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

Lately...

So I am gonna be honest....its been awhile since my last post. And that is not because our adoption journey has been delayed in anyway. In fact it is moving along quicker than I had hoped at this point! But I guess I should bring you all up-to-date with a few changes we have experienced recently. Back in August my husband got a new job...and I was left to manage the stores on my own (The UPS Store servicing hall residents at CU Boulder). It was not a great time for him to leave but it was a good move for us as a family. He is working for a small business that relocated to Boulder and is loving it. However, I had to deal with one of the busiest times of the year without him being by my side. But despite all my fears and anxiety about it...I rocked it! I can honestly say it went smoothly and I didn't cry or lose my cool at all (which is HUGE for me!).However...the stress and responsibility took a serious toll on my health. If you do not know...I suffer from severe migraines that come on for various reasons. I also have a head condition that makes the changing weather and pressure here in Colorado really difficult for me...like in bed all day can't do anything difficult. Now...I am not a complainer. I am blessed beyond reason in so many aspects of my life. I don't even like talking about my health (or lack of sometimes) as I know there are those who have to deal with much more than I do. But I got to a point where I knew I needed to make a few changes to get my health back to functioning.IMG_8510  Before I moved back to America, I used to work as a teaching assistant supporting children with learning difficulties. I have always gone back and forth between becoming a fully-qualified teacher but have realized that I absolutely love working more one-on-one without all the paperwork and stress of running an entire classroom. So I decided that the happiest and healthiest I had been job-wise was working in that capacity. I applied for a ton of teaching assistant (para-educator) jobs and thanks be to God I was invited for an interview at a local elementary school in the town where I live. Well I guess I made a good impression because they hired meand were willing to work with me transitioning from my current job.{Fast forward 5 weeks}I LOVE my job! It has taken pretty much the last 5 weeks to really get into the rhythm of the job and to enable my students to get familiar and comfortable with me. It wasn't easy. I had to deal with quite a few tantrums and chasing students down the hall or around the playground, but I did not give up. And believe it or not...I have only had 2 migraines since starting my new job (thats two migraines in 5 weeks when I was getting migraines 3-4 times per week!!!!!). I have also found a doctor who totally wants to figure out why my body just doesn't get some things right and that is so awesome!

{Our Adoption Journey}

IMG_8444  We completed our Core training in November with Adoption Choices of Colorado. What.an.eye.opener. The weekend training (required to adopt in Colorado) was fantastic! Our trainer focused on the differences between open, semi-open, and closed adoptions, what questions to ask when called about a potential match, and what to expect and hospital etiquette when the baby is born. We have always been pretty sure about wanting what is best for our baby first, and then making sure the birth mother is included in a way that is good and healthy for the baby. I would say that we had a few "definites" change to "umm...we are open to discussion" as we were made aware of very possible realities with the birth family and how that can affect the emotional development of our baby. We also were completely naive to the harsh reality that our baby would most likely be subject to alcohol and drugs for any sort of time period, depending on when the birth mother finds out she is pregnant and when she alters her habits for the benefit of the baby.What was so reassuring was our complete trust in God as we follow our calling to adoption. As much as I would like a stress-free match and placement (including the relationship with the birth mother/family) and as much as my heart desires a happy and healthy baby, I know that this world is broken and imperfect...and our baby will be loved no matter the circumstances that have brought them into this world. We cannot wait to meet our little baby...I feel like we already know them and are just waiting for them to be given to us forever. I imagine seeing their little face...holding their little fingers...counting their tiny toes...and loving them with everything I have to give.IMG_8506 So we have decided not to worry about the details...that we will know when we get offered the right match...and we will go into it with open hearts and a desire to do what is best, not only for our baby, but for their birth family. I have no idea what that is going to look like...and frankly thats ok with me. What parent honestly can say they had everything figured out prior to their first baby being born? If you did...please share some of your wisdom!Baby (M) we cannot wait to be chosen to love, care, and parent you for as long as we are given (hopefully forever). You are already so loved my darling...and your mummy and daddy are longing for you to be home.largeAshley xoxo