Happy birthday to our Rose & also happy National Adoption Day 2013!
Our special girl is nine years old today, and such a blessing to our family! To help us celebrate, I thought that you might like to read her story and enjoy the perfect timing of our life!
3 months into my second pregnancy, PAXdaddy was at a funeral for the mom of a little boy in the elementary class that he was co-teaching that year. Another mom approached him and asked if we were still interested in adopting at some point… He answered YES! however we are currently pregnant… She said, you never know, maybe the due dates would match, and we could have “twins!!” We arranged that she would bring the potential birthmom to our house the next day to interview us!
I was so nervous, sure that 12 month old Baby #1 would do something embarrassing, sure that I would say something silly, sure that this was a pie in the sky dream to have 2 babies join our family together! When our friend introduced us to Rose’s birthmom, I met an angel! Her eyes were kind, her smile was HUGE, and her heart was golden! I so wanted to help her and be able to keep the baby safe, especially when it was revealed that our due dates were a mere 10 days apart! Rose’s birth mom is exactly my age, but unmarried, and she told us that she was “unwilling to submit her baby to the backlash that happens in her native Aztec culture to a baby born out of wedlock…” She chose to share her baby with a family who would love & cherish the child, and keep that child from the life destined in her own village in Mexico where the child would be treated, she said, like a “slave.” Although we didn’t speak ANY Spanish at the time and she didn’t speak any English, Rose’s birthmom returned the next day after interviewing 2 other families saying that she had chosen our family to love her baby forever!! She just gushed (in Spanish to our friend who translated) about how helpful and sweet PAXdaddy was with me and also with our oldest child. This was so unlike the men that she had known in her life, and she also valued highly the fact that I would be able to breastfeed the baby!!!
Rose’s birthmom moved into our little guest house and lived with our family for the last 6 months of both of our pregnancies!!! As we each got bigger and bigger, we planned to use the same midwives and each prayed for safe home births!!! A bilingual family counselor acted as a translator at her midwife appointments, and came weekly to help work out any issues we needed help with and to also help plan the babies’ births. At 20 weeks, PAXdaddy and his two pregnant ladies went to have gender ultrasounds to reveal what we already suspected, that both babies were girls! The fact that not only would the babies be “twins” but that they’d be “girly twins” caused the two mommies a lot of excitement and smiles!!!! PAXdaddy and I decorated the nursery in yellow and white with vintage baby decorations even though we were still cosleeping with Eli and planned to bedshare with the girls as well. As we nested and planned, we couldn’t help but feel sad that Rose’s birthmom didn’t have these things to look forward to, but during counseling, she assured us that “the baby had never been hers, but had only been waiting for us!”
10 days before her due date, on November 1, Baby #2 decided that the HUGE Mexican feast that Rose’s birthmom had prepared for us to celebrate the Day of the Dead was just too spicy for her, and it was time to evacuate!!! Baby Lucy was born in our bedroom after 2 hours of labor, and helped me to prepare my milk supply for TWO babies!!! 3 weeks later on November 23, Rose’s birthmom let us know that it was time for our second daughter to be born, and our midwives returned to help deliver Baby Rose. I remember Rose’s birth so very clearly that often I confuse the girls’ stories; they are so intertwined in my mind! The baby was born into our midwife’s hands and set into my arms. I couldn’t believe that I was so lucky to have not just one baby girl, but TWO!!! I gave Baby Rose my breast and she latched right on; she knew who her mommy was. Seeing the baby girls together the first time made me cry; seeing PAXdaddy holding his newest baby girl made me cry; my life was so overwhelmingly amazing – it made me cry.
Breastfeeding proved easier with the girls than it had been with my first baby, but part of that was luck and part was sheer willpower on my part to make it work out perfectly! My midwives and I decided to keep things the most organized each; baby girl should have their own breast, and actually, my tandem nursing experience has been my easiest breastfeeding success so far! Eli was still so young that most of the girls’ first 7 months ish were spent sitting on our favorite rocking chair, rocking and reading and feeding the babies! It took me a long time to get in the groove, but once the girls were sleeping through the night and moved into their decorated nursery at that 7 month mark, I had enough energy to take my herd of babies out to the park on my own which we did every day. Routine became my best friend since PAXdaddy was working that year from before the babies woke up til after they went to bed. Weekends were pure family time with hikes, and reading time, and trips to the beach.
Eli doesn’t even remember life before the girls, and they thought he was great entertainment! He was a bit of a bully as a two year old, so the girls were never left alone with him which is one of the reasons I’m so grateful that I had learned to babywear with my first baby! I often wore one girl in a ring sling and carried the other on my opposite hip in my arm or in a secondary sling. Eli was still keen on being worn as well, and I used a framed hiking backpack while pushing the girls in a tandem stroller to help exercise off the baby weight! By the time the girls were 14 months, they had weaned me at 13 months, and were very bonded as sisters. When we decided to get pregnant again, the jump from having 3 to 4 children seemed so much less daunting because really, once you have experienced life with 3 under 2, you can do anything!!!!
Rose’s birthmom was Baby #4’s first visitor after his homebirth, she has come to each of the childrens’ birthday parties, and blessed us with her company on many occasions over the years until the summer of 2010 when she told us that she was preparing to return to Mexico to become a MIDWIFE!!! She says she wants to help other women in the same way that our midwives had helped her!! I am so happy that the children have this wonderful, caring, sweet, amazing woman in their lives. They call her Tia, which means Auntie in Spanish, and have many fond memories of her!!! Bless her, and her beautiful heart that gave us another child to love and gave to Rose the gift of life!