under rug swept

So, one of my least favorite things in the world is the feeling of not finishing something. For this reason, I have stayed committed to the photo challenge because in my soul, I have to finish things. Really. Or they haunt me. But starting now, I am officially out of the have to finish business. I am out of that business because life is about to get too crazy to always finish everything, and the sooner I get used to that the better.

Some of you already know this, and we’ve hinted about it to others, but here’s why:

After going public with our adoption profile on Wednesday at our one-to-two-year-average-wait-time agency, we were contacted by a birth mother on Sunday. FOUR DAYS AFTER PUTTING OUR PROFILE UP. We have an incredible connection with her over the phone, and we’re meeting her this Sunday. She’s made clear to the agency that we’re the right family for her SON (she said she couldn’t call the other couple she was considering after talking with us because it would feel like she was “cheating” on us). :) She’s due January 3rd (we have January babies), and she’s as devoted to an open adoption as we are.

Assuming this happens, it will be the fastest placement our social worker has facilitated in a twenty-one year career. We are in shock, but thrilled. This just doesn’t happen. Bram will be almost exactly a year old when this new little baby comes home with us. She/we are thirty weeks along right now, so we only have a little over two months to get ready. We are thrilled.terrified.overwhelmed.already-in-love. We’re both pretty much useless and clumsy; we’re so distracted. It’s like processing a whole pregnancy in ten weeks. Plus whole new/other emotions that I don’t even know how to look at yet. We feel like one-hit-wonders (a new feeling for us, that is for sure) if one-hit-wonders got pregnant and delivered healthy babies in under three months. We feel under rug swept. But we have said all along that our way into this was trust: we trust birth mothers. They know what’s right for their babies. They know. For this reason, we said we’d find peace if we weren’t placed. For this reason, I trust that we’ll make our way through the craziness of this and towards this little boy.

It’s not a great state to be in for the job search, but we do have a solid-ish plan:

  • Assuming this placement happens, J will take twelve weeks of maternity leave (already approved), and I’ll write for three hours a day starting at two weeks and be home with them the rest of the time. I’ll send my dissertation to committee in April (hopefully only a few weeks after J’s maternity leave ends), and then I’ll be on full-time with the boys through the summer.
  • If I find work this cycle, we’ll move this summer, and J will take a year off before starting her doula business (she’ll be home full-time with the boys).
  • If I don’t find work this cycle, we’ll find enough childcare next year for me to teach (in what capacity we’re not yet sure), and I’ll be home the rest of the time. We’re pretty happy with either possibility, so I figure that’s a good place to be.

So the advice-seeking:

  • Those of you with siblings close in age: please tell us what we need to know. We know it will be an intense year or two, but we hope this will mean they’ll be close.close.close. Any suggestions as to how to facilitate that?
  • Those of you with adopted children, especially those of you with open adoptions: what do you wish someone had told you? Talk to me about the guilt, the sadness, the complexity of emotions.
  • Those of you with more than one at home, what do you do to protect your marriage, to still make time for one another? This first year with Bram has had its tough times, but we’ve learned from them. We are committed to learning through this, too, and to staying on the same page even better this time. How do you make that happen?
  • Also, tell me about the guilt that comes from bringing home a second child. Did you mourn the time you had with your first? Did you feel like you were betraying them? How long did that take to change?

We’ll share more specifics soon. For now, just know how grateful we are to have this community.

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21 thoughts on “under rug swept

  1. Congratulations!!! I can only speak from the perspective of the oldest in a set of “irish triplets”- I have a brother 15 months younger than me, and a sister who was born 15 months after him. While all being in high school together had its tumultuous moments, we couldn’t be closer as adults. I love not being able to remember a time without my brother, and the birth of my sister is my first real memory. I treasure this bond, and I bet your boys will too.

    • Wow, I love this so much. These are exactly the kinds of stories that comfort me right now, so thank you for sharing. And Irish triplets!!! Y’all have some brave parents. :)

  2. Auntie Mickles better get to knitting. This boy needs a blankie! (And everything about this is exciting and wonderful. I’m so happy for your family, established members and new; this connection is something that you, your boys, and all of their mothers will cherish. Much love.)

    • Did you seriously just offer to knit Sailor a blanket?!?!?!?!?!?!? I’m giddy just considering that! [And thank you for the hug that is these words.]

  3. Congratulations from a previously silent reader! What extraordinary, beautiful news for your family.

    I don’t have children myself, but I’m another person chiming in with experience as a sibling. My brother is only 1 year and 19 days younger than I am, and he’s my favorite person in the world. I obviously don’t remember life without him, and even though I’m sure we had occasional squabbles, the family memory is that even as young kids we hardly ever fought. I hope (believe) your children will enjoy that kind of close-sib love.

  4. Oh my goodness!!! I don’t think I’ve commented on your blog before but I’ve been following it for about 6mths and read back over your back story too. I am sooo excited for you, and actually said oh my goodness out loud to myself when I realized it was ‘you guys’ that were writing this ( as I’m reading on my WordPress reader so it’s not 100% obvious at a glance who’s blog I was reading), in fact I checked who it was twice lol.
    Incredible, scary, awesome. I hope the meeting with the birth mother goes as well as the phone call :-D

    • Wow, thank you for posting. I spent some time on your blog last night, and I’m so happy to have discovered it. More on that soon…

      • Awww shucks! That is high praise indeed coming from you – author of one of my most favourite blogs.
        PS- I’m still so very excited for you guys.
        PPS- I’m pretty sure I will ovulate today so I guess I’m officially in the TWW again – eeeeeee!

  5. Oh my! So exciting! What a lucky little baby that would be. I hope everything goes smoothly for your little family :) You sure do have a lot on your plate. The job search year was one of the most difficult and stressful of my life — I can’t imagine adding a SECOND! :) baby into the mix. Much strength and fortitude to you all.

    My kids are 27 months apart, so quite a bit more than 12, but here is my take on your questions.

    The first year is hard (and, I imagine even more challenging with kids closer since they both need so much, physically), but no harder than you imagine. And IT GETS BETTER. The difficult, all-consuming phase is SHORT-LIVED in the grand scheme of things. One day, you will be making dinner and your little kids will be playing together quietly and you will be amazed. It was absolutely important to us that our kids were close in a genuine, meaningful way. So far so good, I think — I have no great secrets or advice, but I do work very hard all the time to see things from their (both of them) perspective, especially when moderating squabbles or disagreements. We expect each of them to talk to the other (and to us) with kindness and respect. We have always had consistent standards for both of them (i.e. it is not okay to just take something from the other. When L was little, she obviously didn’t get why it wasn’t okay, but O appreciated the fact that we expected the same from L as we did from him). When one knocks over a block tower, we talk about respecting the other’s work and efforts, and then talk about solutions…things like that. I think respect goes a long way.

    As far as finding time together, it is hard to do at first. It was important to me to get into a routine as quickly as possible, which helped to carve out niches of time for having a cup of tea in the afternoon or a glass of wine when the kids were in bed. We took the time we could get, even if it was just little chunks of it here and there. And that highly intensive time, again, is SHORT-LIVED. Soon, they will be off in their room building towers and playing cars or tea parties or whatever and you will suddenly have minutes and minutes stretching before you.

    Hands down, the hardest part of having two is dividing your time, though I firmly feel that for us, two is much better than one. I absolutely mourned the time I had with O alone, but I didn’t feel like I was betraying him. I heard story after story of parents racked with guilt when they had a second, but I was determined not to be. We made a conscious choice to have a second child and that came with consequences — one of them was that neither would have our full attention all of the time. I recognized that I was doing my best to give each what they needed, but not always everything they wanted. I am not saying it was easy or that I never had pangs of guilt, but that is just the way it had to be. We have also make an effort to find ways to have time alone with each kid — we take turns taking them out and about for adventures or just sitting around the table talking or whatever. And on the other hand, they are such good friends and have so much fun together. When they start playing together, the whole dynamic changes and everything just becomes fun and not so hard.

  6. Oh wow… is “Go big or go home” your personal motto? ;-)

    If the bio family we have contact with were nicer people, I’d be all for open adoption. As it is our contact is enforced rather than chosen, and while I feel my daughter has the right to know her bio family it’s a very mixed blessing that might in future cause heartache. Sorry, not really helpful, I know.

    So how does the open adoption thing work? Are there standard rules governing contact? Does the social worker facilitate?

  7. My four are 15 months apart, 12 months apart and 8 months apart. The first little while was pretty rough but now (at ages 6, 5, 4, and 3) they are super close and I actually think caring for them all together is EASIER than caring for one or two alone. We are so enamored with them that my wife and I will be TTC #5 in the new year :) just remember to breathe and everything will be fine!

  8. Squee!! My dad and his brother are less than a year apart and even now that they’re in their 60s they are best friends. They spend a lot of time outside together–this year alone they took a 10-day hike in the Maine woods, and went on countless canoe and camping trips together. I would say to help your boys find the things they love to do together and then encourage them to do those things. Which will come naturally to you, I expect. :)

  9. Another previously silent reader here! I also don’t have kids, but my younger brother and I are irish twins (he was born the day before my 1st birthday). When we were growing up we were close, we spent all of our time together, and we obviously had many shared birthday parties. The pros to having a sibling close in age: I always had a playmate, so we would often go on adventures outside, catching lizards and collecting rocks and all that. It was nice to have someone there when I was younger (We were both bullied, so having someone who could relate to that was nice, I felt less alone). And because we lived in small apartments throughout my childhood and adolescence, I grew accustomed to sharing space with others. I was afraid of the dark, but I always slept easy knowing someone else was in the room.

    The cons: we fought. A LOT. Over anything and everything. I think that’s because we were never really apart, and we had to share everything, including beds when we were little. There was not physical space for us to be alone. I’m the oldest of 4 now, and for a long time we all were in 1 room together. So as a result I did not have my own space until I moved out of the house as an adult. That’s over 18 years of sharing almost every second of my life, from before I can remember. So now, I’m afraid to admit, I’m a bit territorial with my own personal space and my things. But of course, I’m a work in progress.

    Anyway, my advice to you, as a person who has a close sibling, would be to encourage your kids to learn and play and be creative together, and teach them how to share space with one another, but also create their own spaces where they can have their time alone. Spend time with them together, but also spend time with them individually. They may seem like a pair, but they are also individuals. Love the time I spend alone with my parents without my siblings, because I wasn’t vying for anyone’s attention, I had time to really connect. So… that’s my two cents. And Congratulations!

  10. Congratulations! Just found your post through the Best of Open Adoption Blogs 2012 list, and I hope everything has gone well since October. If you’d be interested, I write movie discussion guides for adoptive families and post them at adoptionlcsw.com — I haven’t done anything on siblings yet, and your post makes me think that I should.

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