Ay-Ya-U, Dadde’ee

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Both my husband and I were raised in  loving homes. But neither of us grew up hearing “I love you” from our dads.

In my case, because Japanese parents just don’t say “I love you”. In my husband’s case, though I am sure his Dad loved him very much, it just wasn’t communicated verbally.

We shower CC with “I love you’s”.

It is my great delight that his first words reflect who we are.

One of the first words he ever said and he’s been saying this a while; is “Hi”. You know, we are a friendly folk…He is very friendly (thus his nickname, well, one of many, “The Mayor”). He goes around saying “Haaaaa~i!”, waving to people at the grocery store, restaurant, church…everywhere.

And he says “tank-u” (thank you). And the  pièce de résistance! “Ay-ya-u”. It is his way of saying “I love you”.

CC gets lots of  kisses, hugs and “I love you”s. In fact, ever since he was days old, I have done baby massage saying “I luuuuv youuuuuuuuu~”. So, I suppose it was easy for him to learn to show affection. I have been getting slobbery, giggly kisses and Daddy has been getting tap, tap, tap on his shoulder meaning “I love you” for quite a while. But the other night, IT happened.

Me: Tell Daddy good night, CC.
Kip: I love you, CC, sleep tight, see you in the morning!
CC: Ay-ya-u, Dadde’ee

I was stunned. He is just 13 months today. And in the last couple of weeks his vocabulary has grown, but this?!

Plus, the next day, CC and I went out to the drive way to say hello to Daddy as he pulled in. As soon as he sees Kip’s car, he starts giggling and shrieking with delight. He claps his hands. Daddy comes out. CC reaches out to Daddy wanting to be held. Kip holds him. CC puts his arms around Daddy’s neck and rests his head on Daddy’s shoulder. Then he lightly, gently taps Daddy’s back.

It was so beautiful. It was “I love you, I missed you, but I’m here with you”.  He gently continues to tap Daddy’s back, because that’s what Daddy does for him, every time.

He knows. He knows how much he is loved. He does not need to ask me “does Daddy love me?” We pray we are able to assure him of our love this way until his teen age years.

While CC’s ability to show his love for us melts our hearts, I think of the children growing up in neglected and worse yet, abusive situations, in homes and institutions here in the US and overseas. Some of them are so neglected that they do not know how to receive love. My heart aches for Moms and Dads who adopted children who were formerly so neglected that they have sensory processing disorder, meaning, they cannot enjoy kisses, hugs and touching (I’m over simplifying) because it is too overwhelming. The parents have to slowly help them through theraplay and such. Instinctively I hold children. I lavish my love for them in holding them, putting them on my laps…yet if my child had sensory issues, my loving on them that way would be tormenting to them. Then longer the children without loving family stay in those situations the more complicated their ability to receive love and their future will be.

Lord, help us to continue to lavish love on CC, the way You lavish your love upon us. And I pray that CC will be able to pour his love and kindness on others. I pray that the Body of Christ to be Your tangible arms to hold neglected and marginalized children, and be earthly fathers and mothers that will raise them with Your love.

 All the children, not just CC, are the apples of the Lord’s eye. (Deuteronomy 32:10) He is a Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows. He sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing. (Psalm 68:5-6)

Happy Birthday, Joy Boy!

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One year. ONE YEAR. Wow. During the time when I didn’t have a child but longing to be a Mom , “one year” was quick. “One year” was passing me by, making me sad around my birthday. I saw all the children around me grow up so fast. The time was passing me by. Then again, it was slow. Dragging. Was I going to just grow old and… try to be at peace? I had moments when I desperately clung to the Lord, trying to shake off all the doubt…the Enemy tried so hard to destroy my faith and my joy. “What if one day I realize that I dreamed up a god and there was no god at all?”

One year has passed since the Joy Boy entered our world. And boy, o, boy, it went fast! But in a marvelous and poignant way.

So, back then, it did cross my mind what if I was making it all up about God and His plan.
What a scary thought it was! I pleaded with the Lord. “Oh, Lord, I am willing to be willing to be changed so I will not be discouraged or sad or bitter…I am willing to be willing, that’s all I can do.”

Oh, how gracious is the Lord! How sweet is the mercies of the Lord! Yes, He granted my prayer. I was NEVER bitter about not being able to have biological children or bitter about other people’s pregnancies. Have I felt sadness? Of course! But never bitter or jealous. I was emotional and upset about the circumstances that I was in, i.e. the triple whammy. But God gave me the joy to pray for others to conceive. I celebrated other people’s pregnancies, hosted showers. When a couple who are our friends told us that they were pregnant after health scare of the husband, I literally jumped for joy and hit my head against the ceiling fan!

And I waited.

I waited for my husband to be ready. He wanted to go ahead with adoption too, but his cautious nature and perhaps something else called procrastination (by the way, I learned many adoptive dads go through this before adoption, ladies, so don’t be hard on your husband!) put us on a self-inflicted waiting period. And I waited.

“But, God, You showed me that I will be a mother. What is up with all this mess?” How many times have I said that to myself?

The mountain of paperwork and interviews as well as all the training helped me and my husband re-examine our motives. Some of the questions asked in the paperwork were very personal and hard answer. But it was all part of God’s way of healing me before I welcomed our precious one.

The most healing part happened during the couple’s interview. I saw tears streaming from my husband’s eyes as he spoke of the time when our IVF failed. I used to think how we are on a different page and how I felt all by myself. I just couldn’t see his sadness for my own sadness blinded me to see the pain he was feeling. It was a different shade of sadness, but sadness nonetheless. Seeing his tears healed me. Oh precious God, thank You for the grueling process to help my husband and I to become closer to each other which was exactly what was needed to parent someone so precious as our little boy.

I was reminded the other day in an online Adoption Support Group that I too once wanted a family-centric adoption rather than child-centric adoption. In other words, WE were looking for a child FOR US rather than the Child (or his birth parents) looking for the right family for HIM. But thanks to Bethany Christian Services and all the training changed us, well, almost changed us. The truth is, we were still hoping to be matched with someone who “reflected” us. Half Asian and Half Caucasian perhaps? The agency was going to have us go national in hope to reach someone in Hawaii or West Coast rather than being limited in our state. We were asked to make a video of ourselves and we were asked to remake our videos to make it short and yet express who we are. Really? It’s a good thing I am well-versed in video editing software and such!
“Hey, A (our caseworker), so what’s going on? We edited and submitted the new video for going national? It’s been a while since we submitted the new video?!”
“Yeah, about that…you’ve been matched.”
Whaaaaaaa?! And you didn’t call us?! Apparently we had been matched before but they saw some red flags and they protected us. But this time, they are more confident…

In our application, we marked “Open” to most any options for the baby except FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) , which we were at peace to say “No” to without guilt. We knew God calls special families to be forever family with those precious FAS babies.

We were open to “minority” and “biracial” children, as well as older children and minor medical issues. We love children – all kinds of children. We just wanted someone to love and pass down family legacy, sort to speak, and bring up in love and the way in the Lord. But here’s a thing. After watching a documentary on a African American Adoptee, a well-adjusted, well-connected teenager who loves her family, I had some reservations about African American child, I became fearful.

This young lady who was adopted by a Caucasian family wanted to go to all Black college. The family supported her wishes. She was accepted by an all African American college. The picture of the day her parents dropped her off at college made me think twice, maybe three times.

That day, the girl whose family loves her to pieces and who love her family, realized what she has lost. All the other girls had African American parents. She has Caucasian parents. She felt a sense of loss that day.

I am capable of loving any child. But, I was not ready to face the reality that I wouldn’t be able to fix what my baby would have lost…so that’s why we still wanted someone who “reflected” us – or “relatable”, perhaps…no, you can’t group all Asians as Asians, each Asian culture is so different, but there is something “comforting” to the child…As a matter of fact, a little girl who was born in China and became a daughter to one of my friends took to me immediately because I look like her.

I just prayed. I prayed, “Lord, You know the child who You will entrust with us. You have already picked the perfect child for us to be parents to…”
God will not put anything on your plate that you can’t handle. That’s something I hear a lot. Though the phrase doesnt exactly come from the scripture…I may have thought maybe He will give us a half-Asian child after all…why, two of our friends who are Caucasians just adopted half-Asian babies…

“A” said, “so, this African American lady has picked you, and as far as adoption goes, this will be an ideal situation…she likes that you are in a true diverse community. The only thing she worries is if you guys are okay with black, black child (those are her words)”

Wait, wait, what happened to the half-Asian or Asian child? It took us back a bit. Can we at least try to open us up to the area where there might be…before committing ourselves to parent someone with such a distinguished ethnic culture…

Then, RIGHT THEN, God brought this picture of a little African American boy jumping and dancing in our backyard. Guess what?! That is EXACTLY who CC is! Our Joy Boy! In that instant, even before I saw his Tummy Mommy, I FELL IN LOVE WITH HIM.

God did know EXACTLY what He was doing. He was right in the middle of our journey and He did have someone specially created to become our Joy Boy! He brought us from a mono-culturalistic church to a church so diverse people from all over the world congregate…Our own circle of friends consists of friends from European, Eastern European, Asian, Indian, and of course African American ethnic backgrounds. Our baby doesn’t have to feel isolated. And He has provided us a birth-family that loves him so much and stay in close contact with us, that his “loss” can be eased.

“Someone who reflect us” – ha! Who’d thunk! ConCon is soooooo us. The silliness, the non-stop giggles, the joy! He is so meant to be our family! I cannot picture us without him now, I cannot picture him without us. Even his Tummy Mommy says so. She says “With all my heart, I believe God had me carry CC for you guys”.

Through this journey, God has given me a new calling. A ministry. My heart is full of compassion for the children to be adopted, adopted children, children in foster care and orphans. And my heart is full of compassion for the families. Adoptive families. Foster families. Biological families of adoptive and foster care children. And I am full of compassion for the formerly abortion-minded moms who chose life and who chose to parent their babies. So, now I am on the leadership team for our church’s Adoption / Foster / Orphan care ministry. And I advocate for adoption and foster care daily and I am actively praying for Pro-life ministries daily.

But here’s another thing. When I look at CC, I don’t really think of adoption. Even though I am constantly in touch with his birth parents. Isn’t that strange? But CC is nothing but my own. And I was born a Mom. I was meant to be his Mom.

“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.” (1 Samuel 1:27)

My biggest prayer for my baby boy is to know Christ. Know who He is, who he is, and whose he is. And to love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul, mind and might. And all will be well.

I love you, my dear boy. My Joy Boy. My Smiles Davis. My Giggle Box. Happy Birthday.

Reunion with Tummy Mommy

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Wow, where did the time go? I’ve been wanted to tell you about last Friday. About how it went with “D”, CC’s Tummy Mommy and how my being on the panel of adoptive parents at the information meeting for the prospective adoptive families at Bethany (our adoption agency) went. But with CC’s new feeding stage and everything (I’m making home-made yummies!), I’ve had some “oops, I slept on the couch again” nights, though I’ve been trying to write this.

So!
It was a wonderful day. A full, but a wonderful day, nonetheless. Yup, I booked both events on the same day, thus a full day! Both went extremely well!
CC’s big brother who is closest in age among the five siblings, couldn’t make it as planned due to his being sick. That was a disappointment. But it only made us more eager to get together soon again. Plus, it all worked out because without another child to entertain and take care of, “D” could totally enjoy holding Connor.

Everything was so natural. No awkwardness. “Hi! So good to see you!” came out of both of our mouths as we smiled and hugged. Then she looked at CC with a big smile, “Wow, you’ve gotten big!” CC was having a bottle, and as she sat down at a local McDonald’s across from the restaurant we originally planned meet. We met there because the restaurant she wanted to go to didn’t open until 11AM and I had to leave at 12:15. I wanted our time to be maximized, so I suggested to meet earlier at McDonald’s.
As I said earlier, It was extremely natural for me and “Would you like to feed him?” came easily out of my mouth as I handed her the home-made baby food. She was DELIGHTED. CC didn’t blink an eye either. After he finished, again, just naturally, I asked he if she would like to hold him.

CC used to smile at everyone almost indiscriminately until recently. Lately, he has a little bit of a stranger anxiety. He had that look for a second. Then he looked at her like “I know you! I can’t quite remember how, but I know you!” It was a cute look. I encouraged him “She’s your Tummy Mommy! Remember? You see her face in the picture book?” and as he heard me speak, he smiled. Now everything was all good! He sat on her lap as we chatted. She took selfies with him with a big, loving smile on her face as CC looked through the book that has pictures of all his family, Mama and Daddy, Tummy Mommy and Tummy Daddy and all the kids. “D” really liked that CC has that book. Catching up with her went like a flash! 30 minutes disappeared “just like that”.

Then we walked to the restaurant where we originally planned to meet. She showed me some recent pictures of her kids, told me how they are doing, saw a video of the budding singer/dancer that is her second daughter. I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET THEM!

I shared with her that Bethany wanted me to ask her too, to come on the panel, but I just didn’t know how we would feel after the first meeting…could’ve been emotional…so I didn’t ask her to join me, though I told Bethany they could ask her. Without skipping a beat, she said “Oh, I would have come! It would have been fun to ride with you all too! Well, just let me know next time.” I should have known! She is so darn honest. I mean, she is like me! I didn’t mind sharing my experience with prospective adoptive families. Neither does she! So, we will be a team from next time on. Bring it!

She kept on smiling. And she said “you know, I cried only once. I cried in the shower when I got home from the hospital. But all the while, I knew I was carrying him for you. God chose me to carry him for the family he was intended for.” – I was paying my bill, fishing for my card, trying to prevent CC from taking my pen away. I STOPPED. I looked at her. “Thank you. You are such a remarkable lady”.

We are making plans to get together again. With the whole family. A picnic. That will be so fun. As we parted our ways, she gave me a bag-full of clothes for CC that his brothers wore. (He’s totally set for the year! It took me almost two hours to sort and put away!) And some new outfits and a toy. Among those, was a lovey that was made by her aunt, which her oldest boy used, then passed on to all the boys. “Would you mind?” Absolutely not! CC is now sleeping with is. How cute.

Boy, o boy, there’s a lot to tell about Bethany Information Meeting, but I will save that to another time.

Thanks for reading. Keep on loving!

(Cover picture : A collage of CC with a bag of clothes given to him from his birth family; CC sporting his older brother’s clothes; CC holding on to the heirloom lovey; CC w Tummy Mommy looking at (or chewing on) the Family Picture Book – he’s biting his brother! LOL!)

I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10

 

 

Security: I am My Beloved and He is Mine – Meeting Tummy Mommy

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I am celebrating the anniversary of being “Heart Sisters” with CC’s Tummy Mommy this weekend. We call his birth mother “Tummy Mommy”. We were matched around this time last year. We met in person in mid-April. Immediately, I fell in love with her. We (my husband and her husband – for the lack of brain power, I started calling him Tummy Daddy when we first got CC home, I know, it doesn’t make sense…) all got along great and the first meeting went extremely well. Since the first meeting, his Tummy Mommy “D” and I kept in touch pretty regularly. We talked on the phone, we texted each other, had lunch together, went to appointments together…I just think she is the world’s loveliest and most caring, loving and sacrificial lady and I love her. We text each other a lot, though we have not spoken on the phone. This is the first time we see each other since CC’s birth.

We have an open adoption. Many people don’t understand what “Open Adoption” is and the benefit of being open. We will talk about that some other time. But really, it DOES work in most cases. Majority of domestic adoption these days are open. It is said to be best for the child because he doesn’t have to wonder where he came from or why he is in the situation. He will always know his roots and be able to ask questions in order to clear up any confusion which results in a happier and healthier child with fewer psychological or emotional issues.

For us, on paper, Open Adoption means that we each (birth family and adoptive family) know who we are, we know each other’s contact information, and as CC’s adoptive family, we update the birth family once a month with pictures and as time goes by the frequency decreases but they will be updated at least once a year. In reality, I’m in touch with “D” very frequently via texting and emailing, and I also send her links to pictures and videos. Sometimes I talk about CC and she talks about her youngest (CC’s brother who is 10 mos older than him) like Mommies talking Mommy Talk. Sometimes I ask her about how to take care of his skin and hair. Or get other advice. And I always tell her “just let us know when you want to see him”.

It makes me feel so good when I receive response from her like “the kids love looking at the pictures you send” (they have 5 kids), “the kids nicknamed him peanut” and “I’m so thankful that God directed my eyes and heart to the both of you.”

The best response from her was when we sent her the link to CC’s dedication at our church. She said, “My husband and I were talking about CC the other day while we were cooking. And he asked me if I regret my decisions. I honestly looked at him and smiled and told him no…I knew God chose me to carry CC for you and Kip. And I’m honored to do his will. Even though we love him and miss him. We know he is with his family that was intended for him. And that’s all that matters”.

THIS IS the dear woman who gave life to my son. Who played our video to her tummy so CC will recognize our voices.

You see, it’s love. It’s all about the love.

“I just hope when he gets older he understands why we made the decision we made”.

I tell CC every day that he is very loved and prayed for. In fact, I made up a lullaby when he was a couple of weeks old, and I still sing that song to him.

“Mama loves you, Daddy loves you, Tummy Mommy loves you, Tummy Daddy loves you, Mama loves you, Daddy loves you, and Father God loves you.”

I tell him that God loved him way before he was born. Way before Mama and Daddy were born. Way before Tummy Mommy and Tummy Daddy were born. And we all love him very much but God loves him even more than that. That He has a special plan for him. That He picked his Tummy Mommy and Tummy Daddy to bring him to this world and picked Mama and Daddy to be his parents. And we ALL love him. I pray over him every night that he will be secure in his identity as our child but more than that, as a child of God, as our beloved, and His beloved.

As I mention in my post “Resources for Raising Adoptive Children Pt. 1“, CC and I worked together from day 1. Daddy had a lot of skin-to-skin time too. He knows we love him. We know he loves us. Every morning he wakes up with a HUGE smile at me as I pick him up from the crib. While I “faux” nurse him, when he hears Daddy coming into the room, he stops and gives him a big grin. Every time I go to Daycare to feed him at lunch time or to pick him up, he beams at me and just giggles his way to me across the room. He is a securely attached child. A very happy child. And WE are securely attached parents.

“Aren’t you nervous to see her?” “She can’t take him back, can she?” “I just don’t know how she could do that.” “Why do you want to bring him to see her?”

I am his Mama. I am secure and confident in that. “D” is at peace and secure in her place as his birth mother. She knows she is honored. CC is securely attached to his adoptive family. NO ONE is insecure…at this time. Now, we may experience something different in the future. But I am secure and confident that our Lord, who adopted us as His children, is orchestrating this whole story. The One who entrusted CC in our care will help when we are in need. The One who took care of finances when we brought him home, will provide a way. The One who knit him fearfully and wonderfully in “D”s womb…that’s who we all find our security in.

Meet the Spumoni Family

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Sspumoni-gelato-edited-5o, here it is. I have been “threatening” to start a blog for a while. But with preparation to adopt, bringing the baby home, becoming a new Mom, then going back to work…It never happened…until now. Keeping up with Facebook posts and keeping Baby Log is enough! (I post what I call “the DC Report =Daycare Report almost every day. More on that another time…) But finally, here we are, as we are coming up on the anniversary of being matched with our rambunctious 8-month old “CC”. I think it’s time.

We are the Spumoni Family. Spumoni is a delicious Italian dessert made of layers of ice cream, whipped cream, candied fruit, and nuts. Each layer contains different flavors and ingredients. And that’s what makes it so yummy and beautiful to look at.

We are kind of like that. I am Japanese, my husband is White, and our baby is African American. And, see, like Spumoni, each of us have different “flavors” – personalities and backgrounds, but all of our flavors make us a “yummy” family, and hopefully, we are beautiful to look at, reflecting our ABBA Father’s love and a picture of heaven. And we are a bit “nutty” to boot!

The three of us are not related by blood, but for sure, we are family, knitted together by God.

I love being a Mom and I love being an advocate for adoption! There are a ton of adoption blogs out there. Why write another one? My experience is very limited as we have done only one adoption, and we’ve been parents for only 8 months. But while we were in a holding pattern and then while waiting and training, I have learned so much. About adoption in general. About the language of adoption. About bonding. About brain development. About fundraising. About misconceptions. About racial issues. About being a mom. And I also learned more about being pro-life. About foster care. About some unsightly things…the rescue mentality of adoption community and the tragedy that could have been avoided if all parties involved were more educated.

Our adoption is probably the most ideal situation and probably not a “everyday” kind of adoption. We have an open adoption. The biological parents of our baby are happily married. The bio-mom, who I call “Tummy Mommy” and my “Heart Sister” have an amazing relationship. I just plain think that she is one of the most amazing, loving and sacrificial woman.

The Lord filled my heart with compassion and love toward children. Adoptive children. Foster children. Children from hard places. Adoptive families. Foster families. Bio-families. Compassion toward formally abortion-minded Moms, but who decided to choose life and decided to parent the baby herself…

So, I’d like to share my thoughts, musings, experiences and more in this blog.

I hope you’ll visit again.

Kip, Kody & CC

Kip, Kody & CC