// Happy Adoption Day, Tobes!


If we're friends on Facebook or Instagram then you've likely already seen the news, but as of Wednesday, May 11th, 2016, I am officially (legally!) Toby's mom! I can't even begin to tell you how overwhelmed I am with relief, happiness, and gratitude. I've been in Toby's life since he turned 1, and he's called me "Mom" for the past 4.5 years. In May 2014, just before Linden was born, Mike and I made the decision to pursue a step-parent adoption for Toby. I'm not going to get into the details of the process because it was long, frustrating, scary, and exhausting. But after 2 years of hoping and wishing and waiting, we were able to meet with a judge and we completed the process privately in his chambers with our parents present. I cried and I cried and I cried with Toby in my lap. There are truly no words to describe that feeling. 

While we had originally made the decision to move forward with the adoption on our own (without Toby's knowledge), we felt like it was important to make sure this is something he would want. It's undeniable that it would be in his best interest, hence our decision, but at 7.5 we thought he was astute enough to understand what was going on. So we sat him down one afternoon and explained everything to him, and while there were plenty of tears shed while discussing everything, he said he wanted me to adopt him. From there we finalized our court date and traveled to a nearby county to be heard as quickly as possible. That day came Wednesday!

The night before, as he was kissing me goodnight, Toby said "I can't wait for tomorrow, mom" and I probably cried a solid hour after. It was overwhelming.

While Toby somewhat understands the situation, he'll grow more and more aware of the importance as he matures. He understands the foundation of the situation with his birth mother and why we had custody of him, but of course we plan to be open and honest with him by giving him the appropriate amount of information for the time. I've often feared that he may grow to resent me at some point, feeling as though I had taken the place of his birth mom, but all I can do is take it one day at a time and prove to him how devoted of a mom I am. It's also important for us to recognize that while adoptions are such a happy thing, they're almost always rooted in some type of trauma, loss, or heartbreak. Toby gained a forever family with me, but he also lost something with his birth mom. I'm going to do my absolute best to navigate the situation with grace and patience and understanding. I can't promise to be perfect, but I'll always be there to listen to him.

This adoption was important for so many reasons, but one that always got me: I've had several nightmares where something tragic has happened to Mike and not only did I lose him, but I lost Toby, too. I just know Linden and I would not be the same. I also wanted Toby to know that despite not being biologically related, he's still my son and I would do absolutely anything for him that I would do for Linden. And well, this next part, too:

For some slightly more bittersweet news: Mike and I have decided to separate. This actually isn't a recent occurrence, and we've been living apart for some time (and I consciously made the decision to adopt after the separation). Neither of us have tried to "hide" that we've separated, but we both agreed that we wouldn't really make a big to do about it until after Toby's adoption (for two reasons: the dreaded question of "But what will happen to Toby?" and so we could learn how to co-parent separately, with at least a little bit of privacy). Our marriage has ended gracefully and without incident. We just learned how to live without one another since our schedules became so incredibly opposite. We had a very very hard third year of marriage last year, and despite our best efforts, I don't think we quite ever got over it. We fought for our marriage for a while, even in therapy, and we really did make a great team. But we were able to look at our marriage objectively and we realized it just wasn't the best thing for either one of us any longer. I don't regret a single second spent with him, or fighting for our marriage. I am so grateful for the gifts he has given me with these boys, and the past (almost) 7 years we had together. Our entire past 6.5 years has been documented on this very blog, so it's certainly sad to see it go. But I've been happy since - sort of "finding myself" again I guess? It's hard to shuttle the boys between us, and I try to busy myself when they're gone, but we are taking it in stride and so far we've been able to co-parent incredibly well. Mike is living barely a mile away now, so even though it's not a "perfect" situation for the boys, they'll be able to see him often. (Yes, that means they both will remain primarily with me.) I don't think of this time as the end of my relationship with Mike, but simply the start of a new chapter. I know that's so cliche and corny, but it's so fitting. Learning to be a single mom this past little while has been interesting too, but I'm overcome with gratitude for my incredible support system. I simply ask that y'all allow me some grace and time to figure out how everything operates as a one-woman show around here. I've been a bit slow on the email lately, but I promise it's not from lack of effort!

Please send only congratulations as it's a very wonderful and exciting time for all of us, Mike included. One of my biggest fears about "announcing" our separation was being inundated with "sorries" and "sympathies" - I know they mean well, but I promise our marriage ended on good terms, amicably, and we're both destined for new things. I know coparenting won't be without it's challenges and speed bumps, but I'm hoping we can make the best of it.

xo KB

27 comments:

  1. How lucky is Toby to have a mother like you? Not to mention the fact that he has two parents to put HIS needs ahead of anything else... Toby and Linden hit the jackpot with you two!

    I've been a reader of yours for years now. We actually had our weddings a few weeks apart and had our sons a month-ish apart. You've handled it all with grace and I have no doubt that you speak the truth when you say you are in a good place! You have so much to be proud of and only bigger and better things to come!
    (Now I'm signing off before I start to come across as a stalker/SWF)

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  2. Congratulations on the adoption! You all must be so happy = )
    xo

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  3. Kaelah, I've been reading your blog for so long. I don't comment much, but had to today. I thought this was a very graceful post. First, congrats to you for officially becoming Toby's stepmom. What a great point in both of your lives! I'm sure your fears of resentment are just fears - Toby obviously loves you incredibly and is probably very grateful to have someone in his life who wants to be his mom.

    And, congrats and good luck on your new path. It is extremely difficult to separate/divorce quietly and without event. I went through this myself and know how much of a struggle it can be. When times are tough, keep your head up and know you're doing what is best for both of you. Best wishes! :)

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  4. Congratulations on the adoption of Toby and a second congratulations to both you and Mike for handling the separation like adults and prioritizing the children. Nothing but positivity is coming from me. Hoping you have nothing but a bright and beautiful future ahead.

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  5. What a happy day for your family! You are an incredible woman, Kaelah!

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  6. Sending you all nothing but love & best wishes. There's nothing more beautiful than a functioning family and that comes in many forms. xo

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  7. Read the whole blog. As stated in wanting congratulation comments: I do indeed congratulate you! Three of my cousins were adopted by their step-father and they have always called him dad since. They love him still. :)

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  8. I'm so excited for all of you that Toby's adoption has happened. You have always shared just enough with all of us, even though you are under no obligation to, and this has always been something that I think all of us readers have been waiting and wanting for you! Congratulations!

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  9. Congratulations, and as I texted you... You make me believe that choosing love, above the rest, makes it all work and worthwhile. xoxo

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  10. I'm in awe of you right now. What a courageous, strong, beautiful mother you are! Clearly you and Mike are both amazing parents who truly put your children first. Wow. Lots of love to both of you and the boys!
    - Mandi

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  11. Oh beautiful woman. Congratulations. To you and Toby and Mike and Linden. This is exquisite and warming and wonderful and it makes me heart-brimmingly happy for you and your family. :) Love. Just all the love.

    And seriously. If you need anything, please email. If you need digits to make contact easier, don't hesitate to shout out. <3 Thinking aboutcha.

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  12. I just want to say thank you, to you, for talking to Toby about adoption before you did it. It means a lot and it will definitely mean a huge deal to him as he gets older.

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  13. Reading this brought happy tears to my eyes. I rarely comment on a blog, but I couldn't go without commenting today. I've adored your blog and family for many years. You inspire me to be myself no matter what anyone else thinks. You also inspire me to be the best mother I can possibly be for my son. My mom was a foster child who never was adopted though she lived with one family until she reached adulthood. She always felt like she was not quite their child without an adoption taking place. I'm so happy for you, Mike, and both boys. Toby is so precious and he deserves the best of everything. He certainly struck gold in the patenting department. You two are awesome. Toby knows he is well loved and that is the most important thing of all.

    I recently separated from my husband of 11 years. I'd like to say it was amicable, but he literally ran off in the middle of the night without a word the Friday before Mother's Day. I came home to am empty house, no note, and a turned off cell phone. I was freaking out for over a day wondering what happened and if he was even alive (he is very depressed hence the disappearing act). I hope that in time he will be able to cope with his depression and we can resume the friendship we once had. Despite everything he is my best friend and I only want him to get better. If only separating could always end in friendship and understanding! Congratulations on your new life. :)

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  14. I've been reading your blog for ages, and this adoption news is truly making me happy. Congrats :)

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  15. So happy for you. Your boys are blessed to have such a loving mother. I hope great things are in store for your family!

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  16. hey Kaelah. I've followed you since Livejournal days and it's been amazing watching you and your family evolve. You're a great mother and I'm excited to see what's next for you!

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  17. Congratulations all around! The adoption story is beautiful, and it sounds like you and Mike have made a decision based on what is best for everyone - individually and as a family. When my husband and I separated, I too asked for encouragement and congratulations rather than sorrow. I really appreciate this Louis CK quote:

    "Someday, one of your friends is gonna get divorced, it's gonna happen, and they're gonna tell you. Don't go, 'ohhhh I'm sorry.' That's a stupid thing to say. First of all you're making 'em feel bad for being really happy, which isn't fair. And second of all: divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it's true, because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce. It's really that simple."

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  18. I know this must have been hard to post publicly, but thanks for sharing. <3 I'm glad everything is good between you. Your boys have two amazing parents!

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  19. I have watched your beautiful family grow through reading your blog. Congratulations on the adoption. Toby and Linden are indeed very lucky boys to have landed with the parents they have! Wishing continued happiness to all of you.

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  20. Congrats on the adoption news!!! I wish y'all all the best on this new path! Can't wait for future posts sharing more of the journey. -kellie

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  21. Congratulations on your wonderful news of becoming Toby's (legal) mum. Although it has been so clear that you have been the very best mum to Toby for a long time now. I wish you all the very best on your new journey, and Mike too. You are always so graceful and you are an absolute role model. I wish we were best friend haha.

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  22. I've been a silent follower for the last eight or nine years (already!) and I'm so full of admiration for you. Toby is incredibly lucky to have you! My stepdad has raised me from the age of 5yo (23 years!) and my biggest regret is that I didn't fight back when my biological dad refused to allow him to adopt me. So I say, congratulations to you both!! And I know you don't want sympathies, but I hope you'll let me wish you all the best x

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  23. wow. just wow. what a post to read after being away from your blog for so long. massive congrats to you all - especially Toby, this is huge news for him. the rest of it already seems to have fallen into place.. wishing you all the best KB X

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  24. Your sons are incredibly lucky to have you, what a wonderful occassion to celebrate. Good luck for the future x

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  25. Thanks for sharing your life and being so open with your readers. A massive CONGRATS to you all! Adoption is a HUGE deal and such a special moment in the lives of those involved. I will you guys the BEST!! :)

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  26. Just catching up on your blog now, I want to thank you for sharing your life with us. Wishing you and your family so much happiness!

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  27. I am so far behind on your blog my sweet. Adopted Tony is such an amazing thing to do. If adoption was an option I would have totally done that for Our Sidekick a long time ago but due to the grounds of him being in foster care it's not an option.

    You're a superstar lovely lady!! Massive high fives and celebratory hugs! (Even though they are delayed!)

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HEY! Thanks for dropping by. xo KB