Tag Archives: motherhood

Broken


ImageAs I sit here, tears are falling down my face.  It seems as though all I have done lately is apologize for not being good enough, quick enough, right enough, smart enough, skinny enough, early enough.  It seems as though I cannot meet any goals or responsibilities or expectations.  I don’t even know if the expectations are my own or not.  All I know is that my head is swimming and I want to go to bed.

But I can’t.

I have to face all of the fears and failures, real or not, but I don’t know how.  I am trying all kinds of methods, but nothing “works fast enough.”

How do I grab all of the pieces of my life and put them together again?  How do I escape the daily dread of letting my family down or letting others down?  Of letting myself down?

I mean, anyone else’s life, and I would have no problem helping them come up with a plan of action and get organized, but when it is my own, I am clueless.  I don’t know where to begin.

How do I successfully mesh together a plan for financial stability and responsibility, for physical health and fitness, for educational growth and future opportunity and security, for successful work habits and development, AND find time to be a good mommy?  I am always letting someone down.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to go back for a Masters degree!  I must have been out of my ever-loving mind to think I could pull it off when I had yet to get in order the current issues of my life.

How do you move past the pain without first having to recognize it for what it is, and either accept it for fix it?  How do I face the hurt about certain situations, knowing there is no immediate solution?  How do I escape the deep sense of longing and loss?.

How do you move past the fear that paralyzes your every move?  Fear of what, you ask?  Just plain fear.  Fear of everything…failure, loss, pain, hurt, unintentionally hurting others, of not being loved, of not loving enough, of being alone, of not being enough.  Fear of actually living life.  Fear of being who I really am.  Fear of judgement.  Fear of being called crazy.  Fear of EVERYTHING!

How do I face the fullness of the consequences for my decisions in life, particularly over the past three years.  No, there is not a lot I would change, but the consequences are killing me!  I know I put myself here, and I know that it is nobody’s fault but my own.  REGARDLESS of how I got here, I am here, and I don’t know how to move forward.

I pray, don’t worry about that.  I do.  And even though I know my God is a kind and loving God, I still feel I don’t deserve the blessings He has graced in my life NOW, what makes me think I am worth more of His mercy and love?  I have messed up everything He has provided.  Over and over.

I am on my knees with tears in my eyes asking for guidance.  God, please fill my brokenness, because I don’t know how…

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“Son, You’re Adopted”


Many of you know that my kids are all adopted from foster care.  It has never been a secret…except for my youngest, now 9.  Up until a month ago, he did not know he was adopted.

All of his life, I have had very open dialogue about adoption and foster care.  He knew of his older brother’s history, and they had many conversations about that.  When we watched movies like “Annie,” I would have discussions with Ashton about what an “orphanage” was and how some parents either cannot or will not take care of their children and how they end up in foster care…etc. etc. etc.

I have always approached the concept of adoption as being a gift from God.  And it is…

About three months ago, I had a discussion with “my baby daddy” about preparing to tell Ashton the truth EVER.  Of course, he didn’t ever want to tell him, because he looks and acts so much like us that he just wanted Ashton to always feel like he was biological.

I, on the other hand, could not bear the thought of him finding out from someone else, and then hating us forever because we “lied to him.”  Which, by the way, we had NEVER done.  I refused to ever lie to him, but when faced with any sort of situation about biological relation, I always found a way to respond with “You are a blessing from God.”

So, Bryan and I talked and decided what we would say, just in case Ashton asked (he had recently been asking about “blood relatives” which left me seriously tap dancing around the conversation!)  We also both agreed that it was not the right time to just come out and tell him.  Our lives have been so stressed, and Ashton is already dealing with divorce and changing schools again.

However, God had a different plan than we did.

A month ago, Ashton asked me something about his older brothers, and I responded with something like, “no, it is because they were in foster care.”  Then it came!

“Was I ever in foster care?  Mommy, am I adopted?”

Wow!  I looked at him, let out a slight <sigh> and said, “have a seat, son.  Yes, you were adopted.”  I said a silent prayer that God give me the words to say.

Ashton and I like to “freak people out” so one of the fun things we do is try on super high heels at Goodwill. 🙂

I began to tell him “Our Story” about how Bryan and I could not have children, how sad we were, and how hard we had tried.  (I had always wanted to be a mommy…even when I was under 2 years old, I would use my own diapers on my baby dolls.  It is ALWAYS who I am) so I was very sad when I couldn’t have children.  

I continued with the story of how God brought him into our lives.  (Ashton’s Adoption Story)

I finished with how he ended up in foster care.  I will choose NOT to share this portion of the story, because it is really Ashton’s story to tell…but I will say this: He was in the hospital for the first month of his life, and with a medical foster family until he became part of our family.  His mother gave him up for adoption because she KNEW she could not take care of 3 children, and she was fighting to keep the two she had.  With what I have seen and experienced working IN foster care, I KNOW that is the most loving gift a mother can give her child.  (I have goosebumps right now…just typing this!) 

Once I had finished talking, Ashton asked several questions about his biological parents.  He wanted to know if I had ever met them.  I also let him know that he has a brother (4 yrs older) and a sister (5 yrs older) and told him some about his first foster parents (an older couple who cared for medical needs foster children). 

He then became very excited about looking through his baby stuff.  Fortunately, his biological parents had given him some trinkets while he had been in the hospital and his foster mother had kept a few momentos from his first 11 months.  I, of course, had added to the memoirs over time.  I showed him the first toy that Bryan and I ever bought for him, and the snakeskin cowboy boots that his Nanny bought for him when he was not even 18 months old.  He snuggled on the stuffed bear that his biological mother had left in his crib at the hospital, and he laughed at the cloth diaper that he used to chew on (instead of a pacifier).  He was shocked at the teeny tiny baby t-shirt he wore from the hospital when he was born.

This was NOT the first time Ashton and I had gone through his baby memories.  But this WAS the first time that I could be honest and tell him exactly from whom each piece came.  He was so curious and accepting…I was amazed.  Even now, I think of how incredible a little boy he is, and I am grateful each and every day for the blessing of Ashton in my life (ALL of my kids, for that matter!)  I am also thankful to God that He guided the conversation in a manner that comforted and nurtured Ashton.

Love at First Sight


Have you ever looked at someone and immediately knew that they would be a forever part of your life?  With one single momentary glance, your pulse races, your palms sweat, your mind and thoughts are obliterated, and you are overcome with a deep, mystical sense of familiarity and comfort.   Looking back at the memory, you study the details of the moment, and you realize that there was like a light behind the person, magnifying thier soul to your own.  The thought of that person consumes your every thought and moment from then on.  The thoughts of them might even drive you insane, or at least you will feel that way. 

I guess I don’t believe it is really love at “first” sight…but maybe more of a “rekindling of souls.”  I have been fortunate enough to experience this revelation a few times.  The first time would be the love of my life.  Our souls have forever been intertwined (maybe one day our lives will connect again as well).  I have also felt this sensation with each of my three children.  Although my children were adopted from foster care, I still experienced an incredible feeling of instantaneous love the first time I saw each of them.  The only way I can relate it to others is to compare it to the feeling that a new mother must feel when the nurse or doctor places her new baby upon her chest.  It is an instanteous moment of AMAZING.

Another thing I noticed is that your heart can never fully let them go, no matter how hard they fight you, or how they might disappoint you, or not live up to your unrealistic expectations, or go off on their own to live their own lives.  The love is as unconditional as humans can possibly comprehend.

…just saying.

Back in Black


I have spent 37 years of my life making excuses.  NO MORE!  I am not on a weight loss expedition…obviously, that one failed.  After all, my last blog entry was in 2009 for goodness sakes.  Now, I AM happy to report that I have lost and kept off 60 pounds since the beginning of the blog, but I still a looonnnngggg way to go.

Like I said, I am not here to lose weight.  I am here for TRANSFORMATION!  From the inside out!  A lot, and I mean, A LOT, has occurred in my life since the last blogs.  I feel myself going through somewhat of a mid-life crisis…oh the times, they are-a changin’.  I have been on this three year roller coaster ride, which has left me contemplating life in general.

To sum it up, I got temporary custody of my two grandchildren; then my 25 year old son moved up to help me with his children; then came the separation and eventual divorce from my husband of 15 years; financial struggles; kidney stones; landlord committed suicide leaving us looking for a home; husband dating my friend at work (now talking about marriage and taking our 9 year old son ring shopping – isn’t it bad enough that he wants to go live with them?!); broken teeth coupled with excruciating pain; lack of a sex life; an old boyfriend in Florida offering love/support, and potentially empty promises;  after nearly 18 months of living with me and my son – their father – my grandchildren were then “legally kidnapped” by their mother once she was released from jail after her 2-3 month homeless crime-spree across the US with her drugged-out boyfriend and third child;  She would not allow us to see or speak to them for 6 months, leaving us fearing for their safety and well-being; more financial stress;  all resulting in a long, slow, gradual lapse into depression.  Oh yeah, and did I mention that I am overweight!!??  (ok, I am done whining)

I have been trying to stay too strong for too long.  Last week it was like I finally woke up.  And I was in a deep hole, looking up.  All I could see were the faces of everyone in my life, people I truly feel like I have let down.  It was as if they were all asking me, “Hey, what are you doing in a hole?  Why are you there?”  All along, I hadn’t even known I was there.  That is what depression is like…for me, at least.  It is gradual.  Things begin to get overwhelming, and within a few months, I am avoiding anything that could even remotely be overwhelming.  I don’t even go into my kitchen anymore…partly because my now 26-year old son is a slob and leaves the nastiest messes, and partly because the very sight of dishes overwhelms me. 

I can make it through my work day, but by the time I get home, I am completely wiped out.  I don’t want to move, I just want to sit or lay down.  I don’t want to be near anyone or talk to anyone, unless they are going to coddle me and hold me tight.  Pitiful right?

I have always lived my life in a certain way.  Perhaps some would call me a snob.  I certainly have done my share of judging others.  I consider this entire process a horrifying lesson in being humble.  I am only now beginning to piece together the things that I must do to turn my life around…to transform myself and become the person I want to be.  And hopefully, I can find a way to help others at the same time.  Join me?

Talk to you later!

God’s Blessing of Ashton


Anybody who has ever known me has known that all I ever wanted to be was a mother. When I was two, I used my own diapers for my baby dolls, and when I was five, I would fall asleep praying to God that my baby dolls would come to life overnight.

So, by the time I was married and we had decided to expand our family, the anticipation was intense. Almost as intense as the emotional roller coaster of the many failed attempts that followed. I suffer from a medical issue that gives me a better chance of getting struck by lightening than getting pregnant (doctor’s words, not mine). After many years of watching our friends and cousins have babies, I did my best to come to terms that it wasn’t meant to be…or at least focus on other things.

In 2001, after a job lay-off, I found myself at the door of a foster care agency accepting a job. Within months, Bryan and I went through the licensing process to become foster parents for some of the teenage foster children I had met. Since finding a healthy baby for adoption in the state foster care system was near impossible, we didn’t really have that as a goal.

In February 2003, I received a call from child placement. They had an 18 month old boy named Gabriel that was going up for adoption. He had been born HIV-positive, but had recently tested negative (a common occurrence in babies!) therefore they were able to proceed with adoption. After a brief, but very excited conversation with Bryan, I called child placement and agreed.

I cannot even begin to explain the excitement! I went home that night, and the whole family (Bryan, James and I) set forth to turn our spare room into a nursery. We put together a crib, painted the walls light blue and hung Winnie the Pooh decorations. I pulled baby blankets that I had made out of my hope chest and put them in the crib. The next day at work, my friends had obliterated my office with blue streamers, confetti, and “It’s a Boy” signs. Then, I got the call…

Child placement informed me that the current foster family of Gabriel had decided they wanted to adopt him. Since he was already placed in their home, and had been living there, that foster family had preference as far as any judge was concerned. It was one of the lowest points of my life.

The door to the nursery was closed. I couldn’t face the empty crib. Many times, in bouts of sadness, I found myself in the rocking chair in the nursery crying and praying. Everyone knew to leave me alone if I was in there. I simply could not be consoled.

Many months later, during one of James’ monthly caseworker visits, the caseworker decided to investigate our house (something they do to document that James’ surroundings were adequate). Upon entering the nursery, she asked me if we had a baby or were expecting one. With a few tears, I was able to tell her the story of Gabriel and how I was not ready to “undo” the nursery…deep down, I still had hope.

She piped up, “One of my coworkers was just telling me about one of her foster babies that is going up for adoption. His current foster parents are older and aren’t interested in adopting. Would you like her number?”

The rest, as they say, was history. I made the call and within a few more months, we had our first visit with Ashton. Ashton was 11 months old, had gorgeous carrot-colored hair, and a great toothless smile. He said “mama” for the first time during that visit. Bryan and I fell in love with him instantly. He belonged with us and we knew it.

For three weeks, we did the required visits, first for an hour or two at the foster family’s home, then we were able to take him for a walk, and ultimately, we were able to take him for the whole afternoon. Finally, a week before his first birthday, he came home with us permanently. His first birthday party was also a baby shower.

Ashton had no problems adjusting…he slept great, ate well, and played hard. He looked so much like Bryan that I very nearly questioned his fidelity. He acted like us and is still so much like both of us that we have a hard time convincing anyone of his adoption.

It wasn’t for several months before something occurred to me…Gabriel is the Messenger Angel believed to have been the one to tell Mary about Jesus. In our life, that interpreted in a way that we realized if it had not been for Baby Gabriel and the empty nursery, Ashton would have never come to us. Baby Gabriel had been a messenger for us.

I once heard a saying, “Childbirth is an act of nature; Adoption is an act of God.” Nobody believes that more than us!