Tuesday, December 9

my heart healed...

cedar & grandma marmie, canon 50D

daddy (vu-vu) & cedar

daddy, cedar, me & callie lu

darlene (auntie) & cedar

my parents & cedar baby

On our drive home from Oregon to San Diego, we made sure to stop at my parents house on the way. They live on a house up a hill with a beautiful view at the bottom of the Sierra's. We were exhausted from the drive, the whole beautiful experience and from me coming down with an awful cold. We had been in the car more than 6 hours when we pulled up to my parents place and there was my dad, sitting in the garage waiting for us with a grin wider than the sky.

Having my parents come out to greet us and see baby Cedar for the first time, strapped into his car seat, was a dream coming to reality for me. To see their eyes well up with tears and awe and to giggle and be speechless filled my heart so.

It was then that it all came crashing in on me that this is real. That I haven't been dreaming after all. That I really was bringing a baby home. A baby I call my son. His name is Cedar. Oh my gosh...his name is Cedar! We've had that name for boy or girl for years now. Now it is not only written in the pages of our journals but it belongs to a living, breathing, little being that depends on us for everything. A little being that I have fallen so deep in love with that if I go to the bathroom to pee, I miss him. Does that make me co-dependant? Hee. ; )

So, to see this same love in the eyes of my parents was something I will never forget. And then the next day my big sister Darlene came over and she looked at my father holding Cedar and cried. Laughed and cried and then I cried and we all laughed.

And it was then that I became more aware that it wasn't just Boho Boy and I on this journey. It was all of us. Our families and dear friends that love us so much and wanted this so badly for us and for them. Cedar is our little dream miracle baby on high come to fruition and we are all just butter around him. Melty, creamy, butter-like puddy in his tiny pudgy hands.

As soon as we all stepped foot into my parents warm, cozy house...I felt the healing begin. She whipped us up a bowl of her famous chicken soup for the soul and all was well. I didn't realize how much I needed my parents until I was in their arms. And I didn't realize how much I needed to process all that had transpired until I was curled up on the couch near my mother and sister sharing all the details of the "birth" day while looking through photos on my camera. The parts that still hold tenderness in my heart made me well up with tears and I felt comforted and listened to and understood.

I am the first person to adopt a child in my family. We are all newbies. We are all stumbling and figuring out the myriad of emotions that come with it. It feels good to help guide their emotions through it as I share our relationship with the birth parents. I am so very blessed at their openness and willingness to try on a new path for our family.

My sister already shared this story on her blog but I wanted to share my perspective too. It was a pivotal point in our time together.

It was the second night and Boho Boy and I were running on just a few hours sleep. My cold was increasingly getting worse and it was obvious that if we didn't get any rest, we wouldn't be of good use to our sweet baby. My parents and sister offered to watch him while we caught up on our sleep. A few hours later, I hear my mothers voice in our dark bedroom..."We need a mommy or daddy" and in the background, I hear a blood curdling scream. We've never heard Cedar scream like this. Boho Boy walked out to the living room first and I followed, staggering behind. He picked Cedar up and tried to burp him, assuming it was a huge gas bubble (isn't it always?) and something fierce inside me told me to grab Cedar. Not because I didn't think my husband could comfort Cedar because so many times he has been the one that could calm him rather than me. But it was just this primal instinct that took over me...and as soon as I grabbed him and put him on my shoulder, his head plopped down into my neck and he stopped crying immediately. He breathed heavy into my neck and wrapped his arm tightly around me. I looked around at everyone and their mouths dropped open. There was silence...for a long while.

I know they were all shocked because they had been trying to calm him for 30 minutes and in once second he hushed in my arms.

For me...it was magical. It was all of the excruciatingly painful days and months and years waiting for him to come into our lives wrapped into one healing moment. He wanted his mommy. I am his mommy. Wait...I am his mommy?!?! He knows I am his mommy. Even though I didn't carry him in my womb for nine months...he knows my scent, my voice, my skin, my spirit. All the little bits of doubt that would drip into my mind about whether or not he knows who I am melted away. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, breathed in the scent of his skin, danced back and forth in the living room while holding him gently, stroking his head and said over and over..."Mommy is here, it's okay...mommy is here."

And he fell asleep. Just like that.

My heart healed that day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And every day after. All my love.

December 9, 2008 at 8:31:00 PM PST  
Blogger lovely bird said...

oh, how beautiful! thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

December 9, 2008 at 8:32:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, you are his mommy, crying such happy tears for your entire family............much love from texas

December 9, 2008 at 8:34:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this story. And I can't tell you or express to you how happy I am for you!!! He's gorgeous, by the way - I'm sure you already know. Congrats congrats. What a wonderful family you have!


December 9, 2008 at 8:54:00 PM PST  
Blogger Toni M Photography said...

:) Thanks you for sharing another little piece of your dear heart with us

Love Toni

December 9, 2008 at 8:57:00 PM PST  
Blogger Kirsten Michelle said...

i don't honestly know what to say...
but i can't bring myself to leave without saying anything ;-)
i'm crying and smiling...
i'm overjoyed.

thank you, sweetie.
thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story.

sending love and hugs to you and your boys.

December 9, 2008 at 9:01:00 PM PST  
Blogger Lisa said...

He knows he is home.
Gosh, Denise...what a blessing. Words cannot express how happy I am for all of you.

December 9, 2008 at 9:03:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well of course, Denise. Of course.

I've shared your story with a really good friend of mine who have been dealing with infertility for years to give them hope. You are the poster child for it my dear...and your son is the product of it!

December 9, 2008 at 9:03:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! Look at the knowingness in Cedars expression in the last photo!!

Cheeky monkey!

We love ya'll. You are so his mummy!

I am going to bask in the pictures again. You are my hero as a photographer you know that?

With much love from Down Under

December 9, 2008 at 9:11:00 PM PST  
Blogger Crystal Chick said...

I came across this website today and thought of you. It's http://celebratingadoption.org . Since you have a passion for photography, and you've just adopted, you might find it interesting ... as a photographer or the subject, or even just to view images of other families who have gone through the process.

Best wishes. Your son is adorable and looks like he feels very comfortable in your family.

December 9, 2008 at 9:12:00 PM PST  
Blogger tiffany said...

I am so so thrilled for your family. I first stumbled upon your blog many months ago and it happened to be a post about your fertility issues and your sadness was so familiar to me. I do not know if I commented or bit my tongue that day but I so wanted to tell you how adoption can heal a broken heart. But that is something almost beyond understanding until you experience it really. And I am just so glad that you are experiencing that now and that you can become whole again through your outstandingly BEAUTIFUL son! Congratultions Mommy (and Daddy too). Best to you all forever and ever.

December 9, 2008 at 9:15:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too beautiful for words!

I'm so, so, so happy for you, Denise.

I've been reading your blog for at least a couple of years and have never commented. I don't know why.

Even though you have been healing for all of this time, your words have healed me, too. My mother died two hours before my water broke when my son was born and your openness and honesty have been like a balm for me.

Thank you.

December 9, 2008 at 9:38:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That look on his face says it all. (and yours)

You give me hope. One day. One day...

December 9, 2008 at 10:11:00 PM PST  
Blogger jenica said...

how can your week old baby have SO much expression and personality all ready!

this story makes me cry. big huge ugly face cry. you are a good mama. and he knows it.


December 9, 2008 at 10:36:00 PM PST  
Blogger pERiWinKle said...

That little mouth...mmmmm....I just want to kiss him!

My parents are coming in April...when they will see Kellen for the first time...I can just imagine the love and healing and overall joy of being together as a family...

Yes, you are a mommy! It's a magical feeling? :-)

Big hug to you my sweet mama! teehee...it is the most beautiful word in the world! xx

December 9, 2008 at 10:36:00 PM PST  
Blogger Alisa said...

Love the photos and loved the story from mama. Totally have a lump in my throat.

Thank you for sharing.

December 9, 2008 at 10:56:00 PM PST  
Blogger Alisa said...

Love the photos and loved the story from mama. Totally have a lump in my throat.

Thank you for sharing.

December 9, 2008 at 10:57:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Denise, this is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. I can't tell you how I needed to read this. I'm so happy for you and your family. You're HIS mommy!


December 9, 2008 at 11:06:00 PM PST  
Blogger Georgia said...

I can;t tell you how happy this post makes me :)

He is SO precious!!!

December 9, 2008 at 11:27:00 PM PST  
Blogger christianne said...

That is such a beautiful story. I read it on your sister's blog a couple days ago, but my eyes welled up with tears this time, too.

The pictures are SO. BEAUTIFUL. Oh, him in that little outfit with the pointy hat just captures my heart.

So happy for you, Denise. You are Cedar's mommy.

December 9, 2008 at 11:28:00 PM PST  
Blogger Darlene said...

Oh how I miss this little munchkin! I love the expression that you caught with your camera...So so cute, he is an instant model!

Missing you snookums and am enjoying all of the text/pics of Cedar. I hate that he is changing every day and that I am not there to see it all happen.

give him a neck snuggle kiss from me and tell him that I will be seeing him soon.

love to you my little mommy Deni boo...get over that nasty cold and tell Boho boy that he is the greateat dad ever!

xox dar

December 10, 2008 at 12:42:00 AM PST  
Blogger Vanessa said...

your family is an inspiration.
these stories melt my heart.

December 10, 2008 at 1:54:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, the pictures are just killing me. KILLING. ME. and the story is one that you so deserve.

December 10, 2008 at 2:58:00 AM PST  
Blogger kristen said...

that photo of your marmie and cedar is so lovely...

he's such a button, the kind of cute to poke your eyes out on, all that juicy cuteness, oh my!

that story of you and your boy, it's perfect denise.


December 10, 2008 at 3:59:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mama V said...

Beautiful! Just Beautiful: Cedar (seriously, his face is way too beautiful for a newborn!), your pictures, your family (what hotties!), your motherhood...

You know, I'm not sure that the sense of "I'm a mother!" happens right away to everyone, even if they had physically birthed the baby themselves. Especially in the early months of "blob" stage, where you're sort of just surviving and learning and it even sometimes feels like there's little being reciprocated from the baby, that feeling tends to come so slowly. That you had it the other day is such a gift. AND what a gift to be able to refer to this moment in future moments of doubt. You'll keep having more and more of them as time goes on. I think all of that is absolutely normal, adoption or not. You're definitely getting to know a new person who can seem like such an alien, even if he had come from your actual womb.

But clearly that boy knows where home is.

Feel better soon. Thanks for this awesome post.


December 10, 2008 at 4:18:00 AM PST  
Blogger bee said...

of course i'm reading every update...but this one, my god...i'm crying tears of joy for you. what a beautiful, beautiful story.

and cedar is so scrumptious~ what a babydarling!!

December 10, 2008 at 4:32:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wonder full

December 10, 2008 at 4:33:00 AM PST  
Blogger Amy said...

What a wonderful feeling!!! You are a MOMMY!!!

December 10, 2008 at 4:52:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mindy said...

you know how deeply and profoundly you love your marmie...? that is how cedar will always love you, how he already does. it never ceases to amaze me how simple and beautiful that love is...mother and child, no matter how they came to be. in a few days i'll be celebrating my 35th adoption anniversary, and the story of that day still fills us all with joy and awe. this moment you have shared is part of your story... so beautiful!

December 10, 2008 at 5:34:00 AM PST  
Blogger Kim Mailhot said...

How beautifully you have shared this moment with all of us..this moment that you gave birth...this moment that you becasme a mother...

so very exquisitely beautiful...

thank you for sharing the life moment

December 10, 2008 at 5:52:00 AM PST  
Blogger Alberta Art Classes said...

You're his mommy. You always were. You always will be. This was all pre-arranged and you and your true love always knew it, sometimes it was just hidden from view!

December 10, 2008 at 6:01:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have got to stop reading your blog at work. I am a blubbering mess right now.

You are his mommy! What a wonderful sentence. My son turned three yesterday. It only seems to get better with each passing day.

Congratulations to you and your beautiful family!

December 10, 2008 at 6:13:00 AM PST  
Blogger Unknown said...

so many happy tears for you and your family.
You are so very much his mommy and I am so very happy that your heart knows it.
blessings to you and yours


December 10, 2008 at 6:17:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

am i ever going to stop crying over these stories?
these are the stories to keep forever ...im so glad you are writing them down and sharing them with us.
one day Cedar will get to read the pages about how he became your son and all the love that kept him close,
what a gift ....

December 10, 2008 at 6:47:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am speechless. What a breathtakingly beautiful moment. I am over the moon happy for you and your exquisite family.


December 10, 2008 at 7:02:00 AM PST  
Blogger Jessica S. said...

thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your life with us

December 10, 2008 at 7:02:00 AM PST  
Blogger Tammy said...

Gorgeous stories of your first experiences as a mommy!

I have to tell you - I am intrigued by your blog! I am not a mom, and I have no desire to be one in the future. But for some reason, I am drawn to your tales. You tell your stories with such warmth and emotion. I know that you and your husband will be (and already are) such fabulous parents.

Cedar has found the right home! And he apparently knows it already - without question!

December 10, 2008 at 7:12:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! what a story and so wonderful to hear that your heart has healed. Babies are so magical.

The photos were especially lovely.

Thank you for sharing...


December 10, 2008 at 7:14:00 AM PST  
Blogger Terri said...

My heart smiled while reading this.

December 10, 2008 at 7:15:00 AM PST  
Blogger canadacole said...

Thank you for a good cry and for sharing something so very precious with us. There are no words.

December 10, 2008 at 7:19:00 AM PST  
Blogger pakosta said...


December 10, 2008 at 7:29:00 AM PST  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh, LOVE! This post is so wonderful. Life is wonderful for you right now and you deserve every healing moment! I am so happy and giddy--you are a mother. You have a son. One who knows you and quiets when you are near because you bring him peace just by being YOU. You are so beautiful. It's funny that I can love you and your family so much:)

Looking at these pictures of C makes me laugh, too, because I made him a little hat and I was picturing a preemie at the time. Obviously the teeny hat will not fit on that beautiful round noggin:) Oh, well.

love to you, friend.

December 10, 2008 at 7:50:00 AM PST  
Blogger Terri Edwards said...

A baby knows his mommy's scent within 45 minutes after birth. Cedar knows you are his and has known this from the very beginning. You are a mommy!!

December 10, 2008 at 7:54:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cried when I read this on your sister's blog and I'm crying once again. Yes, you are his mommmy. I am so incredibly happy for all of you!

December 10, 2008 at 7:55:00 AM PST  
Blogger daisies said...

:) how wonderful ... your son is absolutely adorable!!

December 10, 2008 at 7:55:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

K birthed a beautiful, healthy child, that's for sure. She must be comforted to know that he'll grow up in such a welcoming and loving family. Good on you all.

December 10, 2008 at 8:07:00 AM PST  
Blogger Stacy said...

he will love getting to hear these stories as he gets older.

i love his little face! that first picture with grandma? oh my gosh! such total cutiness.


December 10, 2008 at 8:26:00 AM PST  
Blogger Rowena said...

Here's the thing about becoming a mother.

Not only is the baby a new person.

So are you, mommy.

December 10, 2008 at 8:54:00 AM PST  
Blogger Monica said...

Ah ... I'm crying. So beautiful. You are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this story.

December 10, 2008 at 9:07:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the wonders of the blog world is that you have given we readers the gift of sharing this journey with you. My daughter is trying so hard to conceive (after 2 miscarriages), and will undergo IVF in February. Thank-you so much for Cedar's story. I am so happy for all of you.

December 10, 2008 at 9:23:00 AM PST  
Blogger Stacy said...

I love what Rowena said about not only the baby being a new person, but also the mommy.

it's all so intense, huh?

bella healed me too.

love you angel.

December 10, 2008 at 9:53:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so amazingly sweet

December 10, 2008 at 10:25:00 AM PST  
Blogger melissa said...

so very beautiful. i can't begin to express how happy i am for you...just know that i am. xoxo

December 10, 2008 at 10:35:00 AM PST  
Blogger lilia said...

oh, again with the weepies. Still so happy for you guys - and Cedar is just about the cutest monchichi ever! Such a wise little joyful being, already so *present*! xoxo, Lilia

December 10, 2008 at 10:46:00 AM PST  
Blogger d d p h o t o g r a p h y said...

so touching..there arent words to describe how happy i am for you. May he continue to bless your life and heal your heart.

December 10, 2008 at 11:15:00 AM PST  
Blogger liz elayne lamoreux said...

you are his home...

thank you for sharing this beautiful story. sending you all blessings...

December 10, 2008 at 11:22:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my. I am not a crier, per se, but this story gave me such goose bumps.

That is what I always loved about my girls, that if they were crying for someone else and I took them into my arms, they immediately settled. It is a facinating thing to me that such small little creatures can have their mamas burned so brightly in their new minds. Cedar knows you are his mama. He doesn't need anybody to explain it to him.

He knows.

December 10, 2008 at 11:37:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

welcome to the journey of motherhood - lined with moments as tender as the one you wrote about. many congratulations and blessings to you all.

December 10, 2008 at 11:47:00 AM PST  
Blogger Sleepandhersisters said...

mummys are a wonderful, wonderful thing... thanks for the lovely story.

December 10, 2008 at 12:41:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful... Merry Christmas...

December 10, 2008 at 12:55:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much for your beautiful words and sharing your stories! What a face!! In the top photo his lips look like the shape of a heart to me. He is so beautiful....

December 10, 2008 at 12:56:00 PM PST  
Blogger beth said...

I had read darlene's post about this and cried....and now I'm doing it all over again reading your words....

you are so blessed !!!

December 10, 2008 at 1:24:00 PM PST  
Blogger krista said...

oh my sweet--i am so very happy for you and your family! your honesty and gentleness are just what your son needs...congratulations.
wishing you continued joy and healing,
krista in austin

December 10, 2008 at 1:25:00 PM PST  
Blogger Magicaldamselfly said...

Tears are rolling and I believe we are all healing right along with you just as we all hurt right along with you.

You are all loved,

December 10, 2008 at 1:45:00 PM PST  
Blogger Lisa Oceandreamer Swifka said...

I cannot seem to read one of your posts without tearing up! It's all so magical and wonderful and sublime and divine and on and on!
I read the story of that night on Darlene's blog and it was so lovely to read it from your perspective!
I once read something an adoptive parent told their child....forgive me if it isn't exact but the sentiment is there.
She said simply:
You may not have grown under my heart but you grew IN it.

December 10, 2008 at 2:09:00 PM PST  
Blogger Lisa Oceandreamer Swifka said...

ah, I managed to find it:(the quote)
Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone
But miraculously
my very own.
Never forget for
a single moment,
You didn’t grow
under my heart,
But in it.

by Fleur Heyliger

December 10, 2008 at 2:12:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today - I cried. I have done pretty well as I have followed your journey toward Cedar this past couple of years. I have empathized with you and shared (on a very much smaller scale) your doubts, wishes, dreams, ups, downs..... But today - you made me downright cry.

welcome to motherhood - one of life's greatest journeys.

December 10, 2008 at 2:39:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

soooooo beautiful xxxooo Carole

December 10, 2008 at 2:54:00 PM PST  
Blogger Kim -today's creative blog said...

Thank you for updating......I am so addicted to your story, your journey. Like so many others, I am so happy for you.
We are so excited to follow your path into mommyhood.

December 10, 2008 at 3:37:00 PM PST  
Blogger jin said...

what a beautiful beautiful magnificent story- sooo very happy for you and your family - thank you for sharing with us - bless you all xxx

December 10, 2008 at 3:45:00 PM PST  
Blogger all over the map said...

i'm in tears. happy tears because the grace of love is so amazing.
you ARE his mumma & he does know it.
bless you guys.

December 10, 2008 at 4:19:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful memory. I felt when I was reading this that I could see you rouse from your sleep, walk out to your parents' living room, take hold of Cedar and he nestled himself into you neck. Beautiful. I am healing reading this post and writing this comment. Thank you!!

Love, Trish

December 10, 2008 at 5:39:00 PM PST  
Blogger Deirdre said...

Now I'm crying and need a hug too.

December 10, 2008 at 5:56:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely - {{{sweet Bohemian trio}}}.

December 10, 2008 at 6:34:00 PM PST  
Blogger gina said...

I want to go pick up my baby and snuggle her. But she's asleep... It's her first birthday today and my heart is tender. Tender to the memories of our special day a year ago. Time goes by so fast. Take all this in. I miss it.

December 10, 2008 at 9:46:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so beautiful Den.... sending you an ocean of love for you and your little son x

December 11, 2008 at 3:37:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG!!! Cedar's face when he is in his vu-vu's arms is the best thing I have seen in ages! He looks like he is giggling to himself, proud of his success in masterminding this whole situation. Which of course, you know, he totally did!

December 11, 2008 at 7:18:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh man, that WAS a beautiful story!

December 11, 2008 at 8:39:00 AM PST  
Blogger Trisha said...

I'm adopted and I feel so loved when I read your blog. It also inspired me to blog about my mom: http://boffopanda.blogspot.com/.

Thank you.

December 11, 2008 at 10:09:00 AM PST  
Blogger Wendy said...

steady stream of tears here.

you ARE his mama, indeed!

December 11, 2008 at 5:15:00 PM PST  
Blogger Jamie said...

i can't speak for the lump in my throat and the tears streaming down my face. this is beautiful D ~ absolutely beautiful. Cedar is such a lucky little boy ~ thank you for sharing this moment with us ~ you continue to give me hope for my own future. :)

December 11, 2008 at 8:10:00 PM PST  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

love you momma:)


December 12, 2008 at 6:24:00 PM PST  
Blogger Marianne said...

Thank you Cedar. xoxo

December 12, 2008 at 10:13:00 PM PST  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Denise, my heart is full reading the story of how you and Boho boy and Cedar have come together as a family. I am so happy for you all - and of course he knows his mommy! I know you are enjoying every moment of this blissful time. xo

December 14, 2008 at 5:18:00 PM PST  

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