Open Adoption // Birth Mom Visits Colorado

Two weekends ago, Milo’s birth mother came to stay with usin Colorado for the first time. We were so excited to show her our home and tospend time together.

Payton arrived on Friday afternoon and all three of us wentto pick her up at the airport. She hopped in the back and Milo stared at herintently the entire drive home.  At homethey played for a bit in his playroom and then she got to give him a bath forthe first time.

I watched them from the door and felt pure joy. Bath-time issomething that I already take for granted because it happens daily. But beingable to see her experience bath-time and to know how special it was for hermade me even more grateful. Milo played and sang and smiled at her the entiretime.

After Milo went to bed, we spent the evening catching up andgetting to know each other better over frozen pizza. It still amazes me howmuch we have in common with her and how easy it is to talk with her. We wereable to talk about things that had been on both of our hearts, worries andwonders. It was an evening I will treasure forever.

On Saturday we drove down to Denver and visited the Zoo. Wewalked around and looked at all the animals.

We saw a sea lion show and Milo loved just watching thewater. He did not even care about the sea lion.

Payton got to show him the lions, giraffes, elephants andgorillas. He is starting to recognize other animals and I cannot wait for himto understand more about them.

We fed Milo lunch and almost got attacked by crazyterritorial geese who were fighting each other for scraps and trash. I wasterrified.

We saw the orangutans who were flying around their playroomlike trapeze artists. The gorilla family was so cute, and the baby gorilla keptreaching up to his dad to be held. 

After Milo ate, we drove to downtown Denver not realizing itwas St. Patrick’s weekend. It was crazy busy and everything and everyone wasgreen. We showed Payton Union Station and 16th street mall. We wentshopping and made Will and Milo endure H&M and Victoria’s Secret.

That evening we grilled chicken and had yummy salads andmore conversation. Payton shared her plans and what she wants to study atschool. Will and I shared our hopes and uncertainties for a big family one day.

The next day we had brunch in Lafayette and explored Pearl St. on Boulder. She gave Milo his first taste of chocolate ice cream which he obviously loved.

On her last day, I had a doctor’s appointment so she offeredto watch Milo. After almost 8 months of growing our sweet little boy andbringing him into the world, Payton had not had anytime alone with Milo. Shefed him, changed him, and played with him while I was gone and I know that timethey shared together was really special.

Open adoption looks different for everyone. Some birth families watch from a far and receive updates through mail or social media. Other birth families have monthly visits and shared vacations with their chosen families. This past year we have been shaping a mold that is changing to fit the needs and wants of everyone.

Our open adoption and our relationship with Milo’s birth family will constantly evolve and change as he grows. I am so incredibly grateful for the relationship we have with his birth family, and that he will grow up not just knowing them, but calling them family.

A lot of people have told me they are in awe of myrelationship with Payton. Some have even said they would not be able to sharetheir child in the way that we do. But Milo belongs to both of us…I am hismother and she is his birth mother. His family circle is wider than most, butit is overflowing with love.

As a parent, you always put the needs of your children first. I know without a doubt in my mind that Milo needs his birth family just as much as he needs us. And I am confident that as he grows, his understanding of where he comes from will be easier to process because he has his birth family. There will definitely be a lot of bumps in the road and we will take each in stride, but we will do it hand in hand with his birth family.

xoxo Ashley

Milo Payton Peck // Officially

Ithas almost been a year since we were first introduced to the agency and theexpectant mother that would change our lives completely.

A Photo from our Match Announcement // March 2018

February26, 2018, we were contacted by a friend about a potential situation. It was outof agency, out of state, and completely out of our control.  Three days later, after anxiouslycorresponding with Payton (the expectant mother) and getting to know herbetter, she decided to choose us! Then began the waiting game for Baby M to beborn.

I remember those two months like they were yesterday. I was so excited for him to be born and so terrified that she would change her mind. I remember thinking how we had waited for him for so long (over 5 years) and how each day leading up to his due date felt like forever.

Despiteall of my planning and preparing, Milo made his grand entrance into the world amonth early. Eight months later and he is still doing things in his own timeand on his own terms.

The whole time we waited to become parents we imagined our future child. We pictured who they would be and all the things we would do as a family. Nothing could have prepared us for the joy that is Milo. He is better than anything we could have hoped for or imagined. We thank God for him every single day.

Nothing about our journey to parenthood has been easy or direct. Infertility almost destroyed our marriage and the long wait to adopt almost destroyed us personally. But I would not change a thing because it brought us to Payton. I still am in awe of her bravery and her love for Milo.

Our relationship with Payton and her family has been the biggest surprise and the biggest blessing. We had no idea how much of a bond we would feel with Milo’s birth family.  We are so thankful that she changed her mind and chose an open adoption with us. She encourages me daily and it is an absolute joy to share pictures and videos with her. Open adoption is a beautiful thing.

Milo is so incredibly loved.

So how can I sum up the last 8 months, well really the last 5 years. We started this journey full of hope and completely naïve. We assumed we would match quickly and become parents, despite the statistics and long agency waiting lists. We had no idea how long the entire process would take.

Forthe most part we remained optimistic, even after the first agency ended upbeing a complete waste of our time and money. After months with the second agency and multiple rejections fromexpectant mothers, we started to loose hope.

We survived each holiday thinking it would be the last one we would experience childless. We watched all of our friends get pregnant and start their families. We ignored all the unwarranted advice and suggestions from naysayers. We focused on building our home, adventuring to new places and spending intentional time together.

Our home and our hearts were ready, we just had no idea who we were waiting for.

All of the paperwork, the waiting, the longing, the rejection, the brokenness and despair were completely worth it. I can look back now and see how God was preparing our hearts for Milo. He had chosen Milo for us and I would do it all over again just to be his mother.

Andnow here we are…8 months later and we get to officially call him our own.Social worker visits, court ordered documents, judge approved paperwork, andall the hurdles have been completed. We will sit in that courtroom with our sonand legally promise to care for him (physically and emotionally) for as long ashe needs. The honor and the responsibility are not lost on me.

Finalizing Milo’s adoption feels like the culmination of our adoption journey, but really it is only the beginning. One signature cannot capture a lifetime of parenthood. Its in the big and the little things of life….the nighttime feedings and the first steps, packing lunches and learning to read, the conversations and the heartbreaks, the comforting and the celebrating,  the hugs and the goodbye waves, the school dances and the college essays.

We get the honor and responsibility of raising him, of shaping him, providing for all his needs, and most importantly, loving him.

We get the opportunity to declare in front of our family and the judge all the promises we have made from the moment we said yes. Milo, we will be there for the ups and the downs, the firsts and the lasts, the trials and the triumphs. We will hold you when you cry, help you get back on your feet when you fall, and guide you as you grow. We will share all of the things: laughter, adventures, rugby, french fries, and a love for DIY.

We love you to the moon and back , Milo Payton, and we are so thrilled to officially call you our son.

xoxo Ashley