Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day to Me!

It's been a great morning.  Nicole and Russell are getting to the age where events such as Father's Day are a lot of fun.  They both have such distinct personalities.  It's a lot of fun to see what they will come up with next.  They are not babies anymore.

When you are a parent, you have to remember the small things.  Yesterday, Nicole and I played catch.  Not a big event...we've done it many times.  Yesterday, we used real baseball gloves and a real baseball.  Again, not a big deal.  It was just one of those moments that I know I'll think about years from now and will put a smile on my face.

This morning Russell gave me his Father's Day present to me.  It was a picture frame that he decorated with a picture of him in it.  It was a nice picture.  Russell is a real pain to take a picture of and we have dozens of pictures of him with some kind of ridiculous facial expression.  Very frustrating.  This was a really nice picture and i'm really curious how many tries it took to get this one.

I have two of the most unique kids.  I guess the story of our "family" began in the parking lot of the Heartland Fertility Clinic when we were about to go in to get "test results."  (You were wondering where I was going with the parking lot reference weren't  After many years of trying we had a pretty good idea what the "results" were going to be.  Susan and I, had a short conversation in the car and resolved that if the news was that we couldn't have kids the biological way; adoption was an option for us.  It was a natural fit.  In January of 2002, we attended our first seminar and began learning about the adoption process.  Over the next year we filled out paperwork, and attended classes and worked at getting the pieces all in place to adopt.  A process we had no control over.  I am still a firm believer that anyone thinking of having kids biological or not should go through this process.  We learned so much through that process.

After Nicole arrived on the scene we were feeling pretty good about ourselves.  She spoiled us.  She was healthy and happy.  She slept, she ate, she grew like a weed.  Couldn't have wished for more.  Then the "Russell" came along.  If we thought Nicole was unique Russell certainly took things to a whole new level.  The training we got during "adoption school" really paid off when Russell came on the scene.  As part of adoption school, we were given some basic information on children with special needs and I think we still draw upon some of that very basic information we received.  When we were in hospital with Russell and the discussion about a heart transplant came up we couldn't help comparing adoption to the transplant process.  In some ways adoption prepared us for this.  I think some of the medical staff looked at us a little odd when they explained the process to us.  Our response was; transplant is just like the adoption process.  A process that we had no control over and that for us to receive a gift someone else has to give up something very precious.  Our second adoption was when Russell adopted a new heart.  This "adoption" became even more evident after Russell received his transplant and was recovering in PICU.  As the hours went by you could see Russell and his new heart getting acquainted.  Hour by hour the two of them began to work together and form a new bond.  In adoption, we were always taught about the "bond" that had to take place when an adopted child comes to their new home.  It is amazing how similar the emotional and physical bonds work.

It is a concern having one adopted baby and one bio baby.  They are both special and have there own unique history but you do worry, as a parent, that you will treat them differently.  I guess we all treat our kids differently in some ways.  They have different personalities and different likes and dislikes.  You do have to adapt as a parent to each child.  It is something that is hard to do at time to keep that balance.

Our life seems like a never-ending story; and we wonder what will happen next.  Hoping our best days are still ahead of us.  Thinking back to that day when we discussed adopting for the first time I could never have imagined what adventures we would encounter.  I never thought becoming a father would be anything like this.

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