anxiety, anxiety in kids, family, inclusion, mom, respect, Uncategorized

High school mom fears….


My oldest daughter starts high school in a few short weeks. How can that be possible? Wasn’t it just May 2001 when we were getting her from Korea? Wasn’t it her first day of Kindergarten as she ran onto the bus with no fear? Wasn’t it the day she lost her first tooth? Wasn’t it just the day she rode her bike without training wheels? Time certainly does fly by. They always tell us “Enjoy this time, it all goes by so fast”. Fast is an understatement…

While I am super excited for her, I also am nervous for her. Neither one of us are sleeping well lately, I think it is the anxiety we both share. Hers about getting to class on time, opening a whole new locker, getting up earlier, getting good grades. Mine about making friends, be accepted, doing well, and having people see the awesome young woman I see.  I had the same fears as she entered middle school. A whole new school of people that didn’t know her, her challenges  and all her great qualities.

She made a goal list the other day for the new upcoming year. I will share a few…

~ Find some friends that are girls.

~ Try to get mostly A’s and B’s.

~ Really challenge myself and STUDY!

~ Start with saying HI and be smiley and friendly.

~Get to classes quickly and on time.

~Finally, be the best 9th grader I can be!

I love her list. While most kids her age see that list and think “piece of cake!” – for her each statement is a HUGE thing for her. I love the confidence she has. I believe she can accomplish all those things on that list. As a momma bear, I need to let go a bit more and let her succeed on her own. With that also comes letting her fail on her own too. That is the harder part. When you have a child that struggles with social skills, school work, and fitting in – you can’t help but worry 24/7. You want her to be the girl with friends, not fake friends that roll their eyes at her and bully her because she is different. Her “different” is beautiful. She is funny, talented, smart, strong, fashionable, goofy, confident. I want others to see the beautiful in that.

I need to have her confidence this year! While I can’t wait for school to start by this time of the summer, I also can wait for it – my girl is growing up…too fast.


Plan? Whose plan?

Jillsy's Blog


 “If I knew then what I know now” … How many times in life have we said or heard that? How many times have we thought that and wondered to ourselves “Would I have taken the same path? Made the same decisions?”  It is hard to tell. Part of life and growing up and becoming an adult is living and learning from positive and negative situations and experiences. We want to live our life to the fullest and not be filled with “Could haves, Would haves, Should haves”….

Growing up we have a plan. We make a plan the way our life is supposed to go, the way we WANT our life to go. We don’t plan for hard things, for loss or for pain. We plan for an easy fun and fulfilling life. One that doesn’t send you on a dark and scarey path, but a happy well lit…

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Adoption, birth mom, family, infertility, marriage, mom, teen pregnancy, Uncategorized

The Lingo Ate My Baby….

  It is funny how the choice of words people use can make a huge difference in what they say or ask. I have been humored, hurt and angered by the the wording and questions people to choose to use.  All along this journey of teen pregnancy, infertility and adoption, I have come to realize language and the way we comment, ask and label situations is so important. Some people really have no idea that what they are saying is hurtful or even not politically correct. I would like to address some of these.

Lets talk teen pregnancy, shall we? When you learn of a teen (or even a young girl surprised with pregnancy) do not say “oh. eeh. geez. wow. what are you going to do!?” with a face that looks like you just ate something terrible. A young girl is already scared and feeling as tho they did something wrong and let down people. You do not need to be one of them. A simple “You are? Are you ok? Is there anything I can do?” or a simple “I’m here for you” is plenty. A hug doesn’t hurt either! If this girl chooses to keep the baby after weighing options and thinking it over, then be supportive – offer advice or even resources that can help. Don’t be “You ARE?! You are so young! It is hard work – blah blah blah”.  If she chooses adoption for her baby, the words “gave up” “giving up” are not favorable. It is not an old out of date sweater that is going to Goodwill. It is not chocolate they are giving up for lent. It is a young human being that is loved and the choice to choose adoption was carefully decided. You mourn the loss and are equally happy for the couple that will be this child’s family. It is a very emotional time. the comment “Oh, you’ll be fine! You will have other children when the time is right.” is NOT OK. You can’t replace that baby. It is a part of you that will always be.

Ok, let’s talk infertility, shall we? I remember when Mike and I were trying to conceive, it seemed as tho EVERYONE around us was getting pregnant. People would ask all the time “When are you two going to have kids?” Little did they know we were trying and failing. (wait, let me clarify….we knew HOW, just those pesky sperm and eggs didn’t want to do their part).

* insert sound affect: Needle screech across a record album……WAIT! Let’s back up a bit. After people get married, not all of them WANT to have kids and a family. So why assume they do. When you think about the question “So when are you two going to have kids?”… you are asking quite a personal question that really is none of your business!

Ok…back to infertility… our first doctor we saw after months of trying said “Ah, relax! Light some candles…it will happen”. Gee, ok. We never thought of that one. (eye roll) Then we moved onto charting my temp EVERY morning, Mike getting his sperm tested, getting shots, taking pills and having mandatory sex. Let me just tell you – sex on command is not as great as some of you think. Sure we would giggle and laugh at first. The thought of a literal nooner was hysterical. But 6 years later…there was no laughing. So when a couple is going through all that and crying every month when the test comes back negative… a person asking “When are you two going to have kids?”  may get a punch to the throat – so don’t be surprised by it! Especially once we found out I was the problem and couldn’t get pregnant. I actually had people ask me “So are you going to find the baby you put up for adoption?” …to those people I say “Are you on drugs!?!?” Because why on earth would I disrupt a plan that I carefully chose and had a hard time coming to terms with? Not to mention being so selfish to disrupt a young child’s life because of something I couldn’t have.

If you do know a couple is struggling, always asking how it is going is really just a reminder of how long and painful their journey is. Remember, that the couple is different from your aunt’s niece’s friend who went through infertility…Trust me, WHEN there is news to share, that couple will be the ones screaming it from the rooftops, skywriting it and will be so excited to share the news. It is their news to share… not your question to be answered.

Adoption. This area of conversation has SO MANY things to address. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat and let’s educate! First thing right out of the gate when we told people we were adopting was “Oh, you’ll get pregnant now for sure!!” To these people asking I say “No, we have medical proof we wont and I am not the Virgin Mary” and “We closed that painful door we struggled with for 6 years, made some closure and moved forward by opening the door labeled ADOPTION – why would you rip the band aid off that wound we are finally healing from!?”

We chose to adopt from South Korea. (That means they are ASIAN, not oriental. Oriental is a type of rug people!!) We didn’t need our child to look like us. To us, that was not important. To some it is. But we would get comments like “Oh. why wouldn’t you adopt from here and then your child might look like you?” During the process people would comment/ask “I heard it is expensive! How much does it cost!?!?”  – first off all, adoption fees are usually on a sliding fee. So it is different for everyone. And, WHAT BUSINESS IS IT OF YOURS?! That is just a rude question…period. Unless of course you are asking because you too are thinking about adoption and want advice.

This is a good one too. Once we had our daughter – who again was Korean – 5 months old. People would constantly ask “Will she speak English?” Ok, let’s stop and think about this. A.) She doesn’t even speak yet and B.) We know maybe 2 words in Korean.  We would also get “Is she adopted?” Well, first off all I do not walk up to a mother in Target an just randomly ask “Did you give birth to your son?” – I must say tho – 90% of the people asking that particular question were adopting or had an immediate family member or friend that was. So we had an immediate connection about it. But remember, still a strange question to ask.

Oh here is a good one!! Once we adopted our second daughter we would get the age ol’ favorite question “Are they sisters!?”…. Let’s step back and look at this. I am at Target (yes I do shop there a lot) and I approach a mom with two boys (or girls) and just randomly ask “Are they brothers?”… the mom would probably look at me and slowly say “ummm, yeah?!” – and stare at me like why on earth are you asking. Ok, back to me now. When people ask this question I know what they want to know is: Are they birth sisters? I get it. But again, why is it someone’s business? And to our family and to each other…YES they are sisters.

“Will they ever find their REAL moms?” – I assume people mean their BIRTH mothers. We are both REAL moms. One of us gave birth and one of us raised and loved unconditionally. Maybe someday my girls will want to meet their birth mother and make the emotional journey and I will beside them sharing all the beauty of it with them.

“They are so lucky you saved and adopted them” – um, no. We are the lucky ones. They made our family whole. WE decided on adoption because WE wanted children and WE wanted a family. We are not fostering a hurt and sick animal here.

The bottom line with all of this is, be mindful of the comments and questions you ask. Be educated on the language and terms you use. You don’t always know what people are going through.


Being a Right Brained Extrovert….


It is a Friday evening. My husband Mike is just getting home from work. I have been  home all day with our kids. We have plans to meet friends out for dinner and drinks. Mike comes home, changes his clothes and we are out the door. On our way to the restaurant he is crabby, short and seems like he is no mood to have fun…without kids and hang out with other grown ups. I think to myself “How can you not be excited about getting out!?” We are quiet on our way there. We arrive at our destination and it takes awhile for him to lose the anger and crabbiness and start over as “Fun Mike”.

This scene has played out time and time again in our 21 year marriage. It took me until recent years to understand that he wasn’t mad at me or even mad at the fact we were going out. In fact he loved those things. Then I cracked the code!!!! What was his problem you ask? Nothing. He is an introvert. Introverts get recharged with energy and fun by having down time…quiet time…time alone away from people. He is in sales and with people and “on” all day long. He gets home and is excited to kick off his shoes and relax with nothing to do. Me? I am a total extrovert – ever since I can remember. My report card in elementary school almost always said “very talkative” or “very social”. But that wasn’t always meant in a positive way-my grades!  I get recharged from being around other adults, being social and going out. It rejuvenates me and gives me a new spring in my step. It makes me a better friend, wife, mother and overall person. I love talking to people, meeting new people and being around people. Until I realized this small little thing I was a grump because of it all. If he has his time to relax and enjoy the quietness and downtime – all is well.

My youngest daughter is the same way. She loves to do things, be with people and have fun. She is outgoing and all in all loves life. But when she has had too much of it all – she needs a break. She needs to go somewhere quiet and regroup and be alone. By me understanding this, I can help her and respect her quiet time away – instead of using the line “Come out and be fun with us”.

What I have learned about introverts over the years and from asking introverts is this…They NEED time away to recharge. When they are quiet it does not mean they are upset or tired – just quiet. If they aren’t talking a lot in a group – it is ok – they are just taking it all in and listening. They would much rather listen to what others are saying. If there is something to talk about – or discuss in a serious matter – they will when they are ready – (important to know when you have an argument with your spouse!) After being in big loud groups or outings, an introvert may take a couple days to recharge and regroup. I try to put myself in their shoes but as an extrovert – if I was away at some quiet retreat, conference or alone all weekend…I would be crazy and so desperately need a couple days to be around people and talk and be social to recharge. Sometimes introverts need to process what is being said, take it all in before they can react properly.

I am a loud mouth say it like it is right brained liberal that loves being social, funny, creative, out going, perhaps sharing too much with people. It can get me in trouble too – side conversations (that’s me), not paying attention (SQUIRREL!) because my mind is racing onto the next fun thing to do, anxious to speak which turns into interrupting others. I have to consciously work on these things- especially in the company of introverts. But I also have tendencies of the other…I do enjoy a quiet weekend with no plans. Love a quiet evening at home with the family and TV. I can actually be quiet and enjoying being alone – but not for long!

Knowing these traits of introverts, I can better understand my husband and daughter and respect that difference we have. I tell you – it really helps a marriage when you have two totally different ways of recharging and you understand them.