It has been nearly two years since I last wrote a blog post. Life happened. We moved to a farm out in the country, I got a new job with full(er) time hours, we changed course in our adoption journey, and Sir Riel turned into a full-fledged toddler.
At three and a half, Sir Riel is the same fiery feisty child, but now articulates himself with phrases like ‘you’re kidding me, I didn’t want my tower to crash, that’s unreasonable’ (all with a healthy dose of screaming, flopping, refusing, and defying). We have 23 chickens now and Sir Riel loves egg-collecting and ‘fluffing’ the hens (I’ll let you google that). He roams the acreage, playing in the dirt pile and riding his push-bike down the long driveway. Sometimes, just before I lose my cool about a button-pushing parenting moment, he’ll look at me and say ‘I love you mommy, you are beautiful’. Melt. Clever little one.
He’s going to be such a good big brother.
Yes! If all goes as planned, our family will be welcoming a new child into our lives in the coming weeks. Our child. Our baby! Sir Riel’s little sibling.
This baby, our baby, is not yet born. He or she is cradled in the warm, caring womb of a local woman, who I’ll call Birth Mom. Birth Mom has been on a journey of her own, one that has led to not feeling able to raise a child, and she has chosen us to bring baby home from the hospital. The story is complex, and there is so much to feel, do and say before baby comes in mid-April. We have an amazing community of friends and family, not enough hours in the day to share our story with everyone, and we know you have a lot of questions.
Here are some answers. If you have other questions, perhaps hold onto them for now, while this magic time of the adoption journey unfolds itself.
1) Wow, congratulations, how do you feel?
Wonderful! Overflowing with gratitude. Scared. Overwhelmed by what needs to happen before baby comes. Bursting with tears – of joy for our growing family, and of empathy for Birth Mom and her family. Honoured to be chosen. Nervous. Hopeful. Curious. Calm. Excited. In love. The works.
Read here if you want a reminder of why we want to adopt.
2) How did this adoption match get made? Weren’t you originally hoping to adopt from a country in Africa?
Let’s just say there have been a few turns and switchbacks on our adoption journey. In Spring 2013 we left our adoption agency to sign up with the Ministry of Children and Families to adopt a child in British Columbia. In September 2014, after upgrading our homestudy, taking more Adoption Education Program courses, and finalizing our application, we officially became waiting parents. But, a few months ago, the universe led us down an entirely different path. Basically, a friend of a friend said ‘I remember you saying you were waiting to adopt, and I know someone whose family member is pregnant and does not feel she is in a position to raise the baby’. After re-registering with our original agency, we confirmed just a few days ago that Birth Mom has officially chosen us.
3) What do you know about baby?
Birth Mom worked really hard to have a healthy pregnancy and baby is showing all signs of being healthy. Baby is of mixed background, including Coast Salish heritage. We plan to honour our baby’s Birth Mom, birth culture, and self-identity.
For now, please don’t ask us questions about Birth Mom and Birth Dad. Their stories are their own, and we are respecting that.
3) What happens when baby is born?
Baby is due two weeks from writing this post. When Birth Mom is in labour, we will go to the hospital to be there when baby is born. I hope to nurse baby, and am working on re-lactating (I stopped nursing Sir Riel over a year ago) with the help of a doctor, lactation consultant, breast-pump, herbs, and domperidone. I’ll report more on that later, but check out this site for information on nursing adopted babies. We’ll bring baby home as soon as we can, and so will begin the sleepless nights and the beautiful process of bonding and attachment.
4) What does Sir Riel think of all this. Does he understand? How can I explain it to the children in my life?
Sir Riel knows he’s going to be a big brother. He says things like ‘when I have a baby sister (or brother), I’m going to love them and teach them how to crawl like this [gets down from dinner table and crawls like Mowgli in the Jungle Book]’. He’s spent time with some 6 – 12 month olds lately and is so sweet, giving gentle pats and kisses and making adorable ‘awww’ sounds. He has suggested names for the baby including ‘octopus’ and something I can only spell as ‘takpakatch’.
We told him that this baby is going to come from a different mummy’s belly (tummy mummy) to which he responded ‘that sounds good’.
You can tell your children that Sir Riel is going to get a little sister or brother soon. This baby will come from another mummy, and she will always be baby’s tummy mummy. We will be baby’s forever family. If they ask why the baby’s tummy mummy isn’t taking care of baby, you can say ‘because she felt it was best for baby to be raised by their forever family’.
5) Wow, there’s not much time before baby is born. What can we do to help?
Thanks for asking! We kept most of Sir Riel’s baby stuff. There are a few items we are looking for: newborn clothing, a side-sleeper/co-sleeper, glass bottles, and a bouncy chair (or two).
The three very best ways you can help us are:
– Send love and strong healthy energy to birth mom and baby. Whether you pray, practice reiki, sing to the Creator, meditate, or send messages in dreams, Birth Mom and baby need all the love and support we can give them.
– Send love and energy to the waiting family (that’s me! and Mr. Hempleseed and Sir Riel).
– Donate to our Hunter Family Adoption Fund. When the Universe amazingly connected us to Birth Mom, it also brought us an unexpected $12,000 adoption fee. This pays for lifelong support for Birth Mom, and our legal and social work fees. There are also travel and re-lactation consultation costs, and Mr. Hempleseed will be taking time off work (I am very fortunate to have coverage from my employer). It seems odd to be fundraising for a baby, but with two weeks to go we don’t have time for a baby shower, nor need for many baby things, so if you are interested in contributing to our growing family, this really is the best way. Every little bit helps. We would be eternally grateful!
6) Is this adoption %100 certain?
Adoption is never certain. Things can change. Birth Mom or Birth Dad can change their minds and have a certain period of time after baby is born to do so. We are sending all sorts of prayers, love and energy to Birth Mom and baby and the way we see it, no matter what happens, there’s more love in the world for it.
What we do know is that we are 100% committed. To growing our family. To loving this baby. To honouring Birth Mom. To raising our children so they have a strong sense of identity and feeling of belonging in the world. To educating those around us about adoption. To advocating for our children and their future. We are all in.
I do truly hope to share more about our adoption adventure, so stay tuned for more!