Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Best Thing...

Again I find myself having to apologize for neglecting you. I promise it was for some good reasons though.
 
I have been dealing with some nasty bug that had me on my tail for a few days. Congestion so bad that at one point I couldn't get any air flowing through my nose at all.
 
Literally...if someone had duct taped my mouth I'd have suffocated. Thank goodness I didn't drive Husband-Man crazy enough to do that.
 
I tried Sudfed.
 
I tried steam.
 
I tried crying (I'm a wimp...so sue me).
 
I tried whining (this is why I'm glad Husband-Man was out of tape).
 
Finally I broke down and used Afrin...I know...it's not good for me. But a girl has to breathe.
 
In the midst of this yucky illness though, something super, incredibly, awesome and wonderful happened...The Best Thing!

But first...A story.
 
About 11 years ago (as of this writing) I met Husband-Man. I started working for him and we became close friends (a pretty long story there....one for another post) and eventually fell in love. I truly believe that the major impetus for that was the fact that we were both single parents. R was about seven and M was about one and a half, when we met.
 
M's Bio-Dad wasn't involved in his life at the time after he and I split when M was 9 months old. I offered to let him see the baby anytime he wanted but he never took me up on it. At one point he told me that he was "able to be a dad" at the time.
 
Bio-Dad wasn't a bad guy. I don't want you to think he was. He was a calm and peaceful guy and after almost 3 years with him I can honestly say he never once raised his voice to me. He never showed a trace of violence to me or M for the time he was with us.

I've been very honest with M about this. I think its important that he knows that his Bio-Dad was a good person on the inside. I think its important for him to know that the parts of his Bio-Dad that he got are the best parts. The great parts. He got the kindness and the calm. The loving side. He also got the cowlicks...
 
Without going into the issues we faced I'll just say that the relationship ended with very little drama on our parts. There was no screaming. No yelling. Just me telling him that we shouldn't be together any longer. Bio-Dad respected me enough to be OK with that. He didn't argue. He understood my position.
 
I think he had potential. I think he could have been a great dad. I hope that he is now. I hope that he has children and that if he does, he can understand the joy I have taken in the child we made together.
 
M has been a light for me during some very dark times. M's love and very existence got me through quite a few hard moments and I would not be the person I am today if it hadn't been for Bio-Dad and I making the miracle that is my M.
 
So...Bio-Dad....if you are reading this...Thank you. From the very bottom of my heart. I promise M is everything you could have ever wished he would be and so much more. God did me the biggest favor when he blessed me with him.
 
I digressed a little...
 
So...shortly after meeting Husband-Man I had to leave home very suddenly. I won't go into the struggles I had to face (Suffice it to say they were legion) but Husband-Man was with me through them all. Helping me get on my feet. Supporting me through my moments of doubt and idiocy (which were also legion). But most importantly...
 
Husband-Man was also with M.

Husband-Man and M having a giggle
 
M and R had become very fond of each other in the short time they had known each other. She loved walking him around in his stroller and is very proud of the fact that she actually taught him his second word (it was BOOM!). She was an awesome big sister, spending time teaching him his ABCs and 123s and just playing with him as much as she could.

 M  & R  in the early days
 
I slowly but surely got on my feet and along the way I learned how to be a mom. It wasn't easy but I had Husband-Man to help me and M was an incredibly easy child. I was very blessed.
 
Fast forward another year and a half or so and M was talking pretty clearly and started calling Husband-Man, Dad because he had heard R calling him that. Husband-Man decreed that he was OK with it. After all...a boy needs a Dad to call his own right?

The younglings
 
As the years went on M and Husband-Man were exactly like father and son. Husband-Man didn't distinguish between his R and my M.

M was his son and that was that. He introduced him to his old friends as his son and we always laughed like loons when people said "Oh yeah...He looks like you." Because M looks nothing at all like Husband-Man obviously. M looks just like me, except for the cowlicks.
 
 
 There was never any question of how much Husband-Man loved M. He showed it every time he hugged and kissed him goodnight, every time he tickled him, played catch with him, pushed him Big-High-Scary on the tire swing in our back yard and every time he disciplined him with time outs.


The tire swing in the back yard was one of their favorite spots to play when they were little and was the site of many Big-High-Scary pushes
 
Husband-Man's family were also very welcoming of M. Mum (my MIL) and Pop (my FIL) loved him from day 1. They spoiled him the same as they spoiled R and their other grandchildren. Mum getting him the noisiest toys she could find for Hanukkah and Pop introducing him to James Bond. M and I were members of the family almost instantly. This is something I am truly and deeply grateful for. I love Mum and Pop very much. I love them for a multitude of reasons that I won't go into here but of all of the people I have met on my journey through life Mum and Pop are two of the kindest, most loving and accepting people I've ever found. Once again God was smiling on me when he blessed me with them.
 
After Husband-Man and I had been together for long enough to make it pretty clear we weren't splitting, Mum started putting the pressure on Husband-Man (as did just about everyone else) to make it official. She wanted us married and most of all she wanted M to be a honest to goodness member of the family. She wanted Husband-Man to adopt him.

 
One of our outtakes from a Christmas card

Isn't that a gorgeous face? This is one of my favorite shots of them

As is this one

Disney World was Husband-Man's gift to me, R and M one year for Christmas.

Adoption is a common thing in Husband-Man's family. He and his younger sister Melody were both adopted before their younger brother Aaron was born. It was only natural that Mum and Pop would want to see their oldest son do the same.
 
After close to 7 years together we finally made it official and got married on a trip to Hawaii. M walked me down the aisle and R was a bridesmaid along with our dear friend Lani, whose husband
Kula married us. It was such a beautiful ceremony, on the beach with our wonderful ohana (that means family in Hawaiian) surrounding us.

The wedding party & ohana


A family hug (that's M in the middle there...you can just see his little arms)


When we got home we consulted a lawyer to see if we could get the adoption proceedings started. We were told that we had to wait at least 6 months to a year before we could even file the paperwork. So, we waited.

After we had been married just over 2 years I found out I was pregnant. We hadn't been trying to get pregnant. In fact we hadn't wanted to get pregnant. But we were incredibly pleased nonetheless. However, this meant that we had to move forward as quickly as possible with the adoption because when the baby was born I wanted M to be an official member of the family. I wanted us all to have the same last name when we welcomed our new addition.

Once again we contacted a lawyer and paid the money and got the ball rolling. It took a long time. A really, really, really long time. We didn't make it in time.

G was born in 2011 and our lives were enriched even more. All of them. M and R fell deeply in love with their little brother. G tied us all together in a way the marriage hadn't. We were all a unit now. United by this little squirmy, sweet gift we had been given. But the adoption still wasn't final. M's last name still wasn't the same as everyone else's. But we were getting there.



G is almost two years old now so you can tell it took much longer than we all wanted it to, but I am very pleased and proud and just ecstatic to say that the adoption was finalized last week. While I was sick with the crud I was also in a courtroom watching and recording as my Husband-Man and my M legally became father and son. Something that was already done in all of our hearts.


This is a video of the moments that completed our family. M was always Husband-Man's son. Always. But now its official in the eyes of everyone. Words can't express the happiness I felt while taping the proceedings. All is now as it should be in my happy little world.

Wooo Hooo!
 
 
 
 
Husband-Man and M with the judge who made it final
 
I want to finish with a quick thank you to everyone who supported us through the years.

I'd also like to thank our wonderful lawyer who kept on top of everything and made it easier than we thought it was going to be to get this done.

And finally to my family who pushed me to be who I am...Thank you. Without you doing the things you did I would not be where I am today. Happier than I ever thought I could be and with the most beautiful family in the world. I am truly a blessed woman. 
 

Smooches!
Shelley


3 comments:

Marino ;) said...

Wow, that was...beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Tiffany Wagner said...

You have me in tears, tears of joy for you and your family. Congradulations to all of you. Thank you for sharing your story! You have touched my heart this morning.

Rachel Ball said...

I loved this! *sniffle sniffle*