Welcome to 30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days, hosted by Portrait of an Adoption. This series will feature guest posts by people with widely varying adoption experiences and perspectives.
Dear Traevin, Daddy Loves You Forever
By Ryan Blades
It’s been seven years since I wrote my first letter to you and so much has changed in our lives since then. You’re sprouting into a young man now, you have a wild imagination, love to create and build inventions, and have become an amazing storyteller. Your adoption finalized soon after your second birthday; it seems like just yesterday and yet forever ago. Life is funny that way.
Since the very first day I laid my eyes on you, I have felt deep and unending love for you. You changed my world in ways far beyond what I could have ever imagined. It was the shock of my life when we brought you home on Christmas Eve of 2012, with almost no notice. Little did I know that five and a half years later, we were in for another surprise! Do you remember when it all started to change?
We were on a crazy fun road trip along the beautiful coastline of Oregon and Washington, and quite suddenly part-way through our trip, we high-tailed it home. I’m so glad we had that time together as a family of three because our lives were about to change in a big way. You probably don’t remember that we were desperately trying to distract you while Mommy and I were having hushed conversations and making cryptic phone calls from the front seat.
We brought you to Oregon on a mission of exploration, joy, laughter, and forever memories with Mommy, Daddy and Traevin. Our family was expanding, and we had planned to tell you about the baby in Mommy’s tummy during our travels, but shortly before we left on our adventure, we found out that it wasn’t just one baby, but twins!
Then, for the ultimate plot twist, while we were in Oregon, we found out that your birth parents (my brother and his wife) had just given birth to a baby girl, and she, just like you, would need a home! Your Mommy and I were in shock and disbelief. “Three babies?! THREE BABIES?!” we whispered to each other with wide eyes.
It took us a few days to get ourselves organized, drive back to Canada, get approval from Child and Family Services to become her Kinship Foster parents, and pass the required home inspection, so by the time she came home to us she was nine days old.
We set up her crib while you were at school the day before we went to pick her up at her first foster home. When you came home that afternoon, we brought you up to see the crib, telling you about her for the first time, and showing you her picture.
We weren’t quite sure how you were going to react to the news. We paused while you stared intently at the image on Mommy’s phone screen. You looked up at us and said, “Oh, she’s just perfect for a baby sister!” Our hearts melted.
The next day, when we first met her at a smiling stranger’s house, our hearts were both filled with joy and simultaneously ached for her and your birth parents. I buckled her into her carseat and waves of emotions and memories flooded over us.
That afternoon, I picked you up from daycare and brought you home to meet your baby sister. You were nervous and excited, “do you think she’ll like me? I hope she’ll like me!” I will never forget you coming around the corner and catching your first glimpse of her. You were beaming.
You took her into your arms and started singing softly to her, “Blackbird singing in the dead of night. Take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life. You were only waiting for this moment to arise.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
A few weeks later, we brought you and your baby sister to an ultrasound appointment. You figured out pretty quickly what was going on asking, “Mommy! Is there a baby in your belly?!” Your eyes grew wide as Mommy answered, “No buddy. There are TWO babies in my belly!”
You didn’t miss a beat, grabbed Mommy’s hand, looked deep into her eyes and said, “Oh Mommy! Congratulations on the babies in your tummy!” You sat silently watching for the rest of the ultrasound.
At the end of the appointment, the tech asked you, “So, are you going to be a big brother?” and you told her, “I’m going to be a big, big, BIG brother!”
The next few months were a blur of newborn care, twin pregnancy struggles, and Child and Family Services meetings. Your Mommy ended up being admitted to the hospital with threatened preterm labour after she started having contractions 13 weeks before the twins were due. We were all very concerned and took you to visit her in the hospital.
We clearly didn’t do a great job of explaining what contractions were, as you told your kindergarten teacher that you were worried for your Mommy who was in the hospital because she had eaten a cockroach and it might make the babies come out! Thankfully, the contractions eventually stopped, and she came home to us with the twins still cooking!
About two months later, your sister and brother were born and we became the Blades Party of Six. Our home turned into a flurry of activity and exhaustion, and yet you solidly filled your new role as big, big, big brother.
Our days were filled with kindergarten drop offs, diapers, bottles, medical appointments, court appearances, and Child and Family Services visits. We figured out triple strollers, diaper change assembly lines, batch cooking, and even got brave enough to take a family trip to Mexico. We moved to a bigger house, got a bigger van, and Mommy went back to work after her maternity leave ended.
We have been fortunate to have several amazing case workers along the way, and although the process has been long and challenging with many ups and downs, two and a half years later, we are getting very close to finalizing your sister’s adoption.
We continue to support your relationship with your birth parents, and you know that they have nothing but love for you and your sister.
During the process this time around, Child and Family Services discovered that you and your sister have Métis heritage. We have embraced and learned a fair bit about your Métis history and culture and will continue to incorporate it into our lives and traditions.
I’m so proud of the young man you have become. Your heart is as gigantic as your amazing smile. You truly are the best big, big, big brother anyone could ever ask for. While you adamantly refuse to help with diaper changes, you never stop making your siblings smile and laugh.
You read them stories, comfort them when they’re sad or if they fall, you help them build towers, and you encourage their imaginations. Their little faces light up each and every day when they pick you up from school. You’ve shown them the true meaning of love and belonging.
Traevin, Daddy loves you so very much.
Ryan Blades is a stay-at-home father to his four amazing children. His insanely supportive wife is in her fourth year of her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency. Through the amazing love and support of friends and family they continue to thrive as the Blades Party of Six. Ryan’s background is in professional photography and he has recently started to take on photography work again after the last few years of family-related sabbatical. He specializes in commercial, product, and museum photography, along with high volume diaper changes and the ability to feed a small army daily.
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Carrie Goldman is the host of Portrait of an Adoption. She is an award-winning author, speaker, and bullying prevention educator. Follow Carrie’s blog Portrait of an Adoption on Facebook and Twitter
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