anxiety, family, inclusion, mom, Non Verbal Learning Disorder, respect, Uncategorized

It’s the little things…

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I got this text this morning from my daughter. I realize it is just a text. Especially in the world of devices, online communication and teenagers it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But if you knew my daughter, you would understand how this small gesture made my whole week. (and it’s a MONDAY!)

My daughter and I argue daily…DAILY. Multiple times a day. Now do the math….times a week….times a month….etc etc. Which makes this mom one tired and crazy nut job at times. Why this mom loves quiet time at night watching meaningless TV with a glass of wine – ALONE.

Part of the arguing daily is she is a typical teenage girl. The other part is her NVLD (non verbal learning disorder). It plays a huge part in her social interaction. While she can talk non stop, she has a hard time relaying emotions/feelings. Things are black and white. Empathy is rarely expressed. Reading social cues is a daily struggle. more info on NVLD

So naturally when you have all that, the pressure of school and trying to make and keep a simple friend is hard and tiring. Then come home from school – exhausted from trying to keep up with what we call “normal” and be expected to be 100% respectful and social is just plain crazy and not achievable. While she can come across exhausting, argumentative and disrespectful a lot of the time….she has her moments that shine brighter than any other star out there. This text was one of them.

I have learned over these fun teen years that I need to really take in the little things. They may not seem big and grandiose to many of you, but to me and my beautiful daughter they are HUGE.

*another god article on NVLD      What is NVLD?

 

 

 

 

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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.

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, birth mom, depression, family, mom, Uncategorized

The Playbook…

playbook

There are playbooks for all sports, directions for electronics, assembly instructions for put together furniture and even instructions on how to use shampoo.  During my journey with being a birth mother and an adoptive mom I have seen so many books and articles about how to adopt, what to tell your kids, reunion stories etc.  But when you reunite with a birth child after 22 years of placing him for adoption…then what? Where is the playbook? When I first found him we stumbled our way through the words and emotions of it all. Took it one day at a time…slowly and steadily. Now 4 years later we – me, my husband, daughters and him – have a wonderful relationship that keeps on growing. He has met the rest of my family just a handful of times – which seems so strange because we all live so close and are so close.   So why is it so hard to cross the line and bring the rest of them on in? Is it they don’t want to? Not sure how to? Not sure how to feel? What the “relationship” will be – such an unfamiliar territory. My sister said you can’t just Google “Reuniting with a birth son while he meets his sisters that were adopted from Korea and the rest of the clan”. There is NO PLAYBOOK.

I am learning so many things through all of this. I know how I feel through all of this – but how does the other family feel? The REAL family – the one that raised him.  I truly believe that every person’s life is one big jigsaw puzzle. At times we feel complete and at times we feel a part of something is missing. That missing piece could be the loss of a family member, a wrong spouse, a bad job – whatever – but sometimes it is a person, a person that they have never met. I believe that people who were adopted (most people) it is a curiosity thing… wondering what the missing link is. What does the other part of the DNA look like, act like – etc. I do not believe that is a lack of love from the adoptive family – or that there is something wrong. I believe it is a natural curiosity. As an adoptive mom I look forward to taking the journey with my children if they want to find their birth families. But I also realize I have half a world between her and us. I find security in that. My daughter who is 11 thinks about her birth mom a lot and often we talk about it. I don’t ever doubt that I AM her real mom…but I also know the wondering because as a birth mom, I have always wondered about my son. It doesn’t mean I love my daughters any less or they don’t complete me – but my birth son has always been in my heart. I know that I am my girls mom.period. But I do know they have a whole heritage and birth family a world away that they must wonder about – especially as they get older.

I think about Mike – how does he feel? I know he loves Joshua and has welcomed him always into our family. He stood by me when I would be sad on his birthday and wonder about him. He held me when I would cry at night after I found him on Facebook and all I could say was “This is so big – so emotional”. There were no words to describe how wide open my heart became – but he got it and would just hold me and love me. Yet I was the one who couldn’t give us belly babies.

My close girlfriends have been by my side through every step of this journey – encouraging me, supporting me, listening to me talk about things and share the excitement of it all. They always ask about him and how he is doing. These woman have supported me every step and have helped me sort out feelings with love, laughter and occasional glass of wine!

So why is it so hard for those closest to me?? There are no defined roles, feelings or rules. It is fly by the seat of your pants and hope that it all turns out okay. I have had 4 years of feelings building up and finally felt they came free today. It was a hard conversation to have…but one that never had taken place. All in all I think it was a good thing. I feel like I can move forward and have two special worlds mesh together with a common ground, me.

Life can be so difficult and hard sometimes. I realize communication is key. I can’t assume how people feel or think. There are paths we go down in our lives that come with no playbooks. We learn as we go and we become stronger because of it.

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

Teen Moms…

Teen Pregnancy  When you discover your pregnant, you should be excited! You share the news with your significant other and family. There are baby showers, gifts, decorating a nursery and waiting with anticipation for that glorious moment when you hear your child’s first cry. The first cry that says “I’m here!” – you are my momma! Unless you are 17 and its the very last thing you planned on. I never got to experience the excitement of being pregnant, just the unexpected, scared and unknown of it all.  I was that scared 17 year old. I am now a 45 year old woman with a birth son who is almost 27 that I met 4 years ago and two young daughters just entering the teen years… who are adopted. I love all my children beyond words.

I think of my daughters and someday they will have boyfriends. I want to say “Don’t have sex until your married!!” – but we all know the reality of it all. I will say “Don’t have sex until you are old enough to understand the magnitude of it all – make sure you are in love and it is with the person you want your life to be with”. It is not an act to become popular, to make a boy like you more or even to prove you are someone you are not. It’s not just something you do because everyone else is doing it – it doesn’t mean anything or it’s no big deal. Even using birth control of any sort doesn’t guarantee you will not get pregnant.

I was fortunate – in that my parents were there for me. They helped me with important decisions. They didn’t shun me, kick me to the curb or make me feel shamed. Were they thrilled their 17 year old daughter was pregnant? absolutely not. It was something that we went through and got through. It was life changing and emotional. Many emotions that I am experiencing NOW 27 years later. Because the “plan” I had knowing my son would have a better life with a couple that was READY to be parents got me through it. I knew that he would be loved, taken care of and given everything he needed – everything I wasn’t capable of at 17. Knowing my decision made sense and that my love for him would give him a better life, I was able to cope emotionally.

Some young girls are not so lucky. I am currently reading a book now about woman back in the late 50’s and 60’s that we shunned, sent away and were told there was NO OTHER CHOICE but to relinquish their rights to their child. No one talked about it. You were considered a “bad girl” or “used merchandise” – who on earth would want to marry a girl that had a baby out of wedlock. Thank God times have changed. But have they changed too much?? Now you can watch a show on MTV called Teen Moms…REALLY!?!?!?  A show that glamorizes it all – they get paid to show their loves on TV – get covers to magazines ??? Don’t get me wrong, some young woman (and men) choose to keep their babies at young ages and it works out – they DO survive and have a wonderful life – my son had that with his father and his father’s wife…my child’s mother.  But most teens do not.They have no job, quit school or rely on the grandparents to take care of the child. They struggle.

I want to say to teens that find themselves in this position that they have choices. That your child’s needs are so much more important that your wants. For some it is hard to understand that. But I am here to tell you, yes it is hard to go thru. You feel alone, scared and like your life may be over. There is always someone that WILL support you, help you and guide you. My hope that it is your family like I had. If it isn’t, then find someone who it is. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

To parents….No parent wants to learn their teenage daughter is pregnant. You bring up your child with love, morals, faith and it can still happen. Do you want to have a pregnant teen? Of course not….but if you do…you need to put your feelings aside and BE THERE. Again – putting the needs of your child first so they can do that for their child. Be the support they need – find them a doctor, a counselor and be the support they need – the love and support you promised to give then when you had them. Parents – it is ok to feel disappointed, scared and upset…but BE THERE for them…help them.

To the young teens that it worked out for to keep your baby and you could give it all that he/she may have needed – I am envious and proud of you for doing it. It… is…hard. My son’s father did that. At the time I thought my plan was so much better for him. But he grew up to be this amazing young man with parents who did give him what I couldn’t. they are my heroes – as corny as that sounds… I admire them, I respect them and I also feel saddened that I thought my plan was better. I believe that they raised him to be a loving forgiving person – which allows him and I to have a relationship now in life.

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

Finding Motherhood – My Messy Beautiful

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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!

 

 

anxiety, anxiety in kids, depression, mom, Uncategorized

Evil Twin…

Image I have an evil twin. She looks just like me, talks just like me, has same mannerisms as I do and most people are fooled that it is me. I don’t like my evil twin. She comes in out of nowhere – usually in the winter. She comes in and yanks the rug out from under me in a slow unnoticeable way. She makes me feel so tired and always craving sleep. She takes my creativity and stomps on it til its dead. She takes my energy and tosses it out the window like a dead limp cat. She swats away my patience and self esteem with the ease of shooing away a pesky mosquito. She takes my love and thoughtfulness towards my family and turns it into annoyance and dislike. She makes me want to eat and drink away my feelings, so yes I blame her for weight gain. She turns me into a no good,lazy, helpless, worthless pile of sadness. She makes me just get thru the day just barely and sends me to bed early, crabby and spent. She takes a day full of possibilities and opportunities and turns it into a day I just need to get through. She makes me grind my teeth at night, toss and turn and get bad sleep. She puts me into hiding and gives me the “poor me” syndrome. She keeps me away from my friends. This evil twin has a two names;  Anxiety and Depression. She is always with me – but in winter she is the annoying guest that never leaves. When you take the depression checklist quiz at the doctor and check most of “severe” column, it makes you think…maybe there is a reason I am feeling this way. I know we as a nation think people are over medicated blah blah blah. But I AM on medicine now and this is the best I have felt in a long time. I have the spring in my step back, my creativity is bursting at the seams, I have joy again. I am fun with my children and husband again. I embrace each day happily instead of dreading it and wondering how may hours til I can go home and nap…then when can I go to bed? I no longer have thoughts of not being good enough. I no longer want to say :screw you!” to anyone that crosses my path or upsets me. I am happy to see my kids and hear about their day. I feel happy when my husband comes home from work instead of dreading it because it meant I had to have an idea of what to make for dinner. Each day flows smoothly and the bumps that come get worked thru instead of being coated over with food or wine. I never really knew how anxious about things I was until I wasn’t. I didn’t realize what a depressive funk I was in until I wasn’t. To always feel exhausted, overwhelmed and anxious on a normal day isn’t right. I shouldn’t have to breakdown because I need to unload the dishwasher. Yes, we do have days in our lives that can be tiring and overwhelming…that is not depression/anxiety. Anxiety is when you worry all the time about things you would normally not be so consumed with, worrying all night if your teenager will have a successful day at middle school or worry that you aren’t taking care of your family….then throw in the depression piece and all those things you still worry about, but you don’t care. All you care about is being left alone to sulk and sleep. The house is a mess, dinners are less than thrilling and your family annoys you. It is not fun having this evil twin – but my medicine gives her a one way ticket out of here. It feels good having her gone. ADIOS! And don’t let the door hit you in the ass!