Finalization // Milo Payton Peck

The day had finally arrived. After home visits, sleepless nights, lots of paperwork and a whole lot of blow outs, we get to officially become a family. I woke up on Tuesday morning not really knowing how I felt. It had been such a journey to this day and it almost felt unreal. I put on my favorite playlist as I started getting ready for the hearing. As soon as Milo’s adoption song came on, I broke down into big ol embarrassing sobs.

A year of negative pregnancy tests, 4 years of paperwork and putting ourselves out there only to be rejected by expectant mother, 3 agencies, so much waiting and heartbreak…all of those feelings came flooding in. But this time, instead of feeling immense pain and despair, I felt overwhelming joy. Milo had changed everything.

That morning I hugged him harder, spent more time just sitting with him and soaked up every laugh and smile. We left ridiculously early for the courthouse because it was snowing and I have a terrible reputation for always being late. The whole drive down we barely spoke…and I could not help but break down into tears off and on for that entire drive.

We arrived at the courthouse and after speaking to multiple clerks, we found our courtroom. 1R…the same dorm number I lived in my first year of college. We sat outside of the courtroom and waited for our family and friends to arrive.

Finally it was 11am and time for all of us to enter the courtroom for our hearing. We sat down with our social worker, with everyone in the row behind us. Our judge walked in and totally set the tone for the proceedings. He had adopted both of his sons and made us feel at ease with his kind nature and in sharing his story. He walked us through how the proceeding would go and then started the hearing.

We did not even make it 5 minutes before Milo peed through his entire outfit. We had to take a brief recess and it was all hands on deck to get him changed and cleaned. Looking back now, that embarrassing start allowed us all to relax and laugh. It was the perfect start to our hearing.

The judge started by questioning our social worker….was Milo a good subject for adoption? Did we meet his needs…financially, emotionally, and physically? She responded adamantly YES! The judge then questioned me. I raised my right hand (shaking to my core) and swore to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

He asked me if I was willing to look after Milo, provide for his needs and be his mother indefinitely. He asked me when I first met Milo, what I loved about him, and why I wanted to be his mother. He asked me if Milo had been to all of his scheduled doctor’s visits and received the care he needs to thrive. He also told me that this adoption would be permanent, and joked that when Milo was a teenager, I could not take it back.

After my questioning was over, the judge made Will swear under oath and answer the same questions. He did so proudly and with amazing confidence. I looked at Will and knew that Milo has the most amazing dad. I know that Milo will grow up to be just like him.

After all the questioning, the judge decreed us Milo’s legal parents. He looked right at me and told me from here on out, you will forever belong to him.

For the first time in almost a year, I felt like I could finally breathe. From the moment we matched, up until we finalized, I had been holding my breath. Even though Milo’s birth mom chose us, even after seeing me at my most vulnerable through my blog, I was so terrified she might find some reason to change her mind. When we met in person, I worried that I would say something weird or crazy and make her change her mind about us. At the hospital, even though she was confident in her decision to place Milo with us, I was terrified she would change her mind.

When we brought Milo home, I was worried that I would never measure up to the honor of being his mother. Just like most first-time mothers, I questioned everything….was he gaining enough weight…was he sleeping enough…why was he upset? I was worried about sharing too much or saying something that might offend or make me look like a sleep-deprived crazy person.

So each week and month passed and I was still holding my breath. We had our post-placement visits from our social worker, we filled out reports on his health and development, and waited for our paperwork to be accepted by our judge. Our paperwork was rejected by the judge three times which was so nerve-wracking.

It was nothing to do with us as parents but all to do with the fact that Milo was born in Utah and we were finalizing in Colorado. Each state has different laws and procedures when it comes to adoption, and our state is the strictest. Our judge was very thorough and now I am extremely grateful. He is a man of great integrity, who has adopted both of his sons, and can say with complete confidence that our adoption of Milo is forever. Nothing can overturn it or change who we are now…his parents.

We are so incredibly grateful to our family and friends (near and far) who have walked alongside us in our journey to parenthood. We have been truly blessed with a community who have supported us, prayed for us, showed up fiercely for us and encouraged us. They are the people who did not let us give up hope, who have reassured us when we felt unworthy, and who love Milo unconditionally.

I could not be the mother and wife that I am today without these people.

This journey has been one of the hardest, but it has been the absolute best. It has brought the most wonderful people into our lives. People who understand the heartbreaking struggle of infertility and the absolute joy that is in adoption.

We are so thankful to God for his faithfulness and for the joy that we now get to experience as Milo’s parents.

Milo Payton, we are so honored to call you our son.

xoxo Ashley

Milo Payton Peck // Officially

It has almost been a year since we were first introduced to the agency and the expectant mother that would change our lives completely.

A Photo from our Match Announcement // March 2018

February 26, 2018, we were contacted by a friend about a potential situation. It was out of agency, out of state, and completely out of our control.  Three days later, after anxiously corresponding with Payton (the expectant mother) and getting to know her better, she decided to choose us! Then began the waiting game for Baby M to be born.

I remember those two months like they were yesterday. I was so excited for him to be born and so terrified that she would change her mind. I remember thinking how we had waited for him for so long (over 5 years) and how each day leading up to his due date felt like forever.

Despite all of my planning and preparing, Milo made his grand entrance into the world a month early. Eight months later and he is still doing things in his own time and on his own terms.

The whole time we waited to become parents we imagined our future child. We pictured who they would be and all the things we would do as a family. Nothing could have prepared us for the joy that is Milo. He is better than anything we could have hoped for or imagined. We thank God for him every single day.

Nothing about our journey to parenthood has been easy or direct. Infertility almost destroyed our marriage and the long wait to adopt almost destroyed us personally. But I would not change a thing because it brought us to Payton. I still am in awe of her bravery and her love for Milo.

Our relationship with Payton and her family has been the biggest surprise and the biggest blessing. We had no idea how much of a bond we would feel with Milo’s birth family.  We are so thankful that she changed her mind and chose an open adoption with us. She encourages me daily and it is an absolute joy to share pictures and videos with her. Open adoption is a beautiful thing.

Milo is so incredibly loved.

So how can I sum up the last 8 months, well really the last 5 years. We started this journey full of hope and completely naïve. We assumed we would match quickly and become parents, despite the statistics and long agency waiting lists. We had no idea how long the entire process would take.

For the most part we remained optimistic, even after the first agency ended up being a complete waste of our time and money.  After months with the second agency and multiple rejections from expectant mothers, we started to loose hope.

We survived each holiday thinking it would be the last one we would experience childless. We watched all of our friends get pregnant and start their families. We ignored all the unwarranted advice and suggestions from naysayers. We focused on building our home, adventuring to new places and spending intentional time together.

Our home and our hearts were ready, we just had no idea who we were waiting for.

All of the paperwork, the waiting, the longing, the rejection, the brokenness and despair were completely worth it. I can look back now and see how God was preparing our hearts for Milo. He had chosen Milo for us and I would do it all over again just to be his mother.

And now here we are…8 months later and we get to officially call him our own. Social worker visits, court ordered documents, judge approved paperwork, and all the hurdles have been completed. We will sit in that courtroom with our son and legally promise to care for him (physically and emotionally) for as long as he needs. The honor and the responsibility are not lost on me.

Finalizing Milo’s adoption feels like the culmination of our adoption journey, but really it is only the beginning. One signature cannot capture a lifetime of parenthood. Its in the big and the little things of life….the nighttime feedings and the first steps, packing lunches and learning to read, the conversations and the heartbreaks, the comforting and the celebrating,  the hugs and the goodbye waves, the school dances and the college essays.

We get the honor and responsibility of raising him, of shaping him, providing for all his needs, and most importantly, loving him.

We get the opportunity to declare in front of our family and the judge all the promises we have made from the moment we said yes. Milo, we will be there for the ups and the downs, the firsts and the lasts, the trials and the triumphs. We will hold you when you cry, help you get back on your feet when you fall, and guide you as you grow. We will share all of the things: laughter, adventures, rugby, french fries, and a love for DIY.

We love you to the moon and back , Milo Payton, and we are so thrilled to officially call you our son.

xoxo Ashley

Milo Payton // What’s in a name?

It’s been over six months since our sweet Milo was born. I cannot believe still have much he has grown and all the new things he can do. This age is equally exciting and exhausting for all three of us. Eating solids and learning to roll over have been the big highlights. He is such a happy baby (until he is hungry or tired or bored) and we love him so incredibly much.

Most of you know that during our adoption journey we called our future baby, Baby M. It would have made sense to call him Baby P(eck), but honestly I did not know that was a thing. We chose ‘Baby M’ because both of our baby names (boy/girl) begin with the letter M. It was easier for me to picture and pray for our future baby by giving them a name. We were not sure at the time whether we would be chosen for a baby boy or girl.

So Baby M became the name.

Naming our future child was so important to us. I already was not going to be able to create, carry and birth our child. I did not want to loose another part of motherhood and prayed desperately that our birth mom would allow us that honor.

  

As many of you know, Milo’s birth mom wanted a closed adoption when she chose us. While we were hopeful that she would one day want a relationship with him, we were given the right of naming from the start. I, however, was still terrified of sharing his name. I knew that if she did not like it, then it would be hard to name him Milo.

Milo’s First Snow

Up until Milo’s birth, my communication with his birth mom had been through her mother. I shared his name finally when she asked through email. I was so relieved that they loved the name. Now we had to figure out what his middle name would be.

Boo on Briggs Erie’s Trunk or Treating

I had my short list of names but they all felt wrong. I spent hours looking up middle names that would work well with “Milo” and even thought maybe our original name just would no longer work. And then on a forum I saw someone suggest the name Milo Payton. I knew then that this would be his name.

If you know us well and have spoken to me in person, you will know why this name is so special and so significant. I shared my feelings about the name with Will, who then shared that he had been thinking the same thing all along. Payton had to be the middle name.

This past weekend we went to Utah to visit Milo’s birth mom and her family. Over the past 6 months, both Will and I felt like one visit a year would not be enough for Milo to have a relationship with her. We asked her if she would be willing to see us more, and she said that she had wanted more visits but did not know how to ask.

God was stirring this in all of our hearts, and so we planned a trip on Thanksgiving weekend.

We have not shared personal details, pictures and names on social media to respect Milo’s birth mom’s privacy. This trip was so significant because we grew closer to Milo’s birth family and his birth mom is finally sharing her beautiful story.

This means, with her blessing, we are now able to share her with you all too.

Payton is one of the bravest and most selfless people I have the privilege of knowing and now calling family. She is the reason I get to call myself “mom”. We chose to name Milo after his birth mom because we have the greatest amount of respect and love for her. We want Milo to always know where he came from, and to not doubt for a second that he is so incredibly loved by her.

When we met Payton and her mom for the first time (two weeks before Milo was born), we were terrified. Terrified she would change her mind about us, and terrified that, knowing she wanted a closed adoption, that she would not be okay with us choosing Payton as his middle name.

When we met Payton and her mom, Stephanie, for the first time.

Obviously you know that neither of those fears became realities. She loved that we wanted to use her name, especially since she was so worried he would hate her one day for her decision to place him for adoption. She had also decided that she wanted a semi-open adoption, and we were really excited and hopeful for that.

These past six months, I have shared pictures, videos and updates with her. Payton and I text almost daily and I love that I get to share Milo growing up with her. She has encouraged me and affirmed me as a mother. When I find things hard or think I’m failing as a mother, she responds with grace and kindness.

I cannot wait to share this past weekend with you all. I am in awe by how God has redeemed both our stories and is shaping this journey for us. We are so excited that Milo gets to grow up with two families who love him more than anything.

xoxo Ashley