Saturday, October 22, 2011

On My Mind

So I have been thinking about this post for awhile now. I have been wanting to write a few thoughts and feelings I’ve had about adoption in general and some of the “less-than-enjoyable” experiences we’ve had to endure. Of course to start, the whole battle of infertility is, at least for me, the most painful and hard to understand trial I’ve had to face. In case anyone that has not gone through any of this before was wondering: just because we have had the miracle of being able to adopt our amazing son Kyson, that DOES NOT mean that the PAIN of infertility that we have to face every day has magically disappeared. Maybe for some people, once they adopt, the pain goes away. But I know for me, and for many others in similar situations as us, the pain is still very real and very there. So if you know someone who may be facing something like this, please be sensitive to their emotions. Just because that pain is still there, does not mean we are any less than thrilled and so grateful that we do have our son. It is a hard thing to explain, and I think often unless you’ve gone through it, you may never understand fully. But it is possible to be the happiest you’ve ever been, while still feeling the deepest pain you’ve ever felt. And really, all we need is for people to understand that and accept it. Support is a wonderful thing and it often takes nothing more than mere acceptance.

A common, Oh! So Common comment that we hear, and I’ll admit, that we hope for is that “once you adopt you end up getting pregnant.” I’ve heard of it happening time and time again, and I’m sure so have you. And call us crazy, but we are really hoping for it. Like, now. If we were to randomly get pregnant with twins right now and end up having three kids less than a year apart, we’d be thrilled. Now to those of you who are parents of more than one child, I admit that if that were to happen, I’m sure I’d be asking myself, “What was I thinking, crazy!?!?” But regardless of the crazy, we would absolutely welcome that unexplained miracle to happen to us. Anyway, like I said, so many people have heard of those stories where a couple adopts and then finds out they are pregnant, that when they find out that we’ve adopted, that’s the first thing they like to share with us. We’ve learned to just go with it and play along. But if you are reading this and you know someone who is adopting or trying to adopt and you’d like a small piece of advice—we already know of that possibility. We really don’t need the extra reminders, I promise it’s on our minds already. Sometimes it’s just small, harmless comments like that that are meant in the best of terms that really cut deeper than one may expect. The best thing is to simply express your excitement for the couple and focus on the blessing we already have. Thank you for being supportive though, and know that if you’ve made unknowing comments to someone in this type of situation before, it’s okay. We know you only intend to help. Sometimes though the best way to help is to listen and not offer advice or suggestions or stories of what you’ve heard.

When you adopt a baby, regardless of race or genetics of any kind, that child is yours and has always been meant for your family. There is no difference to the parent between an adopted child and a biological child. You would go to the very ends of the earth for your baby and he or she is your own flesh in a very special way. So, if you know someone who has or will be adopting, IT IS NOT OKAY TO MAKE COMMENTS ABOUT THAT BABY POSSIBLY NOT BEING CUTE, OR SMART, OR ANYTHING, AND HOW IT WOULDN'T BE OUR FAULT BECAUSE WE DIDN’T PLAY A GENETIC ROLE IN HIS COMING TO BE!!! Sadly, I bring this one up from experience. And you may be shocked, thinking, “who could ever say such a thing?” But I promise you it happens, sometimes intentionally, most often unintentionally. But we have had close family and friends make very hurtful comments, among the worst being when they literally said, in "jest," “Well at least if he’s ugly you know it won’t be your fault, and we can make fun of him all we want since you had nothing to do with it.” REALLY?!?!? REALLY!??!?! Now I know the average person has the common courtesy and decency not to say something so horrific, but please, don’t even think this one. Our son is our son, regardless of how he came into our family, and that is offensive no matter what. Now, this is an extreme of extreme cases, but there are many other small comments that may to you seem absolutely appropriate and well-intended, but let me just say this. Comments like, “At least you didn’t have to lose your figure and get all out of shape for this one,” “Wow, you’re lucky, you got him the easy way,” “You look good for being 8 months pregnant” (knowingly said to a soon-to-be-adoptive mother), “Just relax and you’ll get pregnant,” “You have an open adoption? What if some day your kid says to you, ‘you’re not my real mom!'?” and so on and so forth…these comments hurt more than you can know and should be avoided if at all possible!!! We have heard all of these, and most adoptive couples have, too. We have learned to have thick skin, and I have especially learned to look at a person and recognize that most of the time they really are trying to help or be nice and just don’t know what they are saying. But like I said, these things have been on my mind, and I thought I would share my feelings in hopes to spare the feelings of even just one or two other couples in our situation. When in doubt, don’t say it. Ask questions, please ask questions. Adoption is often a misunderstood thing and we would love to shed more light on it for you. Don’t make assumptions, and please don’t try to give advice when what we may really need is a listening ear, or a sympathetic smile, or a loving hug.

Sister Julie Beck spoke at a recent Adoption Conference we were able to attend, and she told a story of a woman who tried for years and years to have children. Eventually, she and her husband were able to adopt several special needs children, whom they loved with all they had. Through tragedy, one of their daughters died at a young age, and not long after that, this poor woman lost her husband. She lived most of her life in poverty and faced many very difficult challenges, many involving her children. Years later, as she lay in the hospital, dying, Sister Beck came to visit her old Young Women leader. She visited with the woman, who told her she had really led a very happy life. Sister Beck thought about that. How could a woman who had lost so much so early, and had lived in poverty and pain most of her life say she had had a happy life? The woman explained, that every year of her life had been a joyful one, all but those ten years when they couldn’t have children. It was then that Sister Beck realized, that even after a lifetime of joys and sorrows, the pain of infertility had not left this woman or faded. Infertility is not a “come and go” trial. It stays with you. Even if down the road your circumstances change, those years of pain and grief remain. I am grateful to family and friends who have been willing to learn more about infertility and adoption for us. I am grateful to anyone who tries to be sensitive to those going through the painful roller coaster of it all, regardless of whether or not they can fully comprehend it. I hope that anyone who has read this post will understand that these are just a few things that have been on my mind, and I only want to shed a little light on a few things that are not typically discussed openly. If anyone ever has a question about something regarding these issues, feel free to ask me. Kent and I have decided to be very open about our trials, simply because it is comfortable for us, and we enjoy the support of the network we have developed, and we especially enjoy being able to reach out to help others who are in pain. We are not shy though, so if you don’t really want to know, don’t ask. We love adoption. I hate infertility, but I am grateful that my greatest trial has helped me to grow in ways I otherwise couldn’t, and especially that it has led us to our son. 

In the Blink of an Eye

Kent’s mom, Sheryl Brown Nixon, has been working hard for years now writing a book about her life since the tragic accident that left two of her sons paralyzed. We are so proud of her and the hard work she has put into this inspired work, and are happy to announce that it has been published! It is called, “In the Blink of an Eye,” and it is a very special book that can teach the reader how to truly cast his or her burden on the Lord. If you would like to read more about Sheryl, you can visit her website here. I have read her book and it truly is worth owning and reading over and over. It can change your life, and your perspective. To purchase a copy, go here.
Congratulations, Mom! We knew you could do it! 

The Temple and Adoption

When we found out we would be adopting our son in August, we knew that meant a change of pace in our lives as we knew them. And we were ready to welcome that change. But then Kyson came, and he has been so easy going and perfect, we have realized we really haven’t had to slow down all that much…yet. We know that in the next month or two that will most likely change a lot more, but we have sure been taking advantage of Kyson’s easiness and have been going all over the place trying to visit as many people as possible. We also have been taking him to all of the BYU Football games, which is just so much fun. He sleeps through most of the game, but when he’s awake, he’s just calm and enjoys looking around.
Last weekend we had the opportunity to be a part of something very special. Our dear friends Shaun and Lanette were able to finalize their adoption of their sweet baby girl Iris, and be sealed to her for time and all eternity. Kyson and I were able to attend their court finalization, which was fascinating and touching in a way I couldn’t have predicted. My brother Ki and his girlfriend Jaynanne babysat Kyson for us so we could go to their sealing in the Provo Temple.  I was prepared to cry, but nothing could have prepared me for how special and sacred it really was. The moment they brought that sweet little girl into the sealing room, you could just feel the Spirit so strong. There was a beautiful chandelier in the sealing  room, and that was the first thing she saw. Her eyes were just fixated on that light, and it was so precious. We are so grateful to Shaun and Lanette for allowing us to be a part of something so special. It only reinforced our excitement and anticipation for our own finalization and sealing, which will take place six months from when Kyson was born, near the end of February. We also got to go to Provo to be there when they blessed little Iris in Sacrament Meeting at Church. What a sweet, special event that was as well.

Adoption is such a special, inspired opportunity that we feel very blessed to have been able to take part in. We have met so many wonderful people on our journey, and most importantly, we have been led to our son. There is no question that he was meant for our family from the very beginning. He knows who we are in a way that is hard to explain. I know that he can feel our eternal love for him, and he has an amazing way of showing us his own love for us. A sweet sister from my home ward in Elma shared with me this quote:
Kent and I are so looking forward to the day we can go to the Temple and have Kyson sealed to us for time and all eternity. It is a very special opportunity that we will have to bring our son into the Temple for that sweet experience. Some dear friends of ours who adopted one of their three children explained it this way: it is like a “trade-off.” Although we weren’t able to conceive and bear this child in the traditional way, how special it is that we get to take him into the Temple to receive the blessings of an eternal family across the alter. And on the flip side, should we one day be able to get pregnant and bear children, how sweet will that birth experience be, no matter how painful.  You either get to give birth to your child, or take him or her to the Temple. Both experiences are sacred and amazing, and it is just a tender mercy that no matter which way your children come to you, you will be able to enjoy one of those blessings.  

Visiting My Family

Wow how the time has flown. Kyson is now 2 months old and things are just cruising along, but we are loving it all. We have been so busy adjusting to parenthood and visiting family and friends and working on random projects that keep coming up that blogging has gone to the far back burner.
But now I’m back, things are sort of settling down (ish), and hopefully I will be able to catch up and stay caught up.

The weekend of General Conference was an exciting one. My dad and brother Tyson were able to fly out here to see Kyson and to go to the BYU Football game to see my brother Ki cheer with the BYU Cheer Team. They stayed at our house and we had a blast. The first night they were here they actually took one of our cars and drove to I’m not entirely sure where and decided to camp out with our camping gear. It was awesome. We really wanted to go, but it was a little too chilly for Kyson, and Kent had work first thing the next morning.  But they had a good time. Before the football game, my dad, Tyson, Kyson, and I went down to Provo and did a little hiking up Provo Canyon. We went up past Sundance a ways and hiked around a bit; it was beautiful up there with all of the gorgeous leaves changing for Fall—nothing quite like New England in the Fall, but still gorgeous. We also went to Vivian Park and hiked around a bit and my dad floated down a small stretch of the river…Brrrr! Kyson, Tyson, and I put our feet in and that was all. That was definitely enough for Kyson; he wasn’t very happy that I put his little toes in that cold water, but it was so cute!
Kent met is in time for the football game and we had a blast. My dad and Tyson had front row seats on the sidelines, and Kent, Kyson, and I had front row seats in the end zone—actually the end zone where all the action and the game winning touchdown took place! It was a fabulous game! And Ki is just so fun to watch on the sidelines…he does a great job down there!

 Poppa, Uncle Ki, Uncle Tyson, and Baby Kyson!

 Up past Sundance
 "Poppa, you're crazy! That water's COLD!!!"
 Go Cougs!!! (and Ki!!!)

Saturday morning we all had the chance to go to the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference at the Conference Center. Kent watched it in the Tabernacle with Kyson so I could watch it with my family. My dad and Tyson flew home Sunday morning after a very fun-filled, exciting weekend.

A couple days after they flew home, Kyson and I followed them to Washington to visit and so that my sister Lyska and my Nanny and Gucky could meet our little man. He was a champ on the flight. I gave him a bottle at take off and the landing, and he slept in between. He didn’t cry once the whole day and it was just so much fun. Kent’s sister Renae in Portland actually picked us up and we got to spend a few hours with her and most of her kids got to meet their new cousin. She and Jeff took us to Izzy’s for lunch with my nephew Robert and niece Amy. It was so great to see them and spend a little time with them.

My mom came and picked me up from Portland that afternoon and we drove to Elma in time to see Lyska march in the Homecoming parade with her Drill Team. It was a lot of fun seeing her being involved in the whole Homecoming thing…and I’ll admit it was a little weird being back for that. But it was a lot of fun, too.
Lyska and Tyson absolutely love Kyson. It is my favorite thing watching my siblings become Aunts and Uncles…these two especially are fun. Tyson just smiles nonstop when he holds him and Lyska can’t get enough of him. Well, no one can, really. And my parents are such cute grandparents. He is one very loved little boy. 

Just before flying to Washington Kyson started smiling socially, but just a little. By the time we flew home to Utah, he was smiling much more, and they just keep getting better and better. He is also finding his voice, which is adorable. He is still a quiet little guy, but when he decides to talk it just makes our day.

 Our sweet precious boy practicing one of his first smiles!

Unfortunately, while I was home, my mom randomly got really sick with the flu and was in bed for a lot of our visit. It was also Lyska’s 17th birthday, so it was actually really a blessing I could be there to help out a bit. I got to make Lyska’s birthday cake. Their Homecoming theme was Board Games, and her Senior class had the game Clue, so I made a Clue cake that had things associated with her life. It turned out great!
I got to take Lyska out to dinner and a movie, just to two of us, for her birthday as well. My dad stayed home with Kyson, and he loved that. It was a fun weekend; but we all missed my mom.

 Happy Birthday, Lyska!

My Dad and Tyson also went hunting while we were visiting. So when they got back we got Kyson in his camo and took some fun pics:

It won't be long before he's out there shooting, too!

It was great seeing friends both at the football game Friday night and at Church on Sunday. We wished Kent could have joined us, but we enjoyed our visit.
Monday was Nanny’s birthday and my mom was feeling a little better, so we went with Nanny and my Aunt Teri and cousin Tessa and her baby to lunch at Olive Garden. We had a great time there! Nanny loved holding her two great grandbabies on each knee.
Nanny and Gucky loved meeting and holding Kyson, too. Gucky was the first to hold him. He picked him up and started crying. It was a very tender moment. I am so grateful all of my grandparents have been able to meet our dear, sweet son.

Sweet Grandma with Baby Kyson!

Nanny & Gucky enjoying our sweet boy

 Happy Birthday, Nanny! We love you!

Tyson and I also took the dogs out to the waterfall to do a reverse waterfall hike in the rain while I was home. We left Kyson in the house for that one. Taking a trip home just isn’t complete without some river hiking in the mud and bushes. I just love it.
Our flight home was equally enjoyable as the flight to Washington. After a week, it was so great to be back with Kent again! Kyson sure grew a lot while we were gone, and Kent missed us both very much.
I am grateful for my wonderful family and I am so glad we got to visit with them! We love you all very much!

Kyson on October 18th; 2 months old already!
He is one happy boy!!!

Kent’s Parents Come to Town

When Kyson was born, my parents got to be here for just over a week, and it was so wonderful. A few days after they left, Kent’s mom came into town for just over a week. We had so much fun with her. We had no idea when we scheduled her visit how good of a baby Kyson would be, and that he would start off only waking up once or twice a night (he sleeps through the night most the time now!) So her visit to help us turned out to be very different than what any of us were expecting, especially compared to what she’s used to with going to help her daughters after they have given birth. Since I was feeling great and Kyson was so good and healthy, we did things like meet up with friends and go mini golfing at Trafalga! Crazy, I know! I also sort of volunteered her to sing a solo at our local Senior Center while I accompanied her on the piano. For the month of September, I volunteered to play the piano and do the musical number every Thursday at the Senior Center for their “Relief Society/Priesthood” meeting. It was a wonderful experience, and since she was in town for one of the Thursdays, I asked if she’d want to sing her song, “Angel of Light.” It was a great experience. We loved having her out here so much. She was a huge help! She also helped me make homemade raspberry jam…Kent’s favorite!

Then, a few weeks ago, Kent’s parents both flew back out here for a short work trip. We got to pick them up from and take them to the airport, but they stayed at Kent’s sister Raelene’s house. We still enjoyed going to our nephew Reed’s football game with them, and going to dinner with them and Kent’s grandparents. And we were especially glad they got to both see Kyson. We love being able to see and visit family!

My favorite part of the visit was that when we got together with Kent’s grandparents, we had four generations of Nixon boys together. Kyson is their 16th grandchild, but their FIRST Nixon grandchild, since all the others are from Kent’s sisters and they have different last names! It was really special having those 4 generations together.

We don’t have any trips to Boston planned anytime soon, but I hope that we can find our way out there for a visit sooner than later. We love and miss Boston.