"He looks like you!"

It's funny how so many people comment,
"He looks like you." or "He has your smile" or, "He has your eyes."  I know they mean well. It gets me thinking why they have to find some common thread between parent & child. And it is what most parents do with their biological child. How fun it is for them to see their beloved spouse in their child's eyes, or smile or their mother's hands, or father's chin. It bonds them. I understand. That is how DNA works.
With adoption, we don't have that experience. It's actually very interesting. We know he will not "inherit" any of our physical features. So, when we look at him, we don't even try to find them. We just see him for him. For who he is and for who he will become. His own person.
Why do parents have that natural desire to find a part of them in their child? Is it about having a part of you to continue on after you've left this world? Is is ego? Is it love? Or a little of all of it? I'm not trying to insult other parents or demean their experience at all. I totally get it and understand it. I love my husband so much and we had a huge desire to create a child of our own biologically and we tried for many years. During those three brief, failed pregnancies, we had those same feelings and curiosities. We wondered what they would like and who they would resemble. Totally natural. I'm just saying, that as I am now the mother of our incredible son, I see how it's also a very lovely and spiritual experience to just sit back and see Mason for the true separate individual he is. Loving him does not have anything to do with who he looks like or how he looks. As I'm sure most parents feel. Especially those involved in transracial adoptions! Glenn & I were totally open to that but it was not our match at this time! It's about love & the true connection of our hearts, not the connection of DNA, in my opinion.
So, many therapy couches have been filled with people who's parents wanted them to be carbon copies of them and how miserable or messed it made them. I believe as parents, whether adoptive or biological, it's imperative to be a guide for them to learn who they are. To not force or push them to be someone they are not. I know it is my job to teach him so many things. But I also know that I have much that I will (and already am) learn from him! I'm just trying to be in each moment, and see the world through his eyes. With his amazing sense of wonder and intrigue! It's magical! He may be totally different and discover whole new ideas and a way of living his life one day as an adult. I just want to instill good basic qualities of compassion, empathy, generosity, kindness and a sense of humor and desire to enjoy life with full passion. To accept others for who they are and embrace our differences and marvel at all the beauty in this world! Not too much to ask for, right? 
As you can see from the photo, he is a pensive, thoughtful guy already. Very much like his mommy & daddy. So, nature verses nurture is the question when it comes to adoption, I guess. He'll have more possibilities of qualities to pull from. He already has his daddy's sense of humor too. He makes us laugh so much every day!  It's just fun to sit back & watch it all unfold! We are sure enjoying the ride!!

Let just add that one of the first thoughts I had when Mason was born, was how adorable he was because he looked so much like his birthmom. She is such a cutie. So, I did it too!  One can't help it! I'm so grateful for that. That we know her and have pictures to show him and that he will even get to see her again one day. I should say, since my last blog entry, she got back in contact with us and we sent her lots of pictures. She texts us quite a bit and we are so grateful!


Finally!! An update!!

Wow! It's been a while! As you can guess, I've been a bit preoccupied and busy lately! Mason turned 5 months old on May 17th! What an absolutely amazing journey this has been!  Being a mom is just so powerful and life changing for sure!!! It's more challenging then I thought and way more wonderful than I thought too!!  We are SOO blessed! He is such a very good baby. Pretty easy going. He loves to smile and laugh. He is so social and always smiles at people he meets. He is a great observer of life and really studies and takes things in. He books, music and dancing! He's a great eater and sleeper! He is now just about 15 lbs! I'm getting some new muscles I never knew I had! I've even lost 13 lbs since he was born! All the running around, carrying him, lifting up and down and dancing around. Also forgetting to eat or eating while standing up and dancing in order to entertain him!
He just started sleeping through the night! Yipee! We then play & find fun place to go in between. He loves the outdoors and nature. We've been to some cool places! Like the Huntington Gardens, in Pasadena. The Japanese Gardens. He's ridden on a local merry go round and we go for walks at Lake Balboa a lot. I've joined some Mommy groups in our area that are fun too. I love being a stay at home mom!

Seeing my husband as a daddy, has made me love him even more. I knew he would be a great dad, but he is just such a natural at it. He loves his boy and they have a special bond. Glenn is a real hands on kind of dad. He loves to just hold him and do anything to make his boy smile and content. When Mason first arrived home, Glenn was able to take 2 months off of work and we all just cocooned and enjoyed our new family bonding. We took shifts with him at night and he had constant love & attention. It was pure bliss. I'm surprised how well we survived on so little sleep. But the shifts really helped. Because each of us got about 4 to 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. During those first months and every day since, there have been countless times my heart grew so big and full of love it felt like it would just burst!! There were also many tears of joy shed! After waiting so long and to finally be a mommy, is the best feeling in the world. All the pain and heartache have been worth it to have him here and in our lives! Discovering who this new little person was that had entered our life was and is still so magical and delightful!

We have our last meeting for our post placement home study in a couple of weeks. Then our adoption lawyer & agency will fill out and file all the proper paper work and we will wait for a court date for the finalization! Can't wait for that day when it all becomes official!

We have been informed both birth parents rights have been relinquished already. Getting that call was an odd feeling of relief. Adoption is such a unique situation to be in. Full of a whole potpourri of emotions and thoughts.

We have kept in touch with the birth mom but just this last month she has started not responding. I've read and heard from others who have gone through adoption that this is normal for them to pull away and begin again in their next chapter of life. But I will admit it makes us sad and we think of her all the time. We really don't want to loose contact all together. We see her in his sweet face everyday. She is in our prayers. We want only the best for her and welcome communication with her again soon when she is ready.

We've had a couple more meetings of the adoption support group I started and it's always so great to meet with others who understand the journey of adoption. Especially nice to see how sweet and well adjusted the kids are. Our last meet up was at a park for a family playdate and potluck. We met a couple who are still in the waiting process. Wow! I was glad to realize that we have loads of good info and advice to share with them. I remember how hard the waiting was. It is what makes me never take for granted how blessed we are.

I will try to keep up more regularly and let you know about the finalization!

Here is some proof of the cuteness of Mason! When he smiles... well there really aren't any words to properly describe the happiness I feel!
Back to enjoying time with my adorable son and handsome husband!


he's home now

I'll write a longer post later I'm sure, but having our son home and in our arms is an incredible, indescribable feeling. As every parent knows, every minute is true magic.


Please welcome, Mason Blake Sanders to our lives!!

 He was born on December 17, 2009 at 10:27pm. Weighing all of 5 lbs and 1 oz and at 18 inches.  He is perfect and healthy so handsome! We love him so much. We are eternally grateful to our sweet birthmom.
He's coming home today!!!


why is Luke's last name Skywalker?

Glenn here.

I've seen the original Star Wars Trilogy like a billion times. And yet one morning this week as I was getting ready for work did a new thought about the films suddenly pop into my head. This very week. After 30+ years of exploring and obsessing over every tiny facet. The subject line says it all:

Why is Luke's last name Skywalker?

In broad strokes (and without getting into too much of the detail "revealed" in the prequel trilogy, which I don't really consider on the same level as the originals), Luke and Leia are twins whose father is Darth Vader. Yoda and Obi-Wan separate them and scatter them to the far edges of the galaxy to spare them the fate of being killed by, or worse, raised by, the evil Dark Lord. Leia is handed over to a prominent Galactic Senator, and her name is Princess Leia Organa. Luke is brought to Owen and Beru Lars, childless farmers on the desert planet of Tattooine. But no one calls him Luke Lars. His name is Luke Skywalker.

OK, so maybe it's a detail I did think of before (you would not believe the conversations I've had about the minutia of Star Wars over the years), but it never struck me with such resonance as it did today. Luke and Leia are adopted out to save them from the Dark Side of the Force. And yet, bizarrely, despite the fact that everyone in the galaxy knows that Anakin Skywalker turned into Darth Vader, and Yoda went into hiding in a remote swamp, and even Obi-Wan changed his name to disguise his presence, Luke remains openly a Skywalker. He calls his adoptive father, who's literally Darth Vader's brother, Uncle Owen. It shouldn't have taken the Empire more than a couple weeks to figure out that there's a Skywalker kid on Tattooine, the very planet that old Darthy himself was born on. That's like the worst witness protection program ever. Really, all they had to do is just change the baby's name and not ship it off to the most obvious place to look for a Skywalker.

By now I've probably lost anyone who's not as intimately familiar with these movies, so I'll bring it back to point. Which is that I've been noticing a lot more lately how the media treats adoption. The message time and again is that adoptive parents aren't the "real" parents, and only a reunion with the "real" (read: birth) parents will make the child complete. Star Wars is only an extreme example of that. But even in this age of open adoption, this belief persists with shows like "Find My Family" (as if to suggest that the adoptive family isn't "theirs" but just a proxy for the true family).

Now this is a complex topic, and can't be resolved by using more examples from sci-fi movies. But it seems to me that the continuation of this belief system tends to do more harm than good when it comes to people's beliefs about adoption. It appears to be a holdover from the days, not so long gone, when adoption was a hush-hush thing that you didn't reveal to your child until she was "old enough to understand" (as if there's ever a good moment to drop a sudden, often devastating bombshell like that). In a sense, we put adoption in the back of the attic with all the rest of the family secrets that we don't talk about in polite company.

Increasingly, that's changing, and the "professionals" are finding that integrating a child's adoption story into his life from an early age, as something that's just a fact of life - not to be hidden away - leads to a far more healthy child from a psychological standpoint. It takes the teeth out of adoption when it's treated as just another way to create a family, and not just a last resort for desperate parents.

For our part, we don't exactly how much, but our Birthmom will be a part of our, and our child's life, forever. That doesn't mean she'll help us raise Junior, but in a sense she will, because her presence - even as a photo in his room - will serve to normalize something that in our recent history was treated as shameful. I'm not suggesting the little guy won't have issues around his adoption, but we'll never have to hide it, or keep it secret, or pretend it didn't really happen, or strategize for the perfect moment when he's 8 or 10 or 20 to reveal that he was born from another mother. And really, because he's the child of a white woman and an African-American man, it's going to be pretty hard to keep something like that a secret past the day when he notices our skin color doesn't match up perfectly.

A friend and former boss of mine (if she's reading this now, she knows who she is) revealed shortly after we first started telling people we were going to adopt, that she was adopted. I was surprised, because I didn't know that I knew any adopted people. But also very heartened by it. As we've been on this journey, I've often sought out signs that adopted kids are just as happy and normal as biological kids (or just as unhappy in so-called normal ways, as we've all had our issues). Along with the research I've done, this friend completely assuaged all those fears just by being one of the most awesome people I know. She recently responded to someone posting about how much they loved the reunion scene at the end of "Find My Family" by writing (paraphrased): "Adoptive babies love their adoptive mommies and daddies, no reunion necessary."

I'm not suggesting it's all going to be a perfectly easy path we're taking - heck, our path has been anything but easy. But it's good to know that in the real world of adoption, not the fake Hollywood world, you don't have to spend your life hoping your kid never finds out the truth, because the truth is right out in the open.

And all that said, I don't think Star Wars would have been half as cool if the hero was named Luke Lars, Jedi Knight.


A new kind of waiting.

Our birthmom has been having contractions on and off for the last week. Though they are most likely Braxton Hicks which are not the real McCoy. Just getting her ready for the real deal. They do hurt and she has been having a hard time sleeping during the night and then sleeps during the day.  Oh boy! That means, that will be the little guy's schedule when he comes out!
It could be any day now!  Wow!
As we lite the candles on our Menorah for the first night of Hanukkah, I can't help to think about sharing the wonderful tradition with him and telling him the story of the Maccabee's and the miracle of the oil lasting the extra 7 days.  I love the holidays and look forward to them being even more magical with our son around to enjoy them.
I have my cell phone with me every where, even when I go to the bathroom!! Every time it rings, my heart leaps out of my chest. I have butterflies all the time!
We've been waiting a very long time for our baby and this last stretch of it is a whole new kind of feeling!  It's a good one!! Exciting times!!! Eager anticipation!
Happy Hanukkah!!


It could be anyday.

A perfect time for a miracle!!  Either during the 8 days during the Festival of lights and during Christmas time!! Wow!  Fingers & toes crossed. Excited and trying to trust that all is well and will be well for everyone.