Esme Reyes-Brunner

Sunday, April 19, 2020


Maybe it's the COVID time, the extra thinking time, the vivid dreams, and conversations with friends who have been through similar experiences this week, but I didn't plan to post this for awhile because honestly...I am still processing and don't always want to talk about it - obviously, but this week, I was informed that it is National Infertility Awareness week...and a friend suggested to maybe just rip the bandaid off...because that can cultivate healing..and she always reminds me, we write for ourselves, but we post for 1 person to resonate and maybe start their journey.

So, I've always had an intuition from God - being able to read others and when something isn't right - MY GUT GOES OFF. I always know God talks to me through my intuition.

In the late Summer, during the busiest time of the academic year...I could sense my body was tired....And not just the normal beginning of a school year tired...My body just felt off and I started to bleed, but not the typical period blood. I scheduled an appointment with a Doctor just to be safe the very next day.

Glad I listened to my instincts because I had learned I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy...I just remember almost blacking out when she was telling me...Everything was a blur...

Afterwards, I didn't even know how to process with Aaron - at the time our Doctor wasn't bilingual and explaining what an ectopic pregnancy was in English was already difficult. Being in absolute shock and then having to get a shot for this, I kept thinking - WHY DID I FAIL? What's wrong with me?! This isn't real...This can't happen to me..."I do everything with my all!"...Yeah...this opened up all kinds of internal wounds.

I felt so desperate and just not in control, I would take every pregnancy test until it came back negative - Because after your body registers, you test positive every time for awhile. I thought once I get a negative test back, this feeling I have will just be gone.

Well, I got my negative pregnancy test back mos later, and it didn't empty any feelings from my system, it FLOODED them. But by then, I had a Doctor that also oversees Aaron and he was able to grieve with me...life was going to look different from here on out, together.

Like every time I bleed, it's going to give me a little PTSD.

Every baby announcement was going to sting. We are thrilled for our loved ones, but it was also a painful reminder of what we wouldn't have in 2020.

And then the rabbit hole of, What if I can't ever successfully carry a baby to term? What if I can never meet someone who is biological to me? My birth Dad is dead - I had learned in January of 2018 in my birth family search. I don't know about my birth Mom or birth siblings. So my potential future kids - Is all I have left to ever really meet someone biological to me, and what if I cannot even have them? I speak miracles into existence over What If's, but on a bad day, I can stay a little too long in the What If's.

And then having to deal with people saying the most well meaning things, but doesn't quite hit right in grief...like..."Everything happens for a reason!" "Babies come after marriage! That's the right way!" "You're adopted, you can just adopt!" "You are 30, this happens in older women!" "Not meant to be!" "Many women have been through this, you'll be fine!"... Again well meaning sayings, just hard to hear when you are grieving.

And now? So many months later - considering we might have to postpone our October Wedding due to COVID19, and after having to cancel my birthday, our USA ceremony, and my Easter Sacrament of Initiation into the Catholic Church...It's just one thing after the next...and I look for silver linings & I am grateful to be working & have health insurance & food in the fridge...But at some point, every person has a breaking point.

Besides praying at night when I am thinking the most, Aaron's consistency in showing up, guidance from professionals, & a few friends that really understood what I was going through - The most useful coping mechanism for us was giving our loss a name.

Right before the holidays, we had taken some advice from a couple that said they named their baby when she miscarried. It gave the baby some personalization and it was like an open personal line of communication to heaven. I liked that idea...and after some thinking, Aaron and I had finally chosen Esme.

Esme. Meaning emerald. Emerald is the birthstone of May.

Perfect fit for what would have been the birth of our Esme in May.

So when I think of Esme, it gives me comfort knowing my Grandparents are cooking and playing games with Esme, and that some of my friends who left this life too early are telling Esme embarrassing stories about me....and Esme is probably playing with their other cousins who also went to heaven the same way they did.

I don't doubt that God's plan for my life is bigger and better than what could have been. And...it also doesn't make what Aaron and I experienced - a loss of life, any less painful, it just gives me peace when I need it most.

I didn't know how much I wanted to be a Mother until I was almost one. I also know though, when timing and biology are in sync, I will have the best co-pilot in parenting. There is no better teammate than Aaron. That man loves, doesn't judge, and always reminds me God is in charge.

Writing has always been my best art. It's always been the healthiest outlet that I can do by myself, but I also have felt I've been in writing purgatory for awhile, and this was the most free conversation I've had with my journal in some time. It feels so good to feel like I am having the first real conversation on ink to paper this year. I didn't realize how much this experience blocked me from my usually most favorite outlet to remember, articulate, and document life - Writing.

I posted on my blog NOT for sympathy, pity, or for you to feel sorry for me. I can't stand none of that, ew please, just don't feel bad for us.

Like many people who have written about this very topic - We know we aren't the first or the last person to experience this. I hope that this can resonate for someone, make someone feel less alone, and even if our stories were different - Grief is grief...and I hope for the best in where you land in your journey. I also hope for people who say well meaning things, to be mindful in how your cause is not your effect and your intent isn't your impact. This goes for me too. I am the worst perpetrator of that, and I have a long ways to go in how I ask people, "If they are having babies"...I have a few mortifying stories in how I meant well, but that wasn't the impact.

So whether it's a miscarriage, infertility struggles, ectopic pregnancies, loss of life by other circumstances, the struggles of trying to financially afford adoption / the time it takes, I see you, my village sees you, God sees you. I hope you see what you need and take care of yourself 💗.

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After permission from the blogger, I am posting some posts of fertility struggles or miscarriages that I hope you can resonate with as well and their different ways of coping. 3 women I respect and admire. This is just a few of the dozens of women I know that share this experience and ways they've coped.

My cousin's miscarriage(s) and her narrative can be found on: An American Girl in Canada 

My friend and her husband's infertility struggles can be found on: Bethsaida Productions

My former supervisor/friend, and her narrative can be found on: Life as a Lee

Things to NOT say to this transracial adoptee

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The day I became an American citizen!
All views are my own. Each transracial adoptee (click for definition) is different. However, after moving around a time or 2 or 10, One of two things inevitably happens.
  • You get to know me well enough you see photos of my family and realize, biologically, we look very different
  • You are getting to know me and when I say I am from South Dakota and you say, no where are you really from? (Which is a whole different post for a different reason, but wanted to address one side here)
Which usually leads to me telling people I am adopted and my parents are white and I was adopted from South Korea because otherwise other conclusions have been made:
  • My Mom cheated on my Dad with a Korean man
  • They try and force a biological connection by saying ..”I mean you so look like your Dad’…Really? My Dad is German? But my Dad is 60 and has plenty of hair and looks mid-50's, so okay I am going to take that as a compliment ;)
SO. Over the years, here are some phrases to at least avoid saying to this transracial adoptee. Of course this depends on context too. If I know you, I’m willing to explain more, if you’re doing it because you’re looking for information, not because you’re interested in being my friend…This is a whole different type of reaction. The type of reaction that led to the backbone to write this post.

3 common themes, phrases, and the like, to not say to transracial adoptees, or at least this one, if we are not homies. Please note that responses are highly saturated in sarcasm:

Did you know your real parents/Do you want to meet your REAL parents?
OH you mean the people that raised me for 18 years?! Yes, I call them Mom and Dad or you might know them as D and J. Yes, I even LIVED with my REAL parents!!! How crazy is that?! It’s so weird when you are adopted and you know, a couple raises you for 18 yrs (let’s be real, they’re still raising me at 27) and they are your REAL Mom and Dad!!!! Just like I have REAL friends, not my adopted friends. OR I had my REAL teachers, not my adopted teachers. Crazy right?! Just like I am their REAL daughter, not they have 1 son and their adopted daughter.

Where are you REALLY from? But you’re not REALLY from South Dakota…Are you REALLY American?
I know…I mean…I realized I wasn’t a naturalized citizen until I was 4, but from the time I was 4 months old – 22 years old, I must not REALLY be from South Dakota. Just like I wasn’t educated, raised, or lived in the same area for most of my life. I MUST BE FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE!!! I may have been born on foreign land, but I am an American and it’s the only nationality I’ve ever truly known. So, yes, I am “originally” from South Dakota. Yes, I am an American. 

*This was just recently on a date a guy told me, "Yeah, but you're not really from here"...YEAH AND YOU'RE ABOUT TO NOT REALLY BE SITTING PASSENGER AFTER I MAKE YOU TUCK AND ROLL...That didn't really happen, I just thought that in my head.

When I leave my medical history blank…and someone says,”Sometimes it’s just better you don’t know!”…
Says the person who knows their family medical history…family history…and typically entire ancestry…We will just leave it there and give my keyboard some oxygen.

I know, I know. Salty. And the rebuttles or ignorant comments to ensue in my inbox...or phone...

What about grace? Christian's give grace, right? Some people just don't know better! What about multiracial people, they have to explain themselves too!...

All valid points. I wrestle with this when I get upset, but this is my narrative and I am always happy to chat grace, patience, and those who also feel the need to explain themselves because of their identities, but that is not my focus right now. 

Believe transracial adoptees the first time they tell their story. We may have been Korean, growing up in South Dakota with our REAL parents.
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