Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our Day in Words...Kind of


I'm not going to be able to do this without sobbing...

I don't know where to start. How to start. My heart feels SO much, I don't think there's any possible way to put it all on paper. I'll do my best.

The last 48 hours have been a haze. I am numb from emotion and, surprisingly, am just now letting the unstoppable tears flow. I will tell you the whole story...but it's going to take time.

I've said this a hundred times before...THERE IS NO MANUAL for what we've just experienced. Don't get me wrong...Ty is the most beautiful piece of heaven I've ever seen...but his gift of life came at a very high price. My heart aches for Rebekah.

We talked this morning and, at times, could barely talk through our tears. Can you imagine her pain? Going into this she imagined that baby would look just like birth father and that she would be more than happy to hand him off...she didn't want remnants of bdad around. Today, she told me that the minute she saw his sweet face, her heart swelled with love and she didn't want to let go...Her pain eats at every inch of my heart.

He does not feel like my son.

I was completely taken off guard. He did not feel like my son when I saw him take his first breath...or when Ben cut the umbilical cord...or when he was placed in my arms for the first time. He felt like Rebekah's.

In the wee hours of the night, I held him to my chest...and thought of Rebekah. It's not hard to love him. He's perfect. It's hard to love him without hearing the pain in Rebekah's heart. Her cry has answered mine. But where does that leave her...?

Please remember the other Rebekah. And pray. [A few people have asked for her email/address. If you'd like to send her a card or gift please send it to me and I'll forward it on.]

The big day? It all seems like a fog. Starting out the day, after being up for 23 hours straight was a little rough. Rebekah checked in on June 16th, at 6:30am. We snuck a few hours of sleep in and met her their a little before 11am. They broke her water, induced her, and then we waited...and waited...and waited. We had an amazing day getting to know her family. She was progressing 1 cm every few hours - which equals a lot of hours! She was only at 4cm by late afternoon, so Ben and I decided to take a walk. We came back an hour later and all of the sudden we had action! Sadly, Rebekah's mom, who recently had back surgery, fell and was rushed to the emergency room. The stress caused baby's heart rate to drop really low. There was so much commotion, somewhere in that short time frame she jumped to 10cm and was ready to push! Man was it a whirlwind...

I had the privilege of helping her hold a leg up while she pushed. Ben stood up by her head, taking in the wonder of his first live birth! Rebekah pushed a few times and out came the start of my life. He was beautiful in every way...we, of course, all cried...and then he cried...which made us ooh and ahh. It was nothing short of a celebration. I reveled in the moments, willing all of them to slow, so that I'd remember them always. I loved watching her hold him...I felt no envy. Ben cut the cord and I looked on proudly... The next several hours were a blur. It was perfect and awesome and complete. We were all one big family, celebrating the birth of one sweet, sweet baby boy.

It did not bother me to see other people holding him and kissing his soft cheeks. It also didn't feel real.

The hospital gave us a room right next to Rebekah's and Rebekah requested that he be with us through the night. So surreal...

We let Rebekah have several hours of alone time with Ty the following morning. I felt conflicting emotions all day. Rebekah made sure everyone knew he was our son...yet he didn't feel like it. It wasn't until we sat down to sign the adoption paperwork that my emotions started flooding down. I choked back sobs as we aimlessly signed our names, page after page...Ben gave me a hand squeeze and I knew he was feeling the same...I remembered every tear, every closed door...every time we gave up. We never thought this would actually happen. Ben put Ty in the car and I slipped in next to him. The close of the door was a trigger to my heart. The tears fell and I didn't wipe them. After five long years of struggle, I was finally bringing home a baby. Unreal.

I've officially been a mother for 48 hours. The best part, hands down, of being a mom...is watching Ben be a dad.

71 comments:

  1. WOW. Just wow. There are so many words to say yet none of them come out well enough. I cannot imagine being in your shoes right now. Or Rebekah's. My heart is overjoyed and aches at the same time and I know that its not even a smidgen of what you guys are going through.

    I did want to tell you though that the smile on Ben's face is priceless. Not a zillion dollars in the world could make that happen.

    You are all still in my prayers as this transition takes place. Lots of love and hugs your way.

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  2. Wow Rebekah! Powerful post. So honest and real. And I know first hand because I could have written it myself. Becoming a mom through adoption is unlike anything else. There are no words to describe the overwhelming conflicting emotions. Joy, fear, sadness, grief, shock. All of it!!

    I think when we wait in anticipation for placement, we create these expectations of ourselves... and they are unrealistic. It isn't realistic for Ty to immediately feel like 'your' son. But trust me, he will. And it won't really be suddenly. It will just take time. It took me a long time before the term 'Mama' in terms of R didn't flash a picture of her birth mom. Obviously that doesn't happen any more because now I feel like I am her mom. I think a lot of it too is that, just like any mother, we have to learn what it feels like to be a mom. That feeling is new and strange to any brand new mom.

    It is especially strange that coupled with him not feel like 'your' son, is this overwhelming love that deepens and deepens at every passing moment. Those seem like two opposites, yet they happen together. One will fade, one will continue to grow exponentially.

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  3. My heart aches for Rebekah as well. She is a strong woman for sure.

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  4. This is a truly amazing post, Rebekah. You've communicated the range of emotions so well that I feel like I'm there. Your last sentence seems so real to me - I long for that experience as well!

    I'll continue to pray for all of you.

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  5. That is exactly how I felt. He felt like his birth moms son in the hospital. When I held him in front of her for the first time, there was no magic moment. He still felt like hers. And he was. But when I got brought him home to the hotel from the hospital and nursed him with the supplemental feeder, HE WAS MINE! I didn't use it again and just decided to bottle feed but that was the moment when I bonded. SOOO happy for you guys!!!

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  6. words can't say how happy i am for you... worth the wait,huh? :-)

    praying for Rebekah so hard... and for your attachment to Ty. please write more when you can!

    - michelle

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  7. Wow! You spoke so beautifully from the heart. I only know the emotions of adoption, since I have never given birth and you just wrote down all the wonder and awe and pain that I experienced. I am so honored to read your story and it makes me so thankful for my daughter.

    I will be praying for you and Ben and also Rebekah.

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  8. My heart is heavy for both of you.
    I guess R was still certain of what she wanted to do.

    That feeling of entitlement may stil take a little time for you! It doesn't always happen right away, especially when you are there and you are engrained in the raw emotions of it all!
    With both of our children, we were not at the births, the bmoms would not see us at placement, etc.
    It took a little while for me to except "this is my baby" b/c no one handed either of them to me and gave me that 'permission'. At least you got that verification from R!
    She will be in pain, for a long time however, having an open relationship with you all and her son will help ease that so much sooner!!

    Hang in there!! It is bitter-sweet for quite some time but, I promise, that will fade!

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  9. Beautiful! I am so, so happy for you and your husband. I can't begin to imagine the range of emotions. Very bittersweet. Congratulations!

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  10. You and I are a lot alike and I have a feeling when December rolls around I will be feeling very much similar. Praise God for your son, and we are praying for ALL of you, birth mom Rebekah too.

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  11. No words...just prayers for all of you involved.

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  12. Great post...you are a wonderful person and so is Ben...he is yours now! God is so good.

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  13. You have such a beautiful way with words and I can completely feel every emotion you described. I am so excited for you and Ben, but I understand how adoption is a bittersweet mix of emotions. Praying for all of you and celebrating your new family!!!! Ty is beautiful!

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  14. In your pictures, I witness two of the strongest women I've ever seen! You are both "Steel Magnolias" and I've never been more proud to be a woman!
    The look on Dad's face is priceless. What an amazing father he will be!
    Blessings.

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  15. you are all such amazing people and are all in my prayers.

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  16. Beautiful. I know what the other Rebekah is feeling and what she will be feeling years from now and I am so glad that you are having an open relationship with her it will help her alot. I will continue to pray for her that God eases the sorrow in her heart and gives her the peace and comfort to know that she has made the best decision. I will also continue to pray for you and your husband to have a smooth transition.

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  17. I have no words. You are a wonderful mom already. My thoughts are with Rebekah's family and your new expanded family.

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  18. I just want to thank you for being so honest. We are waiting to hear if our independent, domestic adoption will be moving forward. We started out in international adoption land and took a turn down a different path when a domestic situation was brought to us. Right now my heart aches for the young birthmom and I just can't imagine how difficult it is for everyone through this transition. Time will bring clarity for everyone, that's what I keep telling myself. Again, thank you for your honest as it really helps those of us that are a few steps behind you. And above all...Congratulations!!
    Harmony

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  19. Amazing....no other words describe it! I pray for Rebekah, like Heather, she has just done the single most selfless act known to man. My heart and mind could never fully understand that type of selflessness. These women gave us the most precious gift ever...motherhood. Being told you could never have children is something no woman should have to endure, you become an empty shell. but women, like Rebekah and Heather were sent from heaven to fill us full of life again. She is an amazing woman and she could have chosen ANYBODY better to be Ty's mommy than YOU!!!

    From His arms, Through hers, into yours...

    Much love,
    Dori

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  20. We wish you a very Happy First Father's Day, Ben!!! God's Blessings to you and your family!

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  21. o my word, wow. as soon as I saw the picture of your hand on his little head after being born the tears came!

    you and ben were put here to take care of that little boy (and his mom as much as possible), what a great God we have that he would bless you with that task. He is so good, so good.

    it is wonderful to watch his greatness in your pictures, to see Rebekah's family and all the love that was in that room. Amazing, God was there in all of it.

    And yes, when you love your hubby as much as we do the best thing about being a mom is watching him be a dad, I can relate to that in every way possible.

    I love your story, written by the figure of God-enjoy your baby :)

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  22. Since I am a mom to two kids, I cannot even imagine ever doing that, having a family and giving away one of my babies, one little life, one child. Rebekah is a special person of the highest order and I can't even imagine how her heart must be breaking right now. The best thing is though, that she knows that she can see him whenever she wants, and that he is being raised and loved by parents that will give him everything he deserves. Congratulations, I'm so happy to finally see a picture of you holding YOUR son. And make no mistake (because God didn't, that he IS YOUR son.)

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  23. Ok...I feel as though I am having flash backs. I know exactly what your saying, and felt the exact same way.

    Time. As your heart focus changes, and Rebekah's heart heals, you will feel exactly like the heavens arranged you to be.. Ty's Mom.

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  24. Oh I want to add. Both you and Rebekah are in my prayers. I can not even begin to imagine the loss Rebekah feels. Ty is lucky. He is loved by two Mom's.

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  25. I have to echo this.

    "It is especially strange that coupled with him not feel like 'your' son, is this overwhelming love that deepens and deepens at every passing moment. Those seem like two opposites, yet they happen together. One will fade, one will continue to grow exponentially."

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  26. WOW
    You are one amazing and real live woman!
    May God continue to bless you all
    I have a special prayer for Rebekah too!

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  27. This post tugged at my heartstrings as well. You have so beautifully written about one very painful aspect of adoption, that it all centers on loss. It's something we must all come to terms with through this journey.

    You are right that there are no words to really capture any of this. I honestly don't even know how to write this comment.

    Even though I don't have the face of a birthmom conjured in my mind every time I look at Charlie, I do still think about her so much. I think about what she did, and what she gave so that we could have this precious boy. It utterly humbles me.

    But underneath the hurt and pain, there is immeasurable love too, and that can't be forgotten. Your love shines through, even the greatest pain.

    Hugs to you, my friend...you have all been in my thoughts almost constantly!

    Love,

    Melba

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  28. Wow! It does look so hard...and someday I'll be standing there going through what you just went through and continue to go through...but I have to believe it will get easier. You will attach to Ty and Rebekah will heal. God will take care of her. I will be praying for you over the next few weeks as you stay in your cottage with your new baby. So excited for you, he is just so beautiful and perfect in every way.

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  29. Rebekah and Ben,

    Congratulations on your little gift from our Lord. Yours is an amazing story of God's faithfulness and how he so richly blesses His own. I came across your story, just today, while searching for a used copy of When the Heart Cries, for my wife. We will keep the three of you and Rebekah in our prayers.

    Blessings,

    Gene

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  30. Leaves me speechless...

    Such a beautiful thing to see your best friend and husband become a dad. Ben was born for the part.

    Love you both so, so much. Can't wait to celebrate alongside you...

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  31. My heart goes out to Rebekah...and I'm continuing to hold her very close in prayer at this time. What a selfless act...of amazing love...for the son you both share. I'm just speechless.

    What a beautiful boy...

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  32. Congratulations Rebekah and Ben!
    I can not imagine all of the emotions right now...Excitement, fear, exhaustion, joy...But all of this will calm with time and with each passing moment with your child your connection will deepen. I wish you a smooth journey over the next weeks...Lots of prayers will be said for your new family.
    Jen Muhlenkamp :)

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  33. From God"s loving arms to yours...your lives are now complete. I pray someone is with Rebekah through all of this.

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  34. I'm praying for all of you! God will wipe away every tear of pain.

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  35. Your conflicting emotions are completely normal, but that doesn't make it any less difficult--I know. I was in this place almost 2 yrs ago. My experience was slightly different b/c I was already a mom to our 12 yr old daughter. I knew how to be a mom, but I just wasn't completely ready for all of the emotions that came when Kara was born. As you mentioned, there are no manuals for this experience. In time, Ty will undeniably feel like your son every moment of every day--and you won't be able to imagine what life was like before his arrival.

    I am praying for you and Ben as you traverse these uncharted waters of parenthood. I am also praying for Ty's birthmom, Rebekah. In time, I pray that her broken heart will heal, and that God will shower her with many blessings.

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  36. Rebekah & Rebekah
    You have both been in my prayers over the last few days and I can't imagine the love, joy, hurt, sadness, all rolled into one that you are both feeling. I think you have both known for a long time that God was all over this situation and I hope you are clinging to that...you both continue to amaze me and Ty is one lucky little man to have two such awesome women...he will be a fantastic man someday because of what the two of you have done and will continue to do...Praise God!

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  37. I hope you are saving all of this for Ty to read. How loved is that little boy?

    The day that we brought our son home for the hospital, I cried all evening for his birthmother. They are amazing women. They didn't "give away" their babies. They gave them life and entrusted them to someone who could teach them how to live it. It is such a profound sadness at the same time you are experiencing a profound new love.

    Ty was born for you and Ben. You will know that more and more each day.

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  38. Congratulations! You post is so beautifully put into words-
    I am a newer reader of your blog and truly enjoy checking in to see what is new- my husband and I are in the early stages of the "waiting game" that is adoption, and rejoice in imagining the day we are in yours and Ben's shoes.
    Congratulations again on your Baby boy!

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  39. Such a totally amazing story. I am sure you have heard this before but I know I was lead to your blog by God. You guys are so inspiring. I am so thankful to be able to share this journey with you. Congrats again,
    Midwest Mom, Chicago

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  40. Thank You for being so tender when it comes to Rebekah.
    I truly admire her. She is a strong - special woman.
    I also admire you and the friendship that has been established with her.

    I'm continuously praying for Rebekah and checking on her.
    I'm also thanking God for You & Ben and the gift he allowed Rebekah to give you.
    You both will be wonderful parents to Ty.

    CeCe in MS

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  41. Ty is one very lucky little boy to have 2 such beautiful strong women looking out for his very best interests, as well as a such a doting dad (those pics of him lovingly holding his son say it all). How wonderful too to have Rebekah's family surrounding her and you, in full support.

    My heart goes out to Rebekah. I hope she heals quickly in all senses of the word. I also hope her mum is going to be alright.

    To the parents of Ty - ENJOY!
    ...take each step slowly with no expectations...try and relax and just live it not over think it... The future is going to be amazing. Welcome to parenthood!

    Jennette (a reader of your blog coming out of lurkdom finally)

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  42. What an answer to prayer! Sounds like you are handling everything well and being sweet and empathetic as always. He is gorgeous.

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  43. SO HAPPY for you! Don't you love God's timing! It's just perfect! ...and so is your baby boy!

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  44. Thank you so much Rebekah for sharing this experience with us through your blog. You write so brilliantly and honestly.

    Sending love to you and your lovely little family and to Rebekah too.

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  45. You are capturing Ty's story, his whole story, so beautifully - and I got all teary-eyed looking at the photos you shared.

    - r

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  46. OMG, I was crying through your slideshow and crying as I read your "day in words". Its giving me hope for when we get our call and sign papers to bring our baby home.

    I do have one question... after seeing the pictures of your car before leaving, how in the world did you fit a baby and car seat in there? lol

    Either way, loved reading your story, and many congratulations to you and your husband, and your new family! Good luck, God bless!!

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  47. Im praying for all of you. He is such a beautiful boy and your smiles are priceless! I might add...you look nothing of a person who has been up for hours on end! You are beaming with happiness. ;)

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  48. Now you've got me crying too!!!

    I can't tell you how happy I am for you and Ben and how proud I am of Rebekah!

    My thoughts are with you all during this sweetest and bitterest (is that a word?) times.

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  49. many prayers for what Rebekah is feeling, what a sacrifice.

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  50. I'm so happy for you guys!!

    I remember that mingling of joy and grief when we took Isaiah from the hospital...it was so bittersweet. I still struggle with grief for his b-mom, but your heart learns to simply turn that grief into prayer for her and a fierce desire to stay in touch, which is a good thing.

    I'm just so excited for you two! I well remember our first few days with Isaiah--how precious, sweet, and exhausting they were. And now I have an active 1 year old playing next to me. Don't blink! It goes by faster than you can handle!

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  51. My heart and body cannot stop crying for you in your joy! The tears won't stop from me so I can only imagine what your heart must be feeling!

    Your son is truly beautiful and the three of you make an amazing family. I will be praying for all of you, my heart breaks for Rebekah but rejoices for you.

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  52. so much emotion ~ i remember like it was yesterday and so much of your day sounds like how ours went. :) amazing.......i second the words BB shared...you will start feeling like Ty's mama sooner rather than later. :) but....it does take time ~ that's a word that only other women were called for so long that it seems unreal now. :)
    congratulations!!!! it only gets better from here. :)

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  53. Still melting into a pile of goo over here... :) What an incredible story! Your life is truly just beginning. I know it seems surreal, but it will come. When B was born, I initially felt no maternal instinct that he was MINE - they really could have brought me any baby from the nursery and it would have been the same. But within a few hours it started to set in that wow he was really mine, and he was really going home with me. So happy for you both!

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  54. Praying for Rebekah.

    And it will take time to bond with Ty, for it to all feel real. Give yourselves time and everything will fall perfectly into place! He is your son, God ordained it so, even if it doesn't feel very real just yet!

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  55. I am so happy for you and your husband. Congratulations and enjoy every second. God Bless you and your family!!

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  56. love this story and love you guys. It is so precious seeing ben as a dad and you as a mom. Can't wait to meet him in a few weeks.

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  57. Rebekah, I started reading your blog in February but never found just the right words to tell you how much your story touches me. Still haven't found them, but I after checking your blog this morning and I read of the feelings that this experience brings and the fact that there is no manual out there...I thought to my self: sure there is one! You've been writing it as you lived it. I believe you ought to write this manual!

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  58. There are no words that come now, just tears...and the thought that God is Good ALL the time! That baby boy was created for you two and what a relationship with Rebekah you have! How wonderful!

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  59. Oh Rebecca, I know the conflicting emotions... the joy and the pain at the same time... The aching in your heart at what you know must be pain in your child's birthmom's heart. I'll be praying for you both in this journey. Congratulations again on your new family!

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  60. Found your blog through a friend. Your story is heartwarming.

    I wanted to tell you that when I gave birth to both of my children, they did not feel like mine until I brought them home. For my second child, it honestly took several weeks. Like someone else said, they could have been any baby from the nursery, really. Both were highly anticipated, too (infertility, IVF). Those feelings scared me but now I know that they are completely normal. I don't know why.. protective mechanism, maybe?

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  61. Your story has given me such hope. You are a wonderful writer and I can feel the emotion through the words. What a beautiful baby boy and a beautiful relationship. I will keep you and the other Rebekah in my thoughts and prayers.

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  62. I didn't really feel like a mom, really, until Andrew was about 6 months old. I tend to hold back, though, not my actions, but the deepest part of my heart. When it came, though, it was complete. Today we finalized and I knew that the entire last 8 months of taking care of this baby, 8 months of slowly becoming his mom, was for a reason. Now, not only is it official, but it is completely real. Give yourself time. Love is a verb, right? Be his mom and you'll eventually feel like his mom. You know that, though:-)

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  63. Thinking of all of you and sending good thoughts and prayers. You're being thought about by many people; even my mom asked me how you were all doing yesterday (I linked your blog in a post on my blog the day you started your trip there.) It's been exciting to see your journey to your son!

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  64. Thanks for sharing your real, honest feelings. I wouldn't expect anything different from you though. I can feel Rebekah's pain. I hope your great relationship can ease some of her pain.

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  65. Rebekah, Thanks for sharing your wonderful birth story.
    When Lilli was first born and we saw her for the first time she didn't immediately feel like our daughter either. The bonding comes over time...

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  66. This is such a beautiful story.

    I can only imagine the pain Rebekah feels. I'm praying for her.

    Tracy

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  67. Rebekah,
    Thank you for posting this. So similar to our own adoption story. And my feelings exactly.
    Jodi

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