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.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Get off the FLIPPIN Fence

How did you know?  She asked.  The noise level was escalating with the arrival of each guest.  You know the buzz of the room when women gather to celebrate the joining of two lovebirds, or the expected offspring of said lovebirds.  There is just something in the air at these events.  Everyone leaves their troubles at the door.  For a few hours, we will just chat, reminisce and drink punch.  Yes, I was at a bridal shower to celebrate my cousins upcoming nuptials.  When she was 5, she stood up in my first wedding.  Yes, I said first.  Not many know that I had a brief lapse of judgement and got married to the "one, I was with".  You know what I mean.  Don't Judge.  Some of you have done it too.  Thank GOD I woke up, before children.

Anyways, I will get back to my point.  I just can't believe that she is all grown up and getting ready to begin her life with the love of her life.  It is very sweet.  You can tell when it is real between a couple. They reminded me of me and my hubby.  We looked like that.  All bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I guess, when I looked at them, I couldn't help but think about, how we all go into marriage and a life with that special hunnybunch hoping for everything to be perfect.  I did.  We had no idea what lie ahead and how much we would grow as human beings.  For better, for worse, we stuck together.  I won't lie, sometimes, I wanted to poke his eyes out.  (heehee)  I know that I made him nutz as well.  I can be a bit of a control freak.  We were going to have it all.   Kids, house, vacations and love.  We got the house....bliss.  We had vacations....more bliss.  Thank goodness we had the love, cuz the kid part was gonna be rough.  On our second date, we talk to one another about how we could see ourselves adopting....someday.  You know.....after we have our own.  Our own.  That sounds so odd to me now.  I knew that I had the heart to adopt, but I didn't know the magnitude and depth that my heart could go.   I didn't know that.  Had I not adopted these children, I would not have known how much adopted children are "our own".  Except for their DNA, everything about them is JERRY and AMY.  We are their strength.  We are their security.  We are everything to them that we would have been to biological children.

So to answer the question that was posed to me at this shower.  How did you get there, you know, to the point where you dove in and weren't afraid that you could be headed for heartache.


Faith.  Faith in God.  Faith in Jerry and I.  Faith.  If I had stayed afraid of the unknown, I would have never experienced the bond between mother and child.  We would have robbed a child who was arriving into this world,  of what we had to offer him.  Parents who were ready to embrace his arrival and nurture him through life.



Adoption is a blessing for so many children.  Since I started blogging, unfortunately, I have received a real education as an adoptive parent. Not all children feel blessed in adoption.  We all know someone who should have never been a parent, right?   Those same people adopt too.  Selfishly.    So....I want to reach out to people who have the heart for adoption.  If you are sitting on the fence.  Get off.  There are children who need you.  Don't wait any longer.  Get approved and move forward.  You won't regret it.  Nothing worth while is easy.  These children are worth it.  Get of the flippin fence and have faith!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tree of Life

Journal entry dated September 1' 2006 - struggling with sending Jacob to school for kindergarten. I know that all mom's go through this, but the thing that I worry about the most, is him being adopted. Should I tell people? Keep it to myself? It is in his records. What will he want? We've been so open up til now, but what now? Kids just want to fit in and NOT be different. My feelings have always been that when they got to school, I would take their lead. This is tough. I only get one shot at doing this right. Well, with him anyway. When I look at him, he still looks like a baby. How do I let go? How did I get here so fast? I waited for him for what seamed like forever and now....I have to let him go off into the world without me.
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My Jacob is graduating from elementary school this week and headed to intermediate next fall, and I have been reminiscing about how nervous I was when he entered kindergarten.  I can barely recognize that innocent little 5 year old that set off into the world to discover the path towards his own journey through life.  Laying down the roots of who he will become.  Like a tree of life.  He has grown into to an amazing young man who shines like a star in the sky.  Each new experience sprouting new branches to build on his own tree of life.  I choke up each time I think about how he is not a little boy anymore, but a young man on a mission to succeed.  It is bittersweet.  I still remember the day that we got that life changing phone call.  It seems like yesterday. 


Whew.  I well up inside at the pride that I feel knowing that this special young man, started out as my little baby boy.  I am forever grateful for the blessing of getting to watch him grow. Like a tree of life.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Thank you Mommie, I could just squish you.

I had a very wonderful "adoptive " mommie moment, that I can't wait to share.


This one was between my daughter and I. She is 6 almost 7. She was having a bit of a meltdown while we were dining in a somewhat expensive restaurant while on vacation. I was operating on my very last nerve and that nerve was shredding minute by minute. She didn't like the menu. I had to "remove" her from the table to go to have a quiet "word" with her about her behavior. She was looking at me with those big watery eyes and said, "thank you Mommie, I couldn't even think, I just needed to have a timeout". Stunned, I hugged her tightly and grabbed her hand and we headed back to the table. Just before we got there, she looked up at me and said, "boy Mom, you sure do really know me, thanks, I love you so much, I could just squish you".

This moment would be meaningful to any mom, but to an adoptive mom, it is a reminder that, YOU are their mommie forever and YOU hold all those treasured secrets about them, no one else does.

Thanks for looking!