Monday, January 20, 2014

Overflowing support and love

Disclaimer - If you did not receive an invite it's more likely that the post office is to blame than you not being thought of. Somewhere is a really big pile of wedding invitations, Christmas cards and shower invites...
   This past weekend was another reminder of how loved CJ and I are. His baby shower in Aurelia was Saturday and the support was overwhelming!  If someone had told the teenage me that this is how life would turn out I might not have believed them. No matter how tough middle and high school may have been, the shifter of life would let the true supporters rise to the top.

   The shower itself was everything and more than I could have ever imagined. The love and the hugs, surrounded by a group of women (and Greg) who care about me and my son.  I haven't had the chance to experience my own wedding; but having Emily there and through this entire journey is the best maid of honor like support system a girl could ask for. I have to say Apollo was the most engaged guest there, which is so perfect that a kid lover like me would have a 7 mo old watching every moment!

Check out the Shutterfly book my brother made!

Much love 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

This stuff really happens

I was getting my nails done with a friend before school started up again and my nail guy asked where I had been. Bet he didn't anticipate my answer!  I surely didn't expect the lady next to me to leave this note and pay for my nails!

Monday, January 6, 2014

I don't care, or do I

   I touched on the topic of questioning related to being a single parent/raising a child with special needs/my child who doesn't look like me on CJ's CaringBridge site.  I have not had many experiences yet relating to actually dealing with people asking me questions about CJ's family unit or complexion.  Though I have gotten the usual round of questions about what I am going to do when I do get asked these questions, along with "did you consider what others would think?"

   My response is that I do not care what others think, and for the most part that is a true statement.  If there is ever a point where I do actually care or the thoughts of others actually has an impact on me; the honest truth is that I care more about my little family than I do the unsolicited views of others.  This being said, I am always open for new responses to the usual round of questions!

Support Team

   There is no way I could be CJ's mom, or at least do a decent job at it without those who have been so supportive.  I text out a who wants to cuddle a baby message and I get more than one offer!  I have a friend who is offering to baby sit on a daily basis; ok more than one friend.  One of the things I have appreciated maybe the most, is in place of the usual "let me know what I can do" comment, hearing the "this is what I can do and I am doing it".

   I don't dare begin to list individuals, because I know I will leave someone out.  So thank you a million from CJ and I!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

God Found Me You

   A dear friend gave CJ a perfect book entitled God Found Us You.  It is one I have already read to him many times and I have a feeling will soon become a much loved on book.  While reading the book to CJ tonight as he fell asleep (again for anyone who as met him, you know he sleeps alot!), I was thinking over the multiple times I have shared his adoption story over the past few weeks.

   About the time foster care had been placed on my heart, my dream to adopt a newborn baby with Down syndrome was also placed on my heart.  I was thinking when I was 35 or 40 and either was married or had decided to start my family without Prince Charming.  After completely foster care classes, while waiting to get a call for my first kid, I signed up with the NDsAN - National Down syndrome Adoption Network.

   Earlier in the week - Thing 1 sees my Reece's Rainbow Christmas Angel Tree ornaments on my counter and asks about them.  I tell her they are babies who don't have moms (orphans with Ds in China).  She proceeds to inform me that I should be the mom.  I explain that they don't think I am grown up enough (China requires you be 30 yrs of age).  She continues to insist I should be their mom. 

   Nov. 13th - Thing 1 turns five and we have a cupcake party at our house.  She and her brother go to bed before really having a chance to play with their new toys.  Earlier in the day, mid afternoon to be exact, a baby boy had been born in Tampa, FL.

   Nov. 14th - At school I notice I have an email from Stephanie at NDsAN asking me to call her.  My first thought is what did a do wrong??  She says there is a baby boy just born with Ds and asks if I am interested in being one of the options birth mom chooses from. I say sure, not thinking I have a chance but wanting to always at least turn the key on every door in life.  I mention it to my gals at school, but don't really give it much thought outside the on going communication with Stephanie.  I wasn't going to let any information about his health turn me away, but I also wasn't going to get my hopes up, because really I am a young and single gal.

   Nov. 15th - 5pm I call Stephanie back and she tells me that this baby boy is mine!  That birth mom picked me over 5 other married couples because "I looked like a nice gal".  OMG!  I sat in the parking lot and called my mother.  Then I picked up Thing 1 and 2 to take them to their mom's for the weekend.  Early on in the drive, I (Bluetooth) call a friend to share my crazy news.  Thing 1 wants to know details and proceeds to inform me from the back seat that I "can't come back unless I am this baby's mommy".  We talk about how this means I can't care for them come the end of their weekend with their parents.  She is more than ok with that and says I should go get this baby.

  Nov. 16th and 17th - I run around like crazy and only stay sane because Emily is my brain the entire weekend.  It is decided that my dad is coming with me; that we are driving; and that we will leave early in the week.

   Nov. 18th and 19th - Dad drives (I drove through the state of Illinois) and I sleep.  We arrive in Tampa during the evening of the 19th.  Exactly one year to the date of me going to the hospital to pick up A-E.

   God had found me CJ and the rest may not be history, but is documented via CaringBridge.  CJ stands for Charles James Galvin.  My grandfather is Charles Jr and my late grandfather was James.  I knew Charlie wasn't going to work as his name because that is what grandpa goes by and I didn't want him to be called Jim or Jimmy.  In the end CJ represents both men, and will be easy for him to say/spell/read/write!  

   Miss C calls him baby Charlie or baby CJ.  She may be the only person who gets away with 1. calling him Charlie and 2. calling him baby anything much past his first few months of life.  And I would not have it any other way!       


   With the slightly failed attempt at breast feeding, we did have success with the SNS system.  Even with the nothing by mouth guidelines, my expanded comfort zone has allowed for bonding between baby and I; including reproducing the sucking while being fed concept that other wise would be limited to the pacifier.  The past two days, when CJ is upset, the sole key to calming him has been letting him fall asleep laying against me.

Catching up

   I have documented my foster care journey, I created a profile for adoption through NDSAN, and I kept all up to date on CJ's medical journey.  What a whirlwind year it has been!  As 2014 begins, I continue to think about the idea of blogging about being CJ's mom; being a single adoptive mother of a baby boy with Down syndrome, that happens to be of a different ethnic background than mine.

  I attempted to keep the CaringBridge webpage family friendly and something I would be ok with my grandmother reading.  Actually both of my grandmothers and my mother as they are all active on the web.  What didn't make the cut was the bonding and attachment components, like anxiety or my attempt to breast feed.

   We shall begin with the crazier of the two topics.  I had been doing kangaroo care aka CJ snuggling against my skin...with my bra on...with a shirt or blanket over top.  CJ was blessed to have two nurse Debbies on his team and one day I mention to Debbie #2 that I was going to kangaroo during a tube feeding.  She, being free spirited, makes a comment about taking my bra off in relation to the fact that I was turning the rocking chair around.  I was thinking more along the lines that I am so modest that the big window overlooking the hallway into the rest of the NICU was a bit much.  But I am one to try anything I tried it.  She, being really free spirited, comments about him sucking.  Once again, why stop now, so I give that a try too.  Before you know it I am researching adoptive mothers who have breast fed.  The experience derailed a bit when CJ failed his swallow study and could no longer take anything by mouth.  Even so, I enjoyed the opportunity and gained knowledge on the topic. 

-I had no desire to use prescription medication to jump start the process.  The staff in the NICU didn't quite understand that my OBGYN has no idea who I am and that I couldn't just call her up from 1500 miles away.
-Besides prenatal vits. I didn't even try herbal medications.  The result of my limited attempt was longer finger nails.
-I did pump but quickly decided doing it every 2-3 hours for 15 minutes was really taking away from life and my time with CJ considered the small chance it was even going to work at all.