Portland Japanese Garden

Happy Monday, beautiful. It’s so nice to be back here. I took an unexpected break when my hubby and I went on an empromptu vacay to California last week. We came up with the idea while we were away last weekend celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. Now I’m back and we have a very exciting week with something bigger to celebrate- our cherry blossoms’ birthday! Before we get to their birthday, I want to share more about our adoption story…. the days leading up to their birth and what it was like for us. In my previous adoption post, I shared with you the explosion of emotions I experienced when we were told we were matched with twins…. twins who would be born in just 2 short weeks. We had to prepare for twins. Such a simple statement but a monumental and multifaceted task… especially since we only had 2 weeks. I’m not sure what was more daunting at the time- the mental prep or physically preparing our home and our lives.

To distract myself from the emotional merry-go-round, I jumped into getting our home ready for the arrival of twins. We didn’t have a single baby item in our home…. well, except for a few adorable baby outfits I couldn’t resist. See, when you’re waiting to be matched with your child, they (social workers, adoption agency, other parents who have adopted) tell you not to get anything for your child until you are matched. Why? Well, it’s for your own well being. That’s because you never actually know how long “the wait” will be, how old the child will be, the needs of the child, or the gender of the child until you are matched. Could you imagine decorating the perfect baby nursery in your home and then it sits empty for years until you are matched? Or, maybe you’re expecting to adopt an older child but then a toddler suddenly is need of a home and you’re a perfect match. In that case, you would have spent time and money on furniture for a teen, then you would need to redo it all for a toddler. For us, we thought we would be adopting one baby girl, then we were blessed with 2.

We took the advise (mostly) and refrained from buying for baby, however that didn’t stop me from researching all the perfect baby gear, mentally decorating the nursery, and planning our cherry blossom’s perfect wardrobe. Good thing I followed this tip, because I learned very quickly that everything is different with twins. That beautiful sleigh crib I had been swooning over… 2 of those would not fit in the nursery. The fancy stroller I imagined taking my little princess for walks in… it only had room for one. The clothes…. now I needed 2 of each outfit. In fact, I needed 2 of everything and I only had 2 weeks before they would be born!

Did I mention that we were leaving for a week vacation 2 days after we heard the news of 2 babies in 2 weeks (wow, that’s a lot of 2’s)?! Yes, hubby and I were flying across the country to Portland, Oregon for a week to watch a exhibition tennis match (we’re big tennis fans, especially my hubby). We didn’t cancel the vacation (it would be our last one without children, after all), however we did change our itinerary quite a bit. We hit up every baby boutique we could find. We test drove double baby strollers (pictured below), looked for an extra large diaper bag, searched for cribs that wouldn’t overcrowd the nursery…. and the list goes on and on. We wouldn’t buy anything until after the babies were born and the birth mother signed her paperwork, but I got organized (as much as I am capable of being organized) and made a list of everything we needed wanted to get for the babies. While in Portland, we made it a point to visit the Portland Japanese Garden (pictured above), which was absolutely incredible. This was to honor and celebrate our double cherry blossom blessing.

Choosing a Double Stroller

In the middle of our stay in Portland, tragedy struck. Japan was shaken by an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear melt down. We watched it all unfold on the news as we sat in our hotel room. We felt like we were punched in the gut. Japan and its people were devastated. Were our babies ok? We didn’t know what part of Japan the birth mother lived in. We called the adoption agency to find out what they knew. All they knew at the time was that they thought she lived somewhere south of Tokyo, therefore should be safe from the horrific disaster. They later confirmed that she was safe in a hospital and that she was in fact quite far south of Tokyo. She was in the hospital due to false contractions and she was staying there until the scheduled c-section. What a relief.

When we retuned home from our vacation, I got to work. First stop, Pottery Barn Kids. The staff at PBK were incredible. I told them about the adoption and that I needed to pick out the furniture for the nursery but wouldn’t purchase it until the babies were born and we knew the adoption was moving forward. My brother would be the contact person and would be at our home for the furniture delivery. They were all amazing and very excited for us (most of them still work there and are always thrilled to hear about the girls). They also shared with me that PBK offers a twin discount- if you purchase 2 of anything you get an extra 10% off. We also decided on the stroller, along with many of the other items on the list.

Next I needed to prepare for our stay in Japan. If everything went smoothly, we would leave for Japan about a week to 10 days after the babies were born, when they would be released from the hospital. We would need to stay for about a month but it all depended on the processing of the paperwork and our meeting with the embassy. I consulted with another family nearby who had adopted their baby girl a year earlier on what I needed during our stay in Japan. Their advise was priceless. Then I was off to purchase bottles, diapers, formula, blankets, clothes, and all the other essentials. My hubby began to research flights, hotels, and transportation.

To add to our already full plate, my hubby had been putting off a business trip to Panama for quite sometime. He now knew he had to take care of it before the arrival of our daughters. He booked the trip and would be returning home on the day of their scheduled delivery.

I’m not sure how much I slept during those 2 weeks waiting for our daughters to be born on the other side of the world. It was very surreal. It often felt like a dream. My emotions continued to take me for a wild ride. I was in nesting mode and it was in overdrive. For the first time in my life, I felt like a mother and it felt amazing and scary all at once. Our dream of having a family was closer than ever before and we couldn’t wait for the news of their birth.