Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This is LOVE

This is Love

Kris Kroeker 2005

dedicated to my child's birthmom

I know you love me
You loved me from the start
I know that you want the best for me
I know this because you made a plan for me
A plan so I would grow up with my mom and dad
A mom and dad you knew would love me as much as you do
I know it tore your heart apart to make this plan for me
I know it hurt when you put me first
I know that you feel the pain of empty arms
I know that my pictures are spread across your walls to try and fill the hole

You need to know that I was hurting too
I felt the loneliness
I felt the emptiness when my new parents held me
When you were gone
When I couldn't hear your familiar voice
I was too little to put it into words, but I cried out for you
I wanted YOU to hold me
I wanted to hear YOUR voice
But it didn't work that way
Life gave me hurt and loneliness
But you knew that your plan was good
And that your love was bigger than the pain
It would have been so easy for you to hold me tight and never let me go
But you were too strong for that
You knew what your love would do
You knew the pain would heal
You knew I needed my mom and dad
And you knew they needed me
You knew I would be loved
And that when love is shared it grows
I know that love
I feel it every day
Every time my mom picks me up and holds me
Every time my dad laughs at some little thing I do
When they wake me up to squeeze me in the morning
And when they put me down in bed for night
I know that I am loved

This is love
You died inside when you showed your love
You sacrificed your world for me
I will always remember what you gave
You gave me life
You gave me my parents
You gave me love

This is love


I just had to share this. Never in my life have I found a writing that spoke to me like this one. I thank the writer for sharing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

No Ticking Time Clock

I know that when you are waiting for your time to come for finally becoming a mother, every day can seem like an eternity. Try to remember that there in no ticking time clock on becoming a mother. Motherhood knows no age. When you become a mother, it is forever.




If, you don't lose heart through your waiting, your dream will come true. Embrace the journey. It is part of developing the kind of mother you will be. One who will appreciate the honor of motherhood.

Friday, December 2, 2011

When the world says, "Give Up".

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Moment

The Moment I recall first feeling like a Mom.

The moment the light bulb went on for my hubby and I, was at our baby shower. Our son was one week old. Friends and family scrambled to throw us a shower, since our Jacob was a "baby drop"' we had no warning of his arrival. It was such and emotional day. At the end, my hubby arrived at the shower with Jacob so that people could meet him. What we didnt expect was the protective instincts that kicked in right away. We didn't want anyone to hold him. Upon the first request to hold, my hubby and I silently looked at each other and we knew we were in agreement. That was the moment that we knew we were Parents. I will never forget it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Patchwork Quilt


PATCHWORK QUILT
Our family’s like a patchwork quilt,
With kindness gently sewn.
Each piece is an original,
With beauty of its own.
With threads of warmth and happiness,
It’s tightly stitched together.
To last in love throughout the years,
Our family is Forever.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mom vs Christmas Closet

Mom versus Christmas Present Closet

It is my own damn fault. I start Christmas shopping in August every year. Yep, I am one of those. Trouble is, I have reached the point where I need to "get serious" about what I need to buy. With four kids, it can be overwhelming to "be fair", yet get what they want. I have repeatedly done the mad dash from trunk to closet, shoving the bags ANYWHERE, I can. My hubby won't even go near that closet. Says, he is better off not knowing. Lol. He's so smart.

This morning, I tackled the closet. With my back issues,it took me over two hours to sort, list and repack in bins for each recipient. Ah...Order can be so therapeutic.

Mom vs Christmas Closet.....MOM WON!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hijacked Inspiration

"Everyone who wants to do good to the human race always ends in universal bullying."

This is a tough place to find yourself as a parent. We want to teach our children to go out into the world and make a difference. The reality is that they may be disappointed in the reception they receive. Will it discourage them? It discourages me sometimes. I was inspired. Most thought that it probably wouldn't work. I tried anyway. I guess , in some ways, they were right.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eleven-Eleven-Eleven 11-11-11

This unique day has many different meanings for people all over the world. For me, it marks the day, eleven years ago, when my prayers were finally answered. My son was born. Our first adoption. He is thriving. Yes, he has questions about his origin. We take it day by day and keep it on his terms. I am going through an educational period as an adoptive mom. He is my first, so everyday is a learning experience. I don't want to be one of those adoptive moms who wears blinders about their child's feelings of abandonment and how he needs to work through them. He is having a great childhood, but I realize that, that doesn't take away his feelings or longing for his heritage. I've read that kids worry that if they ask questions about their birth family, it will hurt their adoptive parents feelings. Sad. It doesn't hurt me. It would hurt him to feel that he couldn't VOICE his feelings. That is my focus right now. Being what he needs....emotionally.

So, enjoy this fun unique day. I will be celebrating my 11 year old miracle.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Breakfast talk

My kindergartener asked me this question this morning while eating his breakfast. "Mom, on the day that I was born, did Daddy's boss give him the day off to come meet me?". "Yes sir", I said. "That's AWESOME", he said.

I adore his innocence.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fleeting thought.....

I have spent so much time worrying about staying in tune with where my children are at emotionally in life and with their adoptions, that sometimes I forget to allow myself my OWN feelings. Watching #parenthood this week, I got lost in the scene where Kristina was giving birth and for just a moment, I felt envious. Why? The experience. That is all. Just the experience. I have everything else that comes with motherhood, but I don't have that experience of giving birth. That doesn't make me less of an adoptive mother, but just a realist. Trust me, I wouldn't change a thing. Just curious about the whole thing...you know?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wronged


As I have said in the past....my life changed a little over a year ago.  A family car accident. I don't look any different on the outside....which makes things challenging. Most of my injuries were neck, back , knees and closed head injury. Close friends see the differences, but if you didn't know me, then you wouldn't know that my processing center was affected. I forget words that used to flow freely. Short term memory loss. I have headaches everyday. I have nausea everyday. I have confusion. Light sensitivity. Blurred vision. Severe shoulder pain. Hip and neck, thoracic and low back pain. Oh, and did I forget traumatic stress?

As if that is not enough, I can no longer run with my husband. No longer play golf with my friends. No longer play soccer with my kids. Until recently, I couldn't really venture out socially. We have attempted vacations, some were complete failures, some just disasters, some went fine. It depended on the level of activity. It has been a rough year.

Thankfully, I have a great team of therapists Drs. that I am working with. They are helping me everyday move towards a "new" normal for myself. Yes, it is depressing. But, I refuse to give up. Why, someone asked me. Well, I was not raised to give up, no matter what. I have four reasons to keep me going. My children. They have had to witness their mother weakened. Wronged. How do I not feel bitter? I do feel bitter, but the anger propels me forward. The kids have been through a lot with these differences in me. They are troopers. They lift me up. They won't let me sink for long. I won't lie, everyday, I think about how much this all sucks, but then, I look into their eyes and that's it. Pity party over.





Why this post? I am exhausted. But tomorrow is another day. I will embrace it with all my might.


To quote my oldest son, "Mom, you are brave, no one can take away the fight that is in your heart". He gets it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hope












Hope is an image of goals

planted firmly in your mind.

When looking at life before you,

hope lines the paths you find.

Hope is a well of courage

nestled deep within your heart.

When faltering in fear and doubt,

hope pushes you to start.


Hope is an urge to keep going,

for limbs too tired and weak.

When apathy stills all desire,

hope sparks the fuel you seek.

Hope is a promise of patience,

as you wait for distress to wane.

When all you can do is nothing,

hope pulls you through the pain.

Hope is a spirit that lifts you

should heaviness pull at your soul.

When torn apart by losses,

hope mends to keep you whole.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Transition

At every point in the human journey we find that we have to let go in order to move forward; and letting go means dying a little. In the process we are being created anew, awakened afresh to the source of our being.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kindergarten and Letting Go

I remember that crazy spring day that hubby and I  brought home our beautiful baby boy from the hospital.  Our fourth adoption.  Third boy.  I was a proud mommie.  Once again it was unexpected, but joyful.  He fit right in. 

I remember when, at 5 weeks, my baby number four first slept through the night....like an angel.  Bliss...

I remember the time when my baby number four made the big leap to big boy underwear....NO More DIAPERS.  Yay!  My hubby and I were elated.  We had been doing diapers for 8 and a half years straight.

For years, my fourth child walked up the long sidewalk of the preschool with me to drop off his brothers or sister, year after year waiting for his turn.  On the day he graduated from that preschool, I cried.  Not only because I was bubbling with pride, but it was the end of an era.  We would not walk up that sidewalk again.


Last kid, first day.

Now, as my youngest child stands on that crazy, wonderful bus stop with all the kids that have watched him go from diapers to backpack.  He is headed off to Kindergarten. He now feels part of them, part of the club.  He is no longer the little brother that stays back with MOM.  

He hopped up on to that BIG first step of the bus, he turned back and looked at me with that smile that only he and I could really appreciate.  He was excited, but he was worried about leaving me behind.  We had been buddies, we had been pals, he was my lunch date everyday.  We were both having to let go.  I would miss him.  I would miss him A LOT.

For years, many told me that this day would come.  The day that I would walk back from the bus stop to an empty house.  Honestly, it seemed like forever til that day would come.  Secretly, I longed for it to come. And here it is.  I was never sure how I would feel.  I always thought that I would go skipping through the house singing and dancing.  In all actuality....I don't know what to do with myself.  Today was day three.  Still lost.

This morning as he ate his breakfast, between bites, he asked me, "so, what do you do while I am gone?".  I paused.  Thought about it.  Then, I said, "Well....I miss you, but I take care of everything so that I can hurry to that bus stop to greet you at the end of your day".  He nodded his head in approval and then, finished his breakfast.  
Letting go......

I didn't want to tell him that I wander the house, confused as to where to start.    Do I do all those projects that I used to only dream about tackling?  Do I sit on the couch and eat bon bons, because, I have worked 11 years 24/7 without weekends off and I DESERVE to RELAX?  Do I take it slow and figure it out one day at a time?  I am still pondering.....trying to let go of a very important phase of my life...  the one where you are preparing them for going off into the world without you. 



Friday, September 2, 2011

The Game of LIFE

I must share a great moment with you.  My nine year old, who is quite the intelligent child.... Lord knows, he didn't get it from me.  That is adoption humor, in case you are wondering. ha ha.  Anyways, he has had many questions lately.  They run the gamut from, "Am I Polish?" to ......"do birthmom's change their minds about adoption?". 

Lately, I just wear my Adoptive Mom Armor and charge right in to the gauntlet of adoption questions from my children.  I joke, but, you have to.  A sense of humor is required for this job.  Anytime they ask if they can have "a private talk" at bedtime with me, I excuse myself briefly and run into my room, take a deep breath and then.....head back bedside.  I am not nervous about their questions, I just like to be relaxed when we have these talks.  As I said at the beginning, he is very smart and difficult to give vague answers to.  With him, I must be prepared for 20 questions and bucket loads of why's.

His favorite game to play with  me is LIFE.  Ironically, that was my favorite board game as a child.  It is one of his top two favorites, Monopoly being the other.  So, the other night he asks me, "where would I be if Daddy and you didn't show up to adopt me?".  I said,, "there would have been another very nice family who would  have adopted you".  He says, "but, they wouldn't have been the right family for me for my whole life, and where would my brothers and my sister be?"

I told you this gets complicated.

I told him, that they could possibly have been with adopted with him, or with other families.  I explained the my belief was that God brought us together on purpose.  He looked at me and said, " I guess that I sure am glad that God made a miracle happen and got us all together".  He wiped a tear from his face and said, "God knew Mom, that only you, would be the right mom for all four of us."


One of my many blessings in the game of LIFE

A few days later, my very intelligent, insightful, beautiful son said to me while we were playing a game of LIFE, "you know MOM, I know now that it was a miracle that you found all of us, because in the game of LIFE, most people only want two kids. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happiness

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let us down, probably will. You'll have your heart broken and you'll break others' hearts. You'll fight with your best friend or maybe even fall in love with them, and you'll cry because time is flying by. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you've never been hurt. Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances. you just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someones hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts. Don't be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back.
Treasure it.
- Unknown









Friday, August 26, 2011

Coffee Talks

It is the eve of my sixteenth wedding anniversary and I once again I am sitting here flipping through old journals.  I love doing that.  I suppose the reason that I love to do that is the same reason why am driven to journal in the first place.  I like to go back and read about the past and see how my life has changed, or how I have grown.  Life is busy and my hubby and I are in different worlds during the day.  He is in corporate and I am in...well, mommie-world.  Sometimes we meet at the end of the day and briefly give each other the once over and check for any obvious damage and then, we are swiftly torn into two different directions for the kids recreational portion of the day.  Swimming, soccer, basketball, well you know....life with kids. 

I found an entry in one of my journals from April of 2010.  I found it interesting, mostly because, I was conflicted.  At the time I wrote this entry, I was going through a difficult time with whether or not to have a hysterectomy.  The reasons to do it were clear and recommended by all my medical support, but the emotions of closing down that part of my life were wreaking havoc on my heart.
 
Journal entry dated April 11, 2010 - hey there old friend...struggling with my head and heart these days.  I need to make my decision soon about these fibroids.  I can't take much more pain.  I know that I am going to do it, but why am I hanging on so tightly to this stupid uterus.  It has never served me well.  It hasn't been my friend.  It couldn't even just do what it was suppose to do.  It completely failed me.  I should feel like chucking it as far as I can and never look back.  I have four amazing children now and I don't want any more.  So, why is it so hard to let go of something that has nothing to offer me.  If I were to get pregnant right now, I can honestly say that, I would be PISSED.  Of course, I would embrace the situation, but, in all reality I need another baby like I need a hole in my head.  So, what is it that makes one cling to this ridiculous organ that I am done with.  Crazy.  I have so much to be thankful for.  My hubby adores me and is amused by me and my hair brained ideas.  Through much trials and tribulations, we share four amazing little beings sent straight from heaven.  Does one ever feel at peace with not conceiving a child?  Am I seeking something that does not exist?  I don't know.  Maybe it has nothing to do with conceiving and it is just hard to let go of your DAMN uterus.  Maybe I am over dramatizing it??  Tonight Jerry said, "you are beautiful, you are a mother, you are a woman", "nothing can change any of those things, not even a hysterectomy".  I think he's a keeper.
*******
Jerry is not super romantic, but he has had his moments over the past sixteen years.  Our lives are busy and sometimes exhausting and keeping connected to each other can get very challenging.  His most romantic gesture came this summer and I thought that I'd share.  He proposed an idea on how we could stay connected and on the same page.  It was going to require the unthinkable, but I was on board.  Summertime is my time to sleep in and I love my summer sleep ins with the kids.  But, he asked me to get up every morning at 5:30 am to have coffee talks with him before he left for work.  At first, I thought he was joking.  That's just STUPID. Why would any sane person do such a thing?

Begrudgingly, I agreed.  It was still dark out!  The dog wanted to go out to pee too!  It was mayhem.  Too much activity for 5:30am.  B-u-t, it was nice.  We would discuss our plans for the day.  Chit chat.  We even laughed.  I grew to enjoy it so much.  In fact, on the days that I grunted at him from my cozy bed, GO AWAY, not getting up today, I regretted it.  I felt like I missed him that day in a different way.  Like I missed out on "our special time". 

So, his proposal of 5:30am coffee talks turned out to be the most romantic thing that he has ever done for me in Sixteen Years of Marriage. 



Happy Anniversary Hubby. 
You are the BEST.

 



Saturday, August 20, 2011

Post "I'm freaking out with this new baby" Syndrome

Postpartum depression is moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first 3 months after delivery http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004481/

Post Adoption Depression Syndrome   
Your baby was more adorable in person than pictures. You and your husband never felt so thrilled and fulfilled as you held her in your arms on the flight home. Your ten-year quest for a child is finally over, you are a family now and forever. This little one is finally yours!

One month later......

You feel anxious and depressed, but more often, simply overwhelmed. Some mornings you don't get dressed. You don't feel any great love for your child, and you can barely make it through your day. Even your husband doesn't understand. In your deepest, most private moments, you wish you could give your baby back.

Sound familiar?

There is so much information available regarding Post Partum, but not much for Post Adoption Depression Syndrome.  Really, they should just call all of it, Post "I am freaking out with this new baby" Syndrome.

Check out this site for comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
Adoption Issues http://www.adoptionissues.org/post-adoption-depression.html

Adoption Articles Directory
http://www.adoptionarticlesdirectory.com/Article/Post-Adoption-Depression---The-Unacknowledged-Hazzard/53

Nobody ever warned me that this could happen to me.  I never saw it coming.  Be aware.  Be prepared. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nobody said that life would be easy.


Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
So love the people who treat you right.

Forget about the one's who don't.

Believe things happen for a reason.

If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.

If it changes your life, let it.
                                        Nobody said life would be easy,
                           they just promised it would be worth it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Simple Treasures

Bear Lake 2011
Do you see the joy on these two faces?  They have come a long way from those weary frowns worn years ago.  The time before our children found us.  These are the kinda smiles that you feel deep down in your soul.  The ones that you longed to feel for so long.  Nowadays, luckily they come quite easy with our four adopted children in our lives.  

While still trying to recover from my auto accident, going on family vacations has been a struggle.  The family was really needing a getaway.  Something fun, but something that I could do without being miserable.  So, we went "Up North", as we like to call it around here. 

We were minutes from Lake Michigan. Beautiful beaches, campfires, roasting marshmallows, catching fireflies, and even saw a movie at The Cherrybowl Drive-In. We slowed life down for just a little while. 


 
Not once did the kids complain that the vacation was going to be boring.  Our first day there poured buckets.  Thunder was rolling, and there wasn't much to do.

 

Being the optimist that I am, I suggested that we sit out on the back porch and listen to some music and look out over the 55 acres.  So, the "mini  boom  box" was blaring out in to the countryside, I think the song was, SWEET Home Alabama,  and the kids jumped off the deck and started dancing in the rain.   The mud was not an issue.  The muddier the better.  They had a blast.  We had a blast watching them.  I couldn't be prouder.



It is in these moments when Jerry and I realize just how lucky that we are to have this amazing family.  A reminder of what we struggled so long for.



There is nothing like the sound
of pure joy in your children's laughter.



Fireflies and Cricket Catching

When we dreamed of a family, of course we thought about all of the things that we would do with them if we got the chance.  Living the dream and finding the joy in each moment that you share with them is what grounds Jerry and I in all of the difficult parts of raising an adopted child.  No, we cannot change how they came into the world, and ultimately we cannot control how they feel about all of it.  What we can do it LOVE them. Listen to them.  Hold their hand as they walk through their journey, whatever it may be.  That is what an adoptive parent can do. 



As the week progressed, I found moment after moment, where I just stood looking in awe at this incredible bunch that I call my family.  I realized that my family doesn't need Disneyworld, or Cabo for a vacation.  We found so much joy in the simple treasures that God gave us.


My Forever Family




Standing on the shore, in awe of my blessings, I sigh, with great joy.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lost in Shuffle

 My ten year old is inching his way towards puberty and of course
in his mind, I am a dork, he feels that I don't understand him and I am the root of all unrest in his life. My nine year old is currently struggling with insomnia. I don't know what to do about it. We have tried reading and everyone and their brother has a solution for us to try. So far nothing is working. He is a very emotional child and worries deeply about all who he loves. MY grandfather and my husbands grandmother are both struggling with their health, so he lays there worrying that when he wakes up, there could be bad news. He is very close to both of them. My six year old little missypoo is a handful. She is spunky. She of course knows way more than me. Lol.  She is a constant source of drama. All that said, I adore them all, but my little 5 year old is getting lost in this tornado of big brothers and big sister. He is desperately trying to get somebody's attention. When I tucked him in tonight, it kinda hit me.....




The whole day went by and I could not remember any conversations with him. Well, you know, beyond, "put your shoes on, wipe your mouth, or get in TIME OUT".  Sadness overcame me. He is five. That is a precious age. He is about to embark on his first year of elementary school. I am going to have to wave to my baby boy through a bus window soon. I am not ready. He is my baby.  In this moment I learned that, I have to stop and take inventory once in a while.  We all get caught up in hustle bustle of daily life and forget to look around and make sure that we are making contact with each child, heart to heart, hand to hand, soul to soul.  No more lost in the shuffle.  Tomorrow will be different.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Journey

Just a heartfelt thanks that I am sending out to all of my followers. So many of you have shared your stories with me and I feel quite honored. Thank you for the feedback when something in my writings has touched your heart, comforted you, or made you laugh. When I was going through my journey in the early days, I never imagined that down the road, I would meet so many that share my deepest, darkest pain, and yet share my greatest of hope for a family. I am so thankful for a place to share, and for those who share back.

I intend to continue to share all that I experience, as my journey continues. I am not an expert and I won't ever claim to be. What I am is driven to be a great mom. I make mistakes and screw things up sometimes, but I never give up. I never stop trying to grow as a person, wife and mother. My son asked me today what I want to be remembered for. That really is tough to answer. Of course, I want to be remembered as a good mother. A good friend. A wife who made her husband grateful that he chose her. But, that was really not my answer.

I want to be remembered as someone who never stood by and watched someone suffer, but kneeled down to give them a hand and lift them up to face adversity. I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference in the lives of children. I want God to be proud of who I was here.

So, thank you for being a part of my journey.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Girl Talk

Journal entry date July 2006 -Hey journal, its me again. My mind is racing tonight as my family sleeps. You know how I am. Things get stuck in my brain until resolution arrives. Talks with Jacob have been going well about his adoption. He is 6 now and we have moved to the next phase of sharing and talking about everything. He doesn't ask a lot of questions yet, but I am sure that will change as he grows older. I am trying to not be down about this. I knew going into adoption that I planned to be open with all of them. It is so hard. I sometimes, secretly feel like I want to be selfish and just tell them that they are mine all mine. That they came from my body. Not have to explain all of this hard stuff that is difficult for their little brains to handle. But....that is just a fantasy. I owe them "their truth". I am jealous of Moms sometimes that just have to deal with normal first grader life, not explaining such emotional issues at 6. Experts and adoptees seem to feel that the younger the better, and so I forge ahead into unknown territory. *****************************************************

When I look back at this entry of my journal, I can remember the turmoil that I was in each time that I needed to move deeper into my children's understanding of their story. I am currently educating my third 6 year old on her story,  and the other night during a routine reading session, something wonderful happened. Usually, following reading, we will have girl talk time.   These are the times that she and I get away from all the testosterone in the house and bond.  I wanted to share it with you so that you will understand what I have discovered. The importance of having a plan on how you will educate your adopted child about their story. Sometimes these little moments happen to remind me that, yes the talks have been difficult at times, but truth and an openness, can make all the difference.


Our special Girl Talk Spot

My daughter and I were doing a little reading in her room in our special place. We were giggling a lot and there was quite a bit of snuggling. We finished up our book and I told her that we needed to talk a little about modesty and being a lady. We had been discussing this a lot lately, since she plays a lot of sports with her brothers and the boys of the neighborhood. I wanted to make sure that she understood that as she grew older, she needed to be mindful of how she carried herself. She seems to be starting to understand. Out of nowhere, she says,"Mom...Do you HAVE to have a baby?" "What do you mean", I asked. "Well, when I grow up, I don't want to have a baby, I want to adopt one". "Why?", I asked. SHE then answered in her cute little hands on her hip way....."because, why would I have one when there are so many good kids like me that need to be adopted". I pulled that little cutie to me and squeezed her so tight, because in my heart, I immediately felt WOW. She gets it. I have done a good job.

So all those years ago, I worried about whether I was doing things right. You can't know for sure, but you try your best and hope for moments like this. Moments that tell you that you've turned into a great parent for your adoptive child. This was such a moment for me.  Happy Mommy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

He Won't Be Alone

If you have been following me for a while, then, you know the name Baby I. For those of you who are new followers, I will explain briefly. Baby I is the beautiful baby boy who was born after my youngest child Benjamin. He is a biological sibling of my children, who was adopted by a wonderful couple that we will call M and M. When Baby I came, we struggled with decision to adopt him. I won't go over all the details again, but if you want to read more about the decision, you can read my three post documentation of the story named "Dear Lord" in my archives.


The year following Baby I's adoption by M and M, was very hard on me emotionally. I kept wondering if we did the right thing. My kids were so thrilled that we were having visits with Baby I and keeping in touch with his family, but I could see that it was hard on my two oldest as well. The first few visits were so bittersweet. When I held him, it felt wonderful to have my hands on him.  Sometimes, I felt frozen.  I didn't know how to act.  He was their child and I respected that. I wondered if I was ever going to get over it. When the visit was ended, we would leave him behind and go home, the ache for him would linger. Over that first year, the visits began to get easier, especially since we were falling in love with Baby I and his parents.  They were wonderful.  He was thriving.  They adored him and they were healing from their own personal ordeal that they endured prior to adopting Baby I.  Life was moving forward, but I still wondered if there would be any more babies in the future.   I could never really get those thoughts out of my head. 


In late 2009, at the end of a very stressful day, the phone rang, but it wasn't the agency, it was M and M. They received one of those phone calls from the agency that we did.....four times. Hello....a baby was on the way.  M and M were going to adopt this baby who was expected to arrive in early 2010. Wow. 


I felt strange. Not a bad strange. A good strange. A feeling of relief. It was then, that I realized that, the worry that I experienced that whole first year after Baby I's birth, wasn't about doing the wrong thing. It was about the fact that I could never have been sure that he would be the last arrival from our birth mom. I guess I felt that if he was the last, then I would probably forever feel that he should have been with us. A lifetime of regret. However, now that I knew he would not be the last to come, there was great relief in my heart that he would not be alone. Alone in the sense that all of his older siblings are all adopted into one family, except him. He would have his own biological sibling with him. They would have each other. Peace of mind, peace of the heart came to me.

I cannot express strongly enough, the realization of just how much pressure I felt to continue adopting every child that came from this birth mom. It was only when I got that phone call from M and M that I realized just how much pressure that I felt. I think that I felt guilty.  Some would have thought me selfish had I adopted Baby-I, knowing how many couples out there want to adopt. I felt a strong need to keep them together at all costs.  Actually, I believe that God sent M and M into our lives. They were meant to be a part of this family circle.

As expected in early 2010, a beautiful baby girl bounced into all of our lives. M and M and Baby I welcomed Baby L. The arrival of this little sweetheart meant so much to my four children. She was their biological sister. Jerry and I fell in love with her right away.  Our hearts were over joyed for a very deserving couple, who now had their baby girl.  Our family circle had grown and we were blessed to have each other. My oldest son, uttered the very words that I had said, the moment I received that call from M and M about Baby L. "I am so happy that He won't be alone".

Friday, July 8, 2011

Labor of the Heart


A friend of mine went into labor last night.  It is so exciting.  Waiting to hear all the details.  It wasn't always that way.  I could never begin to know what labor feels like, obviously.  I have listened to many a story about it.  When mom's get together on the playground, they swap labor stories.  It used to be uncomfortable for me.  Never sure that anyone wants to hear my looooooooooooooong story.  Who wants to depress the mommie group?  Not me.  I hear so many moms say that they forget the morning sickness, cravings and how many hours their labor was.  I guess that it is kinda the same with adopting.  You can never really forget all of the heartache that you go through, but the pain does lessen.  When you finally have the ending to your story, then that is when the healing begins.  What you never lose, is the value that you put on parenting a child.  You've labored for years to get where you are and it drives you to be the best that you can be for that child.

   
Since joining twitter and starting my blog, I have come to realize that, I now have my own little mommie group where we can share our "labor pains", and its OK.  In a sense, most of us adoptive mommies and daddies have endured much labor during our journey to mommiehood.  Mostly, labor of the heart.   My labor pains brought me through a long, and treacherous journey to and AWESOME life with my favorite little peeps.  Don't give up on your dreams of a family.

On a vacation that I used to only dream about before adopting our kids.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4 minus 1 equals BOYS DAY out with MOM!

I have 4 very cool children. Three growing boys and one little girl. If you were to ask the girl, she would tell you that, the boys rule the house. If you ask the boys, they would tell you that their sister is Queen of the Castle.  I of course, am the lowly servant who stays out of the way as often as possible. Our little missy was invited away to her grandmas for few days and the boys got big ideas on how to dominate mommies attention for an afternoon. They decided that today would be "mommie and sons DAY out".  I pulled up my bootstraps and we hit the road.  Cooler packed with drinkables and eatables, of course.


We started out with them requesting to play games on my IPAD. Normally, that is a NO NO.  Never touch mommies IPAD.  I told them Ok, but I warned them not to breathe a word of it to "you know who" (daddikins would not approve).  As I drove, I heard laughing and boy banter.  If you have one of these things called boy, you know what I mean.  All conversations have at least one of these words:  poop, crap or crud.  Of course, it is fun for them to make fun of mommie....and her music and who knows what they are taking pics of back there with my IPAD....suddenly, I heard someone say "our mom is cool".  AW..shucksies, I am blushing.

 After a few errands in the BEAST. That is our minivan. I knew that the first stop would be food related of course. Three growing boys.  Where did they want to go?? Taco Bell. Why does that not surprise me. We haven't been there in eons. Naturally, feeling generous today, I said that they could get whatever they wanted. No Holds Barred. My 5 year old tackled the XXL Stuffed Burrito. It was hysterical. He didn't quite get it all down, but not because he didn't try.  My 10 and 9 year olds had no trouble.  Of course.

Next, since today was 90 degrees here, we opted for swimming with my best friend Lisa and her two boys at their house. It was a good idea, but it wasn't long before the pool experience turned into He said, He said battles. Oy. We even had to battle a few hornet nests. Five big bad tough boys screaming like little girls for their mommies...love it. All in all, it was a great day with the boys. We topped it off with a Manly Pizza (every meat known to man) and now we're about to hang out with dad for the evening.


I cannot tell you how much that I enjoyed this fabulous day with my boys. I sure missed my little girlie, but with four kids, it gets difficult to find that one-on-one time for each kid. You dream about one-on-one time when you are planning your family. I absolutely LOVE having a big family, and I thoroughly enjoy each of them, but it can be tough on them getting their time with Mom and Dad.  Just removing one of the four kids from any situation, can make a difference. 


I better go fix a snack, since the vultures are once again circling the refrigerator.  BOYS!! Bottomless pits.  That's what they are. But, I love'em to pieces.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Chose Him


Sixteen years ago today, my lovely man surprised me with and invitation to spend the rest of my life with him. I accepted with girlish giddiness, of course. It was a Fourth of July celebration in which we had taken the opportunity to get our families together to get to know one another. We were considering taking the plunge into marriage, family, you know, the works.  I absolutely adored him. He was everything that I was hoping for.  Cool thing was.... he thought that I was sorta cool too. Anyways, he surprised me with a ring that day.    He Chose ME!  We got married two months later. We saw no reason to wait. We had a small gathering for our wedding day....our family only. It was perfect.  The next day we took off for Mackinac Island and spent 4 amazing days in a quiet, relaxing atmosphere.  I really couldn't believe that I had found "The One".  I can't ever find  anything.   I misplace everything.   Not him though.   He wasn't getting away.   I won't get all sappy, but, as look over at this man sleeping next to me, snoring and all, I still feel like the luckiest girl ever.  He Chose ME. 

He is not perfect.  He is not a mind reader.  He is not Mr. Wonderful. What he is, is my best friend.  He is my biggest fan.  He is my protector.  He is an amazing father, and not bad to look at I might add. Most of all...he gets me.  No small feat.  I have many blessings in my life, but it all starts with him.

So, sixteen years ago today, I made the best decision of my life. I Chose Him.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Priceless Silver Linings

The other day, we packed up the car and headed to my parents house, who live about 75 minutes from our home.  This was a drive that we have taken millions of times.  From as far back as I can remember, I would have to "plan" for the hour long trek, based on the ages of the kids at the time.  Music, snacks, drinks, DS's, and all of the paraphernalia that goes with that.  In the early years, I even kept a porta potty in there, since it is hard to stop for a potty break for one, if the other is sleeping.  Never wake a napping baby in the car.  You know what I mean.

About a year ago, myself and 3 of my 4 kids were in a bad car accident.  It was scary.  Rear ended at 55 miles per hour.  We were stopped.  I have been through a lot with injuries and the kids have suffered some aches and pains due to that accident.  Still dealing with the lingering injuries, I am bitter about the whole accident, as I have had knee surgery, and the knee feels like it will never be the same.  I am still suffering from so much back, shoulder and neck pain.  On top of that, it appears that I have suffered short term memory loss.  I find it difficult to read. That accident has caused so much turmoil for us in the last year, including, the fact that the car that was totalled, was LOADED.  My replacement.....not so much.  We have learned to live without the heated seats, dvd player, leather seats, but we had paid for the other car for so long and were 2 payments away from owning it outright.  I know....it still burns to say it.  Needless to say, we didn't get enough to replace the loaded one and took a bit of a down grade.  I won't lie, I have groaned quite a bit about it, but I am getting over it.  

While on that trip the other day in our owned clunker, across three counties, something wonderful happened, and believe it or not, I don't think that it would have happened had we not been in that accident.  Yup, I said it.  Since there was no dvd player, a rather interesting conversation broke out amongst the kids. All four were interacting.  The subject.  Their adoption stories.  I realized that over the years, I had been sharing each of their stories with them individually, but we had never had a group discussion.  There was such excitement in their voices and I heard great pride in each of them as they told the story of the day they were born. Then.....they started firing questions at me.  Yikes, I thought.  I have to be careful, because the nine and ten year old know more about their birth family than the five and six year old.  After the stories were told, my daughter (6y/o) says, "hey, mom, I guess we are kinda special".  Yep, you are.

I must tell you, that as an adoptive mother, I was beaming.  You just never know, until you hear it out of their mouth, whether or not you've reached them with all the talking.  I could see right away that they are all confident in their story of adoption and have developed quite a comfort level in asking questions.  They do not fear talking with me about anything.  They know that I am on their side. I guess, I am doing OK.  Most of all, I loved the enthusiasm that I saw in that rear view mirror.   

So, I guess, my point here, is that not having all the amenities in our vehicle, has allowed for so many more opportunities for family discussion in the car and maybe something good came out of our nasty car accident experience.  Priceless silver linings.  But, in cold Michigan winters, I still miss my heated seats.  Grrrr.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Soapbox

I do not want to sound like a broken record, but......I am again going to reach out to you who are trying to decide on whether to adopt....or not. What is holding you back? Is it the cost? Is it the work involved? Is it scary? No guarantee? I totally understand all of these things. All of these issues are on the minds of many who are considering adoption. You are not alone. Do you worry that you won't bond with a child that is not your own? Are you worried about being responsible for the psychological well being of a child who will have to accept being adopted? Do you worry about adopting a child not knowing the medical history of the child? All of these worries are manageable. Really.

I pose this question to you. Are you ok with never sharing your personal gifts with a child who desperately needs and deserves a mommy, daddy or family?

Maybe you are a couple who has struggled through infertility and you are beat up and giving up. Don't. Maybe you are a woman who has dreamed of being a mother her whole life and have so much to offer a child, but you haven't found Mr. Right. Its ok, you don't have to wait. Maybe God has blessed you with your own biological children, but you have more to give and can open your door to a child in need. Open it.

The need is there. If you have the heart for adoption, please begin the process of making room in your heart, in your home and in your life, for a child who is here or coming soon.

Listen, I speak from experience. After going through infertility, miscarriage, failed procedures, financial strain, deep emotional hurts, a year of researching adoption and then choosing the appropriate route for us, I can tell you that it was all worth it and I would NOT change one bit of it. It has been challenging, but so rewarding. The process of helping them understand where they came from has taught me so much. I am a better person because of them. The journey and the process has shown me so much about myself that I might not have otherwise known.

Ok, I'll get down off of my soapbox and wind this post up. I don't want to minimize anyone's fears, and I don't want to give the impression that adoption is a cakewalk. It's tough to get through everything. BUT....when you get that child home and begin to build a relationship with this little person who wants nothing from you but love.......there is nothing that compares to that experience. May GOD bless and keep you through your process.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I still feel your hand....

This one is for you Dad. Yes, you.
I still feel the strength from you holding my hand.

The one who stood back and watched over me as I tested my wings, ready to catch me if I fell.  The one who sang my praises to all who would listen, whether I deserved it or not. The one who taught me that discipline and hard work would get me where I needed to be. Yes, Dad, you gave me strength and the conviction to chase my dreams. I am so much like you Dad, and I am proud of it. You didn't always get the glory, but you were always there in the trenches of raising me through trials and tribulations. You showed me what a good man looked like so that I would recognize it when choosing a partner.  Thank you for being what I needed from a father every step of the way. It is a blessing that I get to share you with my own children. They don't realize it now, but someday they will look back and know in there hearts the rare treasure that they call Papa B.  
Happy Fathers Day dear Daddy.  I love you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Turn Boredom into a Good Deed.

If you are a SAHM like me, then, I am sure you have already heard the same thing as I have....."I'm bored, there is nothing to do".  Tired of hearing this,  I gave them the "when I was a kid" speech and they rolled their eyes at me (no surprise).  I felt that they were taking their summer for granted and needed to appreciate their lives.  So I put my thinking cap on.  My kids are active.  They love to get out and run around.  I decided that I wanted to give them a Value what you Have Moment.  I had to hone in on something that would inspire them.

Then it came to me.  
I tiptoed around the house collecting items for our day, while they were playing Rock Band on the Wii.  I loaded the car up with all of the favorites...football, soccer ball, basketball and a few baseball mitts.  I threw some snacks and a water jug in and summoned them all to the foyer.  They were full of questions, but not surprised, since I am the queen of surprise.




They love their school.  One of their favorite things to do is to spend hours at the school playground, utilizing all of the amenities.  Fields, courts and soccer nets.  Its awesome.  They didn't know, but I invited some of their friends to meet us up there for a picnic and a day of activity. 

I asked them if they would like to do something today that would be giving back to our community.  Grumble, grumble was what came out of them.  I explained to them that life is so much sweeter and fulfilling if we can enjoy the things that we love, knowing that we have contributed  to making  the world  a better place.  I explained to them that no effort was too small.  Every good deed counts.  They were listening. 


Once we arrived at the school playground, we set up for our picnic.  I gave each of them a garbage bag and told them that before we can play, we were going to clean up the schoolyard.  They were on board. 


They were surprised to find as much litter as we did, considering that school was out for the summer.  I reminded them that the fields were used for summer sports and that many people come here all summer. 

They were appalled at the things that people would leave behind.  It sorta made them mad.  They worked together with a common goal.  To make their favorite school playground the best.  Once the job was completed, collectively, they decided that they wanted to return once a week to clean up their school playground.  They hoped that it would make their principal smile.  I think that she would most definitely......SMILE.



Proud of their School Yard.
A few minutes of work and then hours of fun.  A perfect summer day.

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