Dec 28, 2006


THE END of my cousins' week long visit to San Diego was today. We've been planning this trip since their last visit in June and never imagined it would be to meet a new cousin. There are 9 months between my cousin and I and we grew up 8 houses apart from each other. Her daughters are Cassidy 7 1/2 and Callie 2 1/2. They were enamored with their cousin beyond any words I could write. They loved reading to her, helping with her diapers, taking care of her, singing to her, talking to her, and just being with her. We tromped to the Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, the Natural History Museum, the mall, watched movies, baked cookies, and filled our week. We had a fantastic visit and we're sad to see them go. We can't wait to have them visit in June! It also meant that I didn't dwell on the end of my maternity leave.

THE END of my maternity leave comes with the beginning of the new year. I return to work on Tuesday, January 2nd. I have been off for 11 weeks with my daughter. 11 weeks of adjustment, 11 weeks of diapers and bottles, 11 weeks of watching a teeny bundle grow like a weed into an adorable child who smiles at my voice, laughs at the butterflies in her room, and loves to play with her rainforest gym where she has begun to grab the hanging toys.

I am ready to go back to work and have some structure to my days. I love being home with my daughter but long for some more adult interaction and time pressure to complete things. I know I will miss being with her. I know that she'll be well cared for; Daddy is going to be home M & F and Grandma gets to play on T & Th and Savta gets Weds. They are going to have so much fun! My hope is that I will miss her so much that coming home will be incredibly delightful and our lifestyle will slow down as I will want to just be at home with her after working.

THE END of the 2006 year. It is so hard to believe that an entire calendar year has passed. A year ago we were beginning the adoption process with the County of San Diego, settling into our first home we'd owned for just over 2 months, celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary, and contemplating what path our lives might take during the year.

We never would have imagined the journey we traveled in 2006.

Being connected to the bone marrow receipient who survived the required year before making contact has been amazing. It has been a delight to be in contact with Phyllis and Joel and create a wonderful relationship that extends to their children. We look forward to meeting with them in person soon.

Our daughter's arrival on 10-08-06 has certainly been a much anticipated event but one we were not prepared for at that moment. It has been made the end of 2006 quite the year as we have celebrated at many occassions the miracle of our daughter and welcomed her into our community of family and friends.

Wishing you all a wonderful, exciting, and delightful year for 2007.

Dec 15, 2006

Paying It Forward

There has been a deep desire within me to thank the amazing Doctor who helped her patient find a family to adopt her baby because we were that family and our lives have changed forever. But saying thank you is not enough and money is not appropriate and what do you get as a gift for a doctor without being too personal? So we've hemmed and hawed and done a whole lot of nothing but think about what we want to say and do.

We got the opportunity to Pay it Forward on Tuesday, 12-12-06.

Back in August I got back in touch with a friend who lives in Mississippi with her 5 children. She and the 3 oldest were in our wedding almost 4 years ago. Then the distance and time and life got in our way of being as close as we once were. When we spoke on the phone, she learned of our inability to get pregnant and interest in adopting. The following week she called and told us that her sister's friend was about 5 months pregnant and wanted help finding the baby a home and were we interested.

That baby was not meant to be in our home and our daughter arrived 10-08-06 through the a series of destined events, a super doctor and a very brave woman. After she came home and we had time with her, we realized that we could not take another baby so close in age into our home. There was just no way that we were going to be able to give of ourselves to 2 babies 2 months apart and we felt it would not be fair to anyone; especially the babies.

We let our friend know that we weren't going to be able to take this baby but that we did have at least one if not two other families interested in adopting the baby. This, of course, did not go over well with the birth mom and she was not interested in hearing about the other families. Two weeks later, on 12-12-06 at 4:42 AM, my friend called to tell me that a beautiful, baby girl was born and were my friends still interested.

These friends were people through another close friend who got in touch with me after hearing our story. I had never spoken to them until that morning when I called to tell them that a baby girl had been born and they were parents if they were still interested. After a few shocked comments from them and advice from me, they were well on their way down the parent path.

Today I got an email with beautiful photos of their daughter, Emily Lynne and it made me cry. Today they supposed to leave on a 7 day trip to Hawaii that had been a surprise gift from her husband... instead they cancelled their trip and went to Mississippi to get their daughter.

I now know how to thank the Doctor. I paid it forward and changed the lives of these people and their families; just like she did for me and mine. Emily Lynne is one lucky girl. Her birth mom is one brave woman. This man and woman are now parents and will be home by Christmas with their baby girl.

wow. what an amazing feeling. I can't wait to meet them.

Dec 9, 2006

Simchat Bat ~ Naming our Daughter

In Judaism the Torah states that a baby boy will be circumcised on the 8th day of life. There is no specific timeline or requirement for a baby girl.

Yiftach and I had previously discussed how we wanted to handle this ritual for our children and had decided that we wanted our childrent to enter this covenant on equal ground no matter what their gender; so we had always planned to hold a Brit Milah for a boy and a Simchat Bat for a girl on the 8th day of his/her life. But as we have discovered, life does not always cooperate!

Our beautiful daughter was born on a Sunday and her Simcaht Bat would have taken place the following Sunday in ordinary circumstances. But her arrival and subsequent need to be in the hospital for 10 days of antibiotics was anything but ordinary. So plan B for her naming went into effect.

Using a Sephardic tradition we were honored with an aliyah the Shabbat morning following Hadarya's birth. Usualy this is just the father, as the mother is with the baby often still in the hospital. We were called to the torah, prayers were said, and our daughter was given her name to the community present. Very dear, wonderful friends sponsored a lunch at the shul following the service. This allowed us to share her name, add her to the community healing list, and ineveitably gave the Grandparents more time to plan a bigger party with her in attendance.

Hadarya Tali's Simchat Bat was held November 24, 2006, the Friday after Thanksgiving. It was held at the synagogue downtown that is now a historical building and where I sit on the Board of Directors. It also is the same building in which her namesake, Grandma Helen, worked for many years as the religious school secretary. A special place with special memories for a special event in our lives.

The ceremony was held in the sanctuary where we incorporated many aspects from our wedding ceremony and a host of new things found from lots of different sources. Our daughter was carried into the sanctuary by her Auntie Kimber (my ) and then handed through a group of friends and family who represented a strong line of leadership, caring, kindness, love, compassion, and friendship. She went from Marcia to Kara to Elissa to Kim to Jennifer to Tamar to Jeanne to Karen to Auntie Shlomit to Nana to Savta to Grandma to me.

We used a chuppah that was held by Grandpa, Saba, Uncle Dave, and friend Igor. The "roof" was a tallit that Yiftach and I made before our wedding from a favorite blanket. At our wedding this chuppah represented the home we would make together and now represented our home that we would bring our daughter into. We lit 2 candles that had been part of our adoption preparation classes through the county and added a 3rd candle for our daughter that was lit from those two lights.

We wrapped our daughter in my tallit that has the 4 matriarchs names in the corners--Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah and then we shared our hopes, dreams, and explained her name to the almost 100 people sharing our ceremony. Hadarya Tali was named for my maternal Grandma Helen. We hope she will exhibit Grandma's sense of compassion and humanity as well as her involvement in the Jewish Community. We also blessed her with Sheva Brachot (7 Blessings) as was done for us at our wedding. We were honored that our families all shared a blessing of love, hope, traditions, and thoughts for her.

We blessed our daughter with the priestly blessing:
"May the Lord bless and keep you. "
"May the Lord cause her spirit to shine upon you and be gracious unto you."
"May the Lord turn her spirit unto you and grant you peace."

The Grandparents provided a delicious lunch with adorable decorations and centerpieces. Our daughter slept through the whole affair and we got to spend time with amazing friends and family.

It was a day that is burned into our memories as we welcomed our daugter publicly into our community and shared our love for her with our friends and family. It was a day that separated our lives from before we were paernts into now we are parents as we took our place among the crowd as a couple with a child. A place we've longed to be for quite some time.

Dec 5, 2006

The Best Gift Ever

We have been blessed with amazing friends and family who have been an endless support of help over the last 8 weeks. Yep... our daughter is 8 weeks old and we are actually beginning to breathe a little better. Life has changed dramatically, the shock is wearing off, and we are begining to adjust our lives and learning to enjoy every moment.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving we named our daughter in a Simcha Bat ceremony at our synagogue (separate post to follow about this). We were overjoyed to share it with almost 100 people especially since it was on a holiday weekend. But, we knew that many of our friends and relatives would not be able to make it.

My dear sweet cousin Janis from Phoenix was one of those relatives who did not make and who I actually encouraged not to come so that she could come another weekend and we'd have lots of quality time together. Well that weekend just passed and it was the best gift ever!

Janis spoiled my daughter with presents and toys (the most amazing bouncy seat ever... Baby Einstein that lasts through toddlerhood!) and just her mere presence in her life. But the BEST GIFT EVER she gave was to her daddy and me! Janis offered to take over the feeding, diapering, and cuddling of our daughter while she was here. She wanted as much time with her as possible. We had no problem with that (one of the benefits of bottle feeding!) and we were happy to share our beauty.

I never realized that her offer extended into the entire night. She asked if Hadarya could sleep in her room and if she could get up in the middle of the night to feed her! We actually have two places for her to sleep and one was in Janis' room, so it was so easy. Although the late night cuddling because it was cold in our house meant that the bassinet wasn't really necessary. We got two nights of uninterrupted sleep and a couple of days of fantastic company. It was the best gift ever... the gift of time of someone and the catch up on sleep. I am not sure who is more excited about the next visit she makes... us for the extra sleep or our daughter for the extra pair of hands to hold and cuddle her all the time.