Friday, May 31, 2013

the birthday girl*

a very special little girl turned 2 years old 2 days ago... 

we woke her up to put her in our bed, turned on all the lights

she started clapping while we were singing happy birthday to her...

waiting patiently, or rather impatiently...she just wanted to blow out the candles

we celebrate with doughnuts, 6:30am. 

she is obsessed with blowing bubbles these days, she instantly knew she got bubbles...

while she took her afternoon nap, I bought 20 helium balloons and put it 
around her cot for when she wake up

i opened all the curtains, took loads of photos, nearly fell off the bed, but she did not wake up. 
I had to leave to pick Kellen up. I took all the balloons and hid them in the one bathroom, 
because I wanted to see her face when she sees all the balloons. 
balloons + bubbles = happy girl

when we got back kellen kept her busy while I put the balloons back into her room... 

and took position in to take photos of her excitement... 

and there is joy! seeing her room filled with balloons, running to 'catch' all of them together

sweetness and love...there was lots of that too... 

giggles and laughter... add some joy and her daddy to that mix and you get
an absolute satisfied little girl with balloons

i don't know who was more excited about blowing out the candles... 
he was such a great big brother...trying to stop her (so that i can take photos) 
(where i actually had to light the candles 3 times because she was too fast) 

she clapping and dancing because we are singing (again) happy birthday to her... 

let's blow... no wait! 



and she is so proud of herself. 

But how will I eat cake if my head is over there, and my hands are over here?” 
― Marie Antoinette

i'll just dive in! 

happy birthday beautiful girl! 
we love you to the moon and back xx

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

dear birth mama of this gorgeous little girl*

dear birth mama, 

i wish i could sit across from you today to look you into your eyes, to touch your hand and thank you from the bottom of my heart. to thank you for giving me this opportunity to mother this little girl into her life. 

i wish i could thank you for carrying her for 9 months, thank you for taking good care of yourself so that we today, have a healthy, well-developed little spunky (courageous and determined:) girl. i wish i could thank you for caring enough to have her at a hospital and for making the decision to have her adopted.  

i wish i could speak with you and hear your story... who you are and what makes your heart flutter... i wish i could hear the dreams you had/have for her. i wish i could see the 'connection between you and her... the traits that you and she share... i wish i could give that too to her one day. to be able to know the woman who carried her and brought her into the world. 

i wish i had photos of you and her. i know somewhere there must have been, if just for a moment, so much love for this little girl of yours... i wish i could show that love to her... 

i wish i knew that you were ok. i wish you could tell me that you pray for her too. that you think of her every moment of every day.  i wish i could hear how you dream of her and what those dreams are you have for her. 

i wish i could send you photos of her swinging...that is her most favorite thing to do these last few weeks.  we go to the park, she runs to the swing singing weeeeeeeee.... then she looks at me and say 'push' with a smile that melts my heart. 

i wish i could show you how she plays with her dolls. how she naturally comforts her 'bebe', feed them and kisses them. i wish i could show you how she speaks with them... telling them little stories which always ends in her cuddling them. 

i wish you could see how much she adores her brother... how when she opens her eyes in the morning, she looks around, stretch and calls 'boeta'.  then she runs to our room, calling 'pappa pappa', looking at me with that beautiful smile of hers. 

i wish you could see how strong and courageous she is. how daring and wild. how she easily warms up to people and how stubborn she can be to get her way. i wish you could see how much she enjoys playing in the water. she never used to love sand, and the past few months when she sees the sea, she calls me and say 'sea, jump'.  i wish you could see how she sits for minutes and look at every little shell on the beach.. how she picks it up and calls mama, look! that smile of adoration of realising she just got a treasure... pure joy! 

i feel blessed and overwhelmed all at once. i'm thankful that you chose her name. that you gave her a name that she can carry with pride.  i'm thankful that she will know about her first mama one day.  i'm thankful that she is healthy and alert.  i'm thankful that she is determined and strong-willed, thankful that she knows what she wants. i'm  thankful that she believes in herself, that she is daring and wild. i'm thankful that she loves easily and is loved by so many. i'm thankful that she will be carrier of love, that she will change our world with her being. 

she has changed our world the moment we heard 'when can you pick up your daughter'.  

i'm thankful for you.  

thank you for carrying and birthing this little wonder into the world! 

happiest of birth days to you Bella, we love you to the moon and back xx

Sunday, May 12, 2013

this is for YOU who are still waiting and trying to be called 'mama'*

dear You-who-are-waiting-to-be-called-a-mama, 

i know about the empty feeling of not being able to get pregnant. 
i know about the fear of 'will it ever happen'
i know about the constant thoughts of 'maybe this month'.
i know about the continues trying and making it fun part. 
i know about the not knowing. 
i know about it being not fun anymore. 
i know about the 'what if i never get pregnant'

i know about the dreams that he and you talk about until the wee hours of the night. 
i know about the names that you have already chosen. 
i know about the talks you have about whose lips and eyes your baby is going to have. 
i know about the giggles of what you want your baby to be like. 

i know about the hope you have for your baby's future.
i know about the room that you have already set up in your mind.
i know about the million times you walked into a baby store to just look... look at what you will buy 'if'.
i know about the friend you know for 'whose baby you can buy this'.
i know about the overwhelm & tears when you stand with your friends' baby's gift in your arms, wanting with everything in you to buy it for YOUR baby...
i know how you throw the clothes down, tears streaming down your face, and run out of the shop.
i know how this happens more than once. 

i know about the hope of treatment, ivf, icsi, clomid, you name it...about all the options. 
i know about donors and surrogates. 
i know about all the advise family and friends so freely give. 
and do i know about the 'just wait until you don't think about it, and before you know it, you will be pregnant'

i know about the invasive procedures of (in)fertility treatment. 
i know all about 'hope'. the 'gift' of a baby at the end of the emotional roller coaster. 
i know of the 25% success rate with these procedures and all i see on the walls are the photos of the babies that were born within that 25%.

i also know about the unknown. 
i know about the fear when you go for your first implant. 
i know about the support group number on the wall and the thinking 'i'm not that desperate'
i know about the not knowing what to expect. 
i know about the shyness of putting on the gown and going into a room full of strangers.
i know about acting as if this is no big deal. 
i know about the knowing that you have absolute no idea what to expect. 

i know how scared you are. 
i know how unfair this is. 
i know how angry you are. 
i know about every single time you speak with God and how you want to curse Him for making you one of them

i know about the endless injections and medicine. 
i know about the keeping it together emotionally. 
i know about your husband trying everything to 'take care' of you just in case you fall apart. 
i know about the fear of every injection. 
i know about the thoughts of 'i can do this, we are going to have a baby, this is nothing - thoughts'
i know about getting up at 7am to go to your neighbor (who is a nurse), to give you said injection. 
i know about smiling and being brave, where all you want to do is cry! 

i know about the waiting. 
i know about the devastation of dreams shattered when you hear 'your test is negative'.

sweet one who is already a mama in her heart, 

i also know about adoption and miracles and 'meant to be'. 
i know about the perfect time. 
i know about God being in control of our life plan. 

i know what it is to be called 'mama'. 

i know how sad one feels on mother's day when you've been trying 
i know how you are pretending that special days like today don't upset you. 
i know how you concentrate on your own mom and shrug your own motherhood off as if a fleeting thought. 
i know how you think about motherhood

this series of 'i know letters' is written for you. 
in honor of you. 

mothers'day, may 2013
bella, me & kellen

 this can be your story too. 

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” 
― Rumi

Friday, May 10, 2013

dear mom of an adopted child*

the 1st time i saw and held our baby girl, cape town international airport, 25/08/2011

1st time meeting and holding our son, kellen, 14/07/2008

It is rare to find a written piece of work that touch your heart on so many levels, you want to shout out to the world 'read this! read this! this is how we feel'.  So whether you are an adoptive mom or a birth giving mom, we are all blessed, blessed to be called 'mom'.  This touching piece of writing was written by Kathy Lynn Harris.  

Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,

I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son’s school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident.

It doesn’t matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have.

Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them.

Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life-savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was.

Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it?
I know about all those books you read back then. The ones everyone reads about sleep patterns and cloth versus disposable, yes, but the extra ones, too. About dealing with attachment disorders, breast milk banks, babies born addicted to alcohol, cocaine, meth. About cognitive delays, language deficiencies. About counseling support services, tax and insurance issues, open adoption pros and cons, legal rights.

I know about the fingerprinting, the background checks, the credit reports, the interviews, the references. I know about the classes, so many classes. I know the frustration of the never-ending paperwork. The hours of going over finances, of having garage sales and bake sales and whatever-it-takes sales to raise money to afford it all.
I know how you never lost sight of what you wanted.

I know about the match call, the soaring of everything inside you to cloud-height, even higher. And then the tucking of that away because, well, these things fall through, you know.

Maybe you told your mother, a few close friends. Maybe you shouted it to the world. Maybe you allowed yourself to decorate a baby’s room, buy a car seat. Maybe you bought a soft blanket, just that one blanket, and held it to your cheek every night.
I know about your home visits. I know about your knuckles, cracked and bleeding, from cleaning every square inch of your home the night before. I know about you burning the coffee cake and trying to fix your mascara before the social worker rang the doorbell.

And I know about the followup visits, when you hadn’t slept in three weeks because the baby had colic. I know how you wanted so badly to show that you had it all together, even though you were back to working more-than-full-time, maybe without maternity leave, without the family and casseroles and welcome-home balloons and plants.
And I’ve seen you in foreign countries, strange lands, staying in dirty hotels, taking weeks away from work, struggling to understand what’s being promised and what’s not. Struggling to offer your love to a little one who is unsettled and afraid. Waiting, wishing, greeting, loving, flying, nesting, coming home.

I’ve seen you down the street at the hospital when a baby was born, trying to figure out where you belong in the scene that’s emerging. I’ve seen your face as you hear a nurse whisper to the birthmother that she doesn’t have to go through with this. I’ve seen you trying so hard to give this birthmother all of your respect and patience and compassion in those moments—while you bite your lip and close your eyes, not knowing if she will change her mind, if this has all been a dream coming to an abrupt end in a sterile environment. Not knowing if this is your time. Not knowing so much.
I’ve seen you look down into a newborn infant’s eyes, wondering if he’s really yours, wondering if you can quiet your mind and good sense long enough to give yourself over completely.

And then, to have the child in your arms, at home, that first night. His little fingers curled around yours. His warm heart beating against yours.
I know that bliss. The perfect, guarded, hopeful bliss.

I also know about you on adoption day. The nerves that morning, the judge, the formality, the relief, the joy. The letting out of a breath maybe you didn’t even know you were holding for months. Months.
I’ve seen you meet your child’s birthparents and grandparents weeks or years down the road. I’ve seen you share your child with strangers who have his nose, his smile … people who love him because he’s one of them. I’ve seen you hold him in the evenings after those visits, when he’s shaken and confused and really just wants a stuffed animal and to rest his head on your shoulder.

I’ve seen you worry when your child brings home a family tree project from school. Or a request to bring in photos of him and his dad, so that the class can compare traits that are passed down, like blue eyes or square chins. I know you worry, because you can protect your child from a lot of things — but you can’t protect him from being different in a world so intent on celebrating sameness.

I’ve seen you at the doctor’s office, filling out medical histories, leaving blanks, question marks, hoping the little blanks don’t turn into big problems later on.
I’ve seen you answer all of the tough questions, the questions that have to do with why, and love, and how much, and where, and who, and how come, mama? How come?

I’ve seen you wonder how you’ll react the first time you hear the dreaded, “You’re not my real mom.” And I’ve seen you smile softly in the face of that question, remaining calm and loving, until you lock yourself in the bathroom and muffle your soft cries with the sound of the shower.
I’ve seen you cringe just a little when someone says your child is lucky to have you. Because you know with all your being it is the other way around.

But most of all, I want you to know that I’ve seen you look into your child’s eyes. And while you will never see a reflection of your own eyes there, you see something that’s just as powerful: A reflection of your complete and unstoppable love for this person who grew in the midst of your tears and laughter, and who, if torn from you, would be like losing yourself.

Monday, May 6, 2013

monday magic*

we are all put together with huge, big hearts.  (hopefully) we will fill it with beautiful, inspiring things, things that make you feel alive... 

here are some 'monday magic' that makes my heart beat faster...

one of my most loved authors, because of her, i'm writing.

photographers? wanna-be photographers? mama at home photographer? meet (and register) to join this amazing group of people to light your fire.

she tells it like it is, with one sentence that hit the nail on the head... and she is funky and cute. 

the bravest of them all.  you should read her book

Your heart is the size of an ocean. 

Go find yourself in its hidden depths. 

~ Rumi

Sweet dreaming xx

Friday, May 3, 2013

bonding through adoption* the power of touch*

when bella came to live with us, she was nearly 3 months old. she lived with the most amazing people in a safe house in the eastern cape, where she was loved until she came to us. we did not know about her life, her birth, until 6 days before we picked her up.  

bella was such a good baby. slept continuously.  i remember wanting to wake her up so that i could hold her...hehe... i tried for 3 months to rock her to sleep with no success.  she would wriggle and cry and try to push me away, as soon as i put her in the cot, she would fall asleep.  (which, according to all the baby books, is perfect).  but as an adoptive mama, who have never had a little baby, you want to hold your want her to want to fall asleep in your arms.... 

i surrendered and counted my blessings and many a day sat next to her cot, watching her sleep...wishing for the day that she will fall asleep in my arms. 

about 5 months ago, we started to put bella with us in our bed just before bedtime.  we would all read a story together, sing some songs, talk about our day and then it usually is the big cuddle.  we've respected bella's need for no touch/space, also knowing how important it is to keep on touching her, continuously trying to cuddle. 

during her afternoon nap she will go lie right on the other side of the bed.  i've tried to keep contact, whether it is my fingers playing with her hair, my toes touching her toes, my arm on her arm... i would keep on touching, skin to skin, so that she can feel my presence, until she would shake my arm/foot off.

about 2 weeks ago she was quite unsettled and tried to lie as far as possible away from me.  should she have moved any further, she would have fallen off the bed.  this particular day, just after witnessing and taking this photo, my heart was literally breaking.  i just want to hold her and love her.  she refused any contact at all, started crying when i touched her, even with my toes.

i decided to let it go, lay down on my back and closed my eyes. prayed that she will soften this resistance for love.

i must have fallen asleep. when i opened my eyes a few minutes later, this was my view... my heart was beating faster and tears instantly ran down my cheeks.

the following week, i decided to ignore her, not even trying to touch her in any way and lay on my back with my eyes closed.  a few minutes later, she came to me and was laying like this... it's magical... you don't want to move... or breath... you want to pause that moment for ever and re-live how she came to cuddle on your shoulder.

i've been pushing my luck with her the last 2 months.  i can feel her energy when we go lie down and this specific day i just moved closer and closer... ended right here and she looked at me, turned the other way and fell asleep.

it is the most magical moments of all. being so close, without her resisting my love.

there are still days when i  have to give her her space. but you keep on trying.

kellen is our cuddler galore. he is always laying with one leg over both of us and touching our face.  although he is her hero, the cuddling thing, even with him, is sometimes too much for her.

i was talking with someone about this on which they replied and said that there were so many negative emotions surrounding her birth mom being pregnant with her, she is still protecting herself.

when i told them that she fell asleep in my arms, someone replied: aawww... she is allowing in all the love, she can now love you fully and let you love her fully back.

how true the above is, i will never know.  but i would never have thought that it would take nearly 2 years for us to get bella to cuddle with us before she falls asleep.  kellen came to live with us when he was 18 months old and grew up with a granddad that held him and tickled him constantly.  kellen slept with him in his bed and from the beginning he wanted to lie with us in bed. i would have never imagined, having a baby from 3 months old, being able to cuddle with her will only happen 2 years later.

there are no words to describe the joy and love these two bring into our lives.  adoption has so many layers of thoughts and feelings, experiences and not knowings.

"Touching is a beautiful, connecting, survival-oriented, 
heart-opening act, and we need to do more of it.  

In touching each other with love, we are really touching God'.  
 (The Power of Touch, Phyllis K. Davis, PH.D.)