mine and I vow to protect them and love them as much as Jackson.  To be honest, these strong emotions have surprised me.  In my wildest dreams I would have never imagined us finding two kids who fit into our family so well, let alone that I would fall in love with them so quickly.  I honestly always worried if I would love the children we adopted differently than Jackson.  I don’t know why I worried about that.  I saw how much my parents loved me, and how much Kevin’s love him, I just didn’t know if I would feel the same since we were getting older children whose lives I missed out on for their first few years.  Turns out it doesn’t matter how old or young they are.  Once I realized that those kids were going to be mine, all that love just took over.
Perhaps the best thing for me is the joy and peace these kids have brought me.  I’ve been given the opportunity to be a mom to two little children who desperately needed one.  Let me say this, I am so grateful that I have Jackson.  He has been the most amazing gift and has taught me so much.  I get to enjoy a whole different parenting experience with him.  One that I love and has changed me in so many ways I never thought possible.  What I realize now is that I also desperately wanted to have that typical parenting experience.  I get to share in their accomplishments, their funny moments, their life struggles.  I will get to be a different parent with them.  Lately I’ve been thinking about how incredibly lucky I am.  How my life seems suddenly so fulfilled.  I know there are struggles ahead, I know there will be hard times, but right now I am just filled with happiness.  Recently I saw this quote from Toni Morrison that reminds me what being a mom is about:  “The greatest gift that a mother can give to her child is to have her face light up whenever the child enters the room.”  I foresee a lot of face lighting up in my future. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Jackson Update

It’s time for a Jackson update!  Seeing that he is the star of my blog, it’s time to let everyone know how the kid is doing.  Long story short, he’s had some ups and downs the last couple of months.
For starters he has been fighting off a cold or two.  Wiping those constantly runny, green boogers never get old.  Ha!  Here’s a prime example, Jackson was in his high chair and sneezed.  Big long booger comes out, down past his chin.  I run to get Kleenex.  Jackson flips his head around.  Big booger flies through air and is now spread across his cheek and into his ear.  Just as I reach him he grabs to rub it.  Thankfully I got there just in time to stop him!  I don’t even want to think about what that would have been like.  So yeah, fun times around here lately.  I also think he has had some kind of stomach virus too.  He’s had a couple of days of throwing up and some interesting colored bowel movements.  Some bouts of constipation have also made for some unhappy moments for us.  Don’t know what is going on with him, but for the most part he has maintained good spirits. 
Unfortunately, Jackson had 2 seizures a couple of weeks ago.  He was at school when he had them so I didn’t see them.  Not sure exactly what brought them on.  Either it was due to his being sick, a growth spurt, maybe it was just random.  It is always so disheartening and scary to me.  I’ve gotten used to him not having them and I really, really prefer it that way.  Then he has a seizure and it is a reminder of how lucky he has been to find the right medicine to stop them.  I hope we don’t see any more anytime soon. 
We’ve continued the Feldenkrais and Anat Baniel therapies and Jackson is doing great with them.  He moves differently, is more aware of his body and surroundings, and seems like he is developing in little ways.  It’s been great to watch the change in him.  It’s also been affirming of the risk we took in taking him out of traditional physical and occupational therapy.  I have come to believe that when you have a special needs child you have to be willing to take some risks.  Whether with therapies, medications or doctors, you have to do what you can to give your child the best chance at life.  It is scary, but as Teddy Roosevelt said ““It is impossible to win the great prizes of life without running risks, and the greatest of all prizes are those connected with the home.”  So true Teddy.
It’s never a dull moment with Jackson.  He’s always switching things up around here to keep me on my toes.  I guess somebody’s got to.