Allow me to brag...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Allow me to take a moment to brag on little babe... Yes, these are real. :)
News anchor, gymnast, swimmer, surfer, musician...and now: billboard model! 
Is there anything she can't do?

Adoption Symposium - this weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's finally here!  In case you've been living under a rock these past weeks, I'm co-presenting "How to De-Freakify Open Adoption" with Lori Holden at the Open Adoption Symposium "Realities, Possibilities and Challenges" taking place September 23-24, 2011 at the University of Richmond School of Law.  
Lori Holden is a mom via adoption to two children. She was named a Top 10 Must-Read Mom by Parenting magazine and writes extensively about open adoption parenting at WriteMindOpenHeart. Lori has published several articles in Adoptive Families magazine and is the Open Adoption Examiner.  We are very excited to be opening a dialogue in our community about the many facets of adoption!  
Are any of my online adoption/blogger friends out there planning on attending the conference this weekend?  Shoot me an email if you are! 

Labor Day Plans

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lucky me!  I visited Don, De, & Deanna this past Monday on my way back to Raleigh from Charleston. It was absolutely splendid.  Deanna is getting so big, and I honestly can't believe how mature she is.  She just turned six-years-old this past July, and her first day of 1st grade was Wednesday. Where has the time gone?  Tell me, where!?!

Even though I've watched Deanna grow up in periodic increments since she was born, every time I see her I can't believe how much she has matured and grown since the previous visit.  It makes me feel a little bit sad to think that she's not a baby anymore. I still laugh when I reminisce about her "younger" years, when she was rocking a Joe Dirt mullet because her hair didn't grow in on the top of her head.  And the way she slobbered the mushy sweet potato baby food out of her mouth when Don and De tried to feed her. Those precious moments will not soon be forgotten.  Now, at six-years-old, she is old enough to start asking questions and making observations about adoption.  De told me that after watching the movie "Orphan Annie" a few weeks ago, Deanna decided she was going to save her money "to buy an orphan." Such an altruistic little babe.

By nature, Deanna is very inquisitive and curious.  During our visit this past weekend, Deanna and I were alone, playing with dolls in her playroom.  At one point, she said to me, "let's pretend these kids are adopted." Although I was completely taken off-guard, I held back my "surprised face." I smiled and said, "okay" and we continued playing.  Afterwards, when I was in Deanna's bathroom, freshening up before going out to dinner, I heard a little knock at the door. Deanna let herself into the bathroom and closed the door behind her.  Just the two of us stood there, looking at each other in the large bathroom mirror. I smiled in the mirror, looking down at Deanna. She was quiet for a few minutes, and became almost uncharacteristically shy.  She studied me as I ran the brush through my hair and applied some gloss to my lips.  Then she broke her silence.  "AmyHutton, who is your mom?" she asked.  I looked down at her, knowing that she was trying to make sense of our relationship.  "My mom is Mi Mi" (Maureen) I answered.  I bent down and asked her if she wanted some lip gloss.  She broke into a huge smile, and I started applying the pink sparkly gloss to her lips.  Then she looked up and said, "Oh... I thought your mom was BeBe."

I couldn't help but laugh. "BeBe" (Mary Beth) is Robbie's mom. I've always been close with Bebe, as she was there for me during some of the darkest moments of my entire life, before and after Deanna's placement.  BeBe stuck beside me through it all, mentoring and coaching me through the entire 9 months of pregnancy and beyond. Heck, she was right by my side during childbirth.  How can you not be close to someone after an experience like that?!  I will be forever thankful and grateful for the guidance, provision, and entertainment she provided me during those times. At eight months pregnant, when I had the worst cankles (my ankles were the same size as my calves) because my legs were swollen during the sweltering hot North Carolina summer, Mary Beth would take me shopping and she would push me around in a wheelchair while people laughed and stared at the huge pregnant woman being pushed around Nordstrom.  Bebe helped me to adjust to life after placement, and she went above and beyond to help me get back on my feet and into a better place. Looking back, I see how Deanna could be confused.  I laughed and told Deanna that BeBe is Robbie's mom.  Deanna thought for a minute.  I could see her wheels turning. "How do you know her?" she asked.  Ah, kids.  "I know her because Robbie introduced me to her when I was in high school," I explained. I went on to do a silly impression of how we met, followed by a tickle-fest to top things off.  Deanna smiled and laughed, and she seemed to accept my answer for what it was. I think she is starting to figure out more about her relationship to Robbie and his family, but she's not sure exactly how it all works.

Deanna is a very smart little girl, and I know that she will eventually start understanding more about the biological connections she has with me, Robbie, and with our families  She'll get it someday. But for now, I just want for her to be an innocent little six-year-old without a care in the world.  I want her to realize how much she is loved, even if she doesn't understand why or how. Whether you're a mother or a birthmother, all you can really hope for, at the end of the day, is for your child to be happy and to feel loved. Deanna is happy, she is loved, and she has more people in this world who love her than she will ever know.  Time will tell how our relationships evolve as she gets older.  The future is uncertain, but I am firm in my belief that our circumstances aren't just the result of luck or chance, but rather, the result of a bigger, greater plan for each of our lives.

Ephesians 1 teaches us about God's ultimate plan.

"In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory."

-Ephesians 1: 5-12