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Saturday, February 26, 2011

adopting bryan ... part 1

I can list the major trials in my life without even thinking about it:

* Infertility

* Dad’s Cerebral Hemorrhage

* My brain bleed

* Ectopic preganancy and Miscarriage

* Multiple Sclerosis

* Near bankruptcy

* Loss of employment and completely depleted resources

* Death of my brother-in-law

But none of these trials even come close to our adoption experience. Without a doubt, that was the most excruciating, heart-breaking pain I’ve ever felt. Consequently, the end result created the most exhilarating and deepest joy I’ve ever tasted.

Without a medical explanation, Brad and I were unable to conceive on our time-frame. Trevor was born after a year and half of marriage, so we just assumed I’d be like my mother and fill our home with back-to-back children. After months turned into years, we began fertility treatment. Our heart-wrenching miscarriage of twins preceded the birth of our 2nd child when Trevor was 5. Brooke and Trevor filled our home with love and laughter, but we knew there were more children to come. We lived on the island of Guam at the time, and about the time Brooke turned 4, I remembered reading in the paper several weeks earlier about the need for foster homes. When I picked up the packet in the Guam Social Services office, the receptionist asked if I wanted an adoption packet as well. Of course I did! I asked about adoption and she told me that because of the culture, they hadn’t actually had an adoption outside of extended family in over 12 years, so I should not get my hopes up. Too late. We filled out the paper work, completed the necessary police clearances and home visits, then counted the days as we waited. Finally, on our 11-year wedding anniversary, we got the call. There was a 5-week old infant boy who needed a home. AND, he was adoptable. Brooke and I drove immediately to the office where Bryan was waiting in his battered car seat, head tilted up and to the side as he was apparently used to having a bottle propped to eat. We filled out the paper work, made a quick stop for formula and diapers, then headed home to enjoy the greatest gift in the world. Surprising Trevor at the bus stop after school, then playing with Bryan till Brad came home made for a very full day. Our little treasure had never been bathed and had long curly hair that desperately needed cutting. He sure did clean up well! Bryan came to us without anything – including a name. So we held a family council to name him. Thankfully, it was not a democratic situation or he could have ended up being named “Tofu”, “King Kong”, or “Benjamin Franklin”. Our social services caseworker was quick to warn us to not get too attached. Even though he was adoptable, parental rights were not yet terminated and it was their job to try to place him somewhere within the extended family. But we knew. The bonding was immediate, and we couldn’t give up Bryan any easier than we could give up each other.

Bryan didn’t cry for the first couple of days that we had him. He had been neglected and had learned in those first few days of life that it did no good to make any noise. But all it took was a couple of days with an over-load of attention and Bryan learned to exercise his lungs as well as any newborn! 8 months went by during which time I got pregnant, we lived through several typhoons and an 8.2 earthquake that rocked our world for 60 full seconds, and we continued to grow as a family. When parental rights were terminated near Bryan’s 8-month birthday we rejoiced. But our happiness was short lived. Just days later, our caseworker called to inform us that Bryan was being taken from our home to be placed in a home with parents of the same skin color.
.... to be continued


  1. OMG..Im in tears right now. I cant wait to read the second part!!!
    Kisses, darling

  2. Oh my heart is already breaking. I lost 6 babies and by the time we decided to give up, mostly because my body couldn't take anymore, physcially or mentally, I was looking at 40 and our only daughter was by then almost grown. Decided we didn't want to be raising our children with grandchildren possibly coming soon. It was the right decision for us but still, the pangs come at times. I'm reading this with mixed feeling but knowing that he is with you now is what enables me to be excited to read the next chapter!

  3. The list of your major trials was big enough - looking forward to reading more.

  4. you should do a short movie. this moved me to tears! your son looks just like you! what beautiful childen.

    hugs :)

  5. Wow, what a life you've had! I can't wait to hear more!

  6. Denalee I had no idea all that you had been through. You are a magnificent person and I am so happy that in the long run things did work out

  7. Seriously, you can't end it there!! I'm teary-eyed, and had NO idea they could take away an adopted child just like that. It took us awhile to get to where we are now (preggo with our first baby) and it's always hard reading about other's struggles. Please post the rest soon!

  8. What?! Oh no, that is horrible! I am so sorry to hear that - how heartbreaking it must have been for you guys! I got all teary-eyed reading that. Wow, what a hard thing to have to deal with - and such a lovely little boy!

  9. Oh my friend I could not hold back the tears as I read "parents with the same skin colour". That just came to close to home last year we came close to adopting a baby boy .. but because he is part native indian .. we are not first choice candidates (despite him also being Italian)... he will turn 2 this August and is still in foster care .. it breaks my heart ... We are now turning our focus to finding a gestational surrogate (we have 5 embroys - due to accident I am unable to carry) .. but still have our hearts and home open to adoption.I hope your story has a happier ending. xo HHL

  10. Oh my goodness, what a situation! I can't imagine how hard it must bes to endure this. You put it so eloquently, I'm on the edge of my seat to read the rest of the story that hopefully has a happy ending.

  11. after reading this blog post, i have come to admire you even more than i did before... though i didn't think that was even possible! :) you are such a strong person, who has been through so much. yet, you hold your head up high, and continue to focus on the positive things. i love that.

    similar to the people who have commented above me, this story really tugged at my heart strings. i'm looking forward to reading part 2!

    sending warm wishes your way,
    SWEATshirt DRESSshirt

  12. Thank you so so much for sharing this, sweetie. You've really had so many obstacles to overcome. SO happy that it all worked out. I can't wait to hear more :) xoxo

  13. I came over to thank you for stopping by, and leaving such a nice comment when I found myself watching your video yet again. This time my husband, and our neighbor was over standing by hubby's computer, but much to my surprise they came over behind me, and watched the whole video with me. It is truly a heart warming story. What a truly amazing family you people are. Now, reading this Post I see you're amazing in many areas. I'm glad to have met you my new friend. Have a great day!

  14. Loved friend, I read & read & read.... and feel the emotions overwhelm me. You, My american cyber friend, who sent me courage, strength & HOPE so many times. Love you, and please, don't worry for me, I'm fine.... for the moment ;)


    Agneta, the swedish one

  15. Isn't it AMAZING what our lives look like, when we write them down?

    I love that you've done this.

  16. I can't wait to read the rest because I love to hear your emotion in your writing. Love your whole family!

  17. oh, this gives me goosebumps! I have friends dealing with infertility and ideas on adoption.

  18. Amazing......I have to keep reading.....