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Carrie - The Wait and the Big Arrival!

We arrived in Florida midday Saturday and made our way to the hospital where we met up with Ethan’s birthmother and her mother. We spent a long afternoon in the waiting room while the doctors and nurses put L through a myriad of tests. Finally, they verified the need to induce labor and proceeded to admit her to the hospital with plans to start the induction process Sunday. Exhausted, we left to check in at the hotel and ate what we thought may be our last supper before the baby came…but…. Sunday we arrived at the hospital mid-morning to see how things were progressing. The nurses gave L a medication to help start the dilation process around 12:30 PM…and told us it would likely take 12 hours for things to progress. We stepped out to enjoy the Florida sunshine for lunch for a bit, then settled in for the long haul at the hospital. We spent all afternoon, evening, and night together – holding watch over L as she slept. As we sat there, listening to the baby’s heart beating on the monit…
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Carrie Anne - The Beginning of the Story

So, I’ve been trying to sort out how to start this story. It’s been difficult to articulate. Difficult to pick which details to share, and which to hold close. But it’s a story too good, too beautiful, not to share – so here goes! When Matt and I first became parents, we thought our family was complete. We envisioned raising Ethan surrounded by loving friends and family – just the two of us. Given all that we had gone through to finally become parents, we felt content with just the one child. The most adorable boy in the whole wide world. Our Ethan was the apple of our eyes – the most amazing gift. We marveled at all of his accomplishments, soaked up all his love and personality, and celebrated the joy of parenthood at every exhausting, wonderful turn. Along the way, we’ve built a strong and loving relationship with Ethan’s birthmother. We visit yearly, and stay in close contact with pictures, emails, and texts. I have attempted to describe my feelings for her many times over the co…

Mother's Day Emotions

Mother’s Day weekend is coming and I’m finding myself all sorts of emotional – go figure. I think the anticipation of how I might feel on my very first Mother’s Day after so many years of hoping, waiting, and wondering sort of made it a bit anticlimactic. Or maybe I guarded my heart a little and didn’t fully let the magnitude of my emotions wash over me. Regardless, I find myself MUCH more emotional this time around.
Last night we watched a TV show about children growing up and moving out etc…and I actually cried. All those jerks who told me how fast children grow and how quickly the time moves…were right. Of course I feel how swiftly time moves the older I get…I blinked and now I’m in my (gulp) 40’s. But I simply could not have fathomed how I would feel about the amount of time I have to be Ethan’s mother. It feels finite. Fleeting. Just not enough.
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching Ethan grow! He is learning and changing and cracking me up all the time. He loves climbing, and runn…

I Was Born in a Small Town

So we’ve decided to move. We love Ankeny, our house, and our neighborhood so it’s a little bittersweet to think about moving, but ever since Ethan came along - oh how things have changed. When we set out to build a wheelchair friendly house for Matt nearly 9 years ago, we were mainly focused on the functionality inside the house. While of course we wanted the ease and function of zero grade entry, we also yearned for the freedom he would know in a house with wider doorways and room to maneuver the bulky chair. In our old house there were literally rooms he never went into, simply because he couldn’t get through. Our Ankeny home was a dream come true in so many ways. And it was lovingly planned out and put together by so many incredibly generous and thoughtful people. We were humbled time and time again with how things came together for us in that house. I’ll never forget coming home for the first time with Matt after our long, exhausting trip back from China. It was late, we were jet …

I Didn't Know - Lesson Two - The Worry is REAL

From the moment I knew about Ethan my mind raced with worry like I never knew possible. I prayed over his birth mother, for their safety and health.  Living states away was agonizing...not knowing how things were going...wondering how things were progressing. I cherished every text and e-mail update...but the worry never quite went away.
The day Ethan was born that worry skyrocketed. Hearing his tiny screams in the background, rushing around in a daze trying to pack and prepare for what was happening. Time stood still, but my mind raced with questions...and worry.
In the hospital all we wanted to do was spend every possible moment with Ethan. Just leaving the room to go downstairs to the cafeteria for a quick meal felt like an eternity. What if something happened while we were downstairs? What if he was crying and needed us? We hardly left the hospital after that first day - I just couldn't tear myself away from this tiny life who was miraculously brought into ours. That first c…

I Didn’t Know - Lesson One – There isn’t Enough Time

In a little over a week Ethan will be turning 1 year old. This seems unimaginable to me. Of course time flies…it goes fast…and all those clichés you hear time and again are true. And while I ‘knew’ this was true, I didn’t ‘know’ how it would make me feel. I’m not sure if it’s this upcoming milestone or my increasingly mushy mommy-heart, but I’ve been finding myself realizing lately just how much I ‘knew’ but didn’t ‘know’ about being a mommy.
First off – there isn’t enough time.
When Ethan was first born I took a break from all my normal activities, and did all I could to soak up my time with Ethan. Maternity leave was amazing! I spent countless hours snuggled up as Ethan napped. He went from my arms to Matt’s arms all day long as we went about our business. We had no timelines, no agendas, no commitments but each other and it was one of the best times in my life. As maternity leave was winding down, I tried to prepare myself for re-entry into ‘normal’ life. Work, gym, home, etc. I tr…

A Glimpse Into Open Adoption

If you had been a customer of the Longhorn Steakhouse on Highway 19 in Palm Harbor, FL last Sunday night, you may have seen two couples walking through the restaurant, oogling a sweet baby boy on the way to their table. You may have commented on how cute he was. You may have thought he looked a lot like the woman carrying him. You may have wondered about the man in the wheelchair. But you likely would not have assumed you’d be witnessing this baby’s biological parents sit down to dine with his adoptive parents. It’s a scene I’ve been playing over and over in my mind as I recount the wonderful experiences of our trip to Florida. The magnitude of that moment, that evening, will never be lost on me. It was incredible to be a part of – and I’m so very grateful we had it.
We had met up with Ethan’s birthmother, L, earlier in the day. She hadn’t seen him since he was a few hours old and was anxiously waiting for us outside a local mall. As soon as we saw each other the tears welled up in our…