I try to keep my photos about Leominster and the surrounding areas, but I haven't had the chance to go out and capture some photos. Rather than skip another day I figured I'd share this with you.
Here is my littlest one who will be 9 months old in a couple of days. He's our miracle baby in more ways than one. He was quite a surprise to my wife and I. After 20 years of marriage we haven't thought about having our own children in at least a decade. We have a boy and a girl that we adopted which completed our family. So one day all of the sudden we were told that we were going to be parents again.
I stated that he is our miracle baby in more ways than one. The reason I say that is because he had a rough delivery. For the first 8 minutes in this world he was not breathing at all. You can read more about that ordeal here It's a Boy.
It's funny how things work out. I like to tease my wife about this. When I turned 40 I bought a Harley. When my wife turned 40 she just had to out do me and have a baby.
I'm sitting back thinking about 2008. It has been a good one for my family. I decided I will share this story with you.
My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this year. That in itself is a challenge many people seem not to meet. It amazes me that we made it this far. We had a rough start with our marriage. One grows up dreaming the American dream. Having a happy marriage, a house of your own with that white picket fence and children to fill in that yard.
Children would not come to us early in our marriage. We spent many days in fertility clinics, rushing back and forth to the clinic. The only thing that grew out of these treatments was a cyst the size of a grapefruit. It was at that time we decided enough is enough.
This was a bleak time and we soon discovered the five stages of loss. For any of you that have lost something, you may know what these stages are. They are Denial (Isolation), Anger- (Resentment), Bargaining- (Desperation), Grief- (Depression) and eventually Resolution- (Acceptance). Little did we know that experiencing the five stages of loss would set the stage for years to come.
We decided that not able to have our own children we would adopt. There are many ways to go about this such as international versus domestic adoptions. We decided that we wanted a child that was a little older. On top of being a little older, we wanted someone that was local. While I admire the people that help out globally, it seems that some forget to look in their own backyard.
We went through the long process of becoming certified. We needed to be evaluated and attend a 10 week long parenting class. These classes had a broad range of subjects from common sense things such as basic child care to the not so common as dealing with stages of loss. Discussed was the legal system as well as scenario's that you may run into. Over all it was a great experience and I think if all parents went through this type of class there would be less parent-less children.
After a long wait we were matched with Michael who is pictured here in the center. When we met Michael he was 6 years old and our home would make his 6th. I won't go into a lot of detail of the challenges Michael presented us, I don't have the time to write a book at the moment. I'll have to say this, it is sad to see into the mind of a child after he has gone through this type of trauma. For example Michael and I were walking one day, this was before he was adopted. I told Michael that that afternoon his lawyer was coming over for a visit. He then looked up at me and asked "Dad, when you were a little boy what was your lawyers name?". My heart melted, in his eyes every boy and girl grows up with a lawyer. Michael was placed with us in1998 and the adoption was finalized October of 1999.
Now I'll fast forward to the year 2001. As you can imagine dealing with a 6 year old that has gone through so much takes time. Going through our own loss helped tremendously because we were able to recognize the different stages as Michael went through them and deal with it appropriately. In any event things at this point in time were going smooth. This is where we decided that we wanted another child. A call was put in to the department of social services (DSS) and the process began. We were still certified so the process was much shorted. DSS started their process of finding a match for us.
In August of 2001 DSS found a match for us. A 4 (almost 5) year old boy named Jason was placed with us. Jason was the sweetest kid you could ever meet. Jason had a lot of issues that needed to be dealt with that was not easy. This ended up being what is known as a disruptive placement. What concerned us the most was the way it was affecting Michael. We started noticing that Michael was regressing. We then made one of the hardest decisions that we've ever had to make in our life and gave our notice on Jason. We could not meet Jason's needs and it was not fair to anyone to continue to try to meet these. What Jason really needed was one on one attention, to be placed in a single child home. He eventually was placed in this type of environment and strived.
While morning our loss we were put back on the match list. We didn't have to wait long in January 2002 the call came in. I was working from home and DSS called in. They told me that they had a 11 month old baby girl named Ashley and asked if we was interested. I told them I would have to contact my wife and discuss it with her. One of my concerns was that at 11 months old, she would be a legal risk. The definition of a legal risk is a child who's case is still in the court system. The birth parents parental rights have not been terminated yet. So after a brief discussion with Michelle we decided we would proceed. Michelle worked as a nurses aid at the time and due to being short staffed could not leave work.
So I call DSS back and tell them that we will take Ashley in. I asked them to wait until 3:30 PM for either us to pick her up or them to drop her off. Oh no they say, she is here in DSS office and we will be on our way to drop her off, this was at 12:30 pm. That is how I came to find myself, 30 minutes later with a 11 month old baby. Talk about learning the hard way. Ashley came with the clothes on her back and nothing else at all.
It is amazing how convenient things are such as cribs and high chairs. We had absolutely nothing at all. Once Michelle came home I began the task of gathering the bare minimum needed. I bought a crib, clothes, baby bottles and so on. Family and friends were informed and slowly help started rolling in. What does a 11 month old eat anyways, they either did not know or forgot to tell me. This was a whole new experience for us never having a baby before. Michelle was worst off than I was. She came from a small family and rarely spent time with babies. On the other hand I'm the oldest of 27 grandchildren and found that this came in handy. Helping out with my cousins through the years taught me skills I never knew I acquired.
Well I could go on and on because I could say we have experienced it all when it comes to the adoption process. This is not the time nor the place to do so. I will move on to the last part of the story.
The third gentlemen you in the photo is Marc. Marc is our miracle of 2008. After 20 years of marriage, 2 adopted children Michelle and I have our first biological child. Imagine my surprise when Michelle told me she was pregnant. We haven't thought of having our own children in over 10 years. I like to joke that Michelle had to have one up on me. When I turned 40 I bought a motorcycle, when Michelle turned 40 she just had to outdo me by having a baby.
The interesting thing we found out is this. Back in 2006/2007 time frame Michelle was diagnosed with Hyperkalemia. To be more specific Michelle's kidney was not processing properly causing high levels of potassium in her blood. She was put on medicine to help this out and now has stable levels. The doctors believe that this may be the cause of the fertility problems we've experienced in the past.
So there you have it. 2008 brought many changes to my family. The way I look at it our adopted children needed us first before we had biological children. It's quite the spread we now have at 17 years old, 7 years old and 7 months old but I feel up to it