Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kaycee 2010-2011

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Open Adoption Interview Project 2011

Meet my new friend Kira and her beautiful family from God built through Open Adoption!

I love reading different adoption blogs! In the past year I have followed the Production not Reproduction blog. It is a network of 200+ bloggers from all sides of adoption writing about their open adoption experiences. I thought it would be fun to participate in the 2011 Open Adoption Interview Project. I was randomly paired with another Open Adoption Blogger. I had the opportunity to read a blog that I haven't read before and peek into someone else's family life that has been also been blessed by adoption.

It has been so fun to get to know this neat mom who lives more than half way across the country and has an incredible family built through open adoptions! Without further ado I'd like to introduce you to my new friend, adoptive mother of two and fellow Blogger Kira!!

My name is Kira, but on my blog I go by "Kiki" because it was an old nick name I got from my roommates in college. My husband Mike and I have been married just over 5 years and live in Utah. We have been blessed with two amazingly cute kids through adoption, Mischief and Lady. These are obviously not their real names, but are nick names I use on my blog as well for privacy reasons. I am a stay at home mom, but I enjoy teaching dance a few hours a week at a local dance studio as well. I enjoy reading, baking, dancing, exercising, being involved in my church, going to movies with Mike, and playing with my kids.

Were you always interested in having an Open Adoption (OA) when you began the adoption process?
We were not always interested in having an open adoption. Mike thought it sounded uncomfortable to keep in contact, and I admit that I was afraid of my kids having 2 moms. I wanted to be the mom, period.

What changed your mind?
We were required through our agency (LDS Family Services) to attend adoption education classes during our approval process. During the classes, we were taught about open adoption and what it really is. We learned that open adoption can be a really great thing, and healthier for all parties involved. At the education classes, we attended a panel where 2 birth moms told their stories. Our hearts went out to these women who made such a lovin decision for their children. Once we felt educated about open adoption, it was an easy decision. We knew we would be completely open to an open adoption. Thank goodness we were, because our son's birth mother wouldn't have picked us otherwise. Mike has found that visits are not uncomfortable at all. I have learned that we can have an open adoption, but that doesn't mean that I'm not the mom. My kids know that I am their mother, it doesnt make them love me any less, or me love them any less. We are a normal family (as normal as any family is, haha) but we built our family through adoption. It is a part of our family, which means their birth parents are a part of our family. We love them.

Your children are only 10 months apart-- I love this story-- can you briefly tell my readers about God's works in your lives bringing baby #2 to you so quickly after #1 was born.

I still can't believe how close our children are in age. In adoption, that is rare. With Mischief's birth mom K, we have a really open adoption. We found out we were chosen by Mischief's birth parents in April of 2009, and he was born in November. So we had about 6 months to get to know K. During that time, we met her best friend "B". B was at the hospital when Mischief was born and we felt really close to her. When Mischief was 3 months old, I got a phone call from K. She asked if we would be willing to adopt again because B was pregnant and wanted to place with us. This has been one of our biggest blessings of having an open adoption. Since our adoption with Mischief was so open, we got to know our daughter's birth mom long before she was even pregnant. She was comfortable placing with us because she already knew us, which was really important to her. So, our kids are 10 1/2 months apart. It is crazy sometimes, but I love having them so close! They are buddies!

Meet "Mischief!"
Meet "Lady!"

What do your children call their Birthmoms?
Mischief is just starting to talk. So he doesn't really "call" them anything yet, but we refer to his birth parents by thier first names. Same with Lady's birth mother.

How often do you see your children's birth families? How far away do they live from you?

We have contact with Mischief's birth mother and father. We have contact with just Lady's birth mother, but send pictures to her birth father. They live about an hour and a half away. During Mischief's first year, we saw them about every month, largely because we were going up for Lady's ultrasounds anyway. So I felt like to be fair, we needed to see Lady's birth mom once a month for the first year as well. Now we have changed to every 2 months, and next year it will change to 4 visits per year. The plan is to always have contact and visits with them. The amount of visits will completely depend on circumstances and most of all, how our children feel about it. I know that our kids will probably have times when they are more curious, and times when they don't want to see them. Their birth parents understand this as well. We will always do what is most comfortable and healthy for how our children are feeling. I hope when they are older, they will have a good relationship with them. 

Do you have phone, email, Facebook or snail mail contact with them?

Our kids birth parents have just graduated from high school, so they are definately texters! I send a picture text to each of them about once a week. We text here and there, and when we are figuring out a date for us to come for our next visit. We are not facebook friends, that we have kept private. We usually go up there for visits, but both birth mothers have been to our home and are welcome here.
Mischief with his Birthfather
Lady with her Birthmother
Mischief with his Birthmother at one day old

Did anyone in your family or friend group have difficulty accepting either of your Open Adoptions?

Our families have been so supportive which was such a blessing. Family is so important to us, so it helped a lot that they were supportive of an open adoption. My mom actually placed her son for adoption over 30 years ago, in a closed adoption. So she was confused about the idea of an open adoption, but quickly accepted it. My mom and dad have met our kids birth mothers, as well as Mike's mom. Our grandparents thought the whole idea was a bit more awkward and dangerous. They didn't understand, and we educated them. They of course told us to be cautious so that they don't "come back for the baby". It's all about educating people around you so they know that your baby won't be taken away. Friends have been amazing too. So supportive and accepting. That's not to say we haven't heard some insensitive questions or comments here and there, but I know that they are not trying to make me feel bad. They just don't understand completely because they have not experienced it for themselves.

What has been the biggest challenge with your OAs?

Our biggest challenge has just been making things equal. Our kids birth parents are best friends, so I feel a need to make everything equal. I need to realize that things don't always have to be so equal, because it is exhausting!

What has been the biggest blessing with OA in your family?

Without open adoption, we would not have either of our children. It has been a blessing because we know their medical history, we have pictures to show them of thier birth parents from day one, they will know why they have blonde hair, and dark hair, they will know that their birth parents loved them so much that they made this decision. Not because they were unwanted. Mischief just turned 2 and we called both his birth mother and birth father that day and he talked to them a bit. It was such a great experience for both of us. I know birthdays are hard days for birth parents, I hope the phone call eased their pain a bit that day.

Fill me in on some of your Favorite things please...
Favorite adoption resource book

I guess this isn't really a resource book, but this book is partially why my heart softened to open adoption as well. It is "From God's Arms, to my arms, to yours" by Michael McLean. It comes with a CD of beautiful music related to adoption. The song, "From God's Arms, to my arms, to yours" is my favorite Michael McLean held a free concert this past May for anyone who had been touched by adoption. We brought our kids birthmothers to this concert and it was a really neat experience. When he sang this song, none of us had a dry eye. Absolutely beautiful to have shared that with them.

Favorite adoption kids book
"Tell me again about the night I was born" by Jamie Lee Curtis. Such a cute book!

Favorite adoption movie
I love "The Blind Side". I love it because it shows that it doesn't matter how our children come into our lives, but when they come it is amazing and they are very much ours. I also love Sandra Bullock's character in this movie how she just gets things done and stands up for her family.

Favorite response to people when they say “Aren't you afraid his/her birthmom will come take them back?”

I say, "No, we are not afraid of that happening. Even though the media likes to make it look like it is a common thing, it really is not. By law, our children cannot be "taken back" and most of all, our kids birth parents are still at peace with their decision and would never do that."

Favorite bible verse related to adoption

I don't necessarily have a favorite verse, but there are bible stories that are my favorite in regards to adoption. This includes Moses, and how he was placed in the care of others for his protection. "And the child grew, and she [his birth mother] brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water" (Exodus 2:10). This is actually an example of a sort of open adoption, as Moses' birth mother was his "wet nurse".
Our Savior Jesus Christ was raised by Mary and his 'adoptive' father, if you will, and that has always touched me.

I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Our church is very supportive of adoption, and I like this quote from our First Presidency back in 1989: "Adoption is a positive, natural, and loving way to build families. We commend those who participate in the adoption process, whereby children may reap the benefits of having a loving father and mother and a stable home life" (Church News, November 18, 1989).

It has been awesome getting to know Kira and her family! Please visit Kira on her blog and post a supportive comment!!
Thank you again Kira for participating in this project!

Monday, November 14, 2011

He said yes!!!!

Some of you may know that I have wanted to adopt 2 little girls since adoption became an option for our family. I have wanted this so much that I've had both their names picked out since we started the process. Kaycee obviously first (K for Kierstin and C for Chris) and then Jenna which is my way of trying to combine Chris' mom's name Janet and my mom's name Jean. Anyhow, my husband has not really been on board with a 4th child. He loves all our kids and being a dad so much but he has been saying 3 is enough. Well, 3 is enough but I want 4. I promised him I'd be done with 4. I always dreamed of 4 by 40 ( 4 kids before I turn 40-- I'll be 40 in April 2013) I look at families of 4 and just love them and want that! A few weeks ago when Kaycee turned one Chris and I sat down and talked, prayed and cried about it. We could not agree. He said "Give me one good reason to have (adopt) another child." I gave him the following list:

1)And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
Matthew 18:5

2) Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Isaiah 1:17

3)When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.
Deuteronomy 24:19

4)Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD.
Psalm 127

5) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.
Proverbs 13:12

6)Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.
James 1:27

7) We have a genuine love for children

8) We have an empty seat in out minivan

9) We are great parents

10) We are spiritual parents and instill the love of God in our children

11) We can financially afford it

12) Kaycee can have a sister-- there is a special bond between sisters

13) Kaycee won't be the only one in our family that looks different

14) We have room in our home for one more

15) We have all the supplies we need-- clothing, bottle, etc. for one more

16) I love being a mom and want to share my love one more time

17) Our kids are great siblings and are looking forward to another sister

18) We have a supportive extended family that another baby would be loved on and welcomed into

19) We have an awesome network of adoptive friends and christian friends that will love on another child of ours and support us with prayers and love

20) Finally, it has been my dream since before we got married to have four children

He said it would have to take God changing his heart and he just wasn't there. I was devastated. I know it may sound silly but I really felt like I had another miscarriage and had to give up the dream of another baby girl. Heck, I had been praying for the past year for him to change his mind!! Anyhow, Sunday during church the reading was Matthew 25: 14-30-- The Parable of the Bags of Gold. After church we always walk the kids over to the statue of the Virgin Mary and say a prayer. There with tears in his eyes, my husband said God spoke to him today during mass. It was the sign he's been looking for. The parable taught us that we have the opportunity to multiply what Christ has entrusted to us. He said yes-- we can adopt a final child to complete our family in 2012!!!!!!!!!! I feel like I just saw the double line on the pregnancy test stick!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

First Year Highlights

Here are a few highlights from Kaycee's First Year...
Welcome to the world Kaycee!!

Her mothers love her... I love this picture!

Daddy's little girl-- love at first sight

Meeting Luke and Zack for the first time at her homecoming-- Halloween night!

First professional pictures at 10 days old

One Month Old

Two Months Old

Three Months Old

Four Months Old

Five Months old

Six Months Old

Seven Months Old

Eight Months Old

9 Months Old

10 Months Old

11 Months Old

1 Year Old

What an awesome year it has been!! We are getting family pictures taken tomorrow!!! Stay tuned...

Monday, November 7, 2011

One Year Old!!

Our sweet baby Kaycee Jaselle turned ONE October 29th!! One already! Ahhhhhhh!!!!! Time sure flies when you are having fun! We had a wonderful birthday with family and friends. We were so happy Kaycee's birthmom was able to come too! She gave me permission to put her pictures on here. I'll post more later but for now here are some pictures from the wonderful day!!