I feel like lately I've been spending a lot of time considering the very fine line of sharing and connecting on a personal level and OVERsharing. Where is the line? How much is too much to divulge and when should we let people see in?
Like all aspects of life, it seems finding that sweet spot is next to impossible. I love reading personal stories & peeking behind the scenes. I love when I feel like no one gets what I'm going through and suddenly I see something somewhere in the vast ocean of the internet that connects with the exact thing I'm dealing with. But where I start to feel weird, or even a little icky is when it becomes another way to attract clientele,followers, likes etc. You know when someone "bares their soul" but things are little too clean and calculated?
This blog has been many things over the years... it started as a travelogue when my husband and I moved to the woods and then slowly became a personal musings/photo posting mess while I sorted out what I wanted to really do with myself, and finally it's become a place where I share my latest work and a few random insights mixed in.
I've had a few people ask why I haven't been posting as much, and why I haven't shared personal stories lately.
My answer is partly because I've been really busy shooting and building a super rad business, and partly because I've been contemplating the line of undersharing and oversharing. But mostly because, and the whole reason for this rambling mess, we have adopted a new Baby Boy 5 months ago and things have been a bit busy.
Our son Smith (yes that's his first name, yes we named him) came home in June, and since then I've been wondering if I should share it here. After all, there's so much information out there, does anyone really need to know? Am I exploiting his story and the story of his birth parents' to drive traffic to this site? Does it really apply to my business anyway?
But on the other hand the response I've had to the post I wrote about Elodie's adoption was greater than I expected and has been the top post on my blog ever since. It also opened the door to talking to women who were contemplating adoption, longing for a babe, or feeling at a loss over infertility. Many of my clients have read that post and it opened up this whole new level of understanding why I do what I do. I have cherished many of the emails and kind words I've received about that post. Which is what finally convinced me to write about Smith's story of coming home.
When the call came in all I heard was HE. I heard, you've been matched and HE is healthy. And then I stopped listening. Again. I really tried to take in the information being presented to us in rapid fire, and I noticed my husband scribbling notes but all I could think was "I knew it would be a baby boy." And then I thought: "And here I am again, not listening to all details" and then I thought "when can we go meet him?" He was a further drive away then his sister was. He was a few days older too. He was being cared for by the sweetest kindest soul, although we didn't know that at the time, and I am forever grateful to his foster mother for showering him with love while we were making our way to find each other.
We had to wait 2 days before we could go pick him up. 2 days. They were busy and felt excruciatingly long as well. Elodie talked endlessly about her baby brother and told everyone she knew that she was a big sister. We organized, and made room, unpacked baby stuff and reminisced about Elodie's arrival. There was a long bike ride and extra snuggles and trying to sleep but just watching the clock tick on slowly. Then monday came and a long 5 hour drive that was mostly filled with a heavy silence. There were raw nerves exposed but nothing we said could ease our own fears and what ifs. What would he look like? What would he be like? What would they look like? What would we feel like? What if they don't like us?
And suddenly, we were there. Pulling up. Nerves and emotions balled up in my throat and stomach so bad I forgot to breathe. We met at the home where Smith had been staying. There were too many people to keep track of: Social workers, ministry workers, foster mom...why were there so many people? Then, in the corner of the yard, under a massive shady tree, there was a sweet, young couple with a bundle. Our bundle. A young couple filled with just as much and even more fear than we felt. And such huge hearts, and brave souls that I can never ever begin to even touch on the profound sense of awe I feel about them.
Every time I had thought about this moment I was going to be the picture of calm but when it came down to it all I could whisper was: "Can I hold him?" Peeking out of that little blanket was the most perfect face, one I had been dreaming about for nearly 2 years. That little face made waiting for what felt like forever, worth every second. It made every time I felt the wind knocked out of me when someone asked if we were planning to have others, worth it. It made wondering if it would ever happen and feeling angry, alone, achingly sad very much worth it.
When the time came to pack up and drive back home, I cried for 3 hours straight. I cried because it was finally over, I cried because he was finally here in front of us and I felt so overwhelmed with emotions that I almost felt nothing at all. I cried because I didn't want to be in the car, I wanted to be at home, in our space. I wanted our kids together. I cried because his birth mother's eyes were so deep with sadness I was afraid it might wash her away. I cried because I am always a little afraid I'm not capable of embodying the woman my children's birth mothers' think I am. And the weight of letting my kids down and the women who gave us a gift so grand is at times crushing.
The further we drove away, the more real it all started feeling. The more real he felt. He was ours, we were his. And then the tears stopped and parenting kicked in. That super deep, in your bones, in your soul kind of thing just took over and I knew everything was right in the world.
When we finally came home, late that night, and his big sister came sleepily to meet him, they had this moment. A true sibling bonding experience: He farted and she laughed so hard it made us all laugh until we started to cry. And that was the beginning.
We are currently in the final stages of completing his adoption. that's the thing about adoption, you wait forever and then you wait a little more. We are under contract not to share photos of his sweet little face until he is legally a Nugent. But once he is, I will be sharing more.
Adoption, infertility, feeling like the odd man out... it all can feel like an overwhelming, lonely road. We've walked it twice and had two very different experiences. Both with the best possible outcomes. Both with there own trying moments. And if there is one person out there feeling any of the wide array of feelings I've felt during these times, my hope is that this will help them.