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 It is not an old out of date sweater that is going to Goodwill.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.

Adoption, believe, birth mom, family, infertility, mom

Finding Motherhood – My Messy Beautiful

Ever since I was a little girl I knew that someday I would be a mom. (Well, except for the day I saw an After School Special on where babies come from – then I swore I would NEVER have kids.) My sister, neighborhood friends, and I would play house for hours out back in the playhouse we had in the old barn. We would be dressed in my mom’s old prom dresses getting married in the garden…stuffing dolls under our shirts waiting for the moment we would become a “mom”. Playing Barbies was no different – a mom, a dad and their baby. That is what was modeled to us by our grandparents, parents, relatives and family friends. Everyone was married with 1-3 kids. When you are a child and think about your future – you think that you will go to college, get married, own a house and have a couple kids…in that order and that simply. You never for a moment think that there may be a different order to your life and that things may NOT go the way you see them. That perhaps God has his own plan for you.

Most people spend their summer in between high school graduation and going off to college being carefree and looking forward to their new path in life as a young adult. For MOST. For me, the last month of summer vacation I spent worrying – worrying that I may be pregnant. A month went by – my parents moved me away to college, got me all settled and were on their way. All the while not knowing of my worries. Well into my first semester of college it was confirmed…I was indeed pregnant. Only a handful of people would know this life changing situation – the father, and a couple close friends. I admit that if I didn’t think about it and kept busy with my new surroundings, classes and living on my own that it wouldn’t be true. “Out of sight – Out of mind” – doesn’t really work well when your body starts changing….It wasn’t until spring break that it all came out. I was home over break – my sister first suspected it and from there my mom went on my sister’s hunch and we spent spring break figuring out what to do. I knew that adoption was the best choice – I was 18 and could barely take care of myself – how could I be a mom!? You are wondering where the “father” was in this – we had broken up – it wasn’t a big love affair to begin with – we were better friends. We both decided adoption was a good decision. So in the months to come, I spent my first year of college going to classes, seeing my counselor at Catholic Charities, looking at profiles of anxious parents waiting for a baby to complete their family and attending my OB/GYN appointments. While most people spent spring quarter laying in the sun, going to parties and making plans for summer…I was planning and thinking of the type of life this baby growing inside of me would have – not with me, but with that perfect family I picked out. Not the typical first year of college most kids my age had.
So the evening came that I went into labor. It all went so fast. The baby was breech so I ended up having a c-section. The doctors knew my situation and put a sheet up between me and my belly so I wouldn’t see anything – I did choose not to see the baby – figured it would be way too hard emotionally. A healthy 7 pounds/7 ounces baby boy was born. In the days to follow, papers were signed relinquishing my rights. This baby boy would soon be on the way to his new family where he would be loved and cared for and have the life I planned for him and dreamed for him…..
After the papers were signed, the father and I had 10 working days to change our minds…the baby’s father did. He came to me and said he wanted custody of our son and had a lawyer. I was devastated. I had this perfect family and life all picked out for him and my heart was full of love knowing I had made the best decision for him. After going to court and fighting for the plan I picked out – his father won and got custody.– I was too young to care for this baby and be a great mom to him – and thought his dad was too. The court basically said “If the mother does not want the baby, custody will go to the father”…DOESN’T WANT??? It had nothing to do with not wanting him – it had to do with what was best for him…his needs had to come first. So his father did get custody. He was married a year later and she legally adopted him. Funny how after 20+ years I realized he DID have the perfect life I wanted for him with two loving parents. Who was I to say, at age 18, that I had the better plan?? God knew.
I was 24 when I met Mike. The first time I met him I knew HE was it. Two years later we married. We were excited for our future – all our hopes and dreams. Especially the dream of being parents. We were happy, in love, had our first home and, after a year into our marriage, thought we would start trying to have a family. Who would have thought the word “TRYING” would imply blood, sweat and tears. We “tried” for 6-8 months (give or take) and wondered “what gives”? I told my doctor we had been ‘trying’ and nothing was happening. Now, my doctor was a male and of the “older persuasion” – dare I say a crotchety old man?? Maybe. He had some real profound advice: “Relax, light some candles…it will happen” – Gee, thanks – that thought NEVER crossed my mind. Isn’t that how it is as newlyweds anyway?!?! So – on to an infertility specialist nurse – who thought the doctor’s advice to us was ridiculous! The next few years were filled with all kinds of ‘fun’. Mike got to take a lovely test to see if “the boys could swim” – (yep – no problem there – Olympic swimmers) then I got to take my temperature every morning and chart it to see when I would ovulate. When I was, I had to get a hormone shot in my hip that made me crampy and crabby – not the best mood to “be intimate” with my husband within the next 24 hours. No pressure. First few months you think “oh this is fun” and there are a few giggles and the song “Afternoon Delight” runs through your head, etc. Months turned into years. The giggling stops; being intimate is now a CHORE and still no baby! We decided to take a bit of a break from doctors and in that year Mike switched jobs. We moved and found a new doctor who was awesome! He basically said “how aggressive do you want to be?” – and we were ready to start the process again. This time, we did a few painful tests – tests that determined I had some scarring in my tubes and the only way to conceive would be to have my tubes removed and then try IVF. We had a lot to think about. It takes a toll on a person and a couple….you want it so badly. And you have those people who are trying to be helpful by giving advice: “Oh, just don’t think about it and it will happen” “Once you relax it will happen” “My sister’s cousin’s friend went through that and ended up with cancer and died” “It will happen when it’s meant to be” BLAH BLAH BLAH. I was at the point in my life when all my friends (and everyone under the sun!) were getting pregnant! I pasted on the fake smile “Oh, that is GREAT news” hoping to God that I sounded sincere. Inside, I just wanted to scream and cry. I was beginning to question why things happen. Was God punishing me for the decision I made years earlier by not keeping the baby He gave me? I spent a lot of time being angry, hurt and longing so badly for a baby – we both did. At a time I couldn’t be the best mom, I became pregnant. At the time I was ready to be a great mom….nothing. We decided after almost 6 years to close the door with all the doctors and think about where to go next. It was a major relief to stop trying, stop going to the doctor, stop taking advice from everyone – and just enjoy being a couple again. Because we WANTED to, not HAD to…Again, God had a plan.

Back to my original thought as a child – get married and have a baby or two. Easy, part of life one should never take for granted. We never thought our easy “having a baby or two” would be adoption from a foreign country. I was now 32 and we dove in head first into the process of adoption. This process would take a world of patience, mountains of paperwork, FBI background checks, medical physicals, references, interviews, fingerprinting and a small fortune. I believe there is less paperwork buying your first home! I think it is funny – we hear all about these families or single moms who have an abundance of children, no money or means to care for them and high on drugs and they keep on having kids…..we had to go through all kinds of checks and balances to see if we were good enough – wow, what is wrong with this picture? We went through Children’s Home Society (awesome!!) and got all the information we needed to “start” the process. There were forms to fill out, copies of certificates to obtain, papers to be notarized and workshops to attend. We spent the next month organizing all the needed documentation. We could decide on the sex of the baby and the country we wanted. We chose South Korea and girl. We also got to “play God” – so to speak…we had a long form of medical conditions that were acceptable or not to us in a child. That was incredibly strange…but our social worker pointed out that if we were pregnant and expecting a child, we would want it to be happy and healthy – so why should this time be any different. My mom was a nurse so she helped us decipher all the medical jargon. Once we completed everything, our form went to the bottom of the waiting pile. So we waited and wondered when that call would come. We were told it could be up to 6 months to get a referral. So we both kept busy with work and life. Then one day I was paged with a call at work. I jokingly said to my co-workers “Ya never know when it will be THE CALL” – very tongue and cheek because it had only been 3-4 months of waiting. And sure enough – there was baby girl born December 27th. My husband stopped by Children’s Home Society and picked up the “packet” and photo of our new baby. Instead of a doctor handing us this newborn in the hospital saying “You have a girl” – we ripped open an envelope – read thru all the translated medical and background info – her birth mother was just 16. (How I could relate!) and finally the photo – a cute chubby cheeked little Asian princess!! Finally, the baby we had always dreamed of! We prepared the room, painted, bought the furniture, and got everything ready. That was the middle of March. Finally, May 18th arrived – ‘Gotcha Day’! At that time, we were still allowed to meet travelers at the airport gate. And there we were – the WHOLE family – watching with great anticipation as everyone got off the plane…Straining to get our first glance at our newest member. After what seemed like eternity, there she was! Riding in a Korean sling around her escort’s neck. All smiles and chubby little cheeks…our Maddie! Wow – what a wait. What a reward! My heart was overflowing with love. This beautiful chubby cheeked Korean little bundle was all ours. Three years later we did it all over again – and Olivia arrived February 26, 2004! This time we picked her up in the baggage area. Grab a bag and a baby and – voila! – instant family! Our family was complete!

God certainly works in mysterious ways. You have a plan in your head of how your life is going to go and BAM! Life takes you on a different path – an emotionally hard path. But after that path has been traveled you can sit back and find the brutifulness (brutal + beautiful) in it. I made a choice all those years ago to think about the needs of a baby that I loved so much. A choice to give him a better home and life than I could. God rewarded me on the receiving end of such a gift with my two beautiful daughters. The unselfish decision two young girls a world away made me a mother. I could feel firsthand the wonderfulness of their decision and yet understand the way they must have felt. God planned this.

Not only did God bless me with two daughters, but he had more to his plan for me. I had always thought about and wondered about my baby boy. I use the word “My” because I gave birth to him. His REAL mom gave him his life. One random day I decided to enter his name on Facebook. Previously I had tried to find him or his dad online – but either a million names came up or nothing. This time was different. His Facebook page popped up – not a list, but HIS page!! I looked – a set of familiar eyes looking back at me. My heart jumped – I scanned his birthdate…IT WAS HIM! I froze, smiled, and cried. Then I realized we had a common friend – my neighbor – a young girl who I was very close with! Out of all the people we had in common – it was this young girl who had babysat my girls, confided in me about her boyfriends and life. A girl I could trust with the secret. She worked with him – and would keep the secret until I had a plan. What to do with all this new found information!?!?! It was SO BIG – how does one manage all the feelings associated with this kind of situation!? I sat down and wrote a letter to his parents. Explained my life, how I was not there to disrupt their family (I didn’t even know if he knew about me or not). I made it clear that SHE was his mom, I was his belly mom. Then I put a stamp on it and put it in the mailbox and trusted a perfect stranger to deliver it. I spent the next few weeks “stalking” his Facebook page – trying to read anything into his comments – to see if he knew?!?! One stuck out “I have a lot to pray and think about” – could it be about me!?!?!?!?! Then two weeks later – a quick scan on Facebook before I shut it down for the night….there was a new message….from HIM! I ran and got my husband – I was so excited!! He said he always knew this day would come…mixed feelings. Could we email for now because it was just so much. OF course I thought!! We spent the next few weeks emailing back and forth – then came the message saying he was ready to meet. We picked a local coffee shop. I don’t think I had ever been so nervous. I went early to get a spot – and he had same idea. He stood – we hugged and spent the next 3 hours talking and getting to know each other – all the while looking in disbelief at each other that this day had finally come. It has been 4 years now and he is part of my life. He spends time with us – and has become a wonderful part of our family. All the while respecting HIS family. I sit back in the awesomeness of it all. My journey to becoming a mother has come full circle. It wasn’t as easy as I once thought as a 10 year old playing house in the back yard. It was much harder, but I would not change the journey of it all. God had his plan for me and it taught me so much about my faith in him and I learned so much about myself along the way.

messy-beautiful-700b This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project – To learn more and join us, click on this logo. Also to learn more about The New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of embracing Your Messy Beautiful Life, just released in paperback!



Adoption, birth mom, family, infertility, Uncategorized

Still I Mourn…


Funny how emotions of life events follow you throughout your life. They creep up and take your breath away when you least expect them to. Things you thought you had resolved and come to terms with suddenly hurt. Things that make you cry out of nowhere. Things that you have no control over. Things that God chose for YOU to go through. Somehow these things are supposed to make you grow and learn from them. Things that make you appreciate a new path – a path that never crossed your mind yet you can’t imagine not taking it.  Emotions that are buried so deep in your heart – that if you let them up and out for the world to see – you may not know how to stop them. So they stay tucked away neatly. The world sees your smile, silliness and positive attitude…not the sadness, frustration and anger that still resides deep down.

I got pregnant, shared the news, carried the baby to term and gave birth. All the joys a woman is blessed  go through. But I got pregnant (accidentally), I wasn’t married…wasn’t old enough to be a mom. I shared the news after 6 months along because my mom got it out of me. I carried a baby to term because I chose adoption. A situation that was unplanned. Did I love the baby boy – of course! More than anything…that is why I chose adoption…knowing I could not be what he needed. Today I know him – a wonderful 26 year old young man. We have so much in common and have a relationship. I AM blessed with that. I am thankful everyday that we met and are in each other’s lives.

What do I mourn? I mourn never having the chance to have a baby. I did have that event in my life – but because of timing and the situation I didn’t get to experience the joy of it – I had to remove the typical emotion so I could give him up. I couldn’t feel all the wonderfulness of it because I loved so much. After 6 years of infertility treatment – to receive the news – TA DA! – I will never get pregnant. Going through the anger and sadness of that devastating news – closing that door and moving onto our new path of adoption – which was beautiful and remarkable and loved every step of that journey. But I mourn that I will never get to see the look in my husband’s eyes when I tell him we are going to have a baby. I will never get to see the excitement in my family’s eyes – sure they were excited about my beautiful girls, but it is different. I will never know what it is like to have a baby that looks like me or my husband – or “Looks a lot like so and so when they were little” – No old family photos that resemble a child. It does hurt and still feels raw at times. Like another X on my list of failures…Would I want to be pregnant now at 45 – absolutely not. That door has closed. I just mourn the “what if” of it all.

I am sure to some it sounds like I don’t appreciate my two beautiful girls and what I DO have – I do. I love them more than anything. They are every bit my daughters as they could be. They are not and will never be the “consolation prize” – adopting them is a whole different area of life with different feelings and emotions than the loss part. How does one balance the sadness and the mourning and yet be grateful, happy and blessed with the gifts? I don’t doubt God and his splendor – showing me the receiving end of adoption – knowing how it feels to be blessed with a baby that was given up out of love – not once, but twice….just wonder why the sadness still lingers deep in my soul…..

Adoption, birth mom, family, infertility, mom, Uncategorized

Hearts and Love…

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.  – Lao Tzu

 ‘love (noun) (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates

Love. I love chocolate, I love God, I love John Bon Jovi, I love my husband, I love TV, I love my children, I love laughter….the list goes on and on in no particular order. What do you love? Who do you love? February is all about Valentine’s Day and all the commercialism of it. The cards, the candy, the parties, the hearts everywhere you look. Is it just a”Hallmark Holiday”? Do you know the history of this day?

In the early 290’s, the Roman Emperor Cladius II, or better known as Cladius the Cruel, was tired of no men joining the military. He believed it was due to the fact that they did not wish to leave their families and loves. To fix the lack of soldiers he cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. 

               Catholic Priest, Saint Valentine and companion, Saint Marius, believed it was wrong of him to deny innocent people of their right to be in love. Due to that belief he started to secretly marry people from Rome against Cladius’s will.

When the Emperor became aware of the doings of Valentine, he became infuriated and then demanded a search for Valentine. Once he was found, he was brought to Cladius. Cladius decided he should be killed, and sent him to jail.

                While Valentine was in jail, he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter. Because of her connection, she frequently visited Valentine. When Valentine’s time came to be executed, he wrote a letter to the girl, and signed it From Your Valentine.

                Named after Saint Valentine, The holiday started around the time 496 A.D. From then on, people of many different religions, nationalities, and ethnicities celebrate the romantic story of heroism. This is a special time to show how much you love and appreciate the ones closest to you.

Now, what if we appreciated those that aren’t so close to us or others we think we don’t know or care for? How about a stranger on the street?  The rude customer? The crabby neighbor? The bratty child at the store? People of different religions or cultures we tend to judge because we are uneducated about them? So many people that we simply “dismiss”. Why not reach out to these people and show love and appreciation to them on this Valentine’s Day?   After all, kindness can be contagious.

Adoption, birth mom, family, infertility, mom, Uncategorized

Lesson from a 7 year old….

  Since last week, my youngest daughter has been a fountain of information about the late Dr. Martin Luther King that she learned at school. His birthday…when he died, how he died, even a song about him and how crazy it was that a lady with brown skin had to sit in the back of the bus and couldnt use the same bathroom. To her the thought of that sounds SO RIDICULOUS. And of course it is – hard to imagine life back then….especially with children of a different ethnic background than myself. How people were treated SO BADLY just because of their skin color. This morning we were watching Good Morning America…. They showed our president and she says “Obama and Martin Luther King both are brown. Why do they call it black? No one can have black skin and no one has white skin. We are all shades of brown.”  WOW – that sums it all all in one simple 7 year old thought. I am natural beige according to Maybelline, Bisque according to a paint swatch and number 1215 according to Pantone Matching System for inks. But instead we say “white” – ok, hold up a white piece of paper to my skin – is it white, no, it is more TAN – a shade of brown. Hold up a black piece of paper to an African American  – is their skin black? No, it is a shade of brown. Just gives you something to think about…..The world is not BLACK AND WHITE….either are people. We are ALL God’s children and we are all shades of the same color….shades of the same color…..

Adoption, birth mom, family, infertility, mom, Uncategorized

A New Year…

10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…..HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Every year’s end is celebrated the same: parties…confetti…champagne…hats….annoying noise makers…countdown and kisses at midnight. So then what? Yes, a NEW year has arrived. 2011!  People make all kinds of resolutions that last a few weeks (some even longer) – spend less money, loss weight, exercise more, be heathlier, nicer and more patient and the list goes on. Why is it that we wait for a brand new year to have those goals – just so we can remake them at the start of the next year and repeat every new year from here on out?  If you want to lose weight – do it – why wait for New Years Day? If you want to be nicer – do it…see where I am going with this?

“A new year is unfolding – like a blossom with petals curled tightly concealing beauty within”

My mom’s birthday is New Year’s Eve – I always thought that was a great night for a birthday – all the hoopla and fan fair all wrapped into a birthday at the same time! But while it is still a cool night….how about a cool way to start the next year of your life?

I am one of those people that make the same resolutions as everyone else and fail. This year I want to make personal goals – not so much “resolutions”, but things that are good for ME and in return will be good for the ones I care about.  I want to be more patient – with my family, friends and not rush thru life, but enjoy the day to day to the fullest. I want to hold my children more and let them know they are loved more than anything….let my husband know that he IS my rock and best friend and I love him so, let my family know that with them life is so wonderful and my friends know that they keep me sane and in laughter everytime I see them.  I want to say yes more to things I would quickly say no to and say no more to the things I would say yes to.  Balance – keeping ME in check so that the rest of my life is in check.

“The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we have a new soul”

Start the new year with open eyes and an open heart….embrace every day as the true gift it is.  Love one another. Be kind and patient. Laugh more!

Happy 2011 to all of you – may your year be new and fresh and full of life!

Adoption, birth mom, family, infertility, mom, Uncategorized



noun \ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\ 

the state of being grateful : thankfulness

     This is the time of year where we get caught up in the decorating, the shopping, the spending, the wrapping,  the cards, the holiday letter, the baking, the entertaining….the list goes on. (and on and on…)  While I LOVE all of those things in and each of theirselves….put them all together…toss in kids, family, the rest of the world and everyday life – you get a stressful holiday season. I am guilty of wanting things perfect – pefect wrapping paper, perfect bows, the perfect Christmas card etc. etc. This year I am really trying to take in the holiday and appreciate the meaning of it – not the retail of it all.  I even bought the prepacked tacky shiny bows to adorn my gifts this year (my sister will appreciate what that really means for me!!!)  Instead of MAKING the perfect card, I went with a photo card like the rest of the world – and made the picture creative (less time and check that off the list!).  Cookies are baked – all sizes and shapes – no two are alike or perfect, but the dough was delicious! It is taking the PERFECT EXPECTATIONS OCD out of my holiday this year and making it memorable and FUN, not chaotic and stressful.

Along with the holiday details comes the school/church events. My daughter Maddie is in dance at church – this weekend is the big Christmas Show…I have been so bitter about being there every Sunday for practices, late dress rehearsals on a school night and spending pretty much the entire upcoming weekend there that I had forgotten the big picture – how proud I am of her, how precious the smile on her face is and the joy of her confidence and excitement of it all. THAT is what is important….not ME and MY time.  Olivia has her school music program next week – again – anxious about getting there early enough to save seats, find a parking spot and hope the camera works. Olivia who hates to perform in front of a crowd – will be up on stage with her classmates belting out Christmas songs and I will love every minute watching her…..and being proud of her.

Family – I think that is the best part of the holidays. Not the gift getting, but the giving and sharing of the holiday spirit. Being able to be with family members when others may not be as lucky. Having a job, a home and a healthy family – that is what matters….not the biggest or bestest gifts.  Having gratitude for all the little things that matter….a home when it is below zero, family & friends so you never feel alone, silly things children do to make you laugh instead of the insignificant things that make you crabby.

I encourage everyone this holiday season to stop, breathe and find 3 things everyday you are grateful for……  

My three things to be grateful for today are: 1.) Mike 2.) my girls 3.) Joshua in my life