Friday, July 13, 2012

Forever Family

Forever: for a limitless time or at all times.  During this week of Gracie’s 2nd birthday, I’ve been thinking a lot about this word.  I’ve seen it this week in several different places and can’t help thinking there is a reason why the word is on my mind.  Grace will forever live in our hearts, our minds, and our memories.  She will always be there, as long as we continue to keep her memory alive, she will always be a part of our forever family.

Although we are truly a family in spirit, the sad reality is that for over a year now, Brien and I have had to adjust back to just being a “couple” in many ways.  We still do many of the same things we did as a family, and we continually talk and remember how different these same things were when Grace was here.  We still walk the dog but now without a stroller.  We still wake up early, but now only feed the dog instead of feeding and snuggling with Gracie.  We still cook dinners and eat together most every night but dearly miss bathing and dressing Grace in her PJs.  The hole in our lives will be there…..forever.

For a while now we have been discussing how much we both miss being a family and caring for Gracie.  We still don’t have any results yet from the Manton Study yet, so we have to consider a 1 in 4 chance of having another child with EMEE if we decided to get pregnant again.  Not to mention we are not getting any younger…. The big 40 is right around the corner for me!  We just felt so helpless with Gracie’s condition, we really had no control over that awful disease and couldn’t bear seeing another child go through the same thing. 

So, last month we started discussing the idea of adoption.  For us, it may be a chance to help a child have a better life and also would give us that family again.  Brien was hesitant but gave me the green light to start researching the process, so I went forward full force.  I learned about all the different types of adoption and for us, we know that adoption from the foster system is really the best route to pursue.  I have been attending many orientations with various agencies around town, trying to determine which one would work best for us.  After attending a few orientations, I was really starting to think that there wasn’t much difference between them and wasn’t really impressed with any of the agencies. 

Then, this week, I happened upon Sierra Forever Families.  The leader at the orientation was very open and honest and presented us with some great information.  She talked a lot about programs for adoption of older, school aged children, and that just the type of child we feel would fit best with our family.  In addition, this organization really does a lot more than just adoption.  What struck me was all of the wonderful things they do to really help local children.  Their goal is to not only find children forever homes but also to help all children in the foster system in other ways a well such as volunteer and mentoring programs.  I can’t explain exactly why but I just really felt a connection with this agency.  Although I have a few more orientations to attend later this month, I can’t help thinking that maybe there was a reason I came upon Sierra Forever Families during Gracie’s birthday week.  Maybe it’s a sign that this is the right fit for us and adoption is the right thing to do. 

My friend, Alli and her husband just adopted twin school aged girls who are in this photo.  Their adoption was finalized at the end of June and yesterday we got a beautiful photo card in the mail from them announcing the adoption.  It was so awesome to see such a great success story.  It was a long rollercoaster ride for them, but in the end they ended up with the girls that were meant to be with them.  On the back of the card was a picture of all of them with the words “forever family.”  Although we are just researching the process right now, last night I couldn’t help thinking that maybe this was another sign and, perhaps, we were also meant to expand our forever family though adoption.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bodie's Birthday

Today is Bodie's 4th birthday. I can't help but associate his birthday with Grace's as she was born 2-weeks later. She would have been 2 this year.

I remember taking this picture (left) shortly after Grace was born. I came home to get some more clothes and check on him. I decided to bring home one of Grace's blankets so he could get familiar with her scent.

From the very beginning Bodie was always very gentle with her. He would sniff her, but that was about it. I think he knew she was very young and fragile. Perhaps dogs have a sick sense about such things.

We used to like to lay Gracie down on her play mat in the living room. Many times Bodie would come over and sniff her feet or hands and then lie down next to her. We were worried at first he would want to play with her but he never did.

The morning Grace passed away Holly and I were kneeling next to her crib, Bodie was right there between us with his nose buried in between the slates of the crib. It was the last time we were all a family.

After she passed it was Bodie who helped us through those oh so painful weeks and months. He let us hold him tightly and shower him with tears. You could tell he knew we were in great pain yet he continued to always be there for us. Without a doubt, Bodie was our saving Grace during our darkest times.

Here's to many more years of companionship and joy, we love you Bodie!