It’s getting real…

I’m feeling particularly emotional tonight. As each day passes, the gifts, love, and support continue to roll in for the adventure of becoming foster to (as-soon-as-the-opportunity-presents-itself) adopt parents. I can’t even begin to tell you what it has been like around this house. Just a few months ago, we moved into our first home and the joy has been abundant ever since. It’s rare that a week goes by that we don’t have visitors. There always seems to be some sort of party happening here and we love nothing more than sharing our home.

Now that we have decided to share our home with a baby, it’s like someone has turned on a magical light and the bulb is ever glowing and comes with a beautiful shine. I think that switch was flipped on inside of our hearts since day one, but what surprises me is how many other people have flipped that switch with and for us. They, too, have been on this journey almost just as much as we have. It’s a feeling we can’t describe; a love and appreciation for people that we have never experienced; a clarity for the village that is being built.

To sit in that room rocking in the chair we will rock our babies in and knowing that it will soon be filled with baby sounds (and smells) gives us the greatest burst of joy in our hearts. I can’t go in that room without a great big smile. Knowing that baby after baby will find the refuge their little lives are seeking and knowing that we get the extraordinary opportunity to be the people who love that baby in their most difficult of times, is an enormous blessing that we don’t take lightly.

I catch myself getting scared sometimes, usually daily. “What if I lose my baby again?” Then I realize that I’m not with child and somehow it doesn’t make me feel better. But just because the child isn’t growing in my body doesn’t mean it’s not growing in our hearts. We chose this and I believe that the perfect babies will be chosen to live with us, even if only for a short while.

Our next baby shower is this Saturday at 1:00. We are so excited to see everyone and we are so grateful that we have the best friends and family to do these things for us. The baby room is stocked full of the big things and some of the little things. I know that when it’s showtime, that baby will want for nothing. I realized that there are some babies that don’t start out in life with all of the treasures sprinkled throughout the baby room. I’m surprised it took me so long to realize that fact. I guess I never got to the part with my own babies when I would plan a baby room so I never gave it much thought.

A few days ago, I was putting baby furniture together, washing baby clothes in Dreft, and cooing over everything. Mitch told me I was nesting! I didn’t realize that was a thing for foster parents, but I confirmed with my trusty mommy friend that it is and my heart swelled with pride. “I’m nesting!”  I thought to myself and I beamed with sunshine from my soul. “I’ve never had the chance to nest!” It was such a warm gift to be told that and it totally put me on cloud 9.

I’m excited to see how this changes me/us. I already see and feel the changes, the thought processes, the priorities, and so on, but it can’t possibly compare to when our first little nugget comes through the door. The baby smells. The baby sounds. To watch their eyes, nose, ears, arms, legs, and everything else squirming as if they are trying to tap dance their way into our hearts will be like nothing we have ever imagined.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought of my dad and how angry I am a lot during this process. I keep thinking of my godfather that passed away in November, too. I think Troy would have been so happy for us. I can see his smile through the clouds and I feel the warmth of his hugs. I so wish he was here to teach our kids about the important things in life like music and the art of having a good time. Troy was always so good about both of those things. God, I do miss him dearly. I think of Mitch’s mom, Rachel, and how I never got to meet her and how our kids won’t either. It makes me really sad to know that the biggest influence in my husband’s life isn’t here, but I know she’s an angel, along with Troy, and is watching over us and our babies.

I’m thankful for my mom, Mitch’s dad and his second mom, Mitch’s huge family, our friends, and my brother and Janet. I’ve always heard that it takes a village to raise children and that bell couldn’t ring any clearer than it is right now. I know there will be lots of times when I will want to figure it out myself and do things on my own. I know that Mitch will need that too. All I ask is that if we don’t accept help every time you offer it, it’s only because just as these babies are developing into the person they will be, we are developing into the parents that we will be. Don’t take it personally. We’re just bonding with our baby.

All of our dreams are coming true. It has taken us over a decade and it has been after a lot of hard work, hard times, and hard lessons. We are so thankful for every struggle we have been through. It has prepared us for this upcoming event. By this time next month, we will be parents. What a priceless gift! Thank you for your love and support!

xo,
A

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Baby showers, shitty things, and fun updates!

Baby shower #1 was yesterday. We were looking forward to seeing what was in store for us, who would show up, and all of the food that was going to appear. It’s hard to explain how it feels to be celebrated for something you don’t associate with being heroic but that is the word some have used. To us, it just seems like the natural thing to do. Foster parenting (and eventually foster to adopt) is a big deal to us but we are realizing that it’s a big deal to our friends and family. I can never express how much support we have experienced; it’s been such a great feeling. Our friends went to a lot of trouble to put together a beautiful shower yesterday and we could never adequately thank them for all that they did for us and for our upcoming bundle.

We had our licensor out to our house on Friday morning for appointment 2 of 3. Remember that 26-page autobiography that I told you about? From that, she writes a 30-page “story” about Mitch and me when she submits our final paperwork over for licensing. Most of the last two home visits we’ve had with her have been going over our autobiographies to make sure she has a clear understanding of all of our answers. She has commented more than once on what a great job we did when we answered all of the questions on that form. She said some people write one sentence answers, which makes it super difficult for her to write a 30-page “story” about them when she’s got one liners for all 26 pages of the autobiography. I felt a sigh of relief come over me when she commended our efforts. I had been irrationally concerned about the length of some of the answers I gave.

Tonight and tomorrow night, we will be at Good Sam Hospital in Puyallup to fulfill our CPR & HIV/Aids training. Just one more thing off of the mile-long list of to-do’s for this process. On our licensors next and final visit, she’ll check to make sure we have the last minute requirements, such as our immunizations updated, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, lock box for medications and vitamins, and all of that fun stuff. She will also ask us questions on a 1:1 basis. After that, she writes up our story and sends our file to the state for the license. We have to go to Fife this Saturday for our FBI fingerprinting. Another check mark! Our licensor told us we’re at the top of her list for getting things completed. In fact, we’re about 95% done with everything!

Overall, we are feeling extremely well supported. It’s overwhelming to see how quickly how things have changed. The baby room is such a transformation from just a few weeks ago and the fact that we can even say “baby room” is a big change. We’ve painted, set up the crib, a changing table, a book shelf, and a ton of baby gifts have poured into that room. I can’t wait to get a dresser in there so I can put all the clothes away. It’s just nuts how it’s all coming together. We can’t take credit for doing this all on our own. There have been many supporters of Baby Cushing thus far and we won’t forget that – trust me!

On the other, slightly more negative hand, sometimes big life events make people uncomfortable/weird/distanced. Weddings, babies, graduations, promotions, relocations, divorces, deaths, and so on are all big life events and some people just don’t know how to react to things like that. I think it makes them very reflective of themselves and sometimes, if that person feels like they are lacking something in life, it makes them project that disappointment/frustration/whatever onto the people that are going through the big life events. The important thing to remember is that life events will happen regardless of whether you want them to or not because, for the most part, many of life’s big changes we don’t control – unfortunately. I know when one of my best friends recently had her baby, it made me realize more and more how much I truly wanted to be a mom. Seeing the joy and positivity transform her inspired me to start thinking more about being brave enough to consider mommyhood again. I don’t think I have ever thanked her for that. Thanks, boo. You know who you are!

Still, even when you realize that most of these odd projections aren’t about YOU, it can still feel like it and it is very hurtful. I’ve heard of some people referring to foster parenting is “not real” parents and I guess that’s okay for them to think. Just like it is okay for me to think that this may be the closest I’ll ever be to being a “real” mom, but while you’re thinking or saying that to a foster parent, keep in mind that you’re reminding me that I’m unable to carry a child to term and you’re starting an emotional brush fire for me. So, thanks for that. This is as real as it gets for us. Legal or not, birthed or not, I’m going to be a parent in my mind. And one more thing, before you say something, stop and think, really think, “Would I say this to someone carrying a child? Would I have this assumption if she were really pregnant?”

I’ll wrap this up with talking about how much fun my mom, Mitch, and I had at the Just Between Friends consignment sale last Thursday morning. My mom kindly bought us a ton of items for the baby, like the changing table, diaper genie, clothes, books, car seat for her car since we already got ours, and the list goes on. Our registries are getting smaller and smaller by the day. When those were created, they were meant to act as a check list for us to remember what we needed to buy. By the time this baby comes, we will have damn near everything!

Again, “thank you” seems so incredibly inadequate to say in comparison to all that has been done for us, but THANK YOU for everything you have done to support us and our little nugget!

 

xo,

A