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 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.

Thanks for looking!