Thursday, February 24, 2011

Scrappy Do

Hello blogland.  I am not neglecting you, but I have had a looooooooooong week filled with ER visits for one child, and multiple doctor visits for 2 others with strep throat and my knee is swollen the size of a grapefruit.  On top of that, we had 2 snow days, one of which included my hubby.  I haven't accomplished a whole lot this week.  My list of "to do's" is long and unchecked.   I am supposed to go on a scrapbook weekend this friday, and as usual the family is falling apart just in time for the guilt to set in.  You know what I am talking about.  That voice inside that says, "you don't deserve to go anywhere young lady, you have five other lives counting on you".  The voice gets louder and louder with each day closer to my leaving.  If you are a scrapper, you know the preparation that goes into one of these weekends.  I haven't even started to prepare.  I am having those thoughts about whether it is worth it to even go.  It is so much work, just to get away.  Think about it.  If your hubby wants to go have a drink after work, he just picks up the phone and calls you to check if it is ok.  As soon as he hangs up that phone, his work is done.  If we want to go have a drink with some friends, we have to cover finding a babysitter because hubby can't get home in time, dig up the cash to pay the babysitter.  Then come up with a plan for dinner for the kids to eat.  Get prettied up.  While out, you get multiple phone calls from the babysitter, between sips, you are educating the babysitter on sibling rivalry.  You look at your watch the whole time.  All That is just to have a drink.  Imagine a weekend away.  That is where I am at right now.....is it all worth it?  My kids have basketball tournaments and birthday party sleepovers this weekend and the two other kids hate going to basketball tournaments and let's face it......they have been sick all week.  I know that I deserve to get away, but how do I do it without the guilt?  That is my question.  I will go.  I will have fun.  I do love these weekends, because I do need breaks.  Plus, I get to look at the little houligans faces all weekend in pictures, without the drama.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An Entire Pot of Coffee!

Journal entry dated September 30, 2004 - Wow.  I am exhausted.  Jacob and Cameron both have the flu.  Cameron has that frightening croup cough as well.  Jerry is out of town and my mom is sick.  "Help, I am drowning!".  Last night the boys were tag team puking and their fevers were not on the same Motrin/Tylenol schedule, so basically, I don't remember ever sleeping much.   Jacob seems to be a little ahead of Cameron in the process.  It is times like right now that I think that I am crazy to want another child.  Three kids with the flu?  I don't think so.  I know that I am gonna get it right about the time they are well.  Jerry won't be back for 3 more days.  This is nuts.  I feel like a ZOMBIE.  Poor little guys.  On one hand, I love how they want to snuggle when they are sick, on the other hand......I need some sleep.  I get scared to get seriously sleep deprived again.  I think that I may need a little medication adjustment anyway.  Sleep is hard to come by around here lately.  We had a long stretch where both kids slept for 12-13 hours straight every night, but now that Jacob is in preschool, he has brought home a virus twice in one month.  Is this how it is when kids are in school?  Constant sickness?  I can't imagine.  I believe that I drank an entire POT of coffee today.  I hope that does not become the norm.
****
This journal entry cracks me up! When I go back and read them, it makes me realize just how far that I have come.  Talk about NO CLUE.  I had no idea what was on the horizon.  Life was going to get crazier and bumpier.  I am having a blast looking back at all of my journals, it is kind of sweet how clueless I was.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thrown another curve....

Journal entry dated September 1, 2004 - Jacob is going to start preschool this year.  It is only one week away.  I can't believe he is going to be 4 years old.  Yikes.  Cameron is two years old going on three in January.  It will be nice for Cameron and I to have special time alone while Jacob goes to school for a few hours a week.  I have been thinking a lot about that third child that we are hoping for. We only have one month left in our year of eligibility and if we want to extend it, it will be more money.  I don't know if it will happen.  I guess I am ok with that. I am so happy with our beautiful boys.  They are growing up fast. I really can't believe how fast.  Life is very full and I am feeling quite well these days.  I still have days where I want to escape, but I think that most of that is just the nature of being a stay at home mom.  Thank GOD for my wonderful friends and playgroups.  My running helps as well.  It keeps me sane. 

I heard this week through "the grapevine" that 10 months after our Cameron was born, that their birthmother gave birth to another child, and she kept HER.  That hit me so weird.  It was her child, and yet a part of me felt like it was supposed to be mine. I can't fully explain what I feel. Just ODD.  The fact that the child is biologically connected to my children, sorta makes me feel sad that they won't know her.  So, Jacob and Cameron now have 4 birth siblings.  This is the part of their story that will be hard to explain to the boys someday.  Why their birthmother kept some babies and why she let some babies become adopted.  I don't have that explanation figured out yet.  But I will......someday.   My brain is fried on this one.  Good night journal.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Circle of Love

Our family is a circle of love and strength.
With every birth and every union, the circle grows.
Every joy shared adds more love.
Every obstacle faced together makes the circle stronger.

Sixteen years ago today, Jerry and I met and the spark was lit.  We had no idea what the future held for us, but we knew that together we would forge ahead and make our dreams come true no matter what the obstacle.
February 19, 1995


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Butterflies.....

I stumbled on to this today and it brought those motherly tears to my eyes.  I felt those butterflies.... you know the ones that you feel from your head to your toes..........
 
 
I tiptoed into your room one night.
I watched you sleeping there.
Your tiny body looked so snug
Wrapped in peaceful slumber's care.
I thought of how you came to be
The child we'd longed to know.
I wondered at the sight of you:
"How could she let you go?"
Tears streamed down my cheeks as I
Felt the pain she must have known.
For I will have to let you go
Some day when you are grown.
A mother I might never meet
Had given me her son.
Yet, surely as you've filled my heart,
A piece of hers you'd won.

"How could she let you go?"
The question kept returning.
And in the depths of my own heart.
A question kept on burning.

"How can I ever let you go
When years have come and gone?"
I stood there by your crib until
The nighttime turned to dawn.
And as the sun peeked through the shades,
The voice of God broke through.
"I trusted her to give him life
And now I'm trusting you.
"To show him what is right and wrong,
to love him and to be
The one who teaches him the way
To come back home to me.
"He wasn't hers to give, you know.
And he's not yours to own.
I've placed him in your life to love
But he is mine … on loan."
~Valerie Kay Gwin~

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Power of Full Engagement

Journal entry dated August 25, 2003 - Things are going well since my last entry.  The kids are just thriving.  We've really enjoyed the summer.  Still struggling with the decision of whether to adopt another baby.  Cameron will be 2 in January, so the timing is good for thinking about it.  Jerry still leans towards being done.  He says that he trusts me and supports me, if it is what I want.  At times, I feel like, I have my hands full and why rock the boat.  Other times, I just feel that I want to expand.  I always wanted a big family.  When I contacted our agency about the possibility of adopting again, I didn't get a great reception to the idea.  Honestly, I got the feeling that they were somewhat annoyed that I asked.  They told me that it was highly unlikely that a birthmother would pick us, since we already had two children.  I guess most birthmothers want to give a couple their first child, not their third.  Silently, I disagreed, but they were the experts. 
***
Journal entry dated August 28, 2003 - I'm reading a book called " The Power of Full Engagement".  It has been very inspirational.  The challenge is to"identify my deepest core values and what my purpose is".    Hmmm.  Instinctively, I think that my purpose is to be a good mother.  When I go deeper, I am learning more about my "mom values".  I want to help my children become "emotionally well balanced".  I don't want to see them be afraid to try unfamiliar things.  I believe that children should have a soft place to fall and that will be with me and Jerry as well.  I will teach them to be gentlemen and to treat all humans with kindness.  I want them to respect nature and all its living creatures.  I want them to feel great comfort knowing that they can trust me with anything that troubles them.  I want to teach them to be confidant and to stand up for their beliefs.  I will show them the road to God, and give them the tools that they need to develop a personal relationship with him.  Core values for myself....I'd like to be more "true",you know that word.... "authentic".  Sometimes, I  tend to sacrifice my needs or desires, to be something for someone else.  I worry too much about being liked.  I tend to be reactionary, instead of thinking things through.   I need to learn to reach out to people for help instead of driving myself into the ground "doing it myself".  Ok, enough of this deep stuff, I need some coffee.
***
Journal entry dated September 26, 2003 - This week has been one of those crazy, emotional, frustrating and yet enlightening weeks. Since we finally decided that adopting another child, is what is right for us,  I have been working on a new family book for Forever Families to show prospective birthmothers..... I finished it.  Yay!  My last two phone calls with Denise at the agency, left me feeling that she may not be completely supportive of our decision.  This caused me quite a bit of anguish.    Does she think that we are being greedy?  That is how I felt after hanging up with her.  Another one of those experiences that are unique to us Adoptive parents.  Imagine if you had to put in an application to marry your husband and wait for it to be approved.  Or imagine if someone else is in charge of what you get to study in college.  It is a tough place to be.  You want to build your family, but YOU are not in charge. We are 100% at peace with our decision.  We were moving forward.  Our application to adopt would be valid for one year from now.   We had to update our home study and get details in order.  So, now we do what we do best...we wait. My mind is racing at the possibilities.  Jacob and Cameron could someday have a baby brother or ....dare I.....sister!!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nine Years and Still Learning

I need to clarify something.  In my last post, I was quite emotional about my journey with my PADS (Post Adoption Depression Syndrome) and how it affected Cameron and I.  I wrote that it takes a long time to recover from depression.  What I meant was, that it takes a long time to recover from the effects that depression has on your life.  Meaning that, you may have "damage control" for years to follow.   Sleep, medication and counseling heals the symptoms of depression.  Emotional healing takes longer and can happen through therapy, time and learning about yourself.  I don't know about you, but I am REALLY good at denial.  It is kinda like "protective mode" for me.  Protecting myself from dealing with the effects that depression had on my life. Sometimes,  I go through rough patches with my emotional well being, and that is not because I am regressing, or slipping back into depression, but that I am recognizing that something is unsettled in my mind or heart, even years later.  These times are usually triggered by a memory or a picture that I haven't seen in a while. Over the nine years that I have been going through this, the most important thing that I have learned is to be honest with myself. People do and feel things while in depression that they would NOT do or feel when they are healthy.  In depression, my need to escape from the pain of my life, overrode my sense of right and wrong and I made decisions that I would never have made when I was well.  So, my point is that as I emerged from my depression, the stronger I got, the more I realized just how much I was not in my "right mind" while in depression, and because of that,  the guilt sets in for all the wrong that you may have done or for those you may have hurt. 

I feel that if we bury the things that scare us down deep inside and do not admit them to ourselves, then they hide, lurking in your subconscious and prevent us from ever forgiving ourselves.  That is what I experienced last week.  The realization of something that I had denied and when I faced it, yes, it made me sad.  But it moved me another step closer to "complete forgiveness".  I am not there yet.  The great thing is that I am surrounded by a loving family who supports me.  The interesting thing about this experience over the last nine years is that most people would think that Cameron and I are probably not very close.  Truth is that we are very close and he gets me.  We have our own little world of jokes and banter that keeps us laughing all of the time.  I cherish that with him.  We get strength from each other.  A tender hug between him and I brings tears to my eyes every time.  This child coming into my life has taught me more about life and love than anything else. He needs me and I need him.  I am forever grateful for him.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

"Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation."

- Brian Tracy

Enjoying blessings today on this Valentine's Day.  A husband who makes me feel loved and cherished everyday.  Four amazing children who fill my world with love, excitement and every day is an adventure.  I am so thankful to God for the strength that he gives me each and every day.  Happy Valentine's Day All.  Enjoy your blessings.   Sappy I know, but nonetheless true.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My heart is hurting!

The year following Cameron's 2nd birthday was one of healing, learning more about me and discovering just how deeply I was effected by the events of the last 2 years.  I wanted to share more with you about all of this, because, I feel that it is important for people to know that it takes a long time to recover from depression of any kind....and that it is ok that it takes a long time.  In my post yesterday, I saw myself go back to the old days when I made everything "look" good.  Back then the hardest thing that I battled everyday, was me.  I put pressure on myself to be better quicker.  Sometimes, I unconsciously"pretended" to be better, just so that everyone around me, who loved me so much, could just breathe a little easier for a day.  So, I would dig down deep and be what I was supposed to be.  Don't get me wrong.  I was healing all the time, but I kind of felt like a watched pot.  You know, like I couldn't get well quick enough. They didn't mean to make me feel that way, it was just the love they felt for me and the boys. I am the only person who knows just how painful the whole process was.  There is so much that I have never shared with anyone....it is very painful to want something so much, strive for it in every way that you know and when you get it, you fail.  I know in my brain that I did not fail, but in my heart, I just could not help but feel that I failed Cameron, Jerry, myself and all who believed in me.   My greatest pain is that the past is the past and I can't change it, but I want to so bad.  That beautiful little boy deserved to have the best Mommy in the world and I.....didn't give it to him.  I 'm trying to forgive myself, but.....if God would grant me one wish in this world, it would be to go back and change the past for him and I.  Every picture from his first year is so hard for me to look at, even today, not because of my own pain, but for what he missed. Me.  Even as I sit here writing these words, I cannot hold back my tears for the loss of that special time between a mother and child.  I want it BACK for him and for me.  It is forever lost.   Yes, I have continued healing in the 9 years that him and I have been on this journey, but there is still pain. When I look at this child today, I am so filled with pride that he is my son and that I get to share in his life and all of his dreams.  But I ask myself everyday....because of our start, does he know how deeply I love him?  Has it had a lasting effect on how much he feels loved by me?  I meant what I said yesterday.  Cameron and I are very close and together we share a unique bond.  We went through hell and back together.  I swore that this blog would be "real".  I am healing even more from writing this blog.  No regrets.  I know it is honest, but it is necessary.  What I have realized since beginning the blog, is that I had NOT forgiven myself.  Five years ago, in my mind, I decided that I forgave myself, but not in my heart.  The forgiving is currently happening in my life. My heart is hurting and I am working through it, but I never give up.  You see, I told you that I was a work in progress. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

He's Ours Now

Journal entry dated September 30, 2002 -

Dear Cameron,
Today your adoption was finalized in the courts.  Everyone was there.  Mommy, Daddy, Jacob and all your Grandparents.  What a celebration.  You were an absolute angel.  What a great day.  I felt so much joy today knowing that all in final now.  You became my son in January and forever filled my heart, but now the world knows that you will always be my beautiful son.  I love how you look for me at all times when someone else is holding you.  I love when I come in your room each morning and you throw your arms out to me in delight at the sight of me.  I love how you look at me as if I am the greatest person who ever lived.  I love you so deeply that I feel lost when you are away from me!  Thank you for loving me so completely and unconditionally.  ~Love you, Mommy
***
At the point of this journal entry, I had made it through a lot of the tough healing.  I was back in charge and the boys were growing and keeping me very busy.  They were both such blessings, but I still had hard days.  It was and is the hardest job that I have ever had. They were only 13 months apart, so some days could be quite challenging.   Naturally, when Cameron came to us so abruptly, I developed some feelings of loss for my closeness with Jacob.  I felt like I was ripped away from him.  He definitely reacted to the change as well.  He had my 100% undivided attention one moment and the next, I was not only distracted, but soon became a completely different mommy.  It took me a while to realize, that Cameron and I were  not the only "victims" in this whole experience.  Jacob was affected as well.  The good thing is that what he gained by Cameron's arrival outweighed the negative.  The biological connection that they will have for life is invaluable.  I felt that it was truly amazing that these two little boys, were not only going to have a family to love them forever, but they would have a connection to their biological family.  Based on all my readings, it is my understanding that most adoptees long for this.  I must tell you that this comforted me, because I was nervous about the time when we would have to start talking to the boys about their adoption and their birth family. 


By the time that Cameron was two, we were doing pretty well with adjusting to all the changes.  I was managing the mountain of diapers in my life, synchronizing naps so that I might get a half hour of "me" time.  Much of the time, it never worked out.  Jerry and I were a good team.  He was so helpful.  We were enjoying all the "firsts" for everything.  During those years, I learned a lot about me.....like, I do not function well with out sleep.  What happened to me?  I used to be able to go out and party on a Wednesday night, get to bed at 2:00am and get up at 8:00am and go work all day, only to go out again that night as well.  A couple of toddlers should not be so bad right??? Wrong!  Our life was challenging to say the least.  I think that Jerry almost fell over the day that I told him that I thought that we should try to adopt another child......seriously!  I still remember the look he was giving me.  He didn't agree.  I guess you can't blame the guy.  He just went through 2 years of two babies, no sleep, a seriously decreased social life and a wife who went through hell and back.  Was I crazy?  Nope. Part of me had something to prove.  Prove that I could handle more children.  I always wanted a big family.  My mom thought that I had lost my mind.  Nobody could understand.  I wanted to do it again.  Jerry was going to be the hurdle.  He was pretty sure that "we" were done.  I didn't feel done.  And by now, if you have read my blog from the beginning, you know that I listen to my gut.  So, I didn't have my husband's full blessing yet, but I was hoping, so I contacted Forever Families (http://www.forever-families.org/).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Things happen for a reason, don't you think??

Hello there.  I had an interesting day yesterday.  I thought that I would share.  First, a little background info.

In August of 2010, I had an accident in my 2006 Chrysler Town and Country Mini Van (affectionately known as"The Roach Coach" in our community).  Anyways, in the car with me were 3 of my 4 children.  Two of them were in the back of the van, one in the middle.  All were in their proper boosters and seat belts.  We were rear ended by a Ford Focus at 55 miles per hour while we were at a complete stop.  It was scary.  I saw it coming, but the kids did not.  I was looking in the rear view mirror and I could see that the Focus was coming fast.  After the impact, I opened my eyes to look in the rear view mirror to see the kids, and the mirror was gone.....I was scared to look back.  As a mother, I had always wondered how my kids would fare in an accident if they were seated in the back.  My daughter was hysterically crying.  I looked back and to my surprise.....they all looked fine.  Shaken up, but fine.  Thank you Chrysler!  You protected my children.  My point?  Well, although the children were in good shape, I suffered whiplash and some banged up knees.  One knee has a torn lateral meniscus.  So, today is Wednesday, and two days ago, on Monday morning, I found out that my surgery to repair it would be yesterday (Tuesday).  I had one day to get things in order.  Tuesdays around our house are busy.  Jacob has basketball after school, Cameron had a swim meet (his first ever), and they all had school.  So, thus began what us Mom's typically have to go through to get everything in order so that I could take care of "myself".  First, I dropped the 4 year old off to stay over night at my mom and dad's house. Jerry needed to take the day off of work to go with me.  Someone had to be there after school for the kids....so, I called my mom and dad in law to cover after school, and basketball and swimming.  Now, I just had to organize the house for me to recover and set Jerry up to handle everything for a few days.  All set, right?  Wrong!!  That Monday night I put everyone to bed, ate my last food before midnight and went to bed at 11:30.  At 11:35 I heard someone "barfing" in the bathroom.  Unfortunately, I would never sleep a wink that night due to that child continuing to puke until 10:00am the next day.  Ok...so I needed to regroup and adjust a few things.  Get mom in law to come earlier, since my daughter stayed home from school sick.  I called a dear friend to take Jacob to basketball and back home. and my dad in law will go to the swim meet.  Everything is covered. I was exhausted, but I kept thinking, that during the surgery, I would get some sleep. My in laws arrived about 12:00pm on Tuesday and Jerry and I hopped into the car and headed to surgery. I thought to myself, well, it was hectic getting here, but I am finally here and ready to go.  I was in my cute little hospital gown, pulse ox on, the nurse was ready to put my IV in and doctor came bursting in to say that "WAIT, we can't do it, because her urine culture showed a UTI (urinary tract infection).  Oy!  I was so deflated.  I thought, "are you trying to tell me something, God??"   All the obstacles had been overcome, and yet, it is still not going to happen.  It took me a few hours to get over the frustration of it all.  I won't lie to you, on that hour ride home from the hospital, I was having a pity party.  Why, why, why?  Jerry tried to boost my spirits, but no luck.

When we arrived home, the house was a bustle as expected.  I shifted gears and was happy that I would get to see Cameron's first swim meet.  He was so excited.  He has always loved swimming, but wasn't interested in the whole team/competition thing.   Jerry and I had been trying to convince him the past year, to try out for the team.  Finally, this winter, he decided to try out and he made the team.  Jerry and I know nothing about swim meets, so it would be a new experience for us.  Cameron was to be in 6 races that night.  Two relays and and 4 fifty meter races.  Cameron has great form, but is working on his speed.  He would be last place in most of his races that night, but that was ok with him.  He lives in the moment.  In his last race, he was in lane one, which was closest to the bleacher stands where we were sitting.  At this point, he had already swum 250 meters collectively from the other races.  He was near the finish.  I looked down at him in that pool swimming in last place and giving it every bit that he had in him and I felt like I was in that pool with him.  My whole body filled with pride and tears coming to my eyes in awe of this little boy.  His pride was for the finish, not the place.  As his fingertips touched the board at the finish line, I heard the crowd clapping for him and in that moment, I thought, "ok, God. I get it.  This is where I was suppose to be in this moment.  Not in surgery.  Knowing that I might have missed that moment when his little face emerged from the water, with a beaming smile, full of pride, makes me thankful that my surgery date got screwed up. I looked at Jerry sitting next to me and he said, "maybe, things are as they were suppose to be".  Another moment we shared together which reminds us....we are so lucky to share in the lives of these amazing children.  "Things happen for a reason, don't you think???  Let go and let God.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Baby and Me and the Road Back

Sitting in that room full of other patients, who were in the "same boat" as I, was surreal.  I was really here.  Who would have thought.  Not me.  I always prided myself on being STRONG.  Stronger than most.  I realize that stronger isn't always better.....just maybe more stubborn?  I've been called stubborn a time or two in my life.  The thing in my favor, was that I like to dig down deep and figure things out.  I am not the kind of person to make mistakes and repeat them.  I want to learn from them and grow as a person should.  What I would learn in these days in group therapy, is that depression has nothing to do with how strong you are or how well adjusted you think that you are.  It is not something that you can WILL away.  You can't "SNAP" out of it.  Believe it or not, some people think that you can JUST SNAP OUT of it.  Yep.  I am not kidding. I would also learn that,  the day I went to the ER was one of the hardest days of my life, but the hardest still lie ahead of me.  This experience would forever change me as a person, as a mother, as a wife....all for the better.  I learned to accept who I was and that I was good enough.  Good enough to be those kids mother.  Good enough to deserve all the blessings in my life and that I was capable of being what those two little boys needed.  I had put so much pressure on myself to be the perfect "everything" for Jacob and when Cameron came, I wasn't FINISHED with Jacob yet.  How could I possibly start all over with a fresh new baby when I was still "in training" with the first one.  Another thing that I discovered about myself in therapy, was that I was angry with our birthmother.  How could she not give me some warning?  Woman to woman, you know?  At the same time, I still felt all of those nice feeling about her.   I was filled with confusion.  Society isn't supportive of an adoptive mother feeling negatively about her adoption circumstances.  You are suppose to be grateful!! That is what the little voice in your head says to you over and over.  It would be years before I admitted feelings of anger towards our birthmother to anyone else.  I carried this anger deep down inside for a long time.


After group therapy, I slowly started to resume my motherly relationships with the kids.  I still went to see a therapist on my own for almost 2 years following this whole ordeal.    This therapist would help me discover so much about myself.  Some of it, you just can't believe is still inside of you.  For example.  When I was in high school, there was a girl, who got some kind of kick out of saying hurtful things to me to knock me down a peg or two.  Most of it, as a kid, you just suck up and move on, but one time, she cut me to the core and apparently, I did not get over it.  Believe it or not, it had an effect on my self esteem......years later!  I was shocked to figure this out.  It made me really look at myself and how I felt about me.  What does this have to do with being a mother?  Everything!!!  We are what we experience.  I guess my point is that we are all a work in progress and we need to be able to look inside of ourselves to find the answers and accept that we are not perfect and need to be humble enough to reach out for help.  My mom always said that "it takes a village" to raise a child.   Don't look the other way.  If you see someone struggling....extend yourself. 

Cameron and I would slowly build our relationship.  I won't lie.  It was difficult.  He sensed it and was affected by it....BUT...with therapy, a supportive family, and a strong desire from both Cameron and I, we would make it.  This little brown eyed, spiky haired little baby would teach me more about being a good person than anyone else that I have ever met.  He is an amazing little soul, with great passion for loved ones and a very tender heart.  He is the most compassionate little boy that you will ever meet.  He loves Jesus and he feels great respect for this crazy world of ours.  Cameron is currently 9 years old and you will be happy to know that he and I are VERY close. I will tell you that I am a fighter.    He is a fighter.   Cameron is a determined little boy.   He is my biggest fan and God help anyone who messes with his Momma.

As I sat in that room that day with all of those other patients, I stated my name and then sat quietly, thinking to myself, "How will I ever get back to being a good mother???"  It felt like a mountain to climb.  I climbed that mountain and I conquered that mountain! 

Mom and Cameron (7 months)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS)

I must tell you that I have been overwhelmed by your support and stories of similar experiences as a result of my last post.  I am sure that you realize that it was very difficult for me to put that "out there", but I feel it is necessary.  I know that many women go through the same thing that I did.  Many women experience post par tum depression after delivering a child, but did you know that an adoptive mother can experience the same thing?  It is called Post Adoptive Depression Syndrome, PADS.  You can read about Post Adoption Depression - The Unacknowledged Hazard @ http://www.adoptionarticlesdirectory.com/.  This article described my behavior exactly.

Journal entry dated April 2, 2002 - Today I sat in the emergency room for 6 hours waiting to see a doctor.  There was a bad accident on US23 that involved many cars, so there was a lot going on in that ER.  I debated on whether to just go home.  Nope.  I told myself that I cannot go back until someone tells me what is wrong with me.  I don't feel like me.  It is like I am in someone else's body.  I am exhausted mentally, physically and I just don't care about anything.  I called my mom at least 4 times while waiting in that little lobby, just to let her know that I didn't flee the country, I was just waiting.  When I was growing up, my family used humor to get through things.  We were very close.  We shared everything and fully supported each other.  I knew they had my back.   Finally, about 6 hours in, a doctor came out and talked to me.  He said, "I know that you have been here a long time, and that tells me that you must really be in need of help".  I told him that I wasn't going anywhere and I will wait as long as I needed to. 

Once I was with the doctors, there were a zillion questions as you can imagine.  They asked if I thought that I would hurt myself.  I said no.  They asked if I thought I might hurt the children.  I said I don't think so, not physically, but I feel emotionally vacant and that can't be good for either of them.  They started to explain what was happening to me,  and that it was an imbalance of serotonin levels and physical exhaustion along with the stress from the unexpected adoption.  They gave it a name.  Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADs). Ok.  What do we do to FIX it, I asked.  They actually wanted to admit me to the hospital and have me go through a program which involved medication, therapy and education.  I wasn't digging that plan.  I wanted to go home and handle this.  They said that they also had a program which involved partial hospitalization  in which I go home, but only if I wasn't to be alone.  I had to have someone take over the care of Cameron and Jacob while I worked through things.  Monday through Friday from 9-4, I would attend group therapy and see a doctor to manage medication.  Sign me up for that!  This meant that I needed to enlist help from my family and my husbands parents.  So, when I got home, I said, ok troops, we have a plan. 
***
The mom's took turns with 3 day intervals of staying with me.  Thank God that I had these two amazing Women to sacrifice their own daily life....for me and Jacob and Cameron.  The Grandpa's were on board as well.  They held down the fort so to speak at their homes while the ladies kept me on track.  Jerry was very supportive.  I realize that, this experience was very difficult for Jerry.  Imagine that you are at work providing for your family and your wife is "ill" and can't do what is required of her job at home and you are worried about the kids and then on top of that, the Grandma's have taken over the household.  It is a lot for a guy to absorb. 

So the journey began to "GET Momma Back".  I started medication right away and started that group therapy the next day.  It was a very strange experience.  Everyone there was dealing with depression of some kind.  I had to introduce myself....yikes!! This is scary.

******

Much of this next few months would be difficult on the whole family, but we were committed to the process, because we believed in it and had a vested interest in seeing it through.  I planned to share the journey with you, but first I want to give some thanks.

To Mom - You amaze me.  You are mother in every sense of the word.  You have always given yourself to me as your child, but never more than in my darkest hour.  I mean it when I say, I would not be where I am today without your love, your "give it to me straight" support and I owe you everything, but I know that all you wanted for me. was that I experience motherhood with joy and to be the best mom ever!  You and GOD got me there.  I send you the deepest heartfelt thanks ever. I love you. 

Joann. -  What can I say.   You are the best Mother in Law that I could have ever hoped for.  Your love and support for Jerry and I was key to our success.  You gave your all to us.  Thank you.  You love me like I was your own.

Jerry. - Everyday you amazed me through this process.  You never questioned the process.  I know that it WAS NOT easy dealing with "the wounded Me".  Amazingly, our relationship deepened, when many would have failed and walked away.  You "get me"......and the times when you don't, you just love me and make me laugh at myself.  We have come a long way BABY!

Dad. - You still make me feel like your little girl.  It is an amazing feeling that no one can take from me.  Thank you for supporting me and sharing your wife with me so that I may get to where I am today.  Your example, helped me recognize a really good man to share my crazy life with. Thank you Dad.

Marla D. -Thank you for that insane day when you "turned the tide".  You made me see that I wasn't myself anymore,  and that it was O.K. !  You were a pivitol part of the whole process. I will never forget it.

Monica H. - Words can never express what you have meant to me through my struggle.  I remember that I could just talk to you on any given day and you would just listen and really get it.   I am so thankful for your friendship over the past 10 years.  We rode the storm together.  You need to know that just a simple hug from you made me feel better and gave me strength.  I love you and will forever be here for you no matter how far you go away.  I know that Divine Intervention brought us together and will keep us together forever.

Lisa C. - You are my best friend.  You have been there for me from before the day Cameron was born to present day.  You taught me to trust in friendship.  I never new that feeling....ever.  I trust you with my life and with my children's lives.  My mother trusts you and THAT is BIG my friend.  I love you.

As I sit here, I am in tears at the sheer gratefulness that I feel towards all who helped me get through the most difficult time of my life.  If you are reading this and you are experiencing any signs of depression, reach out please.    Sometimes, it is easier to talk to a stranger.  It can be fixed.  I don't want any mother to feel that they are hopeless because they can't seem to bond with their new child.  There is so much help and understanding available. 
Six weeks into treatment and Cameron and I were beginning to bond.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Baby Cameron

And baby makes Four!!
Jerry, Amy, Jacob and Cameron
Well, as you can imagine, things kicked up a bit with the arrival of Baby Cameron.  We took him home from the hospital 3 days after he was born.  I must tell you that in those days before he came home, I was more scared than I had ever been.  I was not convinced that I could handle this.  He was so stinken cute and such a precious baby, but I did not really embrace all of it quite the same as when Jacob came into our lives.  There wasn't anyone I could tell that I wasn't ready for this.  When Cameron came I felt forced to accept the "wonderful-ness" of it all against my real fears of not being ready for a second child.  In most of the pictures taken of me in the first few months, I kinda looked like a deer in headlights.  No Kidding. In the first 2 months, I lost a lot of sleep between the two of them taking turns waking me all night.  I also came down with pneumonia.  If you have ever had pneumonia, you know that the cough alone is so frustrating.  So in 2 months, my world changed drastically and my body ws sick both physically and mentally.   Between my health and my fears, I felt anger at the lack of control over my life which fed resentments that stood in the way of me adjusting to the new babyPeople started asking me strange questions about how I was handling everything and I was quite defensive.  "I'm FINE", I would say.  I lied.  I didn't want anyone to think that I couldn't handle it.  Especially Jerry, after all, this is what I wanted, right??  I felt depression creeping in, but at that time, I did not recognize it as depression, just unhappiness.  I had never been through depression before.  I had heard of Post Par tum Depression, but, didn't you have to deliver a baby to get that??? So, I just forged ahead and kept working on getting Cameron to sleep through the night, and then hoped that getting more sleep myself would straighten everything out.  Right?  Wrong.  About the time that Cameron was turning 3 months old, I was getting hopeless that I may never form that bond with Cameron like I developed with Jacob right away.  Sometimes, I wanted to pack Jacob up, get in the car and drive away and never look back.  My mom was getting very concerned, because, she could clearly see my lack of emotional attachment to the new baby.  Jerry was really confused, and not sure how to help me.  Friends were getting concerned as well.  One special friend sat me down and pulled me out of the denial that I was in.  Thank God, someone made me see that I need help.  That afternoon, I called my mom to come watch the babies, because I needed to go to the doctor to get some help.  I drove straight to the Emergency Room.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Didn't See THAT Coming!!

One brisk winter Monday morning, Jacob and I were rushing around the house getting ready to head out to our playgroup with all of our friends.  He was so excited, running around looking for his favorite blankie. Remember that Winnie the Pooh blankie that I bought back before Jacob was born?  It is his favorite thing.  I should have bought a back up.  Anyways, it was very cold outside, so I ran out to start the car so it would be nice and cozy for us.  We had about a half hour drive to the playgroup.  When I came back in, I heard the phone ringing and I really didn't want to answer it, because we were actually running a little late.....so I ran over to check the caller ID and it read Forever Families http://www.forever-families.org/.  Hmmmm.  Wonder what they want.  I had not spoke to them since Jacob's adoption was final about 4 months ago. I grabbed it.  The social worker and I chit chatted briefly and then she said, well, the reason that I am calling........Jacob's birthmother is here at the hospital and she delivered a baby boy this morning and she wants him to be with you and Jerry and Jacob.  Didn't see that coming.   I can tell you honestly, that I didn't know what to say.  I froze.  She said, "I know that you are probably in shock, so take it all in, call Jerry and call me back".  Ok, was all that I could get out.  I called Jerry.  I asked him if he was sitting down.  He said, NO, I am on an escalator, why?  I said, "get off the escalator, go somewhere private and call me back.  He was freakin out.  I sat in my kitchen on a chair and I couldn't get a grasp on how I felt.  Is this a good thing?  A baby?  Are you kidding me?  Jacob is 13 months old.  I'm not done figuring the first one out yet.  Jerry called back.  I said, "honey, I am about to blow your mind". 

So after Jerry picked his jaw up off of the floor, we agreed that he should come home.  My mind started spinning. We were not even signed up to adopt.  How would we get everything done.  Most likely we would take this child home in 2-3 days.  Is it possible to make this happen?  We would need another crib. What will we name him?  OMG.  Can I even do this?  I am already overwhelmed.  I do want more kids.  I can do it.  Can't I?  I was all over the map.  Jerry says, "you can do it, you are a great mom."  I kept thinking, it's just not that simple.  We only had about an hour to decide.  Really, there wasn't much to decide.  This is where he belongs.  We just needed to catch our breath.  Life was taking another unexpected turn.

  We called the agency back and said, "yes, yes, yes, let's do it", where do we start?  She told us to get ourselves down to the hospital a.s.a.p.   Twelve hours ago, we were snuggling into our bed for the night,  ready to start another typical Monday, and now once again, Jerry and I found ourselves in the car, on our way to the hospital discussing names for the baby.  This is crazy. We were so nervous.  We were going to have to get security clearances, physicals, and figure out how we were going to pay for everything.  We still had not recovered from Jacob's adoption costs.  But, we only thought about all of that very briefly.....because when all is said and done, there is a baby waiting to meet his mommy and daddy and how we get it done doesn't matter.  We couldn't wait to meet him.


Meet our beautiful son Cameron
Two days old













 

Welcome Baby Cameron



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Let ME Vent!

Journal entry dated November 12, 2001 - Dear Jacob, You are now One Year Old.  What a celebration we had. We did it all.  It was a special day for us and I know that many people were thinking of you.  Especially your birthmommy.  I have thought about her so much in the last few days.  I am sure she is wondering how you are and she is feeling different emotions.  I sent your one year pic in to the agency, so that she could see it if she wants.  I know that she felt so comforted by her choice of Daddy and I, but she loves you and I am sure she misses you everyday.  I do not know what the future holds in regard to your relationship with her, but I hope you will always know that I want what you want.  She is a strong and loving person who has all of my respect, but she is human.  By the time you read this, you will be a grown  man heading off to college and beginning your journey into adulthood.   I hope you will always look to me as your loving mother and loyal confidante.   I will forever cherish you.  Happy Birthday. Love you lots. ~ Mommy
**
Go ahead and say it, I am so mushy gushy.  Hey, its my one and only baby boy....right?  I gotta gush all over him. 

We had a ball celebrating Christmas and New Years with Jacob.  My days with Jacob were very busy and thankfully he was a great sleeper.  He would sleep 13 hours straight.  Yippie.  Everyday for his morning nap, we would take one together. It was our special time together.  It took a year, but I was finally feeling more relaxed with motherhood.  I wasn't so spastic about everything. My poor husband.  I gotta give him a lot of credit, because he humored me quite often.  Of course, I thought he was a butthead.  He didn't seem to understand that my whole day was built around taking care of Jacob and there was NO "me" time at all.  When that child was to go to bed, I wanted him to STAY sleeping at all cost.  Doesn't he get that????????
NO HE DOESN"T.   Every creek in the house, every door closed too hard,  every single noise was amplified in my head X3.  Needless to say, we were not on the same page.  About this time, I started expecting Jerry to be a bit of a mind reader.  Problem was, I forgot to tell him that.  He had no clue. Doesn't he KNOW I am stressed out?  Can't he tell that I don't FEEL like cooking tonight? Doesn't he SEE that Jacob's diaper needs to be changed?  Do I have to tell him EVERYTHING???  The answer is YES!  I didn't know that then, but I learned over the years that husbands aren't oblivious, they just need instruction.  The are "fixers" by nature.  If there is a problem they fix it, smile and move on.  We don't always want a fix.....just to VENT.  I think that men see venting as complaining and if you are complaining about something, you must need a fixer, right?  Well, anyways.....we were muddling through figuring it all out.  No one ever told me that being a mother would be so hard.......or that I would never have another HOT cup of coffee again.  Thank goodness for the microwave.

Thanks for looking!